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Message started by Lon on 04/09/18 at 20:25:19

Title: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/09/18 at 20:25:19

Thought I would start a thread for these new phenomenal amps.

I received my pair today and set them up. I have a hum that I'll have to track down probably because of moving my cables about a bit. . . . The AC-12 power cords are very hard to get in place and that was an effort and I probably have a power cord intersecting with an interconnect cable somewhere in a way it does not like, I'll track that down later, just a small hum.

The immediate impression is one of relief because not only does it appear that I am getting all the loudness that I need, there even seems to be more "useable" loudness than with the Taboo Mk IV strange as that seems.

And what a difference in sound between the two. The Taboo now sounds closed in and old style romantic in comparison to the Monoblocks which are wide open and "fast" sounding. in comparison. It's early and I can definitely tell that these amps will need some hours on them to bloom and I probably won't say too much about them other than:

--they are beautiful; look just like the "non-25th" except that I have a treble cut circuit knob on the front of each of mine in the outside corner
--they are very adjustable between the "bias" choice for both input and output tubes (and in my case the treble cut circuit)
--they dispense clear and detailed sound with micro and macro dynamics
--they are probably going to stay right where they are giving me great sound for a long long time . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Dave Evans on 04/09/18 at 20:31:19


Many thanks Lon

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Archie on 04/09/18 at 23:45:16

Looking forward to more impressions as time goes on.  Are you using the Z Amigos at this point?  Especially the ZROCK2?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/10/18 at 01:05:55

Oh yes, I'm sold on my ZAMIGO set up so I have my PS Audio DSD, my Oppo UDP-205 and my Magnum Dynalab 90T SE tuner all connected via balanced cabling to the ZTPRE, the ZTPRE to the ZBIT (two stereo single-ended outputs on this one) and the ZBIT to the ZROCK2 with one output and now to the Taboo Mk IV for headphone use with the other, the ZROCK2 is connected to the Monoblocks.

I was able to run the amps from 3 til 8 and they kept opening up and sounding better. They are reminding me of the Torii Mk III in the sense of headroom they have (crazy, they seem louder and more powerful than the Taboo and they aren't!) and I think that's also in part because of the OA3 and OC2 tubes that they share with the Torii and also the treble cut circuit which allows me to get just the right treble I want as with the Toriis). And I can tell there is more tonal and dynamic detail, not highlighted detail, "enveloping" detail.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/10/18 at 04:12:14

Congrats Lon! I'm so close to pulling trigger on these. Just need to figure out how much taxes will cost first. Excited to read your experiences that will come. Mind sharing some photos? :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/10/18 at 10:45:43

Sorry, I don't have a camera and don't do photos. I got my wife's camera out a bit ago to take photos of two components that I will soon put up for sale, and gosh, I'm no photographer.

The amps look exactly like those Juan (busterfree) posted and that are on the product page. . . except a little toggle and knob in a corner of each which is the treble cut circuit. Mine have the walnut bases. Love the elegant simplicity of the black top. . . The look is so close to the ZP3's but my ZP3 is a white top version.

Can't wait to do more listening today! And yes, I have to work on taxes this week as well. . . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/10/18 at 21:56:24

I've been listening to these amps all day from 6:30 a.m. to now. I have the stock (red-tipped!) tubes in except for the rectifiers--I just don't like the sound of those Valve Art 274B and I am using a matched pair of 'fifties RCA coke bottle shaped Type 80 rectifiers.

In the "Developments" thread Steve said of the first pair of these amps that they are "male." I have to agree. They just ooze POWER. They dance like a boxer with dynamics and graceful pace and they can deliver real knockout sonics when it's there on the recording, can really shift from a whisper to a roar.

Now I LIVE with my stereo. I don't have a treated room, don't sequester myself in a dedicated space. There are those who posit that it may not make sense to have this new "edition" of the Zen amp unless one really was in a treated space. Well. . . sorry to disappoint those as one can immediately sense how different these amps are. They throw an atmosphere, you are injected into a world of the sound. There's more detail for sure, but it's a bit mind-boggling as nothing stands out, it's all presented at once in the air and you experience it rather than finger point to it. I notice the "room" in the recordings, the tonal textures, the little energy shift in the attack of the instruments via the player.

These two amps have all that I loved about the Torii Mk IIIs and all that I loved about the Taboo Mk IV driving my HR-1s. . . they don't leave me wanting or needing anything else. I rolled some tubes and I'm back to the stock except for the rectifiers. . . these just are delivering. I now have 6N5P in the ZTPRE and the Monoblocks, this tube is a great discovery for the Decware amps.

As Steve has been seduced into just listening and listening that is all I want to do as well. I have to do other things starting tomorrow. . . but I know I will want to just listen.

The fact that I know they are going to GET BETTER. . . that is another mind-boggling thing. But I know they will.

I'm sincerely grateful to Steve for the design and execution of these SE84UFO3 Monoblocks. More impressions to follow, I'm sure. . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Donnie on 04/10/18 at 23:22:54

I'm always confused by buying something and immediately changing everything about it.
In my mind, Steve voiced this amplifier over the last few months, taking his time in trying different things out, figuring out what he thought sounded right.
Does changing the tubes out really make it better, or just different?
Maybe I just don't have the "golden ears" or whatnot. I just trust Steve to sell me what I need.
I guess I'm funny that way.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/11/18 at 00:07:11

Donnie, Steve himself puts in different tubes and listens to them in listening sessions and development sessions etc. Rolling a different tube can really bring some revelatory sound at times. Steve can't ship amps with exotic NOS tubes due to pricing and availability, and he supplies well-tested tubes that he can re-supply but there's no harm in rolling tubes to see how that influences the sound and see if there's a special "synergy" or improved sound in a system.

