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ZROCK2 (Read 76104 times)
Steve Deckert
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ZROCK2
07/26/17 at 22:47:08
 

We are now shipping ZROCK2 to all those with who had the original ZROCK on order.

I have also re-written the ZROCK web page to reflect the design changes.  

The ZROCK 2 has fully variable equalization that can be set as high or low as you want.

https://www.decware.com/newsite/ZROCK.html
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Steve Deckert
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #1 - 07/26/17 at 22:53:39
 

As a followup to previous posts, while we are using a new power supply, it is set up to exactly duplicate the old one so the sound doesn't change. This means anyone with an original ZROCK could easily have it upgraded to a ZROCK2.  It also means that we have chosen to stay with the 12AU7 instead of the 6922/6N1P.  We built the ZROCK2 prototypes using the 6922/6N1P tubes and found too much variance from the original 12AU7 which caused the equalization curve to change slightly. So the 12AU7 wins in this product and will continue to be the recommended tube.

Steve
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #2 - 08/07/17 at 00:10:49
 
ZROCK Tube Rolling

 I have about 50 hours on my ZROCK2 and it is hitting its stride with a wider and deeper soundstage (than when it was brand new (three days ago).

The tube Steve supplied is a red tip 5963 made in U.S.A. and Steve told me he found some special NOS tubes for the ZROCK.

I am curious what is the make of the tube that Steve supplied (it is a short plate gray with two long ribs and three cross ribs (like a double pane window). The "Window Pane" is flanked by two small rectangle holes aligned with the center cross rib.

Based on online photos It looks like an RCA.

Photos to follow

I have enjoyed tube rolling in the past, does anyone have any suggestions or should I just enjoy the tube Steve supplied for the 10,000 hours

Peter
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #3 - 08/17/17 at 20:17:21
 
Peter, I don't have a ZROCK2 yet, I'm on the list with about 8 ahead of me so there's a wait. But that hasn't stopped me from researching tubes and buying a few. I thought the "oversized" 6085 looked like an interesting tube so I bought two of them, both Amperex SQ, one a "pinched waist" version. I'm eager to hear what they sound like!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #4 - 12/10/17 at 20:03:53
 
Well my original ZROCK is in E. Peoria and will be delivered to Steve tomorrow.
It will be changed to the new version with silver RCA'S and copper caps.
I had made a few changes to my phono playback and the older version ZROCK was too bass heavy to use with it.
I am anxious to get it back.
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #5 - 12/10/17 at 23:22:43
 
Here's hoping it comes back soon. I think you'll be very happy with it.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #6 - 12/20/17 at 16:31:29
 
Wow! that was fast.  Just got a usps tracking notification yesterday. The Zrock2 (ordered black Fri) is ready to ship! Xmas comes early.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #7 - 12/20/17 at 18:03:13
 
Nope, looks like UPS can't get in or out of Peoria, until after the New Year.  ;D
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #8 - 12/20/17 at 19:08:34
 
My newly updated ZROCK2 should be here Friday just in time for Christmas break. Wink
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #9 - 12/20/17 at 19:21:19
 
Great news!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #10 - 12/20/17 at 19:37:22
 
I am looking forward to spending some time with it over the upcoming week for sure.
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #11 - 12/22/17 at 13:16:59
 
The ZROCK2 as it has seasoned in has shown me how versatile it is day after day.

Each bias and speaker ohm setting, each gain position on preamp, amp, ZBIT, ZROCK2, each tube choice. . .adding or detracting a few increments of EQ A or B. . . sonic parameters change. And if you have a P5 or P10 each of the settings for "Mode," voltage, "Multiwave" etc. on these regenerators will add to the wealth of sonic possibilities.

I love this component. In time I hope to get another one for my second system. . . if it had a balance control it would even MORE valuable there as I could eliminate a preamp.

And one final note: if you're a bass head, which I fear I am (I have a contrabass violin and six electric basses as overkill as that is!) this is the ultimate component. Palamino would love it!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #12 - 12/23/17 at 17:39:36
 
Received my updated ZROCK to ZROCK2 last night, connected it and let it sit overnight.
I am only on my second album and all I can say is that I sure am happy I decided to update it and keep it in my system.
The new version does everything I originally stated about the first version but the way Steve set up the gain and EQ on this is much better.
Really is an amazing piece.
Now just need to get some hours on the new Capacitors.
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #13 - 12/23/17 at 18:54:01
 
Excellent! Those caps sound good right out of the gate, so at least getting some hours on them isn't painful! Enjoy, and merry Xmas.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #14 - 12/23/17 at 19:28:41
 
Thanks Lon and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Yes these Caps are sounding great already and actually get better, which is amazing.
I am listening to Kind of blue right now and it sounds absolutely beautiful.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #15 - 12/25/17 at 01:01:32
 
Here is my "review" of the ZROCK2: I have it hooked up to my DAC, and I now find myself playing my SACD's through the redbook layer instead of the SACD layer so that I can hear them through the ZROCK.  

The downside of the ZROCK2 is that next year I'm going to need to buy one of Steve's switch boxes so I can play all my sources through it.  

Merry Christmas, DecHeads!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #16 - 12/28/17 at 16:55:34
 
Funny how I thought some of my music couldn't sound or didn't need to sound any better.
Well with the Zrock2 and some tube rolling this week I have really dialed things in and I am glad to say I was wrong, my music could and did indeed need to sound better. I am amazed, nothing better than having great sound and making it quite noticeably better. I guess I didn't know what I was missing.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #17 - 12/28/17 at 17:47:00
 
Lon and SS - What tube are using?

Thanks
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #18 - 12/28/17 at 18:27:00
 
I'm using an Amperex 6085.



It's a big mother!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #19 - 12/28/17 at 18:28:41
 
I am using the same tube as Lon.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #20 - 12/29/17 at 01:09:29
 
Any thoughts on a non Amperex 6085 tube?  I found a National NOS 6085 for $20.
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #21 - 12/29/17 at 01:36:06
 
It's probably a good tube to try. It may well be made in Europe, there were far more made in Euriope than the US, and a lot of the US brands were European manufactured.

Here is what the Brent Jesse site says about the tube:

E80CC / 6085:This unusual European tube is basically an industrial type 6085. However, it's specs are similar enough to a 12AU7 that audiophiles are grabbing them up while the prices are still reasonable. The heater life is rated at 10,000 hours, and some have gold pins. The larger box plate structure gives this tube low microphonics and silky smooth sonics. Some of the Philips Holland versions had the rare pinched waist, where the glass dips inward and actually molds around the top mica plate, giving the plates extra support and virtually eliminating microphonics. There is also a version made at the Amperex factory in Hicksville, NY, which is often priced lower but looks the same and sounds very similar to the Holland version. Since this tube has a much higher Gm and Mu factor than a 12AU7, the gain is going to be greater and this tube will give a more forward presentation. Awesome in phase splitter applications. If in doubt, check with your amp or preamp manufacturer to see if this tube will work OK in your application. This tube is also about twice as tall as a 12AU7, so installation space in your chassis is a consideration as well. These are out of production, rare, and getting very hard to find. The European types usually command the top prices, but USA types exist as the 6085 and should be a bit lower in cost, but they are also rare and climbing in price. Many USA tubes were actually made by the European factories, so watch for the 6085 USA brands!
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #22 - 12/29/17 at 15:47:38
 
The ZROCK2 is such a versatile component! Paired with the very versatile Torii Mk III I can get amazing sound from almost any tube complement. This morning I replaced a sextet of Sylvania ECC189 that I have been really enjoying in the ZTPRE with a sextet of "super cryo'd" Voshod 6N1P tubes from cryoset.com that I had in before, and also replaced the pair of Amperex ECC189 that I had in the Torii Mk III with a pair of the same 6N1P.

A bit of adjusting with the EQ of the ZROCK2 and great sound! The ZROCK2 actually may pay for itself with some of us over the years in savings we may make on expensive NOS tubes. . . because honest we may not need to spend the bucks on tubes to get the type of sound we crave.

I'm definitely getting the type of sound I've craved . . . I'm so happy with my system right now.
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Archie
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #23 - 12/29/17 at 16:42:07
 
Quote:
It's probably a good tube to try. It may well be made in Europe, there were far more made in Europe than the US, and a lot of the US brands were European manufactured.



Thanks.  Yea, for $20 I think I'll try one.

I can't find much information on National Electronics vacuum tubes but I think they may have rebranded other's tubes.  So, who knows what I just bought.
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #24 - 12/29/17 at 18:31:11
 
Yes, might be a Philips, Amperex, Tungsram, hard to say. Let us know what you think.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #25 - 12/29/17 at 18:41:39
 
Lon and SS - thanks

Brent Jesse has one NOS Amperex 6085 in stock for $175! In the meantime, I found a pair of unbranded 6085 on ebay for $35. I may go for it
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Lon
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #26 - 12/29/17 at 18:51:53
 
Yeah, I personally think some of these tube sellers charge ridiculous prices. 35 dollars is more like it. Give it a shot. I've only tried Amperex, at about 45 a pop, but I'm very happy with these tubes. As the ZROCK2 is serving as sort of a centerpiece in the system having a great tube there helps everything.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #27 - 12/29/17 at 23:12:02
 
I paid the same as Lon for the same tubes but I have seen them for much more also. There are some on E-bay if you are OK going that route, I did.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #28 - 12/30/17 at 00:14:08
 
The lowest price Amperex on ebay that I am finding is $95 for a pair.  Not bad if you need two.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #29 - 12/30/17 at 00:56:48
 
I bought two so I have one for the future. Planning way ahead if Steve's prediction about tube life in these components is on the money.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #30 - 12/30/17 at 04:02:05
 
Just got my ZROCK2.  Had to work with the gain structure a bit and it is still a work in progress but despite that, and with only a couple of hours of playing... man is it good!

Then I just had to roll the tube, of course that’s not the best idea with so very few hours on it, but I too actually bought a couple of tubes prior to ordering the ZROCK2 - Siemens ECC82 NICKEL PLATE - and they just had to be tried.  My initial impressions are simply WOW!!!

My Omega S3HOXRS in addition to being super fast have nice, tight, articulate bass a plenty with benefits to the mids and highs as well.  

This is not meant to be a review just my initial take but the execution seems so obviously right.  Now the wait for it all to burn in...
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #31 - 12/30/17 at 07:15:32
 
I got lucky and found a single Amperex 6085 that tested new for $29.  Like everything else not in current production, the deals will be there, but timing is everything.  

This tube is ZROCK2 bound.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #32 - 12/30/17 at 08:39:18
 
JOMAN wrote on 12/30/17 at 04:02:05:
Just got my ZROCK2.  Had to work with the gain structure a bit and it is still a work in progress but despite that, and with only a couple of hours of playing... man is it good!

Awesome!   Won't take too long for it to burn in. Mine sounded very good at the end of a week.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #33 - 12/30/17 at 08:40:32
 
Jeff of Arabica wrote on 12/30/17 at 07:15:32:
I got lucky and found a single Amperex 6085 that tested new for $29.  Like everything else not in current production, the deals will be there, but timing is everything.  

This tube is ZROCK2 bound.  

Hope you enjoy it, I suspect you will. Looks like I started something!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #34 - 12/30/17 at 17:57:53
 
Since Steve doesn't label things ...  

Which is the input and which is the output on the ZROCK2 RCAs?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #35 - 12/30/17 at 18:21:42
 
Input connections are innermost, closest to the power cord; output connections are furthermost from the power cord, on the left edge (if facing the back of the unit).
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #36 - 12/30/17 at 18:49:08
 
Thanks!  I'm trying to keep from posting, "My ZROCK2 doesn't work!!!" once I get it.   Grin
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #37 - 12/30/17 at 19:11:19
 
That seems to be the layout with this style of Decware chassis if I'm not mistaken. But yeah, it's not even noted in the manual, you have to experiment I guess.

But you are forearmed and should have an easy set up. Hope yours doesn't arrive a half an hour before your wife comes home like some of my recent Decware items have! Wink
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #38 - 12/30/17 at 19:31:02
 
Yes inside is in and outside is out.
I always receive my packages in the evening so the most I can do is connect them and wait till the next day to try them, it's painful at times Lon. Yes you did start something with that tube but that's a good thing.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #39 - 12/30/17 at 19:38:23
 
Yes, it sure can be.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #40 - 12/31/17 at 18:08:11
 
Joman brings up a good point, the faster your speakers (and amp) are, the better the ZROCK2 will perform in your system.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #41 - 12/31/17 at 18:32:28
 
Do you guys find that you set the ZROCK2 for a particular recording or do you set it more for a particular volume?  (Or both?)  I'm wondering how much adjusting tends to be the norm.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #42 - 12/31/17 at 18:49:36
 
I have a setting that works well for much of the material I play ad I just leave it at that setting a lot. But a certain recording will come in and I will begin to feel that I could get better sound with adjustment and I'll start adjusting.

And when I roll tubes which I have been doing and plan to do less. . . I'll start adjusting.

So for me it's periods of non-adjusting as well as periods of adjusting. My guess is it will be similar in your case.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #43 - 12/31/17 at 19:41:35
 
Thanks Lon, that's what I was hoping to hear.  I generally don't like a lot of fiddling.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #44 - 12/31/17 at 20:27:35
 
I agree with Lon... set it and forget it most of the time, every now and then I have a recording where ZROCK is overkill and I tweak.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #45 - 12/31/17 at 20:36:18
 
Any situation where any of you bypass the ZROCK2 and just let the song play through without any influence?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #46 - 12/31/17 at 20:41:01
 
There are a few SACDs I've used with the Bypass on, but it's just as easy to dial back the EQ to the center position or close to it which I end up doing more often, that achieves the same thing.

