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Building the ZKIT1 (Read 957 times)
JBzen
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Posts: 166
Building the ZKIT1
03/08/20 at 12:47:25
 
Hello All!

After much contemplation, I decided to give Steve's SE84C based kit a whirl. I have build a few internet kits from custom designers in the past. I always wanted a Zen amp and just recently became re energised in this hobby but wanted to avoid the long wait for a Decware build.

This is what I found about this kit building process todate using the stock parts listed:

1) Parts are readily available
2) Part costs are about $340
3) Shipping of parts comes close to $60 from 4 suppliers
4) The costs can easily double depending on personal custom options
5) Edcor at present has a 3 week lead time
6) Mouser is about a 2 day LT
7) Decware ships priority mail with about 2 day LT
8) Parts Express is about a 2 day LT
9) Care must be taken when ordering - a wrong part ordered will skew the above
10) Building the kit is straightforward and not complicated with the proper skill(hence Steve's many pages on soldering!)

I received most of the parts for the amp and presently waiting for the trannies. The board is well built. The components are installed and waiting for an ordered solder station to flow silver solder.

This video is an interesting piece of film cap polarity, Yea that's right, film caps do have a polarity that should be followed in quality amp builds. Something new for me too Huh In the video Carlson uses an oscilloscope and builds a black box circuit to check film caps outer wrap to determine the best shielding circuit insertion. A good informative video. I just used my ears and the mag phono input on the Heathkit Roll Eyes

https://youtu.be/BnR_DLd1PDI
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PicsArt_03-08-06_27_20.jpg

AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #1 - 03/08/20 at 12:49:13
 
Top of the ZKIT1 showing components inserted.
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #2 - 03/08/20 at 12:50:18
 
Socket side of board.

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #3 - 03/16/20 at 13:04:43
 
Rough drawing of the enclosure for the ZKIT1. I still need to decide on either corian or oak finish. Either way the bottom portion with OP trannies will be lined with steel.
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #4 - 03/21/20 at 09:55:01
 
I decided to go with corian to match. All parts for the cabinet are cut and fitted. Went with 18 gauge steel that was laying around. Plan today of soldering the board and drilling mounting holes in steel panels. Once panels are finished with drilling I will assemble with JB Weld. Trannies still have not arrived but shipped.
Edcor transformers are encased in steel to help control magnetic fields that can raise havoc with audio signals including hum. Leveraging on this with enclosing the OT in the heavy gauge steel case with orientation of laminations of all Edcors in a minimum magnetic flux interacting fashion, I hope this will bold well in my design.
The trannies will be mounted in a radial fashion with the PT laminations facing and behind the output tubes. The output transformers will be mounted on the case 'wings' directly underneath with laminations facing the PT coils. Any thoughts?
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #5 - 03/21/20 at 22:57:07
 
The board is soldered and holes drilled. Tomorrow I will work on the steel endplates installing mounting brackets for the bottom plate. Will have to wait for the Edcors to finish mounting jacks and plugs on the steel case. If the trannies don't arrive tomorrow, the corian case will get some time.

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #6 - 03/22/20 at 10:15:34
 
I'm happy how the drilled holes lined up with the board. Using the pdf see-thru board picture from assembly instructions and reducing the printing to 94%, it produced a 6" × 6" print of the board. Placing a cut out of the board print on the case and prick punching the center of all required holes netted the pictured results after drilling, deburring, and mounting ZKIT1 board.
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #7 - 03/22/20 at 10:23:52
 
Still waiting for the trannies. This is a picture of plan 'A' of the Edcor scheme.

John
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PicsArt_03-22-05_19_13.jpg

AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #8 - 03/23/20 at 01:48:20
 
I spent some time sanding and gluing the outer cabinet today. The last corian piece being set.
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #9 - 03/23/20 at 01:53:28
 
Things are starting to come together. I will spend tomorrow sanding the corian and fitting/anchoring the steel cabinet in place.
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #10 - 03/24/20 at 19:39:10
 
Yesterday Edcors arrived. After finishing the corian with #0000 steel wool, I marked and drill holes for the trannies. When ordering from Edcor give them a call for estimated lead time. They told me 3 weeks when ordering and was spot on.
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #11 - 03/24/20 at 19:48:41
 
