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G'day (Read 3412 times)
Morph
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G'day
08/09/22 at 14:14:40
 
Good evening from the other side of the world (Australia) and thank you kindly in advance for your thoughts. †I have been on my audio journey for the past year or two now have begun to understand what my "sound" sounds like. †And more recently, I've become aware of Mr Deckert's works, which sound like exactly what I'm after in an end game setup.

After reading through and listening to reviews and reading through this lovely community's comments, I've placed an order on a ZMA with mods, assuming this to be the pinnacle of the Decware sound. †My question though is, is this the case? †

Will the ZMA with all the mods produce a "better" sound than the Zen Torii Mono's, or even two SE84UFO25's acting as Mono's? †I currently have a set of Paradigm Persona 5fs which are rated at 93dB and prefer my music not too loud. †Silky but without loss of texture and detail.

A penny for your kind thoughts? †I'm sure I will fall in love with the ZMA but if there is a better option, it would be nice not to have to wait for the lag time before delivery again.
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HockessinKid
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Re: G'day
Reply #1 - 08/09/22 at 15:59:13
 
Morph,

FWIW I have the ZMA with 25th Anniversary modifications in my system, along with a companion CSP3+ preamp with the same mods. It sounds exceptional on a wide variety of speakers with a wide range of efficiencies.

I think it is a great choice regardless of what types of music you prefer and at what listening levels.

Can you share a bit of info about your listening room (dedicated listening/not dedicated; size; etc.), preferred music and volume levels? This would be insightful and help with recommendations.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Audio Technica AT-OC9XML cart + Modwright PH 9.0XT phono OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 > CSP3-25th Ann. preamp > ZMA-25th Ann. amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Caintuck Audio Lii15 Magnum speakers > Snake River Audio & ZenWave cables
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CAJames
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Re: G'day
Reply #2 - 08/09/22 at 17:07:58
 
Welcome!

Firstly Iím sure you will in fact love your ZMA, but you asked for thoughts so Iíll give you mine. You say after all the reviews and forum reading you feel like a ZMA is ďthe pinnacleĒ and Iím curious what lead you there?

I think most forum members would say there is no ďbestĒ Decware amp, just the best one for you. There are lots of folks who prefer the higher †powered push-pull sound and others (like me) prefer the low power single ended experience. I think if anything Steve would say the UFO25 is the sound to which he compares all the other amps be makes.

So, again, as a practical matter there are no bad choices and more watts certainly gives you more options, but silky, textured and detailed is the UFO sound in 3 words. 93 dB speakers (if they are truly that) would be right on the cusp for 2.3 watts IMO but if your room isnít big and/or you donít listen loud you would probably be fine with a single UFO25, certainly a pair would be plenty. For me I have a pair of UFOs and they sound so good Iím back on the waiting list for a pair of UFO25s. I got two to run them balanced, not for the extra watts, but the power is a nice bonus when I get to crank it up.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
Woo WA22 -> Space-tech 300B , 2x UFO25s on order
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Senn HD-650
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Earthbound
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Re: G'day
Reply #3 - 08/09/22 at 21:59:53
 
Welcome Morph. Iím currently on the list for an MK5 with anniversary mods, csp3 with anniversary mods and a zrock with mods(I think). I sort of just jumped on the list so I was in the queue. The more Iíve read over the last few months, the more Iím inclined to change over to the ZMA. Since the MK5 is so new, there arenít many reviews. I would also love to see members comparing the MK5 to the ZMA.
Anyway, from reading the forum, I think CAJames comments are the general consensus. The set amps with low wattage seem to be where the ďbestĒ sound is at. My speakers, volume levels and room size dictate more watts. Also, best may very well be the new 300b! Who knows? At least we have some time to change our minds back and forth a dozen times before we have to commit to a choice!
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Morph
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Re: G'day
Reply #4 - 08/09/22 at 23:27:15
 
Hi guys, thanks so much for your welcome and time.  I've been trolling through these forums for the past couple of weeks and have really enjoyed the informative and kind nature of the vast majority of members.