This little box is so versatile that I don't mind the futzing as much as I thought I might or I might with other components. And really with the right tube in the ZROCK2 it just adds a great tone to the system that I don't think of bypassing.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #47 - 12/31/17 at 20:42:24
 
Good to know.  Thanks Lon. I have my Amperex 6085 in hand ready to slide her in one the ZR2 arrives.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #48 - 12/31/17 at 22:00:02
 
Hope the 6085 works out for you. It should. I sent my pair to bottlehead to try in his preamp before I got my ZROCK2. . . I had tried it in my Taboo and really liked it there and felt it might be great for the ZROCK2. Randy (bottlehead) fell for the tube and bought his own pair so I felt I was on the right path. . . .
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #49 - 01/01/18 at 17:17:12
 
Jeff, I do find my phono stage (Manley Steelhead) needs the ZROCK2 less than my DAC (Yamamoto YDA-1).  Since my current amp is an integrated, I can only use one source with it, so I haven't hooked up the phono stage to it.  It certainly doesn't have the bass extension of the ZROCK2 but tone wise it seems to do ok without it in the chain.  Overall I prefer DAC +ZROCK2 over my current vinyl setup though.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #50 - 01/01/18 at 18:59:40
 
I too find no reason to remove it from the audio path via bypass switch as adjusting the knob does that for me. That being said I have not played anything yet that using the ZROCK to some degree isn't beneficial and usually very beneficial.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #51 - 01/01/18 at 19:08:31
 
What about the two equalization curve options?  Do you find you use only one or both?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #52 - 01/01/18 at 19:27:33
 
I have used both. . . I mainly use A but there are some recordings where a dash of B is just right and several where a bit more has helped a lot.

You'll find your way into the component's use easily and fast. It surprised me how intuitively the component works and how easily one gets a handle on it after just a little experimentation.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #53 - 01/01/18 at 19:32:11
 
Lon, I'm sure you're right.  This is just what people on the Waitlist do to pass the time!   Tongue

Has the ZROCK2 lessened your need for the treble cutoff on your Torii III?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #54 - 01/01/18 at 19:37:46
 
Actually no, I need that cutoff and though I have the bass and treble controls a bit less "cranked" (in the case of treble down, bass up) I don't think I'd be completely happy without these controls even with the ZROCK2.

I briefly tried the Taboo Mk IV as a speaker amplifier with the ZROCK2 when I first got the ZROCK2 and it didn't solve the issue I have with that amp driving speakers. . . but that was early on in my ZROCK2 experience and I want to try that again in the near future, as well as try the Eddie Vaughn modified Zen C amp I have with the ZROCK2 driving the HR-1s. (I don't have the treble cut circuit on these amps).

For the Torii I know I need the treble cut circuit and I would try to have it in any other amp I use primarily.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #55 - 01/01/18 at 19:43:20
 
I have not used the other setting yet myself but I am sure I will try it when I come across something recorded terribly. As of now the one setting has been able to do as much as I have needed.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #56 - 01/03/18 at 03:19:39
 

I'm pleased to see so much positive feedback on the ZROCK2.  Sales are strong on it, and I'm getting to that comfort zone now with all the feedback and a year of use in my own universe that if I were going to spend money promoting one of our products, this would be it.

For myself, I have used it with several DACs, Streamers, my vinyl rig, and my tape rigs. I have only used the bypass twice.  I find that at least over here it imparts a midrange presence with all the correct underpinnings, that I can't live without it. Adjusted just past half way on the brighter EQ, it simply makes everything sound better, regardless of equipment,  or speakers. This was my fantasy goal... that magic black box that you simply can't live without.  Didn't know it was going to go here, would have been perfectly satisfied if it just made streaming internet radio enjoyable which is what originally motivated it.

I find it interesting when comparing it to the ZSTAGE, it's closest relative, that the ZSTAGE transparently adds slam and presence, but the ZROCK2 adds ear candy tonality and tangible musicality that once you've had it, your pretty much unable to do without it.

Makes me realize that I could have built this into our amps and cheated my ass off, but I'm too much of a purist for that, plus I like a fair fight.  

I think about the guy who buys overpriced isolation feet, or the guy who way overspends on cables hoping for a big change, and I want to tell him, yea it will make a big change for the better no doubt, but for the same money or less we could transform your stereo from mediocre to superior with just a flip of switch. I mean after all, why buy a high performance sports car and run cheap gas in it?  Same thing.

Another interesting observation is that the ZROCK2 is proof that the source equipment and or recording is always the weakest link, meaning most have never heard how good their stereo can be, only glimpses from time to time. This seems to be a way to "make it happen" nearly 95% of the time instead of waiting for it to happen 15% of the time.

Enough rambling, time to listen.  Last night it made a grand piano sound far more real than I've ever heard one recorded and much more like I remember my own grand piano sounding like in years past.


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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #57 - 01/03/18 at 03:57:47
 
Exactly what I want Steve: Ear candy tonality and tangible musicality, for the recording processes, we all know let us down. Thanks for this and I'm excited to get mine.

Your ZDSD output is further enhanced with the addition of an Shunyata Zitron Alpha Digital power cord, I'm so pleased with. Speaking of speaker (or cables)/as you referred to, fortunately I was able to get my KS6063's at 50% off retail. I can't part with, though I have tried. I can't go back, as I figure I won't be able to go back from your ZROCK2.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #58 - 01/03/18 at 06:44:05
 
Quote:
Makes me realize that I could have built this into our amps and cheated my ass off, but I'm too much of a purist for that, plus I like a fair fight.


Amen.  That statement you just made defines you and your brand and is the reason you have the "quality" of following you have today.  No wire, resistor, capacitor, tube, or genius schema can create this.  I commend you!

I am looking forward to the arrival of my ZROCK2.  Right now, I am wallowing in the beauty of my ZMA via Omega's.  Made some room modifications today and my ZMA/Ultra/Omega SAHO combo has never sounded better!  

And thank you AGAIN for the Ultra!  It is the Swiss Army Knife in my system and the reason I have not had to sacrifice.  I have a pretty complex thing going on here and it would simply not be possible without the Ultra.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #59 - 01/03/18 at 12:01:55
 
Steve,
Actually the thought of combining the ZROCK2 and an amp has crossed my mind more than once.   Not for all the amps but possibly a Zen Super Amp or the Anniversary Amp????? (Nudge, Nudge)

That would be hard to resist!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #60 - 01/03/18 at 13:25:52
 
Even though the by-pass switch will see little use...as Steve mentioned... . It will be good to have, for the initial reinforcement.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #61 - 01/03/18 at 13:26:21
 
I'm glad that Steve has confirmed that he's hearing what we're hearing. This ZROCK2 is a great full-system enhancer.

I agree that it accomplishes changes in aspects that expensive cables and isolation devices assist with. But the good news is that if one has equipped a system with these the ZROCK2 is so transparent and revealing that its improvements are so vivid and RIGHT. (At least with the Type II copper foil caps, that's my only experience in this component, but with previous experience with these caps I know they enhance transparency and resolution of the signal). I've tried the ZROCK2 in my second system which has lesser cabling and lesser isolation control and I have to say it makes a significant difference but the effect is less vivid and I have to apply a bit more EQ and I get a bit more of a thickening of the tonal balance as a result, less of a good thing for me. So I'm glad I have reduced noise in my system with great cabling, power treatment and isolation control as I feel I'm getting the best of the  resolution and focus that the ZROCK2 can deliver.

This is a great product. A dream product of mine would be one component with a ZBIT and ZROCK2 and treble cut circuit built in with several stereo outputs and two sets of dual attenuators so that balance control could be applied. And to make the dream better, a remote control like that in the ZTPRE and perhaps in a matching chassis. What a system tailoring tool that would be!

So glad this component has been selling, Lord knows I've been trumpeting about it and so has  Scott and Randy and others. . . I'm not surprised that it has become a fast selling component and wish it all the success imaginable.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #62 - 01/03/18 at 13:35:19
 
True Lon, glad you reinforced my opinion of great cabling. I plan to, see what the ZROCK2 can do when I put my 8TC Speaker cable and other Kimber IC's in. Then of course, back to my KS1030 x 2 & KS6063 Loom + Shunyata to ZDSD.

Though I have tried a few times to part with Kimber Select.....it has not happened yet.   Grin Cool  

I know Lon, your top Voodoo Cable is very very good. You are also running great caps in your HR1's too. Mundorfs like me, if I recall correctly. I had KS3033 for 14 years (2001 till 2015), KS3035 (2013, 14 & 15)....then went to these KS6063's.....and cannot go back!

"Sonically the KS achieves a level of intimacy and low-level resolution that’s almost embarrassing in its nakedness."

I want to hate them....but, I can't.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #63 - 01/03/18 at 21:28:55
 
I am listening to Yes Close To The Edge right now and I am finally able to really enjoy this album on my system in my room thanks to the ZROCK. This is one of those albums that was just about unplayable, no actually it was unplayable until now, used to be way too bright and sharp, not anymore. Steve's latest post is right on, and I quote : I find that at least over here it imparts a midrange presence with all the correct underpinnings, that I can't live without it.
I personally find that the music is much richer and detailed at the same time.
I am listening to side two now and it sounds really excellent. This album for me is a real litmus test.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #64 - 01/03/18 at 21:53:59
 
I hear you my friend. I've found that to be the case with a few problem cds I've played. . . the ZROCK2 makes me forget about their shortcomings.

I just popped an Audio Magic Super Fuse into the ZROCK2. I have had a great experience with Audio Magic fuses in my ZTPRE (takes two for that component, an expense to risk but I really like the subtle improvement) so I wanted to try one in the ZROCK2. I think it's time, I've gotten a handle on the sound with the standard fuse and the component is pretty well seasoned in now.

Initial impressions are quite positive. The fuses in the ZTPRE (which were the longer size) took a week or so to "be all they can be" so I expect a little change with this one. Like the ZTPRE and the ZBIT (the other Z Amigos) the ZROCK2 lets me hear everything. I love its transparency and the enhancement it brings.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #65 - 01/04/18 at 01:04:37
 

The biggest challenge behind the design of the ZROCK was to do it with a single tube. So easy with two or even three, but one was a real challenge. This ended up being why it is so transparent and now able to be used in serious signal paths without obvious tradeoffs. Tone seems to always be the casualty of the recording and playback chain, so being able to restore tone at will just makes the music sound more the way it did in the studio live.  

I can assure you that never in a real studio did the music ever sound lean, thin or dry, or even peaky in the top end. The top end is always well controlled because in the studio it is loud. These attributes (nutrients) are washed out from the processing and playback process, just like processed meat. It is most apparent in the digital format, which if you think about it is exactly like taking real meat, liquifying it, letting it dry and cutting it up and selling it as real meat.

On that rather disparaging note, the ZROCK comes to the rescue by somehow fixing this problem equally well in all formats without bias.




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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #66 - 01/05/18 at 15:02:03
 
SS, L & SD, you're killing me!

Please, can you finish up my ZROCK2 today and ship?!

I know, I know.....all in due time.   Cry
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #67 - 01/05/18 at 15:29:37
 
I feel your pain Stone. My Zrock has been ready since just before Christmas. But, due to holiday's and bad weather shipment has stalled.
I was told it should depart Decware this last Wed, but I have not yet seen ship notice with tracking?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #68 - 01/05/18 at 15:59:18
 
Hmm, yeah I noticed, yours has been packed status, for some time now, on the build sheet?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #69 - 01/05/18 at 16:28:40
 
Tube-rolling can be fun. . . or maddening. Recently with the ZTPRE and the ZROCK2 it's been fun. I put the Sylvania ECC189 back in place in the ZTPRE and the Amperex ECC189 back in the Torii MK III so no longer is all super cryo'd 6N1P. And I enjoyed the bit of "focus" that brought back to the table, with a dash of body. Then I popped the RCA tube (what type is it?) that Steve sent with the ZROCK2 back into the ZROCK2 in place of the Amperex 6085 and I'm really enjoying this entire complement as a whole, a really great sound--full and swinging!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #70 - 01/05/18 at 16:55:17
 
This might belong in the ZP3 section but we've been discussing the Amperex 6085 here so ...

Has anyone tried the Amperex 6085 in their ZP3 instead of the 12AU7?  If one sounds good there then it might make sense to by a pair for the ZP3 and ZROCK2.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #71 - 01/05/18 at 17:23:31
 
Quote:
I was told it should depart Decware this last Wed, but I have not yet seen ship notice with tracking?


I just looked at the build list and you might want to contact Sarah if you haven't already.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #72 - 01/05/18 at 18:18:41
 
When I got my ZTPRE this fall I took my vinyl playback out as the Taboo Mk IV and the ZTPRe are occupying the available rack space that my RP3 and ZP3 held before. I needed the headphone playback to extend listening possibilities and my digital playback is so strong (and my digital collection far bigger) that I haven't missed my vinyl spinning. So I can't put a 6085 into the ZP3 but I'm pretty sure they would sound quite nice indeed in the ZP3. . . for what that's worth.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #73 - 01/05/18 at 21:37:52
 
I just got that "National" 6085 tube I bought for $20 on ebay.  It's made in France!  That's a first for me.  Anybody know anything about French tubes?  Ooo la la!   Kiss

I'll pop it in my ZP3 while I wait on my ZROCK2.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #74 - 01/07/18 at 03:16:54
 
I’ve had my ZROCK2 for just about two weeks.  The difference it has made is HUGE!  Strongly recommended.

By the way, I’m running the Siemens ECC82 Nickel Plate.  With this tube in complement with the others in my CSP3 and UFO2, amongst all the other benefits, the sound stage is truly 3D.  Width, depth and forward projection of the soundstage (not forward sounding) is exactly what I’ve been trying to achieve for a very long time.

So one would think I would stop there, as any sane person would.  Thanks to all of you buggers (term of endearment), and your comments about the 6085, I came across a Siemens 6085 and I just have to scratch that itch.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #75 - 01/07/18 at 16:23:26
 
Great to read Joman....I'm getting closer to mine.

