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Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet? (Read 234046 times)
Jeff of Arabica
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Name the greatest of
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Accident.

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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #700 - 02/06/20 at 05:34:48
 
Quote:
Say Jeff,

what is your Canary Audio Grand Reference..??
is it a preamp, how do you like it...


Hey Delta,
The Canary Audio Grand Reference are 300B based mono block power amps.  They are the successor to the Reference Two model.  The Grand Reference amps aren't even listed on the website yet.  

There are a lot of really nice pre-amps out there.  Tough part is knowing which one will be best suited for your system.  I am using a Purity Audio Design Reference II pre-amp in front of my Grand Reference's and it is a beautiful match.  Bill Baker is know for his pre-amp prowess.  But, the Purity line is no longer produced.  

BTW, I love ZMF headphones.  It is what brought me to Decware back in the day.
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Canary Audio Grand Reference//ZMA//Zen Ultra//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Canary Audio MC-10 Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Tannoy Westminster Speakers
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Jeff of Arabica
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Name the greatest of
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Accident.

Posts: 929
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #701 - 02/06/20 at 05:36:23
 
Quote:
Delta,

A couple years ago Steve told me that he ran KT88s in his ZMA and admitted that it might shorten some component life but that he'd take the chance (since he IS the factory).  I don't think you're looking at anything catastrophic.  If you are careful and don't leave the amp on all day you'll likely be just fine.  Get an IR thermometer and monitor the transformers.  If you can keep you hand on them for a few seconds they should be well within the OK range.  It typically takes hours for things to really heat up.

If you look at the original ZMA development thread, Steve spec'd the bias at 60mA.  He then dropped it to 50mA to be absolutely safe.  That's where I started but I'm up to 68mA all day with no heat problem.  The ZMA is a tank and can take a little experimenting.

It's good to be aware of the pitfalls but I think you can navigate them easily.


Well stated sir!
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Canary Audio Grand Reference//ZMA//Zen Ultra//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Canary Audio MC-10 Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Tannoy Westminster Speakers
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 531
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #702 - 02/09/20 at 14:25:05
 
Started to get some tube crackling noises in both channels last week. After some amp & preamp tube swapping I determined it was my ZMA power tubes. So after ~2,400 hours I swapped in my spare set of Tube Amp Doctor (TAD) 7027a tubes and the noise is gone.

These TAD tubes have exceptional tonality and soundstage depth. With the new set the music seems even more powerful, clear, and seductive. A noticable difference from the "tired set." I have them biased at 62mA - rock solid.

I highly recommend the TAD's. The TungSol 7027a''s are also excellent, but the TAD's tubes just really suck me into the music. Matched quads are available from StewMac. The only U.S. based online retailer I have found. They're running a 10% off sale now, $149.99 for a matched quad.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #703 - 02/09/20 at 17:50:58
 
Hock,

What's the story on the TAD tubes?  Are they rebranded tubes?  If so, do you know who makes them?  At some point I'll get another quad of the 7027As.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 531
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #704 - 02/09/20 at 18:26:45
 
Archie,

They are German designed, built in China. Beefier than the TungSol tubes, the TAD Premium Select are well tested and higher quality. They have tighter tolerances with better matching of sets.

Here's a link, check out the description for more information:

https://www.tubeampdoctor.com/en/7027a-tad-tubes-tad-premium-matched

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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Lon
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #705 - 02/09/20 at 19:03:29
 
As far as I have been able to determine TAD (Tube Amp Doctor) is a German company that designs tubes that are manufactured in China and sells them. I have had great luck with TAD power tubes and input tubes both sonically and with dependability.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV; Rega RP3 w/25th mods PS Audio: DMP+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Statement spkr cbls;Mapleshade:Samson V3; Oppo UDP-205; VooDoo:Cremona+Amati intrcncts, Iso-Pods;headphones:PM1,HD800S,ZMF Ori
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #706 - 02/15/20 at 19:04:39
 
Hock,  I was locked out of the Decware sites for the past week.  Maybe Steve's Audio Gods know why?   Undecided

