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Fosi Audio ZA3 Amplifier Review

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 2.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 52 15.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 201 60.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 70 21.1%

  • Total voters
    332

Witterings

Senior Member
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If you have a pair as monoblocks, does anyone know how the trigger works then and how it needs to be setup?
 

staticV3

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If you have a pair as monoblocks, does anyone know how the trigger works then and how it needs to be setup?
Trigger in of both ZA3s connected in parallel to your trigger source.

A regular 3.5mm splitter should do the job:
61h6vImj38L._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.jpg 81d-p-YGkGL._AC_UF894,1000_QL80_.jpg
 

staticV3

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That stereo cable won’t work well , have to be mono to get the connection right.
If the splitter were to split Stereo to Left and Right Mono, then you'd be right. That wouldn't work as just the Left output would receive 12V.

Most splitters however, including the ones in my picture, split 3.5mm Stereo into 2x Stereo. They're just 2x TRS Female connected in parallel to one TRS Male.
This configuration will work just fine splitting 12V Trigger to two devices downstream. Yo can even use TRS cables plugged into the splitter and it'll work just fine. Or TS cables if you prefer.
 

Witterings

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Are most people using / considering a ZA3 as a replacement for a current "main" system or more as as secondary setup somewhere else.

Really interested to hear what people 's thoughts are in comparison to reasonably high end amps and if they compete or would it just be considered a great setup for a non critical listening scenario?
 

Petevid

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Feb 14, 2019
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If the splitter were to split Stereo to Left and Right Mono, then you'd be right. That wouldn't work as just the Left output would receive 12V.

Most splitters however, including the ones in my picture, split 3.5mm Stereo into 2x Stereo. They're just 2x TRS Female connected in parallel to one TRS Male.
This configuration will work just fine splitting 12V Trigger to two devices downstream. Yo can even use TRS cables plugged into the splitter and it'll work just fine. Or TS cables if you prefer.
You may have seen posts on here and other forums about users having to insert the stereo plugs half way in to the socket to get the trigger connection to work. (Presumably to do with the tip and the two rings of the stereo plugs not making the right connections/alignment inside with the mono socket designed to connect to the tip and just one ring.) When fully plugged in the stereo cables don't work. Mono plugs do work fully inserted. I know, I've tried it.
 

mike70

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Are most people using / considering a ZA3 as a replacement for a current "main" system or more as as secondary setup somewhere else.

Really interested to hear what people 's thoughts are in comparison to reasonably high end amps and if they compete or would it just be considered a great setup for a non critical listening scenario?

You can check ASR ranking results and read the reviews to have the details... it's all in the measurements, not in listeners heads.

If you want subjective opinions, well, you are entering in "hifi disneyworld" ... everyone will have an opinion about it and you'll follow what you want in your subconscious. And it's ok, is what we normally do, to search for some validation on what we already decided.
 

Witterings

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
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You can check ASR ranking results and read the reviews to have the details... it's all in the measurements, not in listeners heads.

If you want subjective opinions, well, you are entering in "hifi disneyworld" ... everyone will have an opinion about it and you'll follow what you want in your subconscious. And it's ok, is what we normally do, to search for some validation on what we already decided.

That was a really helpful comment ... thank you SO much for that .... seriously makes you wonder why Amir includes listenng tests in some of his reviews as well ... hey ho.
 

rj2wells

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Jan 22, 2024
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Splitters for the trigger --

You can search for "3.5mm mono repair cable" and find cables with a connector on one end and bare wire on the other, you can splice together as many as you need. Maybe you have a device that needs a 2.5mm connector - splice one of those in too.

You could also just buy a mono cable and with a pair of scissors and some wire strippers ...
 

doug s.

Active Member
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Jan 10, 2021
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What's astonishing exactly? A chip amp, in a tiny aluminium can, with an off-the-shelf SMPS. I don't see anything remotely astonishing about it. Personally, I think it's way overpriced for what it is (or isn't)

How grown men can get excited about an "amplifier" lacking pretty much everything that makes an amplifier remotely useful is beyond me.

One set of speakers- not switchable
No headphone socket
No tone controls
No filters
No loudness
No tone defeat
No signal routing options
No processor loops
No remote control
No muting
No phono stage
Only two inputs- LOL what a joke.

