Message started by kana813 on 07/17/11 at 07:00:43

Post by kana813 on 07/17/11 at 07:00:43

Got my tubes today.

How many hours are needed before this amp starts to sound good?

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/17/11 at 13:46:52


It should sound good right away. It should start sounding really good after about 200 hours is my best estimation, especially if you follow Steve's "five hours on, five or more hours off" advised process.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Gopher on 07/17/11 at 14:14:42

It took me sometime to dial in the bass and treble pots. Sounded very weird as I took Steves setup suggestions and started with them zeroed and slowly increased.  

Give yourself a week or two before being critical.  

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/17/11 at 17:19:37

Thanks for the feedback.

I'll try working wit the bass and treble contols.

Had to float the ground. Never had to do that with other amps in this system.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/17/11 at 18:15:28

My Torii, in my setup took a long time, but my system is so revealing that I am not satisfied until all the little ups and downs and quirks are ironed out...finally allowing me to more easily tune the amp to bring out the nuance of the system. But it is room/system dependent. If you have no problems (particularly bass), the amp will probably sound better faster. But if the amp pushes your system/room limits, it will take more time (and probably work) because things are on the edge.

With stock Caps, 30-40 hours of the 5hr/5hr cycles will likely get a you where the shifts will be less notable, and then 200 -300 and you might forget about burnin.

Also, the tubes may not suit you. Gopher, though he started with non-stock regs, OD3s, with a cleaner/leaner sound than the OA3s, took a while (and some Treasures and Nationals) to get the sweetness he liked in his room.

You probably don't need this, but to me, this amp is sort of like a thoroughbred horse but has a lot of ways to tune it in, so requires good balancing to give me the great sound it has potential to give. So maybe the following suggestions will help with initial setup.

I would simplify. Start with the the amp in toned down mode....the bias switch away from you (neutral) and with the impedance switches on the low-key setting.

Then I would briefly begin with the treble pots full clockwise so you can hear as much detail as possible, giving an easy basis to hear the other settings. Then with a moderately bassy recording, turn the bass pots full one way, and then full the other and compare. One way will be the least speaker cone movement, and the other the most. For the time being choose the full one way you like best.

Then I might tune the treble to tastes (mine stays pretty up). This puts you in a good place to explore the impedence switches and the bias, the impedance tending to stay in the same position for me once tastes are resolved, and bias, a recording dependent tool for me.

From there I think you have a good foundation to explore the bass knobs and finally refine the treble again if needed.

As to you have tube sets, particularly inputs, power, and rectifiers you can rotate in to see if the hum is tubes.

And how bad was it. Did floating the ground work?

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/17/11 at 19:33:59


Thanks for your tips.

This isn't my first tube amp.

I don't have any problems with bass.

Floating the ground reduced most of the noise.

I started with the bias switch in the low position, the impedance switches on 4 ohms and bass and treble controls centered. The sound was lifeless. Swithching to 8 ohms and high bias is better.

I don't have any extra tubes to try. I'm not going to order any different tubes, unless I can get some decent sound with the stock tubes.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 07/17/11 at 20:00:08

Great suggestions Will. I didn't perceive Steve's suggestions on how to adjust the trim pots as necessarily counter-intuitive, but instead, simply one suggestion for how to start with them (which I think is how he phrases it). I like your suggestions, and plan to employ them when I start listening later this week.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/17/11 at 23:56:32


Thanks Greg, I have not seen Steve's suggestions, but thought about it from my own experience. Though the settings are relatively straight forward, the bass setting and maybe the impedance (if you think you need to set it to match exactly your speaker impedance rating) are a bit obscure. So I tried to think what I would have like to have known with the amp new to me to help me isolate how the things work and how they work together.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/18/11 at 00:17:30


I knew you were comparing a serious set of mono-blocks. And especially, since you are working with an amp that cost a minor fraction of those, I did not think it unreasonable to suggest tubes, settings (and accessories for that matter) might need some tuning to get the most from your amp for your setting and tastes. And it is possible your standards have surpassed the capabilities of this amp, but this would surprise me.

To try to get a sense of your experience, I put in stock tubes. Mine are OA3, OC2, Winged C EL34, Ruby 5U4G, 6N1Ps. Then i set the bass and treble to your half settings. I would say the sound is lifeless too. So we might define lifeless similarly. And I liked it better with the bias and impedance pushed, as you found.

I then turned up the trebles and it became more alive. Then I turned the bass knobs full to the open sound side....still better..... But finally, to me (as things are set up here, which with my amp all matters....feet, foot placement, cables etc.) still not near as alive as I have come to expect.