Acetone, looks like yours shipped off the build sheet?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #76 - 01/07/18 at 18:21:39
 
Hard for me to keep from wanting to comment on how happy I am with the ZROCK's ability to give what is needed dependent for each recording to my system. I am listening to the Rolling Stones Some Girls right now, this is the type of music that was difficult to listen to on my system before and now I can actually really enjoy listening to it.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #77 - 01/07/18 at 18:45:10
 
Please do keep commenting SS. You're the original whom then sent his in for the 2 upgrade. Although you are LP based and I'm CD based/others are reporting CD success.....I look forward to grabing CD's like Some Girls and enjoying them through my ZMA.

I think half of my 1100 CD collection will be relevant again. We have to live in the world the way it is (our Recordings). Not in the way we wish it was (like our well recorded Recordings).
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #78 - 01/07/18 at 19:14:39
 
I find what makes me want to comment is my poor recordings. My well recorded stuff always sounded great but even it is blowing me away now, you know when you are listening and you sit up because you hear even more into the recording and more is reveled, or you look around because you hear things in the room that weren't there before. It kind of startles me sometimes, funny.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #79 - 01/08/18 at 00:21:28
 
I just bought a Philips 6085 with gold pins and made in Holland.  Looks new and I'm hoping it's pretty much the same as Amperex.  Paid $33.50 which isn't bad if it's equivalent.  I've got that National -- made in France, 6085 in my ZP3 while I'm waiting for my ZROCK2 and I like what it does there.  I'd be interested if others have tried these tubes as alternates to the 12AU7 in the ZP3.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #80 - 01/09/18 at 16:36:47
 
I bet that is about the same as the Amperex.

My Audio Magic fuse has the recommended hours on it now and after some crucial listening I've found I prefer the RCA tube that Steve sent by a hair. It has a touch of midrange richness that compliments the sound of the system overall with the new fuse in place, and a slightly less forward presentation. Those who are detail hungry and like a bit more upfront presentation would prefer the 6085 here.

Excellent clear sound from the system now with just the right touch of warmth with just a little EQ A added to the good and great recordings, and more judicious EQ tuning to the others. The ZROCK2 really has helped my overall musical enjoyment.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #81 - 01/09/18 at 18:14:16
 
I would have to agree with your assessment of the 6085 compared to the tube Steve sent.
I prefer the 6085 because I already have a full rich tone and like the little added detail and forwardness of this tube.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #82 - 01/09/18 at 18:24:38
 
Right. So much is system dependent! And with a different tube complement in my ZTPRE and or Torii Mk III the 6085 will no doubt be the best choice. Nice to have options!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #83 - 01/09/18 at 18:57:42
 
Exactly why I like tube gear, more options to tailor the sound to our own unique likes and dislikes, our rooms, and of course our hearing. Listening to Steely Dan Aja right now, ridiculous.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #84 - 01/11/18 at 18:35:07
 
Mine is in packing.....I think Decware ships on Monday's.....so I hope to have later next week.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #85 - 01/12/18 at 14:23:50
 
Damn. I could have had my ZR2 for tomorrow/potentially. However, I bumped it to Monday.

Busy weekend! Going to Vikings against the Saints! I just put my ETYMOTIC Research ear plugs out, so I won't forget them. Home field advantage db level's.....off the charts! Drew Brees better have his ear piece in tight.....the rest of his offense won't be able to hear his calls though.....Booo YA!

Doing a stress test on Monday too....all should go well...then go get my ZR2.  So, I have to behave myself at the game.....only one Beer.  :'(

The New Years Eve Day game I went too was -14 degree's for my 6 block walk to the Stadium. This game will be 15 above....a relative heat wave!  Potential snow all day though....outside...72 degree's on the inside with natural Sun Light through the glass. Truly is a beautiful Venue.  Acoustics?   TOTAL Horse s--t.

Sharp rocks / waterfall....bring it on....we will defend the NORTH!

Winning is Special ~ because it is never guaranteed.

.....should have the ZR2 seasoning in by Tuesday or Wednesday.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #86 - 01/12/18 at 16:12:55
 
Stone,  Your gonna love it. Took 3 - 4 days (20hrs approx.) for the Zrock to settle in. Riding the gain on my Zstage into the Zrock, then making fine adjustments on the Zrock helps greatly Lp to Lp and Cd to CD. Zrock is, no doubt, here to stay in the signal path!!
It's gonna be a long game...maybe two beers, Enjoy!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #87 - 01/12/18 at 16:31:08
 
Mine is on the bench!  I already have the cables purchased and ready to connect!  I little more waiting.  

Glad you are enjoying yours Ace!  There is not double I will experience the same level of improvement you and others have reported.  Good to hear from you and I hope you and your family are doing well.

And Stone, a playoff game.  How amazing!  One beer huh?  At a playoff game?  Man, a test of will power if I have ever hear one. lol.  Have a blast and may your dream prevail.  My Rams are out  :(

EDIT (30 seconds later):  Just got an email that it is now "Testing."  Even better Smiley
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #88 - 01/12/18 at 17:08:43
 
Thanks guys! You know I can't wait to get this implemented!

I have my other pair of KS1030's in wait.

LOL!  Who am I kidding, guys....peer pressure and all....plus the atmosphere in there and pregame outside....is going to be absolutely electric......2 or 3 beers will be in order!

Yeah, the dream is there....we don't like to talk about it....like when a pitcher is doing a no hitter..... .

PS-J of A....that new joint Stadium from the old Hollywood Park grounds for the Charger's/Rams (2020)...is going to be something.....and you know the Rams will contend next year as they did this year.....impressively.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #89 - 01/13/18 at 15:30:38
 
Just when I thought Zrock was settled in it improves...immensely!
Put on two LP's last night and the bass was awesome, soundstage wider - deeper - taller, more air around each instrument, more details flushed out of the mix. I was in bliss. Have not heard these LP's ever sound this good. Peter Hammill -"the silent corner and the empty stage" & Thinking Plague - "Moonsongs" (plague mix was especially great). Can't wait to spin more vinyl tonite. Off this A.M. to brew my next batch of homebrew.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #90 - 01/13/18 at 16:07:48
 
Ace-Tone wrote on 01/13/18 at 15:30:38:
Just when I thought Zrock was settled in it improves...immensely!
Put on two LP's last night and the bass was awesome, soundstage wider - deeper - taller, more air around each instrument, more details flushed out of the mix. I was in bliss. Have not heard these LP's ever sound this good. Peter Hammill -"the silent corner and the empty stage" & Thinking Plague - "Moonsongs" (plague mix was especially great). Can't wait to spin more vinyl tonite. Off this A.M. to brew my next batch of homebrew.

That's rocking good news! It will get better still I think in the next week or so. Mine really has become a new gateway into the sound of my system.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #91 - 01/13/18 at 16:18:31
 
Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing what the ZROCK II brings to both my systems.  Right now watching the film "The Human Comedy" but plan to get some Vinyl Therapy in before I watch Bullitt this evening. Mark.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #92 - 01/13/18 at 16:28:44
 
Bullitt to Chalmers:

"You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine."
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #93 - 01/13/18 at 16:32:04
 
I predict you're going to dig it Mark. I believe it will be the icing on the frequency balance cake.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #94 - 01/15/18 at 18:23:06
 
Wow, ......NOT GOOD.... .

I have distortion...absolutely unlistenable!

In bypass it is fine.

When switched to use it....both in A and B modes/switch on the back....all distortion....as you raise the gain knob from 0 to the first audibility and higher.  
...................................can't even approach unity gain.... ....not that matters........ .


Not a good day to leave and have a stress test in two hours!   Roll Eyes  
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #95 - 01/15/18 at 18:25:19
 
That's odd. Not sure what could be happening. Try lowering the output from your DSD and be sure the tube is properly seated in the socket. . . . Get Steve on the phone otherwise. Mine was flawless from the start.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #96 - 01/15/18 at 18:31:11
 
The ROCK's input should handle up to ....I forget how many input volts Steve set it at....now.....the 2 version.

Should handle the ZDSD no problem.   I will try what you mentioned Lon.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #97 - 01/15/18 at 18:32:32
 
15 volts is what Steve told me. Are you using your ARC preamp?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #98 - 01/15/18 at 18:36:00
 
I tried it at unity gain and then turning up my gain on my ZMA....total distortion.

I will check the seating of the tube....pretty damn sure it is in all the way.

I need to leave for now....head to Dr.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #99 - 01/15/18 at 18:38:36
 
Well, if it needs my ARC Line Stage....then I have no need for it....I want to run it:

ZDSD to ROCK to ZMA.

Steve makes no mention that a Preamplifier is mandatory.

Done for today.....  . Got to head out.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #100 - 01/15/18 at 18:40:31
 
Don't sweat it, just be calm for the test. I think a call to Steve is the next step. . . not sure what else to suggest.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #101 - 01/15/18 at 18:44:11
 
Should work the way you want it to as you have the gain control on the ZMA, only need a preamp if you don't have gain adjustment on an amp.

Unless your input and output are different, I don't know what's going on. . . Relax, get the test, call Steve. . . keep us posted. Sorry this is happening, I know how frustrating it can be.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #102 - 01/15/18 at 18:57:29
 
Did you try another tube?  if you have one.  Could have gotten damaged in transit if the box was rattled around enough.  

But does the signal go through the tube even in bias?  If so, can't be the tube.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #103 - 01/15/18 at 19:00:15
 
I asked Steve specifically about using the ZR2 after my CSP3, which can put out 30 volts.  The ZR2 can handle 15 volts.  Steve said that I'd have no problem -- couldn't damage anything, but I couldn't run the CSP3 full out into the ZR2.  I don't know the maximum that the ZDSD puts out but if it's near the 15 volts, that could account for the distortion.  I'm only mentioning this to give more information.  Obviously, Steve will have to solve the problem.

I second Lon's suggestion of turning the ZDSD down to see the effect.  If the ARC is after the ZDSD and the ZR2 works then I'd guess the ARC would be throttling down the ZDSD somehow.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #104 - 01/15/18 at 19:05:18
 
I found this on the ZDSD page:   Quote:
These Silver Jacks are the output of a fully differential balanced circuit driving a fully floating pair of high gain, wide bandwidth transformers. The result is between two and five times the standard 2 volt output of the stock RCA jacks. The amount of output is adjustable from the front control panel.


This seems to say that the ZDSD puts out 4 to 10 volts.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #105 - 01/15/18 at 19:18:46
 
Jeff of Arabica wrote on 01/15/18 at 18:57:29:
Did you try another tube?  if you have one.  Could have gotten damaged in transit if the box was rattled around enough.  

But does the signal go through the tube even in bias?  If so, can't be the tube.

Jeff, I THINK the bypass just goes from input to output and bypasses the tube itself. So yes, it could well be the tube and another tube would be a good test, don't know if Larry has one, he probably has a box full of 6922 types but 12AU7s. . . .

I hope it can be resolved soon. . .and I think we need Steve's help.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #106 - 01/15/18 at 19:32:55
 
The Tascam DA-3000 specs. show a "Maximum Output Level: 6 dBV"
At setting "Reference Level: -20", the maximum output, going through Steve's transformer coupled output jacks with a 5 times voltage output, could put it over the ZR2 input tolerance.  Not sure how to interpret this, but at the highest output level setting, -20, this is what the Tascam outputs:
Standard level: +4 dBu
Maximum level: +24dBu

Point being, it could be that with the highest setting, and Steve's output jacks, it could exceed the ZR2 tolerance.

There is an easy way to rule this out Stone.  Simply use the stock ZDSD outputs (which Steve kept intact) into the ZROCK2, rather than the Decware output jacks to see if you still get distortion.  If you do, then the output at Ref. -20 setting is too much for the ZR2 and you will just have to turn it down until there is no distortion even with ZR2 turned all the way up.  

If there is still distortion out of the stock ZDSD RCA output jacks, then probably a ZR2 issue.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #107 - 01/15/18 at 20:02:33
 
Sound advice. Larry is at the doctor's right now. . . .
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #108 - 01/15/18 at 21:21:53
 
Stress test went well. I got in early at 1:40pm....since it did not involve an IV.....I was in and out. I get the interpretation tomorrow.

I did not have time to change the output  of my ZDSD. So, soon as I got back.....I fired it all up and knocked my ZDSD down to -9, its lowest setting. It works....but, still a haze to it....not distortion per se'....haze.

When I try to go to -14 it distorts again/mildly, and completely unusable at: -16 , -18 or -20....where I keep it to run into ZMA direct from ZDSD.

Not sure if I like knocking it down and not that pleased with the haze still at -9...so burn in time will be allowed.

1) I want to know the voltage of my ZDSD at all five increments (-9, 14, 16, 18 & -20).
2) The voltage input max of the ZROCK2
.....Steve will chime in.

I don't plan on using it with my Line Stage.

See, the whole idea behind the ZDSD's output stage and its voltage output...I like at max (-20)/FOR ME.....is its ability to drive the ZMA direct/no Pre......with balls/density weight and dynamics+Steve's output stage's extended highs....midrange/...killer of course...but keeping the tonal balance in check. It does. My Audio Research Line Stage goes in on occasion when you want to get kicked in the chest + continued definition.
YM WILL V......depending on Cables resolution/noise floor...Speaker Tweeters and Driver's to handle high SPL's with density and extension.

Well, I will burn her in .....see what I think.

PS-I deleted my post over in the development thread...did not belong there.

Thanks for your input guys, of course!

I did not think to try the output of my ZDSD first....I thought why would Steve design it not to handle its -20 capability? Plus, the ZR2 is to be at 15v input.  ...so, of course, I thought it to be something else....process of elimination............ensued.

I really want to know those values in my 1) and 2) questions above?!

