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Warning: NO Benchmark refurb. (Read 18159 times)
stone_of_tone
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Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
01/31/17 at 21:24:57
 
Not a good day.

Received my Benchmark DAC1 HDR refurbished from Benchmark Direct Factory purchase.

Hooked everything up and double checked all connections = perfect.

All volumes down for initial turn on.

I TURN IT ON: Normal safe sequence and my ZMA rattled internally WITH CLICKING and shuddered! I immediately shut it off figuring it fried my ZMA. It did FRY my right channel of KT66's. I can't get them to BIAS or BALANCE in any way.

So, I put in an old pair for my right side/ZMA, to make sure the Benchmark did not FRY the insides of my ZMA. My old quad and one pair of them had enough life in them that I could BIAS and Balance them to make sure my ZMA was okay internally! You should†have heard it boiling/perking and clicking, when the DAC1 was in. I am still pissed!

I called Benchmark and talked to RORY. I explained how all hookups were triple checked and variable switch set (to variable) to run the volume control.

By default from the Factory the input mode was set in one of the digital inputs. Before I could get to the off/shut down System button (remote of my PS Audio P3), it CLICKED THE CRAP OUT OF MY ZMA AND FRIED THE RIGHT CHANNEL KT66'S AS STATED.

I made it quite clear to RORY and he knows that no matter what Input mode you turn the DAC1 on in....even without using the DAC or DAC hookup inputs to it.....it should not have done what it did. Of course, it was connected with Analog in and Analog out via my IC's.

I was brave enough: After running my ZMA direct again from ZDSD.....I hooked up the DAC1 HDR/analog already selected....and it played/but sounded like total crap (scratchy defective/unlistable) as I rode the gains of each the ZMA and DAC1's HDR volume control. So, clearly defective from factory AND IT ALMOST AND MAYBE HAS DAMAGED MY ZMA inside. I WILL HEAR AND SEE some more.
The reason I did this, is to reconfirm, all my connections and power and fuses were correct and yes they were correct. Plus, I suspected they muckin futched something, internally IN this DAC, WHEN NOT in Analog input selection, it spiked my ZMA and fried my right channel pair of KT66 tubes. So, all four KT66's need to be replaced with a NEW matched quad.

#1: I TOLD RORY, when you get it back and check it out; I want a full refund + my return shipping. He had the nerve not to give me an call tag or there UPS number to return ship.

#2: I told Rory, I want a replacement QUAD of KT66's....right channel pair fried! I need a matched quad for replacement ($140.00 + shipping from Tube Depot). Note: you can't just put a new matched pair in the right side = need to be a matched Quad.

As it is, I'm running unmatched from the old Quad as mentioned. Thank God I had those to make sure the ZMA was not fried internally (so far/so good).

NOTE: I was not using the DAC1 HDR via Coax from Transport or USB. Purchased to use as Analog input and output through DAC1 for/with HDR volume control.

Rory, just left me a voicemail: He is sending me a return label via email. Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
Oh get this, Rory here, actually asked me if I want a replacement! I said after frying a pair of my KT66's ($70.00 for the pair, the DAC1 just fried out and/matched Quad needed = 140.00 + shipping) and damn near frying a $5800.00 Amplfier, you got to be kidding!

I also clearly explained my history with Preamps: Decware CSP3, Audio Research LS17 SE and Linear Tube Audio. All was and were hooked up correctly, this should not have happened: †A very DEMONSTRATIVE CLICKING AND FRYING OF MY ZEN MYSTERY AMPLIFIER.

To error is human. However, when you allow a product past quality control that damages your/MY other costly equipment and/or FRY's your TUBES.....their is a cost for that:

1) I feel others should be warned.

2) I can't get paid for my Time and Anguish...BUT, full refund and buying me a new QUAD of KT66's is merited.

Benchmark is lucky, far as I can tell/so far, they are not having my Zen Mystery Amplifier rebuilt and they, paying for every dime of it.

Let me make it perfectly clear: IF the DAC1 HDR was only defective in and of itself....nothing would be posted here. HOWEVER, YOU ATTACK MY ZMA WITH YOUR DEFECTIVE PRODUCT, WELL THEN, THE TRUTH GETS TOLD.

Stay tuned.

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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #1 - 02/01/17 at 05:19:20
 
Dude...  I am so sorry to hear that.  I know how I would feel if that happened to me.  NOT good!!
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #2 - 02/01/17 at 05:34:59
 
Yeah, what do you do. You can't see it coming.