Then I put in some Amperex 6922s, similarly warm to the 6N1Ps, ....way better, and way louder. More texture, focus and definition, but I did not like the bias up and the high impedance at this point so changed back to neutral. Then I tried the 60s Siemens 6DJ8s I have been using lately....way more alive again, but still a little dull in the low mids, and a little undefined in the bass for me, leaving the sound unbalanced. So I turned the bass knobs to the tight side. Better, but the same problems, just less, pointing to the other tubes.

Finally, I put the tubes back to what I had in (OB3 [not OA3], OC2, Siemens 6DJ8, RFT El34, and the stock Ruby 5U4G) the sound was still a little off. So I put the tube dampers back on the front EL34s, 6DJ8s and Rectifiers, the treble still near topped out, the bass still on tightest, and impedance/bias neutral, and I have a sound I like a lot in this system/room. Textured, detailed, a little warm, good bass and alive top to bottom.

I can't recall exactly my initial Torii impressions exactly, but I had had a Decware SE34 so knew I liked the Decware sound. After it the Torii was too dense/bass weighted for me, so I started exploring with tubes I had, feet, cables, room etc. And this made me realize I could find a sound  liked, so kept the Torii and kept exploring. Long story short, though your amp will change a lot with burnin, depending on tastes and previous setup, and since your standards are high, it may take some pretty serious adjustments and work to get it to sound brilliant.

So I get the disconcerting feeling you have, and can't say if you can sort it out to your standards. And our standards are so based in taste and previous experience, and gear....utterly relative, but I was able to get great sound from mine, and found it well worth it.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/18/11 at 01:40:53


Thanks for taking the time to try your stock tubes again and describe the differences. Here what came with mine:

JJ E88CC/6922
No name 5U4G made in China
No name OA3, straight bottle
Raytheon OC2

On the website  it says:

“This factory tube compliment is ideal for your evaluation and even though you can "roll" different tubes through it, you certainly won't feel like you need to!”

I'll play with the knobs and switches after a few more power cycles and report back.  

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 02:52:36

Wow. If I had my treble cut circuit turned all the way up it would be so lively I couldn't be in the same room! That's true with almost any amp I've tried here, the tonal balance in this room is way too bright and lively I guess.

Plus we all hear things differently, have different tastes, etc.

I'm envious of those bass knobs!

K, I'm pretty sure that you'll hear a difference in the amp after another 100 hours or so. Keep it glowing through those five hour cycles and one day soon it will just bloom, you'll be sucked into the sound and stop analyzing. 99% sure this will happen this coming week.

Anyway, please keep us posted with your evolving impressions.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/18/11 at 06:57:25

Kana, Wow those stock tubes are a pretty different thing than mine. The Rectifier and OC2 sound the same, but a different OA3 (mine is RCA coke bottle shape), input tubes, and power tubes. The JJs I have tried, a GZ34/5AR4 took a fair bit of time to burn in though, so presumably your amp will open up in many ways.

I guess you are playing music on those power on cycles? And I look forward to your coming impressions too.

Lon, I would guess that my room might tend to bass, and yours to bright. And I don't want to suggest in any way that the settings I use are the best, only that no matter the base line, it seems that with really high-potential gear, exploration is important for fine tuning to a tube set, a new component, and/or a system/room to tastes.

And to me, the fine details allow the enchantment possibilities. The amazement and wonder that this sound is possible in my room and it is as engaging as any I have heard live or not.

In my system, I would not have gotten this with the stock tubes in my Torii. Or for that matter, without numerous other considerations to vibration, cables, foot sound and placement, minute speaker placement adjustments, source, room treatments and all.

For example, the feet under my Mac Mini....the best to date are a set of carbon/plastic cones (black diamond racing). These are feet I did not like under any of my other components. But under the mini, and cradled on the little metal floor protectors that came with my speaker spikes, and on top of some 2by pine stock I needed to raise the thing up for fitting in my cabinet, AND with a flat rock I found in the arroyo that weighs about 3 pounds on top of the computer, the sound is really good.

It is the combination of this setup that really sings bringing a very pleasant balance of natural warmth, detail, and focus. And this is just a computer that many still believe only produces sequences of 1s and 0s! I have not found anything that did not matter in this system, some things subtle and some more powerful, but I can say that the Mini feet are just as important as any other component feet in this system. Weird, but least in this setup.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 12:19:06

will wrote on 07/18/11 at 06:57:25:
Lon, I would guess that my room might tend to bass, and yours to bright. And I don't want to suggest in any way that the settings I use are the best, only that no matter the base line, it seems that with really high-potential gear, exploration is important for fine tuning to a tube set, a new component, and/or a system/room to tastes.

Oh will I KNOW how you are presenting your impressions and actions, very properly and informatively.

Everything matters in my system as well, and using a combination of stock and NOS tubes I've found the precious balance I need between detail and musicality to listen to the vast majority of my recordings, which are not "audiophile" at all. I've obsessed over isolation and power items to the point of crazed behavior. But my goal is as close to "set it and forget it" as I can come and still have the wonderful sound of the Decware system. I'm always getting very close to that goal.

