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Trafo Head One or Zana Deux T ?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I want to try a tube amp again. I'd appreciate recommendations.

I used a SP PPx3 SLAM with a 1964 Mullard 6922 (selected from dozens of driver tubes) and cryo'd 5687s for quite a while using HD600s with SAA Equinox cable.

Then I got a a nice raise, and I upgraded to markl modded DA7000s with Jena balanced cables, so I bought the Rudistor RP010B and an Audio Aero CDP. I've been in audio heaven for over a year now.

But I miss the liquid mids of an outstanding tube! "Mellifluousness" is the word.

I've been reading and hunting, and the top units appear to be the Trafomatic Head One and the Zana Deux. I would choose the ZDT, not the OTL, because it uses a 6sL7. The Woos also use mostly 6sN7 drivers, which I learned from rolling the SP just don't match my ears. The Trafo uses unique "Mig" Russian tubes, and the ZDT uses 6c33cs and a 12ax7 driver, which leaves a lot of rolling room. Both require break-in and both seem to have fans. I have yet to hear either one. Of course, the ASL mg head models have ardent fans, too.

Recommendations will be much appreciated.
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post
But I miss the liquid mids of an outstanding tube! "Mellifluousness" is the word.
I had to go look that word up in a dictionary!

I'm not sure any amp using the 6c45 is for you. Pretty much all of the high gm/mu frame grid tubes err towards a more solid state sound than a classic "sweet" mids vintage tube sound. Not that there is anything wrong with the 6c45 choice. I personally love it, but I'm not sure it is what you're after. I wouldn't describe it as being as sweet as honey, put it that way.
post #3 of 20
i'm getting my trafomatic head one soon. There is a backlog at the factory..guess these are very popular now.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parafeed View Post
I had to go look that word up in a dictionary!

I'm not sure any amp using the 6c45 is for you.

I wouldn't describe it as being as sweet as honey, put it that way.

Hey, Parafeed --- you're WAY ahead of me --- I had to look that up, and I couldn't find a dictionary that has it !!! Google just told me it's a kind of amp design, but I'm waiting for you to tell me what kind

I dunno - I really like my Rudistor, and it's all discrete ss, and I don't like 300b or 6sN7 SQ, so honey is not the right metaphor, maybe glowing, like alive is the right kind of word.

So what does your 6c45 sound like? why did you choose that tube?

and have you heard the Trafo or the ZD for comparison?
post #5 of 20
The trafomatic is such an elagant design, you are getting excellent transformers with it. The caveate is the heaters are AC there have been reports of hum but this has said to be corrected. I would love to see a head-to-head on these two, my money is on the trafomatic, just because of the spud design and also 6moons highly praised reviews for a lot of their products. My problem with the output tube used on the ZDT is there are a lot of bad reports about it on diyaudio and other places. Eddie Current probably has those issues ironed out but the OPT primary is low impedance so they hopefully have a very quiet PS. Best bet is to hear them both, but on paper the ZDT is a risky design. That doesn't mean Eddie Current didn't pull it off. The only thing that kept me from buying the trafomatic was that it was selling for under $900 a year ago, thinking the price will drop (high hoping) or I may just build a 6C45 SET if I can get way from shovelling snow long enough.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post
I dunno - I really like my Rudistor, and it's all discrete ss, and I don't like 300b or 6sN7 SQ, so honey is not the right metaphor, maybe glowing, like alive is the right kind of word.
Probably not quite the right word, then. Flowing with sweetness or honey, was the definition I got from Free Dictionary. Sounds like a description of a 300B.

Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post
So what does your 6c45 sound like? why did you choose that tube?
I like the 6c45. I've used it in several amps, for headphones and to drive horn loudspeakers. It's pretty much the only game in town (high gain / high gm "spud" triodes) now that NOS STC 3A/167M and WE 437A are unobtainable. I think it has a certain clarity that is pleasing, but it can sound a little hard and glassy if driven too hard. (It wouldn't be the first time the tube has been described that way when it is oscillating at HF. But I'd expect a competent designer to be using stopper resistors in any case, so that shouldn't be a problem on a commercial design.) Again, depending on the operating point it can sound dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post
and have you heard the Trafo or the ZD for comparison?
Not exactly. I used to own a ZD (OTL, not the transformer version) and I do own a pair of the double 'C' core output transformers that Sasa uses in the Head One. (He was kind enough to wind and sell me a pair.) I'd expect that they will have more influence on the sound of that amp than any other passive component in it. Very good quality transformers - build wise, measurement and SQ.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
My problem with the output tube used on the ZDT is there are a lot of bad reports about it on diyaudio and other places. Eddie Current probably has those issues ironed out but the OPT primary is low impedance so they hopefully have a very quiet PS. Best bet is to hear them both, but on paper the ZDT is a risky design. That doesn't mean Eddie Current didn't pull it off.
I'd suggest the OP ignores what is written above. Regal likes nothing more than casting doubt or throwing stones at a commercial design, based on third hand experience. (Probably something he read third-hand over at the diyaudio forum about 6C33C failure rates.) As per usual, I doubt Regal has ever actually owned an amp that used 6C33C's so I'd take anything he has to say about them with a pinch of salt. Anyone who's ever seen a schematic or opened up one of Craigs high-end headphone amps will tell you that as far as PSU design is concerned, he likes to use multiple stages of filtering. The only thing risky about the ZDT design would be if it had been designed by Regal. Fortunately it is not!
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
The trafomatic is such an elagant design, you are getting excellent transformers with it. The caveate is the heaters are AC there have been reports of hum but this has said to be corrected.
I have been guaranteed by the delaer that the 2009 version ( the cosmetic revamp) version of traumatic is clean and quiet as a whistle, this is due to change in circuitry and transformer , hence the price increase.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
sawindra -- how long are you going to have to wait? why did you choose the trafo?
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
regal - classy car, lousy company, FWIW - there's actually a used one for sale for $900 here
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f42/fs...ad-one-452481/

I've been in touch with him about it. he says he's moving to speakers.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Parafeed - SIR - won't you please tell me what a "parafeed amp" is ? pretty please ?



Thanks for the description of the 6c45, but I'm not sure I understand yet how it sounds. It's not as fast as SS but it's as clear as SS - it's not filled with second harmonics like 300b's, but yet it's kinda "tubey"?

Actually, my speaker rig has Joule Electra Stargate mono's, which are SET 6c33b's. I love 'em. All it needed was better drivers than the stock 6DJ8's - put some 1963 Amperex CEN 7308s in with some Herbie's dampers, and its "really loverly".



but I can't build 'em like you do.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parafeed View Post
The only thing risky about the ZDT design would be if it had been designed by Regal. Fortunately it is not!

Still resorting to cheap shots, why can't you have a civil discourse? Sure haven't seen any of your parafeed designs, probably just too cheap to buy a SE transformer so you throw a cap and a cheap P-P tranformer on someonelse's designs.


And yes if you don't think on paper as I said that a 6c33B is risky you my man are nuts. I did say Eddie Current may have pulled it off, but it has never been done before. Thats a huge current hog tube connecting to your headphones and being driven by a 12AX7? Have you looked at the 12AX7 Rp and compared it to the input impedance of a 6c33B? Have you considered the 750 hr service life of the 6c33B and how difficult it is to find matching pairs when they burn out? Over here we don't blindly follow authority, we question, we probe for answers, we test out equipment (listen to it) with an open mind before we purchase.

Our job as consumers is to question what we buy, that is all part of buying expensive items. Hell I questioned Honda's engineering before I bought one of their cars and they are a multibillion dollar org, Eddie Current is not a "Profit" that can't be questioned.