HK
I have a dedicated listening room that measures 7x5.2.2m which I've treated with surprisingly good results (it's amazing what you can learn from the internet!).  I generally listen at low to medium volume levels.  I enjoy lots of music but to particularly like listening to vocal jazz.  Last nights album was Carla Bruni's "French Touch".

HK, that was actually another question I had in my mind, the use of a pre-amp with the ZMA.  Do you run it as a matter of convenience?  Or does the combination create a different sound?

CAJames
Good morrow Sir Smiley.  I guess the first step what deciding what my "sound" was and making mistakes along the way.    I have a well reviewed and beautiful sound SS amp and loaned a McIntosh MC275, the Paradigms which a very precise as well as a pair of custom made speakers which a rich and warm.  I've also spent t deal of time at my local HiFi store listening to some of his insane gear.  And after all of this, I've decided that I want the best of all worlds Wink.  Silky, rich, smooth but with texture and details.  Which, from all the reviews I've read and seen, is Decware.

Thank you and yes, I understand "best" is very subjective.  I wish I could come to Decfest to experience the amps IRL.  Reading through the forums, what you've said is the impression that I get.  The UFO25 is silky and textured and the ZMA more powerful and detailed whilst retaining smoothness.  And, going down this path, I think I would copy you're choice of the 2 UFO25s balanced.  Do you think there is a point in adding a CSP3 to that setup, as per HK?

Earthbound
Thank you.  And yes, I've read the whole Sarah 300b thread and that does muddy the waters even further.

At the moment I'm thinking ZMA+ v UFO25x2 balanced.  Just reading through the 300b thread, and something mentioned by Jay in his youtube review (not sure how reliable that comment was) me lean towards the ZMA.  It would be nice to be able to hear them both but that's not possible.

And there's the CSP3...  thank you for your thoughts.


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CAJames
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Re: G'day
Reply #5 - 08/09/22 at 23:54:47
 
So, re: balanced UFO25s and the CSP3. The short answer is that isnít going to work. You need a balanced source for your balanced amps and the CSP3 is single ended. The Decware balanced preamp is the ZTPRE, although I chose a non-Decware option. Of course ďplainĒ mono blocks with single ended connections from a CSP3 is an option.

For me personally (so again very much JMO/FWIW) I learned a long time ago the two things I really wanted in a system are a tube preamp (more †for tuning the sound than convenience) and a balanced signal path. Iím extremely happy with what I have, but lots of people are equally passionate about their ZMAs. Also FWIW I bought my Decware sight unheard if you will, mostly based on reading these fora, and it turned out really well.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
Woo WA22 -> Space-tech 300B , 2x UFO25s on order
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Senn HD-650
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HockessinKid
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Re: G'day
Reply #6 - 08/10/22 at 18:16:30
 
Morph,

Whichever amp you select, I'd highly recommend the 25th Anniversary modifications. They sound exceptional. Also, budget allowing a Decware preamp CSP3 or other is also highly recommended. I use the CSP3 with 25th Anniversary mods because I have two sources, a turnstble w/ phono preamp and a modified CXN V2 DAC/streamer.

The great thing about having the preamp is being able to adjust the gain output on both the amp and preamp. The benefit is incredible adjustability control of the sound through your speakers. It's truly special.

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Audio Technica AT-OC9XML cart + Modwright PH 9.0XT phono OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 > CSP3-25th Ann. preamp > ZMA-25th Ann. amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Caintuck Audio Lii15 Magnum speakers > Snake River Audio & ZenWave cables
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Burgermeester
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Re: G'day
Reply #7 - 08/11/22 at 12:08:45
 
I don't have it at my fingertips -- I think it's in the Fear of 2.3 Watts thread -- but Steve has stated that for all intents and purposes -- maybe (this is my guess) because of the overbuilt UFO25 power supplies -- a pair of balanced 25s doesn't differ much from a ZMA in terms of putting out sound. That would be with a CSP325 and its gain, I assume.

