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Zkit 60 (Read 3006 times)
Donnie
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Zkit 60
01/10/20 at 00:36:28
 
Allright, I've had my new Zkit 60 (Known from now on as Dan, The Amp, because Zkit 60 is too wordy) for a whole day now, so I've decided to pass judgment on it.
First of all, Dan is heavy, simple and shiny. The packaging was impressive, no damage was going to happen in shipment.
Oh, I guess I should say that I bought Dan as a fully finished kit, for me it was the smartest way to buy it.
I hooked it up to my Bigger Is Better horns and fed it from my computer and Grace Designs DAC.
Well, I didn't care how the BIB's sounded with it, Kinda shrill, not a lot of bass, damn.
Well I got the idea of hooking Dan up to my open baffles, the ones with 2 15" Eminence Alphas and a 8" Tang Band W8-1808 in each baffle. Guess what? Bass, I mean big BASS, house ratting BASS, Wife yelling at you to "Turn that music down!" Bass.
Hmmm, I guess this is what they mean about solid state being able to control woofers.
Now as far as everything else, I'm going to wait for a while to let everything break in before I pass any kind of judgment.
My plan right now is to run this combination for a couple of weeks, swap my Torii back in for a day or two to get my baseline back, then really listen to Dan and report back to you all.
Did I mention that it has bass out the wazoo?
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #1 - 01/10/20 at 20:32:05
 
At least make it a fair fight and paint the damn thing red ; )
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #2 - 01/10/20 at 23:11:30
 
The color red adds +6 db gain! Sort of like how a Hooker Header sticker adds 6 mph to your car.

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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #3 - 01/19/20 at 18:45:55
 
Dan the amp still amazes.
He drives my OB's effortlessly to way too loud levels. Ludicrous levels if I were one to judge.
I'm going to run it until maybe the middle of February before comparing it to my Torii. That way it hopefully will be fully seasoned before doing an apples to banana side by side.
This spring he will be stripped down to get a nice red paint job.
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donovan
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #4 - 01/20/20 at 20:01:11
 
Do you find one input limiting? Or do you have a ZSB to run with it?
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #5 - 01/20/20 at 20:29:49
 
Do you find one input limiting? Or do you have a ZSB to run with it?

I don't have a problem with one input, but I only use one source.
Computer to DAC to amp, that's it.
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #6 - 01/20/20 at 20:42:55
 
donovan wrote on 01/20/20 at 20:01:11:
Do you find one input limiting? Or do you have a ZSB to run with it?

Preamps come in very handy for more than one input. . . Smiley
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #7 - 01/24/20 at 20:47:49
 
Donnie, would love to see some photos after you unbox it!
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #8 - 01/24/20 at 22:09:32
 
Tommy,
Here is a early picture of it.
I'll take more this weekend. I need to clean up my listening room first, a project pair of speakers have taken the room hostage.

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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #9 - 01/25/20 at 15:18:44
 
Here are more photos.









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Geno
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #10 - 01/25/20 at 15:31:11
 
Nice Donnie! Are the prices for these kits listed somewhere on the website?
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Lon
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #11 - 01/25/20 at 15:58:07
 
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Geno
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #12 - 01/25/20 at 16:20:46
 
K. Thanks Lon.
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Donnie
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Why does it hurt
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #13 - 01/25/20 at 16:24:29
 
Geno,
$895 for a fully assembled unit like mine.
Truthfully it is a steal at that price.
I'm really impressed with mine, it really sounds damn good.
The bass really stands out.
Right now Stephen Stills is playing at a pretty good clip on mine into my Bigger is Better horns and the room is rocking.
I'm going to play it for a couple of more weeks and then stick my Torii back in and compare.
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Geno
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #14 - 01/25/20 at 16:58:23
 
That is, for sure, a steal! I know it sounds great. I may end up with one on down the road.
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #15 - 02/09/20 at 15:27:52
 
