Eddie Current Zana Deux S

Discussion in 'Eddie Current' started by Luckbad, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,569
    Dislikes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Terra da Luz, Brasil
    Home Page:
    After few days using ygg to freya to ZDS , I’m not happy with the results. My thoughts are aligned with some friends earlier impressions. The freya add a blur in the resolution and image of the instruments. I could felt it even in the passive mode. My other hypothesis was the new cable adding, but I don’t want to enter this matter. Using the tube buffer, as expected worsened the problem, specially in the lower frequency. But the sound was less bright and edgy when compared to passive preamp. Maybe this can improve with time... some people have observed burn in in freya. For now, I using ZDS connected to Yggdrasil with better results and working out my fat ass to get up from the sofa to change the volume between songs. Tchau amigos
     
    skem, slankoe, zonto and 1 other person like this.
  2. skem

    skem Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    891
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Well, aren't you in luck. A post about tube rolling the ZDS. Just what you needed.

    @Artasia and I both have ZDS and decided to team up and figure out which tubes we like. He has a budding collection of 6SL7s, and I... well, I had just one: the Fivre loved by several senior SBAF members (or so I hope, the photos will tell). We decided to do some swaps, collected our thoughts, and produced these notes which we hope will benefit all ZDS owners.

    Listening Conditions
    Only one copy of each tube was tested therefore we cannot be sure that our impressions would apply to other copies of the same tube. We also don't have tube-testing equipment to measure the gain.

    @skem is listening with Benchmark DAC3 feeding directly to ZDS set to low impedance, which is powering... *gasp* an HEKv1! The HEK has @purr1n's toilet-paper mod to soften the treble. All listening comparisons were done with the same setup, so although HEK may suffer some distortion on ZDS being an ortho, the relative rankings of the tubes are hopefully correct. @skem's acoustic preferences and prior impressions on some headphones can be found here (LCD2C) and here (Sundara). In short, he likes a warm, soft, and very detailed sound.

    @Artasia listens to his ZDS with the more orthodox parings of HD600, HD650, and Utopia. His views were formed over longer listening sessions than @skem’s, and across different cans.

    These notes are primarily compiled by @skem, with broad concurrence from @Artasia. Where @Artasia had differing views, they are separately noted. Finally, a big thanks to @Artasia for providing these tubes—it was a lot of fun.


    The Tubes

    [​IMG]
    Fivre (1953) brown base
    Identification Note:
    The assertion that this is 1953 is based on what the seller told me, who was a collector. I haven't determined the year independently. The label differs from the Fivres owned by @brencho & different again than those owned by @bazeilio, but appears to have the same internal construction as both.

    Detail: A fully textured sound, but has very slightly compromised clarity (see 10K note in Tonality, below). Can sound hashed in loud/complex passages.

    Tonality: slight emphasis around 1k causing tenors and female vocals to be forward, creates more emotion but also more difficult at loud volumes. Lacks a touch of mid-bass perhaps ~200Hz that gives body. May be missing a touch of very high ~10K that creates a sense of definition, but HEK is already poor in this area.

    Euphony: slightly sweet. @Artasia says this tube has "inner warmth."

    Staging: wide, but it can occasionally get blobby.

    Distortion: minimal except notable on loud electronica.

    Timbre: Hyper-realistic strings. Piano feels slightly percussive. Voices are forward.

    Thoughts:
    @Artasia: Strikes the best balance between most of these tubes and thus deserves its reputation
    @skem: Fivre is second place for me, I prefer the clarity of JAN Green with HEK.


    [​IMG]

    Philips ECG 6SL7WGT JAN (green)
    Identification note:
    black with green text, circular getter

    Detail: Slightly less detailed than Fivre in treble but better detail in bass.

    Tonality: @skem says: Excellent balance, perhaps slightly warmer than Fivre: more body. @Artasia says: Neutral to Slightly bright

    Euphony: A touch

    Staging: Solid, steady.

