AUDIO FORUMS >> General Discussion and Support >> Hi..its me

Message started by Shalamatwazzy on 09/02/13 at 20:03:36

Title: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/02/13 at 20:03:36

Intensely Intrigued by Decware...

Been perusing Steve's website and its so comprehensive it makes me want to join the gang.

I live in the UK so if I want to feel the 'zen' in my life I have the whole import taxes bag to carry man..I'll do it though if its worth it.

Interested in replacing my current solid state amplification..owned an Almarro 318b prior, amongst other things...

So I'm hoping to find some Uk folk here so I can maybe hook up and get to listen prior to taking a USA plunge..but am very happy to hear from any of the Decware dudes out there   :)

Simplified Current set up is :

Modified Lenco GL75-Whest-Avondale-Vandersteen 1c's

Had the Vandee's for the last 4 years and would initially like to use them but at 90db I'm not convinced the 2 watter even doubled up in mono will be sufficient to blow me socks off..I would sincerely hope though that the Tori would do this..

Would welcome suggestions as to where Decware fits in to my system and if accepted how it plans to take over the system, take over me, take over the WORLD!!!!!   ;D ;D

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by jsm71 on 09/02/13 at 20:31:10

Welcome to the site.  I'm pretty new myself and I should be getting the new 25 watt/ch Torii IV soon.  Like you I wanted to move off solid state and I have even less efficient (87dB) speakers than yours.  Luckily a nearby friend has the Torii and I was able to try it with my speakers.  We were able to get volume levels that we had to shout over before the amp started to strain.  That was good enough for me as I don't listen very loudly.  

If during the early going I find I really do want more power, Decware will have two more powerful models.  I hope you can track down someone who will let you hear the great Decware sound.  I found that the Torii brought out better sound from my speakers than I had heard with any other amp.  The Torii should be a great amp for your Vandys but again, you can go with more power if needed.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/02/13 at 20:49:06

Thanks for the welcome jsm71  8-) Are you in England?..Your experience with the Tori and 87db speakers is encouraging..but..I had 15 watts of pure class A with the Almarro 318b into my 1c's and quite often wanted more..however my wife says I'm def amongst other things  ;) ;)...Had this combo for over 2 years so it couldn't have been considered a problem..Almarro had a lot of current swing too but ultimately ran far far too hot..Ive got two young children and the mention of exposed lethal voltage was enough for my wife to soil herself had to go..sweet sweet thing though...

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Doorman on 09/02/13 at 22:28:15

Hi from Canada !
I've owned several Decware amps, and CD players.
The music is beyond reproach, the build quality is superior as well.
You'll be asking why others charge so much more.
Good Luck with your search

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 09/03/13 at 04:54:26

Hi Shalamatwazzy, welcome to the forums ... I can't help you with the location as I'm in Bonita California (which is a stones throw from Baja California Mexico).

You may be interested to know, that I have a Decware Taboo MkII and a Rega Brio-R ... the Taboo puts out 6 watts and the Brio-R puts out 50 watts.  I can tell you this ... the quality of the 1st watt is hugely important in playback and although I like the Brio-R it cannot compete with the soundstage, spank and bass to what the Taboo throws out.

If you haven't done so, I would encourage you to read Steve's paper on Understanding "usable power", Steve has a saying ... "IF FIRST WATT SUCKS WHY CONTINUE?"  and I believe this is a "sound" (pun intended 8-)) philosophy.

That being said, my speakers are very efficient at 95dB, but yours being 90dB and depending on your room size and acoustics may put Decware's lower 2 watt amps up against their limits.

I'm not sure of what your budget is, but Decware does have amps that go all the way up to 60 watts.  So you have a couple options which make sense ... either (1) a lower watt S.E.T. amp and a pair high efficiency speakers, or (2) a higher wattage push pull such as the Torii MKIII (or currently MKIV) and keep your current speakers.  But I don't think I would recommend a 2 watt amp such as the Super Zen with your 90dB speakers ... especially if you like loud music and your room is medium to large sized.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by jsm71 on 09/03/13 at 14:31:19

No, I'm not in England.  I live in Ohio.  I did notice a Colin N. from the United Kingdom on the back of the build list for a TorII MK IV.  I realize that the United Kingdom doesn't really narrow down the location, but at least he would be on the right side of the pond.  :)

Also, being on the back of the list means that Colin has still some waiting to bear through.  I'm "on the bench" which means they are currently building mine.  

