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EQUIPMENT FORUMS >> ZTPRE >> ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
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Message started by pursuitofnow on 03/16/19 at 16:41:43

Title: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/16/19 at 16:41:43

I have a couple questions about the anniversary mods and instead of asking in various threads where there is talk decided to start a fresh thread to maybe help the information be more easily discoverable.


Quote:
... would require and additional 3 caps per channel and a place to put them - of which is there is none.


Does this mean if one were to opt for the additional inputs there is no room for the mod? How about just two inputs instead of three?


Quote:
After hearing it with the SE84UFO25 and the ZMA with anniversary mods, I didn't last for even an hour with my own ZTPRE before I flipped it on the bench and installed the two humble cryo-treated beeswax bypass caps.


Do two caps get the same sonics as three mentioned above?

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 03/16/19 at 17:07:57

So is it two caps compared to three caps, or as I read it two caps compared to six caps?

Or four to six?

Anyway, it seems Steve is happy with the resulting sound, very happy. I know I'll have to send my ZTPRE back one of these days for the mod, I just won't be able to resist. Will have to wait and pay for my recent playing around first. Luckily the ZTPRE sounds so so good as is. . . it's not a national emergency. ;)

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/16/19 at 17:15:45

I can only imagine, Lon. Based on everything I've read it does seem to be a wonderful piece of equipment. I'm hoping to order one soon. I only need two inputs (one xlr and one rca) and hoping I can get the anniversary mods.

The anniversary monoblocks have really turned me on to these mods. I have my ZP3 and ZSTAGE back at the mothership for modifications and have a ZROCK2 with anniversary mods being shipped right now. I can't wait for the full anniversary experience and feel the ZTPRE will be the icing on the cake.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 03/16/19 at 17:24:35

Well, even without mods the ZTPRE are amazing preamps. The ZTPRE caused me to redefine "transparency" as it seems to not be there but is, which is more like "invisible" than transparent I guess.

It's true that the mods are ear-opening and horizon changing. I have only one niggling fear about having the ZTPRE outfitted with the mods: there's a wonderful nature to the ZTPRE that favors all recordings, good and bad, like a seasoning that works with all meats and vegetables and makes all taste really good and highlights their uniqueness. I would hate for the ZTPRE to be so ruthlessly revealing that this becomes a casualty. Perhaps Steve can reassure us that the ZTPRE just gets better with the mods.

Mine has three inputs, which I really enjoy as I have a DAC, a phono preamp, and a tuner, all with balanced outputs and it is so nice to have them all controlled by the ZTPRE. I'm not sure that the lack of an input would make enough space for more caps, Steve would have to tell us. I looked at the interior pic in the manual and it seems it might, but I'm not sure if leads are long enough etc.

Congrats on the Monoblocks (amazing amps!) and what you have coming your way. You're going to be swimming in music when it's all in place.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/16/19 at 18:07:10

Great point on the "ruthlessly revealing". I wonder if a switch could be added for stock/anniversary mod?

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 03/16/19 at 18:11:31

Possibly, but switches "have consequences."

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/17/19 at 02:44:01


So far all of the amps and preamps that I have modded fearing that they may become more unforgiving of bad recordings, have actually somehow managed to hold onto a bad sounding song much longer than before the mods. That means that the time it takes me to change the channel has doubled and that basically means that the poor recordings are only half as distracting.  

I had the same fears as Lon about touching the ZTPRE, but I'm glad I did.  That said, I have primarily used 6N1P in my ZTPRE instead of more exotic tubes as a grounding effect for the whole system, so the bypass mod gives me some of the sparkle and presence that the fancier tubes bring, without losing any of the juicy calm of the 6N1P.

Steve

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 03/17/19 at 03:03:05

Thanks for weighing in on that Steve. I agree that the mods have helped all recordings to sound better. It's just that the ZTPRE is so good as is I was worried.

I've used 6N1P and 6N5P in the ZTPRE with great success, but I really like the 7308 I have in there. . . . I don't feel the difference is really "sparkle" so much as focus and resolution.

I'll definitely send the ZTPRE in later this year for the mods. I think my next return for mods will be the Taboo Mk III. But some household needs have come up that may slow me down. . . .