Lately I've come back most often to using the tubes supplied for a few reasons, but I just don't like the rectifier he has been supplying lately and prefer a Type 80 or 5Y3G type--Steve's photo of the 25th Anniversary Zen amp shows a Type 80 in place. If you read the development thread he was using a 7DJ8 for a while. If you don't hear differences, count your blessings. . . tube-rolling can be an additional expense but many of us find it to be a fun part of the hobby. I personally find it educational, I learn a lot about the potential of the amps doing that. I usually break an amp in before doing any serious tube-rolling, but sometimes I roll tubes to sort of ameliorate the sound when an amp is breaking in and in a "dull" or "harsh" period (it happens). Anyway, to each their own.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/11/18 at 04:48:21


Lon,

I couldn't be more pleased to hear your positive impressions of these new amps! †I didn't let them leave the building until they got me excited in my own listening room. †This is the fourth pair I think... and they are really consistent. †They have a certain "IT" that as soon as you hear it you know you are there. †So far each pair has sounded exactly the same and that's a really good thing because the sound is at the very top of the Zen Triode ladder, and the consistency gives me confidence. †Your impressions give me even more confidence as I've learned to trust your hearing over the years.

Also good to hear you feel the difference is justified even in a real world listening environment which the vast majority of audiophiles live in!

I admit I was worried. I tested them on the HR-1's for a day or so before they left and in my fairly dead room which is about -2dB from what it was before I put carpet in it, I felt somewhat robbed. I needed that 2dB. I knew it would fall right on the line at your place and I was uncertain as to which side of the wall Humpty would fall ;)

You are right, they don't have more power than the Taboo. The reason they are creating more "usable power" can only be attributed to the speed. We have learned that density is a watt multiplier, and now we are learning that speed is also a watt multiplier. †Can you honestly imagine a 2 watt amplifier sound this complete...as if it were 10 or 20 watts? †It's crazy right?

God Bless you for choosing the Type 80 rectifier with adapter. If I could that would absolutely be my choice for the the stock rectifier for this amp. The 274B is still the best sounding in current production that's affordable. That said, a real type 80 globe rectifier is magical and highly recommended.

I have to almost laugh when I hear you describe the sound of the Taboo compared to your new un burned-in monos. The same thing happened to Joe and myself when after listening for several hours we put in the TORII JR and the sudden contrast created a comparator that suggested the same thing. It was the first time in Decware history I heard one of my own children sound a little off.

You and I both are in love with the Taboo MK4. It's so damn good. Even without lucid mode the pentode output stage and floating ground brings something to the table that is truly special. To make that sound, well, bad, is a real accomplishment don't you think?

Can't wait to see how these amps unravel your head in future posts to see if there are any parallels to my own euphoria!

Happy listening and God's speed.

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/11/18 at 13:42:21

I'm loving these amps Steve as I knew I would when I fell in love witht eh SEP sound of the Taboo Mk IV. I'll try to be silent a few days as I do our taxes and do more listening. . . .There's a lot to wrap your ears and mind around with these amps as they are "familiar" and yet so different as well.

I did one more change with tubes. . . . My wife was so intrigued by the OA3 and their huge top to bottom orange glow she says "Those must be burning hot!" I pulled one out and showed her that actually they were just a little warm to the touch. That really surprised her. . . but ultimately she was distressed that they glowed so much right in her line of sight as she sprawls across the couch. So I dug out a "magic" pair of rectifiers that I had used a lot in the Torii Mk III. They are old, they are labeled Arcturus and "OA3" but they glow like an "OB3" and only have the glow exposed at the top of the tube. Problem solved for Lucy. . . and in fact the sound is excellent. These two tubes have an interesting and appealing texture and give a bit more of a center fill to the sound and have a hint of warmth that is nice to have. So I will leave these in enjoy the sound. . . .

Yes, I'm wiling to believe that "speed equals watts" as my ears and brain tell me this to be a true impression. "Density equals watts" is a reality in my system as well with my "ZAMIGOS" pumping gain into the amps. . . this was first really evident with the Taboo and immediately evident with the Monoblocks. I love the Taboo . . . and now it's back in service as a headphone amp. . .win win as it's amazing with headphones!

These amps are so worth the wait and I'm so glad they are here. They really do work well with the HR-1s, which was the only fear I had. Thanks for all the zen and work that led to these!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/11/18 at 14:47:19

One more add: I do really like the Type 80 rectifiers in these amps. . . not surprising as I have liked the 5Y3 types previously. I do have one "globe" Type 80, an Arcturus, but not a pair. I can't say I prefer the Arcturus to the RCA bottle-shaped. . . but I will target getting a pair of the "globe" type in the near future to give them a good comparison.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by JD on 04/11/18 at 14:49:22

Congrats Lon enjoy the tunes.

JD

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/11/18 at 15:27:10

Thanks!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by SonicSeeker on 04/11/18 at 18:05:00

Congrats Lon.
Look forward to hearing more.
Enjoy.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/11/18 at 19:22:11

Thanks! Everything's sounding mighty fine right now as i wrap up my federal taxes. On to State. . . or maybe tomorrow for the state taxes. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Archie on 04/12/18 at 01:11:11


Quote:
One more add: I do really like the Type 80 rectifiers in these amps. . . not surprising as I have liked the 5Y3 types previously. I do have one "globe" Type 80, an Arcturus, but not a pair. I can't say I prefer the Arcturus to the RCA bottle-shaped. . . but I will target getting a pair of the "globe" type in the near future to give them a good comparison.