All of these things (except remote) were standard on ~USD$100 integrated amplifiers in the 70s/80s/90s and into the 2000s.
Nothing in your list interests me even a little bit in an AMP. that's what preamps are for. This amp, (and the aiyima a07 max's I use), sound as good or better than AMPS costing several thousand dollars or more, which makes these AMPS many things, but overpriced is not one of them.

Considering most people who are using these amps are using them in simple systems, where a full featured integrated amp is needed, i think it's smart that fosi didn't load it up with stuff most users don't really care about. The one mistake they did make, imo, was not automatically hi-passing the speaker outputs at 80hz/24db/octave, when the subwoofer output is engaged. Its filtering isn't even needed; how many people will be using an outboard amp and passive sub with this?

If you want a full function integrated amp, go find one, there's plenty out there. Maybe if fosi finds there's a market for this, they could make one, with all the features mentioned. It would probably increase the cost, though. $250-$300, maybe...

doug s.
 

doug s.

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The thing is, this is not an integrated amplifier -- it's a power amplifier with a few atypical features. My old Kenwood KM-8002 was like that, as was the McIntosh pictured earlier in this thread -- power amps with a couple of "bells & whistles" you won't find in your dad's Dynaco ST-70 because all the features you're kvetching about belong in a preamp, assuming the use case of the moment needs that stuff. I'm not tooting the horn for this product and I agree $150 USD is way too much -- with the 48V power brick, it's nearly twice the price of an Aiyima A07 + a similar PSU, and IMO it won't perform significantly better in most applications. Even though it's a little quieter and can deliver more power, there are relatively few low-priced systems that can really benefit from those technical improvements. As for $100 "entry-level" integrated amps from back in the day, IIRC they were pretty much crap -- just good enough to avoid staining the reputations of their makers and way short in power and S/N compared to today's sub-$100 TPA3255 chip amps.
I was going to mention the aiyima a07 max being a better value, as I bought two for only a few dollars more than buying one of these.

And I doubt either one actually is "better" than the other. But I still wouldn't consider the za3 overpriced.

For me, i have no use for the trigger, and if I had an xlr source, I'd use a cable adapter. So, besides being less expensive, the aiyima speaker connector layout was more appealing to me. But those who choose the za3 are still getting a bargain, imo. Even if I think the a07 max (and the fosi v3) are even better bargains.

If I were wanting to run a pair of either of these amps in "mono", I'd most likely just connect one channel without flipping the "mono" switch. (And while the aiyima a07 max is my 1st choice, the fosi v3 would be my 2nd, before the za3).

doug s.
 

doug s.

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Yesterday I was wondering idly about what to do if we had to send the Buckeye NC252 away for service. What would I choose for the couple of weeks the service might take?
And would you be selling the buckeye when you got it back?

doug s.
 

doug s.

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It's a flawed argument at its core, you're not buying a power supply, you're buying an amplifier with its own power supply, the performance you see includes the performance of the power supply. A power supply integrated into a case means a much larger case and much greater cost for performance that perhaps could be better, but at what cost?
As I said, the strength of these products is the quality/price ratio rather than the performance in absolute terms, from this perspective the choice of external power supply is by far the most sensible one.
Totally agree. I actually considered buying the aiyima a07 max's without power supplies, and upgrading the power supplies to mean well HRP-300-48's. It would have cost me ~$30 each more than the 5a/48v standard power supplies offered. And I might have done it if I had difficult load inefficient speakers, but the speakers my amps are driving are an easy load and >95db efficient, so I didn't bother.

doug s.
 

doug s.

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Indeed if we only consider the quality/price ratio without taking into account the quality-price ratio Sinad then we can make the sacrifice on the major attributes which make all the difference between a basic TPA325X module and a TPA325X PFFB module with a psu worthy of this name.

For $280 you can get a SOTA amp.

But will it sound better? Listening tests will be interesting.

doug s.
 

doug s.

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Oh, very appealing device for 2.1 system. Nice to see good performance and power from such a budget device.

If my Ayma A07 will die, will replace it with this box.
Why not a07 max? You can buy 2 for only a few dollars more than the za3.

doug s.
 

doug s.

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I had equipment failure once and it put full line voltage (2V) into a Sony TA-N77ES which reaches max volume at like 0.7v input I think. Rated 200W at 8Ohms. The only reason my speakers didn't blow was because I used the variable input at -12dB, which made effective input voltage 0.5v.
You were lucky. Power amps with attenuators are in the minority. But that particular amp's input sensitivity for max volume is also much lower than the norm.

doug s.
 
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