System headaches?
May 22, 2002 at 5:12 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

Hirsch

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Of late, I've been listening mostly to the Micro-ZOTL, with the SHA-1 playing a lesser role. It's been relieved of preamp duty (Outlaw 950 and Electrocompaniet Pre I have taken over, with the HAP-03 for headphones), and was about ready to hit the "Gear for Sale" forum, as I wasn't hearing anything with it that I wasn't getting with the ZOTL. Of course, nothing's ever quite that simple, particularly in audio...

Fate intervened in the form of a dead channel on one of my DI/O's. I went in to do the repair, and while I was in decided to stick some Black Gate capacitors in the output path (some people who have modded the DI/O's preferred the caps, despite the theoretical superiority of their absence). Anyway, with the Black Gates in place, I used this DI/O to drive the SHA-1. Well, the Melos finally woke up! Yep, I had been confusing amp and source issues. Given the right source, the Melos is finally performing up to its potential. The HP-1's in particular love it.

This naturally enough got me excited, so I stuck a pair of Black Gates into the DI/O the ZOTL was running off of. Different story completely. The ZOTL was not impressed by the capacitors, and the sound lost a bit of impact and clarity. Whoa! Just because a source works superbly in one system does not mean that it will work the same magic in all systems. The Melos and ZOTL clearly have different demands on the source component. Both configurations of the DI/O are good...but only with the right amp.

So, the SHA-1 is not going on sale anytime soon, and I'm using it as my amp for the HP-1's. That leaves me free to voice the ZOTL for the HD-600's, without worrying about compatibility with anything else, but I'm going to have to use different DI/O configurations with each amp. Oh, my aching head.
 
May 22, 2002 at 2:26 PM Post #2 of 3

Anders

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Thank you, very enlightning observation. Maybe it is for similar reasons that a cable sometimes opens up things considerably. It may be a good sonic match but if it also modifies the capacitance in the right direction...
The disturbing thing is that it becomes hard to generalise. Finally, everything must be tested in one own's system.
The good thing is the possiblilty of tweaking!
 
May 24, 2002 at 2:08 AM Post #3 of 3

Hirsch

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Well, I've confirmed it. The ZOTL is now humming away musically with no output capacitors in its DI/O. The SHA-1 is singing merrily with Black Gates in place. Change DI/O's, and each amp will sulk in protest. It just goes to show there is no "right" way to do a modification, just as there is no "right" interconnect or "right" headphone. There's only the one that works best in your particular system.
 

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