I've been seeing the various mentions in this Forum about the Type 80 rectifier and I'm getting curious to try them.  Would these work in both the ZP3 and CSP3?  What do you (and others) recommend as far as tube and amp to try them in?  I guess I'd need the tubes and the 4 to 8 pin adaptors?  Searching ebay these don't seem especially expensive -- or am I looking at the wrong tubes.   :P

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/12/18 at 01:19:25

No not terribly expensive. Yes, they'll work in the CSP preamps (I have one in a CSP2+ right now) as well as the ZP3 and the Zen Amps . . . I have a pair of Tung-Sol bottle-shaped in my Torii Mk III as well. As a rule of thumb they're electrically pretty identical if not identical to the 5Y3 tube that followed them historically so any of the components that †use this tube will use the 80.

They are not very expensive. The oldest is the "Globe" shape which I have seen dated into the 'twenties. I have one of these, an Arcturus and it sounds pretty nice but a pair of 'fifties bottle-shaped sound better to me. I also have a pair of straight short RCA tubes that look a lot like the basic 5Y3 that sound pretty good. The globe shape, which are also known as 280 and 380, are often the most expensive in unused matched pairs as . . . well they're old. But there's good priced examples of all the types out there.

The converters are easy to get too. I have a pair of bakelite ones and also three porcelain and brass ones that Steve also seems to use that may sound a bit better and are more expensive. They certainly look nice!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Archie on 04/12/18 at 01:30:21

Thanks Lon.  If and when I get some spare time I'll look some of these up!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by jorgen on 04/12/18 at 13:12:59

Hi Lon.

Congrats on your new amps. Been reading about the upgrade and Iím seriously considering to ship my ordinary mono amps for this upgrade. Curious to learn if anyone who have had them updated could give some impressions before and after. Itís a lot money, but also about the only thing I spend money on... so I guess Iím going to do it sooner or later.

I have to say the ones I got isnít exactly slow and boring either,

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/12/18 at 13:16:53

Jorgen, I hope that someone chimes in with info for you, it seems two or three people have done this so far and will probably be receiving their amps soon.

I don't have experience with the previous version of the Monoblocks--I'm sure they sound fantastic as well and reports certainly have been positive! I'm really enjoying these new "25th" ones and I'm sure you would too, but I also am sure that the shipping alone is a big expense.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by alper_yilmaz on 04/12/18 at 16:17:44

Hi Lon,

Congrats on the Monos!

I know it is a bit early to make comments on this, but is it possible to make a preliminary comparison between the UFO versus the 25th Anniversary upgrades as of yet?  Among the three Decware amps I have (SE84UFO, SE34I.2+ and TABOO mkIII), the one with the UFO transformers surpass anything I have listened to from Decware (including a TORII mkII and the early versions of SE84s) not by a hair, but by a huge margin.  In other words, the UFO upgrade improved the whole sound so significantly that I cannot even conceive if the sound can be improved any further at all!

After hearing all the hype about the 25th Ann. upgrade, I might still consider selling my SE84UFO and invest in an SE84UFO25.  One thing that I am not fully comfortable with is the number of tubes on that amp though.  With 7 tubes instead of 4, there are a total of 5 tubes to roll which makes the itch more painful than fun!  :)  You know I really like simplicity in my signal chain, so apart from using a preamp (maybe), I stay away from other additional components.  So I am also questioning myself re: if an amp having only input, output and rectifier tubes is complex enough already...

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/12/18 at 16:47:27

Alper,

I can't make that comparison. I have two Taboos, a Mk IV with the UFO transformers and a Mk III without. The only "Zen Amp" I currently have is a C amp modded by Eddie Vaughan to be a power amp only (that's the only mod I know of though I suspect there's more). So I can't really make any comparison between one of the Zen "UFO" amps and these new UFP plus the anniversary mod.

My gut tells me though that you would immediately sense a difference, a distinct improvement, with the 25th Anniversary Zen. There's more "there" there. All those things that you like about the UFO (I love the UFO transformers in my Taboo Mk IV) should stand even more amplified. I would say be patient and wait for a direct comparison. . . or get in the queue for one of the amps when they are released. . . I don't doubt you would feel the improvements are worthy.

I was for a long time in the "keep it simple" camp, and what could be simpler than the Zen circuit as it was first conceived. But my position has been turned on its head with the ZTPRE and ZBIT and ZROCK2. . .three more components that should be cluttering up the sound but instead magnified the sound and made everything so much more "real." So I would not worry about additional tubes and caps. . . Steve knows what he's doing and you may not NEED to do any tube-rolling. . . the new 6N5P that Steve is supplying is an excellent tube, and I'm sure all the regulation tubes will be. I've been rolling those in the Torii Mk III amps and they make a difference, but not as much as other tubes in these circuits.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 04/12/18 at 16:47:45

Alper,
Based on what I have read from Steve's commentary along the way, I would guess that tube rolling is not necessary and that burden can be avoided altogether. If this amp turns out as good as what Steve proclaims, right out of the box, as-is, will be a transformational experience.  