And I guess as someone who owns five bass guitars and a full-size contrabass violin. . . I like the natural full sound of bass on recordings and that has been the hardest "nut to crack." Attention to clean power and power cabling has actually made more significant changes than rolling tubes, which surprises me but is the conclusion I've reached.

May we all find and follow our path to listening glory!

Kana, I actually have found that the JJ power tubes are a bit lackluster and a change there in the near future may move you towards that extra bit of something you're looking for.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/18/11 at 14:49:17

Lon, I see your point about power. I have not messed with it for a long time, but when I think back, I recall that it did make a notable difference across the spectrum. It made the stuff between the notes so empty while bringing out the note edges and harmonics along with more definition and focus in the body of a sound making it appear louder.

Power cables and interconnects too, amazed at the tonal tendencies they impart. Every so often I will move the cables around as an exploration and always find some interesting synergy.

But I can't say that these things do more than good tubes and good tube synergy for me, or more than room treatments, or anything else I suppose. When I have put in stock tube sets lately to see what they sound like now, to me the magic of my system goes into pretty notable decline. But my stock tubes were different than the current, so I can't comment.

The only JJs I have, I recall as pretty nice sounding tubes, but they were cryo'd 5AR4s and actually, I haven't used them for a long time.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 15:08:39

Well, I have really bad house power. I first put in a better outlet, I bought one that made a difference, and then years later I swapped that out for the one that Steve was sending with a Decware power cord later, that was possibly a bit better. I had in the past used a PS Audio Power Plant 300, in fact the technology so intrigued me I pre-ordered that at a time when one thousand dollars was like a year's savings of mad money for me, and that was great for a while til it died. It wouldn't be powerful enough for my system now, but it really did set things right for me, and I feel it's a more significant change than tube rolling because it gave a level playing field of clean power to all components, source and amp. And allowed me to more accurately hear tube-rolling changes.

Then the 300 died and I bought a few isolation transformers and PS Audio Duet power centers and thought that was giving me all I needed. I see in retrospect that I wasn't as happy with the sound as time went by, even though I'd gotten better amplifiers and sources, something was a bit off that I was tube-rolling to fix etc. I had a pretty good balance going for most of my material so I just got myself content and quit fidgeting and enjoyed the music. When one of the Duets went dead (the MOV went out, and was pretty speedily replaced for free by PS Audio from just an email request) I got tempted by a B stock PS Audio Power Plant Premier and was able to see and hear how bad my power really was and the differences that it made to the system were profound, far more significant to my way of thinking than the tube-rolling. It made the tube-rolling that much more prominent and palpable. The canvas was perfectly set for the paint so to speak. And I was again able to find a really good balance for my system where most all recordings sound good even if they aren't good recordings; that's my target and when I find it I love my system, I can just put in recording after recording and not futz with things.

The Premier also showed me in even more detail how important power cords are. The Decware cords are very good, especially for source components, and that's where I have them. But I find the best of (and EXPENSIVE!) PS Audio cords really transform the amps and pre-amps and the ZDAC-1. I've had a PS Audio xStream Premier SC on the power amp for quite some time, an amazing cable, so open and dynamic does it make the amp sound. I managed to get this for about a quarter of the original price, so I was lucky there. The difference it made to a component was even more shockingly apparent to me after the Premier was installed. I had been using an earlier PS Audio xStream Statement cord for even longer on my Redbook source, but taking someone's advice I used that on the Premier and was astonished at the subtle but very favorable change that made. So I went on the hunt for more power cables and found really a reasonably priced xStream Plus SC that now fuels my CSP2 and another well-priced xStream Premier SC that is now on the ZDAC-1 and fueling my Redbook* and Blu-Ray sound. Wow. I mean, wow. The sound stage increase and the dynamic presentation are a distinct improvement. I can't afford any more cords right now, but the good news is that the system is now at a level I hadn't imagined it could reach in this room, and I'm again settling in to great sound and spinning recording after recording. Full, rich, mobile playback. This is what I have always wanted. In time I'll probably look for more Premier cords, though they're hard to find at prices I can afford (and there are a lot of fakes out there!)

Anyway, maybe if I were more inclined to tube-rolling and it didn't drive me a little crazy I'd see that the rolling is more important, but even so, it's more audibly so because of the bedrock the clean power situation provides. So I consider the power management as more important.

* Perhaps it's also because of long time "seasoning," but when I got the Premier and started playing around with power cords Redbook cd through the ZDAC-1 won out over analog out from my Sony SCD-XA5400ES. It's still very close, but with the best cords on either, and a day or two of play in both configurations, I decided the ZDAC-1 would be the Redbook source, which also thus allowed me to use the best cord on the ZDAC-1 and my Blu-Ray playback benefits as well.

