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ZRock 2 EQ Options (Read 15912 times)
DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #50 - 04/05/21 at 23:00:01
 
Thanks to you both for the Master Class level ZRock2 insights!
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will
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #51 - 04/06/21 at 04:04:44
 
Good thoughts all around Lon. And Dancing Sea, glad to try to help others find more beauty!

Thanks for the comparison of the Tungsram and Phillips E80CCs Lon. I ordered a Phillips to try.

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All Modified: Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender>RevolutionMacMini/PureM>Kitsune Singxer/Gustard x20pro or NOS Tranquility DAC; CSP3, ZRock2, Torii IV, HR1, DIY ZBIT; Cables DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, I2S, Speaker; Feet- Archie's platform, alum/ball bearing, SR+
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #52 - 04/06/21 at 15:21:22
 
This discussion has me tube-rolling again. I'm listening right now to the system with an Amperex 7062 in the ZROCK2. This has a bit less gain than an 12AT7 and sounds very good a few hours after a long hibernation. It's another tall tube, about a half-inch taller than a 12A type generally is.

As I often do with 12AT7 types I went from 0B3 to 0A3 in the voltage regulators for the output tubes for a spell, with a pair of RCA bottle type sounding very good and a pair of tall Amperex sounding unbelievably dynamic, but went back to the 0B3 as these tame a brightness that gets a bit rambunctious with the 0A3 type.

Intrigued by the 7062 I purchased a few 6414 and 6829 to try. Darn you guys. Wink
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JOMAN
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #53 - 04/06/21 at 23:00:26
 
Since your tube rolling again... you might want to try the GE JAN 6189 12AU7WA mid 50's with the triple mica and large horseshoe getter, black plate.  Initially I got it as rebranded National Electronics tubes.  I have received a couple more as GE and these are identical in construction and sound.

The ZR2-A and the CSP3-A/Miflex are still burning in but it looks like this GE tube is a keeper.  The ZR2 EQ is in the up position which I think is EQ A.

With all the mods, I did change one tube in the CSP3 in conjunction with the 6189 in the ZR2.  The input in the CSP3 is now a Philips E188CC SQ.

Also I found that results from changes in the positions of the Input Tube Bias switch and the Speaker Inpedence switches on the UFO25 are now very noticeable and adjusting these makes a big difference in the sound, almost as much as changing the tube in the ZR2.

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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #54 - 04/07/21 at 01:03:18
 
Well, we have different tastes. I do have a similar tube to that you mention and it's just too bright for me--an RCA 6189 12AU7 WA Black Plate 3 Mica D-Getter, the getter looks like a horeshoe. I have a number of other 6189. I won't invest more in that type. I have in the ZROCK2 now an Amperex 5814A with a dimpled getter that is the first 5814A type I've really gotten into as it has that Amperex family richness I lean towards. Holland tubes have always appealed to me. This 5814A has a different sound to the other 5814A or 6189.

I do hear distinct differences between the ohmage and gain switches on my SE84UFO3 Monoblocks with the mods, but I always come back to the lower settings as suiting my room and system the most. I've had all components but my ZTPRE with the mods now for two years or so and have done a lot of exploring. . . and have found my "foundation."
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JOMAN
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #55 - 04/07/21 at 02:43:01
 
In some ways our tastes are different in others similar.  I've had some of the same tubes in my system as you and kept them after you posted your experiences.

Not trying to convince you to buy the GE version of the 6189 12AU7 but I do find it to be an anomoly in that it is not bright.  A friend who recently listened to the system with the GE in place along with the Philips in the CSP3 described the sound as liquid and warm.  I would not say that the sound is "warm" as in tubey warm rather it's very rich and liquid, which is what I've been trying to achieve.

Still it may not be to your taste.
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #56 - 04/07/21 at 10:14:49
 
Probably it's not taste, it's just our rooms are different, our sources and speakers are different, other components are different, our cabling is different, our racks are different, our power and isolation treatments are different and the same tube complements can't be expected to yield the same results. I get rich and liquid with different strategies and particulars, as liquiid and warm and rich as I want to. I just get there with different tubes because of these differences--that I suspect is the real heart of the matter, and why tube recommendations are so difficult to make on target--especially "the very best" picks.
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #57 - 04/14/21 at 15:07:23
 
One more exploration of 12AT7 type going on now: a GE 5 star, black plate, triple mica 6829 in the ZROCK2.