As far as the number of tubes in the 25th, two of the seven are voltage regulators and are not in the signal path.  Much of the additional complexity of this amp is in the power supply chain, not the signal path.  So, I would not consider the switch from your SE84UFO to the 25th as adding anything that would degrade the sound purity or otherwise get in the way of the recording.  Based on the position of the RCA inputs, it may be that from point-to-point, there is less in the way with this 25th than the SE84UFO.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by alper_yilmaz on 04/12/18 at 18:50:11

Dear Lon and Jeff,

Thanks for your immediate input!  Sounds like I will need to hop on the train for the SE84UFO25!

Cheers,

Alper


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by busterfree on 04/13/18 at 01:02:39


Quote:
Congrats on your new amps. Been reading about the upgrade and Iím seriously considering to ship my ordinary mono amps for this upgrade. Curious to learn if anyone who have had them updated could give some impressions before and after. Itís a lot money, but also about the only thing I spend money on... so I guess Iím going to do it sooner or later.

I have to say the ones I got isnít exactly slow and boring either,


My amps are still burning in after the modification. I am still running my original tubes. I do not get to listen as often as I want, but these amps make me want to listen more often. I can get lost in the music. I have toe tapping experiences. It is great. This is with the stock tubes. I plan to roll tubes at some point.

While the amps went back home for modification, I listened to my SE84UFO with a $200 rectifier and $200 input tube in the same system. I enjoyed it but not as much as my SE84UFO3 with 25th mod with stock tubes.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/18/18 at 17:03:32

Juan,
Will be quite interested to hear the results of any tube-rolling you do.

I have over 80 hours on my pair today and they are sounding better day by day. (I want to note that I am using both a PS Audio P10 and a Decware ZROCK2--both of these components so strongly influence my system that I feel they must be mentioned when talking of the "sound" of anything in the system).

The soundscape has opened up and gotten wider and deeper. The tonal balance has been evolving and I have been adjusting it with the treble cut-circuit in the amps and the ZROCK2.

This is the most "atmospheric" amp I've ever had. The Torii Mk III was the best in this regard previously and I had thought it was the "power" of that 25 watts that was the key. Instead it appears it was the "speed" and "density" as this two watt amp has both those in spades.

My experience mirrors Juan's--I get lost in the music and sound and my toes are tapping!

I am actually only using the original 6N5P input tubes at this point. A few days ago it seemed time to roll some tubes and I ended up with a pair of Tung-Sol Type 80 rectifiers, Westinghouse OA3 (that are probably RCA made), and SV83 output tubes--I really like the SV83 more than the military version of the tube--warmer, smoother by a hair each.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/20/18 at 00:45:44

The Monoblocks have hit the 100 hour mark of music playing through them . . .and boy do they sound awesome. . . .

I did some tube-rolling today. For a spell I preferred my oldest pair of RCA 5V4G bottle-shaped rectifiers, but I went back to the Tung-Sol Type 80s as the RCAs were just a bit too "spacey." I unseated the 6N5P. . . it's a fantastic tube but it was just a bit TOO fast for my system these days. . . I put in a pair of GE 6DJ8 "Smokies" that add just a little bit of shadow and body. It's just right right now. . . SV83 output tubes and Westinghouse (probably made by RCA) OA3s complete the complement.

Today I have heard little peeks of info that I never heard before on some of the music I've listened to, and the sound of DVR shows has been spooky. These amps ARE a step beyond their predecessors. . . they have a "hugeness" to them that certainly belies their 2.7 watts per channel, and they project a distinct atmosphere to slip into. . . I told my wife they were "moody" and she said that would make them a perfect match for me (BURN!) . . . . She likes their sound too, she hears that they are different. She thinks I'm lying when I tell her how powerful they actually are.

A few days ago in trying to find a way to describe these I found myself feeling as if I were the microphone. In some cases it seems as your ears are a single stereo microphone that is picking up all the sound. In a way this feels right because you seem to have bypassed all the other stages of the music and be that closer to the performances.

I also feel these will season further and open up more. Which is almost a scary thought.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by lazb on 04/20/18 at 14:21:32

;D   told you!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by alper_yilmaz on 04/20/18 at 19:34:42

Hi Jeff,

I just re-read your message quoted below.

"As far as the number of tubes in the 25th, two of the seven are voltage regulators and are not in the signal path.  Much of the additional complexity of this amp is in the power supply chain, not the signal path."

Do you happen to know if the upgrade with respect to the power supply chain contributes to the cleanliness of DC or it improves the headroom, or both.  If it is about cleanliness, I have Stein Music's "Inline Power 2" and Blacknoise's power filters on both of my systems, which increase the speed a lot and provides me with a much darker background.

Maybe Steve can chime in here as well!  :)

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/21/18 at 19:45:11

Slipped in a few hours of listening today. Put the 6N5P back in as well as the Arcturus OB3s that are labeled OA3. And the Tung-Sol Type 80 bottle-shaped rectifiers are back in as well. This is the best all-around sound complement right now in the amps' "seasoning."

I have no doubt that in a treated dedicated room these amps would just toss one into an alternate sonic universe. . . I can see why Steve has 16 hour sessions. In my living space they are very involving, inviting, musical and communicative. My wife turned to me an hour ago and said "That sounds REALLY nice." For her to even notice says a lot.

These little devils sound better day by day.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/27/18 at 21:31:56

I have about 150 hours on the Monoblocks so far and they are sounding very "alive," opened up more than the first week.

