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25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions! (Read 34709 times)
Steve Deckert
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25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
07/12/18 at 03:24:53
 



Another productive week as the more of the first 25 Anniversary amplifiers start to ship! †I thought this would be a good place to post your impressions, pics etc., of your new SE84UFO25s!

-Steve

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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #1 - 07/12/18 at 06:00:19
 
GOT IT TODAY!  After some challenges with UPS, but they did go the distance and more and got it here.  Actually I kind of feel bad for the supervisor that had to deal with me.  In fact under the circumstances I give him credit for seeing it through.

Anyway... Iíve only had it playing for Iíd say 3 hours so this definitely is not a review just my very first impressions.

My first complaint (yes I have a complaint): I expected a UFO25 that has an output of 2.3 watts.  I got a UFO25 but I donít think it has 2.3 watts.  I know what 2.3 watts sounds like and you can not fool this puppy! By the sound of it itís got to have 20 watts at least.  For someone that has become a 2.3 watt fanatic this is hard to swallow  ;).

Next: What do I think of the S3HOXRS with this powerhouse.  Fabulous.  These speakers are just so fast and revealing.  More on this at a later time.

How does it compare with the UFO2???  Well the UFO25 has only 3 hours on it and... yes itís different and better BUT... I am even more impressed with the UFO2 because of the performance that it gives at itís price point comparatively speaking.

Donít get the impression that I donít think that the UFO25 is not significantly different.  It is.  (Boy this is hard to put into words) Letís just say that I think that the UFO2 offers great performance at its price point and may be all that some will want and need.

So what does the UFO25 offer, in comparison?  My first impression is REFINMENT!  To get this level of refinement you would have to spend one heck of a lot more money and even then Iím not sure you could equal it.  This is after 3 hours.  Based on how it began to open up within the three hours, Iíd say it will get much better yet.

Build quality:  One word and only one word - SUPERB!

I only got the VR Tubes as I have quite an inventory of tubes that includes red tipped tubes.  I wanted some sort of a reference point so I tried to keep the same tube set that was in my UFO2.  (Sophia 274B Aqua, SV83, E88CC). Whether or not this is the set that I will keep in my UFO25 will be determined at a much later time.  I did get some other VR tubes, for fun.  As a result of Lonís comments I picked up a pair of CEI OA3ís and these will stay in during the break in period.

Cheers!
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #2 - 07/12/18 at 14:00:05
 
That's awesome! I'm not surprised the amp sounds great off the bat (Jupiters!) and it will have a few fuzzy periods I bet and then sound jaw-droppingly good.

I spent an hour tweaking the sound of my second system which has a Taboo Mk IV driving Trapezium speakers at the moment. I'm going to have to start saving up. .. . I think eventually Steve will get around to "25th Anniversarying" the Taboo Mk IV and I know it will be an amazing amp and I'll want one! That system could benefit from a ZROCK2 as well. Man, it never ends.

I was going to try to swing a pair of DNA2 speakers. But further experimenting with gain adjustments with the ZTPRE/ZBIT/ZROCK2/CSP3-25/25th Monoblocks has me really satisfied with the way the HR-1s are acting and not encountering distortion--and my wife seems to have all the volume she needs as well. Wow. . . I can't believe the sound I'm getting.
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Ace-Tone
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #3 - 07/12/18 at 17:17:22
 
Hey Joman,  does this mean that you'll need to recalculate your $ per watt formula?
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #4 - 07/12/18 at 19:08:47
 
I was up until 1:30 am.  Woke up at 5:30 am.  Mixed some Blowmeum in my coffee so that I could make it through the day.  Tonight is another listening session, not a good time to be doing higher math...
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #5 - 07/14/18 at 03:42:30
 
I didnít get as much listening done yesterday as I wanted to but I did put another 3 or 4 hours in today.  I replaced the OD3 with a Sylvania OC3.  This along with the CEI OA3 will stay in for the rest of the burn in.