Lets see if you can make a mature reply without a cheap shot, I doubt it.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Sure haven't seen any of your parafeed designs, probably just too cheap to buy a SE transformer so you throw a cap and a cheap P-P tranformer on someonelse's designs.
LOL. A pair of TL-404's and Mundorf silver/gold/oil caps costs more than an entire Head One. If that's cheap in your warped reality, then so be it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
And yes if you don't think on paper as I said that a 6c33B is risky you my man are nuts.
Nuts, I may be, but I'm not looking at piece of paper. I've been using 6C33's for 7 years. I've owned 2 commercial amps that used them. I've built two amps that used them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
I did say Eddie Current may have pulled it off, but it has never been done before.
What has never been done before?

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Thats a huge current hog tube connecting to your headphones and being driven by a 12AX7? Have you looked at the 12AX7 Rp and compared it to the input impedance of a 6c33B?
Yes, and your point is? It doesn't look good on paper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Have you considered the 750 service life of the 6c33B and how difficult it is to find matching pairs when they burn out?
Yes. Clue: The average service life of a 6c33 might only be 750 hours when it is run within an inch of its life. Still think it is only good for 750 hours in one of EC's designs?

Matched pairs: I have several to hand. Do you need to buy a pair? (The last batch of 20 tubes I bought direct from a Russian dealer, resulted in 5 very good matched pairs, 4 within 15% and 2 "oddball" tubes that were a little bit gassy so I wouldn't actually use them in an amp.) If you want to buy a matched pair from a dealer, I'd recommend Parts Connexion. They have a dedicated test rig for 6C33's. I've re-tested two of their matched pairs (a long story involving a commercial amp with an intermittent "crackle" that was sent to me for investigation by a Hi-Fi dealer - there was nothing wrong with the original tubes or the PCX replacements that the customer had bought) and their $90 price seems reasonable to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Over here we don't blindly follow authority, we question, we probe for answers, we test out equipment (listen to it) with an open mind before we purchase.
If you have a question about the ZDT, go ask Craig, go ask someone who owns one, but you don't really ask questions, do you? If you are that concerned, go ask Craig how he managed to get -0.5db 10Hz-40KHz into a pair of Senns using a 12AX7 driver with the 6c33. Go ask people who own the actual amps about the longevity of the output tubes. You are unable to ask a question without flinging sh&t at the same time!
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parafeed View Post
. You are unable to ask a question without flinging sh&t at the same time!
No I specifically said Eddie Current may have pulled it off, thats not throwing SH$t. I like the ZD with 600 ohm phones, its sounds great, but for the money the ZDT just isn't worth it for low ohm phones IMO, the sound isn't any better than a Woo6SE (both meet impressions.)


You have to admit that the Trafomatic Headone is a very neat package, I would love to hear one but they are pretty rare at the moment.


Somewhere you and I have to bury the hatchet. I haven't questioned your aptitude yet every time I question Eddie Currents design choices you fly off the handle, are you affiliated with them?
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
No I specifically said Eddie Current may have pulled it off, thats not throwing SH$t.
You use phrases like "but on paper the ZDT is a risky design". That might cost Craig a sale if the person reading it thinks you speak from a position of knowledge or experience! You've just associated the word "risky" with the ZDT before you go on to say that it might be OK, he might have pulled it off. That's slinging sh&t where I come from.

A non-technical chap asks for opinions on two amps. You don't own either. I doubt you have ever built an amp with the 6C33C. Yet, you define that as being risky, while with the Trafomatic, "you are getting excellent transformers". Speaking from personal experience again, are you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
You have to admit that the Trafomatic Headone is a very neat package, I would love to hear one but they are pretty rare at the moment.
Neat package? What the **** does that mean? It's looks pretty? Actually, don't answer that. (I obviously need to go on an anger management course, before conversing with you.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Somewhere you and I have to bury the hatchet.
There is no hachet to bury! I reserve the right (unless I'm banned for doing it) to point out that you don't have a clue what you're talking about every time you cast doubt on a commercial design that might cost the manufacturer a sale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
I haven't questioned your aptitude yet every time I question Eddie Currents design choices you fly off the handle, are you affiliated with them?
I've no affiliation with Craig or Sasa. Never met either of them in person, but they have both been more than generous with their time when I have discussed design or asked questions with an open mind and in a respectful manner.
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