Well this weekend I have been switching back and forth between Dan the Amp and my Torii while breaking in a pair of new speakers.
My first impression is that the ZKit 60 sure ain't no slouch!
Nice and punchy, the bass is still very powerful and the overall sound is excellent.
But I will say that the Torii is still the master of soundstaging and sounds more liquid.
That isn't to say that Dan the Amp fails at these things, it is just degrees of each, with the Torii getting the slight nod. Seeing that there is almost a $1500 difference in price Dan the Amp can stand up straight and proud.
The general impression of Dan is that it is a little more clinical in sound, not quite as forgiving on poor recordings and very precise sounding.
The ability to really "crank 'er up" is a big plus for me when I need to wipe the crap of my everyday work pressures out of my soul when I get home from a bad day. The extra gain adds a few decibels to the top for that extra "Turn it to 11" mood.
Overall I am very happy with Dan the Amp, he is going to stay in rotation as a centerpiece of my main system.
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #16 - 02/11/20 at 00:33:49
 

Nice...  and 60 watts of tube power becomes impractically expensive, so you now have experienced the reason we offer it : )

Steve
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #17 - 03/21/20 at 02:49:18
 
I've been playing with Dan the Amp a bit more tonight.
He likes to "ride the gain". I had originally just turned the volume knob all of the way up and ran my DAC at a fairly low output volume setting (44 on the display).
By turning the volume knob on Dan down to around 2/3rds and the volume on my DAC up to 76 I'm getting a much more liquid sound.
I'm fighting a bit of computer sound coming through that I don't hear with my Torii, perhaps I need to look into my cable routing.
Anyway, I'm still happy as hell with Dan the Amp!
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #18 - 04/25/20 at 18:04:03
 
Today a can of red spray paint followed me home from Lowe's.

Hmm, I wonder what would look better with a red top plate?

Dan the Amp possibly??

If I can find a allen wrench that fits the volume knob Dan may also end up with a highly polished front face. I like polishing aluminum.

I've tried every tiny metric and SAE allen wrench that I own with no avail. Nothing seems to fit, damn, I bet I own over 100 allen wrenches and nothing seems to work!
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #19 - 04/27/20 at 15:49:32
 
Donnie

The Zkit60 front panel screws are 3mm Allen Hex and the knob is 1.5mm Allen Hex.

If you need to buy something, I'd recommend the Xcelite metric Allen Hex set "99ps-41mm" with 7 "wrench blades". It has 1.27mm - 5 mm blades that include both these sizes.  I have never regretted buying that brand and type of Allen Hex wrench.  Bought the USA set with 9 wrench blades over 40 years ago and I still have them, use them, and they all still work fine - no broken or stripped parts.  I finally broke down and bought the metric set a few years ago.

Dan
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #20 - 05/03/20 at 02:10:23
 
Well Dan the Amp started looking like everything else around here today.

He is a Testarossa now!

Also the face plate shines like a mirror now, shiny.



Polished aluminum is hard to photograph!



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dank
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #21 - 05/03/20 at 12:45:06
 
Donnie

Wow!  What did you have to do to the face plate to get it to shine like that?  What do you do to keep it looking that way?  I'm betting the downside is that it shows fingerprints like crazy.


Dan
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #22 - 05/03/20 at 15:29:03
 
Dan,

All it takes is some manual labor!

I used to polish metal patterns and dies for a living, so this wan't my first rodeo. Truthfully it only took me a hour or so to do it.

You start with 100 grit paper and work your way up, 100, 120,220, 320, 500, 1000, 1500, and then medium and finally fine polishing compound.

For some reason, my fingers hurt this morning.

I use Windex to clean it, and the secret for keeping fingerprints off of it is to not touch it!

I also wanted to say that with my new Denafrips DAC, Dan the Amp has really transformed. The DAC added some lushness that I was missing before.

It is now within a couple of percent of my Torii.
This amp is a giant killer, I would recommend it to anyone wanting some power and finesse in a very affordable package.

