ZMF Pendant by Ampsandsound; impressions, tube-rolling, and general discussions
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KPzypher

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Hey folks,

I felt bad hijacking the Verite thread for troubleshooting the Pendant, so figured I'd start a dedicated 'ZMF Pendant' thread for us to share thoughts, impressions, and some tube-rolling ideas (always fun).

To the owners, what are your thoughts, and for those interested, what would you like to know?

1596650750891.png

Click here for product info.

And here are some pics of custom wood chassis (camphor)
20200720_133558.jpg20200724_152649 (1).jpg20200720_133541.jpg

Overall, I love this sturdy tube amp. It has unique aesthetics, solid build quality, and a good volume knob. And this amp is powerful! With regard to sound (please take it w/ grain of salt), I feel it's clean, fast, and not overly warm/tubey or laid back, and with the standard JJ tubes, I feel (YMMV) the sound signature gets close to some SS amps in some respect with good resolution. It's known to run quietly, although i'm experiencing some 60hz hum at the moment (still troubleshooting). I did get some clipping when set on fixed volume output from the DAC (M400) I've paired w/, but have yet to try w/ other DACs I own.

So far, my favorite HP/tube combination is...

ZMF Verite open on LOW-Z with the following tube setup.
Psvane 12AU7 T-II (input), Genalex Gold Lion EL84x2 (output), and Electro-Harmonix EZ81 (rectifier).
I can generally tell the difference (not always better or worse) between various input tubes and some power tubes, but not so much the rectifier tubes.

Other tubes I like are Sovtek 12AX7LPS/EL84M, JJ ECC802s, RFT EZ81.
So far, I've tried most new production/reissues, and limited vintage tubes. I generally didn't like the vintage tubes I've tried, but to be fair, haven't tried any uber expensive ones.

Low-Z is currently my workaround the 60hz hum, which I'm still experiencing but not as distracting as on High-Z. Power conditioner is the last thing i'm awaiting to test out before taking further actions.

To the owners out there, what are your favorite tube set for the Pendant?

And are you guys experiencing any technical issues?

And to wrap it up, I can speak from experience that both Zach and Justin are wonderful folks and provide top-notch customer service, so rest assured you will have their full support if needed. Since some companies are known to neglect customers post-purchase or hesitate to honor warranty, thought it was important to point that out.

Thanks.
 
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steve468

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Great idea for a thread. It definitely seems like there's more and more Pendant owners on here, as ZMF in general seems to have exploded in popularity (count me as a new fan!). Here's some impressions I posted in the ampsandsound thread: "I'm just starting out with collecting, and so far I've mostly stuck with 12AU7 and 12AT7, because they have a big effect on the sound and seem to be way cheaper and more plentiful then 12AX7.

I've just today put in a RCA clear top that the internet seems to think is the best 12AU7, and yeah, hard to disagree. It seems so far to be nice and clear in the top end, tight in the bottom end, with an amazing "gritty" and textured midrange, just amazing for electric guitars. A very vivid sound.

For 12AT7, my favourite so far is a Brimar 6060 "Yellow T" that has a nice, even, clean and laid back sound, with maybe a bit of a lower end exaggeration. I also picked up a GE military tube they called a JRLV12AT7WA (phew!) that has the most neutral sound and blackest background I've come across.

I also want to mention this crazy Webcor branded 12AU7 that I took a chance on (very little info on the internet), which seems to be a Mullard from the '50s. It has a HUGE, definitely quantity over quality bass, and that textured midrange I like but multiplied by 100. It's such a unique tube compared to any others I've heard that I can only bring it out when I want extremely un-neutral sound. But man, what it does it does with maximum effort. That tube, paired with the stock JJ EL-84s to bring out the highs is my ultimate metal setup."

I've since tried Sovtek EL-84Ms, and found I like them a touch more then the stock JJs. I've also tried some of the "updated" 12a_7 variants, like the 5814A and 5755 with adapter (super cheap!) and the Pendant, or my ears, really seems to like them. Very low distortion without being boring.
 
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KPzypher

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Great idea for a thread. It definitely seems like there's more and more Pendant owners on here, as ZMF in general seems to have exploded in popularity (count me as a new fan!). Here's some impressions I posted in the ampsandsound thread: "I'm just starting out with collecting, and so far I've mostly stuck with 12AU7 and 12AT7, because they have a big effect on the sound and seem to be way cheaper and more plentiful then 12AX7.

I've just today put in a RCA clear top that the internet seems to think is the best 12AU7, and yeah, hard to disagree. It seems so far to be nice and clear in the top end, tight in the bottom end, with an amazing "gritty" and textured midrange, just amazing for electric guitars. A very vivid sound.