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by MrDerrick on 03/17/19 at 10:42:34

I am also interested in more info regarding the ZTPRE mod.
Can this be performed DIY?
What will the cost be?

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by HockessinKid on 03/17/19 at 15:03:36

If you do mods yourself, you'll void your Decware lifetime warranty. Should take this into consideration, especially given the implied future value of the warranty.

Plus, you'll know it will be done right by the Master. Steve does all the 25th anniversary modifications himself. Makes for a high level of quality control.

HK

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by MrDerrick on 03/18/19 at 01:56:14

I am the second owner and did not opt to send the pre back for re-certification and a new warranty.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/30/19 at 18:22:56

Steve, will the mods work if one wants to add multiple inputs?

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/31/19 at 02:41:59

The mod is applicable to all ZTPRE regardless of configuration or age.

When talking about 3 vs 1 cap and so on, I was just babbling about what might be possible.  It has never been tried and won't be since it would not physically fit regardless of how the ZTPRE is configured.

The cost of the mod is only $250.00

Steve

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/31/19 at 04:00:45

Great news! Thanks, Steve.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/06/19 at 00:31:31

Placed my order today :)

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/26/19 at 15:02:01

I'll be dealing with some space constraints on the rack and would like feedback on some footer/isolation for stacking the ZTPRE on top of a Directstream DAC. The photo below looks like the Isoacoustic Orea's but not sure. I'd like to avoid marring the top of the Dac. What would you use for isolation between the two?


Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 04/26/19 at 17:47:18

Those do look like Oreas.

I use VooDoo Cable "IsoPods" between all my components and stands. I like them a LOT. They have a felt surface that won't mar the piano black finish of the DSD.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/26/19 at 17:56:48

Thanks, Lon. I will put those at the top of my list. Do you put those under your DSD as well? Remove the stock footers?

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 04/26/19 at 18:30:15

Yes. I have them under all the components in my main system. P10, DMP, DSD, NPC, RP3, 90T SE, ZBIT, ZROCK2, ZTPRE, SE84UFO3-25s. Paid the money, got a number of them on a discounted deal (still in effect) and one used set from the forum here. I find the cumulative effect . . .important.

I take the stock feet off and use these (3 under each component except the P10, which I use four underneath). I like them better than Herbie's Audio Lab Iso-Cups, which I used for years, and Oreas. They seem neutral but allow a lot of dynamics and tone.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by busterfree on 04/27/19 at 15:36:22

My picture in reply #15 shows the stock feet that were included with the ZTPRE. I donít know if Decware is still using them. You cannot tell by looking at the product page. Thanks

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 04/27/19 at 15:55:43

Interesting Juan, those are different than the stock feet on my ZTPRE, which were half the size and black.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/27/19 at 16:00:03

Thanks, Juan. I had found the pic over in the ZBIT forum and asked there as well. https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1509810612/9#9

Interesting those are the stock footers. I guess I'll wait and see what mine comes with and try that before ordering an "upgrade".

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by busterfree on 04/27/19 at 18:20:21

Ok. I did not see the question in the other thread. Congratulations on your new purchase!

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 08/11/19 at 19:20:13

Four months down! Not long now :) I'm getting so excited for this piece if equipment!

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 09/11/19 at 05:56:45

Received my ZTPRE today and just finished wiring everything up. Excited to see what it's all about. I'm going to let it burn in a bit and report back. †:)

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 09/11/19 at 13:08:47

Congrats! One day I might send my ZTPRE in for the mod. .. but I can't bear it being out of my system! You are going to be really enjoying your ZTPRE.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 09/13/19 at 15:59:05

I only have about 30 hours on the ZTPRE right now but wow. This thing is amazing. I wasn't really sure how my system could improve. I mean it sounded really really good without it. I now see or hear rather how the quote from the product page is so spot on... "the way it animates the music. It takes music that already sounds good, and makes it pop into a believable experience. It does this with dynamics, separation, pace, density and holographic imaging and does so against a backdrop of liquidity and intoxicating tone."

