OLDER DECWARE GEAR SUPPORT >> TORII MK II  Push Pull amplifier >> Considering TORII MK II

Message started by KimKman on 04/24/09 at 03:32:19

Title: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 04/24/09 at 03:32:19

I am considering the purchase of a TORII MK II. As recommended I would initially listen with my current speakers which are spec'ed at 90db and min 9 watts. These are a pair of Von Schweikert VR-4 that I have owner for a number of years. Thoughts 'will this be ok for a start?'

I am interested in lower powered non mammoth equipment in the future. I presently have a pair of VTL MB450's. I also am interested in being involved with a tighter user base where I can discuss my equipment and be more involved with the company and its customer base. I live out in the sticks in NH and no dealers close by. I have also found not living near a dealer most companies do not even want to talk about or support my current products. Getting a bit feed up with it all.

So, I am basically taking another approach to my audiophile system that I am hoping will work out more to my satisfaction.

Questions on tubes for initial order. I am thinking of using the 6n1p but am still undecided on the offerings for the rectifier tubes and output tubes. I usually listen to my MB450's in tetrode mode rather than triode as I find the triode on this amp to be a bit mushy. This amp uses 6550-C tubes. Any advice is appreciated to get me started.

Other equipment, ARC LS22 preamp if used, MIT tube speaker cables and interconnects.

Hoping to get away from 16 6550-C tubes, lead brick and enjoy my system. If all goes well I will work on speakers next.

Thanks much,
KimKman in NH

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by mike_gagne on 04/24/09 at 05:58:48

I live in the rainforest on the north shore of Maui, about twice as far as you do from Decware and have had great interaction and support from this forum and the company. I am about to order an amp and am building their HDT speakers from a kit-lots of help from this web location. The boonies are no hindrance to web users and I suspect your lucid questions will beget equal replies.    aloha,    mike

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 04/24/09 at 13:31:24

Mike is right, lots of help and support from this forum and Decware.  Calling is probably best to contact the company.  I'm not much of a caller, so I use email a lot.  My last six emails though, five have gone unanswered and a very important question I had about why my amp came configured differently has not been addressed. So calling is the thing to do, my calls have never been unanswered.

I think you'll really enjoy the Torii in comparison to the other amps you've used.  I recently bought Ziggy's Torii and will probably have it here in my system in a few weeks. Looking forward to that!  As for tubes, I'd recommend using the stock tube component for a while to get a handle on the sound.  In my two other Decware EL34 based amps I've been using the new "Mullard" brand power tubes and have been quite surprised to find them very nice.  I've used RCA brand rectifiers in the past.  Currently I'm using the stock Rubys in my new Integrated and am happy they are without the "buzzing" I've heard from them in the past.  I'll probably try to find some RCA brand tubes to replace them in the furture, depending on which system the amp is in.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Stone Deaf on 04/24/09 at 19:38:21

I don't own a Tori but have some experience with 6550/KT88 tubes. The Genelex gold lion brand are the holy grail in most amps and probably would be in the Tori, price is staggering but if you want the best......

I have not tried the new issue Genelex 6550/KT88 but have used the reissue El34 & EL84 and found them surprisingly good I may even rank them up there with my second choice the more affordable NOS GE or Sylvania tubes.

Third choice would be SED Winged C. Many of the manufacturers use this tube in their amps. I have used a set in an Audio Research D76 to my satisfaction.

For rectifiers I give the edge to Mullard GZ34 or Mazda 5Y3GT, I have used Mazda so long I may have a bias, they are rugged and I can't fault the sound.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 05/04/09 at 04:11:58

Ordered a TORII MK II tonight. Thanks for all your input here. Look forward to further discussion.

What I am up to............

First I am going to compare the sound of the TORII MK II to a set of Bryston 7B SST2 Monos.

From there I am going to make a decision on either.

1. Biamp with TORII MK II on mid/highs and Brystons on bass

2. Purchase a second TORII MK II for vertical Biamp.

Should be fun :) Look forward to delivery.

Kim Rossey

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 05/14/09 at 17:03:35


Welcome to the waiting for the Torii II club! :)

I bet that this amp will work great with your speakers.  Eager to hear impressions when you have the system set up.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 05/16/09 at 07:55:14

Thanks Lon,

Patiently waiting here for Torii II and ZP3 to start my Decware experience :) Rearranging things a bit for now to make room.


Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 05/28/09 at 09:23:09

Received my Torii MK II Thursday morning and have had an absolutely delightful first day with the amplifier. Was nice to hear my wife say ‘Gee that’s pretty’ as I set the tubes in the sockets. After firing it up and waiting about 20 minutes we dropped in the first well known CD. My gosh we both sat there in awe. Amazing! As I stated in an email to Stone Deaf I am happy the crew at Decware are able to work with and realized their passion and am totally pleased as a customer to share in the experience. I have not had this much satisfaction with a purchase in a long while.

Even being new out of the box this amp performed close to my old VTL MB450’s (much more expensive) but pluses all over the place. Comparing to a another new set of mono solid state amps (near 4 times the cost) there was no contest. I am also a  now understanding the ‘Usable Power’ blog post on the main site. Using my Von S.. Vr4’s at 90db efficiency I never got anywhere near taxing the amp.

My present setup is Theta Basic II > Theta Pro Gen Va > ARC LS22 > Torii > VR4’s using a combo of Decware and MIT interconnects with MIT MH 770CVT’s to the speakers.
I am waiting on a ZP3 to get my vinyl collection going again and really looking forward to that day :) Had to sell my old ARC PH3 during a $$$ crisis.

From here my only additional experiment will be bi-amping to the VR4’s , Torii Mk II on top section and Bryston’s on bottom just for the heck of it after I get an additional set of speaker cables. I can though honestly say I would be a happy camper with just the Torii on its own.   

One last comment. I saw a post here also where someone said something about hum. I did not experience that here. If I pressed my ear right up against the driver at full gain I did hear a little but backing up just an inch or so it was gone. I have just installed a couple new dedicated 20amp quad sockets and still have to unpack my isolation Audio Power transformers. For now though it is still perfect.

Thanks again for input and :) I am really excited to move on with time here and see just what Torii  does after a more hours.


Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 05/28/09 at 12:19:25

Wow!  Thanks for weighing in!  So glad you are happy and I bet you'll be even happier in the near future.

I'm looking forward to mine. . . Steve has been working on mine so it should be shipping. . . soon I hope!  The waiting is not. . . tooooo. . . bad. ;)

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 05/29/09 at 16:00:59

Looking like my solid state mono blocks may be going up for sale. The Torii does fine/great all by itself :) May take the money and build another system for my office.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 05/30/09 at 20:17:58

My Torii shipped yesterday!  Yay!

Steve "brought it up to production specs" which is great.  Not sure if the "feedback switch" that Bob had but had not installed has been installed, but I'll finally have an amp with more than one input (two) which will be welcome.

I'll report back after Wednesday (when it's supposed to arrive).

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 05/31/09 at 02:44:07

Alright, good news your Torii is on the way. Really liking mine a lot here. Also yes, do like the two inputs for sure. I have a DAC backordered (PS Audio PWT) that will hook directly to the Torii. All else goes through the LS22.

Will be eager to hear your report once you have the amp at home.


Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Doorman on 05/31/09 at 20:35:55

Congrats, Lon!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/01/09 at 18:22:58

Thanks Don.  Should be an interesting amp to hear!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/03/09 at 03:29:10

Well, it arrived today, earlier than anticipated.

I connected it up and . . .

I had BASS.  I mean real bass.  I haven't ever had this kind of bass from a Decware amp.

Quite addicting.

I haven't exactly gotten a handle on everything yet.  It's a bit more forward, now, than the Integrated had become.  That may change, maybe not.  Lots of tweaking to do probably, moving the speakers around will be the biggest.

This week I've also gotten some exciting guitar equipment in the house so I'm having fun!

PS:  I've moved the Integrated into the bedroom system, being driven by the pre-amp out of the Peachtree Audio Decco and driving the speakers that came with the Decco. All I can say is. . .best sound yet in the bedroom, and I've had some really good sound going in there.  The Integrated matches up perfectly with those components.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 06/03/09 at 14:35:53

I am impressed with the bass on my TORII MK II as well. Really tight good and solid. I wonder if your amp got the CCE mods. Mine does. Think it may have been one of the first out with it. Although I do not have anything to compare (standard version) I am really impressed and happy with the TORII MK II.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/03/09 at 16:14:24

I'm not sure what those mods are. . . not sure, my invoice just says "brought up to production specs". . . . .

Anyway, I swapped out two tubes for cryo'd 6N1Ps I have around and added Herbie Audio Haloes to all tubes (I had just the right types and sizes on hand, amazing!) and I"m enjoying it a lot this morning.  But. . . thank God for the output selection switches.  This would sear my ears without it!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/03/09 at 17:30:43

Okay I know what mod you're talking about now.

