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Message started by Steve Deckert on 11/15/18 at 23:36:53

Title: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/15/18 at 23:36:53


We have mods available for the ZROCK2. †If you have a 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier, and you want to use a ZROCK2 with it, you'll be fine when you goal is to listen to internet streaming of questionable sound quality. †However, if you plan to get in the sweet spot and do some serious listening, the ZROCK2 is not going to keep up with the insane speed of the SE84UFO25.

The mods are two fold, bypass caps on the power supply to speed it up and increase resolution, and a vacuum regulator tube that is permanently soldered into the interior and does not need replacement. †The vacuum tube filters the high voltage power giving a better result than if you had a stock unit plugged into a power regenerator.

Listening to the ZROCK2 with both of these mods is quite an experience. †The only words that keep coming to mind is "exquisite tone". †The midrange and depth is striking.

Again, this just became available and is not yet on the site or more specifically an option in the shopping cart, but can be purchased on new models with an email or phone call, or just by writing it into the comments section of the order form when you check out.

Happy Listening!

Steve



Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/16/18 at 02:17:03

I'm sitting here trying to imagine how the ZROCK2 with the power supply mods and voltage regulator tube will sound. I can only imagine it will sound amazing! I've ordered one using the "add the request to the comments section of the order form" method. And it's on the Build List. The wait has begun!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by lazb on 11/16/18 at 18:29:49

I am envious, Lon! Hard to imagine the ZROCK mods being THAT significant but, yep, I gotta have them. BUT I do not want to do without it long enough to send it in!?!?!  NOW what do I do? Man, I wish Steve had recommended that mod when I ordered mine.  :(

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/16/18 at 18:39:08

I understand that Joe, but I think that these mods for the ZROCK2 may not have even been a twinkle in his eye then!

That was the dilemma I faced, whether to do without for a while or not. . . and so I ordered a new one so I can keep the old one in my system. The old one will now serve my tuner, and the new one will serve my DirectStream DAC. I know eventually I'll be tempted to send the original ZROCK2 in for the mods. It's just how we are. . . .

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by pursuitofnow on 11/18/18 at 03:01:31

I just did the same thing and placed an order for another ZROCK2 with anniversary updates. I will use existing one in the office system when the new one arrives. Will also be fun to compare the two.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/18/18 at 12:09:17

The waiting has begun for us both!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by gwng8 on 11/19/18 at 23:11:46

What are the prices for these upgrades?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/20/18 at 00:36:49

Here is the price listing Steve posted on another thread:

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Jess on 11/21/18 at 06:34:42

Hi Steve,

Just to double confirm on what you mentioned that the moded ZROCK 2 canít keep up with the speed of SE84UFO25.  Does it mean it is better not to have ZR2 and its mod?  Will this be true to other anniv Torii amps?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 11/21/18 at 16:30:02

How I read Steve's comments is that the stock ZR2 WON'T keep up with the Anniversary amp but with Anniversary mods, the ZR2-A WILL.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/21/18 at 16:50:44

That's how I read it too. †I think the mods will be worth it.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by gwng8 on 11/22/18 at 21:32:12

How much does the by-pass mod add to the sound?  

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by gwng8 on 11/22/18 at 21:33:17

Where would my dollars be best spent, on upgrading the capacitors (to Type 2 or 3) or doing the bypass mod?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/23/18 at 01:57:25


gwng8 wrote on 11/22/18 at 21:32:12:
How much does the by-pass mod add to the sound? †

I think at this point only Steve can answer that as he is likely the only one responding on the forum that has heard the mods in the ZROCK2.

If they are similar to the mods done to the amplifiers and the preamplifier (both of which I have been listening to for months) then there will be a "sensation" of more power, and there will seem to be more detail and "holographic" feel to the sound.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/23/18 at 01:59:18


gwng8 wrote on 11/22/18 at 21:33:17:
Where would my dollars be best spent, on upgrading the capacitors (to Type 2 or 3) or doing the bypass mod?

My personal guess: spending even more money to do both--update the caps to Type 2 and do the mods. Otherwise. . . my gut tells me do the mods on the stock capacitors may be a bit better than doing the capacitor mod alone, but doing both would be really beneficial.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by gwng8 on 11/26/18 at 19:22:51

Thanks for the responses.

How long does it usually take to receive a unit?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/26/18 at 19:30:14

The average lead time seems to be 8 to 10 weeks this year.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by gwng8 on 11/26/18 at 19:45:58

yikes

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 11/26/18 at 19:48:58

That's average for Decware. These are built by hand and thoroughly tested before release. This weekend there were 81 new orders placed for the Black Friday sale. . . . Good things come to those who wait. I admit I'm used to waiting for Decware products, been the case for over 20 years of my Decware using history.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by pursuitofnow on 11/27/18 at 02:39:25

8-10 weeks isn't bad. The current waitlist seems more like 16 weeks. I know, I know, par for the course. It's just hard to not think about it when you are waiting.  ;)

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by gwng8 on 11/27/18 at 20:49:32

I guess I just thought they had partially assembled models that they would then customize as required.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 01/31/19 at 03:06:24

Well, my order from November now is the 15th new item on the build list. . . probably another three weeks to a month to go. Looking forward to hearing a ZROCK2 with the Anniversary mods.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 02/10/19 at 05:45:52

I posted earlier that I just received my modem ZR-2.  Actually I received it a couple of weeks ago but did not put it in until today.  The system is now in the new reno-ed room and the built in entertainment center.

Iíve been listening for about 6 hours so I would think that the mods still have a way to go before theyíre burned in.  For those that may be wondering if the the mods are worth the money? - HELL YES! and, do both!!!

My ZR-2 is loaded including silver RCAís and as good as it was, right from the get go the difference was, well, hard to come to terms with.

After about 30 minutes my wife who was listening on the sidelines without prompting said ďeverything youíve played is very controlled, far richer and very melodic.Ē  Sheís a non audiophile who has endured many years of my ďhobbyĒ with me.  She was right on.  Itís that obvious.

So we both sat down for the rest of the evening and just played tunes.  As the evening progressed the sound stage began to widen out in all directions.  I flipped the bypass switch two or three times to confirm what the difference was and I could only handle the bypassed version for a moment or two.

Before I had the ZR-2 I ran my ZDSD gain at -18dB.  After I got the ZR-2 I took it down to -14dB.  With the A-moded ZR-2 in place and the the ZDSD set at -14dB there is far more density, solidity and impact than when it was set at -18dB without the ZR-2 or at -14dB with the non A-moded ZR-2.

I do not like talking about the bass because that takes away from what the ZR-2 does which is much more than just bass restoration but it has to be mentioned... YES the A-moded ZR-2 pushes bass and bass head room well beyond expectations and it is a controlled bass, even at 6 hours of playing time.  Iím running Omega S3HOXRS speakers and the bass that is coming out of those speakers now with the A-moded ZR-2 has to be heard to be believed.  

My wife commented on something else that was of interest to her, she said quite genuinely, ďyou havenít gone through your usual ritual of adjusting the speakers, should I get the tape measure?Ē  -  ďNo dear, I think you should refill your glassĒ was my reply, not really what I was thinking at that moment.  Yup the A-mods are that good and at only 6 hours. Lets see what will happen in the next 50 hours.








Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 02/10/19 at 05:50:03

Correction in the first sentence, not modem ZR-2, supposed to be A-moded ZR-2.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/07/19 at 21:11:12

J, boy that post above really whetted my appetite when you wrote it and now, seemingly a half an eternity later, my ZROCK2 with the mods has shipped. No tracking number yet, but it should arrive Tuesday or so.

Really looking forward to it for two reasons: I want to experience this improved sound that is reported, even though I love the sound I have right now with the non-modded ZROCK2; secondly I really want to move my original ZROCK2 into my new audio-visual living room system, which sounds very good with CSP3-25 and Taboo MK IV-25 amp, but I KNOW a ZROCK2 will really help it to be its best, it's just lacking what the ZROCK2 will bring.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/07/19 at 21:37:59

I am about 2-3 weeks out for mine. Starting to get goosebumps already ☺️.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/11/19 at 20:57:24

Mine arrived. I was immediately disappointed to see that instead of the ebony knob I requested I got a black chicken-head knob. Sigh. I'll live with it.

I've hooked it up and it's. . . tarter then my first ZROCK2, which is to be expected at this stage. I'll let it cook in overnight and listen tomorrow; my wife is home today so little listening possible anyway.

I moved my first ZROCK2 into the living room system and listened to a half a cd while Lucy was walking Fiona. Wow. That was exactly what that system needs (as I knew) and it delivers. I'll be enjoying listening to that system a lot more!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/11/19 at 21:43:47

Lon, just drop a note to Sarah. I'm sure they'll mail you an ebony knob or two😀.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/11/19 at 21:56:12

I don't think I want to do the butterknife pry off thing. I'll be okay. I'm getting over my ebony knob obsession I guess. When I sent my Taboo Mk IV in for the upgrades it came back with three black knobs in place of the ebony originally on the unit. I don't like them as much (especially how they feel to the fingertips) but I'm getting used to them. inversely when I sent my CSP2+ in for the mods, it came back with the gold knob it had replaced with an ebony knob. I'm going to get off the knob merry-go-round right now.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/12/19 at 14:42:28

Lon, after having the A-modded ZR2 for two or three weeks I was chasing some ďtartnessĒ or ďbrightnessĒ in the upper frequencies so I ended up rolling the tube in the ZR2 and in the outputs of my CSP-3 and... WOW and I mean W O W!!!!

Iím going to post the changes I made in a weeks time.  I want to let the tubes cook a little longer.  

This weekend we had friends over. One fellow brought the blue ray concert Joe Bonamassa at Carnegie Hall.  Iíve yet to experience the speed, the sheer dynamic power of music from an electronic system that resulted with all the attributes that audiophiles chase.