So my current set up has Redbook and DVD/Blu-Ray from the ZDAC-1 and SACD from the Sony output, both into an input in the CSP2, and my DVR output run into the DAC in my Peachtree Audio Decco (pretty good DAC, designed by the builder of Benchmark DAC) and from there directly into an output of the Torii Mk III. Pretty darned good sound from all my sources. I'm happy as far as source component sound goes, very happy. And of course the CSP2 and the Torii make it happen.

The Peachtree Audio Decco has a preamp section using a 6N1P. I've found this tube type to be THE one for the preamp section of the Torii as well, I've tried nearly all the other types, and this is the one that works best for me; I've got some nicely cryo'd military versions to use. I stopped rolling input tubes and stuck with these as best "all around" and allowing me to just set it and forget it. I haven't tried these Nationals that everyone's talking about. . . maybe one day.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/18/11 at 17:52:39

Two questions for TORII users:

When you have the amp's gain turned up and no signal going into the inputs, do have any noise/hum coming from your speakers?

Do your power transformer(the ones in the middle of the amp) run hot?

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/18/11 at 18:23:42

Lon, Great post on your power journey and impressions! Thanks.

I agree totally that good power is critical since everything downstream is clarified and articulated by it. I agree that the progressive importance is big too, the power determining whether something shows its real sound or not. But man.........I may have started with OK power, but if had to choose one or the other, I still would probably choose a great selection of tubes. I would hate to be put in a one-or-the-other position though. Seems like everything useful is precious in the mix toward the whole.

My AC treatment is a blend too, and though I have no comparators, I hear the right stuff from it. Improved definition, detail and micro detail and all the results from this....ambience, body, texture, clarified weight, spaciousness, blackness, articulate sound stage etc.

I chose mine little by little for price/performance and then based on playing around. The Brickwall for Audio suppressor/filter, I got because it was supposed to not have a sound while offering good filtering and suppression that does nothing to the power flow. I agreed at the time...cleaner without dynamic sacrifice or a notable signature itself. Then a few Alan Maher Infinity (boxes of rocks) got me onto his stuff and after hearing them I got more, liking the further clarity, definition, spaciousness and dynamics they brought. They are crystal loaded boxes that I think act as semiconductors drawing off power noise. At this point I have a pile of them using mostly quartz (Infinity-neutral but some amethyst (Signature-pretty neutral but with upper mid emphasis). They are now on the house mains in, teh audio circuit breaker, on outlets with noisy appliances, on my hospital grade Audio receptacle, and attached to the ends of power cables. I also got a simple EMI filter circuit/wall wart he made that is supposed to cancel line and room EMI, and sound-wise does some impressive work for 85 dollars or so. I have only used his inexpensive filters, but I really like the stuff. Also perhaps in the power area, in that putting out a fundamental of 7.83 Hz would effect everything in proximity, I use a Kemp Schumann Resonator that I find good toward bringing out yet more micro clarification, solidity, openness and natural timber to the sound.

My power cables are one of Alan Maher's last generation models, and DIY from VHAudio and Cryoparts.

I really like the spaciousness and Not-Sound of this power setup. And I really like the signature variation of various power cables for tuning the system. But I must say that I was fascinated by yours and Rale Ryders amazement over the PS Power Plant Premiers and had Music Direct still had some B-stocks, I would have had to try one. I love that Music Direct still stands behind their choices enough to offer trials for free. But had you guys not gotten so worked up over the Power Plant, I would not have thought....Hmmm, I wonder what I can do to get my power better, so I am good. But I would love to hear one dammit.

Thanks for bringing up the critical foundation power provides for these super simple amps, and what it does with tubes.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 18:24:22

Yes, there's a hum when audible from about 10 inches and closer to the speaker. Not audible beyond that.

Yes, I'd say those transformers run hot. Wouldn't want to touch one for more than a few seconds.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 18:34:22

Yeah will, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and also if your power coming in is fairly clean there is less needed to improve it.

My power coming in sucks, and regeneration is really effective in my case.

I'd say the biggest changes are an apparent mellower, richer sound and much more discernible dynamic contrasts. And these are very important aspects for me, so they're really appreciated. And they are aspects I've had a harder time achieving with tube-rolling and in a hit or miss manner when I have.

Sure, I love having my RCA 5U4Gs and my cryo'd 6N1P tubes, but I also must say tht I'd probably choose the stock tubes and clean power if shoved into the corner and forced to choose. But I'd rather have both.

I didn't want to spend the money on the Premier, but I'm glad I did! I'm really happy with the improvement. Sounds as if you have your power situation in control.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/18/11 at 18:36:55


Thanks for the fast response.