Speaker sensitivity ratings are a tricky thing to aim against when trying to size an amps power output.  At 90dB from my experience the Torii should drive your speakers fine, but only you can determine that.  I do hope someone close by speaks up and can help.  

Steve is currently working on a new amp that he has been calling the "mystery amp".  It looks like it will be about 35 watts/ch and is targeted at speakers like ours.  I will be attending the annual Decfest in early October.  He will have this new amp on display.  Ironically he got a chance to test this new amp on my exact speakers.  I have JansZen zA2.1 hybrid electrostatics.  David Janszen stopped by recently and got to play with Steve's mystery amp and his bigger mono blocks.  You can read a brief accouting of this visit here:

I may be looking at this new amp, but I really don't think so based on my earlier tests.  Steve's 25 watts are stronger than that number would suggest.  I was amazed at how much bass and sound weight I was getting.  And again, the volume levels were fine for me but I'll know soon enough.  Lastly, Steve has stressed that he will work with me if I decide I need to step up.  This kind of one on one attention is one of the reasons I decided to purchase.

Title: Re: Hi..its me... Matt from England
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/04/13 at 22:19:22

Cheers jsm71 mate ( hey um whats your name, if don't mind me asking old chap?).. read with interest and also Steve's writing on 'Usable power' which made complete sense..

I would love to hear what the single ended 2 watt can do and I guess the best would be the pair of monos of these..but would almost definitely mean selling on the Vandersteen's and looking for higher efficiency speakers here in the UK..any ideas??..Klipsch again are scarce here..My room is 12 x 19 feet.
The other option is plumbing for the Tori which should drive my Vandee's pretty darn good (remembering the Almarro 318b with 15--18 watts did well)...but concerns me that I may be left wondering if I will have missed out on the special intimacy timber an inner detail that the sweet 2w mono's would surely provide... Man its difficult enough trying to make the right decisions when it comes to this obsessive interest we call hi fidelity..but now add into the mix the logistics for me to own Decware equipment... I'm telling you right now if Steve relocated his business in the south of England I would be his number one customer  ;D

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by jsm71 on 09/05/13 at 00:56:55

Well, I'm certainly not in any position to give out buying advice.  I'm getting my first Decware piece and I'm not even sure it is the right choice.  ;D

I have had the advantage of hearing it first however and it blows away the other tube amps that I have heard up to twice its price.  I have also made the decision to work around my speakers because I think that is the most important item to pick first.  There are many, many other amps including the one I have now that can give me joy with my speakers.  I just want to maximize what they are capable of, and the Decware sound is the most musical I've heard.

If you are comfortable with your speakers, the only real question regarding a Decware amp is how much power will you need.  Your budget will also play a role here.  The Torii MK IV (25 watts/ch) is priced at about $3k until Steve updates the web site.  Get on the list now if that amp interests you and that will hold the price.  You won't be charged until it is ready to ship.  The new Mystery amp (about 35 watts/ch) is hinted to be about a $5k product.

The build list (link near the bottom of the Contact page) has a number of international buyers on it currently so shipping abroad is not new for Decware.  Call Steve if you have questions.  I hope you are getting what you need to make an informed decision.


Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/07/13 at 21:22:39

I have the chance to purchase a UK spec SE34I.2+. around a 3 hour round trip for me.

Should I?

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 09/07/13 at 23:05:21

I'm sure Lon would chime in as a yes ... as I recall him mentioning on several occasions that the SE34I types are one of his favorite Decware Amps.

The integrated gives you the option of not running it with a Preamp and the extra few watts compared to the little 2 watt may help with bigger rooms and/or different speakers.

I would do a search on this forum, I believe you will find a lot of threads/posts about this amp that could help with your decision.  If I got another Decware amp it would be an SE34I type.

I'm running some really efficient speakers right now from Omega Speakers, but they're a US brand and I'm not sure what that would be for shipping, etc. However Omega has been in business for a while and I'm sure a few pairs have ended up accross the pond ... Louis (the Omega designer)  uses a few amps when he designs his speakers and one of them is Decware, so they play really nice together and that may be a brand you can look out for (if horns scare you ;)) ... I tried some horns, but I think my room and listening position was just not optimum for them to sound all that great when in my setup.