Afterwards he said ďI heard that you had a good system but I never imagined THIS!  His wife added ďYeah, and after THIS I have to go home and listen to our transistor stuff.Ē  This was her first experience with a tube based system and Decware.

Stay tuned...


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/12/19 at 17:30:04

That's cool John. I really enjoy the sound with both audio and video sources with the new system I have set up, especially now that I have the original ZROCK2 in place. (I think that the fully modded ZROCK2 that just arrived would show up the shortcomings of the Oppo UDP-205 that I am using, I clearly hear its shortcomings compared to the PS Audio duo I use in the other system).

The fully modded ZROCK2 is sounding a bit better today in the main system. I will play around with gain settings of the ZTPRE and the ZBIT as this new gain stage with added caps and a regulation tube is different than the original ZROCK2 and I can hear that. I'm loathe to roll tubes. . . . The complement that I am using now is one of the few that suits all the material I toss at the system, analog and digital and I spent a long time getting here. I am pretty sure I'm hearing "break in" characteristics that will "dissolve" in the near future. I've been breaking in a lot of things lately--Taboo Mk IV with mods, CSP2+ with mods, ZLC . . . and now ZROCK2 with mods. I've also moved my main system and set up two new ones. I'm just a little too eager for a "settled in" sound. I need to just sit back and let things happen and not be so analytical right now.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/12/19 at 19:56:31

I definitely get the "Wow." Steve is right in the first post about the depth and speed. It's as if the original ZROCK2 cast a thin ephemeral euphonic veil over the soundstage and the spaces between notes. The modded ZROCK2 burns off that veil and cooks. Part of the "tartness" I'm hearing is that veil dispersed and the notes revealed with even more space between them and even more depth to develop and sustain. An incredible sound. . . and I think the treble reduction which I need/crave will continue to grow incrementally with use. I've no issue with vinyl, but with digital, which again is revealing of the two media. I've moved speakers some and tweaked gain from the ZTPRE and ZBIT and the rest is a matter of time and hope.

I can certainly say the mods create not a subtle difference!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/14/19 at 05:29:15

It hasnít been a week but sometimes even when the burn in isnít complete you can tell that youíve nailed it.  Lonís right... the ZR2, even before the A-mods, does reveal good and bad but not to the same degree as after the A-mods.  This is a very good thing because if you follow what itís telling you, you end up with something that is so outsdanding.

Before getting the A-mods on my ZR2 I knew I would have do make some changes to the cabling, simply changing connectors did it.  Actually that started when I installed my new Co-Ax cable, actually it isnít a Co-Ax configuration - a Boomslang (I know Lon... it doesnít exist), and that was before the A-mods.

When I got the my A-moded ZR2, as impressive as it was, it and the UFO-25 were pointing to something else that needed Ďadjustingí.  I was using a Seimens ECC82 nickel plate in the ZR2, great tube in the right application.  I use German tubes because they can be very dynamic but do tilt to the upper frequencies, which up until I got the modded ZR2 was good for me.  Afterwords though, as the moded ZR2 continued to burn in the Ďtartnessí started to become a distraction from the really good things that were happening and that I was so impressed with

So I felt that I needed to experiment with the tube that I had in the A- moded ZR-2, but had a limited choice of tubes, a Seimens E80CC and the tube that came with the ZR2, a re branded GE 5963 long grey plate 60ís vintage.  Put the Seimens ECC80 in and the Ďtartnessí was gone.  Nice but not enough resolution for me.  So I put the original Red Tipped GE in thinking why not.  Things improved quite significantly, tartness gone,  impressive, better resolution but I wanted more life.

Next I looked at what I had in my CSP-3 outputs...  6N11ís.  These had been in for a couple of years and I new that these Could be a bit Ďhardí.  So these were the next to go.  I have a few options here and the one I chose went against my better judgment.. pair of Seimens ECC88.  I have a couple of pair and I was thinking of selling them, but I put them in the CSP-3 with the original GE 5963 in the A-modded ZR-2  and W O W!!!

Walking back to my chair I started to move to the tempo of the music and I didnít sit down for a while.  As the tubes started to burn in I noticed a bit of haziness with some music but not all, with jazz it was great, my wife commented that itís like being in a smokey bar.

So I got and tried an RCA 5963 blackplate and a National 5963 black plate.  Really nice but lost some life and after experiencing that I was not prepared to let it go.  Next I tried a Sylvania 5963 long grey plate and BINGO.  More resolution no Ďtartnessí and all the life is back.  I did dial the input volume level on my ZDSD back from -.5dB to -1dB.

What I mean by life is what we used to refer to as PRaT, I think that Naim started that.  Now some will argue that you can only get Pace, Rythm and Timing in a live event.  Well, I canít keep still when I listen now, toe tapping and foot stomping galore!  Voices to die for... Yes all the audiophile stuff is there along with a huge sound stage with a large scale perspective on the musicians and vocalists.  But the sheer dynamic power of the music is just amazing.  You can clearly hear what the musicians are doing, perhaps not as much as in a live event but more than enough.  

The ZR-2 still reveals the quality of the recording, however, Iíve yet to take a disc out regardless.

As everything is burning in the PRaT remains and the sound gets better.  Let me emphasize itís not just one tube thatís doing this itís sum of the whole, not just the tube.  No magic bullet, just patience and perserverence.  

I have to confess, one more tube en route... Raytheon 3 hole grey plate, wind mill getter.  After that, a final selection and tube rolling is over, just need to get spares.  For now itís the Sylvania 5963 long grey plate and GE 5963 long grey plate for me, in that close order.  Iím keeping both.  You may find you like the black plate tubes better with your set up.

Finally after many years of trial and trial, Iím there!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/14/19 at 11:10:28

Well, we're all different, and we have different rooms and setups etc. For example I am no longer using a coaxial digital cable, my transport talks to my DAC via HDMI (though a different protocol geared for I2S) and I've taken the blu-ray player that used the coaxial input from the system, and I'm not using a CSP3-25 in this system now, using a ZTPRE. I have never really found Siemens tubes to work in my system, and I couldn't handle the 6N11 at all in the components.

I've a handful of 5963 and have had some success with them before, I may try one when this new ZROCK2 settles down a bit. At the close of the day yesterday I was enjoying it more. We'll see. . . I'm not ready to dive into serious tube-rolling yet until I feel the unit is not going to undergo any more than very subtle changes. Thanks for outlining the path you took. I've had success so far with speaker adjustment and gain-riding between ZP3 and ZBIT.

Actually most of what I was hearing I think is break-in related. Vinyl playback sounds so good right now that it may be pointing me away from tube complement changes (especially as I'm very adamant that the current ones are exemplary for my needs) and towards other aspects of the digital end of the system, isolation or cabling. I'm definitely hearing the PRAT and soundstage aspects of the change, very dynamic and the soundstage has expanded and deepened. But I live in the rich tonal nuances and have to get that right.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/14/19 at 19:17:00

Some more experimentation with speaker positioning and gain, and some more time and the system is sounding much better with the ZROCK2. The National tube that Steve sent its the unit is sounding very good with all my other tube complements unchanged. But I've ended up with the Amperex 12AU7 I was using before after trying four other "types" and brands on hand. I'm used to it, and it has a warm touch to the midrange that I love, especially showing this with piano mid and low range notes.

The dynamics and detail that the ZROCK2 lets through makes for exciting listening, and moving listening too (Billie Holiday really moved me). . . .

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/14/19 at 20:34:01

Great to hear Lon. Mine is on the bench.😊

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/16/19 at 16:51:14

Week after next you'll be jamming to it HK!

This is sort of the story of my life: I find something I love, stock up on it and then somehow it becomes unnecessary to have done so. In this case OD3 voltage regulation tubes.

Thanks to Juan pointing out the possibilities with the Monoblocks and that tube type I went on a spree of trying different brands and types (thank goodness they are cheap) and found that I loved the OD3W. . . and have on hand a total of nine pair in Tung-Sol (my favorite so far), Raytheon, Sylvania and Chatham. And with the OG ZROCK2 these were just the ticket to give me a full range of tonality for the music I have on hand to play. Totally dig the way the space is between the notes and the tightness and accuracy of the lower frequencies.

And then the upstart 25th Anniversary ZROCK2 arrives and everything is different. As John suggested I rolled all kinds of tubes in the ZROCK2 and even tried rolling a few tubes elsewhere, and I know it's still breaking in a bit but I just couldn't find a set up where I relaxed into the music. I even almost swapped it out with the OG ZROCK2 now living in the living-room audio/video system quite happily. But then I dawned on me to roll voltage regulation tubes for the Monoblocks and that was the ticket. I tried OB3 only to find that the only pair I kept after adding a number of tubes to the sale of my two Torii Mk IIIs and my Torii Mk II, my trusty favorite Arcturus. . . were not functional--one of the tubes just won't "ignite." So I tried OA3, of which I have five single ones (ZP3 experimentation) and two pair. I tried the Sylvania pair (sent with the amp by Steve) and realized right away this was the ticket: the modded ZROCK2 loved the OA3 so much more than the OD3W. And then I tried the other pair, GE, and there's a certain atmospheric charm these have and they've stayed in. I ordered a pair of RCA OA3 to try too as I've had great success with them in the past in the Toriis.

So now the OA3s are making everything so much better and the new ZROCK2 is inching my system up a few notches as it seasons. A bit more dynamics, a bit more detail and transient speed, and now the frequency balance is back where I need it to be. The system has been through some real changes the past six weeks and here's hoping it continues to improve as it has . . . .

And I have a lot of OD3W tubes to store. Who knows maybe another tube complement or component change will bring them back into favored status.

This audio hobby is rarely ever boring!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/16/19 at 17:38:32

Always an adventure Lon. I look forward to getting the modified ZR2 and putting lots of hours on it. Since I'll be getting 25th Anniversary mods to my ZMA amp (as soon as Steve gets the new caps in), my system will undergo two big changes over the next couple months.