YMMV, but that's what he says.
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Morph
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Re: G'day
Reply #8 - 08/12/22 at 02:04:29
 
Thank you very much Smiley

CAJames
Ahhh, of course.  Silly of me!

HK
Thank you, that is very helpful.  I was just about to order the CSP3 but now see that there is a 25th Anniversary version of it!  Though it doesn't have the headphone outputs of the previous version.  I was hoping to use it as a headphone amp as well.  Just emailed Sarah to see if that's an option.

Burgermeester
Thank you very much.  Yes, I will order the 25th Anniversary editions of each.  I kind of see these also as works of art so I think getting the epitome of each would be fitting.


Thank you.  I think I will stick with the ZMA 25th, just for the flexibility, and add the CSP325.  Would be nice to have both Wink
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Lon
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Re: G'day
Reply #9 - 08/12/22 at 03:13:06
 
I'm not sure if Steve could add a headphone output to the Anniversary CSP3 but I have a CSP3 with all the Anniversary mods and have to say. . .it's an amazing preamp and an amazing headphone amp. That's one way to go that will yield excellent sonics and headphone use that is astonishingly good.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod,Taboo MkIV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls;Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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Morph
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Re: G'day
Reply #10 - 08/13/22 at 00:03:20
 
Hi Lon

Thank you Smiley.  Yes I like the flexibility of being able to use it as a headphone amp.  If the CSP325 wonít be able to accept headphones then I think Iíll copy your setup.  Do you know how it compares to the Taboo as a headphone amp?

On another topic, I see that the SE84UFO AND SE84UFO25 are on Stereophile Magazines list of best equipment for 2021.
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Lon
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Re: G'day
Reply #11 - 08/13/22 at 04:11:01
 
I have both the CSP3 with Anniversary Mods and the Taboo Mk IV with Anniversary Mods and three pair of great headphones.

The CSP3 can drive the ZMF Ori, but it strains a bit. The Taboo LOVES the Ori and vice versa. It's the best match I have between amp and headhones--the headphones have a need for power, and the amp delivers. (It's also imo a great amp for the right speakers).

My Sennheiser HD800S are easier to drive and they love the CSP3. It really is a perfect match. Excellent soundstaging, frequency balance, detail.

My Oppo PM-1 are very easy to drive and work well in either amp. Sound great, but to be honest they are a bit slower and less detailed sounding than either of the others, which is quite nice for some sources and material.

Both the CSP3 and Taboo Mk IV are excellent headphone amps, and the "winner" between the two will be the power needs of the headphones themselves.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod,Taboo MkIV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls;Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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Earthbound
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Re: G'day
Reply #12 - 08/13/22 at 14:44:46
 
Thanks for adding the headphone information Lon. I have to go down that road when the csp3 arrives. I was considering the ZMF, only because itís on the Decware website. Glad to hear the Sennheiser works well with the csp3. How is the bass with that model Lon?
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Lon
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Re: G'day
Reply #13 - 08/13/22 at 15:18:39
 
I have to say that the bass on the Ori is pretty darned good. As far as QUANTITY of bass the three headphones are like this:

Oppo PM-1
ZMF Ori
Sennheiser HD800S

I use a ZROCK2 in all three of my systems and it has been SO LONG since I listened to any of these without a ZROCK2 but this is how they would be bass-wise with or without a ZROCK2.

I hardly use the PM-1 any longer, they sound great, they are though the least comfortable pair I own. I also have a pair of Audeze LCD-3 that one channel has gone out of that I just don't have the nerve to throw out. I did like the sound.