Omega has a forum on Audio Circles if you want to read some info on them...

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Lon on 09/08/13 at 02:21:41

If you have the time and inclination to go and hear it I would do so. I had an earlier Integrated model, and before that a pair of Decware EL34 Monoblocks and I loved the sound of these amps. They are a bit more forgiving than the Zen 2 watt amps to my ears, and I could listen to many recordings and really get into the music, whereas the Zen and Select amp that I had I was more conscious of the sound of the recordings. (A lot of the recordings I have are far from audiophile in nature!) I only moved on to the Torii amps because I moved my system out into an area more than twice as large and needed more watts.

Anyway, a good chance to see and hear the amp, and you just might fall in love. They're wonderful machines.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by marky on 09/08/13 at 13:18:40

As you know we pay 20% vat here on the price of electricals.
Customs & Excise duties for some reason is not a fixed science.
I think I paid around 10% average during various transactions with Decware. (5 or 6 parcels).
I went for a pair of SE341`s to use as monoblocs. As Lon says they are superb. I figured their power to be just right to drive 89db (comfortable to just loud in a 15 x 10ft) without cranking right up or having to much slack. And they come in under the Torii`s, Decwares flagship (pre Torii monos) amp. Added the CSP2+ (now 3) to control them and another satisfied cutomer. The CSP is a great, versatile command center.
I never posted earlier as I`m on my back with a touch of sciatica, so far from inviting you round I havent been able to listen myself for a couple of weeks and maybe anther week or two as well, so figured you would go for the Torii iv, which would be logical. Mentioning the SE34 gives you more options.
If you havent decided in another,say, 2 weeks you are welcome to hear my rig.
I chuckling to myself that you wont be able to hold out for 2 weeks.  :)

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/08/13 at 19:04:52

Marky I'm guessing 'here' is the UK right?..sorry to hear about your back..I think I will just buy the SE34I.2+ and take a chance...if it doesn't work out I will re sell..

Loving the look of the Omegas by the way...tick a lot of boxes for me I'm  wondering though where i can get to listen to a pair in the UK?

I'm also tempted to just import a pair but I did get my fingers burnt last time i did this on a pair of ZU Omen, in short I found them to sound awful!!!!

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 09/08/13 at 19:38:54

I know he has a couple importers for other countries such as Australia for sure ... so he may by chance have one for the UK.  

You should contact Louis at Omega or post over at the Audio Circle forums to see if anybody knows for sure.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/08/13 at 20:23:35

Will do Beo...hey thanks by the way folks, your all very helpful...I have a gut feeling that the Omega/Hoyt-Bedford models and am hoping to get to listen to some here in the UK.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/12/13 at 20:38:56

Well its done I have pulled the trigger on the SE34I.2+..pick up on Saturday.. Ill post a pic or two once set up in position..

Have to see how it gets on with driving the vandee's but I suspect the crossover will dissipate most  of the energy before the juice hits the drivers..

The Omegas are front runners as suitable replacements unless somebody can point me in the direction of a better Uk based alternative :)

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Lon on 09/12/13 at 20:58:29


The amp may surprise you and give you enough magic with what you have.. . .until you can do better with speakers.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/12/13 at 21:14:36

Thanks Lon... I'll be sure to let you and the other folks here know how things go after Saturday..

Hey Ive been looking at Decwares interconnects and thinking they will surely maximise things..i have used all sorts but more recently mark grant and also Van damme with neutric phono plugs..

Any experience with the Decware cables

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 00:08:45

Well, I bet the current cables will work fine. I used the Decware Silver Reference cables for years and they're excellent cables for the reasonable price. It took me twice as much and more money to get better cables. Ultimately I moved away from them because I found that copper and copper with silver plating interconnects complement my system more than all silver do. Just a synergy thing. I've moved to VooDoo Audio (Evolution) and Version 2 cables, and also one pair of Analysis Plus between my ZP3 and one of the CSP2+. The Decware are very good especially for "detail freaks." :)

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Lonely Raven on 09/13/13 at 14:36:53

(raises hand) Detail Freak!