I figure that sometime this summer, I'll likely try some tube swapping. With Decware amps and preamps, I get the biggest change in sound by swapping in a new rectifier tube. We'll see.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/16/19 at 17:45:39

I actually think I get radical sound change from all the positions, but yeah, rectifiers are important. I've settled on the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B as my anchor rectifiers. . . they are just the most "invisible" that I've tried, and boy have I tried rectifiers, I have a drawer full! I use them as an anchor to build around. Likewise Amperex inputs. . . there's something about the Holland Amperex family sound that just works so well with my interconnects and power cabling and system as a whole. . . . That leaves me the voltage regulation tubes to play with more than the others and I thought I had that covered til yesterday, and the OA3 are sounding so good today that I guess I may have that covered too.

Tube rolling is fun, but I do love it when I feel I don't HAVE to roll. This year has seen a lot of improvements and I don't regret sending units in for modding and buying new components, but I do just want to sit back and relax and listen and I think I'm close to that point again thank goodness!

Come on summer, lots of reasons to look forward to that!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/17/19 at 00:18:39

Donít know how many hours Iíve got on my A-modded ZR-2 but I am fairly well into the burn in process and Iím now starting to get my head around what is happening.  The last thing itís about is ďbass restorationĒ.  Not that it doesnít do that, itís just that it does so very much more.  

Just get that ďbass restorationĒ out of your head and try to start with a clean slate when you get your A-edition of the ZR-2.  The A-mods make this a very different component from what it was before and if youíve had one, from what you think you know about what you will be getting with the A-edition of the ZR-2.  Not changing your thinking is just going to get in the way.

Think... TONE AND MUSIC MACHINE!  Maybe after the A-mods it should be termed ZR-2-TMM.  As Lon said referring to tube rolling youíll ďget a radical sound change from all the positionsĒ.  Couldnít agree more!

Today was a Ďlazyí Saturday for me so I turned on my system let it warm up,  I felt it was time to put on my acid test disc, Symphony a la Espanola. After it was over it started to dawn on me as to what the A-modded ZR2 was doing.  

I remembered something that Steve had said about the A-mods for the CSP-3 and looked it up... ďThe result is a resolution explosion combined with more juicy tone and weight.Ē  I firmly believe that this is also what the A-modded Tone and Music Machine is doing (formerly ZR-2, at least for me).  Sometime ago I talked with Steve about the A-Edition of the CSP-3 and I expressed the thought that I may have to go through the process of re-selecting my tube choices.  I recall him stating that the A-Edition of the CSP-3 would make the existing tubes sound better.  Thatís what the Tone and Music Machine is also doing.

Although Iím rolling some of the tubes theyíve never Ďsoundedí the way they do now.  I got rid of the 6N11 in the CSP-3 because after two years I thought that they probably should be changed.  I was able to make them work before but there were always certain trade offs that Iíd rather not have to deal with.  The only options I had were 6N5P-EV (think thats right), and the Seimens E88CC which I had mothballed after a very short stint in the CSP-3.  I put in the Seimens and after 10-15 hours they were nothing like what I remembered them being.  The point is that there was a ďradical changeĒ in that position.  May not be everyoneís flavour, thatís not the point, the point is there was a huge change in what they were doing along with the rest of the tube complement.

So give it time to burn in and work with it only after you re-think what you think you know.

As far as my acid test disc... It was like being in one of the first three or four rows of the event.  The tone of each instrument and the work of each musician was so evident.  Now hereís something you are not going to believe... the Kettle Drum... filled the room... never before.  I could hear and FEEL the result of the initial strike, the reverberating of the skin and the various tones of the decay after words.

Yes I know itís only a 2.3 watt amp with fast and efficient speakers that only have 2 four inch drivers each... nevertheless, I felt it in my chest!  Thatís because the A modded ZR-2 and the UFO-25 ARE Tone and Music Machines!




Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/17/19 at 01:03:30

I can agree with a lot of what you are saying here. The ZROCK2 with the mods has a different nature.

The thing for me is that I NEED BASS RESTORATION. And there's less going on, at least at this point in the life of my modded ZROCK2, than there is in the original gangster ZROCK2. CONSIDERABLY less, which surprised me from moment one.

And. . . I really don't find that it's altering my original tube choices in the other components. In fact I've already this afternoon back-pedaled and put the OD3W back in the Monoblocks to control the output tubes. I rolled in a tube to the modded ZROCK that I had forgotten I had and found stuck behind a box of other tubes: one of a pair of GE 5814A. This a very accurate and very smooth tube. It takes off the treble edge I was experiencing with the other tubes and allows the OD3W to shine as it has done.

And I agree that there's more holographic info (even though my system is not really set up for that) and dynamic contrasts are more pronounced--there's just a blacker clarity still (the amps have so much!) that as you say lets the recording unfold (well, you put it that you can hear what the musicians are doing better, I prefer to think of it as there is more of the recording passed through cleanly and without time smear).

Still, I have mine cranked all the way with EQA to get the bass I need, regardless of tube complement now. I can live with that, it's just different behavior that I did not expect from my experience with the OG ZROCK2 which I did not have to turn up that high. I can move my speakers further back to the front wall corners but that gives me other imaging and sonic changes I don't want. Perhaps in time the unit will allow me a bit more lower end heft. . . maybe that will season in. . . sometimes that happens with capacitor aging. That's my fervent wish--to have the ability to back it off from full tilt. I've accepted it after four days, and as long as I get what I am getting now I'll be happy, but it is the most unexpected part of the experience for me and I was scratching my head over it for a while.

So I get that there's more resolution and more juicy subtle dynamics that give a breath of life. But the "heft" is missing from the equation in my system. I wonder if its the tube voltage mod that is making this the case for me. My system is already very well regulated by my PS Audio P10. I may have a different experience with just the capacitor mod or may need to find a way to try to plug in the modded ZROCK2 outside of the P10 (though my experience is that a component plugged outside the P10 gives less "hit"). Still, I am getting accustomed to the sound, getting some good fine-tuning accomplished, and hope that some more break-in will give me a bit more heft, allowing me to back off the knob somewhat. Time will tell.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/17/19 at 01:29:48

Thatís interesting about the RCA 5814A, just about got one to try.  I just bought a couple of RCA 5963 Long Grey Plate.  My curiosity about the 5963ís is getting the better of me.  My life in tube rolling is very similar with all the back up inventory Iíve accumulated.  The wife issued an edict - figure it out and sell some!  Sheís right.

My ZR-2 isnít cranked in fact I canít even get to the three oíclock position at best itís at 2 oíclock.  The Tubes in the UFO-25 remain unchanged and I never felt that I needed to. Actually its much like yours, OA3ís, OD3W, original output tubes with the input being the exception... a TF PCC189.  This one was a surprise.  Nothing like the typical German house sound.  I think that this one is contributing to the bass and the ones in the CSP-3 driving the slam and impact.  Of course I had to get back up TF PCC189ís  ;).

Hope you can get the bass restored, I get that.  And now youíve got me wondering about the 5189aís.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/17/19 at 01:43:39

We must have some fundamentally different things going on cabling wise or room wise or both to have such a different frequency balance going on.

I've hardly ever had any luck with NOS Telefunken, too thin and brittle sounding for me. In contrast there's a new reissue that came within the Magnum Dynalab 90T SE tuner that I have that is totally different and quite nice. But it's a new tube, and I'm not sure that it has any real resemblance to an original.

The 6N11 I could not tolerate in my system, way too bright.

The voltage regulation tubes are different in our amps. My input tubes are governed by an OA2 type, tucked inside the component on the underside of the chassis. My output tubes are regulated by the OD3W.

I too hope that that there's a little more bass. We'll see.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/17/19 at 02:46:10

Actually more is probably different than the same.  The system is now in the downstairs renovated area.  Over all about 13í x 25í With 8í ceilings.  I didnít consider room acoustics but probably fluked out.  Floor is Cork Floating floor with a large 9í x 12í Hand knotted wool area rug.  Ceilings are suspended on resilient channel with two layers of safe and sound insulation with the appropriate air spaces or standoffís.  The fireplace sits in a jut out to the exterior that is 4í X 2í x 8í.  The top half of this space is closed off with a vent space across the top of about 1.25Ē by 4í.  I suspect that this is acting as a bass trap of sorts.

A hallway intersects the 25í Length forming a T.  Then thereís also drops to enclose the ducting all of the drywall is 5/8 Fire Rated, very dense and heavy.  The system is set up in more of a near field way than before.  Before it was on the main floor in a 14í x 25í space with 9í ceilings.  Itís going to take a lot less room treatment than I expected in the new space.  Ironically today I pushed my speakers a little more into the room, the front being 3í away from the wall.

The cabling is all Decware; Modified DHC-1 power cords, Silver Reference ICís, Modded Decware speaker cable.  The SPIDF between the OPPO and the ZDSD is a Snake River, Boomslang (where do these names come from), replaced my Deluxe TFA.  This cable shifted the frequency balance quite a bit along with quite a change in the character of the voices.

So there are some fundamental differences.  Interestingly, despite the differences and different components in principle Iíve been able to benefit from a lot of your feed back and also for other forum members like Will, and developed similar habits.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/17/19 at 02:59:19

Yes, different rooms, different cabling. The rooms are what are against me with the bass frequencies. The OG ZROCK2 saved me in my former place for it, and my new place, the modded ZROCK2 is just barely.

I don't use coaxial in my system now! HDMI for my DAC and optical from my DVR to my Oppo downstairs. PS Audio power cabling and VooDoo cable interconnects with the exception of one pair of Take Five Audio Neotech Deluxe XLR from phono preamp to ZTPRE. †Years ago I used Decware cabling.