I wish that Steve HAD installed that mod. . . my guess is it isn't in there, I wasn't charged for it. Anyway. . . I HATE sending stuff back to Decware, the wait is too long, etc. So. . . I'll pretend I have it or don't need it. . . til that doesn't work any more.  ;)

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 06/03/09 at 20:38:51

Well you do have to be using EL34's also for the CCE mod to make a difference so not sure there on yours.

Anyway really good to hear you are happy with the results and return of your Torii :)

This amp has changed my world a bit on my system. Really good to get a great deal price wise and end up with something that sounds so good.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/03/09 at 22:26:22

Oh yes, I use EL34s. . . love those tubes.  

I'm spoiled. . .the Integrated I've been using for several months is an amazing amp. There's a depth to the sound that this amp doesn't have (sort of a single-ended thing in comparison to this push-pull --- I've had push-pull in the past but for about the last 12 years it's been single-ended). . . So yes this amp is a great one, with bass and detail, but the Integrated also has something special going for it not quite here.

But I'm very happy with this amp right now.  Probably in time I'll send it back for that mod and for the treble cut circuit to be added if possible. . . .I love that new circuit Steve has developed.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/04/09 at 14:22:17


I put the CCE in your Torii MK II while it was here.  The amp already has a treble cut pot on each channel.  There is nothing that can be done or updated further so you won't have to worry about ever sending it back.


Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/04/09 at 14:38:56

Thanks Steve.  Good news. . . I don't think either one of us wants to do the heavy lifting that is involved in packing and shipping this amp! :)

So. . . the treble cut pots. . . where are they?  Are they the two toggles that I thought were the "output selector" switches?  Otherwise, I don't see any visible pots or other switches they could be.  Thanks.

I can now say that the CCE mod may well be responsible for a layer of the excellent sound on this amp. . . but I don't know what this amp may have sounded like before this (or rather what a production spec amp sounds like without the mod).  But I'd wager fearlessly the mod is well worth the cost and effort.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/04/09 at 20:34:42

I hid them inside the white tube sockets next to the power cord.  use a small screw driver to adjust.

Sorry about that.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/04/09 at 22:14:42

Steve you devil!  I had just gotten an email from Bob and he said maybe they are on the back. . . or the bottom. . . I knew they weren't but I walked over and looked. . . and saw the screwdriver head slot on the tube socket centers! :)  Great place to put them Steve.  I've just finished adjusting them where they suit most recordings.

This amp is sweet.  And strong.  And revealing.  Kudos, this is a great design and implementation.  (The beautiful base Bob built for it is awesome as well!)

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/05/09 at 14:43:20

Alright, I realize that I haven't had this amp for long, and that it may be a bit atypical in that it's almost a prototype that has been reconfigured to current production status.

And I know that with Decware products, revealing reproducers, break-in is a REAL process and can take surprising turns.

But. . .and a big but. . . the sound of this amp demands that I comment on it right now. . . and later. :)  

And my comments will be very favorable.

First off, the very first notes that flow through this amp will let a seasoned Decware user know, definitively, that this amp is a DECWARE AMP, and all that entails in superior sound and big bad bang for buck.  It's right there, it's the big brother of the Select, it's the twin of the Integrated that grew up in a different family, it's one of Steve's amps, it has his signature sound and exhibits his perennial attention to detail and his unique thinking and techniques.

And as much as it has that house sound that none of the company's fans would like to be without, it has its own personality.  It has an easy breathing power within its core, ready to be put to use just like that.  It has a precision that is remarkable and attention-grabbing.  And yet it can delicately cradle the gentlest most sensitive hint of sound or texture and place it protectively just where it should be.

If you read the design notes to this amp you see a brilliance of thinking and a care of implementation that appears remarkable to be behind an amplifier anywhere near this price point.  And on top of that a cohesive vision of what an amplifier such as this could and SHOULD do.  When you see and heft it you can only marvel at the quality of construction and parts. When you spend an hour with it you realize this is one of those special components that lived up to the designer's intentions and can take on your present and future needs.

It's hard to describe the sound.  I've run my RL2s with four amps now over the years (three Decware amps, one, my old Proton, temporarily while the Monoblocks were being updated) and this is the amp that controls them with authority and finesse, this is the one to keep connected, the speakers breathe, sing, and if you want them to, shout out a firm amen chorus. In comparison to the other amps it has the magic they do too.  I think Steve summed up the difference quite succintly in the designer's notes:

"It boils down to the slightly romantic interpretation known to Single ended amps vs. the more realistic (live) and honest presentation of this new amp."