Today was spent fitting and drilling end steel plates. Plugs and posts were also marked, drilled, and mounted. Wire routing was figured out. Because of the limited room on the steel back plate, I ended up placing the IEC connector in back of the PT in an attempt to keep power wires from miggling with signal.
Tomorrow might be the day to light her up Smiley

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #12 - 03/26/20 at 01:56:06
 
Nice! Wink
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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Radarek
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Posts: 53
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #13 - 03/26/20 at 02:47:53
 
Looks great. Like the case... but what about temperature?...power tranny operate at around 104F and lamps around 240F... how you like the sound.... I did the kit too and the day I first powered on I have advertised my Luxman and never looked back. Great little amp... go for bypass ... is well worth it... any hum?
Best regatds

Radarek
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #14 - 03/26/20 at 10:57:32
 
Hi Radarek,

After hours of use the corian case does get warm.
The opening seems to give enough ventilation. I notice no signs of overheating(no smell).
First impression of the sound exhibits more detail but a bit thin. I'll give it 50 hours or so of break in before any critical listening.
I already loaded Parts Connetion cart full of the anniversary mods along with silver wire. Not sure when the trigger will be pulled. Depends on this virus thing and how it effects my travel plans!

Amplifier is dead quite with the Jordans. The PT does have a transformer hum which may lead me to do a slight mod on the inside of the case. Something like installing a barrier between the output tubes and PT(glass, mirror etc.)

Thanks
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #15 - 03/26/20 at 11:09:01
 
The trannies installed!
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #16 - 03/26/20 at 11:11:05
 
Wired, voltage tested...ready for that first tune!
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #17 - 03/26/20 at 11:16:26
 
My stack of audio. The AKSA amp on the bottom will be used as a sub amp...another project to add a cannibalized plate preamp to the Aussie build!

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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Radarek
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Posts: 53
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #18 - 03/26/20 at 13:46:49
 
I like that stack. Looks cool. I have a bit of hum barely audible between tracks... with my ~100db speakers. Same as yours PT hums a bit - I used Hammond here. What bypass caps you want to use ? I have Miflex copper in my and Jupiter copper as coupling...

Best regards

Radarek
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #19 - 03/26/20 at 16:28:17
 
I have the Jupiter beeswax straight up in my cart. Looks like the Miflex KPCUs are a big step above the Jupiter beeswax and slightly below the Jupiter coppers at 60% less than Jbees. What do you think of the Miflex after insertion?

BTW, your build is very nice and well done!

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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JBzen
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Posts: 166
Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #20 - 03/29/20 at 12:11:00
 
Sound out of ZKIT1 stock at 0 hour was thin with chunky bass.
44 hours Smiley Wink Cheesy Grin It is all what they say.

I will be modding this kit in the future with silver wire and beeswax caps but at this time moving to the LP supply side starting with an Ortofon Bronze.

Cheers!

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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Radarek
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Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #21 - 04/21/20 at 03:32:21
 
Hi John

Great amp you have built. Fits your room. How you like it?
My amp amazed me every day, hard to keep with daily routine, but lucky to have 2 hours at night to listen to. Some new mods... SR blue fuse and Duelund Tinned Copper bypass caps added to Jupiter Copper cap.... so much more body added to the music, everything exploded, smother highs and more define lowers, how much room is left in this amp???
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JBzen
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Re: Building the ZKIT1
Reply #22 - 04/21/20 at 14:18:42
 
Radarek,

I have not done any more to the ZKIT1. I been busy doing other tweaks to the system like building an isolation stage for components and acquired a ZP3 with Ortofon 2M Bronze for vinyl.

I like the amp. I am looking forward of adding the anniversary mods and replace the signal caps when they are in stock. Seems, caps are scarce!

Be careful bypassing signal caps. This was brought to my attention by another forum member which reminded me why I use single driver speakers. Bypassing signal caps can lead to phasing problems and additional cap signature to the sound. Too many caps in the audio path can cause many problems with sound reproduction including elevation of incoherence.

Did you notice any benifit with the fuse?

John
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AMC CD8b>XO3>Beldon coax>Sheldon Stokes tube DAC>twisted copper>Cambridge CXNV2>ZSTAGE>ZKIT1>Carol silver>Jordan JX92S/VTL box>AKSA 100W SS Amp>Wicked One with DMH108. Ortofon 2M Bronze>ZP3>JVC QL-F4>Sims isolation. DIY Isolation>AC filtering>JR SU-2 balance power
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