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ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ (Read 202 times)
DancingSea
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ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
06/30/20 at 02:38:57
 
Aloha,

Lon has been so kind to recommend the ZRock 2 to me.  In my quest to better understand the device, please explain how the ZRock 2 is different/ better than using the Roon parametric EQ.

Thanks so much  :)
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #1 - 06/30/20 at 03:39:21
 
I'm sure someone here will help. I myself only spin discs and have no knowledge of Roon at all. . . .

My third ZROCK2 just went onto the bench! Exciting!
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #2 - 06/30/20 at 03:50:14
 
Hi Lon - The Roon EQ is nothing special.  It's just a computer based EQ that is complex and allows the user to create all sorts of EQ recipes.  My original question isn't limited to Roon, it's more about using a computer based EQ vs whatever else the ZRock 2 does.

I'm curious if people use the ZRock 2 because they are using digital sources that have no EQ ability?  Or does the ZRock 2 magic extend beyond just the EQ formula?

I've used a number of computer based EQ's, like Roon, Amarra, and Audirvana.  None of them have left me with the enthusiasm for the ZR2 that I read in these forums.  Thus I'm wondering what all the ZR2 does that a computer based EQ does not?

Or if one has a computer based EQ, is the ZR2 seen as redundant?  Is the ZR2 designed just for sources that have no EQ of their own?

Thanks
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #3 - 06/30/20 at 05:53:23
 
Well, perhaps Steve can talk to what the ZROCK2 is designed for.

I use my ZROCK2 with my phono preamp as well, so it's not just for digital in my system. And one possible determining factor between a computer EQ and the ZROCK2 is gain--the ZROCK2 combines adjustable gain along with the two EQ curves, and the gain is a strong contributing factor.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV; Rega RP3 w/25th mods PS Audio: DMP+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Statement spkr cbls; Mapleshade:Samson V3; Oppo UDP-205; VooDoo:Cremona+Amati intrcncts, Iso-Pods; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #4 - 06/30/20 at 09:55:20
 
The computer based parametric EQ's do just about everything, at least on paper.  The gain can be easily adjusted.  But it's doing it all in the digital domain, and then there's the matter of being competent at EQ adjusting, which I'm an amateur.  I just don't know enough about EQ technology, be it digital or analog, to understand how the ZRock 2 relates and compares to what I'm guessing is inferior digital EQ's.  But I don't know.

I love my DirectStream Junior DAC.  It's clear, resolving and smooth.  But it lacks guts, density and weight to my ears, and makes average recordings sound yet more lean.  High quality recordings are amazing.  I've not been able to solve this issue using computer based EQ's.  It would be absolutely amazing if the ZRock 2 could fix this issue.
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #5 - 06/30/20 at 12:30:40
 
Well I have no doubt that a CSP3 AND a ZROCK2 together would be a great boon to your system helping both the best and not the best recordings, that's quite an expense and the ZROCK2 would be the one of the two to buy to gain the most benefit along these lines with just one component.

Perhaps groovysauce will weigh in as I believe he has more experience with the type of sources you are using and possibly digital EQ. As far as my knowledge extends I think the principal differences would be that Steve Deckert has selected two different EQ curves carefully to be effective in restoring bass presence and heft and curtailing treble energy, which is exactly what my systems have needed for a few decades. The gain is integrated along with the EQ incrementally, which I am not sure is the case in the digital EQ. And there is the impact that different tube types make on the resulting sound which is considerable and adds to further tailoring potential. I don't know if you are familiar with "tube-rolling" but it's another positive factor with the ZROCK2--I've gotten specific characteristic differences in different tube types and brands that have allowed me to dial in a sound that really helps more inferior recordings to "be all they can be."
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Geno
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #6 - 06/30/20 at 16:21:56
 
I also have the DAC Junior. If you want a really significant change/upgrade, take advantage of the balanced outs on the JR, and get a Zbit. It is a very significant upgrade. I heard more of a change at one time than any component I've added to my chain! Outstanding, and I think exactly what you're looking for.
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SE84UFO(25th Mods)
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #7 - 06/30/20 at 16:30:40
 