So, 6 hours later and the UFO25 is beginning to open up.  The gulf between it and the UFO2 is definitely  widening.  I still have a soft spot for the UFO2 and probably always will, but the UFO25 is clearly in Reference League territory and thereís no going back.

Iíve had to re position the speakers which sound like different speakers in a good way.  I find that itís easier to anticipate the adjustments to make from recording to recording on volume, gain structure or on my ZR2, more of a fine tuning as as necessary. I absolutely love the dual gain controls on the UFO25.

Iím going to reserve extensive comment on the bass but will say that it is  tight, textured and enveloping even at low volume.  As far as mids and highs, letís just say everything is sounding very real and Iím still struck by the superb build quality.

Iím going to get at the math in three or four weeks, Ace, far to soon now.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #6 - 07/14/18 at 15:01:26
 
Joman,  Happy listening to you! Don't worry about the math as I have no idea how you'd factor in the "Wow!!!-factor".
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SE84UFO25, ZP3, Zstage, ZR2, ZSB, DM947 Monoliths 946+mid
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #7 - 07/14/18 at 17:10:38
 
A couple of doses of Blowmeum should help... always up for a challenge
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Showme
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #8 - 07/15/18 at 16:08:44
 
Tell us a little about your system. What is your source? Do you have a CSP3 in the chain? My amp is well down the list to be built so I'm just trying to decide if I need to buy a CSP3 or not. I do already own a ZR2.
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #9 - 07/17/18 at 18:10:19
 
Hey Showme,  My system is almost all Decware including the cables.

Iím using an OPPO BDP-103D as a universal player.  The rest:
ZDSD, CSP3,ZR2,UFO25, S3HOXRS, Silver Ref. ICís, Decware speaker cables and power cords.  My acquisition of the system was gradual.  I had to get used to the low power ideology, now thereís no going back.  I would test the ideology with each acquisition and as I proved it to myself I would take the next step.  By keeping it all Decware I was able to better compare notes with Steve, who was very helpful along the way.

I have an Otari MX5050 which I have yet to implement but first the UFO25 has to burn in.

Is the CSP3 necessary?  Good question.  I bought it because my wife insisted that I get headphones (love that woman!) and soon learned to appreciate what it allowed me to do which was to have additional control over gain/density structure.  Some have commented that itís effect is subtle.  Yes and no, sometimes itís the subtleties that can make a huge difference.  I added the ZR2 and even with it in the chain I will still keep the CSP3.  No going back now.  

Will I recommended it?  I hesitate to recommend specific components because itís not the one component thatís the magic bullet, and only you can determine what you will be happy with.  My goal doesnít allow for much compromise.

Itís the combination and putting that combination together requires focus and patience.  You have to be open to a continual learning curve.  I had to rethink long held ideas, such as less is more - not always.  Usually one thinks that you cannot achieve expansive sound with small drivers, then came the S3HOXRS with those d***n 4Ē drivers and totally decimated that idea and they wereínt even Ďtactfulí about it, just stomped that idea until it was dust, it was painful to Ďwatch/hearí so to speak. And then thereís the budget - always a challenge.

If youíre into low power the one recommendation I will make if the budget allows is the UFO25.  No brainer!
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Showme
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #10 - 07/17/18 at 19:10:44
 
Thanks, Joman. I appreciate your comments. I currently have a UFO2 and the ZR2 playing through Randy's Betsy's. I have ordered a UFO25 that I should receive in August. I thought the CSP3-25 might be my next addition but that will have to wait until next year. I might add speaker cables this year though.
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will
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #11 - 07/17/18 at 19:16:43
 
Showme,

Edit: Oops, wrote this before noticing your response to Joman saying you were already considering the CSP3 25....hopefully useful to you or others anyway.

Though I have not heard Steve's mods, I suspect there is a clear distinction between the CSP3 and the CSP3 w/25 mods.