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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #109 - 01/15/18 at 22:23:32
 
Those are great questions Stone and I wouldn't mind knowing the answers to both, being a ZDSD owner myself.  I do remember the POWER of this DAC when I ran it straight to my ZMA.  When reference level set at -20, I could never get my ZMA knob past 9 or 10 o'clock.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #110 - 01/15/18 at 22:40:51
 
Glad you got in and out and here's hoping for great results.

I don't know the answer to those questions. I do think that "haze" will dissipate in a few days and I too had to play around with the gain between my source and ZTPRE and ZBIT all being adjustable. . . I always have my Torii volume turned completely up, sounds most transparent and natural that way to me, so I'm dealing with lower gains on source, ZTPRE and ZBIT (and getting full-bodied dynamic sound, no distortion).

Hopefully Steve will weigh in, and hopefully with some experimentation you'll find the system singing with the ZROCK2.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #111 - 01/16/18 at 15:18:28
 
Unfortunately, even at the ZDSD's lowest reference level output of -9db....what I thought was haze...is distortion. However, not on all tracks.

The unit is running as intended: Both A and B EQ's, Bypass, Unity Gain...and dialing the hit between 1/2 and 3/4,...2/3rd's is spot on and variations of~up or down a smidge/beautiful Unit. However, in the treble.....  distortion rears its head....you clearly hear and grabs your attention.... .

Once again, I can't use any higher output as referenced in previous post of -14. -16, -18 or -20.
That is just fine using the -9 (it is relative) with the output/EQ provided by the ZR2 to the gain of my ZMA,

if: With more seasoning of the Cap ~ clears the treble periodic distortion up.

I could try the stock outputs, yes. However,

1) what is their voltage output vs. the -9 I'm using? I could just try it and see if the treble distortion goes away.

2) However,.....I don't want to get away from this great ZDSD/output stage of Steve's.

I will continue to season in and see if its just the Cap/unit burn in needed.

Maybe the ZDSD/output stage, is just not a good candidate for the ZR2, even at its lowest -9 output setting? The Unit is running as intended...or, all tracks would reveal the periodic (there and then not there) treble distortion issue.

Will hear/see......if I can get the issue to clear up (periodic treble distortion)....then I can do some bypass comparisons too....bypass in the unit.....and with out in System. My System is configured on the floor and easy to power down and switch out components.



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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #112 - 01/16/18 at 15:34:18
 
Man, sorry to read of your problems with treble distortion. I haven't heard any distortion myself . . .I would definitely be concerned if I did.

I don't know enough about the DSD to be of any help. I've been so enthralled with my DirectStream DAC and its balanced output has been so compatible with ZTPRE and ZBIT that I get amazing transparency. When I first ordered and then canceled and re-ordered the ZROCK2 I was fearful of encountering just the situation you are experiencing. . . but instead I've had a transformative experience.

In your shoes I'd follow the plan you outline, and try to talk with Steve and seek his advice. . . . I'm certainly hoping that there's a way to get both the output stage benefit and the great benefit of the ZROCK2.

Mark should have his ZROCK2 today I believe, here's hoping he has no issues.

I spent four days listening to headphones and a straight from ZBIT to Taboo Mk IV pathway (no ZROCK2) for four days because my wife was off. Today the system is playing, ZROCK2 to Torii Mk III to HR-1 and boy does it sound great --I feel really blessed.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #113 - 01/17/18 at 04:42:47
 
It is problematic without the use of an Preamplifier.

I do not want to use with my Line Stage.

The -9db of my ZDSD, is to little of output through the ZR2 and distorts. The -14, -16, -18 & -20, are far to much output and cause distortion.

I will be returning for a Refund.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #114 - 01/17/18 at 04:46:55
 
Hey Stone,

I had the same issue with my ZROCK2 when I got it.  I was running it between the ZDSD and the CSP3.  The ZDSD was set at -18.  Turning the gain down on the ZDSD helped eliminate a lot of the distortion but it was still there and the density that I was used to was no longer there.

I then changed the tube from the RCA to my Siemens ECC82 Nickel plate and the result was even worse so I put the RCA back in.

I then repositioned the ZROCK2.  Put it between the CSP3 and the SE84UFO2.  Problem virtually disappeared.  I then put the Siemens back in - WOW, GREAT OR WHAT!

Gave it a few hours of burn in and I bumped up the ZDSD to -18.  All was great.  However on some poorly recorded music that had electronic bass I still perceived the odd distortion and more so in the vocals oddly enough.  I remembered that when I first got my S3HOXRS I was getting some distortion or rattle from one of the speakers that appeared to be coming from a driver.  Turns out it was a mechanical rattle.  Tightening up the screws that held the driver in place with some burn in eliminated the problem.

So I took the grills off my speakers and - no more distortion.  Put the grills back on and started lightly tapping on the grill frame.  The grills are held in place with magnets.  Sure enough around the middle of the grill I could hear mechanical rattle.  I’m going to experiment with putting some thin cushion on the grill frame to eliminate the mechanical rattle because it really bugs me to see these miniature drivers, with the grills off, producing the scale of image and sound that they do.  It simply makes no sense and it makes me feel that these buggers are deliberately messing with my mind - so I cover them up by keeping the grills in place.

I talked to Steve about this and he did indicate that positioning the ZROCK2 between the ZDSD and CSP3 could cause the CSP3 to “magnify” (my words) what was being fed from the ZDSD.  Also I recalled that when I first got my ZDSD I perceived some “distortion” from some recordings.  Steve thought it could be in the recording itself or “digititus” being more discernible.  Turns out that was the case.  So I’ve got the ZDSD gain turned up and then that is further exsarbated by the gain settings of the CSP3.  My system is very transparent and fast so whatever is upstream becomes very evident very quickly.  That’s OK with me because it just makes me work at it until I get it to where I want it to be.

There was one other niggle that I discovered with my ZROCK.  The white wires on the by-pass switch weren’t correctly attached.  No biggie for me.  Things go wrong at times, and that can’t be helped.  It’s that after sales service that counts and I’ve had great service from Decware.  I’m handy with a soldering iron and these are easily accessible so I’m not sending the ZROCK back for this work to be done because I don’t want to be with out it!  I’m doing the work myself, no complaints from me espaecially after all the time that Steve has spent addressing all my questions and concerns.  

I don’t know if this is a contributing factor because the “distortion” problem seems to have disappeared.  I’m going to put some more hours on it and see what happens, but I am one very happy camper with it in place where it is between the CSP3 and the UFO2.

I don’t know if this will be of help to you, but I thought I would post my experience with the ZROCK2.  Hope you can work this out because, man, does it make a difference.

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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #115 - 01/17/18 at 05:14:38
 
Thanks Joman for sharing your experience with the ZR2.

It certainly is problematic without a Pre. Once you put it between your Pre and Amp/it does its thing.

I'm a purist of tone/timbre and only occasionally use my Line Stage in my chain. For me, the only acceptance of the ZR2...was to run ZDSD to ZR2 to ZMA. It is not capable of doing so. I am returning.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #116 - 01/17/18 at 12:32:52
 
Sorry it has turned out this way Stone. I hadn't anticipated this sort of problem with the DSD. And I'd be in your shoes about not wanting to use a preamp. . . if I had not encountered the ZTPRE, the most unique preamp I've ever heard. It really works so well at improving the sound of my system both with and without the ZROCK2. I'm lucky!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #117 - 01/17/18 at 13:55:49
 
NO Line Stage (Preamplifier) is absolutely 100%  transparent. My Audio Research:
http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649353546-audio-research-ls2b-mkii-line-stere...

The LS-2B MkII & the LS-16, are the last of the great Class A outputs using 6922 tube variants, the most transparent and truly high definition, you will ever hear. They are like chickens teeth on the used market, but do come up here and there. Cult Status they have secretly and not so secretly achieved.  These two models absolutely trash out the 6H30 tube, Audio Research now uses. So, no need for a ZTPRE for me.

I put in the LS-2B and turn my ZMA into a whole other Beast. However, as stated, for absolute purity.....ZDSD to ZMA, for me, most of the time.

However, I could get another pair of IC's (KS1030's only will do-to my all copper KS6063) and run the ZR2 between my Line Stage and ZMA....and the ZR2 will do its thing. I just don't want to do it that way.....I wanted it direct. It should have been made clear to only use with an Preamplifier.

I'm all set....and my set up, Kabling and NOS Platinum tube rolling can't be beat. I could never go back to low power/I have decided and certainly could never go back to lamp cord Speaker wire that most use. 95db sensitivity @ 1 watt/1 meter ......I find horrid too. I have stated this before. .....why I sold my Monoliths....the Tweeter and that driver...my Adagio Tweeter's and Driver's absolutely crushed.

Each to their own. Enjoying the music for your ear brain connection...is all that matters.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #118 - 01/17/18 at 14:33:10
 
Cool. I'm not going to judge your ARC without hearing it, and I'll just say the ZTPRE is an innovative design and I'll excuse you judging it without hearing it but if I could do without it I would welcome that but. . .  it just does do what Steve says, it's not there but it makes things better. Would be interesting if you get to hear one one day. . . I'd welcome your opinion.

Sorry the ZROCK2 didn't work out for you. Glad you are happy with what you have, that's what counts as you say.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #119 - 01/17/18 at 15:00:09
 
Stone,

I’d second your take on the ARC pre’s That use the 6922 vs. The 6H30.  I had both and felt the same.  

What interests me about the ZR2 and ZDSD is, this “distortion” issue, is it limited to that combo because of the high gain setting that we are using?  It’s more of a curiosity for me than a concern because it is working for me, but I also do understand your take on the situation.

I also agree that once one gets used to density that comes from the higher gain settings of the Decware output stage in the ZDSD it’s hard to go back, I sure can’t.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #120 - 01/17/18 at 15:21:39
 
By the way Lon,  thanks to your comments about the ZTPRE I’m considering replacing the CSP3.  I’m also in for the A-Amp, this is getting really close to alimony territory.

You know - sometimes ignorance is bliss and advisable, please keep that in mind when you comment about the ZTPRE. Wink
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #121 - 01/17/18 at 15:38:46
 
Duly noted. I know what you mean about alimony territory. And yes, anyone who loved the CSP2 or 3 would love the ZTPRE immediately and be shocked at how invisible it becomes as you play with adjustment and tube choices. The "Z Amigos" have really changed my listening perspective from "Keep it Simple Stupid" to "wow, these have done so mush for my sound!" The ZBIT was that rascally friend who introduced me to his partners in crime, first the ZTPRE and then the ZROCK2.

I'm listening to a piano trio right now that sounds so natural and present. . . the very same recording delighted me two year ago, but didn't sound this rich and convincing. I spent a ton of money to get from there to here but I'm not complaining. I was happy then, I'm happy now, and happiness is the wonder of human existence. . . .
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #122 - 01/17/18 at 16:05:37
 
Yes, well... in my case the partner in crime isn’t going to be the ZBIT.  Somehow I don’t think that “Lon made me do it” is going to cut it.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #123 - 01/17/18 at 16:07:03
 
Oh yes, how could I forget... “Happy wife, happy life”!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #124 - 01/17/18 at 16:09:14
 
NO I don't think that excuse will work. I have faith in your imagination. . . you'll come up with a good one.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #125 - 01/18/18 at 03:09:23
 
This evening I was setting the gain on the output of the CSP3 and as I adjusted the left channel the right speaker was being adjusted, adjusting the left output caused the right speaker to respond.

When I got the ZR2 I noticed that when I would flip the by pass switch the same would happen.  Steve asked me to send a picture of the wiring of the by pass switch and said that the problem was with the white wires and I could send it back so that the white wires could be reversed.  Ain’t no way the ZR2 is leaving my home so I was going to do the work myself.

Well tonight the need to do this was reinforced, so I finally did it and... another WOW.

The adjustment on the ZR2 works exactly as described now, more responsive and sensitive, transparency has further improved and the “distortion” that was initially heard - gone.  I had my ZDSD set at -18dB and adjusted it down to -16dB.  Not because of distortion at -18dB but because the bass was too prominent at low level at -18dB and right at -16dB.  

I still have it positioned between the CSP3 and UFO2.  This weekend I’ll try putting it between the ZDSD and CSP3 again to see what happens.  Right now I just want to let it burn in a little more while enjoying the music.

What I can tell you is that now, after reversing the wires on the by pass switch, it makes even more of a difference at low level, even in the mids and highs than it did before.

At low level voices are more palpable, highs and mids more present.  Before I would have to turn the volume much higher to get the same result.

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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #126 - 01/18/18 at 14:59:45
 
Point well taken on the ZTPRE Lon. Your three amigo's I have enjoyed your posts as well.

Joman, yes, once captivated by the ZDSD direct with its output to drive the ZMA with density....I can't go without its purity. Why, I sold my CSP3 with Jup' Caps.

The Audio Research is special, even being the hybrid that it is....with single tube....which does provide sonic difference via Mullard E188CC/7308 vs. horrific stock tube's one could put in. AR has a signature that is uncanny and I need (often) driving thru the Class A to AB1 output of the ZMA.....no Class A/B Amps need apply.... .

Having said that and having owned an CSP3 for over two years....I wish I never sold it!  Incredible Pre....but I don't have to tell you guys!

Alimony? Don't lose her JOMAN! Find the balance.  8-)

I am divorced. Fortunately, she would have PAID ME Spousal Maintenance.

However, in lieu of alimony to me/for LIFE.....I had her agree to, in addition to the college fund we grew substantially over our 21 year marriage...she would also pay significant amounts of the balance to their education when the fund ran out.....3 of them now in College.   ....and at 42k a year for each of them ....she is doing as agreed.

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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #127 - 01/18/18 at 15:27:43
 
J, that's very interesting about the wiring boo boo and how the correction has made such a difference. Wow. Glad that the ZROCK2 is now being all it can be! Will be interesting to hear it right after the ZEN DSD and the resulting sonic impressions. It's likely you will hear distortion which is unfortunate for the wide spread usage of the ZROCK2.

