ZMF Pendant - Tube Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread

I’ve considered an attenuator, but for that matter, maybe I’ll just open the unit and solder some high quality resistors on the inputs (Shhh, don’t tell. Don’t want to void the warranty). :slight_smile:

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I would hope so.

After pressing reply, I went back to your original post and noticed that you specified your voltage, and I neglected to revise. So pardon.

That said, you can direct your eye roll to another DAC with a lower output voltage if your desire is to achieve better synergy with the Pendant.


Luckily for my warranty, I don’t have the soldering skills to attempt that. :grinning:

But Justin said that if he was in this situation, he would buy the attenuators if he already liked the tubes he had, or get the lower power tubes if he wanted to try a different sound.


Did not realize you had the OG version of the Pendant, so I could see that being annoying. I do know several people that have had great results with the Gold Point passive preamp, that I linked earlier. They have said it is quite transparent, and gets the job done quite well.


Just to see if I could squeeze a bit more out of the Brimar CV4033 triple mica Footscray 57’, I rolled in a set of Mullard EL84 Coin Base Disk Getters from Blackburn 55’ (earliest version). I am currently burning them in. For reference, I am using the G.E.C. U709 Black Plate Square Getter 54’ for the rectifier. I will report back after burn in.

The Mullard EL84 Blackburn Disc Getters 55’ predate the more commonly seen square getter version and are in the amp. Also, they are dead silent by the way, so that’s a great start!


I’ve also talked to Justin about the volume window on the Bigger Ben and I’ve already mentioned that for some reason I got lucky with my Nautilus and the window is much more flexible. With the Bigger Ben, it was attenuators or come to acceptance that you have a power amp that’s running 100% and the volume control is a very mild way of throttling the output of your amp (I believe this statement with all the amps I’ve had a chance to use so far and every one has had a very small volume window (Auris ha-2sf, Auris Nirvana, A&S Mogwai se, A&S Bigger Ben and A&S Nautilus). At least with the alps pot, you have a little more flexibility than the step attenuator which of course, you have 24 steps for the attenuator. I’ve tried EL34’s, 6L6GC, 6550 and KT88’s. Personally, I think the EL34’s won’t give you much of a window either as I’ve had them on the Nirvana and if I remember correctly, I tried the EL34’s on the Bigger Ben with the same volume window. It didn’t give me a larger window for volume, just lost impact and detail compared to the higher output tubes, 6L6GC, 6550 and then the KT88’s in that order. I’ve tried both rectifier’s, 5AR4 and 5U4GB, it was a very small difference. The biggest difference in window volume was between the 12au/x/t input tube. The largest gain of course had the smallest window. If your running the 12au, you have the best option for opening the volume window.


EL34s generally improve the reduction of noise floor at the expense of an important loss of impact and overall detail as you properly mentioned. I highly prefer a bit of noise floor and a good impact in sound but it is a subjective matter.


Absolutely agreed. I noticed quite a bit of noise reduction when I combined 12au7, 5U4GB and 6L6GC but much more softer and as mentioned, less detailed. I haven’t used the EL34’s in a while since I sold them with the Nirvana and did very little tube rolling when I had the EL34’s with the Bigger Ben before I sent the 34’s out the door with the Nirvana. I like the 34’s but probably wouldn’t buy them again as I like more impact and the Nautilus really delivers the impact and with the 6550’s and KT88’s. Personally, I accepted the smaller volume window in trade and understanding for the better detail and impact.


I’ve decided to give the 34s a try since my tube specialist in Germany sent me a couple for free when I did my latest purchase.
He suggested me the 34s because I listen usually to very low volumes and I appreciate his hints and kindness but definitely they’re not my cup of tea.
KT88 have a slam and a control of the low frequency that I really love and I find essential to the kind of music I listen to.
I’m a tube noob so my opinions maybe lack of better experience.
Thank you for the details you shared.


@Wes_S thanks for the recommendation of the CV4033 footscray. I’m running it in my Bigger Ben with NOS Tung Sol 6550 black plates and it’s already my favorite set up only after a few days.


I bought the Brimar Footscray CV4034 / 12au7 and it sounds crystal clear, neutral with a little warmth in the mids, and very holographic. I wonder if there’s a house sound, and if it’s similar to the Footscray CV4033.

It sounded wonderful in my Pendant, with Amperex EL84’s and Mullard EZ81 square getter . As for the Mullard, I’ve used both the halo getter and the square getter, and they both sound good, but I haven’t had enough time to see if I can tell a difference between them.

Since I’m trying to get a warmer sound in the Pendant, I moved the Footscray to my Nautilus, where it’s a perfect fit (with Tung Sol grey plate 6550’s and Amperex 5AR4) for the neutral-warm sound I’m aiming for with that amp.

Back into the Pendant went the Brimar Rochester CV4034, which sounds a little warmer overall, a little “thicker” in the mids, and fatter in the bass lines than the Footscray (and with no treble roll-off), and this gives me a nice contrast to my Nautilus.

With this combination of tubes, I think of the Pendant as my “rock & roll” amp because rock & punk (along with electronic music and reggae) sound so good, using a Stellia, Verite or Aeolus. Definitely a flavored sound, not neutral, but a delicious flavor nonetheless.

With the Footscray CV4034, the Nautilus is a much less-flavored sound (think vanilla, but using high quality organic vanilla beans), and can handle both rock and classical well.

The Nautilus is still my overall preferred amp, but I’ve found myself reaching for the Pendant quite a bit too, and it’s definitely holding it’s own.


Good stuff! Sounds like that Footscray CV4034 does sound like the Footscray CV4033 based off your description, and now I wish I would have bought a pair. :joy: Oh well, I did find some other Footscray CV491 Long Plate D Getters, so I am looking forward to trying those when I get them. :grinning: The Footscray house sound is my sound, no doubt.

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That’s awesome it sounds great in the BB too! I imagine this tube would sound killer in any amp, and it’s become my number 1 input tube of all time.

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What is this? All I’ve found by Googling it is a place in Australia.

Foots Cray - Wikipedia. There was a Brimar factory located in Footscray, that produced some amazing tubes back in the day. For some reason, the tubes are more transparent (perhaps better built?) from the Footscray factory vs. the other Brimar factories, and some of us have caught on, and are using those tubes with amazing success.

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OK, thanks.
Where did you buy all of these tubes?

Scroll up a bit in the thread, and you will find more info. I highly suggest checking it out.

@ToddR , FYI I bought a couple of Shure XLR attenuators and they work really well.

I don’t detect any degradation in sound when listening to the Yggy → Nautilus → Stellia/Verite chain.

The -15DB attenuation really helps with loudly recorded modern music. It only adds a couple of ‘hours’ to the volume knob, but that’s all I needed. The attenuators are switchable, with options for -20 and -25DB if needed.

I know XLR doesn’t help you, but the same concept should apply to SE.


Do you know if they have an RCA version? I didn’t find one.

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I couldn’t find one either. The only RCA attenuators that I could find were made by Harrison (found on Amazon) or Rothwell (their US distributor, Britaudio, is on ebay). The Rothwells are a little more expensive.