EQUIPMENT FORUMS >> ZSTAGE >> what upgrades do?

Message started by back2vinyl on 12/21/23 at 16:31:02

Title: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 12/21/23 at 16:31:02

Can someone tell me what the upgrades to on the Zstage and would you put this before of after the ZP3? †Didn't meant to post under important topics


Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by Sean on 12/21/23 at 17:43:43

Canít speak on the upgrades, Iím sure someone will chime in on that.

The only thing that should be in front of a ZP3 is a SUT (if needed for moving coil cart) and a turntable. Anything else before the ZP3 will kill the RIAA curve the ZP3 (or any phono stage) applies.

Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 12/27/23 at 19:34:13

So can somebody tell me what the anniversary mods offer on the ZSTAGE?


Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by will on 12/27/23 at 21:33:52

The foundations of anniversary mods are mainly coupling cap upgrades, and power supply bypass caps, as I recall, with additional tube based filters, and perhaps resistors on some things. Whatever the choices on the Zstage, conceptually I would say they all help making a good thing better. I have not seen the inside of a Zstage the way Steve modifies them, but with mine, carefully bypassing the power supply by sound, and better coupling caps were notable changes for sure....Then I went further, also bypassing the coupling caps and the power supply bypasses, and replacing the connectors with more agile and transparent ones. This is a pretty simple component, so these changes were pretty obvious, and really made it a new component.... more immediacy, more complexity, more dynamic hit, richer, more lucid.... I have been playing with modification a long time, and can adjust to my own preferences. But I can pretty much imagine what Steve's mods sound like from having done similar before going further. And if I did not have this ability and experience, I personally would not order any Decware without anniversary mods.

Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 12/28/23 at 15:53:57

ok thanks. Still uncertain on what tube modulation is...and if you were going to upgrade one thing what would it be...

Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by Lon on 12/28/23 at 16:59:17

It's not tube modulation but a tube regulation modification. A small tube that regulates the voltage within for a steady one just right. IMO it's like having the best power conditioning right inside the component.

Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by will on 12/28/23 at 17:09:49

If you are meaning how do tubes modify the sound in using the term modulation, tubes can be used for rectification, for filtering the power, and for "buffering" and amplifying the signal. And in a transparent circuit and resolving system, you can hear them all, so all influence your musical experience.

Seems what most people like about tubes is the smooth and liquid and spacious influences on a harmonically alive sound. The power or signal going through the vacuum imparts tube sound qualities, and this is influenced by the design, construction, materials, shape... all causing sonic variations with the same tube type within a baseline of the more-or-less the same electronic objectives. This is where tube rolling comes in, by exploring different loved tubes, you can adjust your sound to tastes.

With the Zstage, this is one tube only, but you can use two basic tube types, designed for 12AU7, and a more powered up 12AT7, offering pretty different sound qualities. And there are many tube type variations on those types.

So considering that about all tubes within a type have their own characteristic sound... if you want to explore adjusting for your preferences based on system and taste needs... there are lots of sometimes subtle and sometimes less subtle but useful variations to play with. Within one type... variations from being more bass balanced, neutral, or leaner and extra clean... transparency and extension... how well they delineate finer information like "air," textures, decays or how consolidated and focussed the signal is... dynamics vary... and so on....

Along with these potential tuning tools you have a switch that changes the bias of the tube used to be fuller and more intense at what the tube does, or more open and relaxed. So with only one tube in the Zstage, you can stick with stock, or play quite a lot for personal tuning. ...

If you mean which upgrades on the ZStage, they all will help in my opinion, but if you want to get the most you can for less money, I would imagine getting the copper coupling caps and copper bypass caps first might be most influential... Followed by the tube filters, and that followed by the stepped attenuator.

Hope this helps some,


Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 12/28/23 at 20:59:38

Ok thanks guys! Steve emailed me also, appreciate the feedback. Roughly what is the wait on a ZSTAGE?


Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by Dominick on 12/29/23 at 21:12:49

When I had my ZSTAGE, I had it configured with the upgraded beeswax caps. †I really loved the simplicity of the unit as a purist gain stage. †I was going to upgrade mine to the bypass caps after conversation with Steve. †He indicated that I would get an increase in resolution with greater detail. †I only sold mine to replace it with a CSP2+

Terms of tubesÖ I mainly stayed †with the 12AU7. †The 12AT7 had too much gain and a bit too hot for me, even in the relaxed position. †I did like the Amperex Holland Pinched Waist 7062. †It has less gain than the 12AT7 and more than the 12AU7. †

Hope this helps.


Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 12/31/23 at 21:16:23

Thanks for the replys, helps a lot...

Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 12/31/23 at 22:05:15

Sine I have the attention here and doesnt seem much on the zp3 thread thought id ask here.....Changed front two tubes and have no sound now. Changed the tubes back, still no sound. Unit turns on, both tubes by transformer glow....Any idea?

Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by HockessinKid on 12/31/23 at 23:41:20

Check the IEC and see if the fuse is blown.


Title: Re: what upgrades do?
Post by back2vinyl on 01/01/24 at 00:27:43

Havent had a chance as I am drinking for the years! Cheers! The tubes would still fire up even if fuse is blown? Also, even after unit is turned off for 10 minutes when I went to replaces  ithe OA3 tube the tube receives a small charge, enough to glow. This after ten minutes of being off

Forums » Powered by YaBB 2.2.2!
YaBB © 2000-2008. All Rights Reserved.