Is there a coupon code for that TAD 10% off?  I notice that I save the 19% VAT which might be an extra enhancement.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 531
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #707 - 02/15/20 at 23:54:22
 
Archie,

Just checked the StewMac website. Looks like this sale is over. You might consider signing up for their updates. The tubes go on sale 3-4 times a year.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #708 - 02/16/20 at 18:41:50
 
Will do.  The shipping to the US is pretty steep.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 531
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #709 - 07/25/20 at 14:09:54
 
Argh, 2nd set of Tube Amp Doctor 7027a power tubes started failing after ~1100 hours. Moving on to a set of TungSol's. I hope I get more life out of these. BTW, biased these at 52mA.

Oh well, time to order another back up set. I've only got six various quads left😁.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #710 - 07/25/20 at 17:21:49
 
Good to know about the TADs.  I've resisted them due to price so I think I'll go with more Tung Sols.  BTW, last time I looked there were a couple affordable NOS and slightly used quads of RCA and GE on ebay.  (I bias much higher, 64 to 68 mA.)
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #711 - 07/25/20 at 19:07:43
 
Hock, I just bought 2 quads of the Tung Sol 7027A from the same guy who sells on ebay but direct from his site.  I saved on both the tubes and the tax!

https://vacuumtubevalues.com/product/tung-sol-factory-platinum-matched-quad-four...
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #712 - 07/25/20 at 19:26:37
 
Thanks Archie, looks very good.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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Archie
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Posts: 2046
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #713 - 08/01/20 at 19:40:45
 
I got my 2 quads of Tung-Sol 7027As from Vacuum Tube Values.  These seem to be very closely matched and are supposed to have been burned in for 24 hrs prior to matching.

These are by far my favorite ZMA power tubes.  These, in conjunction with Tungsram PC88s in the ZMA and lead place in the CSP3 give me the clearest and most realistic sound so far.

I'm biasing at 68mA which is below the midpoint of where these tubes will bias on my amp.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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mastertrash
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Posts: 26
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #714 - 08/31/20 at 12:33:15
 
I'm expecting to get my ZMA today!  SUPER exciting.  I also have some NOS tubes to play around with.  I figure I should listen to it as voiced by Steve for a while before playing around at all, but knowing me I should ask this question sooner rather than later anyway...

Does everyone really wait 8 hours with the ZMA unplugged before rolling tubes as suggested in the manual?  The way it's written up makes it sound essential for the OA3 tubes, and maybe just like a good idea for the input / inverter / power tubes...
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HockessinKid
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #715 - 08/31/20 at 13:26:54
 
Give the ZMA 3-4 weeks of daily play before doing any tube rolling. This will give it time to settle in and give you a sense of it's capabilities and best way to tweak the sound in your system. Be patient and enjoy it.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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will
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #716 - 08/31/20 at 15:52:43
 
Didn't you get a used ZMA mastertrash?

Have you found out from the seller about how many hours are on it. Not sure, but just imagining HKs idea is more intended for a new amp that needs time to burn in to better hear its fuller potential.


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Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender+>RevolutionMacMini/Audirvana>Kitsune Singxer>Gustard x20pro DAC modified; Cables: Pi Audio PC, DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, Speaker; Decware- CSP3, Torii IV, HR1-all modified; DIY ZBIT; feet- Archie's, alum/ball bearing, and more
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #717 - 08/31/20 at 16:00:14
 
I just turn off my ZMA while playing and when the meters go to "0" I change the input and/or output tubes.  I think the capacitor discharge issue happens only with the OA3 tubes, although I've never experienced it.  I suspect it can happen when no inputs/outputs are connected.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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mastertrash
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #718 - 08/31/20 at 20:51:32
 
Thanks for the suggestions guys.  Seems like this advice is really about the OA3 voltage regulators.  I didn't like the idea of having to go 8 hours between swapping in and out tubes.  It would obviously make comparisons a little harder to do...

Will, yes, I did pick up the used ZMA from the classifieds last week.  I've got it sitting here, warming up and hooked into my system.  In two words, HOLY CRAP!  I know I need to let it settle in and everything first, but it's wholly remarkable cold and right out of the box.  WOW!