For 12AT7, my favourite so far is a Brimar 6060 "Yellow T" that has a nice, even, clean and laid back sound, with maybe a bit of a lower end exaggeration. I also picked up a GE military tube they called a JRLV12AT7WA (phew!) that has the most neutral sound and blackest background I've come across.

I also want to mention this crazy Webcor branded 12AU7 that I took a chance on (very little info on the internet), which seems to be a Mullard from the '50s. It has a HUGE, definitely quantity over quality bass, and that textured midrange I like but multiplied by 100. It's such a unique tube compared to any others I've heard that I can only bring it out when I want extremely un-neutral sound. But man, what it does it does with maximum effort. That tube, paired with the stock JJ EL-84s to bring out the highs is my ultimate metal setup."

I've since tried Sovtek EL-84Ms, and found I like them a touch more then the stock JJs. I've also tried some of the "updated" 12a_7 variants, like the 5814A and 5755 with adapter (super cheap!) and the Pendant, or my ears, really seems to like them. Very low distortion without being boring.
Awesome. Seems like you're having a lot of fun tube-rolling.

Have you used any 5751s w/ the Pendant? Haven't tried those yet.

What headphones are you using with the Pendant?
 
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I've definitely gotten a bit addicted to searching the dusting areas of the internet for treasure. It's funny, I've read that the Pendant doesn't change as much as other tube amps with tube rolling (I don't have much experience myself) but I find the whole character of the amp can change, from bright and even digital sounding to bass-heavy and mushy.

A 5751 is on my to-try list, because of the success I've had with 5814A and 5755. But, as with any variant of 12ax7, they seem to be so much more expensive. So, need some time to save my nickels.

I use LCD-4 and Verité Closed primarily, and have tried Focal Clear with slightly less success.
Awesome. Seems like you're having a lot of fun tube-rolling.

Have you used any 5751s w/ the Pendant? Haven't tried those yet.

What headphones are you using with the Pendant?
 
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I've definitely gotten a bit addicted to searching the dusting areas of the internet for treasure. It's funny, I've read that the Pendant doesn't change as much as other tube amps with tube rolling (I don't have much experience myself) but I find the whole character of the amp can change, from bright and even digital sounding to bass-heavy and mushy.

A 5751 is on my to-try list, because of the success I've had with 5814A and 5755. But, as with any variant of 12ax7, they seem to be so much more expensive. So, need some time to save my nickels.

I use LCD-4 and Verité Closed primarily, and have tried Focal Clear with slightly less success.
Yeah I'm getting too much noise with super sensitive cans like the Stellia even on low z.

Justin from ampsandsound mentioned 5751s are his favorite with the Pendant. Or maybe he said 5755... it was def. 57xx
 
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Yeah I'm getting too much noise with super sensitive cans like the Stellia even on low z.

Justin from ampsandsound mentioned 5751s are his favorite with the Pendant. Or maybe he said 5755... it was def. 57xx
I'm sorry to hear you're having noise issues, it seems to be a bit of an issue with tube amps in general. I'm also sorry because, I don't seem to have that issue, and I have no idea why! My listening station is surrounded by every wifi and computer powered gizmo you can think of, and the only thing is if I turn up the volume to max (without music) I'll hear a hiss. I barely ever get beyond 7 or 8 o'clock with the Clears, so the hiss is not noticeable. I wish I knew what was going on so I could pass on the secret. Maybe someone else who has slain the noise issue could chime in?
 
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Great to see a dedicated thread for this amp. Thanks for starting.
I have just received the amp and do have the hum issue. Have only about 15 hours on it so far so will be giving it a chance to burn in and lose that hum before considering anything further. Zach actually suggested using a 12au7 rather than the supplied 12ax7 to reduce the hum. Have a Genelex gold lion 12au7 coming to effect that change.
This is most definitely the best headphone listening that I have ever experienced. Am using the ZMF headphones and HD650 for now. I have Mr Speaker Ether flow 1.1 but have never been happy with the top end of those headphones. Will try them soon.
Will try to report further as burn in continues. In the meantime I am just enjoying reading this thread.
 
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Great to see a dedicated thread for this amp. Thanks for starting.
I have just received the amp and do have the hum issue. Have only about 15 hours on it so far so will be giving it a chance to burn in and lose that hum before considering anything further. Zach actually suggested using a 12au7 rather than the supplied 12ax7 to reduce the hum. Have a Genelex gold lion 12au7 coming to effect that change.
This is most definitely the best headphone listening that I have ever experienced. Am using the ZMF headphones and HD650 for now. I have Mr Speaker Ether flow 1.1 but have never been happy with the top end of those headphones. Will try them soon.
Will try to report further as burn in continues. In the meantime I am just enjoying reading this thread.
I have tried several different 12AU7s, but didn't seem to help. Hope you have better luck. I'm hoping power conditioner will solve this issue, hopefully tomorrow.

