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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello world!

Longtime lurker, first time poster. A couple years ago, I took the plunge into custom mobile audio, and would never look back. While I was in college, I gutted the stereo in my WRX wagon, scrounged around for deals, fully damped and sealed the front doors, and finally installed the following:

Focal Access 165 Components
Sealed JL 10W6v2
JL XD500/1
JL XD200/2
Sony MEX-BT3700U

I was very happy with the way my system sounded, and had aspirations to upgrade my source at some point. Fast forward to 4th of July this year, spent it getting my car back after some friggin thief stole it, and the majority of my stereo. :( All that was left were the Focal drivers, they even took the dang passive crossovers.

So now after 4 silent months, I'm getting close to piecing together a new system. I picked up another 10W6v2, and my dad picked up an Arc KS500.1 that I found on here for a great price from JAX (THANKS!!!) Last night I ordered a DEH-80PRS, thanks to a Cyber Monday deal. I'm going to replace the crap mdf box the JL came in with an audio integrations perfect fit enclosure.

So really the only remaining piece is front stage amplification. A couple months ago, I picked up an original Butler Tube Driver, the 1500, for 80 bucks at a swap meet. I really like the idea of tube hybrid amps, in spite of the arguments as to their merits in the car. I'd like to use that amp, but now that I'm buying the pioneer head, I'd like to go active. So now I am investigating 4 channel tube hybrids, and came across a lot of discussion of the US Amps 4360. I have heard very good things about the older TU-4360, some doubts about the newer AX/TU-4360c that was made in Korea. I've also read about having Zed modify the older 4360 with awesome results. Right now I'm seeing a couple of the newer amps out there, which brings me to the crux of the question. I'm wondering if it would be viable and worthwhile to have the newer amp modified by Zed such that the op-amps and crossover circuitry was removed, along with upgrading any other inferior components. Would this equal the performance of a Zed modified original 4360? I know nobody has likely heard both these possibilities, or even one of them, so the question is somewhat academic in nature. Thanks for looking, and hopefully soon I'll have more than turbo whine to listen to while driving.

TLDR?

Zed modified US Amps TU-4360 vs. Zed modified US Amps AX/TU-4360c
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've emailed Stephen Mantz to see if he will weigh in on the topic, and will post his response if I get one. Anyone using a modified or stock 4360 have opinions? Is it worth the trouble and cost?
 

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It's worth it to modify an amp if the design is good...
No need to waste money on something that is badly designed and try to make it sound good. Buy a good amp with a good reputation (old Soundstream, old PPI or old Zapco) and ask Mantz some questions about what can be done - then have him modify the amp.

You could even go with a newer amp design like Mosconi and have it modified...

Kelvin
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Kelvin:

I totally agree, no point in trying to polish a turd. Thanks for the suggestions, and those amps all sound like good choices, but I'm pretty married to using a tube hybrid, and unless I am unaware, all those brands are solid state. I think I actually saw a post by you stating that you had owned both a butler and a TU-4360, so I know you understand that appeal. I got a response from Mantz that seems to indicate that the newer AX amp is a good candidate too. I'll just have to keep my eyes open now...

Mantz's Response:

"I do not see a problem in modifying the tube front end and bypassing all the other stuff

Regards

Stephen"

My original email:

"Hi Stephen,

I wanted to ask you about the possibility of modifying a US Amps 4 Channel Tube Hybrid. I know from my research that you have worked on the original US made TU-4360, and that the results were phenomenal. I was curious if you thought that similar results could be achieved with one of the newer AX/TU-4360c models. It seems that most qualms about that amp center around the built in crossovers, and the op-amps on the inputs that make it bridgeable. Do you think you could feasibly defeat those circuits, as well as upgrade any subpar korean components, and get a comparable result to what you have done previously with the US made 4360? I would be very interested if you think it would be worthwhile, since I am having more luck tracking down the newer amps than the older version. Thanks so much!"
 

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ZED was supposed to release an Hybrid Tube amp (I think it was a year ago) - try to convince him to build you a prototype one ;)

Mantz roots are tubes so he should take good care of you - however, he's not a sweet talker and not a good salesman so don't mind his short answers ;)

Kelvin
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If I needed sweet talkin, I'd go to my girlfriend! haha. I'll have to ask Mantz about that prototype, I would gladly be his test dummy. :D Maybe I can entice him with some gems from the heaping pile of NOS tubes my father has. He designs and builds custom guitar amps, and literally has thousands of tubes. So analog audio is in my blood a bit...
 

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I saw a (the?) prototype a couple of years ago in his shop/factory. If he ever releases it, I will drive the 2 hours his shop is from me and buy one without a second thought. JPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Man, if I could get my hands on a 100% ZED tube hybrid, I would be in the car trying to beat you there from the Bay Area. Unfortunately the WRX isn't that quick..

Here's an OT thought to chew on, how about a car amp using Nuvistors in the signal path, a la Musical Fidelity's excellent home components? No glass tubes to break, and very low noise characteristics. Could be interesting, but I'm out of my depth with that one.
 

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Man, if I could get my hands on a 100% ZED tube hybrid, I would be in the car trying to beat you there from the Bay Area. Unfortunately the WRX isn't that quick..

Here's an OT thought to chew on, how about a car amp using Nuvistors in the signal path, a la Musical Fidelity's excellent home components? No glass tubes to break, and very low noise characteristics. Could be interesting, but I'm out of my depth with that one.
if anybody out there has a ZED modded tu-4360 or even stock one, i'll buy it

[email protected]
 
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