Larry I'm sure glad you and your ex-wife were able to make and keep such sane decisions regarding the education of your children. I've never had children and yet I've had two decades with a wife who was the product of a divorce, and now have a wife whose father abandoned his wife and ten children (!!!) when my wife, the sixth child, was nine years old. I see how children can suffer, especially if one parent is not thinking clearly of their future and absent both physically and responsibly. Kudos to you both for being "right" and loving.

I just played around with some tuning on my system and let it settle and have discovered a new layer of dynamic contrast that the "Z Amigos" are dishing out, making the music "breathe" even more. If it gets better than this yeah I want to get there (thinking of you, "Anniversary" amps!) but man I can take my time, the sound is so enveloping! We are alive at the right time gentlemen!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #128 - 01/18/18 at 18:20:31
 
Yes, my children's future was top priority and the least disruption to them. It has paid off.

Since I'm returning/(won't have one) my ZR2, I won't comment on it anymore.

However, I wanted to say in closing on it.....with a Preamplifier the ZR2 is good. I don't want anyone to take my scenario on it, negative in any way.
Plus, my regard for using 91, 92 or 93db @1 watt/1 meter Speaker's (my modified single cap Acoustic Zen Adagio's), no lower for me....and you can go lower with an ZMA and use JanZens.

Also,  the HR1's are 92.5db @1 watt/1 meter.

I'm just not part of the 95db+ @ 1 watt/1 meter crowd. Personal taste. I have had them in here and have been to Decware twice and even have heard the HR1's.    .....end of story.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #129 - 01/18/18 at 18:35:45
 
Stone, Did you get any feedback from Steve?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #130 - 01/18/18 at 18:44:40
 
I only kid around about “close to alimony”  and count myself fortunate - 43yrs, 2 kids and 2 grandkids.  In reality, I’d let my system go before I’d let any of that go - and that is saying a lot.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #131 - 01/18/18 at 18:53:22
 
We know, we know. It's fun to kid around and these systems mean a lot to us. . . but family? Wins every time.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #132 - 01/18/18 at 20:04:50
 
Lon, sent a PM but I'll ask here.  Which RCAs go to the preamp and which to the amp?  Unpacked my ZROCK II this morning.
Mark
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #133 - 01/18/18 at 20:09:57
 
http://www.janszenaudio.com/product-page/za2-1a-active-standmount-with-finished-...

Edit to my #128 post/reply......it is JansZen.....not how I spelled it.  ;D
Steve, had this Gentlemen in at Decware, the/Designer/Owner with the model I threaded above for you/I believe....you can find out more about the JansZen Visit at Decware....in the ZMA Development Thread documentation.

Archie, calling Steve won't change how the ZDSD reacts DIRECT to the ZR2 at all input voltages. As I stated....with a Pre.....you will be just fine and dig it. Joman, corroborates my scenario with ZDSD in reply #114.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #134 - 01/18/18 at 20:23:29
 
Answered your PM Mark. Closest to the power cord will connect from the CSP3, the ones furthest from the power cord will go to the amplifier.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #135 - 01/18/18 at 20:57:56
 
Ha!  I asked Lon the same thing Mark....since you asked him...and he answered soon....I did not respond.

I asked the same thing I should say/over in the Development Thread.....and Lon responded...thanks again, Lon.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #136 - 01/18/18 at 21:27:42
 
http://www.janszenaudio.com/product-page/za2-1-monitor

....another correction/Edit to my #133 Reply...Steve had in the passive pair...not the NEW Active..... .

I swear, I will stay out of this Thread now!   Grin
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #137 - 01/18/18 at 22:08:15
 
You're welcome. I'm always glad to help with Decware when I can. We "idiots" have to stick together!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #138 - 01/18/18 at 22:46:43
 
Well, I'm off and running with my ZROCK II. I listened to Laura Nyro's "Eli And The Thirteenth Confession"...Steve Hoffman's remastered version.  Many of Nyro's albums were poorly mixed/mastered and have always sounded lean and brittle at times. I listened with what I'm reading is EQ A.  I had the knob turned about 3/4 of the way.  Added a nice bottom and some badly needed warmth...not perfect but better.  Also I should say, the journey the ZROCK took in freezing weather will take sometime to recover from.  I'm not quite sure where I should have the CSP3 voltage or volume set...currently the voltage is about 8 clicks, the volume/gain a little more than halfway up.  Since I usually had it all the way up and adjusted the volume with the Monoblocks, this is making me totally readjust how I do things...experimenting.

The second CD is a CD from Keith Jarrett's Live at the Blue Note box.  I've not had any complaints about this recording so it's not surprising that I'm only using a little of EQ A for it...adds a little deeper bottom.  So Far So Good... Mark.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #139 - 01/18/18 at 23:07:01
 
Great Mark. You're going to find it gets more "transparent" as it seasons and warms up.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #140 - 01/18/18 at 23:20:32
 
Yes, I know from experience with past new Decware Gear and NOS tubes that things get better with time. I'm trying to resist rolling tubes for a while in the ZROCK but I have a lot of different types of 12AU7s that I experimented with in the ZP3.  In the ZP3 I settled on a RCA Triple Mica Black Plate 5814 and haven't taken it out for a year or two.

It's hard to believe that this Keith Jarrett CD could sound any better Smiley.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #141 - 01/18/18 at 23:35:03
 
I couldn’t wait! So when I got home I ran my ZDSD direct into the UFO2. I wanted to see if I would get distortion after the fix last night.  No distortion.

But let me qualify that.  The ZDSD was set at -16dB.  Going direct I had to back the setting down on ZR2 because the the bass was too much.  It certainly made a difference at low level but as I increased the volume, at a certain point I had to by pass the ZR2 because it really wasn’t needed and I could tell I was pushing it.  This reminded me of the effect of a Loudness Button only nowhere near as good.  (Yes I remember those)  The volume knob on the UFO2 never got past 1/2 way.

I then went back to running it between the CSP3 and UFO2 and had to bump up the ZR2 settings.  Much better in that configuration the volume knob on the UFO2 was now close 80%.  I could utilize the full range of the volume - more usable volume.  I never felt that that I had to bypass.

In either case the most interesting fact was the effect on the mids and highs.  I can play at what seems to be a lower volume with a presence of instruments and vocals that was hard to achieve at higher volume.  So I decided to check the sound level with the meter on my phone.  It ranged between 73db and 86db, averaging about 80db.  But it didn’t seem that loud.  So I bumbed the volume on the CSP3 a notch.  Now I was between 75dB - 88db, averaging about 82dB - too loud in an untreated room.  

For example cymbals that were barely heard at low volume without the ZR2 now sounded like they would at high volume - even better, bigger, lovely decay, all missing before and there was no fatigue effect.

So does this mean that you can run the ZR2 between the ZDSD and an amplifier?  I don’t know.  I would have to spend more time with it in that configuration and work with the gain settings.  Does that mean that you must have a preamp with the ZR2.  I don’t know (not much help is this?). My take on it is that the ZR2 between the CSP3  and UFO2 gives more usable gain/volume/density potential.  Personally I prefer that.  And the result is better with the CSP3 in place in my system, unless of course it’s to try the ZTPRE (damnit Lon).
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #142 - 01/18/18 at 23:38:22
 
Quote:
Archie, calling Steve won't change how the ZDSD reacts DIRECT to the ZR2 at all input voltages. As I stated....with a Pre.....you will be just fine and dig it. Joman, corroborates my scenario with ZDSD in reply #114.



Of course, but I'm wondering if he is aware of this issue with the ZDSD?  Or if he has any suggestions?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #143 - 01/19/18 at 02:26:28
 
Hey Archie,

I’ve talked to Steve about my experience so he is aware.  Whether or not he should do anything about it is up to him, but taking into consideration what the output stage is all about and what it does, I’m inclined to say no.  What makes the ZDSD so good is the high gain settings that can be utilized IF your components allow for the high gain settings (see the instructions on the ZDSD)

In many ways my thoughts and experience is very similar to stones with one difference, my ZR2 had a boo-boo which was easily corrected.  Fundamentally I don’t think that changes much even though it definitely contributed to the problem. I would not use the high gain settings (-18dB and -20dB) with the ZR2 combined with the ZDSD.  Even now a poor recording could really be problematic at those settings.  Setting it at -16dB or lower will be much better with a ZR2.

Even with all those factors the ZR2 does help at lower volume levels ZDSD direct to amplifier but, I feel that it’s extremely good when utilized with a preamp, in my case the CSP3.

Like stone I had an ARC LS16 and an LS25.  Mine were both MKII versions with the 6H30 tubes.  Did not care for them.  Prefer the versions that use the 6922.  At the time I had a Lavry DA-11 DAC that had a volume control and like stone I prefered the DAC direct.

Eventually I got a CSP3 and now I prefer it in the system with or without the ZR2.  So both stone and I are running the ZDSD and I prefer it the way it is regardless of whether we are or are not using preamps, regardless of whether we are or are not using the ZR2.  



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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #144 - 01/19/18 at 18:15:53
 
I'm really shaking things up today and put the Taboo Mk IV in the place of the Torii Mk III. Wildly different sound, both quite good. If I use the ZROCK2 more heavily on the EQ than I ever have I can get almost perfect sound in the same speaker positioning. I'll reposition speakers next. . . but I am pretty sure I could really use a treble cut circuit here. . . anyway I'm going to leave the Taboo Mk IV in place for a while and play with it. There's enough volume for me and really vivid sound, lacking the body that the Torii gives, but delivering in nuance and presence.

I have my Taboo Mk III in place so I can listen to headphones over the weekend without having to mess about removing speaker cables.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #145 - 01/19/18 at 21:17:33
 
Found that if I push the speakers back about 18" closer to the back wall than I normally do and like, I can get the right frequency balance and still leave myself a little wiggle room on the EQ A of the ZROCK2. I sacrifice a bit of depth to the soundstage, but soundstage doesn't seem to mean to me as much as it does to others. Don't get one listening to live music and so it seems artificial to me and it's improvement is not one of my pursuits. If I get the tonal balance right and dynamics music seems "real" to me, like that performed, and I'm happy.

I'm really happy with the sound of the Taboo Mk IV and really have to believe it's the UFO transformers floating my boat highest. I changed out a cryo'd 6N1P for an Amperex ECC189 and that was the icing that made it all come together. I am getting plenty of power for both my music reproduction and enough for DVR and Blu-ray playback. I'm going to put the Torii aside for a spell, this is the first time that I've been able to do that, every other amp I've tried in its place has led me to restore the Torii as the heartbeat of the system.

I loved the Taboo Mk IV before, and now with the ZROCK2 it's even more versatile and even more involving. I have the ZTPRE outputs at about half way and the ZBIT about 7/8s up. Still leaves me plenty of room to tailor to recordings with gain and EQ. Ideally I'd like a treble cut circuit on this amp but I'm not sure it can be done. Don't need one for headphone use and if this goes back to a headphone amp I'm all set there.

This makes me confident that when the 25th Anniversary amps are released a bridged pair would give me plenty of power and excellent sound. And it's possible that a set of 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3s would work just as well too. . . Steve already told me I would want a pair, and he's right. . . if its power were just enough I think I'd have an amazing system!

Life is good when you love music. . . Decware has the stairway to heaven.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #146 - 01/21/18 at 14:24:08
 
UPDATE - I recieved the Siemens E80CC/6085 and rolled it.  The differences were immediate.  The 6085 is more forward (not objectionable) and dense in its presentation.  Soundstage looses depth.  Still has very nice detail and speed.  May be just right for some.

The Siemens ECC82 Nickel Plate has way more depth, air (not airy) and more dynamic - faster.  The instruments and vocals seem to emanate from a blacker background with nuances and layers that I have yet to have equaled.  Things seem to be more “there” more 3-D - live.  This is my tube of choice for the ZR2.

Still have to work on the gain structure but for now:
ZDSD @ -16dB
CSP3 (stepped attenuator) - output @ 5, Hphone Cal @ 8, Volume @ 10, ranges from 8 - 11
UFO2 (Vol. Pot) - 80%

I chose the vol. pot over the stepped on the UFO2 because it gives me the ability for a more finite volume adjustment.  So between the CSP3 and the UFO2 I can get it just right.  Sound is a little hot at times (depends on the quality of the recording) but the system is still in the untreated room.  In about a month or two that will change.

Strongly recommend the ZR2 especially if you have the UFO or UFO2.  Some of my friends and cousins have had a listen and the IMMEDIATE response in all cases has been WOE or HO-ly, no longer WOW - pretty universal response so far so I know I’m not imagining things.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #147 - 01/23/18 at 11:36:49
 
mmm...looking here, I'm behind several posts.  I had a scare this morning.  I fired up the second system and wanted to play an Ellington album off Spotify to see if a Vinyl purchase of it is warranted.  So all I hear is the right channel, Damn.  The first thing is checking to see if all gear is actually turned on.  More than once I've only turned on one of the two switches on the monos with this result...but this was different, there was very faint music from the left.  Next I thought, well maybe it's the Omega speakers I've been using for a few days...so I put the Zu Audio "Souls" back in...No Change.  Then I switch sources to the Jolida CD Player...no change.  Then I think...ZROCK?  Well the tube is glowing.  Next I take the ZROCK out...and there is sound from both speakers as normal.  So now I'm having visions of a trip back to Illinois. Anyway, the only thing I can check is the tube so I fish a RCA Clear Top out of the closet and pop it in and hook the ZROCK back into the system.  Glorious sound...in both channels Smiley. So a sigh of relief, it's only a bad tube.  So I have started rolling tubes in the ZROCK much sooner than expected.  I'll clean the pins on the tube Steve sent and try it again with the next listening session but I suspect it's not a bad contact.  So maybe I'll have Sarah put a new tube in with the Black Chicken Head knob I want her to send.  Mark.