I've owned lots of tube amps, and I don't remember the power transformers running this hot.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 18:42:30

I have an EICO HF81 from '59 that I haven't run for years but it used to run hot like this, for years and years. The Torri has been running a while now, I don't think it presents a problem, or will be a problem in the long term.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/18/11 at 18:43:37

Kana, I just tried and I DO get a relatively nasty hum with no inputs plugged in and the volume up. But there is very, very little hum with the interconnects plugged in, so presumably, whatever is up with my ground is resolved with the inputs plugged in. No grounds are lifted. Odd, but since the system is very quiet as I use it, I have not explored the ground issues. I do not have an isolated circuit for my audio and have not checked the receptacle/wire connections or circuit breaker connections for years. I will now.

Oh yeah, those center transformers are hotter.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/18/11 at 19:16:50

Will & Lon,

It's disappointing to read that you're both getting some hum.

From the TORII's website description:

"It's at home with most hi-fi speakers and equally poised with high efficiency speakers due in part to it's complete lack of noise or hum."

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 19:20:44

Well, it's never been a problem for me at all. I can't hear it from more than ten inches away.

Maybe it's our substitute tubes. :)

I'm not in the least disappointed myself.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/18/11 at 19:38:44


I have stock tubes and I'm getting hum even with the ground pin floated.

Based on the claim of a "complete lack of noise or hum," I'm disappointed.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 19:59:50

I can understand that.

I didn't remember reading that when I got mine. It could still be one of the tubes.

I just am so happy with the sound that I don't care if there's that smidgeon of hum.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 07/18/11 at 20:29:21

kana is right about the claim. Here it is from the web page:

It's at home with most hi-fi speakers and equally poised with high efficiency speakers due in part to it's complete lack of noise or hum.  

Now, I haven't heard any hum out of mine, but y'all already know I am not actually listening to mine other than to make sure it is cycling on and off and playing music in a drawer. I believe it is asserted for more than just the Torii as well. On the Taboo page, there is a reference to "ultra low noise and hum," which has proved to be true for me.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/18/11 at 20:35:48

I certainly wasn't doubting the claim. When I bought mine it had an entirely different page on the website. I am NOT a fan of the current page, I've seen it turn away people interested actually. It just comes on too strong with big claims and seems rather. . pedestrian.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/18/11 at 21:32:54

Kana, I totally get your discouragement. The questions become, where is the hum coming from; can one definitively conclude that because other amps have been hum free, that the Torii is the culprit; and what are the solutions. It could well be the amp, but I suppose it is possible that the amp's super simple design could use your power in ways that reveal problems that were not previously brought out??? Admittedly, I am no expert on Ground issues, but I seem to recall someone with a difficult hum finally switching the circuit to the other buss of the Circuit Panel and it was solved. Obscure, but it makes me wonder, it may be that these amps in their simplicity need particularly good ground/circuits to be "dead quiet." Or maybe not. I guess the best way to get down to the details would be to call Steve and see if you can troubleshoot it together.

I just did more tests. Both interconnect sets hooked up, volume full up, the Torii input switch set to the interconnects of the DAC I have the Mac Mini set for output to.....and this is almost "dead quiet" with a very, very light hum only discernible with my ear right at the driver. Then I set the input switch to the other DAC NOT set for Mini output, and there is a hum that I can hear up to 18" from the drivers. Set the Mini to that DAC, and it is for all intents and purpose Hum free again.

I can only assume that I am gathering a better ground as I go. The
Torii alone with no interconnects and hum. Then by connecting it to other components...problem nearly solved. And finally, presumably by adding the ground from the USB cable to the Mini????? solved. Since my whole system is on the same outlet, all this makes it look to me like I need to look at getting a better/more ground connection to the Torii without the connection to the other components.

But even though it is a problem, it is a nonissue in practical use since there is no discernible hum in use. But I am no expert, and I would be interested if someone can explain this to me.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 07/18/11 at 22:19:06

Lon, I think you are correct about the current page. There is almost "too much" there, and there is no question that it becomes its own flame-bait on other sites when people who might never even have heard a Decware amp or speaker decide to start taking pot shots. Under promise, over deliver.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/18/11 at 22:41:43


The claim of "ultra low noise and hum" is not the same as a "complete lack of noise or hum."

Hope your TORIIs have a "complete lack of noise or hum," when you start listening.


I tried to talk to Steve, but they were out. Sent him an email.

Since I've never had any hum with the other amps I've tried in my system, the Torii is the culprit. I have dedicated 20 amp outlets
in my listening room. I use Runnings Springs Duke and Haley power conditioners.

The only time I've had a computer connected to my DAC was through
an ART Legato USB converter which isolates the USB power and ground. It was dead quiet.

