New Amp! Need Recommendations!

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Lonely Raven

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New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« on: 10 Dec 2013, 05:06 pm »
It seems I'm the one starting many of the threads as of late.  :)


So I'm expecting delivery of my new Decware Zen Mystery Amp in the next 4-6 weeks! I'm #2 on the waiting list, and really looking forward to this.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/MYSTERY.html

Steve, on my current amp, a Decware Zen amp (2 watt SET) - I simply did a search and bought whatever you recommended to another Zen Amp owner. This new amp is much bigger, and considerably heavier - so I'm looking for recommendations.



Setup is glass and aluminum consumer rack - not high end isolated/damped or anything.
Oppo BDP-105 Universal Player source
to
Zen Mystery Amp
to Decware MG944 speakers on spikes
Thick berber carpet with padding on a very resonant sub-floor

I'm considering Iso-Cups (set of three) for the roughly 45# amp - any other considerations or recommendations? Different material spheres or anything?

Oppo Universal player is probably just Tenderfoot

I'm unsure of which tube dampers to get, and why I'd pick one over the other. On my little 2 watt amp, I have UltraSonic SS on the input tube, and Hal-O III on the output tubes, nothing on the Rectifier tube. I was startled by the improvement - which is why I'm back for more once the new amp shows up! I'm just unsure of why I'd choose one tube damper over the others - and those Hal-O are expensive! The Mystery Amp uses 6N23P input tubes, and KT-66 Output, with OA3 regulator tubes (not sure those need damping or not and budget is tight).

Lastly, and for future consideration - I'm thinking about the Supersonic Stabilizers on the transformers and/or the massive capacitors. I'm going to wait till the amp arrives and see what happens after the tube and component damping/isolation gear are installed - any suggestions or recommendations here?



Thanks again for your suggestions! Eventually I'll be putting in a big order or two, I just need to plan ahead and figure out my budget. I typically don't spend this kind of money on electronics, this is a huge purchase for me, behind the house, car, and engagement ring! LOL Please hit me up if you need any more info.





Herbie

Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #1 on: 10 Dec 2013, 05:52 pm »
Hi, Lonely Raven. I recommend considering a Giant Cone/Spike Decoupling Glider under each of the loudspeaker spikes; decoupling and isolating the speakers is essential for bringing out the best potential of your speakers and system. Although three Iso-Cups w/SuperSonic Hardballs should do very well under the amp, four is likely to achieve an audibly superior result.

Four Tenderfoot isolation feet under the Oppo is ideal.

It's usually most essential to have a damping instrument on the rectifier tube because the rectified current affects the other tubes. If you have a fuzzy rectified current, you'll have fuzzy amplification in the tube stages. For the 6N23P, I recommend an UltraSonic SS-9 on each (or UltraSonic Rx-9 or other size "9" dampers if you already have them). An UltraSonic Rx-40 (or HAL-O III-40) on each of the regulator tubes. For the KT-66 tubes, I recommend a HAL-O III-50 for each, or UltraSonic Rx-50 if on a tight budget.

Subtle sonic differences between SS, Rx, and HAL-O III damping instruments will vary somewhat from one system or component to another, with neither having any inherent sonic superiority over the others. They are equally effective at reducing microphonics and micro-vibrational distortion. UltraSonic SS is the logical choice for small-signal tubes like 6N23P, 12AX7, 6922, etc. because these tubes run relatively cool and do not need the extreme heat resistance of the more expensive Rx and HAL-O III dampers. UltraSonic Rx is very versatile, appropriate for virtually any audio vacuum tube, including very hot-running tubes. HAL-O III is strong as a tank, relatively speaking, and will handle way more heat than any audio vacuum tube will generate, forever. For absolute assurance of long-term durability, HAL-O III can't be beat for extremely hot-running tubes, and they're extremely neutral sonically.

We have lots of customers using SuperSonic Stabilizers on power amp transformers, including Decware amps, with reportedly excellent and worthwhile results. Capacitors virtually always benefit with appropriate damping; it's a pretty safe bet that a SuperSonic Stabilizer on each of the giant capacitors on the Zen Mystery Amp will make a substantial improvement--if not, they'll surely find beneficial use on top of the Oppo or other components in your system.

