RKV vs. MicroZOTL
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dejang

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Providing that cost is not un issue which headamp would you pick and why ?
I need some help because I was unable to find any direct comparison of this two amplifiers.
Regards
Dan G
 
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SumB

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You might want to search the Headwize archives. I recall a gentleman who owned the EMP, Zotl, RKV, and was very vocal for his preference of the Audio Valve.
 
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Hirsch

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I own and love the ZOTL, but when I heard an RKV, I was greatly impressed. I don't have enough listening done on the RKV (it only visited for a short while) to say which I'd buy now, given my druthers (knowing me, probably both
)
 
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grinch

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i have a zotl and i *cough* just registered for an rkv from jan.. oh boy am i in trouble.
 
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daycart1

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Say Grinch, since a few folks have mentioned it now, I went through the Meier website looking for rkv info. I can't find it! ARe they gone? Can you say how much he is charging?


Thanks.
 
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Hirsch

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Quote:

Originally posted by daycart1
Say Grinch, since a few folks have mentioned it now, I went through the Meier website looking for rkv info. I can't find it! ARe they gone? Can you say how much he is charging?


Thanks.


If you look in the Mall-Fi forum, you'll see a post from Jan. You might want to drop him an e-mail.
 
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Nick Dangerous

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I've heard a lot of headphone amps.

At this moment, the RKV is the one I want.
 
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grinch

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Quote:

Originally posted by daycart1
Say Grinch, since a few folks have mentioned it now, I went through the Meier website looking for rkv info. I can't find it! ARe they gone? Can you say how much he is charging?


i can't tell you, but just e-mail him and he will. he simply forwarded me an e-mail with all of the information needed and it's a great deal. i mean GREAT deal.. especially for an amp that msrps for $1300.

e-mail him, he checks it often during the day too (or at least he always seems to when i have dealt with him).
 
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bearwise

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I own both the RKV (Mark II) and the ZOTL. BOth are great amps. I have been meaning to do a in depth side by side of the two amps for a while but never seem to get to it. I actually have both set up next to each other, but with some differences in signal path so absolute comparisons are a bit fuzzy (I'm a real A-B kind of guy), but I'll offer some impressions.
The RKV is gorgeous to look at and has that wonderful liquid "tube" sound in spades-luscious mids and well reproduced highs and transients as well. Bass is well balanced and strong.
The ZOTL looks like a mutant toaster, but is attractive in that sort of utiltarian kind of way. As someone here has mentioned in theri review, the ZOTL sounds much less "tubey", resembling in someways a very good SS amp but with just a touch of that liquid sheen. I completely agree with that assessment.

SOme comments on my setup, which undoubtedly confers some of the differences in my opionions of how these amps sound. My rig for headphone listening is a Cal Delta transport, with balanced output connected to a Birdland Odeon-lite DAC (upsampling DAC, heavily modded by its previous owner, and wonderful). I only use Senn 600's (with new Cardas replacement cables) with the RKV, it doesn't like low impedence phones (Grado RS-2, in my case).

The Delta transport is attached to the ZOTL through a CAL Sigma II DAC (very good but not quite the equal of the Odeon). I generally use the RS-2's with the ZOTL. ALl connections are either Zu cable (the balnced digital cable) or Homegrown SIlver lace (everything else). As curently set up, I listen to well recorded, more aggressive music with the ZOTL/Grado combination (it is very detailed, bad recordings really stink to high heaven with it), everything else with the RKV/Senn's.

Wordy relpy, I hope it helps.
 
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dejang

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BEARWISE,

Is RKV your prefered amplifier for the jazz and classic ?
Did you attempt any tube rolling with the RKV or ZOTL ?
While ZOTL offers many options it appears that RKV offers none.
Am I wrong ?
 
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bearwise

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The ZOTL has many options for tube rolling, the tubes it uses are quite common with everything from cheap modern tubes to exotic NOS tubes being used, check out the archives here.

And it is true that the RKV uses (from what I've been told, I'm not a long time bottle-head) somewhat unusual tubes originally used in late 50's TV's. I've bought a few extra for safe keeping, but the options for tube rolling are certainly less.

That being said, what the RKV does with those tubes! I use it for most of my listening now, using the Grado/ZOTL combination only for those recordings that benefit from the very high levels of detail and "punch" that combination delivers.

YOu can't go wrong with either, but if you've ever been seduced by great vacuum tube sound, and money is no object, I would go with the RKV. If detail is your bag and lots of it, then go ZOTL.
 
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kelly

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*grumble* Those of you who know me know that the ZOTL is the one big amplifier left on my "must hear" list that I haven't yet.

For those of you who don't, I own an RKV and consider it to be a very good amp. I should post a review of it now that people can actually buy it. I always feel reluctant to recommend things that are difficult to buy--especially when the few people who sell them get such negative reviews. (Meier, who is selling them now, has an excellent and well deserved reputation.)

Regarding the RKV not being good for low impedance/high sensitivity headphones--I found this to be very true when I first received the RKV (used). When I sent it to AudioValve for repair (I blew it up; not AudioValve's fault) the hiss and noise with low z/high sensitivity headphones was gone and the amplifier sounds excellent with both headphones. Whereas previously I believed the headphone was "made for the HD600", I now think it's quite awesome with the Etymotic ER-4S. I can only hope the new shipment will be more like my post-repair RKV than the pre-repaired model.

Also, another consideration is the impedencer which is an external transformer with different impedance settings to better match the amp. I don't know how much of an improvement this will yield if you already have no hiss/noise issues, but I may try it to find out. If you DO have hiss/noise, the impedencer should remedy that and it'd be interesting to see what you guys think of it at that point.

I'm sure the ZOTL is an excellent amp given the awesome reviews from the very cool people who own it. I just haven't heard it yet.
 
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acidtripwow

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The Zotl is very tube sensitive and you can change the sound drastically by tuberolling. It can sound very lush with the right tubes. The RKV works equally well with soft music as it does with Hard Rock. It is a better amp if you like different types of music.
 
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bearwise

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I've had the impedence unit on back order for like 3 months now. The vendor now says it will be shipped from Germany next week, but we'll see. I'm going to give them another bit of time. I wish I had known then that Jan was going to carry the RKV, I would have given him my business in a heart-beat.
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by acidtripwow
The Zotl is very tube sensitive and you can change the sound drastically by tuberolling. It can sound very lush with the right tubes. The RKV works equally well with soft music as it does with Hard Rock. It is a better amp if you like different types of music.


Which type of music are you saying the ZOTL is good for and why? Or are you saying that you'd be more tempted to tube roll to better suit each genre of music? And when you do, does the ZOTL then become better to you for that genre than the RKV?
 
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