Neuance & Zoethecus,EMC-1UP & First Sound Preamp?

I am looking to "eek" that last extra bit of life out of both my Electrocompaniet EMC-1UP cd player as well as my First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II preamp.

I have both units currently on a Zoethecus rack, on the z.Slab. I have also heard many positive rumblings about the Neuance shelf and have the following questions:

Has anyone used either component on the Neuance shelf?

Also, has anyone compared the Neuance shelf versus the Zoethecus z.Slab?

Any and all comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.
Generally speaking, I've heard some people say they felt the Zoethecus products added a bit of smearing or warmth, whereas the Neuance Shelves seem to have the opposite effect.

I have a Zoethecus z.Block 2 with a z.Slab for my amp and a Neuance Shelf under my transport. When I installed the Neuance some years ago, I did experience an expansion of the soundstage and some extra transparency. I wasn't aware of a change with the Zoethecus though. It doesn't mean there wasn't a difference, I just didn't test for one or perceive it.

I think for what you're trying to achieve, the Neuance might be the better path.

As Gunbei said, it will give you inner detail like nothing else.

The EMC-1 is colored and compressed in stock form. Rather "warm" and unnatural sounding. Not very engaging and certainly not very dynamic. Mods can fix this and make the analog outs extremely good. The digital output is not very good and probably should not be used as a transport.

I currently run the EMC-1UP through the analog outputs. What and/or whos mods do you recommend for the EMC1-UP?

Also, do you have any comments as to the performance of an EMC-1UP on a Neuance shelf?

Thanks for the info.
All the reference Zoethecus shelves are now replaced by Neuance shelves in my rig.

Zoethecus shelves do *air thing* well but lack in speed and opening up dynamics compared to Nueance shelves.

Aftermarket shelves should work well under your tubed pre.
I have both. I have a pair of mono amps on the Zoethecus; am waiting for the Neuance platforms for the amps. I have the Neuance under my preamp, the First Sound.
Interesting that others have suggested the Zoethecus adds "warmth." I observed that my system seemed "warmer" in the upper bass/lower midrange, but couldn't "dial" it out no matter how many tube traps I moved around.
Interestingly, although I had my CD player on the Neuance, there SEEMED to be vibration enough to mask the advantage of the Neuance, so I constructed an airbearing platform of MDF board and racquetballs (suggested on and found that the sound opened up immediately. Even a friend, at whose home I assembled it, commented on the new clarity in his system.
I'm certainly not suggesting that the Neuance doesn't kill vibration, but in this case, the homebrew airbearing platform was better in most ways.
HOWEVER, I still use the Neuance, as I said, under my First Sound. I'd try it under the amp, but Ken built it with a certain weight in mind, so I don't think it'll work 'til I get the actual platforms for the amp. Guess that means I have an extra Neuance platform at the moment. I think I'll try it again AFTER I place the amps on the custom built Neuances. Perhaps what's happening is that the Zoethecus is masking the dynamics that the Neuance shelves have in such great abundance. Don't know. But I'm certainly going to find out after reading this thread!!! I'll let you know.
Mphnkns, how much do your monoblocks weigh? From what I remember Ken said something about the platforms not being able to support anything over 60lbs. Does he have a new design to accommodate heavier components? Correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks!
The amps weight 65 pounds. I remember hims saying to my partner that the platforms' ultimate weight had a little leeway. We definitely, when placing the order, indicated the amps were 65 pounds, so I assume, if he had a problem with it, we'd know by now.
The maximum load capacity for Neuance now exceeds 85 pounds.Beginning approx 2 years ago,the entire Neuance line has been quietly & systematically revised through the employment of newly developed materials which have expanded the product's versatility, improving performance and extending the load capacity range of each model in the line-up.

Ken Lyon
I received my Neuance platforms here in Connecticut. The Hurricane mono amps were previously on a Zoethecus table wide enough for both amps (although they WERE pretty close to each other). When the Neuance arrived today, I placed the amps on them and put them directly on the carpet.
Can you say "jaw on floor"? The presentation was so much more obviously "there" as to make me think I'd been imbibing. My partner's eyes, when he heard it, went sideways.
Clinical observations: the Zoethecus had, indeed, been damping the dynamics, both macro and micro. Perhaps it was placing both the amps on the one table, but still.... The separation of instrumental sections is quite a jump - not "huge" (hyperbole only undermines a product)- but quite, quite obvious and, the airiness of the soundstage, seemingly a byproduct of the increase in transparency and the lowering of the noise floor, is like going from two dimensions to three dimensions. Not to mention the increase in transient attacks, dynamic nuance (ha, ha) and bass clarity is great. In fact, the bass instruments are much less hidden by the "muck" they are usually hidden in (on a so-so cd player, anyway). Oh, and the harmonics actually decay in a more complex manner. Quite a jump in "presence" for only $350.00. QUITE a jump.
We hadn't even thought the Zoethecus was affecting the noise floor (and maybe, again, it's having had two 65 pound amps on one Z-slab, but they said it was okay when we wrote them...), but I HAD noticed that it seemed higher than before. We had chalked that up to previously having the system in the basement on a concrete floor. We just assumed that the wood floor, being less flexible, would have a higher noise floor. The Neuance proved me wrong. It was vibration, pure and simple. How annoying not to have realized it before now. Oh well. This is one time I'm GLAD I was wrong. The partner feels the same. The most interesting thing is that the compositions now sound like music. Before it sounded a bit stilted, even in the basement. We actually forgot to analyze what was happening,and just LISTENED to the music. No more worrying about if the tube traps were aligned correctly, or the speaker was positioned to the nano-inch. I almost forgot what that was like...
Thanks, Ken. This is excellent, excellent work, and - dare I say it? -- a bargain. Can't possibly go wrong here.
I'm curious, have you tried placing the hurricanes directly on the carpet? I ask because I wonder how much of what you are hearing is the benefit of the Neuance and how much is the detriment of the Zoethecus. (I'm a Neuance enthusiast, by the way, but I like controlled experiments.)
Yes, Drubin, the amps have been on the carpet and they vibrate quite a bit from being in the path of the bass waves. Not a recommended procedure... :-(
When placed on the carpet, the distortion causes rather unpleasant screechiness, especially on orchestral crescendos.
P.S. In my longer post, I said "the wood floor, being LESS flexible" when what I meant was "...the wood floor being MORE flexible." Of course, the wood floor IS more flexible, and it would certainly provide a less stable footing than the concrete, but with the Zoethecus, it was surprising how much it killed not only the vibrations, but the "life" of the music itself. It sounded like a bunch of people playing with no enthusiasm at all after a hard night out drinking (or whatever). I can't put into words how dull it was: I thought the amps had caught a "cold." Even when the amps were on concrete blocks, they had more life than on the Zoethecus.
One never know, DO one??