I have been working on my CSP3 and Torii MKIV progressively, starting with power supply, volume pots and connectors, then more seriously into wires and resistors. They are still the same amps, retaining thier personality and flavor, but much, much better for ultimate complex detail in space and musicality...balanced, very resolving, more headroom/macro dynamics, faster, tighter/cleaner/quieter... but not hard!

My conservative in analysis, science trained wife, said our sound had improved from these modifications 2-2.5 times about 6 months ago, and it has matured and refined in major ways since then. Also important, when this all started I was getting what I considered truly great sound with stock amps highly tuned. But each refinement success took it to places I did not really imagine to be quite possible, and this continues today.

Not easy to keep musical balance, with a number parts and combinations that did not work, and with plateaus along the way that were difficult to move through, once solved, a new world of beauty opened. Each part that worked made all the others better, as well as making source, speakers, tubes and cables better and more flexible.

From this experience I have little doubt Steve's CSP3 mods have done beautiful things...Though the stock CSP3 can be really, really good with the right tubes, cables, vibration treatment, etc, I imagine the modded one to be on another level.

Just thinking it might be worth a talk with Steve about the differences if you get serious about adding a CSP3.
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Showme
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #12 - 07/17/18 at 21:42:28
 
Thank you, Will. I'm amazed and your ability to be able to understand and then make the changes dictated to your equipment. Pretty awesome ability.
Thanks for your input. I will talk to Steve when the time comes.
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #13 - 07/17/18 at 22:00:58
 
Will makes a good point about the CSP3 vs the CSP3-25.  Right now the result that Iím getting with the CSP3 in the mix and the UFO-25 is nothing short of stunning.

So once the UFO25 burns in Iíll be talking to Steve.

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Showme
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #14 - 07/18/18 at 00:42:01
 
When I "bite" for the CPS-3 it will be for the 25th version. Might has well go big or go home.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #15 - 07/19/18 at 20:46:22
 
Quote:
the UFO25 is clearly in Reference League territory and thereís no going back


That is such a wonderfully true statement!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #16 - 07/20/18 at 17:38:15
 
I could not agree more!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #17 - 07/20/18 at 20:09:28
 
Sweet Christmas!
I just got my new ufo25 powered up for the first time. I swapped it in place of my torii Jr  powering a pair of spatial audio m3 triode masters. Obviously, I had to compensate volume on my csp3, but the ufo25 bangs it out on these speakers, producing bass never present with the torii Jr.
Amazing.
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will
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #18 - 07/20/18 at 20:37:51
 
Great news chengdigger! Impressive indeed!

From Showme: "Thank you, Will. I'm amazed and your ability to be able to understand and then make the changes dictated to your equipment. Pretty awesome ability."

You are welcome Showme. I have to say though, my amp knowledge and abilities seem fairly rudimentary, persistence and creative need †gradually driving what learning I have! I had dabbled in DIY for quite a while, but openning my precious Decware MKIII Torii and MG944s for cap changes, I was reticent. So I talked with Steve and Bob, and read more on different caps, resistors, solders, and solder method. Finally it was fun, with nice solder joints, and I heard real improvements. Also, from studying the amp interior, I realized I could learn and work with what Steve had created, not making the wheel, but refining it. Meanwhile, ongoing cable making was quite encouraging for deeper learning and practice.

For my pre-production HR-1s I asked Bob to put the caps and resistors outside so I could easily experiment. Upgrading the primary cap, I got a number of faster, small value bypass caps seeking a more exciting and complete sound, but also to learn the character of different caps relatively inexpensively. Exploring audio resistors too, I realized how powerful bypass caps and different resistors can be.

Then vyokhong's thread on modifying the ZMA! Jazzed, health challenges made going in my amps hard for several years. Occasional research and collecting parts was fun and useful though. Recovering, I went in, trying one thing at a time... Copper coupling caps in my Torii MKIV, volume pots in the CSP3 and MKIV, both with notable sonic benefits....and my 1st power supply bypass foray (using caps I had from HR-1 experiments) just blew me away...all revealed great potential for refinements within Steve's excellent designs. This was the summer/fall of 2016, and the stimulus for many, many ongoing experiments that continue today.