My goal is a "complete lack of noise or hum." Hopefully, I can find a solution.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 07/19/11 at 04:10:56

Kana, trust me, I understand the distinction. I was actually pointing out the fact that there is more than one claim of exceptionally low or no noise and hum on the Decware site, and I quoted the "complete lack" language intentionally. I think the commonality of these claims is more important than the subtle language distinctions. My Taboo is black, and so far, my Torii sounds good, but until I hook up the ERRs, I won't know for sure.

From my own point of view, the distinction between "complete lack" and "ultra low" might well fall in the category of puffery. Someone else might not see it that way, but what you are describing doesn't strike me as satisfying either standard. So, here's hoping you get that problem solved, and get a chance to start enjoying the amp.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/19/11 at 06:31:12

I should have known that Steve had already addressed the hum issue:

I'm good. Now, it's just a question of power/headroom.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 07/19/11 at 14:24:37

Kana, for some reason, I thought that paper had been mentioned earlier by someone. Did you run the meter test mentioned in that paper already, or are you simply saying that you're satisfied with Steve's articulation of his perspective on the matter, i.e.:

This value has been determined acceptable because to hear any hum on a 90 dB speaker you have to put your ear on the dustcap.  On a 100 dB speaker you may hear it as far away as 2 feet in a quiet room.  The goal is simple, once you're in your listening chair you should hear nothing

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 07/19/11 at 18:36:46


I didn't do the meter test.

I decided to stop treating the Torii as the culprit, and accept that it might be more sensitive to grounding than my other amps. After I found that it likes to be plugged into the same outlet as my DAC, all was well.

Listened to Bonnie Raitt’s “The Lost Broadcast” last night.

The TORII time warped me back to 1972, and a 23 year blues singer was in my listening room. 8-)

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 07/19/11 at 18:50:07

I love when that happens. It's an amazing amplifier. It keeps getting better, and the better components you feed it with the better it seems to get!

I feel so fortunate to have this amp.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 07/20/11 at 17:56:19

kana, that's great to hear.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 07/20/11 at 18:26:17

Glad you got that sorted Kana. Ground loops are weird. Anyone understand them enough to explain?

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by kana813 on 08/08/11 at 19:18:05

Will be packing up my TORII for the trip back to Decware.

Mahalo to everyone on this great forum for all your assistance.


Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/08/11 at 20:29:53

Aloha! Best of everything!

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 08/08/11 at 22:49:16

Good luck kana!

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/09/11 at 12:55:34

Wow, in the last week I received five pairs of NOS rectifier tubes to roll, two OA3, two OB3, and a pair of OC3. Three pairs are GE, two are RCA.

These tube types really do change the character of the amp considerably. All the tubes are of excellent quality and construction. I think I'm most comfortable with the sound of the OA3, of which I prefer the straight example I have (RCA) to the coke bottle type (RCA) by just a hair. All the others are coke bottle type; I got all five pairs for forty dollars total, which was a bargain.

I'm listening to RCA OC3s right now, and enjoying the mellowness of the overall sound, and trying to see if I can live with the slight lack of clarity in comparison with the OA3 type. Probably can, it's a very pleasant presentation.

Nice to have these different options, and at this price I can't and won't complain. Thanks for edging me away from my reluctance to roll and towards this gentlemen.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/27/11 at 14:55:04

As regards these tubes. . . I've gone through all the OA3, OB3 and OC3 tube types again, letting them sit in the amp for quite some time. . . and I keep coming back to the RCA OA3 straight shoulder type as my choice. (Interestingly I always seem to find the coke bottle type to be dryer and tarter than the other type, and I don't prefer them).

I think that the OB3 type is promising, but the only brand I have these in is GE coke bottle type (two pair) and they just don't do it for me. All the other choices are RCA, and I just love the sound of RCA rectifiers and regulators, there's something they did back then that really nails the sound for me. I'll look for a pair of RCA OB3 straight shoulder type to try in the future. For now, I'm just putting the other tubes I'm not using away, maybe for sale. The RCA OA3 straight shoulder is really giving me great sound in conjunction with my other tubes.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by stone_of_tone on 08/28/11 at 15:35:15

Lon, I realize the RCA 0A3-VR75's are rare. For me starting out with this Amp, I will use the Tubes provided for break in and enjoy. Maybe I'll never feel the need to roll them?

However, I would like to order some back up tubes for rare, but could happen, tube failure, even out of the box. For example, Tube Depot lists the providing "various types". Any particular type/brand I should request? Which type/brand comes with the III, for 0A3 and 0C2?

Stone of Tone

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 08/28/11 at 16:39:23

Lon, Interesting that you came back to the straight shoulder RCA. I guess since you have made a lot of system choices with them in place and have liked your sound along and along, this is not surprising.