Shoot, buy the kit if you want a challenge or buy the completed package for very little money like I did.

The only thing that needs changed is the color and polishing the aluminum cover to make it perfect.
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Geno
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #23 - 05/03/20 at 15:43:23
 
Nice job, Donnie! Now you need to update your equipment signature so that Red Dan reads alongside the Infamous Red Torii.  8-)
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dank
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #24 - 05/03/20 at 18:22:15
 
So, no clear coat of something (polyurethane, wax, ?) on the face plate?
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #25 - 05/03/20 at 21:16:11
 
Donnie, that looks awesome!

So, are you gonna leave the side fins black, or paint those red too?
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #26 - 05/03/20 at 21:18:17
 
The final polishing compound that I use is for polished aluminum wheels and has some sort of wax in it.  

I've never had any sort of problem with anything loosing it's polish, yet.

Like I said, a flat plate is pretty easy. Below is a project I did a year or two ago, an intake manifold for a Flat Head Ford hot rod that a friend has. I worked entire weekends for a solid month on it.

It started as a rough casting.

" alt="" title="" border="0" />
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #27 - 05/05/20 at 07:48:37
 
Donnie,

Congratulations! Looks like a seriously, seriously polished cut-off double barrel. Mow 'em down!

Randy
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #28 - 05/05/20 at 17:32:06
 
Tommy Freefall,

I don't think that I will paint the sides red.  

There can be too much of a good thing sometimes, plus taking all of the electronics out scares the hell out of me.

While I have some fairly impressive mechanical skills, AC electrical stuff is a little out of my bailiwick.
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Donnie
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #29 - 05/16/20 at 00:37:49
 
So I had a self induced problem with Dan the Amp.
Don't worry it had nothing to do with the physical function of the amp. Dan still kicks ass in his solid state ways.

No the problem was when I painted him, things were taken, maybe, possibly, a little too far with the red, perhaps!

The volume knob was just a touch too much of a good thing.

For some reason this reminds me of a story about my father back in the '50's.

He was racing his motorcycle in the Jackpine 500 mile Enduro in Michigan. It was the 'big" race of the year for everyone who was anyone in the midwest.
He had read something along the lines that a spoonful of honey would restore your energy levels if you had exerted yourself too much.
So my Dad being the kind of person he was, proceeded to drink a pint jar of honey at a gas stop. I would hazard a guess that it was more than likely chased with a 12 oz can of Schlitz beer, it was a different time back then.

They say that he got about 5 miles at a very rapid pace until he stopped to puke his guts out.

So the too much of a good thing trait comes naturally to me.

Anyway, back to the current day's problem, how to un-red Dan's knob.


Too red!



A little tape job.



A little Lowe's $1.00 spray bomb. ( You gotta look for it on the bottom bottom shelf, way in the back away from the $6.oo stuff)



Untape your finished work.



And re install. The polished aluminum is a bear to take photos of and make things look right because of the reflections.



So now Dan the Amp isn't too red, but there is more to come at a later date!
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Re: Zkit 60
Reply #30 - 05/16/20 at 05:38:23
 
VHT high temperature Anodized color coat 550'F part number SP450 ANODIZED RED spray paint will turn output tubes, rectifiers, actually any vacuum tube red, making it look convincingly like it was pulled from red glass.  I have a 274B that I did 4 years ago that still looks mint. Unlike previous attempts with other paints, it does not get sticky, chalky, fuzzy, foggy or anything else over time.  It just simply looks and feels like the glass is red.



Just thought you might appreciate that.

Steve



P.S. The dragon I laser etched after the paint was dry.  I prefer this approach to laser etching the actual glass.  I have also done that, but under magnification I was mortified at what the process does to the glass.  To say it is weakened is an understatement.  imagine a BB gun shooting a window pane and the resulting cone that come out of the glass... now shrink it down 100 times and multiply it by 1000 and that is what the surface of the glass is like.  Not a problem for thick drinking glasses, but a vacuum tube, no thanks.



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