It is challenging though....tight places, technique, finding synergistic parts... But probably most critical is relatively complete discernment of the sound complex, hopefully clarifying what works and what does not, while avoiding inadvertently falling off balance. Loads of fun for me, but compared to what Steve's mods cost, lots of hours and parts later the sound is amazing, but the cost benefit from my DIY??? That is hard to say!

I bet your CSP3-25 will be amazing!

Wink
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #19 - 07/21/18 at 05:06:47
 

Tonight I am listening to a customer's soon to ship Zen Triode Anniversary amplifier with less than 48 hours on it. The song is Chompy's Paradise by Badbadnotgood (seriously) and there is just something about this amplifier that makes music lucid. This song is nothing special, I've heard it dozens of times over the years, yea it's nice, even really good, but right now at 10:50 P.M. I am hearing it as if I was tapped into the mind of God and there was no stereo. The Anniversary Zen Triode never stops surprising me, and I've been listening to it as you know, since November of 2017. †If you take all the incredible things everyone has said about Decware amplifiers in their reviews over the years, it was already pretty clear there wasn't much better to be had, and now, this is just smoking everything. †

Today I got a phone call from a 25th Anniversary Zen Triode customer who recently took delivery of his new amplifiers. He had very expensive 2A3 monoblocks with all the bells and whistles including the fancy mundorf caps and Western Electric Tubes, the and in the first 24 hours his new Zen Triode SE84UFO25's have already bested them. Says he hasn't slept in two days!

It will be exiting to see the feedback as these amps start to find their homes and get warmed up!!! †

On a reflective note, I still can't believe I have been sitting on this jewel for 25 years without every realizing its potential until now. †It's just so damn good... it makes me genuinely wonder if it's untouchable... the Holy Grail. I mean you all know how long I've been doing this, and that I can hear. Literally every time I turn one of these amplifiers on it teaches me something. It's like a Zen Buda or something,... you get enlightened by it.

Life is about adventure and experience. If you think the experience of owning a small yacht in a fancy slip, or a race car, or even a plane is going to get you off harder than this amplifier, you are sorely mistaken. Save yourself some money. †

Steve
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #20 - 07/21/18 at 05:35:12
 
Every now and then you make an amplifier that when you hear it you're convinced something special must have happened to it, and you want to keep it for yourself, and build the customer another one...yes, that is the urge.  I have never done it, but the point is that you are so compelled by the sound that you become scared that it is a fluke, and can not be repeated.  This is the feeling I get when I listen to these amps, and tonight an hour later, the feeling is overwhelming.

That means, Jeff, that the transparent glass resistors sound no better than the opaque glass resistors that went out in the first 25 amps.  In fact if I were held at gunpoint with 2 seconds to decide before the trigger is pulled, I would have to say the opaque were the better sounding.  This amplifier is sooo sick.... it takes you so deep into the sound during evening listening sessions, that you begin to warp time, perception and reality...  A true space ship.

Steve  

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Brian
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #21 - 07/21/18 at 05:58:11
 
Wonderful!

Steve said:  "Every now and then you make an amplifier that when you hear it you're convinced something special must have happened to it, and you want to keep it for yourself, and build the customer another one."

I have often wondered about that.  I realize it is not exactly to the point you are making, but my cousin is a professional artist making art knives and swords for the men who collect such things.  I once asked him if he ever regretted letting go of one of his creations, he said he had no attachment to them whatever.  I was quite surprised. I do not think I could part with something I had poured myself into and had it come out within a few inches of perfect.  You, Steve, and my cousin and the other artists who give to your customers (albeit in exchange for money, but even so) your finest accomplishments have a generosity which is not the least of your talents.  

Brian
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #22 - 07/21/18 at 12:30:23
 
I have to retract a statement I made in one of my earlier posts regarding coming up with new math to try to quantify the UFO25 experience.

