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Welp, just got my ZDT in the mail and thoroughly enjoying it so far. Happy to say also, no him as far as I can tell. Plenty of power on tap. More than you'll ever need. I can barely go past 9 o'clock on the dial before the Elear gets painfully loud. But, everything sounds very good so far. Much cleaner sounding than I was anticipating and not the super warm/tubey sound I was expecting. Which, really isn't a bad thing considering how clean this amp sounds for having tubes. Listened to some masters in Tidal and watched Into the Spider-Verse, all of which sound pretty awesome through the ZDT. Can't wait to rack up the hours and get these tubes burned-in.
And some shots of the tubes glowing nicely:
Nice, I've wondered how it would look like next to THX AAA 789.
Nice! By the way, how does the faceplate compares against the other amps? I think its made of another material.
Nice, bro. Mine comes Tuesday.
Sent at you a message on HF about CA. Check it if you have a chance.
It is, but I forget exactly what. It's lighter, if that makes sense. It's not metal and has a different texture. The edges also aren't curved like the other Drop gear. The plate is also thicker with a different finish. It's different enough to look unique but still fit with the overall Drop aesthetic .
Enjoy. It's a solid amp and I'm not the biggest fan of tubes, either. Doesn't run as hot as the CTH and seems to have more power . I've realistically only taken it past half with my planars. Using it now with the Solaris and an IEMatch and it's a wonderful pairing. I also tried it out with my tube buffer and preamp and that brought some.more tubiness into the chain. The ZDT sounds surprisingly cleaner and a lot less tubey than one would think. At least to what I consider "tubey."
And yup, I'll check my PMs on HF. Been a while since I've been over there, ha.
The Jr is made by Laconic in Russia, the Massdrop stuff is from China. So the casework is not supposed to match at all.
What DAC are you running it through? The Airist R2R?
All the ones I currently own: Airist R2R, SMSL SU8, and SDAC Balanced. Also tried it with the iFi nano BL and xDSD to test MQA via Tidal.
I like it the most with the Airist. It just has a more analog sound/feel that pairs well with the ZDT. I also used my iFi tube buffer as a preamp for my sensitive cans and IEMs and really enjoyed what the ZDT does with them. Especially some of my IEMs. The Campfire Atlas sound absolutely amazing with this setup.
Cheers. Just wondering because when I use it out of my USB-powered SDAC (attached to my MCTH) I hear a very annoying USB whine. It gets louder when I plug in my laptop, but it's still audible when I use just battery power.
Wondering if using a DAC with an external PSU helps.
Well, I decided to sell my MCTH/SDAC. Used those funds to :
1) Buy a new double-insulated HP laptop charger (apparently the whine can come from ground loop issues and a double-insulated charger can fix that).
2) Get a Topping D30 which has an external PSU which should eliminate USB power whine anyways.
I am doing my best to learn more about the electrical engineering behind audio and these products as I do find it very interesting but I don't know much right now. Would you know if these fixes should solve my issue? Or would a power conditioner still be required?
Nice I was wondering about this. I have ss6b and pst8 linear conditioner. I almost bought the darkvoice instead of this. I also will be paring it to the r2r.
Personally, I would wait until you get the D30. If you still have the issue, then I would try better shielded cables then a power conditioner (since cables are the cheapest). I did both at the same time but it resolved the ground/hum issues I was getting. The CTH was the worst offender and it's actually dead quiet now, no matter what headphone it's powering.
If none of that helps, a balanced amp/DAC could help when using balanced interconnects. And if that doesn't work, the problem is going to get a lot more expensive to fix, sadly. But, start slow. You may get lucky and just need better shielded cables to mitigate your noise issues.
Same. After reading about all the issues and failures with the DV336, I didn't want to even bother with it. Same with warranty too. The ZDT is honestly, pretty great. Much quieter than I was expecting for a tube amp. Also doesn't get nearly as hot as the CTH. But, I do use the heat from the CTH to get the R2R up to operating temp faster so sometimes I'll turn it on just for that without even playing any music.
The issue is definitely a USB noise issue out of my computer. If I connect the USB-C cable running into my SDAC out of my Pixel 2, voila, noise gone with music playing (Pixel 2 -> usb C to micro -> SDAC -> 3.5mm to RCA -> ZDT -> HD800S)
So it's my computer that is really the problem here. As long as I isolate the USB power it should? work.
Thank you for your inputs though! Now let's just hope my outputs get better.
Got the D30. Got a new laptop charger that is double-insulated (no ground on plug).
D30 solved USB power delivery noise. Laptop charger solved ground loop noise.
I am all noise free and ecstatic. This amp is nuts.
What planers have you run the amp with? I am considering this amp next time it drops my cans are Ananda, Elear, and 6XX!!