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Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2? (Read 1162 times)
Steve Deckert
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Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
07/06/19 at 06:03:25
 

I have like most, been struggling for years with recordings falling into two piles, those that sound good ('right") and those that sound lean or dry which is a polite way of saying recordings that sound bad.

I think as audiophiles, especially post 70's loudness-button-armed-receiver audiophiles, we think because we hear a group of our recordings sound good to great that anything else must be recorded like crap...

This is seldom true when you subtract frequency balance from the equation. Let me give you an example that is all too common and has repeated itself over the years more times than I can count.

You find CD's or stream music that growing up you loved and now for some reason because your an audiophile, it sounds like crap. †Very frustrating since the music is so good, and you know it can sound good, because it did sound good. †It just doesn't sound good today. †What has changed? †Bass and Treble controls, loudness button, HI and LO filters and large efficient speakers with real bass response.

I figured this out when I found myself frustrated for the 7000th time trying to listen to some Supertramp that I can still remember 40 years later how it sounded. †I have the LP's and even they are not always immune to this deflation effect that ruins great music. The trigger was the ZROCK2 that I have refused to let myself listen to since I developed it, for reasons that should be obvious. †

After being mercilessly teased for actually the past year and and half, and wanting to re-live a childhood experience of hearing Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac and similar greats from that era, I CAVED and hooked up the ZROCK2 and with it dialed into that sweet spot which is easy to find because it has the most highs and is located at around 3/4 on the magic dial. †

Problem immediately solved.

Now that the recordings don't sound like someone has stolen your woofers, I can finally not only stand to listen to it, but enjoy it and muse at just how good the recordings actually are.

Ponder that for awhile. †For those who don't like to think...†take your music library as an example.†Let's make it simple and say you only listen to CD's so that we can divide them into piles. One pile (the shortest) is your demo material to impress yourself and your friends. †One pile is your good but not demo material pile that you can play for yourself only. †And then there is the pile that sounds like crap to you even when no-one is looking. †

Let's say these piles are A=50% B=30% C=20%, †C is the demo pile. †B is the pile that frustrates you, because it is full of music you love. †With a ZROCK2, you will eliminate pile B as it will become added to pile C. †Also, Pile A will shrink by at least 10% making your music library go from 20% to 60%. That is 3X the music. How long are we going to chase pile C without A ZROCK2? †It's futile... I admit it.

I would say the ZROCK2 is the at least 10 times better than a subwoofer in the most conservative examples I can think of. †

Also it becomes obvious why 90% of subwoofer users miss-use subwoofers by using them to fatten up the frequency balance of their main speakers instead of extend it.

As always once you get a ZROCK2 dialed in and spend an hour listening to your favorite music sound good, hitting the bypass switch is like being on a speedboat and running aground! Or let's see, it's like eating the best stake you ever had and then it turned into a cracker. Yea, that's a better analogy. †

Anyway, the takeaway is that at least 50% of the recordings that I find frustrating because they must be recorded like crap, are actually recorded just fine, they simply have a different EQ.

As I ponder this reality once again as it stands directly in front of my face I realize that audiophiles really sabotaged themselves by making it a taboo to have tone controls, or loudness buttons. Music is voiced different today then it was up until 1968. †

The real test of how good a ZROCK2 is for A) Imaging, B) Separation, C) Tone, D) Presense, E) Dynamics, F) HIT, G) Bass textures, H) Bass weight, I) Animation in no specific order, is to see how long you can listen to your music in bypass mode. Even much of your music that was in pile C if not all of it, will just sound even better. Turning off your ZROCK2 will be like stepping out of a hot shower into a cold bathroom with no towel.

Since someone scratched the case on this ZROCK2, I get to keep it for myself. Tonight is it's first run-in. So basically no burn-in. It was inserted into a well-seasoned system. Despite that this device made an instant improvement of such a great size that burn-in becomes insignificant in the grand scale of things.

Also this unit has been outfitted with standard beeswax caps and nothing else. †It is being used with the 25th Anniversary amp, feeding it directly. Now we all know that's a bad thing... or is it? †I'll be doing the anniversary mods to it soon and then I'll wonder how I loved it so much before. Still, if this is all the better it could get I would be 100% fine with it. †It's just that damn good.

Steve

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Lon
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Re: Recording Quality vs. BASS response?
Reply #1 - 07/06/19 at 11:36:09
 
All.that you say about the ZROCK2 rings so true for me. I. can't be without one now. And I can't listen in bypass in part because. . .with my ZROCK2 with the 25th Anniversary mods when I flip the bypass the channels are reversed!
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Re: Recording Quality vs. BASS response?
Reply #2 - 07/06/19 at 17:15:32
 
Steve, glad to see you're getting on the ZROCK2 bandwagon with the rest of us! † Grin
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Ace-Tone
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Re: Recording Quality vs. BASS response?
Reply #3 - 07/06/19 at 17:24:13
 
Switch off the ZR2....NEVER!!!! I use it daily to fine-tune those less than steller recordings whether they be CD's or Vinyl. Can't believe Steve was not taking his own medicine.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #4 - 07/10/19 at 05:11:03
 

Just a followup:

Background:I have been using the stock ZROCK2 w/ beeswax caps as the preamp for the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier all week and I have the ZROCK2 adjusted to just tease the tone and the bass shelf.  

Tonight I have been just enjoying the juicy tone and great imaging this thing makes and wondering why in the hell can't recording engineers find this sound?

Anyway, I thought seriously about pressing the bypass switch to turn off the ZROCK2 just amuse/horrify myself, and I couldn't make myself do it.

Steve
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ScottNC
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #5 - 07/10/19 at 06:57:03
 
I flip my bypass every now and then....for about 2 seconds. Itís an amazing component in every aspect.
Shutting down for the evening.
Best,
Scott
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #6 - 07/10/19 at 17:44:09
 
The ZROCK2 was a game-changer for me.
It should be in the Hi-Fi Hall of Fame!

At some point in the future I might end up changing out some of my system with upgraded components, but the ZROCK2 is a forever piece.
It will never leave my system.
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #7 - 07/11/19 at 11:24:46
 
Steve Deckert wrote on 07/10/19 at 05:11:03:

Just a followup:

Background:I have been using the stock ZROCK2 w/ beeswax caps as the preamp for the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier all week and I have the ZROCK2 adjusted to just tease the tone and the bass shelf. †

Tonight I have been just enjoying the juicy tone and great imaging this thing makes and wondering why in the hell can't recording engineers find this sound?

Anyway, I thought seriously about pressing the bypass switch to turn off the ZROCK2 just amuse/horrify myself, and I couldn't make myself do it.

Steve

I remember months back saying that having the ZROCK2 in a system is like being the engineer. You can shape the sound to your room and taste needs in very important ways. It's so hard to be without one.
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lobo
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #8 - 08/24/19 at 16:24:01
 
Got the email,moving thru the build process.Don't worry about a little scratch , just send it on already. Grin
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #9 - 08/24/19 at 21:13:06
 
You mean Steve sold it to you?
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lobo
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Re: Recording Quality vs. ZROCK2?
Reply #10 - 08/24/19 at 21:23:42
 
It is being built now,just making fun about one he got to keep because it had a scratch.
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