Of all the 12AT7 types this one seems to work best in my system. Very dynamic, has the dynamics and "push" the 6085 does but does lack the "smoothness" which can often enough be a very good thing.

The soundstage does not seem as deep but DOES seem wider and taller, a big and full sound.

I'll keep this in a while and have another to try in the audio/visual system where its strengths make me feel that it may be quite a winner.

I have also over the last two weeks made some interesting system changes that have taugtened up the frequency range a bit (not always the best thing) and increased imaging specificity and soundstage delneation: I'm using the electrical portion of my PS Audio PowerBases, which I haven't done for some time, three of them. I started incrementally: first my PS Audio front end duo, each plugged into one. Then days later my ZTPRE and ZROCK2 plugged into another. Then days later my CSP3 plugged into a third. This has meant I have had to experiment with other power cords than I was using previously (all PS Audio PerfectStream AC-12) as I don't have enough of these to fully outfit the system, and I have found a nice combination. From the PowerBase to the transport I have a PS Audio xStream Statement SC, and from the PowerBase to the DAC a PS Audio xStream Premier, and from the PowerBase to the CSP3 a My Audio Cable "Burly". . . . From the PowerBase to the ZTPRE and the ZROCK2 I am still using the AC-12. These changes have given me a slightly more "analytical" sound. I don't always prefer this, and I may revert to the former setup but I am enjoying the change for the most part.
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #58 - 04/14/21 at 15:12:10
 
I think I can assume that the Miflex capacitors in my ZROCK2 are now broken in and I think they too are contributing to the slightly more "analytical" sound of the system in comparison to the Type 2 cap incarnation. I'm liking it but in time I'll swap back in the Type 2 ZROCK2 I have and see what that comparison will bring. One can't go wrong either way, though I imagine anyone would have a preference for one over the other, the difference seems significant enough.
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will
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #59 - 04/15/21 at 01:38:51
 
I think I know what you mean about tightening things up not necessarily being good, especially if it means harder mids and highs. But soundstage improvements seem to indicate better resolution, speed, and less smearing, and if I can get that with musical grace, I tend to love it. I had a cable from a Chinese seller feeding the ZRock2 that looks like a Nordost Odin, a helix pattern of shielded very pure copper with thick pure silver plating and "Furutech" carbon fiber Rhodium plated NCF ends....clear, big, articulate, and smooth, but tending to coolness.

I was liking it for burning in modifications on the ZRock2. But after modifications started to really work and settle, I decided to try my favorite "store bought" cable for clear, but friendly/smooth and neutral resolution, a PI Audio 10 gauge with Furutech gold plated ends. I used this for the CSP3 for years, and always loved it for not really having much sound... just doing it all well. And so far it seems really nice in the ZRock2. Amazing what cables and power can do!

I feel like the ZRock2 is close to as fast now as the rest of the system, and am preferring that. Having replaced the signal caps, and bypassed the power supply with Audyn True Coppers, these caps in speakers can be a touch intense to me, but in electronics I find them clear and pretty richly musical. But they revealed that I wanted to further resolve some of the slowness I was getting compared to the rest of my system. So I added capacitance to the PS bypasses, now each channel having a 0.1 Audyn True Copper, and two Miflex polypropylene/coppers, a 0.1 and a 0.022 to pull finer resolution. Though still a little slow, speed is nice with these caps together, and musical.

These Miflex are like the caps Steve is using now, and I am more accustomed to experimenting with Miflex paper/oil coppers. But I have quite of few of the poly/coppers in the CSP3 and Torii, using them when I wanted a neutral and relatively uncolored dose of resolution that is clear and defined but still pleasantly smooth, a little warm, and with a nice copper shimmer. But this a broad impression of them, and I need to try these caps alone somewhere to get a truer feel for them. If I had had the right values for the ZRock2 signal caps I would have tried that, so I guess I should order some and see.

