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AUDIO FORUMS >> General Discussion and Support >> Hello, and some questions...
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Message started by Mark on 06/09/12 at 04:45:59

Title: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/09/12 at 04:45:59

Hello: I am a pianist and lover of good sound, but am on a tight budget. I've also spent more time than I can recall in front of a Revox A77 recording choral and chamber music with good omni-directional mikes.

I currently have a pair of kit speakers, Tang Band D3-1's, back-horn loaded, front-firing horns... They are rated at 88 db, but my experience tells me that they are more like 92 db... 3" full-range drivers, but oh, what a mighty 3" they are...

My room is 13 ' x 17',  and the speakers fire into the length... 5/8" fire code drywall, nothing on the walls... I sit about ten feet from the speakers. I currently have a Musical Paradise MP 301 MK II SET amp, but I think I can do much better, IMHO... The amp has about 4 WPC... I normally listen with the volume control at about 9:00, but 10:00 at the highest...

I have been lusting after a Zen Triode for some time now-- long enough, in fact, for it to have gone through a few iterations... But at the beginning of July, I'll finally have enough dough in my hot little hands to order one...

I was unable to post a link to the Tang Band D3-1's but they can be found on the TB website...

Anyway, any comments on this issue would be greatly appreciated...

Thanks, and best regards, Mark.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Rivieraranch on 06/09/12 at 13:17:58

Welcome. I am sure that the ZEN amp will do a fine job with this setup of yours.  

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lon on 06/09/12 at 14:05:53

Welcome! I think you'll have years of deep musical enjoyment from a Zen amp!

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/09/12 at 16:47:50

Thanks for the input...

So I guess what I'm hearing here is a thumbs-up for the Zen amp... As they say, there's only one real way to find out if the pairing works... But a full-range driver speaker of that size in a small room just has to be a good match...

I prefer an almost clinical sound... I hope I can get a tube compliment that fulfills that need... (m.)




Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lon on 06/09/12 at 16:50:38

I think the tube set shipped should suit you. I recommend listening to that through to the other side of breakin before rolling other tubes. I'd say that the stock tube set of almost every Decware amp I've bought was a bit clinical sounding. Should float your boat!

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/10/12 at 19:40:03

I've been thinking about this very thing... First off, it's hard to tell if Tang Bang rated my speakers correctly...  With my current 4 WPC SET amp, I typically set the volume at 9:00... 10:00 tops...

But the Zen is rated at 2.3 W into 4 ohms nominal, not 8... So that would put me at about half the rated power output into 8 ohms, right?  It feels like the whole thing might be right at the margin... I do have a small room, and play mostly classical chamber music at moderate levels...  

I could try the Zen, then if it doesn't work out, return it... But I don't like to return things... It seems too much like 'renting' a component, which I hated to experience when I sold audio in the 70's...

I just can't believe that a single 3" full-range driver speaker like the TB D3-1 would not work with the Zen; but then again, you really don't know for sure unless you hook the thing up and try it out... (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Doorman on 06/10/12 at 20:23:16

It'll work, but with much less available headroom.
Having gone myself from a Zen "Select" to a SE34I, the difference on the exact same speakers is huge.
They really come alive with the extra headroom.
Don

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/10/12 at 22:37:02

Right... Just looked it up... 6.5 WPC... I did roll some EL 34B's into the amp for output, and put in a matched pair of NOS 5693 RCA metal 'red' tubes for drivers...   I don't want to get into an extended discussion about my current amp, but it does do the job...

I just think it lacks finesse... For my money, and if I were Decware, I'd design a 'small box' SET around the EL 34... I see they use them in some of their other amplifiers... It's really a good audio tube...  

They also have a nice CD player based on the Tascam CD 200 format... A faultless player that can be modded easily... As they say, a real sleeper... But I digress...   (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/10/12 at 23:10:04

Oh, my... That's a nice unit... A bit out of my range, though... I could sell off the furniture... That in itself is a good mod...

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/13/12 at 16:27:47

Just a little update here:  I've been reading all the Decware papers on amplifier power, and have read a bunch of other papers trying to correlate the data as it might concern my speakers and the Zen triode...

I e-mailed Tang Band, and they said, that if I wanted to be finicky about it, the D3-1's actually measure out around 90 / 91 db, and nominal impedance is closer to 6 ohms...

I have to tell you, I've never been on the fence over a piece of audio gear as much as I have on the Zen triode...

