ZMF Pendant - Tube Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread

Are you liking it more than your old T4?

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I don’t have one - they just posted the first pictures of it on Instagram. I would like to have one though!

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Love the Walnut! I am placing my order for the SE next week, and can’t wait.


Congrats buddy! I think you will love it with your Aeolus @Wes_S

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. Also posted this on headfi. Here’s my baby:


just placed an order for the SE. Can’t wait. @zach915m any idea on shipping timelines for those of us that recently ordered an SE?


Jupiter Copper Foil caps are what I put in everything I can :grinning:

Older Pendant owners should be able to DIY upgrade the caps without much issue.

Maybe I’m mis remembering here, but I e mailed Justin or Zach and was told they were not going to offer upgrades to the OG?
Zach, is that right?

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I’ve never tried DIY-ing anything in my amps, but it sounds fun (and risky…)

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@ToddR , you have a pretty recent version of the Pendant, don’t you?

From what Zach has said, Justin has been making revisions to the Pendant throughout its history, so the jump from the most recent version (which @andris and I have, and possibly you) to SE won’t be as big as from @eric75’s earlier model.

Justin’s revisions were making it more and more expensive for Zach to buy, but he was still selling it at the same price, so he was making very little profit on the Verite/Pendant discounted bundles. I think calling it SE was a way to explain why the price had to go up.


I’m still trying to find the e mail, but I seem to remember being told the new attenuator won’t fit in the current location.
Mine sounds fine, my main interest was getting a more useable range on the volume knob.

However for now, have moved the Border Patrol dac to the speaker set up, and have a Chord Qutest on the headphone amp. Since this dac has 3 output settings, using the 1V output gives me some more range.


You are correct about the new attenuator not fitting. Justin had to move things around a bit inside to fit the new pot.

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Early Feb Orders are likely getting their units in the next couple weeks if not already. Recent orders in the last week probably will still be another 2-3 weeks out.


Yes, those. It’s just desoldering the old cap leads and soldering on the new ones on the same place :smile:


Hi, I want to buy some tubes for my zmf pendant, and I need help buying tubes. Zach referred me to Mullard tubes for a but I don’t know which ones to buy. I am looking for a punchy, warm sound. This is where I was looking at tubes: - Mullard Audio Tubes


Save yourself some headache, pay Brent Jesse a visit;

Excellent descriptions for the different makes/models of tubes.


I shot him an email and I’m going to try my best to read through it all but it is strange to me that tubes are so hard to describe, surely they have their own sound signature like changing pads does but for some reason they don’t seem to be categorised.

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The effect any given tube has on signature is highly dependent on the circuit in which it is used.

For example, the staging of a 2A3 changes significantly when the heater supply is AC vs. DC. And in AC heater-drive circuits even the AC drive frequency has an effect.

Different supply levels matter (not all amplifiers run tubes at optimal voltages), interactions with the load have an effect (directly for OTL designs, and with the transformer in non-OTL units), then there’s circuit topology, biasing, and so on.


@erik_szilagyi , try asking your question in this thread: TUBES(pre, power, rectifier)

There are a few Pendant and ampsandsound owners discussing tubes they recently bought. You might want to add a bit more information about which tubes you currently have, e.g. are they all stock JJ tubes?

Also, be aware that the name “Mullard” has been bought, and the new production Mullard tubes don’t sound anything like the originals, so you will need to be careful about checking whether or not they are NOS. For instance, all the cheap Mullard tubes in your link look like new production to me. On the other hand, NOS Mullard can get very expensive.

I’m personally looking into switching out the 12au7 tube in my Pendant (currently a NOS Sylvania-manufactured Baldwin, provided by Zach) but unlike you, I don’t want to go warmer, so from reviews I’ve read, I’m avoiding Mullard and Brimar right now.


Just give Brent a call during the work week