It's the room putting me in this situation. And I can't do treatment. Ah well. I'll try different speaker isolation tomorrow, may help. As I say I can get there but the ZROCK2 is MAXED! I think I'll be fine as time passes.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/18/19 at 14:31:51

Okay, two more days of break-in and playing about. The GE 5814A is proving to be a very detailed yet balanced tube and it has stayed in. I am vacillating between OA3 and OD3W regulation tubes for the power tubes. The OA3 are meaty and bouncy, maybe a bit too much so. The OD3 are beguilingly micro-dynamic and quietly detailed, but a bit lean. OB3 may be the ticket indeed--I have a pair of RCA ordered that may be here Thursday or so.

The biggest improvement was speaker isolation and positioning. I lowered the speaker height a few inches with different isolation strategies and eliminated toe-in. This has given me a more favorable tonal balance--I can park the ZROCK2 at about 22 minutes past the hour much of the time. An improvement!

The micro detail improvement with these mods is game changing, very much like an expensive component upgrade (which it can be viewed as). A totally different animal than the original ZROCK2. I think I might like it to resemble its predecessor just a bit more. We'll see what it's like in a few weeks.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by mark58 on 03/18/19 at 15:10:34

Lon, in my ZP3, I long ago settled on RCA Triple Mica 5814s, so that's what I put in my ZROCK2s and haven't experimented further. †The Black plate GE triple Mica 5814s are almost as good as the RCA but make sure they are Black plates not the grey plates which I think are also out there...

I'm not sure what the prices are now...bought all mine fairly cheap

For the RCAs, both the white and red labels are good...I think the white labels are older

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/18/19 at 15:30:37

I've only tried these triple mica with extra support rod grey plate, and I like them a lot so I'll hold off trying any others (if I get a ZP3 again I'll definitely try them there, never did when I had mine). The different sources seem to call out for different tube types.

This pair is really nice for the main system though an Amperex Bugle Boy Holland 12AU7 is really doing great in the ZROCK2 in my second system.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/20/19 at 20:33:32

Okay, more time has passed and things are sounding better as far as lower frequencies. I decided to change speaker cabling, which really helped, the PS Audio xStream Statement is in now, and putting OD3W in the amps helps to get me the wonderful openness that the Mapleshade Audio Double Helix Plus were bringing to the system, plus the cabling has a fuller bass sound that is welcome.

And Mark, I decided to order a pair of the RCA black plate triple mica 5814A you recommend. The GE grey plates are sounding so good. . . I might as well try the RCA.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/22/19 at 01:37:21

You may have done this already but if you havenít try EQ B, down position.  I just did, still lots of detail and the treble is better controlled.  I was able to increase the gain on the CSP-3 calibration setting and had more usable volume and as for the bass, had to back off the setting on the ZR-2 a little on some recordings.  Definitely do not need a sub.  The manual says that in this setting you can adjust to get a nice dry hit - NO KIDDING!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/22/19 at 03:09:34

EQB hasn't worked for me with the OG ZROCK2 or this modded one, believe me I've tried it. Not enough treble reduction per bass boost. I think we have different needs in room/system.

I must say that with the speaker cable change I was pretty much where I needed to be, with the 5814A tube and could have the ZROCK2 at about the 25 minute on the hour position, and excellent sound.

And then today I installed the latest firmware for the PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player and I observed as many others have a decided improvement in bass response and was very happy for the hour I got to spend with the system (my wife was home today and I didn't have any more time for music). Looking forward to tomorrow, I think that the ZROCK2 has broken in considerably and I have things dialed in well. I am thrilled with the solidity of the instrumental sound and the dynamics this modded component is capable of.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/22/19 at 03:21:50

Glad to hear (no pun intended) that itís working out.  Iím also thrilled with mine.  I have a couple of RCA 5963ís on the way along with a couple of Raytheon 5814a Windmill Getter.  Not looking to improve necessarily just an itch I have to scratch.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/22/19 at 14:50:24

JOMAN,

Great to know this. I should be getting my 25th Anniversary ZR2 in a couple weeks. I look forward to experimenting with the settings, after things settle in.

I'm guessing about 200-250 hours for the caps and everything to fully "burn in". Does this amount of time sound right for folks that have the modded ZR2?

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by ScottNC on 03/22/19 at 15:50:41

I'd say at least that to completely settle in, may throw another 150 in there, but I have a lot of mods going all at once so it's impossible to be sure which is doing what.
Probably doesn't help much, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
NEW ZLC should be here around 3, getting ready for it!
[smiley=10.gif]
Best,
Scott

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/22/19 at 23:28:26

HockessinKid, I lost track of time and do not think that Iím at the 200 hr., point.  Like Scott I had a lot of things going on at the same time.  I would say at about the 25 hour mark I started to notice changes.  Now Iím probably somewhere between 70 and 100 hours.  

The first significant change was 20 - hours after I installed the new spades on my cables.  I did have the ZR-2 with modifications before I installed the spades.  Immediately after I installed the spades the sound went for a bit of dump.  Around the 20 hour mark things began to sound like they did before only much better.

The next thing I changed was the tube that was in the ZR-2 prior to the mods.  It worked then but not after the mods and the more the whole affair burnt in the more it became evident.  So I went back to what was sent with the ZR-2, the 5963 long grey plate.  Much better.  Talked to Steve and I bought a Philips long grey plate and a National black plate.

As the Philips settled in, along with a tube change in my CSP-3 the results started to edge into the Ďspectacularí category and they continue to Ďimproveí.  Thatís not the word Iím looking for but I think itíll make the point.

So more to the point, the results continue to go more and more into the Ďspectacularí category and I think itís now the ZR-2 modified that is changing, seasoning as time goes on.  If it stopped here I would be thrilled but based on what is happening every time I turn it on, I do think it has a ways to go yet.  When I get to the 200 hour mark Iíll see where it all ends up.

I donít like to make statements that can be taken as absolutely Ďthis is what will happení as there are too many variables, but in this case, if you are patient, I think youíll be rewarded beyond expectations.


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/22/19 at 23:26:26

HockessinKid, I lost track of time and do not think that Iím at the 200 hr., point.  Like Scott I had a lot of things going on at the same time.  I would say at about the 25 hour mark I started to notice changes.  Now Iím probably somewhere between 70 and 100 hours.  

The first significant change was 20 - hours after I installed the new spades on my cables.  I did have the ZR-2 with modifications before I installed the spades.  Immediately after I installed the spades the sound went for a bit of dump.  Around the 20 hour mark things began to sound like they did before only much better.

The next thing I changed was the tube that was in the ZR-2 prior to the mods.  It worked then but not after the mods and the more the whole affair burnt in the more it became evident.  So I went back to what was sent with the ZR-2, the 5963 long grey plate.  Much better.  Talked to Steve and I bought a Philips long grey plate and a National black plate.

As the Philips settled in, along with a tube change in my CSP-3 the results started to edge into the Ďspectacularí category and they continue to Ďimproveí.  Thatís not the word Iím looking for but I think itíll make the point.

So more to the point, the results continue to go more and more into the Ďspectacularí category and I think itís now the ZR-2 modified that is changing, seasoning as time goes on.  If it stopped here I would be thrilled but based on what is happening every time I turn it on, I do think it has a ways to go yet.  When I get to the 200 hour mark Iíll see where it all ends up.

I donít like to make statements that can be taken as absolutely Ďthis is what will happení as there are too many variables, but in this case, if you are patient, I think youíll be rewarded beyond expectations.


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/23/19 at 03:02:13

Sorry about the duplicate post... something went haywire with the server at the time that I posted...

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 03/23/19 at 18:24:57


Quote:
You may have done this already but if you havenít try EQ B, down position. †I just did, still lots of detail and the treble is better controlled.


The only way I can listen is with the switch down. †I get a nice bloom in the low-mids this way. †With the switch up things sound muddy. †I'm sure it's system dependent since most, it seems, like the up position.

I've wondered if my switch was reversed since by the curves I would think the result would be just the opposite of what I get.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/23/19 at 18:32:20

No, I think that's how it is designed to be, I think "muddy" is not the word I would use but darker, more treble reduction, lower frequency boost in EQA compared to EQB.

But with the 25th Anniversary modified ZROCK2 I find there is far less "muddiness" possible. So much more open and transparent. I wish there were a bit more bass boost, maybe it will come, seems unlikely now. But when Steve says the original ZROCK2 can hold back a system with 25th Anniversary modifications to amps and preamps I believe him now. The modded ZROCK2 certainly unleashes the sonic beasts!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/23/19 at 21:25:03

I would agree with both Lonís take on it and Archies.  Because Iíve found it to be very tube dependant.  Iíve been trying different 5963 tubes both long grey plates and black plates.  With some tubes like the RCA 5963 Long grey plate the result in position A is somewhat Ďmuddyí where as with a Sylvania 5963 long grey plate in position A itís Ďdarkerí a little more jazzy (if thatís a word) and in many cases more tonaly correct.

It also depends on the source medium, with Red Book CDís and the Sylvania I have it in position A but if Iím on to Blu ray concerts or a better better source medium than Red Book CDís, with the Sylvania I go to position B and I can bump the gain up a notch on the CSP-3 calibration pots.

So one has lotís of versatility to tailor the results to the variables that one may not be able to change, room acoustics for example.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/23/19 at 23:19:49

I don't know, I'm at the point that I thought today about sending the modded ZROCK2 back. It's been a while since I thought of sending a Decware component back.

I got the RCA backplate 5814As in and though I like to have a tube in the component a few days to draw a conclusion, so far after about five hours it sounds essentially the same as the GE gray plate, which is okay, good in fact; it may get a touch of warmth in a day or so, we'll see.

But compared to the OG ZROCK2 everything is still just a tad brighter than I'd like pretty much regardless of tube type. Sounding oh so good as far as detail and dynamics and instrumental character and texture. . . but just a tad too bright.