Given the size and config. of my room / listening position, the fact that I listen at moderate levels all the time, and that my program material is limited to chamber music-- and also that the Zen may very well deliver close to the useable power of my current amp, I think I'm going to get my feet wet here and just go ahead and order one (early Jul)... The worst case here is if I audition the amp and find it wanting, I take a hit for the restocking fee and round-trip shipping... I think I can live with that...

I mean, in my experience in audio, there comes a time when you need to put specs aside, and just fire the damn thing up and see what you've got...   (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lon on 06/13/12 at 16:43:38

Wise decision. You can always take that bite of return, or. . . you could probably sell it here. Someone might well buy it. . .no waiting. That's a big deal, the waiting.

Which brings me to: why not order it now? Unless you do paypal, You won't be charged til shipping, and if you wait two, three, four weeks to order, that's two, three, four more months of waiting. . . :)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lord Soth on 06/13/12 at 16:54:46

Yes, based on my experience with Decware, due to the long waiting time involved, should you ever be tempted into buying any of their amps, that is the perfect time to make your purchase!

It can take 4 months.

Before I got my amp, there were many times during the waiting time when I kept telling myself that I should not have sat on the fence.....

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/13/12 at 17:44:39

OK, maybe I can get some clarification here: I do have PayPal, but also have a VISA debit card, which acts as a credit card, but just draws down on my bank account...  

1) You mean to say that I can order now with my debit card, and I will not see any charges until they actually ship the amp?... Note: I will have the entire amount for amp and shipping in my account on July 1st anyway, but I obviously don't want to get into any trouble with anyone trying to put through a charge or even a hold before that...

2) What is so significant about ordering the amp now vs. July 1st?... Is there some kind of notch point after which orders get more tied up or some such thing?...

3) I never even thought about the resell [here] alternative... That would void the warranty, wouldn't it?...    (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lon on 06/13/12 at 17:52:55

I guess that a call to Sarah or DeVon is the safest way to get a definitive answer, but I believe that you are not charged until the amp is shipped. Looked on the website for verification, but didn't see it.

Nothing special about July, it's just that the wait is so long for amps that the sooner you get an order in, the sooner an amp comes your way.

An amp's warranty can be restored and assigned to the new owner by shipping the amp in to Decware for a thorough bench test. A charge applies. Details are on the web site.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lord Soth on 06/13/12 at 18:30:47

If you opt to pay by Credit Card directly (to Decware), your Credit Card will not be charged until your amp is shipped out which is usually 4 months from the date you placed your order.

If you opt to pay by Paypal, Paypal will charge your credit card immediately on the day you place your order with Decware. You are basically making an advanced payment before your amp actually ships out.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/13/12 at 18:50:32

OK... Good info on both posts... Thanks... My trigger finger is getting itchy, folks... Although considering the wait, it really is deferring the satisfaction... Too bad they don't have a loaner program...   (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by marky on 06/13/12 at 20:23:26

Hi mark, I`ve just had my shipment notification. I went through paypal and they didn`t ask for payment untill my units were built and tested.  Slight glitch, I had to wait a week to `verify` my account with paypal so as to bypass spending limits.  Wow, the ZP3 & ZMC-1 phono set-up + p/chord & silver i/connect are winging their way to me as I type.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/13/12 at 21:29:04

Good to know... In one respect, I kinda wish they'd take the money out of my account right away when I order, so I wouldn't constantly have to earmark that amount... My Pay Pal account is tied in with my bank account... But it really doesn't matter one way or the other... Although getting in an early order would be nice...  It's just that I'm not very used to purchasing something without the money being there first...

I'll mull the issue over tonight...   (m.)


Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Rivieraranch on 06/13/12 at 23:15:47

The little ZEN amp is a treasure. The rule has been to get one and try it with your current speakers. Chances are it will knock the socks off your current amp. In time, you may wish to explore different speakers, when your audio budget allows. On the other hand, you may be very satisfied with your current setup with the ZEN in place.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/13/12 at 23:51:45

Hello: I'm pretty much a set-it-up-and-then-leave-it kind of guy... Once I get a system sounding good to my ears, I'm pretty much off buying program material after that...

I want to relate something here: Being on a tight budget, I got my entre' into SET amps via Chinese tube gear-- and I want to tell you that my first amp, a Music Angel X-3, sounded superb to my ears... The only thing was that it was a very [very] poor build quality... The power switch fell out of the oversized knock-out... One RCA jack ground shroud actually came out with the plug!... One channel was down about 3db from the other until I found some trim pots inside for balancing... But the thing sounded like music...

