My Journey with the Zen Master (Be Counted) - diyAudio
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Old 11th September 2003, 02:50 AM   #1
Blues is offline Blues  United States
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Thumbs up My Journey with the Zen Master (Be Counted)

My journey began in the Philippines where I grew up and lived the early part of my adulthood. It all started when a friend of mine and I were going through a pile of used magazines in a store in the late-90s. There on the cover of a 1995 Stereophile magazine was my first glimpse of a Nelson Pass creation – the Pass Aleph 0 monoblocks. It looked unlike any other audio gear – it had a cactus in a square pot look to it. When Nelson asked, “What is the sound of one transistor clapping?” I was hooked. As I read the article, I heard how a good sound should be – at least in my mind. In Manila there were a handful of high-end shops which I frequented just to ogle. One shop offered Pass Labs but all the Alephs were just on the shelf for the eyes not for the ears. And you just can’t ask to listen unless you show the intent of buying. Knowing the price, I was content to listen to what was hooked up – which was of lesser quality not parts. I soon discovered his wonderful website and his simple, great sounding (still in my mind), DIY Aleph circuit the Zen. I decided I should build a pair of these. Then suddenly SuSy came into my virtual life – there on the screen appeared the deliciously looking X amps still with few parts along the audio path but with a whooping 1kW of power. The moment Stereophile hit the stores with the X1000 on its covers I bought a copy (P550, a week’ s pay) to see how it compares with the Alephs and to hear in my mind how it sounds. The reviewer was raving and drooling. At the website, this guy Mr. Pass was again offering his newest design to those who dare to heat their homes with an amp!!! That’s it, I have to build this Son of Zen or I’ll never be at peace with myself. The simple design, scalability of its power appealed to me. Alas most of the parts where unavailable in that third world corner of the world. I made up my mind that I’ll build a headphone amp version of the SOZ. I e-mailed Nelson for advice with a promise that I’ll send him pictures of our creation. To my big surprise the Zen Master answered all my questions with a very encouraging “just try something” at the end. I was able to hustle most of the parts – paralleling four 3W resistors to get the right ohmic value. This project was shelved when I got caught up with work and family.

In about three years time I have moved my family to settle in the United States. I have frequented the Pass Labs website and the DIY Forum all these years but I have never again made a move to build something. My first love the Zen was already running turbo on V5s. The Nelson fans, the DIYers all over the world have built almost all his designs, posted it on the internet for me to envy and here I am still yearning to hear how one transistor claps in my mind. Knowing that Nelson, his creations and DigiKey and Aavid and MECI and HomeDepot and Lowe’s (hey I wasn’t paid to do this) is just a click or a mile away, I bided my time. Meanwhile I am self-learning AutoCAD 2002 and woodworking. One thing I knew when I finally build my Zen, it would sound like the Zen Master intended it. I am also going to make sure it would look its best with the elements of Zen. When Nelson echoed Albert, “Everything should be made simple, but not simpler”, did you pay attention to the two guys striking similarities? The eyes, the hair, the moustache. These guys are also geniuses!!! I started this thread to share with you my wonderful journey and to see how many audio souls were awakened. How many went on to learn how to solder, desolder, color code resistors, strip a wire, AWG, mount a power transistor, tell zener from a regular diode, how not to blow up a capacitor, approximate a heatsink’s temperature coefficient, Ohm’s law, P=EI=I^R=E^2/R, woodworking, CAD, use a power tool…I could go on and on. This man and his website inspired many to continue on learning and trying out new things…PLEASE BE COUNTED and let us know how many souls he has inspired.

Starting with me…1
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Old 11th September 2003, 02:55 PM   #2
Anorgan is offline Anorgan  Croatia
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I'm #2
Nice post!!
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Old 11th September 2003, 03:02 PM   #3
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count me #3

This website and Nelson Pass reignighted my love for audio and for diy construction that was dormant for about 20 years. I built my first new audio project (Aleph L preamp with built in Pearl phono section) last winter and I am gathering the parts to build a pair of monoblocks based on the Aleph 60 this upcoming winter.

PaulyG
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Old 11th September 2003, 04:24 PM   #4
MBK is offline MBK  Singapore
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#4

Inspired to build my first discrete amp...
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Old 11th September 2003, 04:27 PM   #5
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I'm still waiting for the Zen master to publish a DIY class AB
high power monster amplifier design - 1 ohm stable
to satisfy the nasty audio demons that crave kilowatts of
power.

Then I will get excited.

Right now the Anthony Holton AV800 takes the #1 spot
unless the crown is taken later. /hehe
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Old 11th September 2003, 04:33 PM   #6
jam is offline jam  United States
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Default Hear! Hear!

A short story.......

The Zen Master is visiting New York City from Tibet. He goes up to a hotdog vendor and says, "Make me one with
everything."

The hot dog vendor fixes a hot dog and hands it to the Zen Master, who pays with a $20 bill.

The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. "Where's my change?" asks the Zen Master.

The vendor responds, "Change must come from within."
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Old 11th September 2003, 04:35 PM   #7
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#5

Around 10 years ago, I was looking for a good schematics to built high end amp. Unfortuately nothing was really available, except for Adcom and japanese brands, yet high-end seemed to be something else than that. When I noticed in Audio Amateur that Nelson Pass contributed to one of the amps there, I new that this is something worth trying. I didn't even know the name NP then, but it said he was a founder of Threshold and that was good news. I've built the amp and it sounded better than whatever I used before and from now on, I was hooked. Even this forum, I found through the link from Pass diy site. His down to earth approach, also demistifies all that high end hype.

Thanks Mr. Zen Master (Pass)
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Old 11th September 2003, 04:41 PM   #8
jam is offline jam  United States
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Peter,

Sorry you are #7.....

Regards,
Jam
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Old 11th September 2003, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by jam
Peter,

Sorry you are #7.....

Regards,
Jam
That would make your story #6. Does that mean you were hotdog vendor in New York?
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“Do something really well. See how much time it takes. It might be a product, a work of art, who knows? Then give it away cheaply, just because you feel that it should not cost so much, even if it took a lot of time and expensive materials to make it.” - JC
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Old 11th September 2003, 05:33 PM   #10
MikeW is offline MikeW  United States
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What # are we on? Zen V4, Aleph 5 mono blocks, 2 Aleph-30's, Aleph-x, Zen V5, soon Mini-A surround. That's 6 7/8 ths. Thanks Mr. Pass.
Has anyone tried a cast iron tub as a heatsink?
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