Need Opinion: Comparative Sound of Pass Cap-Coupled (Zen) vs. Direct-Coupled Designs

Group:

I'm FINALLY retired, and now have the time to get back to my beloved DIY audio hobby. Many years ago, I bought the PCBs and parts for a Pass Zen V9 - and set the box away for years. I was too busy making a living to build it. Since that time, I see there have been a lot more DIY circuits from Nelson, the F1 - F5 Series, various Alephs, the BA, M2 and SIT.

Before I get started building the ZV9, I'd like to know if the sound quality from the newer designs is significantly better than the Zen? One major topology upgrade I see in the newer designs is direct-coupling of the output stages to speaker vs. the use of a large coupling cap on the Zens.

I'm not opposed to bypassing my ZV9 project for a different design, if the DIY state of the art has advanced significantly. I'd like to build just one Pass amplifier design and from there, move onto other projects in the tube amp, preamp and loudspeaker realms.

Can I please get your opinions as to whether I should proceed with building the Zen...or move onto something more recent that might provide me better sonic quality?

Thanks much!
 
Room fairly small, 11' x 12' x 10' ceilings but a dedicated listening room with carpeting and wall treatments. I prefer single-driver speakers either in horn or OB configuration with powered subs on bottom.

Love all kinds of music, no particularly STRONG preference but acoustic jazz, classic rock, vocal are the norm. Occasional symphony/opera.
 
considering that majority of expenses is in harware - meaning Iron , Al and caps ...... and that pretty much all FW amps (there including majority of Zen amps) are in same category of heat/energy format ....... changing to another small Papamp can't be issue of big money

personally , I'm finding M2 Swiss Knife of all Papamps - covering demands of broadest range of speakers , it's sound organicity being most prominent quality

not exactly erring on heavier 2nd THD spectra character , but if that ends as missing , easily corrected with sissy tube preamp or any of newest Papa's sound sweeteners (H2 or Korg toy)

you living in States , everything locally available

and yes , Mighty Moi still being Worlds Greatest M2 advocate :clown:
 
How much of a percentage do you think these three components are responsible for in terms of sound quality?

Speakers
Room
Amplifier

I will say:
70
20
10

I will say that the room has more influence on the sound than the amplifier (if we are talking quality components). Often money are better spent on damping the room etc. than building a new amp. But building amps are more fun……..maybe room has to go higher in percentage.
 
How much of a percentage do you think these three components are responsible for in terms of sound quality?

Speakers
Room
Amplifier

I will say:
70
20
10

I will say that the room has more influence on the sound than the amplifier (if we are talking quality components). Often money are better spent on damping the room etc. than building a new amp. But building amps are more fun……..maybe room has to go higher in percentage.

insisting on precision , while generalizing ........ easiest way to say nothing

better to have fun all the time , just generalizing .......

:)
 
F3 dates to July 2005, and the ZV9 was dated Feb 2006.

:cheers:
Hi Nelson, nice to have you join my thread.

I'm well aware that you are not one to characterize or rank the "sound" of various amplifiers ala' the audiophile press, so I'd never ask you to do so.

In light of the 12+ years that have passed since the ZV9 circuit debut, I'm just trying to establish if my precious time would be better spent building one of the later Pass DIY circuits, for reasons of subjective quality having significantly improved in the newer circuits? Seems a lot of DIY builders vote for the M2.

Any guidance?
 

6L6

Moderator
Paid Member
2010-10-22 6:43 pm
Denver, Colorado
You are asking this group to tell you what to build.

We are notoriously good at avoiding that. Because of a million reasons, but the strongest being if you build it yourself, you'll know and have something to compare it too.

A real Class-A amplifier will have a power, sound, poise and grace unlike anything else, if you've never had one, they are all incredible when compared to anything Class-AB.

Since you have parts for the ZV9 already, get the rest and build it, you will be rewarded with a fantastic amplifier. It's also single-ended, which have a certain magic that push-pull don't.

Also you note a few times in this thread your fear of coupling caps. Here's the best information I've ever seen concerning that - SYclotron Audio | Why are people obsessed with coupling caps?


As for comparing/contrasting the sound of different Pass amps, it's akin to standing in a garage full of Ferraris and asking, "Which is the most Italian sports car?" You can't make a bad choice, and they all sound fantastic.

:D :D :D
 
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