And then today I tried bypass to compare. . . and in bypass the channels are reversed! When I tried it before it was with mono material, but today stereo. What the heck? That and the wrong knob put on this is two strikes. The tad of brightness (and I have treble cut circuits on my amps!) makes me wonder if all is copacetic. I could put it in my second system and put the OG ZROCK2 back in and relax into listening again. I haven't had relaxed listening really since this arrived.

I'll give it more time. It's been plugged in 12 days and had music flowing through it probably more than one hundred hours. . . .

Anyway I can tell it's supposed to be a killer component and other than being a tad too bright it is. . . . I'll give it more time.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 03/23/19 at 23:25:03

If there is a mis-wiring then I'd send it back. †Who knows, something else might be wrong.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/23/19 at 23:37:28

It's possible. Sure is hard to send something back. . . . I may email Steve for a suggestion. Thanks for the assessment.

I've moved away from the 5814A back to Amperex 12AU7 which are helping just a bit, brining pretty much where I want to be with EQA nearly all the way up. But the tubes not warmed up enough, and my window for listening is ending.

This could all be a burn-in journey. I emailed Steve for his input as to whether what I am experiencing is normal with the mods.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 03/24/19 at 00:10:22

I run my dial just about full too, maybe 20 to 25 past the hour.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/24/19 at 00:38:02

Yeah, thanks. I think I may just be experiencing break-in. . . . I'll quit expressing for a few more days and weigh in if there's changes. I'm hoping that last bit of brightness goes away.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/24/19 at 01:00:53

Lon,

Sorry to hear about your issues with the new modified ZR2. I hope you get a satisfactory reply from Steve and can resolve the brightness issue. It's disconcerting when things don't go right.

My first big Decware purchase was a ZMA amplifier. The amp grounding was not properly wired and I had a lot of noise. I can't tell you how many times I re-hooked up equipment and cables, as well as moved everything around. It took two trips back and forth to Decware for Steve to find and fix the problem, but it was worth it. However, it nearly drove me crazy🙄. †

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/24/19 at 01:03:45

Thanks HK. I remember what you reported of your journey. Glad it's been sorted out for a long time now!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/24/19 at 04:44:53

Lon, when I first got my ZR-2 the by pass circuit was miswired.  When the by pass was engaged the chanelís reversed and there wasnít much of a difference between the by-passed positioned or the non by-passed.  

I talked to Steve and sent him a picture of the wiring and he confirmed that it was miswired.  It was a simple fix although awkward to de solder and re-connect.  I did it myself because I didnít wanít to send it back.  Usually Iím OK with soldering but it was really tight in that area so it wasnít the prettiest job of soldering.  I asked Steve to check my work when I sent my ZR-2 in for the mods.

Once I corrected the wiring on the bypass switch the results changed but I canít recall now whether it had to do with brightness or not I just remember it changed for the better, much better.  If that switch is miswired itís going to have to corrected, no amount of burn in is going to change that.




Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/24/19 at 11:40:14

Thanks for that info John. I won't be doing any changes myself. I'll wait to hear back from Steve (I hope) and go from there.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/25/19 at 02:12:14

I did further adjusting gain between the ZTPRE, ZBIT, SE84UFO3-25 Monoblocks, and the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. This has given me less of the brightness by a small bit. And I also changed the height of the tweeters in the HR-1 with different isolation. And I am again experimenting with the P10 plugged into the ZLC. Letting everything run in over night I'll see what this sounds like tomorrow. . . .I'm hopeful.

I really don't see how the wiring for the bypass reversing the channels would necessarily influence any other sonic characteristics, but I will see what Steve says, I'm hoping he'll see and answer my emails.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/26/19 at 04:40:06

Today I received the first two Raytheon 5814a windmill getter tubes.  Iíve got 5 hours on one and right from the outset this tube showed that it is very different from the 5963 grey and black plates that I have tried.

Not too many reviews on these but the couple that there are seem to be spot on.  It seems to have the best of what the 5963 grey and black plates offer, at least the ones that Iíve tried.  Iím going to put another 50 hours on these and then make an assessment on these and the Sylvania 5963 long grey plates.  So another 75 - 100 hours.

They are the most extendended across the frequency spectrum of the ones that Iíve tried without being too hot in the treble or boomy in the bass.  Vocals are really good and may be the best yet.

Right now Iíve got the ZR2 set in the A position and its anything but muddy with this tube.  The highs are attenuated but very present.  If I were to nit pick Iíd like to see a touch more in the mids.  Iíll put another 20 hours on this tube and try it in the B position with better source material.  At that point I should be able to get a better Ďfeelí for this tube.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/26/19 at 11:04:14

5814a are very interesting tubes. I've been using a gray plate GE and now a black plate RCA. Truly "life" in this tube type. The midrange should I think fill in a bit with some more hours.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/27/19 at 01:48:19

I haven't heard anything back from Steve about the reversed wiring for the bypass affecting anything else. To be honest nothing seems wrong, and further break in has really helped the sound, and I haven't ended up with any tube changes except the ZROCK2 tube which has an RCA black plate 5814A that is seasoning in nicely.

Vinyl playback sounds pretty amazing. I had an issue for a while and it just didn't sound as good as I knew it should and then discovered that though the turntable was level in one direction it was off in the other axis and when corrected . . . great great sound. I really like the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter--I'm getting the sound that I like as much as the ZP3 sound, and its balanced output with my Take Five Audio Deluxe Neotech XLR cables is perfect for the ZTPRE.

With all the tuning I've done these last weeks it's at the point now that when I flip sources between vinyl playback and digital playback I don't have to touch the ZROCK2, I just adjust the volume and I switch from "MultiWave" (for digital) to "Sine" mode on the PS Audio P10, and I can do both of those via remotes.

I'm almost relaxing into the digital playback, it mostly sounds fantastic and I'm so relieved. As John has said above the modded ZROCK2 really does show you what you have on recordings. A great recording can stop you in your tracks and take the world away. I think as this RCA tube continues to season (I'm using the GE version in my ZROCK2 in my downstairs system) I'll be where I want to be and can quit futzing and just spin whatever I feel I want to from my collection.

One big improvement for me was using four each of the VooDoo Cable "Iso-Pod" footers under each speaker--not the current version but the predecessor which was much cheaper, just had one bearing separating two pieces, effectively isolating the speaker from the carpeted floor. Of all the different ways I've had the speakers this one really opens up the sound of the HR-1s and the height puts the tweeters where they do their best and don't over achieve.

The ZROCK2, modded or not, is a system-changing product. The modded version will bring a microscope to the signal coming in and allow varying focus. In my system it caused a minor upheaval, not unlike the firmware upgrade to "SnowMass" did with my DAC. There was a significant difference between the modded and its predecessor, and the difference was chiefly in detail portrayal, and I had to deal with it to acclimate to the sound and presentation. I think I'm nearing completion of the process, and pleased to be nearing the end of the process, and pleased with the resulting musical environment.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/28/19 at 19:20:56

Email from Steve - my anniversary ZR2 is in packing and shipping. Expecting a call from Sarah soon😁.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 03/29/19 at 03:24:28

Itís been about 15 hours on the Raytheon 5814a wndimill getter in the ZR2 and I have to say what a disappointment!  Should you have any of these donít install them, donít listen to them, save yourself the agony.  In fact out of the goodness of my heart let me help you out... send them all to me.  ;)

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/29/19 at 16:10:00


HockessinKid wrote on 03/28/19 at 19:20:56:
Email from Steve - my anniversary ZR2 is in packing and shipping. Expecting a call from Sarah soon😁.

HK

Awesome H! It took two weeks for me to be gob-smacked by the modded ZROCK2 but it has happened. I now see what Steve was saying that in a system with components including the 25th Anniversary Mods the original ZROCK2 was the weak link in the chain. I look forward to your impressions.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 03/29/19 at 16:13:25


JOMAN wrote on 03/29/19 at 03:24:28:
Itís been about 15 hours on the Raytheon 5814a wndimill getter in the ZR2 and I have to say what a disappointment! †Should you have any of these donít install them, donít listen to them, save yourself the agony. †In fact out of the goodness of my heart let me help you out... send them all to me. †;)


Glad you are enjoying the Windmill Raytheon. I haven't tried those but am loving the backplate RCA and the GE gray plate, both in use in my ZROCK2s (the RCA in the modded, the GE in the OG). A great tube. . . full of life and character.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 03/29/19 at 23:29:14

Should have the ZR2 next Wednesday. Shipped from the mothership today. Come on UPS!

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by ScottNC on 03/30/19 at 00:11:14

HK,

Youíre going to be very pleased with what you have coming, Iím pretty sure...
Itís always nice when things make it on the truck.
Happy Listening.

Best,
Scott

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/03/19 at 20:32:23

My little A-modded ZR2 has arrived 😊. †I've placed it in between my Dynavector phono preamp and CSP3- 25 for the "burn in" process. Steve supplied a very nice Raytheon 5963 tube with the ZR2.

To assist with the process, a stack of some new and used vinyl to melt away the listening hours.

More in a few weeks when I get a couple hundred hours on this.

Cheers,

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by lazb on 04/03/19 at 20:38:03

I predict you will be happy with it in far less time then "a few" weeks! †:)

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/03/19 at 21:10:58

Congrats! I know you'll love it. It took me a few weeks to love mine, but I do love it now.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/04/19 at 15:19:26

Holy Crap, Holy Crap and this after only 10 hours of ZR2 burn in. Listening to vinyl this morning was an absolute revelation. The music has been elevated to a whole new sensory level - I am swimming in the sound.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by ScottNC on 04/04/19 at 15:55:36

The ZROCK2 does evolve as it breaks in, no question, but for me, it performed just as hoped from the first note. It is an amazing addition I would think for ANY system.