Very good suggestion Geno. I too enjoy the ZBIT in conjunction with my DSD and my Oppo UDP-205. It really does improve the sound--differently, but along the lines of and complementary to those improvements the CSP3 brings. Though I'm not sure if it will cure what the OP is ailing from exactly (I've been following his thread on the PS Audio forum)--the ZROCK2 does seem to me to be the compnent that would do that best. †If only there were stock on hand, or a "loan to try" out program for Decware components (especially such as this and the ZROCK2). People get interested. . . some have told me what holds them back is having to wait two or three months for a build. . . all of Decware owners know that's hard but we know the value of what we're waiting for. . . prospective buyers. . . don't necessarily. . . .
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV; Rega RP3 w/25th mods PS Audio: DMP+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Statement spkr cbls; Mapleshade:Samson V3; Oppo UDP-205; VooDoo:Cremona+Amati intrcncts, Iso-Pods; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #8 - 06/30/20 at 19:04:58
 
Thank you Geno and Lon for the feedback, very helpful.  I'm not dissuaded by having to wait a few months to get a ZRock 2, I realize that is the price for having a genuine master designer hand build the device himself.  Where else does that happen in audio?

Geno, yes, I agree that the balanced connections work great with the DSJ.  I use them to go between the Junior and my PS Audio S300 dual mono power amp.  I also use the famed Matrix to convert the incoming USB signal to I2S for the Junior.  It was my hope that the Matrix would solve my initial tone issue.  While the I2S conversion did many positive things, it did little to help with tone.  Adding a sub also didn't fix the tone.

The ZR2 presents a connection puzzle for me as the DSJ serves as my preamp.  The ZR2 would go between the DSJ and the power amp.  In my current setup, I connect my subwoofer to the RCA outputs on the DSJ.  The sub has no high level inputs, low level RCA is the only way.

I'm not clear how to integrate the ZRock 2 into this arrangement.  Wouldn't the sub have to go after the ZR2?  The ZR2 would go between the DSJ and the power amp, and also connect to the sub.  Doesn't the ZR2 only have one pair of RCA outputs?

Please chime in with ideas, but short of getting a separate preamp, I only see one solution.  To use an AudioQuest RCA Y adapter coming out of the ZRock that would send one set of RCA's to the power amp, and another pair to the subwoofer.  I use my system for 2 channel home theater and the sub is nice for movies.

Can the ZR2 handle having the signal split coming out of it?

I don't really need a preamp for anything as my lone source is a Mac Mini.  The only reason to get a preamp would be to add more tube magic to the mix.  But a ZR2 and CSP3 is more than I can spend at this juncture.

Thanks again for all the help!
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Geno
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #9 - 06/30/20 at 19:45:36
 
One more nod to the ZBIT.  I promise you that you have not heard what your balanced connections can do until you've heard them through the ZBIT. It added tremendous density and depth to my digital sound. I recently added a CSP3, and like it very much, but it did not have the immediate impact that the ZBIT did.  I really wish you could take a trial run with it.
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SE84UFO(25th Mods)
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Technics 1210MK5(KAB Mods)-KAB/Ortof ProS 40 cart / ZP3(25th Mods)
Otari MX5050 R2R
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Alnico Betsy Baffles OR Crystal 10 Baffles
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GroovySauce
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #10 - 06/30/20 at 20:04:13
 
Iíve used Roon and HQplayer and created convolution filters with REW to dial in the EQ / room correction.

Also tried creating a slope similar to the ZR2.

There is something that always sounded wrong with the convolution filters or manual gentle tweaks to the digital EQ.

At first listen the filters seem like something good is happening. I actually was a proponent of it for a short time. After listening for a bit something always seemed off. Make a less aggressive filter. Same thing would happen. After a month or two messing with it. I found I enjoy the non EQíd more than EQíd. My room has some serious low frequency issues too.

The ZR2 just sound right, is so quick to adjust or bypass it really is a no brainer. The flexibility of tube rolling also offers an extra element of fine tuning.

The EQ that is shown on the sales page of the ZR2 is only half of it. The magic of the ZR2 isnít the EQ curve. Itís some element(s) (harmonics?) that is added along with the EQ curve.

DancingSea, What is your current system? ZR2 was designed for what you speak of. Adding weight and density.
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GroovySauce
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #11 - 06/30/20 at 20:10:45
 
DancingSea missed your last message. Started to respond then got pulled away and finished writing.

I use Analysis Plus RCA T splitter. The ZR2 can be used with a splitter after it. I would try it both ways and see which you prefer. The ZR2 does add gain as you adjust it.

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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #12 - 07/01/20 at 03:08:31
 
Aloha GroovySauce,

Thanks for the informative reply.  My system goes:

MacMini (Roon + HQPlayer) --> USB --> W4S RUR (powered by an SBooster) --> Matrix Audio X SPDIF 2 (I2S conversion) --> AQ Mocha HDMI I2S --> DirectStream Junior DAC --> AQ Colorado Balanced XLR --> PS Audio S300 dual mono amp --> AQ Rocket 33's --> Sonus Faber Chameleon T Towers (lower end Sonus Faber, this model sounds similar to Revel Performa3 F206, but cost less).  I have a REL HT sub connected to the Dac.