I'm also using it with HD650 and I quite like it.
 
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Is this an issue with multiple different tubes? I have about 20 12xx7 tubes and i get a distant high pitch "ringing" with about 75% of the tubes. Looks like its interference, and its picking up my wifi hub in the other room. If I move a wood block directly infront (without touch) of the tube the amp goes silent. This also happens when I use my hand. It doesnt actually bother me, so I havent been searching for an answer, just happened to notice when music was off and I was reaching across to adjust volume. I usually do this before turning on the amp so I missed this before. Maybe get a piece of wood/metal that you can rotate around the 12xx7 tube and see if it helps with your issue?

I have actually ordered a black aluminum tube cover for the 12xx7 tube line that will be here in like a month from china, to see if just dropping it over the 12xx7 tube fixes this. can order immediately in the states, but its 5$ vs 15-20$ (have i mentioned it doesnt bother me? haha). Anyways good luck with resolving this issue.

Just for reference, below is the ebay item i purchased in black to hopefully blend with the aesthetics of the amp. I am not sure if this will work, as I tested tin foil for funsies and it did nothing. But, i had a thicker aluminum piece that was able to block the ringing when placed infront of the tube. Oddly, my hand/wood seems to work best when its about 1 inch or closer to the tube. Anyways will report back if no one else tests this first.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aluminum-s...var=502703175190&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

some tubes ive tried and I like below. The highlighted blue ones below (for the tube example I have) has no RF or emi or wahtever interference it is that I am getting with my other tubes. the other 2 tubes not highlighted, i get the distant ringing sound that goes away if I use my hand.

seimen e81cc triple mica - super top end focused and the most open up top ive heard. a bit much, but for those that love that airy and top end might be worth checking out. I rotate in sometimes to just get different tonality.
Amperex 7316 - smooth and very nice tonality. (Dead silent no ringing or interference with this tube).
telefunken ecc82 12au7 Diamond bottom - not sure how to properly describe but it sounds very good (Dead silent no ringing or interference with this tube).
RT 12AT7 military NOS - This one sounds nice, and is also dead silent. Nothing spectacular to point out.

telefunken 5751 windmill getters - sounds very nice, still getting used to this have been listening for a day or 2.
 
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Just to note my 8ohm out is dead silent.
 
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I am happy to report that replacing the 12ax7 with a Genelex Gold Lion 12au7 has reduced the hum in my unit. There is virtually no noise from the low Z output and a significant reduction from the hi Z. In fact when the A/C kicks on that is what I can hear rather than any hum.
I just put NOS Telefunken 12ax7s in the preamp in my main system and boy do they sound good. Maybe try one here? This hobby never leaves you alone does it?
 
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I am happy to report that replacing the 12ax7 with a Genelex Gold Lion 12au7 has reduced the hum in my unit. There is virtually no noise from the low Z output and a significant reduction from the hi Z. In fact when the A/C kicks on that is what I can hear rather than any hum.
I just put NOS Telefunken 12ax7s in the preamp in my main system and boy do they sound good. Maybe try one here? This hobby never leaves you alone does it?
Good to hear. Which ZMF HPs are you using with the Pendant?
 
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Good to hear. Which ZMF HPs are you using with the Pendant?
Aeolus open back.
Everyone says that the Verite/Pendant combination is the one to have. It’s a money thing for me. The Verite were over budget.
Maybe some day.
 
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Aeolus open back.
Everyone says that the Verite/Pendant combination is the one to have. It’s a money thing for me. The Verite were over budget.
Maybe some day.
Doubt you're missing much. Heard Aeolus is a nice set, very 'chill,' which I like particularly for long-sessions.

Do you like the Genalex Gold Lion? I currently using the EL84 gold lions but have yet to try the 12AU7. Might try that next.
 
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Doubt you're missing much. Heard Aeolus is a nice set, very 'chill,' which I like particularly for long-sessions.

Do you like the Genalex Gold Lion? I currently using the EL84 gold lions but have yet to try the 12AU7. Might try that next.
I have had good experience with the Genelex Gold Lion tubes in general. I used them in my preamp where they replaced JJs in the 12ax7 positions. It was a nice improvement. Also tried one in the pendant. The sound was good but it didn’t get rid of the hum. The 12au7 does significantly reduce the hum. The sound with a 12au7 verses a 12ax7 is a little more laid back but with no loss of detail. It’s certainly a personal preference thing.
Did the EL84 gold pins make much of a difference (verses the JJs) in the Penant?
 
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