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Reviews Categories | Keys & Paddles | N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-3A Help

Reviews Summary for N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-3A
N3ZN KEYS Model ZN-3A Reviews: 16 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $250.00
Description: Vertical Iambic paddle, magnetic lever return, ball bearing movement, low profile fingerpieces, very short lightweight lever arms and quick adjust contact and magnet screws.
Product is in production.
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KZ5Y Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2007 15:04 Send this review to a friend
A work of art!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I owned a Brown Brothers iambic key since 1978. It's a classic and I liked it alot, except it was way too light in weight and moved around too easily. It was time to upgrade my station and I decided that it was time to get a new key.

I tried several keys. I didn't like the Bencher at all, and I also tried the Kent iambic twin paddle and a Schurr Profi. I wasn't sold on either for a variety of reasons.

I did alot of online research and looked at just about all the iambic keys currently being manufactured. I sent many emails out asking for information and I asked alot of questions.

Tony Baleno is a class guy. He was always prompt and professional. After doing my research, I settled on his ZN-3A model with the ebony fingerpieces. I placed my order and Tony just happened to have one ready to go for me. It arrived promptly, but one of the ebony fingerpieces arrived broken despite his excellent packing. No problem. Tony mailed a new set immediately. First Class Service!

This key is a work of art. I opted for the ebony finger pieces and find them to be light, and easy on the touch. Smooth, precise, and very nice looking, it is everything I have been looking for in an iambic paddle. Sending is almost effortless and the adjustments are precise. It compares favorable with many of the "elite" keys on the market. A great value and highly recommended!!
NG6X Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2007 17:11 Send this review to a friend
My Search Is Over  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have tried many paddles but the ZN-3A is the best! The weight(over 4 pounds), the feel, and most of all the (on the fly) adjustability are excellent. The vertical movement makes adjustment so very easy. The ebony fingerpieces are very light and they flex very little, making the overall feel incredibly light and fast (QRQ). You can adjust the spacing very close and the spring tension very light. The paddle is a bargain, very well made, tough is the word, a keeper for me. Thanks Tony
73 Dave NG6X
AB7R Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2007 11:19 Send this review to a friend
Excellence!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I finally had a chance to break-in my new ZN-3A this past weekend. In the past I have had a V2L by WBL and a Begalli Graciella, but not all at the same time.
The Graciella combined form and function in a beautiful key, but I like the feel of the ZN-3A better. It weighs more than the WBL and Graciella and will stay put even with the heaviest hand.
Sometimes you have to get the feel of a key before your are comfortable sending with it, but the ZN3A was effortless and the light-weight finger pieces almost seemed like an extension of my finger tips.

Keys are always a personal preference and what some people like, others may not. This ZN3A is the best functioning key for me so far. I got mine with the brass base and it looks great. While not as "pretty" as the Graciella, it's still a great looking key. Besides, function comes first. I've gone through more than a few and this one is staying put - chained to my Array Solutions Powermaster. :)

N3CW Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2007 12:53 Send this review to a friend
Perfection Redefined  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In trying to review the new N3ZN vertical paddle Model ZN-3A, it is only natural to compare it with what has been the accepted standard for vertical paddles for many years, which is the Stan Hails W9WBL design. Since I have the V2L version, I have set it beside the ZN-3A and switched back and forth for a period of time, noting differences and similarities. If someone has a Graciella for sale let me know. I'd like to use that one for a while and compare the ZN-3A to it.

