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12/04/22 at 02:47:45†




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New to me ZP3 (Read 377 times)
Sean
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Posts: 83
New to me ZP3
10/14/22 at 20:01:19
 
I received a new to me 20th Anniversary ZP3 about 4 weeks ago. I'd love to say that from the time I plugged it in that it was pure bliss...however...it's been a bit of a battle.

First, here's my setup. Mofi Studiodeck with AT OC9 III into a AT630 SUT > ZP3 > UFO 25th > Tekton Pendragons. I'm using Mogami 2497 diy cables for interconnects.

While waiting for the ZP3 to be delivered I tore apart one AT630 (I've got two of them) and soldered 2497 cables to it. I really like the 2497 cables so my thinking was it would be an improvement over the 30year old RCA's on the 630. I put this in a second system (NAD 7100) and had no issues with it. When I got the ZP3, this SUT didn't work so well. The soundstage was a disaster, it was about 3' wide and 3' tall. WTF??? Sounded like the speakers were behind a wall that had a big 3' square hole in it. Yanked it out and put the other SUT in, all better. I do consider the AT630 the weak spot in my system, but for now it's what I have and until the audio funds recoup a bit it's what I'll be using.

At this point things were OK, not great but I heard the potential. Compared to the Jolida JD9 I had been using, the ZP3 was quieter and very smooth. So much less grain on the edge of instruments and vocals.

For a couple days I didn't change a thing, just tried to get a baseline and listen. Then the tube rolling started. I felt the low end was lacking a bit, so let the madness begin! Swapping out rectifiers, 12AX7's, 5751's, 5184a's, etc. Something still wasn't quite right no matter what combo I tried. As smooth as the ZP3 is I was still getting slightly edgy sounds and sibilance on sudden volume bursts. I decided it was time to start at the beginning and reset everything.

I checked the level of the Mofi and made sure the platter was dead level, it wasn't. Got that leveled out. Checked and rechecked and adjusted the cart. Geo Disc can suck it. Seriously, you can realign everything 100 times and get 120 different results depending where you decide the "pivot point" is. You may think you're pointing to the right spot, but if not you compounded the wrong angle. Perhaps I'm overly anal about this, but getting sibilance and weird balance is NOT what I enjoy hearing. Due to the uncommon length of the Mofi arm they really should include a protractor specific to the table. I like the table, I don't love it. Regardless, it took longer than I thought it should, but it's sounding great now.

For the past week I've been running Raytheon windmill 5751's in the first two spots, a Gold Lion 12AU7, RCA 5U4G and the original Sylvania OA3. The windmill in the 2nd spot does affect output level a bit, but the trade off is a winner for me. My room isn't huge, I listen mainly at night after the kids go to bed. If I'm at 85db in the basement, it's 80db in the living room right above it thanks mostly to the all solid surface staircase and HVAC vents in the basement ceiling that also end in the living room. So taming the output slightly then compensating with more volume on the UFO works out nicely.

Overall, I love the ZP3. It's there, but it's not...very transparent and very black background. Tube rolling can have very distinct impacts on the overall sound. Like I said earlier, the AT SUT is likely the weak spot currently, however it's livable. I've been reading up on SUT's and I'm basically undecided on what direction to take...ZMC?...cinemag?...the possibilities are endless!  

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Mofi StudioDeck, AT OC9III, AT 630, ZP3, SE84UFO, Tekton Pendragon

Schiit Bifrost, Mac Mini, Roon
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hdrider
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Posts: 651
Re: New to me ZP3
Reply #1 - 10/22/22 at 23:53:27
 
Sean- I am totally satisfied with our ZP3 and have been for years. I bought a ZMC1 off of a forum member and it's a great match. You may need to futz around with cable location/path to get the least amount of hum possible, or maybe you'll have zero. Happy listening, Chris.
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CSP3, Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Dynavector D17 DX Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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Sean
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Posts: 83
Re: New to me ZP3
Reply #2 - 10/23/22 at 01:07:43
 
Iím loving the ZP3 more every day. I believe Iíve got my stylus aligned much better, the ZP3 is very responsive to changes upstream. I did swap out the 5751 in the second slot, I believe I like a 12ax7 there better.

The thing about SUTs for me right now, this one is working great as far as I can tell. No hum at all. Iíd love to be able to try a few out to hear differences and narrow down a good choice.

As Iíve sat and just listened Iíve found I could remove sound room treatment I couldnít live without before. Iíve also played around with the BAD diffuser behind me. Instead of a 4í square I set it up as a 2í x 8í. Vocals were getting bit pushed back in the mix, now the soundstage is pretty spread out the width of the room with no glare. Late at night itís so easy to listen to, I find myself lost in the middle of it all.
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Mofi StudioDeck, AT OC9III, AT 630, ZP3, SE84UFO, Tekton Pendragon

Schiit Bifrost, Mac Mini, Roon
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hdrider
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Posts: 651
Re: New to me ZP3
Reply #3 - 10/26/22 at 19:29:47
 
Sean -  Per your comment ''Late at night itís so easy to listen to, I find myself lost in the middle of it all'' isn't that why we do this? Really glad the ZP3 is working out so well. Happy listening and keep us posted what happens with the SUT, Chris.
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CSP3, Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Dynavector D17 DX Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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Sean
Senior Member
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Posts: 83
Re: New to me ZP3
Reply #4 - 11/04/22 at 15:56:03
 
I think everyone here would agree it's always a good idea to have back up tubes. Since I didn't have any extra OA3's, I grabbed one just in case. $10 and a few days later a RCA OA3 arrived. Might as well test it, so I pulled the Sylvania out and plopped this one in. Everything fired up good, came back about 40 minutes later to give a listen. WOW. Honestly, I think this may be the single biggest difference I've got out of the ZP3 so far. That may be exaggerated because honestly I really wasn't expecting any change at all. The bottom end up through the mids snapped into tighter, more pronounced focus while maintaining that great effortless flow from the speakers.
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Mofi StudioDeck, AT OC9III, AT 630, ZP3, SE84UFO, Tekton Pendragon

Schiit Bifrost, Mac Mini, Roon
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