Tomorrow morning I have some time to reconfirm my ZMA IS NOT damaged internally and get this piece of garbage Pre Amp DAC, on the road back to Syracuse and Benchmark. Then, follow up with Rory to see if his customer service skills have improved.

Do I want another unit, he says to me? Geez.
Ah Rory, are you listening to me and what it just did to my Amp and Tubes? †
The severe blow you just served me, merits you NO 2nd chance to ever enter my Listening Room again/Benchmark.

The only reason I brought this unit in is for Analog purposes and for some of my recordings as a Preamp.

I have finally cured myself of this disease and have been enjoying my ZMA SANS PRE, for 6 months and counting (5 months/I sold my Audio Research Pre, end of August~I had the Linear Tube Audio for a full two weeks and it was sent to me burned in to run with my ZMA/back in Nov too). There is a purity run Direct from ZDSD that boasts first hand of my NOS PLAT Tubes governing the ZMA. I am now cured after this experience. Buying more music and fine tuning my Room is now my horizon.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #3 - 02/01/17 at 05:54:58
 
True.  And you can't fault your passion to venture off course every now and then to see where your aural life takes you.  I would imagine a vast amount of now dedicated Decware customers found there way here by just doing that.  At the end of the day, we win some and lose some.  And while it truly sucks to deal with collateral damage, we all know that with Steve's equipment, no matter what happens, it can be brought back to life again.  Not the case with SS gear with lots of fancy circuit boards - at least not at a practical cost.  

Good luck and may your ZMA have not only skirted death, but walked away unscathed.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #4 - 02/01/17 at 13:15:46
 
Thanks Jeff and I read and are glad you're enjoying your ZMA, you just got. Welcome to the club. She is something....... .

Forgot to say in my previous post, also look forward to Steve's Hitter Box, potentially helping the portion of my Redbook collection that could use it.
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Matchstikman
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #5 - 02/01/17 at 14:24:09
 
Wow, Stone, what a horrible experience.

Hopefully, your ZMA comes out okay at the end.
I don't know.  If it was me I might even send it back to Steve and have him give it a once over.  I'm paranoid like that.   But, what a hassle.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #6 - 02/01/17 at 15:41:30
 
It was horrifying Match. The CLICKING AS IT FRIED THE RIGHT CHANNEL KT66's TUBES WAS scary.

I confirmed this morning that my ZMA is okay using the full old quad further for testing only. However, I'm shut down for now until I get my new Quad of KT66's. I see the glass as half full:
1) it did not fry my right channel or worse out on my ZMA.
2) it (Benchmark) did not fry my Ediswan's or Tungsrams and NOS RCA 0A3's.

I did get a shipping label from Rory/Benchmark and besides my refund, I want them to reimburse me for the Quad of KT66's I'm ordering today.

I have been lucky in this hobby for 37 years. The Audio Gods have been kind. Even the shipping Nazi's have not got me (so far).

This should not have happened.....some sort of spike through my ZMA from the Benchmark DAC1 HDR....as documented in my first post.

Now, to order a new Quad of KT66's.
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Lon
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #7 - 02/01/17 at 15:43:26
 
Sorry about the spike, so glad the ZMA is fully operational still. I agree, you should be reimbursed for a quad of the KT66.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #8 - 02/01/17 at 15:47:42
 
Thanks Lon. Yes, I am pursuing the reimbursement for my KT66's to the nth degree.

I just got back from UPS/shipping back to Benchmark.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #9 - 02/01/17 at 15:59:42
 

Wow, that's rough!  I've never heard of something like that happening before. I sure hope they take care of you.

Glad the Mystery is good to go.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #10 - 02/01/17 at 16:08:20
 
Yeah, they really dropped the ball on this refurb/trade in most likely to them? Was it touched or checked at all? Or was a label just slapped on it and on the shelf and shipped out. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. All was connected clearly and correctly from stem to stern.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #11 - 02/01/17 at 16:27:42
 
To your point Match, about Steve checking it out. So long as she continue's to be fine. A good test was with the old quad this morning. They barely could bias well and balance and she played beautifully.


A new quad will be the ticket to full strength.

But, I tell you, if I arrange to go to Decware this summer. I might pre arrange for Steve to give her a check-up.
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JD
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #12 - 02/01/17 at 16:48:20
 
Stone,

Glad it seems to be working out, that would flip me out as well.

JD
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #13 - 02/01/17 at 20:35:54
 
Well, it was wishful and premature on my part...... . The Benchmark DAC1 HDR damaged my ZMA. I can't get the right side to bias with any pair or quad combination of KT66's.