Interestingly, while refining caps, a pretty subtle veil showed, and having replaced the internal signal cables in my CSP3 and Torii I thought I knew the sound, so replaced the cables from and back to the RCAs with a warm but resolving wire blend. I left the stock cable between the EQ board and tube for now appreciating many things about the stock sound. That did the trick for me, the sound being close enough to matching my other components to let it all settle in a bit.

Anyway, I agree, my impressions of the Type2 Jupiter Coppers compared to the Miflex Steve is using are that they are different enough to be a notable choice. For me, once I started using Miflex paper/oil coppers, I was glad to leave behind what was to me a darkish, big, thickish bottom of the Jupiters, finding the Miflex more neutral and resolving mids down, more to my tastes. The top resolution of the Jupiter was better seeming, but I was able to satisfy that with the right very small value bypasses.

Though not having done clear analysis, my impressions are that these copper/polypropylene Miflex seem nicely balanced and pretty real. Compared to the more colored Jupiters, I can get the thought that the Miflex are more "analytical," but I might not use that term. I even wonder if there might still be some burnin to go? At this point, without pre-burnin treatment, I tend to think most nice caps take 300+ hours with music to start to really hear their more refined character, and more like 5-600 to fully burn in. Anyway, I hope they end up working well for you without reservations.

I am still working through a box of tubes I had gotten for the Zstage over a number of years, and there are quite a few, so having fun. Playing with 12BH7s and 12AT7s again, a Raytheon triple mica black plate 12AT7WA is in now. It strikes me as biggish, full, warm, while being resolving and open...pretty smooth and not as open/bold/fast as many 12AT7s tend to be. It looks like a new tube so I am hoping more time will resolve what to me is a little too smooth and slow, though nice and listenable.

I am gladly finding the ZRock2 to be a compelling component. Can't say for sure if it will stay in this system, before it, having finally come to a very nice resolution, speed and musical balance, but probably! I find it is a sweet invention!
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #60 - 04/15/21 at 12:41:51
 
It seems as if you are very very close to the ZROCK2 being the way you want it to be! It's been a really nice platform for you to work with and I think you'll agree that what it does in a system is fascinating and inspiring.

You may be right that these new Miflex caps may not have fully burned in yet. I am so so used to the Type 2 sound as I have it nearly everywhere in the system. . . takes me time to overcome my familiarity and extend full affection to another. I've also moved back to the 6085 in the ZROCK2--every time I compare and contrast the 6085 wins with its smooth fullness and its musical bass.
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will
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #61 - 04/16/21 at 02:24:35
 
Nice Lon. I think "fascinating and inspiring" is a really good way to describe the ZRock2.

For me, part of its mystery and magic is that its lively "personality" breaks "rules," "coloring," the sound with its distinctive "voicing," while seeming quite supportive of the feel of complex and beautiful music. And it does what it does with so much flexibility, amazingly adjustable with tubes, gain, A-B switch changes, cables.... it seems almost like a living thing.

Using it within its more "transparent" settings window, wanting to retain fine detail complexity with relatively tight bass but enhanced throughout, to me it generally has a dynamic sweetening/smoothing/warming flavor, altering the sound, but with realistic feeling revelation. And being able to adjust for more or less bass-warmth/dynamics/clarity depending on our choices, I think it is a notable triumph in Steve's development work.

So I really appreciate its character and potential. My only reservation is that I had amazing musical clarity and balance before, and was getting really good adjustability with the CSP3 and ZBIT for tuning weight, warmth, dynamics, and clarity, and all that within a transparent, resolving, fast, and relatively uncolored musicality. So, at this point, the question would be, which do I prefer, captivating sweetening from the ZRock2, or the possibly more amazing transparent musicality without... "possibly more amazing," because it is so rare to get this level of resolution and musically balanced beauty without unmusical "side effects," and it is seductive.

But I am not done playing with the ZRock2, and have not been compelled to take it out, so I am guessing I will end up feeling like I don't want to be without.



