Decware ZSTAGE (Zen Triode Gain Stage) + 6 tubes ***** SOLD!
Will Ship To: Continental U.S.
***** SOLD! ***** This is the Decware ZSTAGE (Zen Triode Gain Stage) with the original equipment JJ 12AU7 and five more great tubes for rolling in the signature of your choice. This is a fun addition for any solid state desktop rig, and can be a great cure for a chain that's too bright, dry, or analytical.
The ZSTAGE is essentially a single-tube stereo pre-amp, with just one set of RCA inputs and outputs, that offers up to 5 dB of gain (depending on the tube you've selected) or attenuation down to zero. It accepts 12AU7/E882CC -or- 12AT7 tubes, the latter offering more gain.
Decware gear is known for being extremely transparent - to the point that all you can hear, if anything other than your original source, is that which the tube itself brings to the signal - which is exactly the point of getting a tube buffer/gain stage, like the ZSTAGE. It's a great way to inject some tubeliciousness into your solid state desktop rig.
But the ZSTAGE isn't just a tube buffer, which can offer only attenuation with, at best, an output that's a little less than unity gain. The ZSTAGE also allows you to supply your amp with greater than unity gain, which, as Steve Deckert of Decware explains in the ZSTAGE manual, can increase the dynamics heard at your headphones or speakers.
Steve doesn't say it in his manual, but in my experience, some amps are more sensitive to variations in input gain than others, not in terms of volume heard with more or less input gain, where all amps are pretty much created equal, but rather, in terms of an in increase or decrease in dynamics heard with more or less input gain once the volume is matched via the amp's volume control. I've not really figured out how to tell which amps are most easily affected this way, except to insert the ZSTAGE between DAC and amp and just have a good listen, as you "ride the gain" - the term Steve Deckert uses to describe turning the volume of the amp down as you turn the input gain up at the ZSTAGE, or vice versa, turning the volume of the amp up as you turn the gain down at the ZSTAGE - with the idea being to maintain a constant SPL at your headphones or speakers while modifying the dynamics to suit your taste.
Modifying this effect is really a lot of fun, and of course, just as with any tube buffer, you also have the ability to roll tubes to alter the sound to suit the rest of your chain. The impact had by changing tubes can be enjoyed with any amp, whether or not the dynamics of that amp can be tailored by adjusting the ZSTAGE gain. As a solid state guy, I found this to open up almost too many choices for my obcessive brain to handle. If you're already accustomed to rolling tubes, then you know what I'm talking about, but if you're used to just hooking up a purely solid state chain, flipping the power switches and adjusting the volume, you'll be amazed at how much control the ZSTAGE gives you.
Here is the Decware page describing the ZSTAGE: http://www.decware.com/newsite/zstage.html
And here's a link to the manual, where you can read about "riding the gain": http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZSTAGEMANUAL.pdf
Decware offers some of the finest tube gear available, and as such, you could wait several weeks (no exaggeration) to get your hands on anything that Steve crafts. I bought this unit used, to avoid that wait. There's a sticker on the bottom showing that it was built in July 2012. It's still in perfect condition, cosmetically and functionally. The attached photographs show that I've taken very good care of everything. I've never even attempted to have a look inside the ZSTAGE. It's very clean.
As I have no desire to revisit the world of tube gear anytime soon, I'm including in this sale every tube I've collected since I bought the ZSTAGE five months ago. None of these tubes have more than about 75 hours on them and it would cost $278 to order them from the same vendors from which these came. Please do a right-click and "Open in new tab" to zoom in on the attached photo of the tubes and read their descriptions.
I've also included a very handy, $12 tube glove for pulling the tubes - remember to let the tubes cool first before removing - don't twist, just pull.
I've already packed it, double-boxing within a much larger cardboard box with plenty of padding.
I will only accept payment by PayPal, but I will pay the fee, and I will also pay for UPS Ground shipping (providing you with a tracking number), to any address within the continental U.S. (48 states).
Now asking $573 for the complete package, including the Decware ZSTAGE with original tube + 5 extra tubes + tube glove
(All of which would cost $875, several phone calls, and a very long wait, if everything were ordered new. You will basically be getting $24 off the price of a new ZSTAGE, plus $278 worth of extra tubes and tube glove, for free, along with free shipping and PayPal fees above the cost of a new ZSTAGE.)
I reserve the right to refuse this sale if I have cause for concern. (I'll be reasonable, of course.)
Edited by zilch0md - 11/3/13 at 3:22pm