ZMF Pendant SE Pre-Order Ending
Feb 26, 2021 at 11:01 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30
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Hey All!

This month we announced the release of the "new" ZMF Pendant - which is a slight alteration of the original Pendant that was an A+ graded component in Stereophile and loved by many. While the amp was already sweet - we decided to add a couple tweaks that had been requested:

  • Jupiter Coupling Caps
  • Stepped Attenuator (24 Steps)
  • Optional Wood Volume Knob (Coming soon and backwards compatible)
  • Larger "Choke" and more optimized signal path for quieter performance
  • 8/100 Low/Hi Impedance Out (instead of 8/300)
  • Rotating Standard Wood Base Options (Walnut Burl is the current option)
Here's the Pendant Product page where you can pick one up at a $200 discount through this weekend: https://shop.zmfheadphones.com/collections/amps-dacs/products/zmf-pendant

USE CODE: SE200

Here's some of the original reviews:

https://www.stereophile.com/content...german-headphones-headphone-amplifiers-page-2

https://www.headphones.com/blogs/news/zmf-pendant-tube-headphone-amplifier-review

https://darko.audio/2020/10/moving-upfield-the-zmf-pendant/

We're selling the amp for $200 off through this weekend! So it's the perfect time to try one out if you've been thinking about getting into tube amps, or just want to see how we hear the ZMF's in the shop when we're listening for pleasure!

The Current Pendant OG Version is also available as well with standard Wima Caps.

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ZMFheadphones ZMF headphones hand-crafts wood headphones in Chicago, USA with special attention to exceptional sound and craftsmanship. Stay updated on ZMFheadphones at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
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Feb 26, 2021 at 3:55 PM Post #2 of 30

ThanatosVI

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Looks damn beautiful
 
Feb 27, 2021 at 5:59 PM Post #6 of 30

cpurdy

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I don't mean to sound picky, but an unbalanced headphone amp for $2k ... that's quite a stretch. Are these actually made in Chicago, or made somewhere else and imported? I thought at first that you were selling it for $200, which sounded pretty amazing (too good to be true, obviously), but it's a $200 discount off of a $2k price tag.
 
Feb 27, 2021 at 6:09 PM Post #7 of 30

HiFiHawaii808

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I don't mean to sound picky, but an unbalanced headphone amp for $2k ... that's quite a stretch. Are these actually made in Chicago, or made somewhere else and imported? I thought at first that you were selling it for $200, which sounded pretty amazing (too good to be true, obviously), but it's a $200 discount off of a $2k price tag.
Dude, it's an Ampsandsound and ZMF joint product. You ought to check out the reviews of the various Amspandsound products and see that this is the cheapest of the entire line. The fact that it is tuned for the ZMF headphones and at times has custom wood options, this is a fantastic deal. I am doing everything I can to stop myself from purchasing it when I already have a full sized tube amp.

Your key criteria for buying an amp is whether or not it's balanced? If so, you are missing out on a lot of great products.
 
Feb 27, 2021 at 7:43 PM Post #8 of 30

inmytaxi

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I don't mean to sound picky, but an unbalanced headphone amp for $2k ... that's quite a stretch. Are these actually made in Chicago, or made somewhere else and imported? I thought at first that you were selling it for $200, which sounded pretty amazing (too good to be true, obviously), but it's a $200 discount off of a $2k price tag.
How much do you expect some dude living the good life in the US of A to devote to making boutique amplifiers for the general public to do it for? These aren't easy to build, there's a huge investment in time for design and purchase of materials, and building, and constructing a legal business which means paying lawyers etc ... if the man is making $100 an hour for his time I'd be shocked but I hope he's making twice that.
 
Feb 28, 2021 at 2:43 AM Post #9 of 30

erics75

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I owned an early production Pendant (call it OG for short), and have been listening to a prototype Pendant SE with production specs/parts for at least two months now. The SE is a legit upgrade to an already amazing amp. Two things really stood out to me when I listened to the SE: First, it's much much quieter. My OG was a bit noisy. It sounded great, but the noise floor was an annoyance. The SE with my VC headphones is very quiet. There's a slight buzz/hum going on when nothing is playing, but it's VERY low. Much lower than my OG. Second, the volume pot is much better. On my OG I rarely could get to 9oclock on the dial. With the SE's stepped pot i'm usually between 12 and 1.