    Distortion: Hard to compare to Fivre, but seems to perform better at high volume.

    Timbre: Voices not a pure sounding as Fivre; very clean bass instruments. Piano not quite realistic sounding.

    Genre compatibility: Bass emphasis better for acoustic than for electronica, where weaker treble undermines the presence required.

    Thoughts:
    @Artasia: less magical than the Fivre.
    @skem: Initially I felt this was cleaner than Fivre, but after long-term listening I sometimes switch back to Fivre because I feel it has slightly less distortion in some instances.


    [​IMG]

    Tung-Sol 6SU7GTY round black plates
    Detail
    : Good, cleaner rendition than the Fivre but maybe less midrange detail

    Tonality: Cooler than Fivre and JAN Green label. The key fault of this tube is it is tipped up in the treble. @Artasia feels this is more neutral (i.e., less warm) than Fivre.

    Euphony: slightly wetter than JAN Green, but somehow also presents as thinner, maybe from cooler tuning.

    Staging: Broad and steady. Narrower than Fivre, but more reliable.

    Distortion: none noticed, not tested with electronica

    Timbre: Less emotional, especially with vocals.

    Note: may need more time to warm up than most.

    Thoughts:
    @Artasia: A somewhat boring tube, set and forget. Does nothing really wrong either.
    @skem: In some sense a more analytical tube, even if not more detailed everywhere. Closer to solid-state emotionality despite slightly wet qualities at time. I found more respect for this tube the more I listened to it.


    [​IMG]

    Raytheon Uniline 569
    Identification note:
    This is supposed to be the same as the RCA Electron 5691 red base, and it does have an identical-looking internal structure.

    Detail: Where'd it go? This is smoooooothed out. Listen at high volume for detail retrieval—effect is lots of loud sound without being too overwhelming.

    Tonality: Warm and full bodied, but sometime warm and boring, but in all cases warm. Has presence in 6-10K region but not much higher.

    Euphony: yes. Lacking in sharp percussion.

    Staging: Distant, big.

    Distortion: Can give a coarse quality to vocals, thick with overtones (worse than Fivre). Can get hashed/muddy.

    Timbre: Bad for strings.

    Genre compatibility: Too soft for electronica. Maybe OK for rock (didn't try).

    Thoughts:
    @Artasia says: Not going to blow anyone away from short sessions. It is indeed warmer and more rolled off. It pairs better with brighter transducers, such as Utopia or HD800. But it has layering and stage-depth This tube sounds better with volume turned up. After having it on for some hours, I have been repeatedly blown away by it.
    @skem: Not able to listen loud enough with HEK/ZDS to enjoy these effects.

    [no photo]
    Philips Miniwatt EC335, unlabeled
    Identification note
    : this is supposed to be identical to the Mullard ECC35.

    Detail: Simultaneously feels less coherent but also more separation (less hashed) than Fivre. U-shaped tonality creates a sense of fake detail.

    Tonality: Sounds distant, lacking in presence. Warmer than Fivre but also has noticeable emphasis on aspirated sounds suggesting U-shaped response giving a rise in the treble.

    Euphony: Concept is "glossy mud."

    Staging: not evaluated.

    Distortion: not evaluated.

    Timbre: Strings are tactile.

    Thoughts:
    @Artasia: need to have it on for a while to appreciate its characteristics. Its weakness, unlike the Fivres, is its up-front and constricted stage—a sort of wall-of-sound effect; but I find it very resolving and detailed. It works well with a darker headphone like the HD650 and has more of a special sound to me than the JAN.
    @skem: I can see how it works with dark headphones that may lack the treble tip and midrange emphasis that creates "mud". I would guess not good with HD800. Wasn't good with HEK.

    [no photo]
    Sophia Electric "Princess" (A grade)

    Detail: Artificial sense of detail comes from a mid-treble spike, actual detail/texture is poor. Effect is airy and unhashed.

