Showing 1 of 27 reviews about:
Fayne
1950
Jul 25, 2019
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Tubes and Transformers, My New Best Friends.
Day 1: The amp just arrived a handful of hours ago, this is purely an initial frothing at the mouth review. First off, I'm a rather big fan of the Voskhod 6ZH1P-EV tubes. I run them in any amp that can accept 6J1/6AK5/5654/6ZH1P. The default tubes that arrived all appear to be Voskhod, with the same construction style as the 6ZH1P-EV. I'll have to inspect them a bit more when I'm done with my ferret-shock of new toy and start applying DeoxIT. I wired it up to use the Airist R-2R DAC. Figured, if I'm going tube, I might as well take an even larger analog path. Totally worth it. Extra low end on top of the already posh bass of the tubes? Yeah. I spent the first few hours enjoying some of my collection on random while listening through some new Fostex TR-70-250 cans. Very nice pairing that, comfortable, loud, and clean. Once I switched to using the Fostex T60RP and classical musics (Leonard Bernstein - Adagio, check it out on tidal) I fell in love. It is like being in the concert hall and hearing all of the detail (breathing, chair movement, etc.). Strings plus Voskhod tubes is always a great combination. This is without any break-in time on the tubes. How freaking awesome is that. I think it is just pure win. Totally getting back to why I like these Rocket tubes, they sound great from the get-go. They only get better as they age, so in a week or two this amp is going to really kick some ass. I don't hear any easily noticed imbalance between the channels, and the volume pot is silky smooth. No crackle, hum, or anything off-putting comes from any component in this amp. Looks wise, the AMP is very basic and classic. It totally wouldn't be out of place in a 60s or 70s studio. I can totally dig that retro feel with the 7sided volume knob, and the burly power switch. So far, I'm rather glad I got this. Also rather pleased that I ignored the initial drop. If you likes the tube sound, and don't have an endgame single-ended amp, seriously consider this guy. Day 2: Lots of TV and cartoons. Not much music listening till the end. This amp is still kicking some seriously tube ass. Most of the non-music stuff was with the HD6xx cans, totally a great pairing. For the music listening I decided to give the amp a whirl with the HE-4xx. 3 hours later, I was rather surprised that I didn't have a splitting headache. One of the few times recently that the Hifiman cans didn't make my brain bleed, my problem definitely has to be settings. Via the ZDT driven by the Airist, no problems whatsoever. Day 3: Started the day by using the Meze 99 Noir and blasting some Bad Company. In the low impedance socket I can only run these cans with volume at 9'oclock position. That said, I can actually use them unlike with the CTH. Very win, these cans have some nice sound when driven via the tubes. Still happy. Still need to really check out the tubes... when the unit is cold. Day 11: Finally got around to investigating the 6J1P/6ZH1P tubes about the time they were mostly broken in. Looks like I received basic Voshkod 6ZH1P from ~2004 (if I'm reading the markings right), and most sadly... not the mil-spec version. The tubes themselves don't sound horrible, just a touch microphonic... which is a problem seeing my desk has a bit of vibration from fans and pumps. Was only a problem when there was no sound going to the amp, but I can fix this. Sorry my LittleDot1+, you lose your delicious sounding matched 6ZH1P-EV pair from the 80s. Similar sound (same tube design, more or less), just higher tolerances and older... and already fully broken-in. Still digging this amp. Well worth the price. Many Moons later (Final): Upon seeing mention of 6FC7/ECC89 making a major difference in the ZDT, I sourced a pile (30) of these Pro/Comm labeled and likely Mullard made 6FC7/ECC89. Grabbed two from one of the same books, and threw them in the amp in place of the 6N24P, pure lazy without testing on the TV-7B/U. Instant silence. No freaking power hum, even on the ultra-sensitive Meze 99 Noir which worked before, but were prone to catching the power hum. Very much a major win. Quite worth it as it makes this already awesome amp that much more awesome. New New Tubes:
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Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
Jul 25, 2019
cavillasenorl
48
Jul 26, 2019
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Hi, could you please tell me your personal opinion with Airist+ZDTJr VS SDAC+THXAAA789, I currently have JDSELDAC+ATOM and I would like to get any of those 2 sets to have a different signature, I would believe SDAC+THX... would be very close to what I have but I have never tried any of those and I would like to know about your experience if you agree.