Those two upgrades alone for me were worth the price of admission. But I do have to comment on one last thing vs my OG. The SE is more detailed overall. I noticed it on first listen, and it's an impression that lingers. Zach says the Jupiter caps bring increased detail/clarity, and I can confirm it's a noticeable jump in resolution. My best solid state amp is a Phonitor E, which is a very detailed amp. My OG could not match it in the clarity/resolution department, no matter what tubes I tried. With just the JJ new production tubes in the SE it easily matches the Phonitor's overall clarity and resolution. That was quite surprising. Nothing against the OG Pendant, I always thought it was more than enough in the resolution department, but not quite the equal of the Phonitor.

Finally, the tone of the SE is much like the OG. With the new production JJ tubes both are very fast and detailed, with a mostly neutral tone that has a hint of sweetness/warmth added. Rolling tubes can shift the tonality noticeably. This is not a slow and warm tube amp. It's more like a solid state amp, but with a slight bit of sweetness, plus a nice tube soundstage.

I've been asked on the side if it's a worthwhile upgrade if you own an existing Pendant. I have to say it depends. If your OG Pendant is reasonably quiet, and you're ok with the volume knob travel, I would save the $ and keep what you have. If your OG was like mine, noisy and stuck at the very bottom of it's travel, and you're bothered by it, then yes, it's totally worth it. I don't have a lot of experience with true tube amps so I can't compare to EC or DNA or Decware, sorry. But I will say this SE is hands down the best amp i've owned. Here's my baby:
 

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Feb 28, 2021 at 2:57 AM Post #10 of 30

erics75

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I don't mean to sound picky, but an unbalanced headphone amp for $2k ... that's quite a stretch. Are these actually made in Chicago, or made somewhere else and imported? I thought at first that you were selling it for $200, which sounded pretty amazing (too good to be true, obviously), but it's a $200 discount off of a $2k price tag.
The amp is handmade by Justin of Ampsandsound in California using expensive components and point to point wiring. IMO it's worth it's asking price and then some. Don't get hung up on balanced vs SE connections. What matters is the design and execution of the product. This SE tube amp easily matches my balanced solid state Phonitor amp in clarity/resolution. That's impressive, as the Phonitor series amps are considered to be some of the most resolving out there.
 
Feb 28, 2021 at 3:05 AM Post #11 of 30

xand

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Feb 28, 2021 at 3:16 AM Post #12 of 30

erics75

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You mean XE?


See: https://forum.headphones.com/t/im-sailing-away/5367/108

I think the noise is actually a flaw with your old unit and not what ZMF itself accepts?
No it’s the E model. Same amp as the X and XE but without the full matrix system and vu meters.
https://www.headphones.com/products...nCpxsAhl3R4a1UsY5VF-RT5s90ZrDiaBoCs6gQAvD_BwE

As for defects no my OG was working fine, I had trouble shooting sessions with both Zach and Justin who assured me the noise level was within design spec and not unexpected.
 
Feb 28, 2021 at 3:22 AM Post #14 of 30

erics75

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Thanks!

Aww this reduces my belief in Torq's comments hahaha.
Don’t, tube amp noise is very environment dependent. I know mine has more than normal as all my tubes based equipment is noisy. I’m confident his experience is legit and his unit was quiet. I did move my OG around the house and office and that did affect the noise floor noticeably. Unfortunately it never went away completely.
 
Feb 28, 2021 at 3:27 AM Post #15 of 30

xand

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Don’t, tube amp noise is very environment dependent. I know mine has more than normal as all my tubes based equipment is noisy. I’m confident his experience is legit and his unit was quiet. I did move my OG around the house and office and that did affect the noise floor noticeably. Unfortunately it never went away completely.

You need a power conditioner? 😃
 

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