At that time I thought that I would need ďa couple of doses of BlowmeumĒ to assist in the process.  After having the UFO25 for close to two weeks I can categorically state that Blowmeum is no longer needed.  To the chagrin of the suppliers of Blowmeum I will predict that with the introduction of the UFO25 the market for Blowmeum is dead! Cool
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #23 - 07/22/18 at 05:00:27
 

Bendoverite will also become obsolete.

Steve
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #24 - 07/26/18 at 07:32:30
 
Got my 25th amp now. Like others said, what a beauty! Not only does it look amazing it sounds like that as well. It only has 10hrs on it now, but it already sounds way better than my nice Torii IV! I hope Steve will have some zen moments in the future to get that one closer to the level of the SE84UFO25.... It has a great soundstage, is very neutral, the highs are already better than the Torii, base is not quite at the level of the Torii yet, but close and it still needs to burn in. Thank you Steve for producing such a master piece and selling it for a price that is still somewhat affordable!

I've bought Tannoy Cheviot speakers for this new amp, and they are amazing. They are a bit pricey, but they sound fantastic, you can put them close to the wall (what I needed to do in my room), you can change the cut over frequency and the high level in the front panel, have great build quality and come even with their own wax for the wood! The little ufo25 can power them to levels way beyond my normal listening level. They have a great soundstage and are very life like and for me a perfect fit with the ufo25.
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- Stefan
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Rega rp6, Lounge Audio phono pre-amp, T+A DAC 8 DSD, SE84UFO25, Tannoy Cheviot, Woo WA-3, Senheiser HD800S
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #25 - 07/30/18 at 20:15:09
 
Stefan,

Nice review.. its very impressive the 25th is running the Tannoys so well, given they are 91db sensitive (which isnt terrible, but not really high efficiency either)

Im getting Decware-curious and watching this thread closely!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #26 - 07/31/18 at 06:26:05
 
Thanks Rich,
yes, if you would have me guess the Watt of the ufo25 after listening to the Tannoy with the Torii and the ufo25 I would have guessed it has 10-15W. Maybe Steve seriously underrates the power output of it with 2.3 W Wink
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- Stefan
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Rega rp6, Lounge Audio phono pre-amp, T+A DAC 8 DSD, SE84UFO25, Tannoy Cheviot, Woo WA-3, Senheiser HD800S
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #27 - 08/02/18 at 22:31:34
 
Watts? Hook one up to a pair of DNA2 speakers and the wattage will be of NO CONCERN whatsoever! The amp cares not what number is attached to it, it just performs! I never cease to be amazed.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #28 - 08/03/18 at 19:24:58
 
That says a lot Stefan you are getting such good performance from the Tannoys. (The Tannoys, whch seem to be impossible to find/demo in New England)

Are you running a preamp?
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Stefan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #29 - 08/03/18 at 21:41:16
 
No, currently I'm running it directly from the T+A DAC RCAs which have a max of 2.5V, but I have a ZBIT on order so that I can feed it with 5V. I can get the amp to clip close to max output of the DAC.

Here in CA UpscaleAudio has them and they sell them for a good price, I got mine for under $6k. I actually went there to listen to Klipsch LaScala, and while they were setting up those they recommended to listen to the Tannoy and I found the Tannoy sound better, no color in the mids and more bass by maintaining the speed of the Klipsch. And they are a lot smaller than the Klipsch which helps too  :)
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- Stefan
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Rega rp6, Lounge Audio phono pre-amp, T+A DAC 8 DSD, SE84UFO25, Tannoy Cheviot, Woo WA-3, Senheiser HD800S
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StanleyG
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #30 - 08/15/18 at 08:13:57
 
Hi all!  New here, been lurking (and enjoying) the forums for a coupla months since receiving The Letter (announcing the SE84UFO25).  Now that mine (#006) is beginning to sound broken-in I wanted to announce that my mind is utterly blown. After 40-plus years of divergent audio experimentation I am in a very happy place indeed.
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Bottlehead
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #31 - 08/16/18 at 04:58:15
 
