>> >> Select or Standard Zen?

Message started by Kodakjello on 06/02/07 at 23:58:48

Title: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/02/07 at 23:58:48

Hey everyone,

After six years of drooling over decware gear and hundreds of hours of research and auditioning equipment, I've finally taken the plunge and ordered myself a pair of 1.5 Radials  ;D. I think they are going to be perfect reference speakers for my main system. The configuration for my planned reference system is currently as follows:

Slimdevices Transporter ==> Select Zen Amp ==> 1.5 Radials

My music collection consists of CDs ripped to MP3 at 320kbs, some downloaded music encoded at 192kbs and 256kbs, and about 25 jazz + classical records. My musical tastes are wide ranging from downtempo to jazz to classical to indie/alternative to dancehall but the common thread is my dislike of very loud music. I like listening for hours to good music and I'm very sensitive to fatigue.  My current audio setup is a busy living room (13X15) but the reference system will eventually be moved to a longer room (12X18) when we move.

So my last decision is between Decware amps. At this point, I've ruled out the TORII MKII and SEI-1.2 because I'm pretty sure I don't need that much power for the 1.5s. The Taboo is out because, based on the reviews, I don't think it's the sound I'm looking for. So I'm down to the Select ZEN or the standard ZEN as my amplifier. The thinking is that if I do need more power, I can always strap them together and run them as monoblocks.

To that end, I'd love to hear what you guys think about the Select ZEN versus the Standard ZEN in terms of power, sound, and bridged performance. I'm going to give Steve a call on Monday to pick his brain but I've always respected the opinions of the members on this board.



Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by musgofasa on 06/03/07 at 01:12:55

Hi Kodakjello!
I don't know enough of a difference between the two amps (other than the obvious aesthetics) to offer much opinion here, but let me say congratulations on the 1.5s! I have heard them on a couple of decware amps including a Zen and the Tori. They are awesome performers and will get plenty loud with the smaller amp.

I am interested to see what the group has to say about the difference in the two amps. TO be honest I am not sure if the smaller amp Zygi has is a Zen or a Taboo, but I can say from experience that it sounds great with the 1.5s.

Take care,

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Lon on 06/03/07 at 01:40:56

Robert, congrats on the Radials!

One thing I can conjecture with confidence:  you're going to enjoy the sound of those speakers, and when broken in they'll give you a nice full sound at lower volumes.  I'm not a listener to really loud volumes either, and the RL2s that I have are the best performers at lower volume that I've ever had.

I can't compare the Select to the current "regular" Zen amps. . . I had a Select running in my system for years and I've had the 27th Zen amp that Steve built, which I sent back for the first update (Revision A) but none further (at the time the C was introduced I bought a Select instead).

The Select can be quite revealing and in that sense "sharp" with some sources and speakers.  The Revision A is more forgiving.  Either should serve you well.  With what I imagine your source sounds like the Select may bring you a vividness and detail that you'll enjoy with the Radials, and help to give you some of that famous "holographic imaging" -- maybe a shade more than the "regular" Zen.  But you most likely will be well served with either.

A great time of discovery awaits you!

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by veryoldcat on 06/03/07 at 06:19:58

Like Lon said!

And also:

I personally love the transparence and quickness of the Select, but believe it's on its best behaviour with a pre in front of it; and in my case, additionally the zbox.


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Doorman on 06/03/07 at 16:47:14

The Select is a wonderful amp. The  (good !)  tubed pre in front makes it an even more satisfying choice!

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/04/07 at 04:40:46

Thanks all!

Your feedback has brought up some good points that I'll have to raise when I speak with Steve. If a preamp helps the Zen attain a level of effortless performance with the Radials, that's good to know. I'll let you guys know what sort of feedback I get.


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by MikeW on 06/05/07 at 23:02:38

I'm in the camp that says the preamp is required with the Zen....but it has to be a very good one. I am enjoying the CSP in front of it very much. I am quite sure you will enjoy the speakers but the Radials do benefit from some extra uumph. Maybe Zygi will weigh in here. The Radials 94 db is not quite the same as a normal speaker config with the same efficiency due to the radial driver and the sound dispersion. But there are those here that say the Radial / Select combo works nicely and I have to believe that. Well I don't have to....I choose to. :)

It will sound good but will it create the SPL's you want...that is the question
And Robert....Zygi's other amp is a Taboo

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/10/07 at 06:16:33

MikeW: That's what I'm hearing from people who have Zen amps and also from review articles. I'm hoping a source with a high output voltage will help hings along. However, if I do want a bit more oomph, I can purchase another Zen and run them as Left + Right monoblocks.

I can't wait until they arrive  :)....I've got a lot of work to do with cleaning up my music library and rearranging furniture.


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by DaveCan on 06/10/07 at 18:20:54

Congrats on your purchase Kodak...  

Just last Aug 23 I had notice of a package that arrived.. The wait was over, I picked it up from the PO, brought home the box and set it down in the middle of the living room floor..