Interested in your finding the RCA OA3-ST (coke bottle) tart and dry, I put in some eastern block straight OA3s Gopher had gotten. I had found these tubes open and bright in the extreme, but liked them with some tube sets. In context though, my original OA3s are RCA-ST and I rarely used them finding them a bit warm/dark in the low mid down and a bit in my face mids up (which might be what you called tart and dry). So even thought the straight OA3s I have are likely quite different than your RCAs, my reference was not at all the same as yours and I have adapted my system with ST shaped VRs which I would have described generally as notably warmer than the straight OA3 from Gopher. I usually use Sylvania OB3-ST or Sylvania OC3W. Warm and textural without being in my face.

Anyway, I listened to the straight OA3s and with the warm JJ 6CA7s  I am burning in, and the open and sassy National 7DJ8s. They sounded quite good. Then I put in my original RCA OA3-STs and after what in my conditioning could be an extreme openness of the straights, the ST midrange did sound a bit "tart and dry" and the bass and low mids darker and veiled by comparison.

I need to try to find some RCAs like yours to try. But what I am finding as we all flesh out tube preferences for the Torii is that no one tube can really be fairly taken out of the context of the tube set in the amp, unless it is directly compared to others of the same type. And even then, with the preferred set you or I use (aside from the VRs), and one someone else uses, it is hard to get clear on the whole story since each tube changes the sound of all the rest.

I recall that I kept looking for opener and brighter sound in my system as you kept preferring warmer sound. The difference is of course the context of the many things that make systems and tastes, but within this, it is very possible that our different sounding RCA OA3s and how they make all the other tubes sound is a big player in this. Now, your explorations point our that an RCA OA3 is not the same as an RCA OA3. And a straight might sound better in some setups while a coke bottle might sound better in others depending on the rest of the tubes.

Just points to the power tubes have toward influencing the sound of the Torii. Not surprising really since it is such a simple and revealing circuit that each tube set makes a big difference as the signal passes through each until it gets to the speaker wire.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/28/11 at 16:41:54

I'm not convinced these are rare Stone. I just think there are few audio applications out there for online tube specialists to warrant stocking a lot, cryo'ing them, etc. Everytime I look on ebay they're out there NOS and not expensive. I got five pairs of three of the tube types for a total of forty dollars, and three of the five pairs were RCA, two were GE.

I also think that Steve ships the amps with a variety of different brands or at least others here have reported theirs came with different brands than mine did. Mine came with RCA OA3 tubes and Raytheon OC2 tubes.

I would recommend looking into OB3, OC3 and OD3 tubes. I've used the first two types and they do offer different sounds with the amp . . . I ended up pretty much preferring the OA3 type, but we're all differfent, our speakers are different, etc.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/28/11 at 17:06:12

All good points will, and there is also as I see it two different factors in play (not to mention the rooms we all use which are huge factors).

One is speakers. Although I haven't put my HR-1s back in the system recently, I know that I would probably end up with a preference for a different tube in one of the positions. As you note each of the tube positions is an influence on the others, and so each combination can yield different sound. Which can be a great thing, or a maddening thing. I also think the same tube complements will yield differing sound with differing speakers.

In the past this sort of thing led me to go mad swapping tubes and lose a perspective on the music listening experience. I'm trying not to move into that syndrome again! :)

The second factor is I think intent. My intent is to find a tube complement that allows me to reach into my shelves (in either of three rooms I have shelves!) of cds and pull a disc out, pop it in, and have a great listening experience. I have lots of great sounding discs, but far more just plain old mediocre (to be honest) sounding recordings, and if I have a tube complement which makes the great ones sound fantastic, the others just don't sound as well as they could. It's hard to describe what the best complement for my purposes sounds like, but I can't go too far into the analytical and detailed side, and "warm" is probably my safest choice for the sonic output of the majority of the discs I spin. And that is even more the case with the HR-1 speakers, which are more conventionally revealing than the ERRs.

So in a large sense I feel that all we can really say is "I really like the coke bottle style OB3 in my system and with my musical choices, and you may or may not." Which is frustrating in a way; I think it would be comforting to have more comformity and "absolute" results to share.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 08/28/11 at 17:27:52

Stone, I have had good luck finding my various NOS voltage regulators, including both bottle and straight versions on fleabay.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Pale Rider on 08/28/11 at 17:46:01

Lon said:

So in a large sense I feel that all we can really say is "I really like the coke bottle style OB3 in my system and with my musical choices, and you may or may not." Which is frustrating in a way; I think it would be comforting to have more comformity and "absolute" results to share.

Spot on. The "chemist" in me (the one who brewed beer all-grain, ranched his own yeast, used microprocessors to control brewing and lagering temps, and multiple refractometers, etc., and does his espresso similarly), desires some objectivity, so that as we share our experiences across thousands of miles, we actually know what each other is experiencing. But with all the things we cannot factor out (e.g., room shape, size, treatment, let alone the unknowable listener's bias), it may not be possible. On top of that, I am not at all convinced we can even get to consistency among a lot of these tubes. While I am pretty set in my taste for 1960s RCA black plate rectifiers (and I have stockpiled enough to last two more generations), I am not unhappy with the NOS Raytheons, Mullards, and Svetlanas I have. I continue to enjoy the Shuguangs in my Toriis, but I have stocked JJs (6CA7) for the future. (In some respects, I am almost convinced the Hazen circuit is more responsible for the SQ than the tube identity.)

