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ZBOX Review (Read 4024 times)
Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 4579
ZBOX Review
02/11/15 at 18:33:28
- Please feel free to use or publish my ZBOX review in any way you like -

Hi Steve and DeVon,

I installed your ZBOX tube buffer stage in my system* and after running it for about 20 hours, I like to share my first listening impressions.

I must admit that I expected only incremental improvements in sonic qualities from the ZBOX, since my CD player already has a high quality all-tube output stage (no op amps), and the entire system has been fairly well fine-tuned over time. I have also used the Burson Audio Buffer and alternatively, a high quality pre-amp, both of which have been removed from the system lately for my preference of the more “direct” sound without them. My system is capable of projecting a wide and deep sound stage, and it scales a recording event with sufficient accuracy for creating an engaging, credible listening experience – or, stated sans the technical garble: enjoyable.          

Of course, I could not leave good enough alone (audiophiliac’s disease!) and I had to swap the original Sylvania tube against a Genalex Gold Lion B749/ECC82/12AU7 of their current re-issue, which is getting rave reviews in the HiFi audio media for its outstanding tonal characteristics. Prior to my first serious listening with the ZBOX, I expected some softening of the low frequencies, a general warming of the sound and an additional layer of euphonics in trade for diminished definition and detail – analogous perhaps to the temporary and mild euphoria one might sense when having a really good glass of wine.

I was wrong - the ZBOX is a flute of champagne that produces sparkle and tingling that the wine can’t give you. To use another metaphor; a beautifully composed black and white photograph leaves nothing to be desired. However, viewing the same shot in color adds a dimension to it that provides vitality and nuance that makes everything more lively, vibrant and engaging. That is the sonic picture that the ZBOX delivers. It's a fully extended, fleshed out and sparkling sonic presentation with deep, articulated bass, crystal clear middle and tingling highs. Good recordings sound expansive, three dimensional  and effortless.      

The one thing that I really hate about this whole experience is - that I deprived myself for so long of this wonderful addition to my audio system. I could have had a smile on my face every time I turned the system on and listened to music all along – but I’m certainly going to do it from now on. The ZBOX is clearly not a tweak or a gadget. It is a serious audio component, and I cannot imagine a set-up that wouldn’t audibly benefit from the addition of this device.

Thank you for making a fine and honest product!

Greetings from audio cloud nine – sincerely,
Markus Rufer    

*Shenda Music Van | Decware ZBOX buffer | Winsome Labs Mouse | ProAc Response 1 SC
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