I've a pretty good handle on the "signature" now having gone through tubes and also different gain settings on the amps and ZTPRE and ZBIT and also different modes and voltage etc. on the PS Audio P10. It's very interesting I can get about the same sound with a 6N5P and an OB3 as I can with a GE 6dJ8 and an OA3 with adjustments. It's sort of maddening how many different flavors I can evoke with this set up.

As far as the P10 I have my output voltage at 121 and with the current complement (GE 6Dj8 "Smokies" and GE OA3 and Tung-Sol Type 80 bottle shape and Svetlana SV83s) I am using the "High Regulation" mode as opposed to the "Low Distortion."

It is a real pain to reconfigure my preamp and ZBIT and ZROCK2 configuration so I have not tested the Monoblocks straight from the PS Audio DirectStream DAC either single-ended or with the ZBIT balanced. . . . I know from all my experience with these components and I am going to prefer, nay NEED, the ZTPRE and ZBIT and ZROCK2 in front of the amps to get this sound that I am loving. . . so I'm just listening that way.

The Monoblocks have become the most detailed amps I have ever had, and unlike some system configurations I've had in the past, the detail is not a fatiguing and off-putting thing, the detail is presented seamlessly across the frequency spectrum and interwoven in the imaging and stage presentation. I'm getting a bigger sound both in apparent loudness and stage width and depth than ever before. This "detail" extends into the dynamic realm and the music breathes and moves in an improved manner. I honestly feel fulfilled with these amps driving the HR-1s and as Steve has warned I find it very hard to stop listening. I keep trying to get more time in and so far Lucy hasn't been TOO annoyed. She thinks the amps are very nice and though she doesn't like the full orange glow of the OA3 tubes I've decided to build a complement around them because when watching Blu-ray or DVD or the DVR I can actually SEE the OA3s flash which means the low frequency information is causing distortion. . . except when it is very distorted I don't even notice the distortion, it's characteristics are so full and enveloping. . . . With the OA3 I think I get a bit more distortion, but I can also visually insure that the gain is low enough to not cause distortion.

I have these amps in a living-room/dining-room area and not a treated room, nor are they as far out into the room as I'd like--a concession to Lucy and her highly visual taste in living decor and furniture placement. Still I find the three dimensionality involving and the imaging very accurate. Those who live for sound stages and images floating in the air in a dedicated, treated room will love these amps.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by lazb on 04/28/18 at 21:35:38

;D.            Your words are saying what my ears heard!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/28/18 at 21:50:26

Hope you get a chance to order soon Joe!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by lazb on 04/29/18 at 20:40:47

My name is on the list so order will be automatic when Steve allows it!!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/30/18 at 02:03:06

Wow, today I rolled in a pair of "super-cryo'd" 6N1P and the dynamics and sound staging have never been better. They're sticking in for a spell. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/02/18 at 18:14:00

Well, the cryo'd 6N1P are out and "red-tipped" 6N1P from Steve are in and though the cryo'd may be a bit more dynamic, they are a bit tart in comparison and I prefer these from Steve.

I've got SV83 output tubes from Svetlana in, and the bottle-shaped fifties RCA 5V4 rectifiers, and Sylvania OB3 regulators and the sound is exceptionally good. There's more depth to the sound field today which is a good thing as I have the speakers closer to the wall than I'd like due to household constraints. I have to run off to an appointment and I don't want to. . . I just want to keep on listening. As Steve noted it's good to be retired when owning these. I'm retired and still don't have enough time! They just draw you in and hold you prisoner. . . .

My CSP3 with the Anniversary mods made the "Build List" . . . can only imagine what they will bring but my imagining is pretty well-honed these days and I imagine the CSP3 is going to really kick things up even higher. . . and I can't wait to try headphones with that preamp.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/04/18 at 18:55:54

This afternoon I removed the six 6N5P that I have in the ZTPRE and replaced them with six of the 6N1P that I got with the ZTPRE, red-tipped from Steve, and put a pair of supposedly '79 6N5P from ebay (matched pair far more expensive than the others I've bought, I burned them in about 100 hours in one of my CSP2+) in the Monoblocks. Wow. This is the warmest (without being muddy) and most dynamic (they're breaking the speed limit) combos yet! I have an Amperex 12AU7 in the ZROCK2. Note to self: don't change anything for a while!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by JD on 05/04/18 at 22:50:15

Lon,

Not sure if I am more excited for the owls (huge fan of the avian species) or monoblocks...or the combination of both. Psyched for you and where you are at enjoy the music!

JD

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/05/18 at 00:04:56

JD,

Lucy and I are living in a paradise with a huge state wildlife preserve literally across the street from us and we see so many wonderful birds. An eagle dropped onto the frozen lake to eat a fish less than forty feet from us when we got married by the lake two years three months ago, that was something! And this year it's these two owls. We've seen one owl the last three years or so but this year two, and they've been around near every day since early last month.

So life is good for me, here with nature all around and with this amazing system to listen to. And with a loving wife and a good dog and my family not too far away.

Have a great weekend JD!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by lazb on 05/05/18 at 23:22:51

Sure sounds cozy, Lon. Enjoy!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/09/18 at 19:22:50

Well, poor Lucy was sick all weekend and Monday and Tuesday and was finally able to go to work this morning, so today the Monoblocks are on again. I believe they have reached that point of hours and use that they are going to change subtly over time but no more big changes, just seasoning.