Cabling really matters too on headphones with Decware headphone amps. I have OCC cabling from ArticCables on two and the stock OCC cabling from Oppo for the PM-1s. Good stuff.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod,Taboo MkIV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls;Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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Earthbound
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Re: G'day
Reply #14 - 08/13/22 at 18:01:03
 
Thanks for the information. I have the zrock coming as well so I assume bass wonít be a problem with the Sennheiser. A couple of reviews mentioned that it could be better. Some use an equalizer with their headphones but I think the zrock will take care of any perceived deficiencies.
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Lon
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Re: G'day
Reply #15 - 08/13/22 at 18:05:26
 
I really think the ZROCK2 will really be a great fit for any of the headphones you might plug in. It is such a f'ing influential device. I've learned to totally lean on it. It has helped me to enjoy the sound of my systems more than ever, and more recordings than ever. I only wish Steve had invented it in 1998 or so! Smiley
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod,Taboo MkIV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls;Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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Morph
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Re: G'day
Reply #16 - 08/14/22 at 11:52:04
 
Thank you very much for the information Lon Smiley
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BicycleJoe Lo-Fi
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Re: G'day
Reply #17 - 08/14/22 at 12:43:23
 
Lon, when Steve was discussing the Sarah having an internal ZROCK set at parity already part of the scheme I got in touch to enquire if he could hook my Rachel up too. I'm afraid not but he says the combination of the two would more than keep up with the Sarah.
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"Once there was a note, pure and easy,playing so free like a breath rippling by,the note is eternal, I hear it, it sees me,forever we blend and forever we die".
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Lon
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Re: G'day
Reply #18 - 08/14/22 at 13:06:50
 
He loves all his amps and a ZROCK2 will help them all. I find each I have sampled sound different, and personal preferences determine so much. I can/will/cannot wait to hear the Sarah.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod,Taboo MkIV;Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls,Reference spkrcbls;Mapleshade SamsonV3;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones:Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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Earthbound
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Re: G'day
Reply #19 - 08/14/22 at 15:06:38
 
I have to stop reading these threads. Itís making the wait unbearable! I canít wait to get the ZMA or mono blocks(canít decide). Iím almost as excited to get the csp3 and zrock from all the great reviews. With all my excitement, my closest friend, an mk3 owner, has now put himself on the list for a csp25, zrock and another amp. What great mental problems we have!😂
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metropolis7
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Re: G'day
Reply #20 - 08/14/22 at 19:33:08
 

Plus one on the ZROCK being a fantastic improvement for a CSP/headphone based system. I have a modest but killer CSP2/HD 600 setup. The ZROCK was like adding salt to an unseasoned steak. A total enhancement with more drive, grunt, and absolutely no drawbacks.
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Burgermeester
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Re: G'day
Reply #21 - 08/17/22 at 13:58:45
 
Earthbound, yes, the wait can be corrosive to the soul. At some point, it becomes almost unimaginable. If you live in a hot climate, avoid the tendency to think about the looming wait as you trudge through the heat.

Recommended cures:

1. Stop spending time in the forums. Look to the "How long have you waited thread" for my periodic updates (which no one needs, but I'm just saying) as to how fast the list is moving.

2. Start drinking heavily.
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Earthbound
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Re: G'day
Reply #22 - 08/17/22 at 15:40:15
 
Haha! I canít avoid the forums and Iím half way up page 8 already! Iím an educator who is off for the summer. Once school starts up again in a couple of weeks, my brain will be on other things. My life then goes from unit to unit and passes too quickly. I donít want to wish my life away so I will just enjoy the new amp and speakers I have now.
P.s. Does anyone have the blue prints for how to build a time machine?
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Richie_C
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Re: G'day
Reply #23 - 08/18/22 at 00:30:44
 
G'Day Morph

As an alternative for us Aussies, Check out Earle Weston's gear: https://westonacoustics.com.au/ from here in Aus
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Morph
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Re: G'day
Reply #24 - 08/21/22 at 11:53:04
 
Reading through these forums makes me want to get one of everything!

And thanks Richie.  Those amps do look good.  Iím quite happy to wait for my Decware amps though.  Cheers
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