ZMF System Building - Tube Amplifier Pairings

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by snatex, Dec 21, 2020.

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  1. snatex

    snatex Facebook Friend

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    I've had the LCD4/Qutest and Ayre Codex/V280 as my desktop system for the last year. I'm selling off that system and moving to a different flavor. I want to see how the other half lives so I am building a system with an easy to drive high impedance headphone and I want to pair it with a tube amp. I picked up the ZMF Aeolus (may try the Auteur at some point too), the Schiit Bifrost 2 and am considering amplifier pairings. I also picked up a Linn Sekrit DS and will compare using that as a source vs my mac mini. I will compare using the Linn DAC vs the Bitrost2 as well. I will admit that part of the decision to make this system overhaul has to do with comfort and aesthetics. That is part of the experience and is a factor in my purchasing decisions.

    Here are some options I am considering:

    1) Decware CSP3 - Since I do not need the power to run planars the extra money for the Taboo seems unnecessary. Also, Steve Deckert and some others on the Decware boards said that the Taboo sounds better when using the all tube line stage of the CSP3 as a preamp. I like the aesthetics, size, Decware's reputation and the fact that is handmade in the US with a lifetime warranty. Seems like this OTL option might be a good fit but I will have to wait about 6 months for it to be built.

    2) Schiit Lyr3 - this would make for an appealing stack with the Bifrost 2, is reasonably priced and might be a reasonable stop gap until the CSP3 can be built. When the CSP3 comes in I could compare both and sell the one I like less. Who knows? Is the Aeolus/Bifrost2/Lyr3 a great combo? Is there a better Schiit pairing? Valhalla2?

    3) ZMF Pendant - I like the potential system synergy with the ZMF headphones but it takes up a lot of desk real estate and is significantly more than the CSP3. I also bought a second hand one of these recently and had to return it due to some severe static noise issues. The owner said it was caused by a bad tube but it spooked me a bit. I've read a few posts about some having noise issues with this amp. Do people have noise issues with certain tube amps in office settings with routers, wifi printers, etc?

    What other tube amps should I consider if all I care about is optimizing for the ZMF Aeolus or Auteur (possibly the Bifrost2 as well)? How do ZMF headphones perform on OTL vs SET vs Push/Pull amps? Price, aesthetics, size and sound quality are all factors. I am definitely not a DIY guy and don't have a ton of interest in going far down the rabbit hole of tube rolling. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    moved to the all purpose advice thread.
     
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