Thanks for weighing in, Stanley! Someday I'm going to take the SE84UFO25
plunge myself.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #32 - 08/16/18 at 17:09:21
 
JUMP!!!   The longer you wait the more you will kick yourself for the procrastination!!!!!!!!!!!
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Bottlehead
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #33 - 08/17/18 at 02:46:19
 
Yeah, but I'm up to my a#$hole in alligators right at this point. Don't have time to listen, anyway. But soon. Maybe by the time I'm ready, the CSP3-25 top plate and base will match the amp. THAT would be cool.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #34 - 08/17/18 at 15:55:15
 

An email I got recently:

Quote:

Hello Steve,

I wanted to thank you for your advice re: a pre amp.

I also received the 25th Anniversary amp yesterday late afternoon. Serial #5 ...

I am speechless....its plenty of power for 6 of my Cab's. I was worried. Not anymore..Currently driving a pair of your DFR 8's in a double mouth horn cab called the Vulcan.

I repalced the planet 10 doped fe206en with yours and yours i might day are far better in every way.

The amp right out of the box blows away my 45 tube monoblocks ( parralel ) i had custom made, hashimoto transformers, top of line everything, too costly but i needed a comparable....i  mentioned to you that i need a pre amp with zero or very little gain for that set up.

Its been a year and change for me getting into tubes and single driver majic...

This amplifier blows my mind !

Clearly the best sound i have ever heard !!!

Thank you very much  !

Sincerely, Robert

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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #35 - 08/20/18 at 17:52:42
 

Quote:


Hello Steve,

The V Caps are burning in. Ot is sounding better and better every day .

I think i should have ordered the step volume control.
I didnt want the resistors in the step to comprise the sound.

This amp blows away my 45 tube monos.

I was using your  ZDac ( Teac ) directly in and sounded the best. Tried my Aestetix Calypso Janus Line stage tube/ solid state and it sucked.

Then i put a Pre amp./ buffer using a 2C51,  a WE 396a tube, a 5670 I believe.

Wow !

What a fantastic combo.

I really need to here your 25th anniversary cp pre amp and maybe another 25th anniversary amp to bridge on some more demanding cabs i have...

The search for the Holy Grail goes on !

Thank you again !
Sincerely,

Robert


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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #36 - 08/20/18 at 19:55:30
 
Robert, the Holy Grail path is greatly simplified by proceeding along the Decware route!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #37 - 08/23/18 at 16:51:12
 
UFO25 (ser# 22). Should arrive today! I cannot imagine something sounding more awesome than my current SE84-CKC (which will be used in 2nd system).  I am now frothing with  an...  ti...  ci... pa...tion...!!!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #38 - 08/23/18 at 20:04:13
 
Ace... get a bib, the frothing turns into salivating once you get over the shock.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #39 - 08/23/18 at 20:19:27
 
Awesome! Keep us posted. . . after you are done being speechless.:D
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #40 - 08/27/18 at 16:26:49
 
20+ hours on the UFO25. I am using my own tubes.
60' GZ32 Mullard, Reflecktor 6P15P-EB 70's,  0A3 RCA 50's,  OD3a 60's Mullard,  7DJ8  60's Lorenz.

Amp is coming along nicely since first listen Aug 23 -thurs.
Bass is deep, clear and very easy to pick out the individual notes in the mix. Much bigger and better than my SE84-CKC. Drums sometimes startle me when they kick in hard. I find that I do not have to turn up the Zrock2 quite as much as before. All instruments well separated in the mix with great width, or depth, depending on the recording. Overall my whole room sounds fuller...sound fills the air nicely side to side and top to bottom...in a word - Energized! Wow! Peter Gabriel - "shock the monkey LP" has never sounded so immense, so deep...beautiful and powerful. Musical ambiance, reverb decays etc are nice, very nice...making me smile. I know the amp has a way to go to season properly but right now it has far surpassed my CKC Zen! OK enough rambling. I need to tear myself away and go to the gym.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #41 - 08/27/18 at 16:31:34
 
You're in for a treat as this amp seasons! Glad it is sounding so good right now. Thanks for sharing your impressions and keep them coming.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #42 - 08/29/18 at 16:40:29
 
Ace, glad to hear (no pun intended) that your enjoying your UFO25, Iím thrilled with mine.