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/14/13 at 14:18:14

All set up and .....1 hour in????

It is severely struggling to drive the Vandersteen's..

And I would have to describe the sound as just so so..

Disappointing is the word I would use  :'( :'( :'(

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by marky on 09/14/13 at 15:26:17

Thats tough Shal....Exactly the same as when I had to unhook one of my SE341`s and use one to drive my 898db e/stats. I didn`t listen for long. When I got replacement power tubes for the other one and fired them both up again the magic and power snapped back into action. These low efficiency speakers seem to have a power threshold Lots of members get the magic with say 95+dbs.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Lon on 09/14/13 at 15:42:36

It is sounding "so so" because it's struggling to drive the Vandersteens. Sorry, I thought they would do a bit better. They're awesome amps with the right speakers. . . .

The Torii or the Mystery Amp would be the best for these speakers, but I can understand how that is a problem so far away.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Rivieraranch on 09/14/13 at 17:36:16

You might try the Tekton Lore, which has 8 ohms impedance with 98db sensitivity.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 09/14/13 at 19:13:35

RR said,
You might try the Tekton Lore, which has 8 ohms impedance with 98db sensitivity.

He lives over in the UK ... can you think of any efficient speaker brands that might be more accessible to him?  (Other than Klipsch Horns :))

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/14/13 at 21:22:24

Yep  there's a real lack of high efficiency loudspeakers for the SET guys here in the UK..In fact if I wanted a pair of Klipsch La scala's they are a 400 mile+ round trip away at the one and ONLY UK dealer in and for this privilege it only cost me a mere £8000!! also factor in that they will take over and dominate most typical UK living rooms...

So long live the energy zapping soul robbing overly complex crossover brigade of multiple tiny driver speakers of which Ihave a choice of 1000's here in the UK..all of which require massive amounts of high power solid state to wring some life out of um.. good huh  :P

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 09/14/13 at 21:31:47

By the way ... does that whole VAT + Tax, etc. thing you guys go through apply to imports from all countries or just the USA? :(

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by marky on 09/14/13 at 23:01:35

Theres 20% vat on everything here `cept food,.. and kids clothes I think,  usually factored into the price. You have to pay it  from the EU as well. Buying from the US just incurs custom charges, no vat. So you dont pay double bubble. Works out cost effective even with the postage so it makes sense to buy from Decware in more ways than one.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Rivieraranch on 09/14/13 at 23:37:04

I was thinking that the Lores would be a lot less than the Omegas, notwithstanding the V.A.T.; that's the only reason I suggested them. I do know about that V.A.T.  It's  real killer. We'll have it here someday.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 09/22/13 at 17:26:48

Bottom line im not prepared to order the Omegas blind so I wont get to listen to any. Im selling the SE34I.2+ if anybody's interested here in the UK for £850 or near offer...cheers Matt

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Douger on 10/21/13 at 04:20:09

I just discovered this thread. If you have not sold your amp yet, since you're in the UK are you at all interested in seeing if you can find a good deal on some Tannoy dual concentrics? I am running a Torii MKIII with my Canterbury SE's and it is sublime... I used to run 12" Monitor Golds with 6wpc monoblocks and it was also very good.

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by maddog07 on 10/21/13 at 23:56:19


see if you can find anybody in your vicinity who has built a DIY speaker using Audio Nirvana drivers from which is located here in the states, but he sells worldwide.

I had a Decware SE34I and I currently have a Torii MK.III.  The SE34I will drive the Audio Nirvana's to high levels. The Torii will blow the windows out of your house with the AN drivers - 97-98 db sensitivity installed in a box... a bit less open-baffle.

The SE34I is definitely a tad smoother, more relaxed type sound than the Torii... that some might prefer depending on their sources, room and speakers... but...  in my 30+ years of chasing the holy grail of audio... I have never heard anything, at anywhere near the price, that "gets it done" like the Audio Nirvana/Torii MK.III synergy.  The bass dampening and treble shunt controls on the Torii III really are the cats meow IMO and allow you to dial in how luscious or clinical you prefer your sound.  I have owned more speakers and components over the years than I care to admit... I've probably suffered enough audio depreciation to retire on... but for the 1st time ever, I have no "itch" to get something else.  In fact I just A/B'd the Torii III to the IV... and I'm keeping my III... and having the Jupiter coupling caps installed in it.