A grin was on my face, the box looked in perfect shape, like I had just picked it up from Decware myself... I thanked the US and Canadian Postal service out loud, ''way to go, good job, thanks so much for being kind to my package, you guy's and gal's ROCK''!!!!!

I sat down on the floor and carefully opened er up.. Then there it was, my nice shiny new Taboo and a set of DSRII cable's... I took it out of it's plastic bag and looked it over, what a sexy beast and that new product smell...  I had a grin from ear to ear, I could'nt believe that it was actually mine..

I of course had my spot for the Taboo ready and waiting for this day to arrive, I dusted the shelf once again and then re-read the owner's manual, I had already printed the manual off the computer months before and have read it many times but it just wasn't the same as reading the official one that came with the amp, even though they are the same if that makes any sense...

I opened up each tube box and studied them carefully, then installed them in their proper places, hooked up my speakers and did the test without the source connected as described in the manual, all was 'A- OK'. Installed the DSR's and put in a couple of favorite disc's..

From the get go, even though the amp wasn't warmed up yet or broken in, I liked what I was hearing. After it was all warmed up I loved what I was hearing.

I have had my amp for 10 months now and I can tell you it has settled into a thing of beauty.. Beautiful, emotional, sexy, and seductive, with that just one more song before bed feel to it.. I have even taken a few days off work just to be able to be home alone with no distractions to listen..

The break in part for me wasn't that bad, but my amp has changed for the better from new as all it's bits and peices have burned in. YMMV however with the break in, but if the Select is every bit as good or better than the Taboo once it settle's in, you will be searching out all the music that's out there and wondering about all the great stuff you haven't heard yet guaranteed....                     Dave :)

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/11/07 at 12:49:42

Thanks for the inspirational post! I didn't think it was possible to get any more exicted about the waiting period for a new amplifier and speakers!!! That settles it! I'm going to have to take a hundred pictures of the unboxing and setup of my new gear ;D. I'll create a new website to host the pictures and I'll send the link when the gear has arrived and the pictures are downloading :D. (Apple computer fans will appreciate the sentiment)

Oh, ditto on Canada post. They are amazing as far as I'm concerned...I use only them for package delivery.


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by DaveCan on 06/12/07 at 15:36:43

That would be great if you document it all when your amp and speakers arrive...  Looking forward to reading your impressions when your all set up and settled in with your gear..

 Now if you could just re-locate from wintery Ottawa to beautiful Victoria BC we could have a micro DecFest...  Hey you'd just be trading one Capital for another 8-)     Dave :)

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/15/07 at 15:04:01

Gee Dave, I think I would miss the mosquitoes too much to move ;). In reality though, I think the two cities are pretty similar, at least in terms of culture. Ottawa is a HUGE outdoors kinda town, jogging, cycling, hiking, canoeing, rafting, whatever! It's a dream for active people because Gatineau park is just 5 minutes north in Quebec.

On an audio related note, I've confirmed my order with DeVon and I'm just counting down the days until I'm back to audio bliss  :D I'll certainly have the unboxing pictures ready within a few days of my receiving them!


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/27/07 at 03:19:38

Yea! My Zen Select should be shipping at the end of this week!  ;D  Unfortunately, I won't have my 1.5's for at least a few more weeks. I might have to drag my old sony's out of retirement; they're holding up a shelf in my broom closet. ::)

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Lon on 06/27/07 at 11:42:45

Good news KJ!  You'll find that Decware amps will make almost any speaker stand up and take notice and deliver their best!

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 06/27/07 at 12:42:11

Yeah, I'm interested to see how they perform. I opened them up to rewire them once and saw that the tweeters had transformers strapped to their magnets :-?. I'm not sure what that means since I've only ever seen that on a PA speaker system.  I'm assuming it means they have a pretty high impedence curve...?

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by DaveCan on 07/15/07 at 17:21:18

Hey Kodak did you get your amp and radials yet?   Dave :)

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 08/01/07 at 18:48:37

I just confirmed with DeVon that my Radials will be shipping very soon, probably before the end of the week. I'll have pictures and initial impressions up a couple of days after they arrive.

I'd better start rearranging the furniture  :D

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by ZYGI on 08/01/07 at 21:42:19


  Your Radials went out today, won't be there this week, but the first of next for sure. [smiley=13.gif]


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Lon on 08/02/07 at 00:43:18


Good times lay ahead!

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 08/02/07 at 15:21:40

Thanks Bob! [smiley=icqlite20.png]

I've been moving my furniture around in anticipation. I've got to unearth my Tara Labs speaker cables from my closet and find squares of carpeting to place under the Radials. I've got nothing but hardwood over concrete in my apartment so I'll have to dampen the bass a bit.

Stay tuned everyone for first impressions and unboxing photos!  8-)


Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Young_SC on 08/21/07 at 06:44:56

Have your Radials arrived yet?

Title: Re: Select or Standard Zen?
Post by Kodakjello on 09/04/07 at 14:48:59

Yep, the Radials are here and slowly breaking in. I'm writing my first impressions piece so I should have something more substantial posted soon. The packaging was very, very well done!


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