Yes, there's a bit of misty bloom that lives in the single-ended amps that this amp simply doesn't allow. And that may well be the deciding factor for someone, but as one who lived with the bloom for so long this is REALITY, this is the heartbeat and foundation, this is the amp that brings out everything in my stystem that I want to hear.

The icing on the cake for me is the treble cut adjustment pots, a little known secret available for Decware amps. . . I think I'll start another thread about those. Their inclusion on this and my Integrated has allowed me to tailor the sound to recordings and made silk purses out of pigs' ears. For anyone with a large collection of recordings and who doesn't only listen to the really good ones, this is a great feature, almost indispensable to me now.

So I say to anyone who is, to quote the title of this thread, "Considering Torii Mark II", "Consider hard, save up, take the chance, I sincerely doubt you'll ever send it back for a refund." Kudoes to Steve, this certainly IS a referrence amp.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/09/09 at 14:38:45

Better and better, day by day.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/11/09 at 04:22:03

More great sound today.  A bit smoother treble today, always welcome. :)  (Could have been the source material, I listened to quite a few "Keepknews Collection" cds from Concord. These are Riverside and Milestone lps remastered very nicely in 24 bit by Joe Tarantino.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/12/09 at 14:00:15

Sounding a tiny bit better day by day!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/19/09 at 23:05:15

Better week by week!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 06/22/09 at 05:54:58

Yep, same here. Really liking my setup with the TORII MK II. Hard to listen to anything else now a days.

Lon, you use preamp?

Did an experiment tonight while eagerly awaiting delivery on a CSP2.
Currently have ZP3 > ARC LS22 > TORI

The ARC is an 8 tube 6922 (not super tubes in it now, stock) but still sounds good and in test sounded better with ARC in the system. Without it sound was good but not there. Strange I thought but then thought maybe its because I have to keep the gain so low on the amp whereas with it amp was at full gain. Do not know for sure. Anyway figure I can see how the CSP2 does in comparison to the ARC and then play with tubes on the CSP2. Much cheaper doing that. Three tubes instead of eight :)


Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/22/09 at 11:05:53

No, I haven't tried it with the CSP2 in the system.  The CSP2 was part of what made me unhappy in previous configurations of the system, and I haven't quite forgiven it yet and hankered to put it in. Also, I don't havea  place for it at the moment as all shelves and platforms are in use. . . . So. . . no preamp for the near future.

I'm very happy with the sound as it is and right now I'm not wanting to mess with it.  I'm getting a good handle on it and will have new speakers soon.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by KimKman on 06/22/09 at 19:36:16

Sounds good Lon. If you ever do give it a go let me know your thoughts.

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 06/22/09 at 20:30:59

Will do. I had a lot of hum when using the CSP2 and the ZBox and my Decware EL34 Monoblocks. . . . I introduced the CSP2 briefly into the system when I was using the Integrated and it added hum. . . so I'm not eager to try that again.  Once humfree, as I am now, you want to stay that way!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 07/31/09 at 14:19:49

Well, I think I can say that my Torii Mark II is "burned in" now.

What an amp!  I'm sure the upcoming mod with extra voltage regulation will be even better, but right now this amp is going nowhere!

Bring on the new speakers!  I'm ready for that change.  :)

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Doorman on 07/31/09 at 22:59:30

Lon: Sounds like your amp is the "real deal"! Glad you're enjoying it.
Any comparisons with your 34 mono's?
-aside from more power!

Title: Re: Considering TORII MK II
Post by Lon on 11/16/09 at 22:28:15

Sorry D, I missed your question.

In comparison to the SE34 Monoblocks, the Torii just breathes so much easier and seems to have an ease that is very seductive.  Also as you turn it up, it doesn't really alter tonally, something that is not as easy to say about the Monoblocks.

Still, there's a sort of "bloom" and a bit of depth that the Monoblocks had that the Torii doesn't quite. But the whole system is so different now, it's not fair to single that out.  I haven't put the Monoblocks in in a long while. They came out, the Integrated went in, the Torii went in.  The Monoblocks were in use in the bedroom system (driven by the Peach Tree Audio Decco) and now the Integrated is in the bedroom system.

The Torii keeps on rockin' in the Free World.  It's the one amp to have.

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