My second SET is the one I have now... The Musical Paradise MP 301MK II... It's well built, but doesn't sound quite as good as the Music Angel to my ears... And my ears are used to live music mostly... Or recording live music, and listening through the mic preamps with headphones... That's about as real as it gets...

Back to Decware: If recording musicians like this stuff, then it just has to be good, IMO...  That's a very demanding litmus test, really...  The only issue is something that I never really came up against before, and that is the power equation... But I think the Zen will do it for me, and I'm willing to take a chance on it...   (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/14/12 at 01:37:47

OK, folks... I did the dirty deed... I just ordered the Zen with my CC... The order page said that there would be no charge until the amp shipped... The same page did say that a PayPal sale would charge out right away, just for info's sake...

I would like to thank you all for your help... Best regards, Mark. ps: Any more comments here would be welcome...

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lon on 06/14/12 at 01:40:36

Congrats. I think you're going to enjoy the amp. . . perhaps not the wait. :) (I'm in the same boat, waiting on a CSP2+ as well as waiting a repair on a CSP2.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/14/12 at 02:34:21

Thanks, Lon... My audio intuition tells me that this will be a winner... Yes, and now the wait... Maybe I can print up a pic of the amp and put it over my current amp... Yea, that might work...  ;)   (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lon on 06/14/12 at 03:17:49

Ah, that was a good one, made me LOL!

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Lord Soth on 06/14/12 at 13:17:36

Hi Mark,

Welcome to the club!  :)

You can get status updates over here

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1308588670/0

Cheers!

Lord Soth


Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/14/12 at 16:01:08

I do want to add some info here as to why I'm going for a small-box SET amp: The whole system was supposed to be a table-top mini sort of system for reference use... My apt. in town ( I also have a cabin) is very small, and I needed to stick the whole affair in a place where it would work, and not get in the way...

The other criteria was that the whole system, including I/C's and cabling would cost no more than $1000.00... ( the Zen will take it well over this mark)...

BTW, here is the concept:  

So, the Zen fits nicely into this format... The only issue was the speaker / amp interface... And yes, I know the speakers could be better placed, but my space requirements [here and now] just won't allow it... But I think the Zen will be perfect for my needs here...

I need to throw a CD in, and just play and enjoy it at moderate volume levels... (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Douger on 06/16/12 at 22:14:34

Welcome to Decware. I just got my Torii Mk III and am delighted.
Steve designs amps very conservatively and I would be surprised if yours does not outperform both of the amps you have mentioned... Mine is certainly worth the wait!

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Rivieraranch on 06/16/12 at 23:33:42

Nice little setup. In the future you may wish to consider selling the old amp and speakers and buying a pair of TRAPEZIUM desktop speakers. They truly outperform any bookshelf type speaker and give full rangers a run for their money.

Get the ZEN first and see how it does. I am sure it will do great in your setup. Then plan for the future.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/17/12 at 01:30:27

Right... I'm leaving everything as is until I try the Zen... Then about a month's evaluation and break-in... I think the pairing will work out OK; but in the event that it doesn't, I've decided to keep the Zen, and go in for these:  http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/full-range-speaker-kits/fostex-bk-12m-folded-horn-kit-pair/  (no affiliation)

They are only 7" wide, 14" deep, and 31" high... I'll have to get a lower shelf unit... I found something ideal, here: http://www.thesimpletvstandstore.com/p-20687-simply-modern-43-wide-tribeca-metallic-frame-tv-stand-optional-storage-bins.aspx (no affiliation)

...which will still put the drivers at ear level when I'm sitting, and still allow me to mount the speakers on the top, which is more than rated (weight-wise) for both speakers (30lbs x 2) and the Zen amp... The other rather constricting criterion was that the width of the whole shelf unit can't be more than 46"... But the aforementioned unit is within that size range...

Of course, the speakers will be firing (straight) forward only... And that is why I'm opting for a rear horn loaded / totally front-firing arrangement... The speakers are still deep enough to put the driver(s) out from the wall enough... They do end up quite close together, but the scale of the seperation is close enough to be good if I am about 8 ft away from them... (m.)





Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by clowkoy on 06/17/12 at 12:35:23

Too bad you've already ordered. I'm selling my 5-month old Zen. I'm jumping over the Bottlehead fence.

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by Mark on 06/17/12 at 13:39:14

I'm sure you'll find a qualified buyer soon... Good luck in your endeavors... Just be careful not to start chasing the holy grail... Enjoy the ride...  (m.)

Title: Re: Hello, and some questions...
Post by 2Bornot2B on 08/16/12 at 23:45:20

Clowkey
Is the Zen still available? What are you asking for it?

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