I agree about HQPlayer and computer based EQ's.  I've tried Convolution, as well as many other options.  It just doesn't sound quite right.  I'm not knowledgeable enough to say why, but it's not entirely natural.  The DSJ itself is very resolving, but lacks weight.  I am hopeful the ZR2 will solve my long held issue.  Lord knows I've exhausted nearlly every other solution!

I'll run my scheme by Steve directly and then place an order.

Thanks and Kind Regards,
Aloha From Maui
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GroovySauce
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #13 - 07/01/20 at 13:21:17
 
You have quality components. What happens when you disconnect the sub? how does the tone change? When you setup your sub did you use a calibrated mic and measure the room response?

Do you have options to move the speakers a little or a lot?

The ZR2 will add a warmth. If your room / arrangement is stealing all the richness, throwing more or different components will just keep you on the rollercoaster from hell.

The ZR2 isnít a magic bullet, It might just convince you it is, the sneaky bugger! †

Iím not steering you away from the ZR2, It might be the best component Iíve ever purchased. Iím still undecided as Iím still gushing over my other Decware stuff. I donít want to be hasty  :D

Even if someone is really happy with their system I would still suggest they checkout the ZR2.
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Rega P8 | SS Zephyr MIMC Star | Roon + HQplayer | MicroRendu | PSA DSD | ZP3 25th ZMC1 | ZRock2 25th | ZStage 25th | Torii MKiv 25th | Argon 7Ls | Analysis Plus Solo Crystal | Zenwave Speaker Cable | Curious Evolved USB .2m
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #14 - 07/02/20 at 05:06:38
 
Lon - You have the PSA DS Senior, right?  Iíd be going DSJ ó> ZRock 2 ó> PSA S300 power amp.  Do you think there will be any gain (or other) issues by not using an official preamp?

Thanks
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #15 - 07/02/20 at 05:13:18
 
GroovySauce - yes, Iíve been around the May Pole for sure.  With and without the sub, and have moved the speakers around to the limited degree I can.  Part of it is the room, which is a living room, and canít be altered.  It has lots of windows, and solid strand bamboo floors.  And part of it is the revealing nature of the PS Audio gear.  Sounds incredible on high quality DSD recordings.  From all Iíve read, the ZR2 is designed to help with the tone issues Iím experiencing on non A+ recordings.

Just waiting to hear back from Steve via email to make sure he thinks the ZR2 can integrate well into my chain, especially given that I donít have a preamp (the DirectStream Junior serves as digital only preamp, but itís not a full preamp), and Iíd be going straight from the ZRock2 into a solid state amp.  Most of the experience I read in this forum seems to be with systems that have a Decware amp and or preamp.
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #16 - 07/02/20 at 10:54:30
 
DancingSea wrote on 07/02/20 at 05:06:38:
Lon - You have the PSA DS Senior, right? †Iíd be going DSJ ó> ZRock 2 ó> PSA S300 power amp. †Do you think there will be any gain (or other) issues by not using an official preamp?

Thanks


My honest answer is that I have been using tube amps for so long, more than 20 years, that I no longer really remember what going directly into a tube amp from a device like the DSJr would be like specifically. I think that as I said above a preamp AND a ZROCK2 would be ideal, the ZROCK2 alone would be the better choice than a preamp alone for what you hope to accomplish.

In my case the DSD does not have enough gain in single-ended output and I needed a ZBIT to get the balanced out into my single-ended amps and it really improved my sound, and then preamps and ZROCK2 allowed me even better, flexible sound. I couldn't go direct into the amps via single-ended and could with the balanced out converted by ZBIT.

As for emailing Steve. . . I find that often enough I don't get email responses from Steve. The best way to reach him has been reported to be by phone. You can call Sarah and see if you can connect via phone. . . .
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 vs. Roon EQ
Reply #17 - 07/02/20 at 22:53:30
 
Aloha Lon - Thanks for for the info.  Luckily, Steve did email me about my subwoofer connection question.  He suggested connecting the RCA Y or T adapter to the DSJ because the sub does not need the ZRock.  

Iíve followed up about the gain issue with the ZR2 between the DSJ and solid state 300 wpc amp.  I normally use the DSJ connected directly to the S300, and it works great.  I just know nothing about gain issues or how the ZRock would be effected.  Iíll report back on what Steve replies.
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