    Tonality: Exceedingly dark/warm + airy, high-frequency spike. Plonk-y mids.

    Euphony: Spongy bass, very euphonic

    Staging: extremely narrow, focused

    Distortion: This is classic "tube sound"

    Timbre: Generally fucked. Piano sounds plonky. Baritone voice sounded natural.

    Thoughts:
    @skem: this is a gimmick tube. Technicalities were bad and seemed to get worse the warmer it got, however I can see that this could easily be the preferred tube in narrow conditions. For example, I found it to be the best for old recordings that lack bass extension and have hiss (think shellac transferred to tape transferred to CD). This tube covers the sins and gives body to otherwise low-fi audio. I understand why it has a following.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    jeeperbge, fp627, CrownLands and 15 others like this.
  3. Drifterxny

    Drifterxny Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    78
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    NYC
    rectifier tubes don't affect the sound for ZDS, the driver does
     
    slankoe and skem like this.
  4. slankoe

    slankoe Tongue tastes of LH butthole

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    676
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    Screenshot_20180703-202747_Gallery.jpg

    So the FedEx guy brought me this today.
    These are rough first impressions but in short: this amp is freaking great!

    A good upgrade from the SEX (which held it's own against Mjolnir 2 in many ways), I'm loving the detail and microdynamics, as well as the great soundstage - one of the first things I noticed. It's really taking HD650 and HD250 Linear I to new heights, both of which sound huge now! Impressive. Must say the treble is just perfect, you guys weren't kidding, the timbre is so spot on.
    Got some 6SL7 on the way soon.

    Looking forward to many late nights with this beauty...
     
  5. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,569
    Dislikes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Terra da Luz, Brasil
    Home Page:
    @skem thank you very much for all the effort, and my impressions are much alike yours.

    I would like to contribute with a small review of the another tube:
    SHUGUANG TREASURE

    I bought this from a ebay seller from china and don't need to say that my suspicion has very high.
    But for me, this tube its the best among all tubes that I have here. My preference of sound its lively, detailed, good slam, nice soundstage and separation. For me shuguang its equal or better than Philips JAN and Mullard ecc35. So my suspicious state its over. this tube its something special.


    [​IMG]
     
    a44100Hz, mphuongz, Mystic and 5 others like this.
  6. skem

    skem Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    891
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Excellent, @David De Lucena. I love it when there are genuine discoveries like this. Perhaps @Artasia will explore this tube also.
     
    slankoe, a44100Hz and David De Lucena like this.
  7. Captainsubtext

    Captainsubtext Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    24
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Had a mini meet-up in Chennai with @Koth Ganesh and @audinary yesterday and picked up the ZDS. After a nerve wracking flight home with the ZDS tucked into a suitcase along with its foam packaging I was really relieved when I plugged in the tubes and everything just worked!


    Does anyone have a PDF of the users manual for the amp? I haven’t been able to find it on the EC website or on Any other threads.
     
  8. brencho

    brencho Loves pumping iron (Moderator)

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    6,292
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    LA
    Man I love me a good ZDS smuggling story. Hopefully the tubes didnt have to hide where the sun dont shine. Congrats man!
     
    h2rulz, FlySweep, JK47 and 6 others like this.
  9. Captainsubtext

    Captainsubtext Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    24
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    New Delhi
    It was a domestic flight so thankfully no customs guys involved.

    The suitcase with the zds and the tubes got through the check in baggage scanner no questions asked. I was hand carrying the power supply brick in a shopping bag and the airport security guys had a few questions. long story short they seemed to think it was an amplifier for a car stereo system and I didn't say anything to correct their assumption :)

    Coming back on topic I'm quite enjoying the ZDS with the LCD 2 pre fazor. I was under the impression that OTL amps don't play along well with planars but that doesn't seem to be the case with this particular headphone.
     