Best,
Scott

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by slop on 04/04/19 at 19:27:44

HK,

Did you have the zrock and have it A modded or is this a maiden voyage? Cheers

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/04/19 at 20:40:56

Slop,

This is a "brand new" 25th Anniversary modded ZROCK2, never had an unmodified ZROCK2 in my system before. Got the Type II cyro beeswax Jupiter caps and precision silver RCA's. It's full out.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by slop on 04/05/19 at 03:14:29

^ very nice. Deciding if I want to send mine in the the A treatment. It will suck to part with it /:

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/06/19 at 13:33:09

Some real ebbs and flows in SQ with ZR2 burn in. Compressed dynamics, soundstage shrunk considerably, really muddy sounding with anemic bass from hours 15-30. Sounds almost like a partial mute switch was flipped on while I was not looking.

Sure it will get better, but it's like listening to a music rollercoaster 🎢.

HK


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/06/19 at 15:53:01

Yes, that was my experience as well. Two to three weeks of use and it's so much better. . . . Hang in there, it's worth it.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/06/19 at 16:00:00

Thanks Lon. I know it's worth the wait, as will be my ZMA 25th anniversary modification burn in... when I get around to that next month.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/06/19 at 17:50:33

I've had two modifications to existing components--Taboo Mk IV and CSP2+--and the Anniversary Mods sounded great right off the bat and the whole components didn't go through the mood swings that the fully new ZROCK2 with the mods did! So I think your ZMA modification break-in will be. .. smoother.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/08/19 at 17:20:29

HK,

I thought I would mention that this breakin period with the new fully modded ZROCK2 was the first time in a long time that I haven't done the five hours on/five hours off thing with a new Decware component. After a few weeks for other reasons I turned the whole system off (via the P10 and ZLC) for three nights in a row. The time powered off seemed to help the break in even more and I've decided to do that now and then. If you haven't been powering it off for a while, it might well be worth a try.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/08/19 at 17:54:00

Lon,

Thank you for the additional break in period information. I am using the ZROCK2 exclusively in my vinyl listening chain (between my phono preamp and CSP3 preamp), so its not on constantly. I have been listening about 4-5 hours straight per day, then off for the remainder. So my full break in period (150 hours) will likely be a 1.5 months or more.  

I heard some widening of the soundstage this morning, but tonality is still shifting around and there's some muddiness to the sound throughout the frequency range. No bigee, things will improve with time.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/08/19 at 19:59:12

Okay, it's going to take you a while to get there! Do you have the unit unplugged or power not to it when you are not using it? That is what seems to have really helped the final flowering of the ZROCK2 in my system.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/08/19 at 20:36:36

Lon,

It stays plugged in 24/7 per the manual recommendation. I'll try unplugging a couple nights to see if it helps. Thanks again.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/08/19 at 21:45:01

It might help the capacitors seat and stabilize. Keep us posted HK.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/10/19 at 20:42:47

This morning after unplugging the ZR2 last evening I heard distorted vocals and congestion for the first two hours. Then (somewhere between 40-45 total listening hours) everything snapped into focus.

Music on steroids, hyper detailed sound with a massive soundstage. I felt like it was being shot out of a huge fire hose straight at me. I was almost blown out of my seat by the Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense" album. Transients had a bit of a hyper real leading edge, kind of like a ruthlessly revealing DDD digital recording.

I am hoping that the caps will settle in some more and smooth out over the next 25-30 hours. Then I'll spin some really well recorded piano and vocal albums to carefully check things out.

BTW, my turntable is totally dialed in now. Adjusted the level and VTA yesterday. I'm extracting everything out of those grooves.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/10/19 at 21:12:45

HA, seems like a good result. Unplug it again overnight is my suggestion!

The brand new modded ZROCK2 really took me on a roller coaster ride. But now it sure does sound really good with vinyl and digital.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by jslateiv on 04/12/19 at 12:16:55

I whole heartedly agree with the rollercoaster ride on this one!  Mine ZR2-A25 arrived Monday morning and has been plugged in a had music running through it non stop since.   At times I can sit and listen and start to hear 'it',  at other times it feels so uninvolved that I'm out of my seat within a couple songs.   I'm trying to leave the same tube for brake-in in although I do have a 6085 on the way, arriving tomorrow.
Initially on my Zu's,  the ZR2 had me questioning it synergy with the speakers due to the feeling that the tilted mid/low-mid-range was a bit overly exacerbated, naturally by the freq shift that the ZR2 pushes.   Last night that had seemed to 'calm' down a bit and was not as pronounced through the speakers.
 Here's to being hopeful... I really want to like it, and feel I will,  it's gonna take some time to beak/dial in....
  I think going forward for the weekend at least,  I will unplug over night and turn on again in the mornings...

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/12/19 at 12:33:12

Glad yours arrived. It does get better. . . I'm finally not "thinking" about it as I listen, or not much. . . . I'm very happy with it, and the original is really sounding awesome in my downstairs system. I've been tweaking that and with VooDoo Cable IsoPods under the CSP2+ and the Taboo Mk IV-25 and with all VooDoo Cable interconnects I'm getting really really good sound. (I had been using PS Audio Transcendent interconnects and Herbie's Audio Lab Tenderfeet. . . which sounded good but edgier and slower.)

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by jslateiv on 04/12/19 at 13:13:54

Yes,  knowing that you and others have had a time getting it to settle in helps my nerves a bit!  I think we're all so used to (and know) what great sound is, that when a new component like the ZR2-A is introduced and just doesn't immediately fit-in,  it unhinges us a bit,  :-/.  Glad to hear yours is finally there Lon and with your other tweaks is giving you what you want/need.   I can definitely hear the benefit at times,  just waiting on the consistency I guess.  Then let the tube rolling begin, :o    

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/12/19 at 13:59:00

Well, letting it have its "time off" period should help. I think part of my unsettlement was that I had really gotten used to the original ZROCK2 as the centerpiece of my system, and this one was so different, different breaking in and different as it came into its own. As with many other significant changes the system is so revealing I had to play around with a number of aspects. . . . But it was worth it I believe. It's more transparent and even more "influential" than the unmoved ZROCK2. Quite a powerful component.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 04/13/19 at 13:39:59

Since I put the Raytheon 5814a W-getter I also have experienced a bit of a roller coaster ride.  Tried the Ďoff timeí and it definitely made a difference.  Did it again last night.

The ZR2 with the A mods has been settling down and while thereís no going back for me now, it has been somewhat unsettling.  It takes the Decware house sound in an altogether different direction, another plateau so to speak and this for me was unexpected.  Still rooted in the Decware house sound but not what I had become accustomed to.

Yesterday I walked over to the system to turn the volume up a notch, leaned over, started to clasp the volume knob on the CSP3 and froze in that position, getting my mind around what I was hearing.  One of the thoughts that ran through my head was ďthis must really look ridiculousĒ.

The sound seems to emanate from the air around the speakers and within a very large sound stage in a manner that is so like the way it would sound if the person or instrument was in the room.  This is not the same as ďitís hereĒ or ďIím thereĒ, itís hard to describe.  Obviously no one is really in the room but the impression of that is so solid that itís... unsettling.

As Lon said itís resulted in a bit of playing around and Iíve decided to take one more step that I never thought I would.  Iíve now collected enough of the Raytheon 5814a W-getters to send a couple off for cryogenic treatment.  I found out that Gene at Take Five does that or has it done, and I have confidence in him so when I get the next pair off they go.  

 

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/13/19 at 13:50:21

It's definitely a trip, and certainly a more transparent and revealing version of the ZROCK2 emerges with the full mods. I must say what I have landed on is still the Decware sound as it has evolved in my system over the last year, but without the "thickening" that the original ZROCK2 imparts ever so slightly to the sound in all positions of the attenuator. At least in my setup which is not room-treated and not conducive to the ultimate in soundstaging. . . concentrating more on true tonal balance and timbral reproduction.

Part of the confusion and aggravation I experienced was brought on by my tube-rolling during break-in. Shouldn't have done it perhaps, but I also knew I preferred a certain type of tube in the predecessor and stubbornly tried them out. Should have stuck with one tube, and then experimented. Ending up with the 5814a was a great thing sort of by accident, and when I got to there the component was beginning to settle down.

I've two of the RCA backplate 5814A that I am really enjoying, so one is a backup and I think with these two I'm good for a long time to come! Cryo treatment may be a nice thing, will be interested to hear your impressions should you send them off and get them back.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 04/13/19 at 14:31:34

I think that weíre more alike than different... ďShouldnít have done it...but...

Same here!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/13/19 at 14:52:24

We're definitely cut from the same audiophile cloth.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by HockessinKid on 04/15/19 at 15:11:13

After ~65-70 hours the caps seem to have bloomed. Not sure if there will be additional periods of funky, closed in sound but for the time being the sound quality is excellent.

Deep, black background to the music. Gobsmacking detail with tone to die for. My vinyl has never sounded so good. Hoping this isn't just a dream.😎

I am disconnecting the power cord at night per Lons' suggestion. This seems to be helping.

HK

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/15/19 at 15:17:43

Great news. I think you're well on your way. Still more improvement to come I would guess. . . . This is an amazing component.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by JOMAN on 04/20/19 at 16:34:25

Happy to report that my modded ZR2 with the Raytheon 5814a W getter is settling in very nicely, Iíd say itís Ďkillerí now and probably still has some more settling in to do.  A couple of Ďoffí periods helped a lot.

Next... CSP3 mods.  Love the looks of the new Anniversary Edition but donít want to loose the headphone capability.  I can only add so many components.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 04/20/19 at 16:47:05

You'll enjoy the CSP3 mods and good move to retain the headphone capability as I've never heard better headphone playback than through the CSP3 with 25th Anniversary mods!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Showme on 05/16/19 at 03:43:19

Joman, I would like to try the 5814A but cannot find any information referencing the W-gitter. Can you steer me in the right direction.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by mark58 on 05/16/19 at 12:19:32

Showme, all the W getter is referring to is a "Windmill" getter. †Just do a search for Raytheon 5814 windmill getter and you'll find plenty... Photo below. †Raytheon's 5751 tubes with a windmill getter are quite popular as well.