I noticed that you are using a Lorenz PCC88.  Iím using a Valvo D getter Hamburg mfg., from from the 50ís in conjunction with a Sylvania USM OC3.  One has to be careful with Valvo tubes as not many are from the Hamburg plant and the D getters are getting to be crazy expensive and very hard to get.  I have three... a couple of spares.  

Iíve tried a variety of tubes in the driver position and always ended up with German mfg., tubes.  Usually Valvo or Seimens because the Teleís are also crazy expensive.  What I like about them is that with the right tube complement they give a good balance of everything, tone, texture, detail, dynamics, sound stage and the 3-d effect.  I donít like to compromise in any of those aspects.

I was thinking of trying a Lorenz PCC88 as well but Iím now so reluctant to change anything in the UFO25 set up.  Can you give some additional input on the Lorenz?
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #43 - 08/30/18 at 01:47:47
 
Joman,  The Lorenz I have (3pcs) white stencil Sel-Lorenz, a BWB with 952 below it and a bird of prey bracketing the bwb/952 from above and sides, with a Large   L   just to the right side.
068 in small letters off to the left of the Lorenz stencil- short gray plates -  Halo - 0 getter.  These were the one of the best sounding tubes I had in the SE84-CKC so am starting with them in the UFO25.  Got them around March on Ebay.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #44 - 08/30/18 at 03:21:15
 
Thanks Ace.  Do they have a nice 3-d effect?
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #45 - 08/30/18 at 16:15:31
 
Yes, they do throw a nice sound - tonal balance depth, width, 3D. -
My room is well treated and I listen near field so most anything I put in the ZP3 or Zen amp throws a good sound. Fine tuning/Refinement/magic is usually the thing a better tube will impart. I find inputs and rectifiers are most important in the chain!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #46 - 08/30/18 at 20:24:40
 
Thanks, Iíll have to give then a try
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #47 - 08/31/18 at 18:24:55
 
Joman,
I could send you one of mine. If you like it we could perhaps work out a trade, or fair price. Let me know!  Kinda try before you buy.
I'm keeping a look out for a mullard 60's 12AX7 for 1st spot on the ZP3.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #48 - 09/06/18 at 16:41:46
 
Got it warm for 4hrs.. at the moment I would not conclude any yet.
Sacd and vinly communicated.. and both seem to like each other..
Im still smilling and waiting for it..

How do I attach photo here.?
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #49 - 09/07/18 at 20:36:07
 
i'm primarily a vinyl guy. Can't help it i just am, and therefore am looking for impressions of this amazing amp with a vinyl rig, specifically one with a low output cartridge.

i had a regular two watt Zen for awhile and absolutely loved it. It made digital listenable for me. While i had that amp i listened to more digital than i have in quite some time. However, my Torii Jr. was better with vinyl. It just had more punch and drive and that made a big difference with amplifying the tiny signal coming from a low output cartridge. While i had both amps, i fantasized about combining the 20 watts of speed and transparency of the Jr. with the 2.3 watts of realism of the Zen into one amp. From what i have been reading, it sounds like Steve may have just done that!

An opportunity †to upgrade part of my vinyl chain came along that i could not pass up. But i had to sell something to afford it, so i sold the Zen. i have missed it, i'm still quite satisfied with my Jr., but i miss that little amp. With the Anniversary edition, i'm wondering if it could be the amp i've been looking for.

So, if anyone is using one with a low output cartridge, i would love to hear your impressions.

Thanks,

David
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