I will get an RMA form and send her in.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #14 - 02/01/17 at 20:55:45
 
Response, I just sent to Rory:

More bad news. Besides $140 dollars in tubes that need to be replaced/destroyed. The DAC1 also destroyed the right channel of my ZMA (Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier).

When that DAC was turned on-it went through its 30 second standby/warm up flashing blue light and when it went on-it fried my Amp.

I'm in the process of filling out an RA number to send my ZMA to Decware in Peoria, IL for repair.

The DAC1 is in transit as you probably noticed and I'll keep you posted and will be in touch as well.


Larry



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


From: Rory Rall <Rory@benchmarkmedia.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 1:43 PM
To: LARRY B
Subject: RE: Defective Benchmark DAC1 HDR/Message from Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.




Hi Larry,



Thanks for the all the details. Iíll go over this with engineering and take a look at the HDR when it gets back. Iíll be in touch.



Best regards,




Rory Rall

Sales Mgr.

Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.

203 E. Hampton Place, Ste 2

Syracuse, NY 13206

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com
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Matchstikman
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #15 - 02/01/17 at 21:27:57
 
Wow.
I can only imagine the strength of the jolt.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #16 - 02/02/17 at 04:44:31
 
It was ugly Match. Clicking and crunching, crackling FRYING. I can't get the sound and shock out of my head.

I am meticulous and clean about hooking up my gear. Especially a new piece for its initial turn on, no matter how basic.

I won't be able to call Steve and ship until next Tuesday or Wednesday. I should have him put XLR's in my baby too. 🍀

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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #17 - 02/02/17 at 14:35:29
 
It will be interesting to see what kind of a company Benchmark Media is?

They receive the DAC1 HDR back on Monday 2/6 (return tracking number/delivery date posted this morning). †

I look forward to 'getting down to brass tacks', with Rory by Tuesday or Wednesday:

1) So far, I am not impressed. I had to solicit for the return label/tracking, which I did receive. As if I was the problem here? No, your defective product is the problem. It 'spiked'/damaged my Amplifier.....

2) $1150 Credit (purchase price of the defective factory direct bought/refurbished Benchmark DAC1 HDR)
3) $140 in KT66 Tube loss
4) $ Shipping to and from Decware for my Zen Mystery Amplifier repair
5) * $$ Cost of Repair.

* $$, how catastrophic is the damage and at what Repair Cost?

Fortunately, Benchmarks negligence did not damage my ZDSD, Transport, PS Audio P3, Acoustic Zen Adagio's, or my Vintage NOS Platinum graded Ediswan 6922's as Inputs and Tungsram PCC88's as Inverter's.

Furthermore, I have found online evidence of this companies DAC's with scratchy distorted volume control output issues, which I also had with this DAC. Unfortunately, my DAC1 HDR also spiked/damaged my ZMA.


Until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week..........

Oh, and I'm not naÔve, when it comes to dealing with somewhat large/vertically intergraded type companies. Hopefully, Benchmark is not a nightmare like most and they try to F.U. me?

Can't wait till next week............  :D .
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #18 - 02/02/17 at 16:11:08
 

Good Luck - I hope they work it out with you.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #19 - 02/03/17 at 17:47:13
 
Yeah LR, regardless of how things pan out starting on Monday, when Benchmark gets the DAC1 back in-I need to get my ZMA fixed. I sent Steve an email that I will be shipping it on Monday to Peoria.

It will be interesting to know what the heck exactly happened in there/ZMA?  .....and what kind of a timeline I'm looking at to get her back, from him and the crew. I will have it held for pickup on my end at my UPS down the street/when she is returned.
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #20 - 02/03/17 at 19:37:51
 

Interesting story to say the least.  

When I read it the following thoughts occurred to me...

1) when the volume control is all the way down on the ZMA, the input is shorted directly to ground. No signal can pass through to the amplifier. It situations like this that have over the years got me into the habit of ALWAYS starting an amplifier with the volume all the way down and then slowly raise it up when you're ready to listen. That way if there is something crazy going on, you will hear it as you begin to turn up the volume and most likely turn the volume back down right away before anything bad can happen.  It is also the reason why I will not ever make an amplifier without an input gain/volume control.

2) the ZMA features an input coupling cap located between the volume control and the input stage which blocks DC voltage and subsequently protects the amp from a source or preamp failure that might cause large amounts of DC to appear on the output jack of said source.

When the amp gets here I will be very curious to see what actually happened as I can't figure out how the amp could have been damaged.  I can understand how throwing a bizarre signal such as the DAC gave it might piss off the output tubes, or even the input tubes, but can not understand how the bias circuit could have been effected.