And I'm very happy with the way they sound. I've driven myself a bit crazy the last week with tube rolling but I've found some great complements and have pretty much settled on a set with one possible substitution: a pair of 6N5P in the inputs, a pair of SV83 in the outputs, a pair of Tung-Sol Type 80 rectifiers and either my trusty old pair of Arcturus bottle-shaped OB3 in the regulation spot or a newly-arrived pair of RCA short straight OB3 rectifiers. There's a clarity that the RCA offer that is quite nice, and they are fully glowing tubes so that distortion can be visible if I reach the limits, but the Arcturus have a warm mellowness that suits most of the music I listen to to a T. So the Arcturus may win out.

I'm back to running 6NP5 in the ZTPRE and loving that "signature"--and six 6N5P tubes I ordered from Decware should be arriving in a few days so I'll swap those in and the ebay bargain tubes out when the Decware tubes arrive.

These Monoblocks are continuing to knock my socks off and cause me to bemoan the limitations of my listening opportunities and the length of sessions. Amazing sound and I've never heard more detail more pleasantly and properly presented. I'll enjoy these as much as I can until the next adventure arrives, the 25th Anniversary version of the CSP3.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by lazb on 05/09/18 at 22:25:56

Sounds good, Lon. Glad Lucy is finally feeling better!!!

Be interesting to hear your take on the anniversary CSP3.  The road has no end. You will eventually have to hear the DNA-2 speakers in your room.  ::) :P

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/09/18 at 22:39:30

You're probably right about the DNA2. But. . . barring unforeseen circumstances. . . that would be a long way off as financially my next focus will be on a new kitchen and a garage with storage area. Going to be a while to swing that. In the meantime I have the amazing HR-1s and I love the heck out of them.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by beowulf on 05/11/18 at 07:27:10

Lon, glad the mono blocks are working beautifully for you!

One thing I never fully understood ... obviously the mono blocks have the additional power supply and it doesn't appear to include the things like those boutique glass vacuum tube resistors and maybe a few other boutique offerings, etc. but otherwise ...

1. are the mono's using the exact same circuit, resistors, tube compliment, etc. as the 25th Anniversary Stereo Edition? Or were there just "some" mods done to the mono's in order to make it "as close as possible" to the performance of the 25th Anni stereo version?

2. has the top plate been changed on the mono's ... i.e. rearranged, were gauges added, were the RCA connectors moved to the volume control areas (as in the 25th layout), etc. or do the mono blocks look exactly as they do in the existing pictures on the Decware website?

Thanks!

Edit: Never mind question 2 as I found an earlier post stating that all the mods are done internally and the only notation is on the sticker otherwise it looks the same as the regular existing mono blocks ... that said still confused on how much of the guts/circuit is really changed on the monos to resemble the actual 25th Anniversary model.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/11/18 at 08:22:25

Hans, it's pretty much the same mods as I understand it, though done before the glass resistor was implemented. As there is only one output tube per chassis rather than the OD3 regulator tube to regulate both output tubes in the SE84UFO2-25, the Monoblocks each have one OC2 regulator tube to regulate its power tube, and this is located in a socket placed inside the chassis. Otherwise as I understand it the bypass capacitors for the various stages are very similar if not identical. Steve notes that the end results were very similar with a slight power difference in favor of the Monoblocks; he referred to the Monoblocks as slightly masculine, the single-chassis amp as slightly female in comparison.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by beowulf on 05/12/18 at 07:10:11

Thanks for the clarification Lon.  I think you made a great choice between the two ... if I were interested in a Zen amp I would definitely go with the mono blocks as well.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by TheTakeOut on 05/13/18 at 05:21:00

Iím sorry if this has been covered.  What is the cost of the 25th anniversary mononlocks?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 05/13/18 at 06:01:43

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1510887200/248#248

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/13/18 at 11:52:48

The cost is the standard cost of a pair plus $1360.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/16/18 at 15:05:08

My poor Lucinda is still sick, slowly getting better and still staying home from work. and we're both completely tired of our routines being interrupted for two weeks and we're beginning to be on each other's last nerve. I so desperately want to listen to my Monoblocks but the moment I do I'm either asked to do something else or told that my music annoys here and please put on headphones. So I am getting a lot of time in with both my Torii Mk IV and my Torii Mk III and my Audeze LCD-2 and Oppo PM-1. But I so much want to listen to the Monoblocks and the HR-1s!

Last night for one hour I got to listen to a cd, Bobo Stenson's "Cantando" on ECM, through the Monoblocks. This an eccentric offbeat piano trio recorded with reverberant spatial cues and both a tight focus and a warm glow. I could hear every nuance I had heard before and more. I connected to the music on this album as I had not before. The Sophia Electric Aqua 274B that I have in each are responsible for another step forward as is the mere fact that the amps have really come into their own. I've had wonderful listening sessions with my amps the last years but I confess I wish that I had somehow managed to make the small two watt amps work in my system before and hadn't spent so much time with the EL34/KT66/6CA7 etc. tube types. Then again the DENSITY of the signal from the ZTPRE, ZBIT and ZROCK2 and the tonal adaptability of the ZROCK2 are what have made my current bliss possible when added to the racetrack speed of the Monoblocks. It's best to just be in the here and now and here and now has the possibility of the best sound ever . . . I only wish that I could hear the system NOW. Please Lucinda, feel better! :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Acetone on 05/16/18 at 17:17:54

So, will you have a dedicated audio room when Lucinda retires? Or, does she not like your music playing due to her current illness?
I had to have a dedicated room. My wife does not like to listen to most of what I play and after a few hours she used to ask I turn it off and give her a break. And, this was before I retired!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/16/18 at 20:28:42

I'll have to have a plan for when Lucy retires in about five to six years. I had planned to build here on the property and make myself a studio, and that may happen, though Lucy keeps changing her mind about these things. . . she will want me to have an area of my own though as she is a lot like your wife. I have a friend who is waiting to find a wife that shares all his musical interest. He's been waiting a long time and he's very lonely. . . .