Relative to caps, I think Steve is so good at his "voicing" across his designs, I feel like any cap he chooses is going to do whatever it does extra well. And though I no longer prefer them, I really liked Jupiter Coppers (Type 2), and know they can be special caps. Changing to Type 2s from Jupiter HT (Type 1) coupling caps was one of my first modifications on the Torii IV, amazingly to me, about 4.5 years ago. I recall finding Type 2s a little heavily weighted toward full bass, so darkish/warmish/thickish, but adjusting with tubes, I really enjoyed their complexity, compelling liquidity and solidity. I thought Steve's calling them "organic" a realistic descriptor.

I am still modifying now, though looking at the photos, both Torii and CSP3 are relatively close to 9 months ago, so I guess the mod cycle is still open, but not nearly as active as it was for several years. I think this context might be important though for my story, because over several years+ I methodically and progressively changed most of the parts and wires in the Torii and CSP3, often with daily experiments, if not a few times a week... And the only parts that stayed created improvements in most or all areas of concern before I moved to the next. Where I am going though, this extended process shaped the way I listen, but also, past modification choices influenced decisions for new ones… so preferences were similar, but the parts choices were interrelated, collectively creating their own direction in a sense.

Researching a fair bit at the same time, parts and wires I really appreciated showed up. And experimenting being a regular and big part of my life, listening abilities refined, seeming able to fluidly shift from a mode of musical immersion, into a mode of discerning the subtle qualities and balances of the whole, to perceiving and discerning with a sort of articulate microscopic focus...kind of interchangeable and integrated depending on need or focus.

This process led to finding Miflex caps, but only after about a year of being quite content using Jupiter Copper coupling caps while working on other areas. But this may be important too in this story.... Miflex paper/oil caps are still an overall favorite, having held up over several years of refinements, where many well-liked caps came and went in that time. As the system became more resolving and transparent, often problems showed up with parts that were good at first, but later, context caused them to be unable to rise to the level the rest had created.

So as my experiments progressed, and with more exposure to other options, I moved away from Jupiter Coppers, going for what sounded to me like a less flavored, but still natural quality. And Miflex Copper/Oils remained favorites along with a few others that worked really nicely balancing each other...combining the best traits of each to "create" exceptional caps with synergistic combinations.

I started using Miflex poly/coppers late enough in this modification cycle, that the baseline was so good, I was making quicker decisions. Everything sounding good, improving additions that fit without issues, just fit. So unfortunately, I have not listened carefully enough to these caps to confidently articulate their subtler nature.

This makes me think your observations could easily be more relevant than mine, your having changed recently from Type 2 Jupiters you know so well, to these Miflex in the same component. And like Steve, you are an explorer, but more with components, tubes, cables, vibration mitigation, power, etc as your palette. So I can easily imagine how well Type 2s have worked for you as upgrades, and how introducing something else can be tricky, Jupiter Coppers being a foundational influence in your system sound and tuning.



I was having a less-than stellar ZRock2 day, likely the last caps I put in being in an unfriendly second day phase, something that usually passes with pre-burned in caps on the third day.... so holding tight. But I may have a relevant observation about tube choices and setting choices.

With the Torii and CSP3, modifications happening over a long time, it took me a while to notice that as I increased resolution and speed, my tube choices leaned toward milder and more refined/complex tubes. Now, with the ZRock2 modifications happening fast, I am thinking I am more clearly noticing the same phenomena.

When we think of "fast," and "resolving," and "transparent," and "neutral," though they all describe relatively natural balances and clarity in their own ways, seems the words finally tend to become their own entities, and lose power as descriptors. But in looking at what causes the sonic changes these descriptors initially attempt to describe, the real sonic events are very much from the removal of smearing, subtle distortions, and slowness and veils caused from less than ideal energy flow. By removing these impediments, we can create more easy and complete musical flow, in a component by upgrading and tuning parts and wires, or system wide by adjusting power, cables, vibration mitigation, room tuning, component upgrades, etc.

Yesterday, listening to the darker Raytheon 12AT7, I ended up with some listening fatigue, another part of why today was not a great ZRock2 day...my hearing was off until the last several hours. This led to my thought that the above phenomena may explain part of why I was preferring 12AT7s and the more punchy/open B setting early on, but having potential challenges with this combination now.

