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Whether or not the Berning ZH270 is an OTL, it certainly is a fine amp. Add me to the list of converts. And I've only been listening to it for a few hours.
I haven't compared it directly to my VZN80, and may not feel a need to do so any time soon.
The JE is a fine amp, but it weighs a good bit... takes up a lot of space... puts out a heck of a lot of heat... and has an annoying low level transformer hum.
The Berning (wire mod, stock tubes) is unbelievably light... is dead quiet... is very manageable in size... and sounds rather good in its own way.
The only complaint I have so far is with the spacing on the speaker terminals. But it's acceptible for the spades I'm using. I may discover more warts in the days ahead, but the plusses so far are rather remarkable for such an unassuming little amp.
It will be fun to discover the subtleties of the amp, and explore the settings (Low Feedback for now).
If you want to acheive more transparency and a far lower noise floor, try a Symposium Ultra shelf and a set of Rollerblocks. Absolutely stunning.
""The Berning (wire mod, stock tubes)""
Can you tell us a little more please.
I got my Siegfried in Nov-98 and it has
been flawless and delightfull with 811-10's.
Better 6sn7's and 6J5's brings it up a bit more.
Only a really good TVC has bettered the volume attenuator.
I'm thinking silver :-)
> > > Only a really good TVC has bettered the volume attenuator.
Don't let allan B or DB hear this.
Transformers rock with this amp! All it needs is a taste of honey. I think yanking the wiper pot from my 270 and replacing it with a autoformer type or TVC would take it over the top. But I won't do it to mine. SOmebody try this pls.
Some years ago Arbelos advised me to leave the pot in and so I did and just plugged in the Silver Rock ahead of Siegfried. Nice!
But, what about silver signal path re-wiring?
would be to yank the built-in pot and replace it with a fixed-value high-quality resistor having the same R as that of the factory pot. Then add your transformer-based volume control. (But maybe yanking the pot is not necessary; doesn't the ZH270 have an alternative set of input jacks that bypass the pot, for users who have active linestages?)
May be just turn the volume to full and use your favouritest preamp is a good starting point. I turn the volume of my Gaincard to full and use our own passive controller the the improvement is quite noticeable.
Both inputs go through a carbon based wiper pot.
> > Then add your transformer-based volume control.
== I think this would make creama maxima.
> > But, what about silver signal path re-wiring?
I guess I am just a copper fan. Silver can be overdone easily, *except* in magnetics. I bet that combo was good.
It's not the type of metal that matters so much as it is the amount with this amp, very small silver well shielded is the key, copper is good but much to many people are putting too much conductors into the cables causing the amp to sound metallic or dry in the upper mids.
I get great sound with the amp. Out of 30 or so amps I have had in the studio it is clearly one of the best.
gd says it best below.......
"Unfortunately looking for detail and “purity” to the recorded source might be denuding the playback of the cues that remind one of real music"
And I agree 100%.
To me ultimately the amp (270) would have a tranny or autoformer based volume for the input. Which would not at all detract from the amps amazing circuit . It would simply be a way to tame the -input- impedance mismatch shortcomngs that occurs in reality with nearly every source.
A Sonic Euphoria TVC would sound stellar with this unit on ANY speaker, or the Silver Rock mentioned above. To tame the shortcomings of the -source-, not the amp.
To me, an input impedance mismatch means the last bit of sweetness is obscured, even with a slight mismatch.
Technically, the amp has no peer IMHO. It's way ahead of most source output stage configurations however. That is why it needs a transformer at the input, or a linestage. I have a few tubed output cd players that work remarkable with 270. But as you know you could gain clarity without the tube at the source. But the tube sounds best because opamps and DAC chips cannot quite mount the input sensitivity for a truly dynamic tonal balance with ANY amp and get all the sweetness I know to be on the disc (A or D).
PS: my speakers are simply revealing any amps character directly. That's one of the reasons the 270 stays. And I will probably use it in Denver in the Conifer 3 ballroom next Oct..
Yeah but you can't recover from problems that are caused elsewhere in your system with a another piece of equipment, you have to change it, mask it! So do we want the ZH-270 to start masking problems you have elsewhere? That is the question!
There is no way for the amp to know what is missing and what to add or take away, where, how much of it, when! So when a amp tries to mask problems, most music come out with the same type of characteristics, losing it's individuality and with other short comings.
You know this is another one of my interest, if one were to look carefully at systems with amps that have certain characteristics, you will see that these people predominantly listen to a certain type of music to match what sounds best on their system, the system seem to influence their taste in music (or at least what they listen to more often), so if you're looking for honey, all you may end up doing is listening to bees :)
The ZH-270 does not do one specific thing perfect but more like everything right, we give you a clean canvas, paint what you will.
So in 20 years digital will catch up, good thing is your ZH will still be working and most likely have the same tubes in it.
> > Yeah but you can't recover from problems that are caused elsewhere in your system with a another piece of equipment, you have to change it, mask it!
==Every source has problems like ABC.....
All I am saying is there are better volume pots than the one that comes stock in the 270. Way better pots.
I listen to ALL music and not insects, thank you. I care very much about sound and it's reproduction. If I were modding any 270, the very first thing I would do is replace the volume pot with a copper based xfrmr type control. The stock volume pot colors the sound more than one of these types ever would.
At least stick in a stepper attenuator w fixed resistors like a DACT. That wiper pot alone could be the source of the dryness reported occaisionally with 270. With the VRS/Lynx hard disk based system as well as analog the 270 is largely unchallenged. So far the only cost no object system that meets or beats it is a massive 45 mono amp with silver and dual gaseous power supplies. Part of why this meets and beats the 270 is the exquisite parts like the DACT attenuator. No amp is perfect. And the weak link in the 270 is the volume pot. Of course the amp is an object-d-art, and why I don't want mine modded. All I am saying is that there is always room for improvement.
Actually the pot is not dry, it's neutral, causing some digital to sound dry, we have alleviated this problem with changing the DC blocking cap to a very high quality one, which are now standard on all new ZH-270's.
Yes, a higher quality attenuator will sound good but so would changing a lot of things in the ZH-270, having over a thousand parts, it could be a never ending goal.
However that said, maybe Dave is working on something that will be priced accordingly with all the necessary audio parts to appease everyone, just maybe ;) Oh, minus any trannies ;(
When you've had time to ruminate on it, I would like to know your opinion of the Berning vs the Joule.
Wait till you get a couple hundred hours on it! I just got my zh270 a few weeks ago. It's an amazing amp. I have not heard the J-E amps but I am very pleased with the Berning.
"If it sounds good, it is good."
I want one. Congrats to the both of you.
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