I have been using the RCA black plate triple mica 5814 in my ZP3s and ZROCKs for years and turned Lon onto them...he uses one in his ZROCK.

http://www.tubemongerlib.com/gallery2/d/11788-2/Raytheon+CK5814+Windmill+Getter+Closeup.jpg


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Showme on 05/16/19 at 13:18:50

Thanks, Iíll take a look. Iíd like to try one in my Zrock.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 05/16/19 at 13:42:27

The 5814A type is certainly worth exploring. I haven't tried the Windmill getter variety, but have been using the RCA black plate that Mark mentions in my main system in my 25th Anniversary ZROCK2, and I'm also using in my audio and video system's ZROCK2 a GE gray plate. A bit more neutral than the RCA which does have a whisper of warmth tagging along. Both tubes are killer in the ZROCK2.

Title: ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/06/19 at 02:36:39

Just got a new zock2, no cap upgrade (yet).

First thing I did, is hook it up using the bypass switch only, then removing the unit altogether to determine if the unit is truly out of the system when bypassed. I did this many times for comparison reasons. This is between Oppo player and preamp, for now.

There is noticeable difference with and without the unit, in my system. The only other difference would be the extra set of interconnects needed, which are only 2 ft and exactly the same build as my preamp to amps interconnects. (Neotech MKIII with Neotech connectors).

Because it is introducing loss of clarity and imaging, some dynamics, and that bit of closed in sound, I'll attribute that to needing break in time. Really in bypass mode there looks to be only some mogami cable plus the female RCA's, so it shouldn't really be noticeable unless something needs to settle in.

Any thoughts about this?

Thanks in advance.




Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/06/19 at 03:30:57

I think most of that difference will dissipate with break-in. I haven't done this "bypass check" myself, but the sound DOES become more transparent and dynamic with 200 to 500 hours or so of use.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/06/19 at 03:41:45

Sure caps and a bit of wire, mostly the caps, specially if they're in the signal path, will change, we'll see. IME you normally get a pretty good idea after that first few hours, talking specifically caps & wire, but they will continue to change.

Maybe you should try what I did, since using the unit and adding the EQ curve does increase imaging and what not, it's sort of tough to tell if your original imaging and sonics are coming thru or not, see what I'm saying?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/06/19 at 08:15:32

I see what you are saying, but I've no desire to take the ZROCK2 out and do comparisons. I'm at a point now where it's seasoned and I'm just spinning disc after disc and loving my system immensely. Don't want to mess about with it at all.

Ultimate transparency isn't really my goal. Being able to enjoy disc after disc of varying material and varying recording quality and getting lost in the music is the goal for me. And the ZROCK2 has been a key component in getting me closer to this goal in two systems.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/07/19 at 02:25:23

It's not just about ultimate transparency, when you have a great system, everything matters. For example, caps in the zrock. You would likely want better caps than stock, like the jupiters or even sonicaps. Parts matter.

It's just like cap and tube rolling, I know you're into that, right? It all matters. Most every single part inside the zrock matters, so something is causing the sound to behave as I described in bypass mode. If you think swapping a tube makes a difference, think what it could sound like if it truly only added EQ, and took away absolutely nothing else.

There's already been mods, tube, caps, even power cord, what if it was taken further with possibly a goldpoint attenuator, neotech hookup wire, bypass the bypass switch itself, furutech RCA's, etc., You get even closer.

Look at it like this. If you were able to modify the zrock to the point where it was very difficult to tell whether your system sounded the same with the unit completely removed and the bypass switch, think of what it could really sound like when you added the EQ.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/07/19 at 02:36:43

The ZROCK2 in my main system has the Jupiter caps and the Anniversary mods including the tube regulation, and the stock attenuator. I use the same power cord I favor on all my components with it. †And I find my system sounds fantastic with the ZROCK2 as is. I love the sound I'm getting. I don't need to take the ZROCK2 out--for all I know it now IS completely transparent (this, my second one, took a long time to break in). I'm also using the ZTPRE and the ZBIT. If the ZROCK2 is missing a tiny bit of fidelity I'm not fretting over it †I appreciate your suggestion but I'm very happy with this just as it is, I don't need to take it out to compare, and I'm enjoying one of those periods wherein playing music is the joy, not the equipment or tweaking with it, and will carry on in this manner. I agree everything matters but there's a point where when I reach a plateau of excellent sound I pitch a tent and dwell there for a good spell, and that's where I am camping now. I think you'll enjoy your ZROCK2 more and more as it breaks in and seasons. If you want to pursue further modifications such as Goldpoint attentionuator, go ahead, I find mine just right as is. Have a great weekend.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/07/19 at 03:52:13

I guess if Steve released upgrades like I mentioned, you would jump, (just like the cap mods), but coming from me, I get it, but we all know better parts normally = better sonics. I know it can do better, but hey if you're happy. You have to look inside the unit and understand how the signal path is being affected. I used to never question any manufacturer. But there's compromise in almost every design, you just have to understand it. BTW Jupiter makes great caps.  :-X


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/07/19 at 03:54:05

Hoping there are others who could chime in, looking at other forums it's clear Lon shows up when Decware is mentioned, not a diss but just an observation.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/07/19 at 06:03:18

I understand how the unit works, and what you are saying. I do know there's always more one can do, I know what parts can do. You're new to posting here, and it's not that I'm shooting down your suggestion, it's just that I've been living with Decware components in my system since 1998 and have been watching and using developments in their gear for over two decades and have consolidated my approach and formed my own vision of what a system brings to my listening time. I have taken my ZROCK2s out of the system before, early on in their use, to help analyze and appreciate what they DO. And realize that I would not want to have a system without one. A tiny bit (after break in I'm sure you'll find that's all there really is) of a loss of ultimate transparency is not an issue for my system as it works so so very well.

And I've actually found in my listening world chasing the very best, most transparent, is not the best course for me. I honestly am in this hobby for music. I used to play, now I listen. I have thousands of discs and most are NOT wonderful sounding recordings. I find my systems need a little forgiveness, and in some ways the ZROCK2 in its configurations from the factory (I own one with no mods in a predominantly vilsual-based system as well) is almost like a father-confessor of sound, it allows me to have that bit of forgiveness needed. I'm not a DIYer so I'm not going to mod components myself, and usually what Steve releases is right near the very sweet spot of fidelity I need to bring out the best of my not the greatest recordings, and the ZROCK2 is the final absolution stage. For my needs it works excellently. If I just wanted to listen to only the very best recordings, or was able to have a treated room and pursue the nth degree of soundstage and holographic detail, sure, I'd be more inclined to have the very best parts and to modify further. But that's not ME. I want to listen to my private recordings of jazz from decades past I collected last century from collectors, and recordings made in less than stellar studios and circumstances because I love the music. I would also probably have different speakers than the HR-1s, cabling, etc. Finding Decware helped me to get to the heart of the recordings, and over the course of two decades I've really been able to pursue building a system that does what I want. . . and perhaps no more, as  more is not necessarily better for me.

There are others with ZROCK2s here who will chime in. I suspect you will find that they feel the component is transparent and very useful, if not essential. for the overall character of the sound of their systems. And I suspect one or two may want to follow the path of further modifications. I love how we're all different and that we have different goals, tastes, and needs. Also there's a lot of information from other posters in this thread and in other threads about ZROCK2 that you may not have yet investigated that you might find interesting.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 09/07/19 at 17:22:44


Quote:
I guess if Steve released upgrades like I mentioned, you would jump, (just like the cap mods), but coming from me, I get it, but we all know better parts normally = better sonics. I know it can do better, ...


Cave, have you seen this thread on just how far Steve's componants can be taken?

https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1554416974/0

For the majority of us there is a "good enough" but if you decide to explore the outer limits, keep us posted! † :D

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/07/19 at 20:06:17

Great link, been down that road with a lot of gear, sometimes it gets better sometimes just different and sometimes worse.

See, I also would like to actually use the bypass switch, I'm not comparing just because. There's a lot of music that sounds OK without EQ. In that case the bypass should sound exactly like the unit is not there. I mean I don't need hot fudge on everything all the time.

The caps, rca jacks, and possibly the bypass switch itself will be where I go first.



Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 09/07/19 at 21:09:26

I can't take my ZR2 in and out to compare simply because I don't remember well enough to make an evaluation. †But having one of the early models (so I've had it a long time), I never bypass other than to confirm that I prefer it engaged. †That said, it makes sense to me that even bypassed, the ZR2 would have an effect on the sound.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/07/19 at 21:34:54

Like Archie I rarely engage the bypass switch at all. If I were living alone and could set my system up differently and have a freer hand with the gain controls on components I probably would use bypass more often.

But the beauty of the ZROCK2 is that it allows me great tonality in "compromised" settings. Worth a possible tiny loss of potential fidelity for me.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/08/19 at 18:10:54

The stock yellow polyester caps appear to be .33 uf.

When upgrading to Jupiter copper caps, does anyone know if the value is the same or was the value changed to?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 09/15/19 at 23:08:06

This thread did prompt me to play with my ZR2 in the bypass mode a bit and I definitely can hear a change in sound with the bypass switched to bypass and rotating the knob from full left to full right. †Full right seems to color the sound in an unwelcome way. †Full left seems to most neutral but I didn't disconnect the ZR2 to compare.

It seems that bypass is not the same as disconnected. †Since I don't run in the bypass mode, this is a non-issue for me. †The fact that sound is colored when the ZR2 is engaged is the whole point of the unit.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/15/19 at 23:12:55

I'm with you Archie, I just don't use the bypass mode so a little coloration isn't a dealbreaker for me. In the center position it seems relatively uncolored for me, but the gain differences makes it hard to gauge without removing the component.