    EagleWings and slankoe like this.
  10. h2rulz

    h2rulz Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    8
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    USA
    Just recently became a proud owner of ZDS #126!
    (snatched it from captkirk as soon as I heard of the listing)

    As always, I'm cautious not to fall for the new toy syndrome nor have I owned other amps in this tier, but this really seems like a keeper. As an owner of the BW2 and Master 9, I notice a couple areas that the ZDS really stands out among many other things.

    First, I am really wowed by the imaging. The ZDS somehow manages to jog thru complicated passages with ease and finesse. Having heard what the ZDS does, going back to my other amps I start hearing relative congestion. Thanks to the ZDS I can no longer unhear what I heard. Second, I'm surprised with how clean the ZDS sounds (good extension on both ends) while still having that great sense of space you get from tube amps. In that sense the ZDS did remind me of the solid state sounding Valhalla 2 with a good sized soundstage that I used to have. Of course, the Valhalla had it's issues with grain, weaker bass (quantity & quality), etc.

    So there's my brief impression that I just had to put out there as an extremely happy owner.
    FYI, the ZDS is paired with the Sonic Frontiers SFD1-mkii DAC w/ no upgrades (Schiit eitr), using a Phillips Jan 6SL7WGT tube.

    As for DACs, are there any impressions on paring the ZDS with the Sonic Frontiers? I do remember reading how someone in this thread liked it with the S7. I'm hoping that's an indication that it's a safe bet that my DAC isn't holding back the ZDS. But, I'm open to any recommendations as I am currently researching DACs to either compliment my Sonic Frontiers or even replace it if recommended to do so. Or perhaps would the parts express upgrade be worth it over getting a new DAC. Or is the Yggdrasil really the ultimate DAC I should go after for the ZDS?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  11. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Likes Received:
    298
    Dislikes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I felt the Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 without the upgrades sound a bit too soft for my liking.

    I think the Gungnir Multibit or the upgrades for the DAC would be a logical step up.
     
    h2rulz likes this.
  12. Sniperpr5

    Sniperpr5 Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2017
    Likes Received:
    78
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I second the Gungnir Multibit with the ZDS. I really like the combo and I haven’t felt the need to change/upgrade either of the two.
     
    slankoe and h2rulz like this.
  13. h2rulz

    h2rulz Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    8
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    USA
    Yes, that was a concern I had.

    Looks like I'll have to find a way to demo a Gungnir Multibit. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  14. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,161
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    U.S.
    The ZDS is a little soft in the bass with a poorly paired DAC or tube (it has the quantity, just doesn't hit with the tightness and authority the ZDS can do with a proper pairing). I've tried my ZDS with both the A1 and A2 Gungnir Multibit and Yggdrasil. All four had the appropriate bass slam to really make the ZDS bass shine. My current DAC is the Yggdrasil A2. If I roll a tube like the RCA 5691 red base it turns my Auteur into bass monsters. Really fun but the RCA rolls off the highs a bit.

    I have the dac1421 on loan right now and it doesn't slam nearly as much as my Yggdrasil, bringing back the soft bass I mentioned before (haven't messed with all the filters yet though).

    I have not heard the Sonic Frontiers dac so I cannot comment on that pairing.
     
    slankoe, h2rulz and sheldaze like this.
  15. slankoe

    slankoe Tongue tastes of LH butthole

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    676
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    I am also chiming in to (be a Schiit fanboy and) say I'm very happy with my Gungnir Multibit and ZD Super pairing. It's a brilliant combination. Some delta-sigma DACs and FPGA DACs I tried disappointed in some ways. But "GumBae" is the best DAC I've ever evaluated in depth, hands down. It's a great value at used price, being better than more expensive DACs. You have perfect tone, no digital glare of fake details. It's like listening to analog/vinyl* without the downsides, just an expansive soundstage, excellent timbre, detail retrieval, and vividness. Balanced.

