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Parasound Ztuner, Part 3

Posted on May 17, 2020 at 14:15:51

Posts: 4971
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000
In the first half of 1996, my then-girlfriend, ACS, was also my bowling partner. We were in a Saturday evening league at San Francisco's Japantown Bowl. It was early enough, that we had time afterward to go out. We'd often meet up with friends, who liked going to record stores. The "clack, crack, clack" of jewel cases was music to our ears.

In those days, the internet was not yet setup, for you to explore music. MTV and VH1 had long stopped playing music videos, so that avenue was out of the question. In some ways, you still had to rely on FM radio.

ACS was over at my place, which had a Parasound T/DQ-1600 tuner. Some station played Jackson Browne's "The Barricades Of Heaven," which set the mood. Powercords did influence the T/DQ-1600's sonic performance. At the time, ACS and I had not yet gotten into the expensive powercord fare. I recall models such as API PowerLink-313, Kimber PowerKord, MIT Z-Cord II, Wireworld Aurora, and XLO/Pro PL-1500. None was over $200. Sigh, each was different, but you could not definitively or unequivocally state that one was superior or inferior to the rest.

We think of the Parasound Ztuner as the T/DQ-1600's younger relative. And just like the T/DQ-1600, the Ztuner is affected by after-market powercords. Yes, even if you use the included OEM AC cord, it benefits significantly from the audiodharma Cable Cooker.

The Cooked OEM powercord does reveal the Ztuner's fundamental flat, professional, focused, 2-dimensional (no depth, either in the soundstage or the images themselves).

Dang; we just realized that we do not have any affordable powercords. At around $450, the Acrolink 6N-P4030 with Oyaide P/C-046 plugs was more than the Ztuner itself. Nevertheless, this powercord "pumps up" the images, so that announcers and singers look like they have actual, round heads, as opposed to comic strip flatness. Moreover, image outlines are still defined. There's better contrast between said images and background silence. And the textures are slightly less gray.

No surprise; the $3000 (ten times as much as the Ztuner itself!) Pranawire Satori brings out the best balance from the Ztuner. Still, the Ztuner will not fool you into thinking that it is vintage, with a natural roundness and organic warmth to vocals. But if you intend to leave the Ztuner playing all day and all night, and want to max it out, there's always the Pranawire Satori :-)

Holy cow; the Oyaide M1/F1 plugs themselves on the Pranawire Maha Samadhi (a whopping $5,450!) cost more than the Ztuner itself! Nevertheless, the Maha Samadhi does coax the tallest soundstage the Ztuner is capable of. And yes, the Ztuner has enough resolution, to show that the Maha Samadhi has cleaner and better-defined mids, but softer bass, than the Satori.

If audiophiles send me affordable and more price-appropriate powercords, we shall (a) Cook them, and (b) see how they do on the Ztuner. Meanwhile, Bay Area radio stations do not play Browne's "The Barricades Of Heaven."

-Lummy The Loch Monster


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