PS... I have to admit I'm not wild about having the ZROCK on 24/7.  Could that have something to do with the tube failure?  Also is it unusual for only one channel of the tube to go bad?

PSS...would it be harmful to any of the gear to unplug my RSA Haley Power Conditioner so all gear is off when not in use?  The CD player is in standby mode and ZROCK always on.  I unplug the power conditioners from the wall plug when there's thunder.
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The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #148 - 01/23/18 at 13:44:54
 
Hey Mark,
I've had tubes go wrong in one channel, so it's not entirely unusual.

Honestly there should be no harm in leaving the ZROCK2 on constantly. The tube is not being driven hard at all. That said there also I don't think would be any problem shutting all the equipment off with the power center.

Sorry about that tube. Tube-rolling is fun in the ZROCK2. I didn't get too far and decided that Steve's choice for me and my system was more than good enough and I've left it in place. But now that I'm running the Taboo rather than the Torii I may roll some available choices again. Right now I'm just enjoying the sound.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #149 - 01/23/18 at 18:09:22
 
I asked Steve about turning the ZR2 off and he really thinks it's better left on.  The tube gets just a fraction of power and should last many tens of thousands of hours.  He thinks having the ZR2 fully warmed up at all times is an advantage.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #150 - 01/24/18 at 23:06:27
 
Interesting thread. Wish I had read it before today. I've been absorbed in the new amplifier design so something has to give, and reading the forum posts is one of them.

With a 15 Volt limit on the ZROCK2's inputs overdriving it is certain to cause distortion. The output level of the ZDSD set to -20 is going to be an issue because the ZROCK2 does not have an input level control. The control you see on the front of the ZROCK2 is actually dealing with the output of the tube, not the input feeding the tube.  

This means that in order to make a ZROCK2 work properly with a ZDSD's output set as high as it will go, you will have to reduce the signal feeding the ZROCK2 either by reducing the output level of the ZDSD to -16 or by simply reducing the input level aka recording level on the ZDSD. Many people use the input level control on the ZDSD as a volume control. This approach does not effect the "weight" of the output that you've grown to like when set higher than -16dB, it simply adjusts the input volume that feeds that beefy output stage on the ZDSD. This is all that is required to solve the issue, and what I would have recommended had I known before today what was actually going on.

A preamp is not required to get a ZROCK to work, even with a ZDSD provided it is properly set up.

Steve
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #151 - 01/25/18 at 02:57:49
 
Thanks for that information Steve.  I haven't made any adjustments to the input volume up till now.

Distortion has not been an issue any more but I was intrigued so I left the ZDSD at -16dB and started to adjust the input volume.  After a bit of experimentation I found that I could take the “edge” off of some recordings that needed it without affecting anything else by adjusting the input volume of the ZDSD.  Once one gets the idea it’s easy and quick to do.

In one case a volume adjustment of one notch, from 10 to 9, on the CSP3 brought the volume to the right level but some “edginess” still remained.  Then an adjustment from 0.0dB to -0.5dB on the input level of the ZDSD was all it took to eliminate the edginess.

When I get some time I’m going to try this at the -18dB output level on the ZDSD, not that I’m disatisfied with where it is now just curious.  Now I’m approaching this from the viewpoint of having greater control over the edginess of some recordings.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #152 - 01/25/18 at 05:18:43
 
Yes, I find it a helpful tool because if you watch the VU meters, many recordings are pushing it into the red where you get distortion or at best server artifacts from the compression. Adjusting the input level down as you say sometimes as little as .5dB and sometimes as much as 1.5dB is needed and it dramatically cleans things up in those recordings. When streaming radio I found about 40% of the recordings needed to be trimmed on the input slightly for the best sound. And you are correct it has no effect on the signature or weight, just the volume.

When using a ZROCK2 just drop it as low as needed to keep the sound clean.  -6dB wouldn't be an issue or even more because the ZROCK has gain and will put the gain back that you took away.

Steve
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #153 - 01/25/18 at 13:36:30
 
you mentioned:
"either by reducing the output level of the ZDSD to -16 or by simply reducing the input level aka recording level on the ZDSD."

I tried both and did not like it. Plus, changing my ZDSD alone (as you mention to only -16) mine, all the way down to -9.....I still had audible distortion.  

Their were some songs at -9 that I got to hear what the ZR2 was doing...was not bad (so I know the unit was fine/and I ran it through all its functions to make sure).

I guess, I'm more of a purist.....and the full sparkle and output at -20 Reference output + at 0.0 Input Volume, is the only way for me.... . Nothing in the chain other than my Line Stage, once in awhile. Manipulating tone with input and output tubes + kabling is my forte'  8-)

Glad I tried it!  Frees up funds for a Rachel when some of the new tech gets to her. She is perfect as she is in Hazen-Grid/Christmas comes early/UFO/6 watts per channel triode (I need/want the power insurance too)...but maybe she gets some of the new stuff......till then, your output stage at full tilt/ZDSD, Steve...to my ZMA.....I won't/can't do without.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #154 - 01/25/18 at 13:47:13
 
https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1422222973/200

Joman? ....did you ever upgrade your power cord to your ZDSD (as mentioned in the above thread way back)? Posts 249 & 251?

...........takes the ZDSD to an whole other level.  I'm not hawking for the CableCo....but their try before you buy program is fairly priced. ...and how I got my KS6063 at a sweet low price (+the Shunyata digital cord/low/fair price).

I wrote in Reply #249:
"PS~ a significant upgrade/further for the ZDSD, is a Shunyata Research Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord. I try and buy from the cableco, with a 11.5% discount.

The cableco., is how I was able to get a new pair/demo of Kimber Select KS6063 at 65% off. ....whole other level of getting out of the way of the music...when the gear upstream can deliver as Decware can..... .

However, once again, the Shunyata cord mentioned is transformative and you can try with no obligation on loan. Ask if they are sending a well seasoned auditioned one....as they should (if you decide to do so)."

....and of course, have two or three sent at a time to hear. Great resource...and I rolled a few in and out of here...as you can imagine. Glad I'm done with all that....but, the only way to know for your ear/brain connection.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #155 - 01/25/18 at 14:38:23
 
It appears that Shunyata cord is no longer available.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #156 - 01/25/18 at 15:31:20
 
Stone,  no I didn’t.  Not that I won’t. It’s just that I’ve heavily invested into Decware/Omega components over a period of time and have done quite a bit of tube rolling as well.

I want to get it all to a point that it’s burned in and in it’s treated room which is about 2 months away.  Once that happens I should have a baseline and will evaluate the result.

A lot of my effort has gone into seeing how far I can take the low power/high efficiency ideology.  It’s been surprising to say the least, and it sometimes takes a few weeks to get my head around what’s happening.  Like Lon, I find my self re thinking what I thought I knew.

I do appreciate your input though and I haven’t forgotten.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #157 - 01/25/18 at 16:10:06
 
Yes, why I want to revisit the low power/moderate efficiency/sensitivity (under 94db @ 1 watt/1 meter) but above 90db.

My SE84CS did drive my modified Adagio's. However, for more headroom assurance and availability of the NOS output tubes I want to roll with my NOS Input tubes....the Rachael's 5.8/channel, is the one for me. The new tech will find its way into all Decware Amps....as stated I believe in the Decware Development Thread.  

Until then, reading and enjoying the 25th Anni and Mono UFO3's further/final development, is to be enjoyed....then will see/read if it goes to the Rach' in some form.   .....no hurry, all in due time of 2018 in to 2019.

PS~Steve, posted today, in the Development Thread: "A room that was smaller or more live would also do it so a bridged pair may not be needed for some people." ...this was with the HR-1's....92.5db @ 1 Watt/1 Meter....very encouraging! Also, why I have my System in a smaller Room and not over-treated (even with my ZMA).  However, I want a Rach' for the reasons I stated just above.....all in good time..... .
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #158 - 01/26/18 at 04:59:41
 
Somehow that doesn’t surprise me after working with the low power/high efficiency set up that I have.  Granted the S3HOXRS are 97dB but the result surpasses any high power/low - mid efficiency set ups that I’ve had.

Patience was required in bringing it all together.  At times I would think that I had reached the pinnacle only to make an adjustment, an addition or make a change and then I would walk away in disbelief and rethink what I thought I knew.

Pushing the “boundaries” in this way suggested that a lot more was possible with a 2 watt Decware amp.  I’m convinced that all I will need will be one A-amp.  After getting the system to where it is and as I read the thread on the A-amp I can’t help but wonder “How much better can it get”?

I’m almost afraid to find out, if that makes any sense.



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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #159 - 01/26/18 at 14:48:46
 
When I obtained the Class A power of Steve's ZMA and I purchased and subsequently had my Acoustic Zen Adagio's modified...it would be hard for me to go back to low power/high sensitivity. I have had Zu's and the Decware Monolith's.

However, my love of music and having owned a SE84CS for 14 years/used just about every day. My passion for this Amps music making ability was unbridled.

......for more headroom assurance and availability of the NOS Output tubes I want to roll with my NOS Input tubes....the Rachael's 5.8/channel (economies of scale in the one chassis too), is the one for me......with some Mono UFO3 & 25th AN....influences....is my next Decware purchase/when/if it happens.

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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #160 - 01/26/18 at 16:13:21
 
It’ll be interesting to get your impressions once you obtain the Racheal...

I’m with you on the NOS tubes... never gets old.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #161 - 01/26/18 at 16:20:17
 
That's a cool plan. I had an earlier version of the Rachael, and a pair of Monoblocks that Steve built that were very similar. I liked them at the time but compared to either the Zen or the Torii . . .they paled, just didn't have the magic or authority these two have. I don't want another one. So I'm going to target the Monoblocks or a bridged pair of the Zens in "Anniversary" format.

Though why I'm bothering I don't know. . . listening to my Taboo Mk IV driving my HR-1s I don't know why I need "more" or "different" other than. . . I'm an audiophile.

I swapped out speaker wire today, the Mapleshade were substituted with PS Audio xStream Statement (little strands of wire replaced by hoses of copper!) Interesting change!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #162 - 01/26/18 at 16:23:46
 
Lon, I had those mono-blocks too. However, the Rach' has tube rectification....and it would have to take on some of the new influences of the UFO3 or 25th AN, for me to purchase.

.....I know their is magic to be found in the SV83 tube type. Believe me, I was a connoisseur of this tube. I hoarded quite a few. However, good Karma....I sold them all, to a half dozen buyer's that would appreciate them.

Having said that and my knowledge of the SV83 tube type....I want the Rach's capability with Christmas Comes early and certainly being able to run:
EL34 or 6L6G or KT77 or KT88 or 6550 or 807 with adapter....says it all for a tube rolling junkie like me. I would order a Rach' right now...however (as I said above), I want to see what might roll her way with Steve's latest innovations.

Following the ZMA Development Thread for 6-7 months and then purchasing my ZMA was exciting.  Following the current Development Thread is no less exciting!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #163 - 01/26/18 at 16:27:36
 
....and yes ....why are we bothering!  We are audiophiles!

Exactly.

I too, switch to my new jacket 8TC....still great Kable.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #164 - 01/26/18 at 16:40:33
 
....and yes, Joman.....NOS tube rolling never gets old....to hear my favorite Input Tubes, using both halves of the triode driving a KT88 in Triode or 6L6G/6PS3-E's.....in Triode is exciting.

.....and the obvious parallel's of running for example/from my matched quads....KT88's in both my ZMA and Rach'.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #165 - 01/26/18 at 16:41:23
 
Well, I had the Integrated with tube rectification as well and a box full of rectifiers. Still wouldn't want another, but hopefully you'll get one with the "treatment" and be happy.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #166 - 01/26/18 at 16:47:10
 
Well, like I said, with the output tube rolling choices and some influences.....like tube regulation...if even necessary....will be interesting.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #167 - 01/26/18 at 18:50:26
 
To further elaborate on: "Why bother."

I could walk away right now and put all my resources and time into my Music & NOS Platinum Tube rolling (Input & Output tubes).

However, my evolution involves owning new:

SE84CS, Torii III, SuperZen CKC, CSP3 with Jupiter Caps & Zen Styx. +, had in for audition EL34 Mono-blocks, ZR2 & one of Steve's earliest Buffers (and took the re-stock fee/shipping to and from hits). Also, purchased an nice wood case piece from Ziggi, for my SE84CS.

For me? I want to own another slice of Steve's genius in Pentode run in Triode along with my ZMA in rotation....it is just that simple. With my past listed above and I have arrived at my ZDSD with my ZMA.....the Rachael/potentially enhanced, is my next evolution.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #168 - 01/26/18 at 19:26:37
 
Cool.

I've cooled on the EL34/KT-66 et al tube type after a decade or so of listening to it and want to return to the SV83 for speed and feel. I've about 15 pairs in reserve, and am ready for another amp or two that uses them. I am LOVING the sound of the Taboo Mk IV driving the HR-1s which really IS surprising me, and I'm going to try to be in early on the Anniversary rollout. . . not sure I can swing it as there are home improvements I foolishly committed to on the horizon, but I'm going o make an effort. Push the envelope Steve, I've an envelope glue moistener!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #169 - 01/26/18 at 20:07:46
 
Point well taken Lon. I too have hung onto a few pair of the SV83's. I just could not sell them all (full disclosure).

I might be headed in that direction....viewing the whole Landscape when the dust settles......later this year.....I believe Steve said this summer.......release on out....and to be continued..... .

I do like low level Listening of Steve's pentodes run in triode....why I was successful with my 2001 signature below...and why I keep it....never forget where you came from. Heck, I remember the floor standing Bose you had with your A Amp.....we go way back = wisdom.

I still enjoy providing Eddie's paper to people and remember blowing friends minds in my Listening Room in my first house....and turning my SE84CS....way up without distortion with my LS90's....at probably 1.8 watts per channel......burning a watt up per, in the x-over!   Killer musical and they could not believe it............ .
Plus, I got lucky with how the LS90's particularly coupled with the SE84CS.

http://www.x3mhc.no/dokumenter/SE-v-PP-Part1.pdf
Big Ed's paper......... .
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #170 - 01/26/18 at 20:12:17
 
Yes, there are so many great combinations to find, and we've had a journey and learned a lot.