Irregardless I am certainly sorry to hear that this happened, and your passion for the amplifier is obvious.  I should imagine most of us feel the same way about our amps...

My guess is that your DAC suffered shipping damage, ie., a micro crack in the circuit board, and had little if anything to do with their quality control.

Steve
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #21 - 02/03/17 at 20:34:19
 
Thanks Steve for your input. Maybe I should try a new matched quad of KT66's to be sure that I can't bias the right channel?
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #22 - 02/03/17 at 22:21:39
 
No, I'm fairly confident when trying my original quad of tubes and switching them around.... I consistently got the Left channel to bias with ease immediately but not the right channel at all/way off. One tube glowed red in the inner at  68mA .....closest I could come, and immediately I shut down for good.

I still could be wrong. If I am....a 3 year checkup will be good and have Balanced Inputs put in.
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #23 - 02/03/17 at 22:30:02
 

Basically if the pair of tubes in the channel that works behave any differently in the other channel, then you have a problem.  Either input tubes or something internal.

Steve
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #24 - 02/03/17 at 22:41:06
 
Yes, thanks I did exactly that, took the left channel pair still perfect of the current quad put it in the right and they went haywire/so I knew/could not bias.

Now, my input tubes seem fine. I suppose I should try a different input and inverter on that right side?


Off to work I go till 10pm..... I'll check the Thread later....thanks.
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #25 - 02/04/17 at 00:12:29
 
Stone,

For sure try different input tubes.  I damaged mine (just some fluky fault that spontaneously happened) and while they seemed to work fine, they must have had shortened life.  I just replaced them when I noticed my meters jumping way too early.

I know it'd break your heart to lose your input tubes but it still might save a trip back to Steve.
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #26 - 02/04/17 at 05:20:42
 
Thanks Archie, I'm going to try some scenario's tomorrow. I can't believe I'm saying this but I can take losing the one pair of Edi's NOT to have to ship her out.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #27 - 02/04/17 at 14:10:55
 
Oh well, process of elimination, was worth a shot. It is not the Pre Tubes or inverter's. What I described in my first post was not hyperbole and it was not Operator error.

As Steve also stated, switch the good pair that bias perfect on the left, to the suspected bad side/right channel, and if they go haywire/can't bias.....then Houston, we have a problem. This scenario, was the first thing I did-everything after this was wishful thinking and making sure I need to send her in.

Thanks again for the input Steve and Archie. I will get her on the road come Monday and Steve should have it by Thursday or Friday. I realize you won't get to it right away. I will follow up on a timeline when my ZMA is received.
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #28 - 02/04/17 at 17:56:50
 
Damn!   Angry
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #29 - 02/07/17 at 18:45:27
 
Rory at Benchmark, Syracuse, NY, received the DAC1 HDR back and claims their is nothing wrong with it. I have to take him at his word. In good faith, I received my refund.

However, I know I had everything in the chain hooked up correctly. So then, is it coincidence, my ZMA right channel fried (and whatever else potential damage is in the Amp), happened right at that second the Benchmark turned on from flashing warmup.....and bam, the ZMA cooked out without any cause and effect here?

That's what Benchmark is telling me? †Well, here is hoping, what happened inside my ZMA is covered under warranty. If not, well that is Steve's call and I will pay to have it fixed and discuss if it is safe to tube test in my returned ZMA, the tube compliment that was in when she took the damage hit. She deliver's to Decware tomorrow.

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #30 - 02/07/17 at 19:10:23
 

Bummer - I could see the happenstance, but that's really odd timing.

I hope Steve gets the ZMA back to you soon!

Maybe he can spinkle Pixie Dust or Tears of Clowns or something and send it back to you sounding better.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #31 - 02/07/17 at 19:16:55
 
Maybe, now I have Smokey Robinson's ~ Tear's of a Clown, playing in my head. Thanks, LR! † Grin

Great tune, I have Smokey on my DVR at Daryl's house. Not to far from where I grew up in the Hudson Valley...... . †I digress, anyway yeah, my ZMA gets a good check up too!



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Room Treats-M.Green & mine
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Decware ZDSD DAC
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #32 - 02/07/17 at 19:20:03
 
Sorry to hear about the Benchmark being fine. Weird. Hopefully the damage to the ZMA is minimal and you have it back in your hands very soon.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls; Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Or
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Warning: NO Benchmark refurb.
Reply #33 - 02/07/17 at 19:32:49
 
Thanks Lon & LR. My ZMA's absence will make me appreciate it even more, with its return.
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Room Treats-M.Green & mine
Sony TPort
Illuminati D60
Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
to PS Audio P3
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