Steve Herbelin
Herbie's Audio Lab

Lonely Raven

  • Jr. Member
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Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #2 on: 26 Dec 2013, 06:54 am »

Thanks again, Steve!

I just put in my order for the Giant Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders and Tenderfeet.

I'm going to hold off on the tube dampers and SS Stabilizers till I get the amp in hand and get a little burn in time on it. I want to develop a feel for how it sounds *before* I start throwing improvements at it so I can properly evaluate the changes.

Nothing holding me back from improving the speakers and Universal Disc player now though! I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

Lonely Raven

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 17
Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #3 on: 16 Jan 2014, 06:32 pm »

Steve!

The amp arrived, and the kit you helped me pick showed up with amazing speed!

I misread and ordered the RX rather than the SS for the input tubes - do you think the SS would have been a better for this? It would have saved me a few bucks for sure!






Herbie

Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #4 on: 16 Jan 2014, 07:17 pm »
Hi, Lonely Raven. UltraSonic Rx and UltraSonic SS are generally equivalent sonically; neither has inherent sonic advantage over the other and either will work superbly with small-signal tubes.

Looks like you got the Rx and SS damping instruments reversed though, between the rectifier and input tubes. The 0A3 rectifier tubes typically run very hot and the isolation pads on the UltraSonic SS damping instruments might not hold up for the long haul. Should be UltraSonic Rx (or HAL-O III) instead. I suggest swapping the Rx isolation pads from the input tubes to the titanium C-rings on the rectifier tubes, and vice-versa. Then you'll have Rx for the rectifier tubes and SS for the small-signal tubes and the dampers should work superbly virtually forever.

Steve
Herbie's Audio Lab

Lonely Raven

  • Jr. Member
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Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #5 on: 16 Jan 2014, 07:21 pm »
OA3, at least in this instance, run perfectly cool. It's a regulator tube, not rectifier.  So I have no worries there.

There are actually 4 input tubes, one for each KT66 - so yeah, I got that backwards, but I think I'm OK according to what you've said above.

I really like the looks of the SS over the Rx - so I don't know what made me order the wrong ones for the input tubes! I simply misread your suggestions.

Well, I can always order the SS at a later date. Thanks again for your help!






Herbie

Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #6 on: 16 Jan 2014, 07:37 pm »
Hi, Lonely Raven. Sorry, my mistake; you should be good. The amp, tubes, and dampers all look nice to me!

Steve
Herbie's Audio Lab

Lonely Raven

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 17
Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #7 on: 16 Jan 2014, 07:53 pm »
Thank you!

I'll have more to report after I get some time in. I put the ISO-Cups, Tube Dampers, and Supersonic Stabilizers all on at the same time (due to lack of time to really evaluate individually). I'll leave everything on for a few days to get used to the sonic changes, then *remove* everything to better evaluate the change. Then, when I have time, slowly reintruduce each part to help me define how each piece helps, and any fine tuning I can do.

For some reason, maybe the balance of the amp, or maybe the bottom isn't perfectly flat, but only three iso-cup/balls are touching the bottom. I spent 15 minutes moving the 4th cup/ball around trying to find a spot where it would touch! LOL


Herbie

Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #8 on: 16 Jan 2014, 08:02 pm »
Instead of just moving one footer around, try moving a combination of footers; shouldn't take a miniute. With the Decware amp, you'll want to place one Iso-Cup near each of the back corners (the heavier side with the transformers). Adjust the positions of the two footers at the front, starting with one near each corner. The front footers can be each moved incrementally along the sides toward the back to achieve better leveling and/or to assure each of the footers is handling a reasonable amount of the weight. (As a last resort, you can always shim one or more Iso-Cups--Post-It Pad paper is excellent for this, just tear off as many sheets as needed, trim for neat appearance and place under the Iso-Cup.)

Steve
Herbie's Audio Lab

Lonely Raven

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 17
Re: New Amp! Need Recommendations!
« Reply #9 on: 16 Jan 2014, 08:09 pm »

That sounds like a plan! Thanks Steve!

This new amp is great, and the dampers/cups are going to help me squeeze that last 5% out of it!

The  thing is closing in on 65# fully loaded!

~Eric~