The ZROCK2 is making the Taboo possible for me and making me want to hear what it will do with the upcoming amps. It's great to have something to look forward to, even though a big part of my personality wants to stay put with a set up and just spin music. I teeter precariously between these two positions most of the time. . . .
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #171 - 01/26/18 at 20:34:27
 
Oh yeah, I read you....could just walk away.

I will add, big part of that early eye opener to accompany Steve's SE84CS....was the adjustable voltage output of Peter Madnick's DAC - under the hood/used with my DTI-Pro...I tell people I've been adjusting voltage output for a quarter century/much to their surprise....and still have all my AA Gear to prove it!  

So when Steve did his Output Stage with the ZDSD....I was hopeful....and just like his Amps.....he more than delivered.

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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #172 - 01/26/18 at 20:37:40
 
I'm glad you're digging it. I was on a different journey and landed with the PS Audio DirectStream. I'm glad I stuck through the long breakin period for the output transformers (I think that's what took so long) because that and its transport and the HR-1s are not going anywhere.

Tapping into it's balanced output via the ZBIT is another good thing, so I hear you about the transformers. There are so many ways to get to great audio; in our journey the Decware highway has been the fast route.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #173 - 01/26/18 at 20:39:39
 
Voltage output so critical to Decware........... . Glad you got a ZBIT and ZR2 to help your PS stuff.
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Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #174 - 01/26/18 at 21:35:58
 
......and Glad you're part of the 91db to 93db @ 1 watt/1 meter Camp....and have not gone over to the Dark Side of 94db +!

A Pair of the 25th AN's or UFO3 enhanced Mono's....you should be good.

Like you and the HR-1's....I'm not parting with my modded' Acoustic Zen Adagio's.
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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
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #175 - 01/26/18 at 22:09:26
 
Yes, some things you have to have as an anchor!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #176 - 02/02/18 at 18:27:06
 
Parts pulled!   Cheesy
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #177 - 02/02/18 at 19:43:16
 
Very cool
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #178 - 02/07/18 at 07:03:37
 
I received my ZROCK2 today and was able to get it installed in my system.  I put it behind my Zen Switch Box and in front of my Ultra pre-amp and ZMA.  By doing it this way I have the opportunity to send all of my sources through the ZROCK2 if I so choose.  

I have the stock tube in now, and once I get acclimated, I will roll the Amerex 6085 tube I recently purchased.  

I have been listening for a few hours tonight and one thing I must say, it is not as simple as flipping the bypass switch to do an A/B comparison.  The ZROCK2 is adding gain, so unless you fill in that gain elsewhere, it is not a fair comparison to simply flip the bypass switch on and off to compare sound.  Tonight, I did all of my listening through my PS Audio DirectStream DAC (Tidal and Qobuz Hi-Res) into the ZBIT.  So, in my chain, I have three opportunities to increase or decrease gain outside of the ZROCK2.  I can adjust the ZBIT, the Ultra or the ZMA. In order to maintain a similar dB listening level with the bypass engaged, I found one step increase on the ZBIT and one step increase on the Ultra brought the listening level up to the point prior to engaging the bypass switch.  

It will take some time and lots of source and genre rotation to really get a feel of the ZROCK2 and how universal it is in MY SYSTEM. So far, I am pleased with what I am hearing.  I am already convinced that this box will fix issues with lean/anemic tracks.  However, my system has weight and my speakers are able to dish out bass in droves, so I am not sure how it will play out with well recorded and beefy music in my system with the numerous gain points I have built in.  But, the only way to know is through lots of quality listening which I am very looking forward to!  

One observation I noticed immediately is that ZROCK2 did add a smidge of hum in my VERY quiet system.  It is subtle and I'm not convinced that it would be audible in my listening position, but my household was active tonight and with the elevated ambient noise it was too difficult to tell.  I swapped the stock tube with the Amperex and the very low level hum persisted.  I would not consider the level of hum to be of concern at this point, just something that I noticed being very close to the speaker.  It is another gain contributor so I am not saying the ZROCK2 is the source.  It may just be amplifying further, what was already present, but at a lower level.  Again, I don't feel it is a problem, just an observation.  If you already have hum at a borderline problematic level, this could, like any gain point, increase the hum level.  

I am finding that 3/4, or just shy of 3/4 on the dial is the sweet spot in my system so far.  I find this to be a great balance of highs and lows.  My Omegas are very bass giving so I did not need to crank the dial beyond this point to get the effect I was intending.  

Bottom line, this box works, and works as advertised.  Like everything it is system dependent and after some hours under my belt, I will chime in with further observations.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #179 - 02/07/18 at 11:55:38
 
Jeff, glad your ZROCK2 arrived and has been getting some immediate use in the system. I too have multiple gain stages in my system (DSD, ZTPRE, ZBIT, ZROCK2, Taboo) and I generally have this set up so that I just use the volume control on the ZTPRE and the ZROCK2 gain stage, the others at "full output."

My system NEEDED the ZROCK2 in my room for a "fulfillment" of tonal balance, so I haven't messed with bypass too often, the ZROCK2 is almost always a little or more engaged. But yes, it's a challenge to get a true bypass for comparison but it is instructive to adjust and listen.

I go back and forth with the 6085 and two other tubes (the one that Steve sent and a 6211)--different signatures and interact with different complements in other components. A really versatile unit in my system.

I too found a little hum introduced in my system. I took my time letting the unit warm up and settle in and in a few weeks I discovered it was actually coming from my DVR via the coaxial cable from the wall. I had had that problem before and forgotten that it is introduced in the system when I connect the audio output to the ZTPRE or CSP2+ (I run my audio via HDMI from my DVR into my Cambridge Audio CXU and then to the DSD and via analog cabling to the ZTPRE).(Before adding the analog output of the CXU to the system there was no significant hum, I listened to the output of the CXU via coaxial digital into the DSD).  I put a hum filter on the coaxial cable itself and now all is dead quiet again.

Keep us posted on your impressions please!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #180 - 02/15/18 at 13:13:20
 
The ZR2 has settled in and the result has been much better than expected.  I think that referring to it as a “bass restoration module” does it a disservice because it has such a profound effect on the whole frequency spectrum.

First, if you have a ZDSD do not worry about distortion.  Make the necessary adjustments, including minor adjustments on the Input Volume, and I think you will be surprised if not shocked at the result - you will gain density not loose it.

Second,  the accepted ideology is that the more components you add to a system the worse the end result.  This ideology can be a serious road block to achieving superior results as I have found out.

There is some truth to it but only if the components you add are of inferior design and/or execution and, of course there’s system synergy to add to this.

On the other hand, if the components you add are of superior design, with quality components and proper execution then the opposite is true.  In that case “more is less” much less and far better.

So, given the above, do not be afraid to add a ZR2, a ZBIT or whatever is needed.  IMO, best investment you can make.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #181 - 02/15/18 at 13:56:04
 
Amen. I too have moved away from "less is more" via what I refer to as "the Z Amigos"--the ZTPRE, ZBIT and ZROCK2. Adding these has been "more." Each has improved the sound; in totality they bring so much extra fidelity. The ZROCK2 has anchored that fidelity allowing me to extend it with recordings and sources. In fact without the ZROCK2 I could not settle into using the Torii Mk IV as a power amplifier for my HR-1s--it allows me the best frequency balance and the right amount of density and heft.

These are great components and I'm so glad I heeded the great reviews here and went this route.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #182 - 02/23/18 at 01:26:34
 
Ok, some of you may recall my bitching about distortion on some recordings.  I think I posted these adventures in the "What's Spinning" thread.  Steve even responded at one point.

I ended up changing every tube except those in my CD Player. The problem seemed to track the recording accross formats...CD or Spotify via my laptop. This week I've been using the Russian tubes I bought from Stone in the inputs of my Mono Blocks and since they are nice but definitely less revealing than the Amperex 7308s they replaced, things seemed different but not so much better.  Then something I read here dawned on me ...Stone had a problem with distortion from the ZROCK II but it was due to the ZDSD...not something I have.  So I started reading from the beginning of this thread and Archie in post #103 gave me the answer.  My CSP3 is capable of putting out more voltage than the ZROCK II can handle.  Head Smack.  So I usually have the CSP3 almost all the way up on the gain knob and use the Monoblocks to adjust the volume.  I have no idea where the voltage dials were.  I dialed both voltage knobs off and went up 7 clicks...seemed good, one click back...good, another click back and I stopped so 5 clicks.  And now there doesn't seem to be any distortion or fuzziness.  Things even without the distortion just seemed off before.  I'll put the Amperex 7308s back in next session and see how things sound.

So the lesson?  Before you go changing all your tubes, consider what the last piece of gear you added, requires.  Remember the ZROCK II is touchy when it comes to voltage input.  I hope I've spared someone the same frustration I suffered for too long Smiley Mark.

PS... I wasn't having this problem when I first put the ZROCK II in my system.  I think when I played Vinyl via the ZP3, I must have turned the voltage on the CSP3 up and it remained there causing all the problems.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #183 - 02/23/18 at 03:21:16
 
Great to hear Mark! Now you don't have to listen for distortion . . . enjoy the listening sessions.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #184 - 02/23/18 at 18:59:16
 
Good reminder Mark!  My ZR2 shows up next week.  Since I will be using my ZP3 into a CSP3 into the ZR2 I will need to find that CSP3 sweet spot.  I think I put 1 volt into it from the ZP3.  Right now I have the Outputs at 8, the "Headphone Calibration Controls" at 9 and the Master Volume at 2 o'clock.  Where were you with your vinyl rig?  I'm not sure, but I think I can just lower the Master Volume to back off the output voltage.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #185 - 02/23/18 at 19:26:01
 
Archie, I honestly don't remember.  What likely happened is I was using Omega Alinco speakers at 93 to 94 dB for a while and with my 2008, 2.3WPC MonoBlocks with the ZP3 there isn't much if any headroom so I likely turned up the voltage.  It was at the wrong level obviously and I remember thinking this sounds bad and I haven't listened to vinyl in that system since.  Normally I'm using Zu Audio "Soul" speakers that have no issues with 99 dB efficiency.  I would suggest starting low and clicking up if needed.  I've had to completely relearn where dials need to be...Mono Blocks, CSP3 and ZROCK II.  All I know is I was thinking it was everything but the cause.  Steve should put a big red warning label on top of the ZROCK for Dummies like me Smiley Mark.

PS...Archie, I still have my CSP3 one click from Maximum but the voltage knobs are at 5.  I haven't used the CSP3 for headphones so no idea where they are.
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #186 - 02/23/18 at 19:48:04
 
Mark, is that "one click from maximum" on the Master Volume (with a stepped attenuator)?

What would be great is a volt meter built into the output.  There are so many potential gain stages that it's not hard to overwhelm the ZR2 I guess.

According to Steve's description on the CSP3 page the front knobs are:

B) Left and Right Headphone Calibration Controls.
These are used to calibrate the master volume control so that your headphones don't get too loud, too fast.  Typically set so that the master volume control is half way up at your normal listening level. They can also be used to adjust the balance between the left and right ears.


I think some call these "input" knobs but if they just calibrate the Master Volume, it might be safe to keep these at maximum for speakers.

I think the output must depend on input so my 1 volt from my CSP3 might not exceed the 15 volts of the ZR2?  The CSP3 is my most confusing piece of Decware equipment.   Tongue
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #187 - 02/23/18 at 19:50:22
 
Yes, have to run...
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #188 - 02/24/18 at 11:49:40
 
Well, I have replaced the Russian Tubes purchased from Stone, Reflector 6N23P-EV Military Cryoed, with a different, newly acquired pair of Amperex 7308s...the Russians were dull by comparison. I put on the Dave Holland CD "Prime Directive" that had some distortion in the past and there still is some minor distortion so who knows...I think some of it has to be the recording.  Regardless, I have turned the voltage down on the CSP3 another notch with no apparent ill effect.  Of course the monoblock's volume/gain knobs have to be turned up higher.  Things are sounding great so I think I'll stop messing with things and relax and enjoy the music.  The only thing I want to do at some point is to replace the Baldwin labeled Raytheon 50's Black Plate 12AX7s in the Jolida CD Player with the Sylvania Black Plate Triple Mica 5751s I like so much in the ZP3 but that will require digging it out and taking off the cover, six screws, so not likely to happen soon.  So back to the whats spinning thread for now.  Mark.
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #189 - 02/24/18 at 12:31:08
 
Mark, one suggestion: Try the volume on the Monoblocks all the way up and adjusting the volume via the CSP3.

Over the years (despite buying most amplifiers with stepped attenuators) I've learned that for me the best sound is with the amplifiers all the way up or nearly all the way up. In riding the gain I find I don't like a lot of the natural compression at the amplifier input tube that can occur at the amplifier input, and unless it is pretty wide open the distortion you are still hearing could be the input tube being overloaded a little bit.

Your tonal balance may be a bit changed as a result, but that's the beauty of a system with a ZROCK2, a little dab should fix that.

Just a suggestion.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IVI;Rega RP3 w/25th mods PS Audio:DMP+DSD,P10,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs; Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3,double helix Plus spkr cbl;Oppo UDP205;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati,Iso-Pods; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #190 - 02/24/18 at 13:13:30
 
Lon, I'll try that.  That's what I do in the Cave with the Torii MK IV.  The CSP3 is used to adjust volume with the Torii almost at full volume.  

In the second system my speakers are different distances from my listening position plus the Mono gain knobs are easier to get to than that on the CSP3 is why I'd gotten used to doing the opposite there.  I'll make the changes now.  Mark.