The current ban on listening to the speakers is due to her feeling so crappy. And she shouldn't feel so crappy, two weeks into antibiotics, now on her second. I takes her into going back to the doctor tomorrow who is going to give her a third antibiotic and will do some tests. I'm hoping that it isn't anything serious or really bad as I've been there done that and bought the t-shirt and hoody.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/20/18 at 19:06:15

I've gotten to spend more time today with the Monoblocks than I have been able to for a week. The Sophia Electric Aqua 274B are coming along nicely and I've forgotten about tube-rolling rectifiers in the Monoblocks and am rolling rectifiers in the Taboos instead, different Type 80s, an Arcturus globe in the IV and a Tung-Sol bottle type in the III.

The sound of the Monoblocks still thrill me every time they warm up and bloom. With my P10 and ZROCK2 I can get all the body and heft that I got from the Torii Mk III which really surprises me each time. And also the big open sound is similar to the Torii but having that "wholesome" quality that SET delivers. And the detail in the sound. . . I can't say I'm hearing things I haven't before in familiar material, but I am hearing them differently, more "in context" I would say, more naturally as part of the that "wholeness" rather than a transient zooming out or an isolated pull on your attention.

I made one tube change today and it's been positive. I had been using my Arcturus OB3 and I really am convinced the OB3 is better than the OA3 for my system. The Arcturus are bottle shaped, and I have a pair of Sylvania that are bottle shaped as well, and I prefer the Arcturus by a few hairs. †I ordered a pair of small straight OB3s from Raytheon to try out and I'm using these today. I must say they added a bit more warmth and body and are perfect for the piano trio music I'm listening to. I'll keep playing with them. The only drawback: I thought they would glow violet . . . but they glow orange just like an OA3. Which is okay, I just had to look at them several times to verify they were marked OB3 . . . they're marked OB3a.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/25/18 at 14:33:50

I finally got to spend about five hours with the Monoblocks yesterday and really enjoyed the sound. I'm back to using OA3 again with the Sophia Electric 274B Aqua in the system and seasoned a bit. There's a wonderful sense of space with the OB3 but the bass response suffers and the Sylvania OA3 that Steve shipped with the amp are sounding very good with the Sophias. I suspect the OB3 would be perfect with more efficient speakers and I may save up for the DNA2 in the future. . . but I'm really not complaining about the interaction between the Monobocks and the HR-1. . . I just wish I had both that wonderful spaciousness to that degree that the OB3 provides with the excellent bass from the OA3. We'll see what the CSP3 with the 25th Anniversary mods brings when it arrives, it may add the missing elements.

These are amazing amps. I love their elegant uncluttered looks and the sound is liquid delight.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/30/18 at 13:27:47

One change yesterday: I received in a pair of short straight OA3 labeled "CEI" which means they were built by someone else. Looking at them they could be GE, not sure. Anyway, installing them and letting them settle in. . .a little treble glare has dissipated and wow, there's another level of dynamics that none of the other OA3s have yet provided. I'm enjoying the pump and push when the music requests it.

There are so many subtle bits and pieces that a listener discovers with these Monoblocks. I know that as they season I'll have a wonderful audio journey.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by lazb on 05/30/18 at 19:31:57

Lon, I am going to suggest/guess that when your CSP325, now on the bench, arrives it will afford even more of the things you are so obviously enjoying with 25th anniversary Monoblocks!
Man, I am sooo envious!
Joe

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/30/18 at 20:15:13

You're probably right Joe. . . we'll see in a few weeks or so!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Bottlehead on 05/30/18 at 23:36:18

Hey Lon,

Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I have to be on the audio sidelines now for a while due to family needs/relocation, but when I can get back into our amazing hobby, I will definitely want to head back to the Mother Ship once more for a demo. Your description of the results that you are getting in your system, coupled with Steve's talk of twin UFO25s, with a CSP325... well...I may need a drool apron before I can actually do anything about it, but I've got my sights set on a new system. Anyway, keep the reports coming, please.

Randy

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 05/31/18 at 00:18:40

I'll keep posting impressions as they seem significant Randy. These Monoblocks really surprise me at how much they sound like the Toriis in important ways, though I know that the voltage regulation being so similar and the fact that I have a P10, ZBIT, ZTPRE and ZROCK2 in the system have a lot to do with that too. In a few weeks my CSP3-25 should be ready to ship too most likely and then we'll see what adding that to the chain will do. I have a feeling it will at the very least add 25th anniversary voodoo to my headphone listening!

I hope you can get focused on audio again soon and yes, think about these 25th Anniversary new-comers, I think they're game changers. . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/09/18 at 18:40:33

Well there are many ways to skin a cat. . . or tube a Decware amp.

I bought a pair of Amperex 6085 tubes from Scott and wanted to try them in the Monoblocks. I know these 12AU7 variants work well in the amps as I had a pair of Tesla branded to try out. I have a single Amperex 6085 I have used in the ZROCK2 and now use in the Taboo Mk IV (where it sounds great) and I do prefer the Amperex sound to the Tesla.