Much of what any particular user notes will be subjective. A few things can be measured. For example, my V2L weighs in at 2 lb 13 oz, and the ZN-3A tips the scale at 4 lb 8 oz. The V2L sits closer to the operating desk due to its lower-profile feet. However, the feet are a bit harder, perhaps due to age, but this tends to make the V2L slide under certain conditions of pushing on the fingerpieces. Granted, you will not be sending code using anywhere near that kind of force, but it took much more on the ZN-3A to get the paddle base to move. The ZN-3A uses a stickier rubber foot, and of course the extra paddle weight helps keep it planted firmly. Lots of the ZN-3A weight is concentrated towards the front of the paddle, and I feel that also helps offset any operator tendency to knock the paddle around. But knock the paddle around is one thing you will not have to do to enjoy the ZN-3A. To me it feels like a V2L which has evolved over 20 years, with all the small quirks of the original WBL design now worked out. Using the two paddles side-by-side lets one feel just what I mean by this. As good as the V2L is, you just don't realize that you are moving just a bit more mass around, or overcoming just a bit more friction in the V2L pin/washer bearing arrangement. Carefully look at the V2L. For every character sent you are moving (for each side) not only the arms, but three bolts, 3 washers, a spacer, some brass extension pieces, and a long stop screw on the dash side, the fingerpiece, plus you are working against a spring return. Now look at the ZN-3A. You see a shorter, lighter-weight lower profile arm, and the single screw mounting the fingerpiece, that's all you are moving. My ZN-3A has featherweight ebony fingerpieces; 3 grams each as compared to the standard ones, which are 7 grams each, so there's another way Tony has kept the moving mass down. ZN-3A arms have a ball-bearing return with magnetic assistance, not a spring. Although the arm leverage ratio is close to optimum on both designs, I notice that your thumb and finger is much closer to the moving arm on the ZN-3A than the V2L; I suspect there's a bit more energy used trying to rotate the arms of the V2L as you send. I feel the N3ZN design is such that no part of the operator's input is wasted, and that there is a cleaner, more direct interface between the operator and the paddle.

The V2L has been described as having some kind of "black magic" component to it. I think that's because the original WBL designs were so new and somewhat radical, and that most users did not take the time to understand why the vertical short arm arrangement worked so well. I suppose it was easier to call it magic. But guess what? The N3ZN doesn't need that. It's got good solid engineering and enough design tweaks over the V2L that you have to set the two in front of you and just send a while. Then the differences become really noticeable. You'll be able to feel the extra mass and the bearing friction in the V2L, when before you felt that the WBL was the best money could buy. Consider that having a ZN-3A is a way to calibrate your fingers so that they can now recognize perfection.
N2DE Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2007 22:40 Send this review to a friend
A Great Vertical Paddle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In recent years more paddle makers have come to realize the importance of low inertia in the design of high performance paddles. All of Tony’s paddles use light weight arms and magnets that are mounted close to the pivot, which keeps the effective moving mass low. But not many makers are offering paddles with a vertical design, although tilting the mechanism by 90 degrees has distinct advantages as you shrink the length of the arms to reduce their mass even further without compromising the geometry between your fingertips and the contacts. This paddle is a convincing demonstration of that approach.

Precision bearings, aluminum alloy arms, a heavy steel base, and precise adjustments for the gap and the return force make this paddle a pleasure to use at any speed. The wooden finger pieces that Tony offers are lighter than the plastic ones, and they are a perfect match for the light weight arms. If you’re heavy handed, this paddle with a weight around 4 pounds won’t move on the table, and the magnets can provide all the resistance you may need. If you prefer a feather touch with a barely perceptible contact gap, it can accommodate you equally well. There is no sign of the vibration or backlash that paddles with larger moving masses or a less sturdy construction often show. The brass parts with a beautiful satin finish provide a rigid framework for the mechanism, and there is no doubt that this instrument was designed by a master craftsman with great attention to detail.

If you ever wanted to try a well designed vertical paddle at a price that avoids a family feud, this is an excellent choice.
CURTKRELIC_NE3U Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2007 20:41 Send this review to a friend
Pleasantly Surprised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had to write this review for the people out there who like me have a hard to please taste in what they desire in a paddle’s feel.

I use the WBLV22 for the standard on which every paddle should be based, because they are truly that good for their feel.

Making this a short review I will just say I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Tony’s vertical feels like I am using a WBL until I open my eyes and see it has his call on it, it’s that good for feel. Mine have rose wood finger pieces which make it all the more pleasing to the touch only adding to the excellent feel they produce. You can always look for an extremely rare and hard to find WBLV22 on eBay and pay an asinine price or you can order one of these readily available verticals from Tony and like me be blown away by the feel you discover.
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