PS...I've done it, not sure I hear much difference though.  By the way this CD is fantastic, it is one of many that was bought over the years and never opened. It's probably been waiting 20 years for it's chance... Smiley
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #191 - 02/24/18 at 13:25:02
 
Well, it was worth a shot. Thanks for obliging.

I just realized that I have five ways to control balance on my system, one (PS Audio DirectStream DAC) possible via remote. A bounty!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #192 - 02/24/18 at 13:35:10
 
Lon, I never knew what I was missing until I had the dual gain knobs with the Monoblocks.  But in the Main system, I just use the CSP3's voltage adjustment to change balance if desired...sometimes to soften the drums in stereo recordings is why I use it most often.

PS...I'll try a few tracks of the "Prime Directive" CD to see how it sounds since it was where I was hearing the problem.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #193 - 02/24/18 at 13:39:52
 
Yes when I was using the CSP2+ I made subtle balance adjustments with the input or output gain knobs. Such a great feature. I can now do this via the DirectStream, via the output gain knobs on the ZTPRE, the dual volume knobs on the ZTPRE, the dual volume knobs on the ZBIT and the dual volume knobs on the Taboo Mk IV. Next there will be the volume knobs on the Anniversary Monoblocks when they are built and sent and the Taboo is back to headphone duty.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #194 - 02/24/18 at 13:48:42
 
OK, what I've done is put the Monos four clicks from maximum and then adjusted the CSP3 to normal listening volume.  That way I'll be able to use the Monoblocks for volume adjustments between recordings yet still be using the last quarter of the Monos gain range.  

The "Prime Directive" CD still has the same issue...it's the recording ...haha
I'm tired of listening to it anyway...
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #195 - 02/24/18 at 13:57:37
 
These machines show us what's on the recording in a way so many others don't. Into every session a little distortion must fall. Happy listening!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #196 - 03/01/18 at 00:51:44
 
I am getting acquainted with my just arrived ZR2.  Remembering Mark's issue with his CSP3 gain overloading his ZR2 I played around with that but I couldn't induce any distortion.  I think it has to do with my input from my ZP3 being only about 1 volt.  So, I can easily stay under the 15 volt ZR2 maximum.  I play 99% vinyl.

It will take more time to really hear this thing but so far I am preferring the "B" curve setting with the dial set in the 2 to 3 o'clock position.  I don't notice a reduction of treble with the "B" curve at these settings but that could be my hearing as much as anything else.  I don't use a resistor on my HR1s and if anything, my system would tend toward bright anyway.  I like the weight the ZR2 adds.  It's akin to the weight I get running through my CSP3 compared with direct.  So, it's kind of like double weight!

The "loudness button" is a good analogy if anyone is wondering what the ZR2 sounds like.  But with the adjustability it's far beyond that.  It's easy for me to dial in way too much base and it's nice to have that bass "headroom" for a change.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #197 - 03/01/18 at 01:05:50
 
Archie, I don't hear treble reduction at that setting on the "B" EQ either. Probably why I don't use it much! I'm someone who needs treble reduction and that's the main reason I love the ZROCK2! It's fun to experiment with isn't it? Keep us posted with your impressions.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #198 - 03/01/18 at 01:18:02
 
Lon, do you hear treble reduction at any usable setting?  It may be, in my case, that bass overwhelms before I get to the treble cut part of the curve?

So far, the "A" curve doesn't give much difference from the bypass for my taste.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #199 - 03/01/18 at 01:40:56
 
With B I encounter the same: the bass is so powerful right off the bat that it is too overwhelming before the treble reduction kicks in. It's designed that way I believe and does work well with some recordings that really need the bass impact, but they are few and far between in my listening.

I get a lot of usable range with EQ A and I find that with my favorite tube complements in the ZTPRE, ZROCK2 and Taboo Mk IV I have the setting at about 3 to 4 most of the time. I've been rolling a lot of tubes in all three components lately and need to stay put with what I have right now for a while, I like it a lot and A is the curve I'm generally using, with 3 o'clock being about the general setting in use. A in the ZROCK2 is just what the doctor ordered for my system with the Torii Mk III and now the Taboo Mk IV driving the HR-1s.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #200 - 03/01/18 at 16:49:16
 
Thanks, that's really helpful.  I'm not looking for treble roll off and my impression was that the A curve didn't really have any.  I'll need to play around more with the A setting with more advanced knob turning.

One thing I found last night was that I think I understand what Steve means when he talks about "shimmer."  I was listening to Emmylou Harris, who always sounds great on my system, but now she had a "shimmer," for lack of any other way of describing it!  It was if I was looking at the sparkling of a diamond but now the diamond was absolutely clean.   Smiley
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #201 - 03/02/18 at 19:36:13
 
I am very pleased with this ZR2 so far.  I'm not sure if the A/B curves are what I expected though.  The A curve (switch up) seems to offer increased bass until there is too much while the B curve (switch down) seems to give me a midrange bloom in addition to the bass increase before finally overloading the bass.  I've emailed Steve to see if this is what should be happening or if there is a chance my switch is reversed so up would be B and down would be A.  

A year or two ago I bought a new, 180 gram, U2 "War" lp that I played once because it sounded anemic, really awful.  With the ZR2 it improved enough to be almost good, definitely listenable.  I find that I diddle with the knob at the start of each lp but that it seems to stay in the 2 to 3 o'clock position, for that U2 album though, I had to crank over to 4 o'clock.  There is plenty of extra capacity left regardless.

I haven't tube rolled at this point.  To those that do, do you unplug the ZR2 before pulling the tube?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #202 - 03/02/18 at 22:49:24
 
I don't. I turn off the amp but don't unplug the ZROCK2.

Man we got 10 inches of snow overnight and we lost our power at 11 p.m. Just got it back! Was a long cold day.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #203 - 03/03/18 at 00:13:36
 
Lon, just to clarify, you change tubes while the ZR2 is powered up?  I turn things off before changing tubes but I was wondering if the ZR2 can be retubed when on.  I leave the ZR2 on 24/7 generally.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #204 - 03/03/18 at 01:05:28
 
That's correct Archie. I'm a daredevil . . I've done it probably dozens of times, no ill effect.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #205 - 03/03/18 at 01:07:43
 
Archie. I always turn off the Amps but I've done it both ways with the ZROCK II on or unplugged.  I think both are safe.  Mark.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #206 - 03/03/18 at 01:21:10
 
Thanks guys.  That was the answer I was hoping for.  Steve scared me with the big caps on the ZMA and the OA3 POP you can get even when off!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #207 - 03/05/18 at 00:13:23
 
I popped in the "Amperex" 6085 and what an increase in gain!  I had to dial back my CSP3 a couple clicks.  So far I like this tube.  I liked the stock tube too though.  I'm easy to please.   Smiley
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #208 - 03/05/18 at 01:39:15
 
Yes, it's a corker!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #209 - 03/06/18 at 16:26:48
 
I'm still preferring the B setting by a wide margin.  My impression is that most prefer the A setting.  Any other B fans?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #210 - 03/06/18 at 16:30:44
 
Hey Archie,  I prefer the B setting. I've gotten to the point where settings are now dialed in for most CD's & LP's. But, I still do need to make adjustments to the ZR2 and Zstage on some recordings. The A darkened the sound too much for my liking. B setting preserves mids and highs much more to my tastes.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #211 - 03/06/18 at 16:52:43
 
That's my experience too.  I tweak the setting but it generally stays between 2 and 3 o'clock.  With A I don't get bloom in the lower mid range and it does go dark, as you find, quickly.

It's interesting that you say the B setting preserves the highs more than A (which is my finding as well) since the B curve is supposed to roll off the treble.  Steve said my results were in line with what to expect and that my ZR2 was wired correctly.  That's why I'm a little confused.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #212 - 03/06/18 at 17:26:09
 
I think B is working correctly, it does reduce highs near the end of the slope. It just has way way too much bass at that point in my system and perhaps yours that you can't really use it that far into the EQ. What I need for my system again is a Treble Cut Circuit. With that B is manageable and A could be used more sparingly. I hope to have that circuit to use for tailoring in my 25th Anniversary Monoblocks.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #213 - 03/06/18 at 17:42:15
 
Lon, yes, I asked in an earlier post if with the ZR2 you still needed the treble cut circuit.  Now I understand why you still do.  I think your analysis is spot on.  Ultimately it doesn't matter which curve, A or B, just what sounds best.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #214 - 03/06/18 at 17:59:17
 
I definitely want to have that excellent circuit. I am getting along without it with the Taboo Mk IV with judicious tube-rolling but with the circuit I could roll different tubes for different textures and not have to "darken" the sound with quite as much EQ A, or use EQ B and manage the treble with less bass increase.

I'm listening to amazing sound right now and I should be quite happy as is! But Steve really got to me with his Anniversary amp listening impressions. I sure do want to hear the UFO3-25 Monoblocks now!
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #215 - 03/07/18 at 00:26:32
 
Does the treble cut work like the ZR2 in that it is variable from zero to some maximum?
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #216 - 03/07/18 at 01:14:22
 
Yes, that's how it works, adjustable, it shunts the treble to ground bit by bit.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #217 - 03/13/18 at 16:04:14
 
Is this the sort of thing that is more suited for certain systems?  My system is McIntosh C500T, Pass labs monoblocks & Tannoy Kensingtons.  The Tannoys aren't the best for bass, and my room is not good, irregular and all hardwood, so I'm really craving some more bottom end and overall impact.  I hate to keep throwing money at it......
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #218 - 03/13/18 at 17:28:18
 
I really think you'll like the ZROCK2.  I don't think it's system specific.  If you read closely, it just pushes up the frequency response in the low and mid range.  It will boost your bass.  I get a nice bass and lower mid boost that can become flabby and dark if I put in too much.

That's my 2 cents.  Other's may know more about how your system might respond.  The easiest is to call Steve.  He'll set you straight either way.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #219 - 03/13/18 at 21:57:10
 
Mark: I agree with Archie. I think that the ZROCK2 will be a boon to your system. I am sure with a little experimentation you'll find sound that you really really like.

In my case I couldn't listen to my Taboo Mk IV with my HR-1 speakers without the ZROCK2. Without the ZROCK2 headphone playback in the Taboo Mk IV is perfect frequency balance wise, but in my room. . .the sound is thinner and with far more treble than I'd like. The ZROCK2 fixes that, plain and simple, with little adjustments from time to time. I can't wait to try it with the 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 mono blocks I have on order.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #220 - 03/14/18 at 12:58:16
 
I would agree with Archie and Lon.  I’m running Omega S3HOXRS speakers.  One would think that speakers with a pair of 4.5” drivers would not have much in the way of bass.  Prior to having the ZR2 I thought it was pretty good.  With the ZR2 everything changed so much so that the only reason I would think about adding a sub is for added bass extension for the few instruments that actually go below 40 Hz and right now I rarely think about that and if I do it’s a fleeting thought.

Right now the system is in a large “live” room similar to what you have described.  While I can’t predict what will happen with your system it’s interesting that Archie, Lon and I have similar results with systems that in ways are quite different from each other.

Only one way to know for sure and for the money spent it’s worth a try IMO.
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #221 - 03/14/18 at 15:34:13
 
I appreciate the responses.  It certainly sounds like something that could fix, or help my situation, but it's expensive and still an unknown to me.  Plus I'll need 2 more rca cables, while my system  is balanced......arrgh.  :)
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Re: ZROCK2
Reply #222 - 03/14/18 at 17:14:53
 
Lon and I use the HR1s which are really good with bass in general.  What surprised me was how much MORE bass I'm now getting.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
ZLC
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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gwng8
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Posts: 13
Re: ZROCK2
Reply #223 - 03/15/18 at 18:40:06
 
Fair enough, but this isn't like buying a Cd player or an amp.  This is an unknown entity.....I'm not sure about laying out $1000+.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Posts: 16546
Re: ZROCK2
Reply #224 - 03/15/18 at 18:58:50
 
True. Get your most recent purchases in hand and settled in and then you'll have a better idea of what you need and if the ZROCK2 fits that bill and is worth the order and/or return.

I hesitated and even canceled an order when I was offered a used ZTPRE during the order period and decided I probably wouldn't need the ZROCK2 as much if I had the ZTPRE. Which was in some ways true. But the reports of the ZROCK2 kept reeling me in and when I received one I found it exceeded my expectations as an EQ device and became the tuning center point of my system. AND it has enabled me to use the Taboo Mk IV with my HR-1 speakers and remove the Torii Mk III from the system and allowing me to go back to the Single-ended amp sound, which has been a real ear-opener and pleasure. I simply could not do this without the ZROCK2, it's needed to make the Taboo Mk IV the right tone machine it now is for me.

So makes sense to keep the idea of a ZROCK2 on the back burner for now, but do think of trying it later . . . .
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IVI;Rega RP3 w/25th mods PS Audio:DMP+DSD,P10,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs; Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3,double helix Plus spkr cbl;Oppo UDP205;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati,Iso-Pods; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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JOMAN
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Posts: 390
Re: ZROCK2
Reply #225 - 03/16/18 at 13:18:27
 
The ZR2 as a component may be considered an unknown at this time but what it is designed to do is not an unknown.  The graphic equalizer, parametric equalizer, loudness circuits and what these are designed to do is well known but largely fell out of favor with “purists”... perhaps for good reason in many cases.  

I have found that even if I audition well known products in a sound room, the end result in my space remains an unknown until I actually get the system.  I have also had the ‘interesting’ experience of having to rethink what I thought were accepted ‘knowns’.

My conclusion based on my experience over the years is that making buying decisions on the basis of known brands, ‘expert’ reviews etc., is very limiting and can prevent one from achieving a satisfying end result.  I’m not dismissive of these factors but they are not the be all and end all, perhaps a starting point.  Of course one of the biggest limiting factors is the budgets that we work with.  

All of the above are part of the ‘fun’ of this hobby IMO... in for a penny... in for a pound.
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