I did set it up with the original tube compliment for starters.  I will wrap my brain around it as Steve intend for a while before experimenting.
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will
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #719 - 08/31/20 at 21:49:41
 
Sounds fun! Wink
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Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender+>RevolutionMacMini/Audirvana>Kitsune Singxer>Gustard x20pro DAC modified; Cables: Pi Audio PC, DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, Speaker; Decware- CSP3, Torii IV, HR1-all modified; DIY ZBIT; feet- Archie's, alum/ball bearing, and more
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 531
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #720 - 08/31/20 at 22:54:25
 
Enjoy your ZMA. Such a great amplifier. Now you can start stocking up on spare tubes. A stash is essential ☺️.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + MWI PH 9.0 phono pre> ZROCK2-25th mods OR MWI modified Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables
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mastertrash
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #721 - 09/01/20 at 13:51:20
 
Indeed.  eBay here I come...
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NormD
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #722 - 09/01/20 at 14:26:46
 
There are other great places to get tubes.

VIVA Tubes. https://www.vivatubes.com

Tube Amp Doctor (now The Tube Store)  https://www.thetubestore.com

I got my KT66's for my ZMA from TAD and I am very pleased.

Norm
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Archie
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Posts: 2046
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #723 - 09/01/20 at 16:23:34
 
My favorite ZMA tubes and I've bought 3 quads from this guy.

https://vacuumtubevalues.com/product/tung-sol-factory-platinum-matched-quad-four...
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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mastertrash
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Posts: 26
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #724 - 09/02/20 at 18:26:50
 
Well the price is sure right on the Tung-Sol 7027A's.  I went ahead and ordered a pair from Vacuum Tube Valves as you suggested, Archie.

Cool!

Does anyone run KT88's with the Anniversary Mods?  I gather I'd want to watch the heat on the transformers, but am curious to try them...  Would add some power to the amp, right?
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #725 - 09/02/20 at 23:42:06
 
I think the 7027As run like a KT88 both having the same plate dissipation of 35W.  Watch your output transformer heat but I run mine at a 68mV bias with no issues.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Archie
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Posts: 2046
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #726 - 10/06/20 at 17:35:20
 
Mastertrash, how do you like the 7027As?
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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mastertrash
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Posts: 26
Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #727 - 10/10/20 at 15:39:13
 
Hey Archie,

I kind of picked up more sets of tubes than I have had time to use just yet.  At first blush the 7027A's seemed good.  They were well matched and biased super easily.  (I love how easy this is on the ZMA!).

I did pop the 7027A's in last month.  After a few hours though, I couldn't help myself and wound up swapping in the NOS quad of Amperex 6922's the previous owner included as well.  This kind of broke my rule about not changing too many things at once.  

With my setup, the whole thing seemed a little hot in the treble and little softer on the bass versus the stock tubes but I couldn't say really the relative contributions of input and power tube changes, but I would guess the bigger changes came from the input tubes.  After a week or so kind of grinning and bearing it, I went back to the stock tubes and all was right with the world again.  Of course, those were well broken in while the others weren't.  

After a couple weeks with the stock tubes back in place, I'm now back to tube rolling again, but haven't been able to listen as much as I'd like lately.  

The one other crazy thing I did was to pick up a set of PSVANE KT88's with the gold bases and grey glass.  They look hot!  I have been letting them break in and will check back when I have a chance with an update.

Cheers!
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Archie
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Re: Anyone Tube Roll with the ZMA yet?
Reply #728 - 10/10/20 at 18:08:26
 
In a general way, that tracks with what I hear too.  In my case the mids and highs are so much better with the 7027A (and type) than with the KT66 that I don't miss any loss in lower end.  Although I don't really hear a loss in the lows but more of an accentuated mid to high.  Changing the 9 pin tubes hasn't changed this perception overall.  

I find there seem to be two camps with the ZMA.  I think Steve has a preference for the KT66 but he's never posted on ZMA tubes much.

The only KT88 I've tried were JJ tubes that sounded like KT66s.  (They also biased like KT66 which makes me wonder about them in general.)
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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