I'm using an Amperex 6085 again. Riding the gain among components I am getting amazing sound.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 00:47:45

Guys, the point really is, what would it really sound like if it was not taking anything away?

The fact that any inline EQ colors the sound does not mean it should also take away something.

You're settling for the fact that a tube and the eq curve makes up for what it takes away, but in my system, so far, it does not.

It's just, different.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 01:13:22

Hey, different strokes for different folks. In my system it does. Sorry it doesn't for you, but you got to try it and make the decision. That's your point, I get that. But not an important point for me. I'm not parting with either of mine.

I will say that it takes a lot more than 20 hours for it to "be all it can be," but if it's not pleasing you in the first 20 it probably is best to move on.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 01:19:02

Then there must be something incredibly wrong with my system because I can clearly hear the difference when the unit is completely out, less imaging, more closed in sounding, less clarity/presence. It's not just a little.

It has been breaking in and I hear no change in that dept. It should enhance what's already there, not take something away then replace it with tube imaging and eq.

Damn resolution anyway.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 01:45:44

Sorry it isn't working out for you. I'm sure that there is some coloration bypassing. But I need and enjoy the coloration the unit provides, and one day I'll get another. I have beeswax caps in both of mine, which matches the beeswax caps I have in preamp and amps, maybe that's a factor, don't know. We all have different needs and different ways to get what we need.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 01:52:43

Hi Lon, I understand you're OK with it, that's really OK. But that's not the issue.



Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 02:55:18

Okay, I don't have an issue. I understand you do. Best of luck.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 03:03:21

Lon, best of luck to you as well.

Can we get back to the issue at hand?

Thank you.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 03:23:51

It's your issue. No one else seems to have it. Carry on. Perhaps in a separate thread? I'll stay out of that. This thread has more area it covers.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 03:36:37

It's not just me, 2 friends and family hear it as well, just to make sure I wasn't crazy, K?

You said you didn't actually do what I have done, i.e., take it out completely and really see what happens, how can you know?

Of course we don't have good memories, but it takes me < 30 seconds to switch mine out, I have no problems hearing the difference and it is repeatable.

If you have not done what I have done, and you do not have the system components that I have, I guess you're in no position to imply, maybe your system is not resolving enough to hear it, or, you're not going to f with it because you're sold, that's OK too.



Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 03:53:03

I don't doubt your results, but I have been using the unit for over a year in one case and all summer in the second, Anniversary modded case, and I love what it does. As I've said if it adds a bit of coloration in bypass or diminishes a bit of transparency it doesn't bother me, and the overall benefit to the system far outweighs any little loss for me. It's not easy for me to pop the unit in and out of my system and I haven't bothered to see if the unit is completely transparent, as it transforms my system and allows me to really enjoy in my main system the cd collection I've gathered over the last thirty years, and also really enjoy the DVR and Blu-ray player I use in my second system. I don't need to conduct your experiment.

I've used tube amps for instruments since '77 and in home stereos since '85, and I currently use a creamp, a ZBIT snd a ZROCK2 so I'm obviously not concerned with ultimate transparency--I prefer a little forgiveness. This thread is about the ZROCK2 with Anniversary mods and I and others like to report how we are using our units in this thread. Why not start a thread dedicated to ZROCK2 bypass †transparency and outline what you want to achieve with it?

Either way, I'm shutting down for the night. Sorry to seem combative, h don't really want to be so, have a nice night.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 03:59:27

Lon, you love it, we get it.

Can we get back to the issue I'm having? Please?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 04:14:01

Sure. I suggest a new thread, but carry on with whatever you hope to achieve.
Just realize that this thread will contain other discussion because it's designed for that.

On another front, I rolled three different tubes in my Anniversary modded ZROCK2 this week and surprised myself by preferring the 6085 in the current setup. In the past the 6085 has been very "up front" and a bit more detailed than I like, but with some isolation change and with adjusting the gain between DAC, ZTPRE, ZROCK2 and Monoblocks, I've really found a "zone" of sound that even further brings an "analog" sound to most Redbook, and yet doesn't sacrifice the detail of the better recordings.

Like John I was pretty sold on the 5814A and favored an Amperex and an RCA version. The 6085 is giving me what I really liked in th 5814A and also a bit more "push," a bit more dynamic contrast. It surprises me how "malleable" these components and tube choices make the overall sound signature. In the past I sometimes got bored with a system, but that just doesn't happen with the signal path I have now. And it seems to indicate I have plenty of transparency and resolution to show me results from all the changes I can make.

Good night, and happy listening.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by cave on 09/16/19 at 04:26:50

I've tried a NOS Mullard, a Philips labeled Mullard, RCA clear top, RCA black plate, and believe it or not an amperex bugle boy, also some misc 5963's.

These all have a different sound, yes, and they sound mostly as I expected they would.

But it didn't restore the imaging and purity I was getting before.

I think this thread is appropriate, as it directly affects whatever anyone is trying to achieve by modding the unit, as am I.


Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 13:15:20

Yes, I've tried several 5963s from Amperex, RCA and GE, 12AU7 from Amperex, RCA (clear top), Mullard, GE, Phliips and Brimar, also a handful of 6189. Discovering the 5814 was a very interesting game changer for my system, a significant uptick in vivid playback and clear treble and spatial info, which really put me closer to my goal of having a sound that makes me just ease into the varying sound emerging from the many sides of my collection.

And I had explored 6085 tubes with my Taboo Mk IV and really enjoyed them but found them problematic in the ZROCK2--a lot to like but I just couldn't get the tonality quite right. Then I began to realize how important the interaction of gain between DAC, preamp, ZBIT, ZROCK2 and Monoblocks is and learning more about that, and about tuning my isolation, I now find the 6085 to be a very satisfying tube in the ZROCK2. Amperex have a great cumulative family sound in my system and I have 7308s in the ZTPRE and Monoblocks, and the 6085 in the ZROCK2 and I feel I am now in another stage where I am sitting back and relaxing into playback.

Though I loved my ZROCK2 with just the copper beeswax caps and the silver jacks as options, the fully factory modded ZROCK2 with the Anniversary power supply and tube regulated mods took the component to another level. (Though it took it's time getting there!) The unit did disappear more and offer clearer and deeper tube change characteristics, and has become one of the most important components of my system. It's possible that the bypass transparency may or may not have been improved, I do sense a type of "purity" and though sound staging is not something I really can set up to maximize, instrumental imaging is very faithful to the recording. I really do favor the factory choices in mods and would recommend them to anyone rocking the basic ZROCK2. Go whole hog if you can!

After a meager listening weekend I'm turning on the system for a good day of disc spinning.

Edit to add: just having had a wonderful experience listening to the Chet Baker "Let's Get Lost" K2HD cd I must say, I really want for nothing at the moment. The clarity of the recording has come through with realistic body and tonality so correct for instruments I know well such as bass, classic guitar, piano, flute and trumpet. Heavenly sound! And I know the fully Deware modded ZROCK2 is a major contributor.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 09/16/19 at 16:20:36

Cave,

I'm not 100% sure what the issue at hand is. †Running the unit in "bypass" vs no unit may impact the sound in a bad way. †No argument. †But are you saying that running the unit engaged vs no unit is also hurting the sound? †This seems impossible to check definitively. †I think what Lon and I (for sure) are saying is that what the unit brings to the table when engaged, far outweighs any degradation (if any exists) that may also occur. †Neither of us runs the unit in bypass.

I don't know what effect the different capacitors and upgrades might have. †If I'm correct, your unit had the film capacitors whereas Lon and my units have the type II beeswax caps and the full anniversary upgrades.

Am I still missing the point?

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 18:23:40

What I gathered Cave was saying is that as the stock unit is not entirely transparent in bypass, the "effect" the engaged unit is performing would be even "better" if the unit were completely transparent bypassed. This is probably true, but sort of a moot point for you and I as we're gobsmacked with what it does as is; and I don't think any unit that is going to put extra internal wire, a switch, power supply and interconnect into the signal path is ever going to be perfectly, purely identical to the signal without the unit. I have never heard the ZROCK2 with the stock caps and the gold jacks. I would bet that the Jupiter copper caps and the tube regulation assist the unit in becoming somewhat more transparent than stock. I don't do my own modifications and I'm not sure I would do more or other than Steve has done. If I were to modify a stock unit myself I'd go that route. But with my skill set I let Steve do the work.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 09/16/19 at 18:47:37

I'm not even sure that the bypass and the engaged modes are connected. †That's why I suggest that it's not possible to determine sound coloration of the unit. †Of course, I suppose that just using the dial to go from fully left to fully right might tell something. †Even there though, I'm not sure where the "bypass" point really is. †Steve says 12 o'clock but I think it's before that.

What we might need is the ZR2 circuit integrated into the amp so that some switches and wires can be avoided.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 18:54:34

Yes. I'm not dissatisfied and don't need "more." What might be a great product for me would be a combination ZROCK2 and ZBIT. Would save me the use of a pair of very expensive interconnects and isolation feet. Would do that in two systems.

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Archie on 09/16/19 at 21:25:59

Some way to reduce the number of boxes.  I had to suspend my ZR2 over my amps since I'm out of shelf space!

Title: Re: Anniversary Mods for the ZROCK2
Post by Lon on 09/16/19 at 21:31:26

I hear you. I built a series of stands behind the entertainment center my wife bought for my second/audio-video system because only the Oppo UDP-205 has a rack space that can be used. I have a PPP and a Taboo Mk IV with the Anniversary mods and a ZBIT and a ZROCK2 and a CSP3 with the Anniversary mods tucked back there. At least they have ventilation. The ZBIT and ZROCK2 are suspended. . . not ideal but works.

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