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07/02/22 at 17:31:28 

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Jay's REVIEW of the ZMA (Read 256 times)
Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 5559
Jay's REVIEW of the ZMA
06/05/22 at 05:11:42


This is Jay's review of the Zen Mystery Amp. It was a fully pimped out model with anniversary mods. He wanted something that would work with Sonus Faber that could potentially be a reference amplifier for his system. To me a pair of stand mounted Sonus Faber would have been sublime in his modest space with a ZMA which is more affordable than the TORII MONOs. I did not take into account that his reference for that speaker was high power solid state or that he valued the heavily damped hit that comes with high power solid state on such a speaker.  This can be important with smaller bookshelf speakers because it makes them sound well outside their capabilities and that's frankly quite a bit of fun.

I am usually pretty good at getting it right the first time, but in fairness that is on the phone. Emails or so limiting. I have not had the pleasure of talking to Jay directly only the phone, which is often the case with reviewers.  I am always afraid of skewing the results of the review with that phone call that I never talk to reviews like I do a customer...  I'm sure they have manufactures blowing shit up their ass all day long about how great their stuff is and spending hours telling the reviewer everything he is suppose to hear. I just don't want to be that guy.

However with customers a consultation by phone is a big part of the success of Decware. That 20 minutes to an hour is where I figure out what you really want, and then figure out if I can provide it. This is a big part of the reason why we get less than 1% of our products back on the 30 day trial.

From now on I will force myself to treat a reviewer like any other customer and if they don't call me I will call them.

I say all this because it turns out he was looking for better bass performance with his Sonus Faber speakers. Had we talked on the phone this would have come up quickly at which point I would have learned his reference was 100 pound solid state amplifiers with high damping factors that have hundreds of watts.

This would have lead to a discussion about speaker design, high efficiency vs. low efficiency and the resulting linearities of each approach in the bass regions just to set a baseline.  

Then I would have spoken about the TORII MONO's and how they are the same circuit as the Zen Mystery Amp but with 100 volts more on the plates. This gives them more slam which "hifi speakers" typically need to overcome the slow high mass woofers with long through voice coils.

I have noticed that his most recent review on the Doge10 MK3 amp shows he is still searching for this holy grail, but my guess is he will be unlikely to find it because once you get the voltage high enough to create the ultimate slam in the bass and add enough negative feedback to control it, the sound will loose it's liquidity and even become sharp.

If nothing else the ZMA which he purchased, will help him find the right amp for his vision. I know the feeling of knowing a certain sound is out there and you just have to keep searching until you find it. The Audio Gods will actually bring it to you once they see you're really serious and have put the effort and time and money into it.

Anyway, a very well done review under the circumstances and perhaps some day a speaker with lower moving mass will come into his journey and then he will hear what ZMA bass sounds like when the drivers suspension keeps the underhung voice coil in the gap and the amplifiers lack of negative feedback opens up the bass and stops rounding the leading edges of dynamics. A sound that can actually make solid state on low efficiency speakers sound slow. The trick would be to find something with a similar voicing to the Sonus Faber. ; )


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Kahuna Jack
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Posts: 35
Re: Jay's REVIEW of the ZMA
Reply #1 - 06/05/22 at 19:14:04
I watched it once when posted and the immediate fact was he was focusing on the Decware / Sonus combo only.

Id love to see him review that amplifier with a variety of other speakers in more detail even though I realize that was not his goal.

Also thought about how much Id love to have Jay's problems lol
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