If you've never heard a single full-range, high-efficiency driver type of speaker with no crossover - you owe it to yourself to give some a listen.  But I guarantee you there is true magic going on with the Torii and these types of speakers.  I have tried other amps with my Audio Nirvana's, including tube and silicon - the Torii is special with these types of speakers....

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by Shalamatwazzy on 10/22/13 at 20:48:23

I guess your also in the USA mad dog?

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 10/22/13 at 21:20:03

Maddog said,

see if you can find anybody in your vicinity who has built a DIY speaker using Audio Nirvana drivers from which is located here in the states, but he sells worldwide.

This is a great idea if possible.  You can do it with Omega's as well.  There is a thread over at Audio Karma that chronicles a DIY build using the new Omega 7" Alnico drivers.  Louis supplied him the plans and he did it himself ... although if you know a wood worker or have the skills yourself you could save some $$$.

I would go for the Omega 7F though for tubes (which are more sensitive and less expensive).  The thing about single drivers is since the whole driver needs to cover the spectrum of listening I have found that the rolloffs tend to be much smoother than a conventional multi-driver speaker.  And since there are no crossovers the signal is not split - what comes in as a whole, comes out as a whole.  There's no perfect speaker, but they do a lot of things real nice.

It's a good read if you have w few moments. 8-)

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by maddog07 on 10/22/13 at 22:27:06

I concur beowulf... with these "types" of drivers.  You don't have to use Audio Nirvana... that's just what I choose, because the owner/distributor of the brand lives within driving distance of me, so I went to his place and spent a day listening to them - so I knew what I was getting before I laid down my $$$.  Not to mention, these are the only brand of these types of drivers larger than 8" to my knowledge.  Forget all the objectivist blather about how a full-range driver larger than 7-8" can't sound good - let your ears be the judge - I did and I won't be looking back anytime in the foreseeable future.  I have the 12 inch cast frame Alnico model in a 5.6 cu/ft box - ported and tuned to roughly 50hz... when driven by the Torii.. I have not heard better.  They don't do sub-bass... and can't, but they do everything else as good as I've heard.  Electrostatic speed and detail, weight and presence, brushes on cymbals that just float out into the room... they have defied all my 30+ years of what I thought I had come to "know" about how a given speaker design will sound.  I have 6 different types of speakers "on hand"... including horns and stats, along with conventional dynamic driver speakers with xovers... the nirvana's driven by the Torii are the best - no comparison...
They have exceeded my expectations exponentially when driven by a Decware Torii...which as noted by Steve delivers more current into rising impedances which is what makes it such a match for these types of drivers.. at least the audio nirvana's, but I think all these full-range, high-efficiency types of driver have similar impedance curves... one would have to check.
another forum member, Randy in Caintuck.. has experimented extensively with various brands of full-rangers... he has touted great success with the ridiculously cheap full-range "Betsy" driver from Wild Burro Audio.  They are so affordable, a guy might just have to buy a pair to play with.  Randy in Caintuck has a current project on his website using the Betsy.... check it out.  For those of you that attended Decfest... you may have met Randy.... super dude with a vast amount of experience in speaker/driver building and experimentation.... he has been a great source of knowledge for me.. and many others I suspect.

to sum up, if you're on the search for perhaps an "end all"... like the Decware ad on the Torii says... "the last amp you'll ever want" - when paired with a crossoverless full-range, high efficiency speaker, like Omega's, Decware, Cain & Cain, Hornshoppe, etc...  it just may very well be true I'm coming to experience.....  you should absolutely try to hear this combo if you can... before you lay down your $$$ for anything else.  Of course nothing can be the "end all" for everybody, but every single person who has heard mine so far, has been stunned ... from casual listeners to hardcore philes with $100k + systems.  Game changing revelation... and a lot of high $$ gear showing up on agon at severely depreciated prices.  Money talks... bs walks... put your $$ where your mouth is, blah, blah, blah - all applies here.

maddog07 signing off....

Title: Re: Hi..its me
Post by beowulf on 10/24/13 at 00:47:46

Those Audio Nirvana's look pretty sweet, they have some very big drivers!  I would love to hear some.

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