I can't get over how good my system sounds now. And it even has more alarming speed. Voices on tv can be mistaken for someone actually in the room. Everything just sounds more in the room and real. Can't wait for more seasoning.
:)

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by pursuitofnow on 09/26/19 at 01:42:56

This thing is killer! I have about 150-200 hours on it now and can't imagine not having it in my system. Everything is sounding so good. Animated is the word I keep coming back to. Even less than desirable recordings sound quite good. Music is out and about in the room and not flat sounding what so ever.

I'm so glad I discovered Decware products. Thanks Steve!

Jim

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 09/26/19 at 11:28:12

Jim, I know what you are hearing, and don't be surprised if it keeps sounding a wee bit better as the days go by. A wonderful component!

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Sb66er on 08/14/21 at 17:53:02

I'm pretty new to the forum and Decware, but my brother-in-law has put my efficient speakers (99 dB SPL) on his SE84UFO25; I've always known they need a good-sounding tube amp.

My question is, how often are DecFans using the ZTPRE with non-balanced input amps, like most of the Decware line-up, and those that are, how much of a loss of value and sound quality/characteristics does it pose ZBIT'n to the RCA inputs for the amps?  

Why or why NOT use a ZTPRE with a SE84UFO25 or more likely Torii JRV2?

Thanks


Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 08/14/21 at 18:21:16

I use a ZTPRE because my sources are balanced and sound much better via the balanced outs than the single-ended, which are below 2V output. And so I also use a ZBIT.

There's NO sonic drawback to using the ZBIT, in fact the ZBIT improve the sound IMO. But if you don't need a ZTPRE for balanced inputs the CSP3 is a cheaper and as excellent a preamp.

They are different. The ZTPRE seems to me to add less to the total sound than the CSP3. The ZTPRE adds gobs of gain which is great for the sound, but with the right tubes it has less of a "tube character" to the sound than the CSP3 adds. The CSP3 is a bit more tweakable and gives out a bit more character to the sound . . . the ZTPRE is purist in comparison.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by lazb on 08/14/21 at 18:29:33

Or you can use these:

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Sb66er on 08/14/21 at 18:37:22

Lon, you are on it. lazb (Joe, brother-in-law) recommended I reach out to you, but since I hadn't made any posts, I couldn't PM you.

I do intend to use balanced input from DAC to pre-amp, need a remote volume control, and that ZTPRE sure looks sexy. At this stage, I lean towards ZTPRE for those reasons, but of course, as is subjective and not really reliable, I imagine wanting to impact my sound the way those of you have described the ZTPRE.

I'm experiencing far too harsh in the highs and hoping tubes in the amp and preamp will do the magic. lazb's 25th anniv. amp sure helped tame it somewhat, but new crossover (new caps) and a tube preamp are my thinking.

Decfest will open my eyes and ears more!

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 08/14/21 at 18:48:03

To be perfectly frank if you have only one source you may get more benefit from this signal path: source to ZBIT to ZROCK2. The ZROCK2 will allow you to tame that harshness more with judicious tube-rollng and gain tweaking with the ZBIT than the ZTPRE or CSP3 will. The ZROCK2 was the Goldilock's pudding for my system, the one final piece that made digital amazing for me. That would save you some money too. Won't provide a remote for you. . . but living without a remote is possible. I did that for a few decades and then again recently briefly.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Sb66er on 08/14/21 at 19:20:47

Interesting approach. I will do some thinking on that.  

I challenged myself last night to keep up with how much I use my volume control on my current integrated amp. I adjusted volume from my chair about as frequently as 1-3 times per track.

Your input is much appreciated.

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 08/14/21 at 20:16:37

Wow. I adjust volume sometimes between discs, but rarely within the playback of a disc. . . so I guess it's easier for me to do without a remote. (Though I can do so at my source and from the ZTPRE).

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Sb66er on 08/14/21 at 21:20:46

Lon, after reading the intent/use of the ZRock2 I see your point. I have no shortage of the "age-old" bass availability in my speakers, but the opportunity for tonal improvement can surely never be undermined.

Would you suggest running ZRock2 after preamp where a pre is used...in their case directly before amp?

Title: Re: ZTPRE Anniversary Mods
Post by Lon on 08/15/21 at 11:42:58

You can try it either way, before or after the preamp--I use it before the preamp in part because then my occasional headphone use in this system can benefit from the ZROCK2, and in part because I find that sounds just a bit better (slight difference really overall).

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