Jul 26, 2019
Fayne
1950
Jul 26, 2019
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It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want maximum versatility with ultra low noise floor, the 789+SDAC-B will be better (though still waiting for ASR review of the SDAC-B). Yes, it’ll have some similar characteristics to the Atom, but it’ll be better for driving a larger selection of cans. Plus it’ll be balanced. If you’re looking at getting some tube loving and don’t mind that you’re single ended, the ZDT is great. Not sure if I’d suggest the Airist. The price point is ok, and it sounds good... but so does the SDAC at a far cheaper price. If you’re looking for maximum flavour, yeah, the Airist is great. When I’m not dealing with toy overload I find that I use the 789 the most. Doesn’t matter which DAC, hell, I usually drive it from my XR18 mixer. Rarely from Airist. I tend more towards objective listening, so I usually prefer my amps and DACs to not impart much or any flavour. I save that for the cans. That said, some music (rock, classical) is more enjoyable for me on an analog path, with tubes. Them secondary harmonics and distortions. Is all personal taste. If you do want tube, this amp is pretty sweet.
Jul 26, 2019
cavillasenorl
48
Jul 26, 2019
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Thanks for your reply. I don't mind about being single ended, in fact I have never tried balanced equipment, as per your opinion it seems like the Airist is not a good or versatile idea for me, would the ZDT Jr plays well with the THX Amp? I do like objective listening too and I only have HD598, HD600 and HE4XX are on the way now but I can't figure out which cans would be a good investment for me.
Jul 26, 2019
tinamou62
80
Jul 28, 2019
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What do you mean by would the ZDT play well with the THX? They're both amplifiers so you're either choosing one or the other. They are good as complementary gear IMO, the THX is very clean/analytical and powerful and the ZDT is smooth and warm sounding
Jul 28, 2019
cavillasenorl
48
Jul 28, 2019
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Yes, I mean if it's a good idea to own both or if I will never use it, I actually own the atom and 3 amps is too much, or if any of these is a good pair for the Airist.
Jul 28, 2019
Fayne
1950
Jul 28, 2019
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Any tube amp that is decent will pair well with the Airist. I do not recommend the Airist with the 789; that combination did not get my nether bits in a twixt, way too easy to fully hear the flaws in the Airist. I expect the Atom will have the same problem. If you already have the Atom, there is minimal reason to get the 789 other than balanced i/o and higher top-end power. You don't even need to get a new DAC, just daisy chain the EL DAC through the ZDT to the Atom. Atom to ZDT works also, but puts the Atom volume control in the signal path.
Jul 28, 2019
tinamou62
80
Jul 29, 2019
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I've had a weird issue with the ZDT. If I use the passthroughs for the ZDT to another amp, I swear the audio quality gets worse on it. I was going to do D30-> ZDT -> passthrough to Objective 2. When I attached RCA to 3.5 to the ZDT passthrough outputs, the ZDT sounded worse. Since you have one, have you tried to use the passthrough? Does it affect your SQ? I don't know if I'm just imagining this but I'd like to think it's not placebo because placebo happens when you expect to experience some kind of effect. I did not at all expect using a RCA passthrough to affect my sound quality, and when I used the passthrough all of a sudden I had the impression that something had changed.
Jul 29, 2019
Fayne
1950
Jul 29, 2019
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I've got my stack wired Airist RCA-> LittleBear MC2 -> ZDT -> 789 -> LCX -> CTH I've also got my Behringer XR18 connected via XLR to the LittleBear MC2, so I can get computer audio on the stack. For reference, the MC2 is a passive preamp with XLR-> RCA, XLR->XLR, RCA->XLR, and RCA->RCA. It is just a volume fader with creative use of push buttons. I don't hear anything worse further down chain. This is not to say that there isn't a worsening, but I surely don't hear it. That said, I also make sure all components being used for passthrough are in the off state, unless of course they're set to use a different input. I'm also making sure that no metal touches metal, my power solutions are going through the same strip sourced from my CyberPower PR1500LCDRTXL2U UPS.
Jul 29, 2019
tinamou62
80
Jul 29, 2019
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So I was trying to compare by LCD2C through the Objective 2 and the HD800S through the ZDT. So I was using passthrough ZDT -> Obj2, while also putting a load on the ZDT. You said you tried to make sure all the components used for passthrough were off - maybe that's the issue - can't passthrough while an amp is on? Forgive me if that's common knowledge lol. I assumed the passthrough would just split the signal but maybe it only works if the amp is off?
Jul 29, 2019
Fayne
1950
Jul 29, 2019
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Yep, when doing pass-through, always try and make sure only one device is actively drawing from the signal path. Otherwise you're likely to drop the overall signal voltage/current by a bit.
Jul 29, 2019
tinamou62
80
Jul 29, 2019
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Makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
Jul 29, 2019
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