The Zen Triode Phono Stage is an all tube, single-ended design built using the popular 12AX7 dual triodes for amplification and equalization and a 12AU7 dual triode as a cathode follower to lower output impedance for better stability and drive.
Besides being comprised of all single-ended triodes, what makes the ZP3 desirable is the complete absence of negative feedback which is typically used to accomplish the RIAA equalization. Instead the ZP3 uses a passive RIAA network between the two 12AX7 gain stages. This approach gives a more open sound with a greater sense of depth.
Additionally, the ZP3 has a power supply over 500% larger than needed and with enough capacitance to easily power a 40 watt amplifier. This was done to eliminate voltage sag by brute force rather than using a smaller power supply and fancy solid state regulation which is the norm.
To take the power supply further, a vacuum glow tube is used in series with the supply to block harmonics and RF noise on your local power grid. The result is like having pure DC power from a battery. It is a superior method of cleaning power that does not rely on power regeneration which is often noisy (fans) and will cost several thousands of dollars.
There are no solid state parts in a ZP3. Often used to regulate smaller power supplies or create a constant current source for tubes, these solid state parts have been deliberately omitted so that the resulting artifacts of those devices do not poison the signature of the ZP3... a signature that has been painstakingly voiced and is completely unequaled in the market for anywhere near the price.
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