It's almost like people comparing their wine preferences with no point of commonality.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 08/29/11 at 02:09:25

Yep, lots of variables, and no way to get "absolute" comparisons or interpretations about something like sound considering various interpretations of semantics and tastes. And system and room is huge, but with the context of a system/room, adjectives appropriate to the particular values of what we are talking about, and comparisons, our common language can be useful at getting useful impressions across. This makes me think. It always seems to help me when folks list their system, and in the context of this forum, though still subjective, it could be cool to have a little room info or impressions in our forum system signatures. Hmmm.

Anyway, if we say "I like this" and that is all we have, it does not mean a whole lot. But with baseline context, attempts at good audio descriptors, and with comparisons of knowns, it may not be perfect, but it can be richer and easier to interpret toward personal ends.

For example, Lon has a lot of posts here that give a sense of his objectives, expectations, tastes and system. From this background calling the RCA OA3-ST "tart and dry" compared to the RCA OA3 straight means something, and to me was actually sort of revelatory. Especially since my idea of an RCA OA3 had until recently been only a 50s coke bottle shape, with no knowledge that the straight sided NOS RCA OA3 even existed. So when Lon talked about a RCA OA3, and since mine and his both came with the Torii, I assumed we were talking about roughly the same tube.

But back to the explanation thing. If we are familiar with Lon's preferences and system, his saying only "I like it better" is notably less information than the above, but still gives information do to extensive context. But without his system list and a background knowledge of what he likes, wants, and what he gets from his system, "I like it" means well, not much.

The thing in this thread I find particularly interesting is the direct comparison of these specific tube shapes NOS RCA to RCA, and it would tell even more if we knew vintage, and perhaps a few more descriptors, but to me, this comparison is quite useful and I would like to find some straight side RAC OA3s.


Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 08/29/11 at 02:19:57

Pale, I think the Hazen Grid mod is part of the context and it may be that it is more important than tube choices, but each of the six sets of power tubes I have (sick I know) has a distinctly different signature in terms of audio head perspectives! And as hard as I try, my ignorance of the not-so-new acronym language prevails. What is SQ?


Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/29/11 at 03:19:58

"SQ" I think we've been using on this thread to mean "sound quality."

I have a hard time figuring out what the Grid Mod does to the sound as I don't have a control for comparison. I have two Torris with the mod, and two other EL34 amps (Integrated and SE34 Monoblocks) without them. They sound different, but then two are Push Pull and two are Single Ended as well, so many variables.

Still seems to me that the mod is an amazing improvement that makes a big difference. But like will, I hear clear differences in the "signature" of power tubes in the Torii.  I've been very familiar with Winged Cs, and when I've had "Svetlana" tubes in it clearly has a different sound, and when I have had cryo'd Tungsol reissue tubes in they also sound differently. (I use the Tungsol reissues in my Torii Mk II predominantly; I prefer the Winged Cs in my Mk III.)

I have the impression that tube changes have an even bigger effect in the Integrated. When I change any tubes there, input, output, rectifier, there is a strong influence on the total sound output. I use cryo'd Mullard reissue output tubes there, I really like those; at some point I may try a quartet in the Mk III. Not sure if that is because there is no Grid Mod, or the fact that it's an even simpler circuit, or just my imagination. Anyway, I'm really enjoying the Integrated currently in my second system, where I don't need the power of the Torii amp. There's something about the SET "sound". . . not as precise as the Torii, but with just a touch of romance.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by will on 08/29/11 at 03:37:17

Ah sound quality! I know what you mean about the SE thing. I miss my SE34I2+. It had the mod. From your integrated without the mod description..."not as precise and the Torii, but with a touch of romance."....if memory serves me, I suspect that the Hazen Grid mod in your integrated would provide more Torii-like precision while retaining that sweet open touch of romance the integrated has. I recall it sounding eerily open, clarified and liquid without sounding hard in the least.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by Lon on 08/29/11 at 03:42:50

Hmmm. . . probably serves me better then without the Mod; I actually think it works very well with most recordings this way. Especially those my girlfriend loves to listen to, I've learned to like the music, but not the more mainstream pop production and recorded sound. Still, the Integrated manages to bring out a lot from Marc Anthony and Andres Bocelli cds.

Title: Re: TORII SQ
Post by stone_of_tone on 08/30/11 at 05:41:00

Thanks Lon & PR. Your right, I just need to search for them and find/they are out there.  

Stone of Tone

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