At first, to get closer to the resolution and clarity I was used to, from bass impact and definition on up, the nicely voiced stock ZRock2 did better here with more powerful and articulate tubes and settings... they created definition and space I craved. But after having sped things up, and having done some refinements in the signal path, with easier flow, 12AT7s are still seductive at first, but they are tending now to being too much without adjustments elsewhere. At the same time, many 12AU7 types are acting closer to how 12AT7s were at first. They have better definition and space throughout, but with a milder push....more relaxed, and I like that. 12BH7s and E80CC/6085s, in between, I like too. And with all of them, I am tending to preferring the A setting, one I found good mids up before, but soft on the bottom. So with some modifications in place, and probably in part by matching my system better, this softness has been mitigated. Now 12AU7s are not as defined as 12AT7s, but well balanced, defined and spacious bottom to top, and with the A setting.

Anyway, the theory is that with increasing resolution and easier, more clarified flow, the same tubes become more revealing of their nature, while becoming more powerful in their presentation. So the baseline musical landscape changes.

Just now a '56 RCA 5814A with triple micas, T shaped black plates, and an angled horseshoe getter is sounding pretty sweet.
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #62 - 05/12/21 at 00:41:22
 
Aloha ZR2 Jedi Masters,

I’ve been considering buying a Marantz PM KI-Ruby integrated amp.  It has 2 line level tape RCA outputs.  They are at a fixed volume.  I’m wondering, given almost no one records music on their tape deck anymore, if the tape out could be used for an EQ?  More specifically, could the ZRock 2 be added to the tape loop, and output back into the Marantz integrated amp, like I assume one would add an equalizer?  In my theory, anything playing through the KI-Ruby, CD, DAC, turntable, TV, etc could all be sent through the ZRock2 as one desired.

Is my thinking on the right track?  Is that how such a thing would work?
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #63 - 05/12/21 at 01:22:24
 
Well, if the amp really had a true tape loop that would be one way to use the ZROCK2, yes. But. . .that would mean not two outputs, but a loop of an output and an input.
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #64 - 05/12/21 at 01:47:07
 
Yes, the Marantz PM KI-Ruby has two sets of right & left “recorder out”, and two sets coming back in (recorder in).

The Rogue Audio Pharaoh has one such loop, but it calls it “processor out” and “processor in”.

In such arrangements, could the ZR2 be inserted into one of those loops and thus bless all incoming sources on the amps?
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #65 - 05/12/21 at 01:51:40
 
It should then, yes, as I understand it, as long as you can select that input to monitor and listen to as I suspect you should be able to. If I'm thinking wrong I'm sure someone here will let me know.
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DancingSea
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #66 - 05/12/21 at 01:55:01
 
It would greatly expand the usefulness of the ZRock to have it easily bless multiple sources, CD, DAC, turntable or TV.
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Lon
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Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #67 - 05/12/21 at 02:06:46
 
A ZROCK2 works quite well with a preamp in that regard and otherwise you would have to add a preamp to it esentially. A ZROCK2 would need quite a redesign to handle a lot of inputs itself, a larger chassis etc. and then be even more expensive. (You can already see on the PS Audio forum how difficult it is for many to grasp the concept even at its present price point and form).  It works quite well with preamps and that would be how you would be using it in a sense with the Marantz.

I accomplish it influencing multiple sources with my preamps, and also in two systems by using the digital out from my DVR into my OPPO-UDP205 or PS Audio NuWave DAC (one of these in each of the systems I have a tv in). I use a PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter with my turntable and it has an excellent ADC within it and I run that via HDMI/I2S into my DSD and get great sound. That and the preamps in my main system is my way of using the ZROCK2 with all my sources.
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DancingSea
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Posts: 445
Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #68 - 05/12/21 at 02:14:14
 
Audiophiles have a peculiar, almost monolithic bias against EQ’s.  Doesn’t matter if it improves the sound. Weird.
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Lon
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Posts: 19510
Re: ZRock 2 EQ Options
Reply #69 - 05/12/21 at 02:17:21
 
Yup. Weird.
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