    If Yggdrasil is a noticable upgrade I might be truly floored. I am already 100% satisfied with the performance of Gungnir Multibit - it got me fully on the digital source-side of audio. It's the DAC that made me believe in DACs.

    On the topic of the ZDS amp itself, I am extremely happy with it's performance and long-term listening pleasure. What really blew me away was how natural, extended treble like a solid state amp, how clean it sounds, and how spacious. She's a beauty. What I read online is pretty much accurate and exactly what I hoped for. Combination with Utopia, HD650, an HD800 with 1500 S/N (approximately), and an HD250 Linear mkii 600ohm, are outstanding...

    *Only reason to keep vinyl is if one doesn't find the release on CD, download, or looking for a specific master.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
    ColtMrFire and h2rulz like this.
  16. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,569
    Dislikes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Terra da Luz, Brasil
    Home Page:
    Did you compare the ZDS to be when using Gungnir Multibit ou Yggdrasil? Would be very interesting
     
    slankoe likes this.
  17. brencho

    brencho Loves pumping iron (Moderator)

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    6,292
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    LA
    Having previously had a Gungnir Multibit for a long time (also with ZD) and hearing it's various recent iterations (and Yggdrasil and now ear which is more analog-like in certain respects) I feel like a good vinyl system still just utterly destroys it in every way, except only convenience and cost (non trivial I know). Soundstage, timbre, detail, vividness, etc doesn't come close, on headphones or speakers (esp speakers). That's not the point of this thread but i couldn't NOT bite at that comment LOL
     
    FlySweep, Captainsubtext and slankoe like this.
  18. slankoe

    slankoe Tongue tastes of LH butthole

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    676
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    I would love an opportunity to demo the Yggdrasil, might someday take up Schiit's offer on that 15% restock fee upon return, if nothing else. At this point I've mostly used my ZDS with Gungnir Multibit (with B serial - more linear tone if I'm not mistaken) and am extremely satisfied with the Gungnir Multibit sound I have. Knowing that it gets even better, that may take some time to process. Gumbae makes me happy, is legit.
     
  19. Captainsubtext

    Captainsubtext Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    24
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Thank you for all the tube rolling impressions on this thread.

    I’ve been listening to the ZDS for a few weeks now. The head stage and detail retrieval I get with the HD 800 is simply amazing.

    That said with my limited experience I feel that the stock tubes might be a better fit for my HD 6xx (KISS modded by @audinary ) than my HD 800 (SDR modded by @uniqusrname ). In particular the bass feels a tad anemic and drums lack some slam on the HD 800. No such issues with the 6xx.

    I listened to a wide variety of albums while doing an a/b of the two headphones and the zdt jr as well. To illustrate:
    Fleetwood Mac Rumors,
    Buena Vista Social Club
    London Grammar - If You Wait
    The Pineapple Thief - Dissolution
    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
    Steely Dan - Aja
    The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

    I also listened to these albums at length on the ZDT Jr and preferred the bass presentation with the Jr. and the HD 800 over the ZDS, though on all other counts the ZDS was very dicernably superior.

    My chain is a Mac mini > Gungnir Multibit Analog 2 over USB gen 5 > Ghent audio RCA cables. The Gungnir Multibit is never switched off.

    I’m a complete noob at tube rolling but based on what I’ve read in this thread and the other site (which shall not be named) it seems that the RCA electron 5691 Red Base might be a good fit. Are there any other tubes worth trying?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
    slankoe and audinary like this.
  20. sheldaze

    sheldaze Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    407
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Land of Merriment
    I'll need to do some more listening, using the albums you have. For now, adding Ken-Rad VT229 to your suggestion. I personally find it to have a good combination of clarity, smoothness, stage, and (more important) slam. I can also usually find a deal for these. Whereas the Red Base came back at $75 (in my search), the Ked-Rad was in the range $25-45. I'm not much of a tube roller either, so the Ken-Rad is what I use.
     
    h2rulz and Captainsubtext like this.

Share This Page