So I tried the 6085s in the Monoblocks. I really like these tubes and I really like the fact that they are actually a bit taller than the SV83! They put a lot of gain into the amp and I rolled rectifiers and although the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B sound good in that spot I found that Tung-Sol Type 80 bottle-shaped actually work best, along with the Arcturus OB3 bottle-shaped regulators. Great sound. . . big and bold but with a touch of warmth and body. The Sophias made things just a little too dry and thin. They sound good in my Taboo Mk IV though, and in the CSP2+ I am using upstairs. One will probably land in the CSP3-25 that should be arriving soon.

With all the gain and tonal possibilities that adjustments of my DAC, ZTPRE, ZBIT and ZROCK2 and Monoblocks allow there are so many ways to get great sound. I can't get enough time to listen. . . can I put some of that on my credit card?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Bottlehead on 06/10/18 at 01:03:30

Hey Lon,

I'm not surprised that the 6085s gave you a more robust sound. My 10W 330B amp benefitted greatly when I plugged in the 6085s that you loaned me in place of the stock 12AU7s. Thank you for continuing to experiment and to take us all along with you. I'm really enjoying following Steve and your threads regarding this combination of amps and preamps. Somewhere down the line, I'll be wanting to experiment with them myself.

Randy

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Bottlehead on 06/10/18 at 01:04:44

Uh...I meant 300B amp.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Rivieraranch on 06/10/18 at 04:24:51

Isnít a 6085 12 volts? How does a 12 volt tube work in a 6 volt circuit?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/10/18 at 13:49:24

I don't know. Works perfectly. Sounds great.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/11/18 at 13:57:04

These 6085 work and present a very different perspective than the 6922/6N1P varieties. The sound is warmer and more compact, and sounds more like what I think of as "classic" vinyl sound, sound of 'seventies and 'eighties turntable/phono preamp combos I've lived with and heard. I really do enjoy those tubes in the complement for hi-res material. But I suspect that what ensues is hardly fully linear and the tube does not get really hot. A fun substitute to play with and hasn't harmed anything.

But the 6N5P are giving the best sound overall for transparency and openness with Redbook material. I'm back to using a pair of these, older and slightly different than others I've used, and they need more break in but sound very "lively," open and dynamic and detailed. I want more bass, and most likely more will fill in with a bit more time and some adjustments--in the meantime I've rolled in a pair of 'fifties RCA 5V4G rectifiers which to bring a bit more heft to the sound. Palomino and I have both been using another 6N5P pair that are excellent in our amps. I may end up going back to those. It's great to have options. . . and definitely great to have backup complements.

After a three day weekend (my wife stayed home "sick" Friday) of headphones I'm listening to the Monoblocks again and really enjoying the sound!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/14/18 at 16:51:06

I have the 6085s back in, had to try them now that I am using OD3 regulators. The new regulation tubes do help the 6085. The 6085s are giving me the widest soundstage and a very natural sounding dynamics and piano in particular on the recordings I have been listening to has a great clarity WITH a great resonant body to the sound, which is a combination of characteristics that I don't always hear.

The truth is more than any other amps I've had these Monoblocks show the inherent characteristics of tubes and how the cooperate in a complement. I used to strive for one tube set to rule them all (especially with the Torii Mk III)--one complement to work with all the material at my disposal. I'm not going to make that a goal with these Monoblocks. . .the sound is so malleable and it's fun to explore. i "get" what Will has been doing for a few years now. . . .

I have a feeling the Anniversary edition of the CSP3 arriving tomorrow is going to be a similar tube-rolling adventure about to happen. Lord help me!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/14/18 at 22:56:35

Oh boy these OD3 are really giving me a sonic shot in the arm that is a great pick me up. It's as if the low bass is untouched but any congestion or looseness in the mid and upper bass is removed, thus opening up further the midrange and giving a clear bell-like treble. Or more probably this is all just a further lowering of the noise floor. It sounds similar to the progressive upgrades of the PS Audio DirectStream DAC which are all about diminishing noise and are all audible and have similar effects.

Thanks again Juan. A new exciting element.

Right now I have an Amperex 6085 in the ZROCK2 and a pair in the Monoblocks. Really contributing to dynamics and clarity, which are both also accepting contributions from the Aqua 274B. Note to self: don't mess with things for a while and don't disregard this note as you usually do. . . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Bottlehead on 06/14/18 at 23:46:21

Thanks for the experimentation and the updates, Lon. I'm really interested in the difference that the CSP3-25 makes in your system. Won't be long now (except for the breakin, I mean).

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/15/18 at 00:01:16

I'm eager to hear this and see how it works in my system as well. I have high hopes. . . and my high hopes have been justified the last few years. I'm eager to hear how it may improve my headphone listening almost as much as how it may influence the Monoblocks. I'll keep you posted.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 06/17/18 at 18:00:57

To anyone who has these amps, do you have the stepped attenuators? If not, is it hard to balance the volume?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Archie on 06/17/18 at 18:08:57

Just my 2 cents from balancing with my "stepped" outputs on my CSP3 (they have ten steps but aren't true stepped attenuators). †I have to balance between steps since even steps don't give enough or give too much adjustment. †The stepped attenuators would seem like a good idea if everything (tubes, room, etc) are in balance but they might make perfect balance more difficult if you don't land on a step.  If that makes sense.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/17/18 at 20:16:21

The SE84UFO3 in either stock or Anniversary form I think come with stepped attenuators. I didn't ask for them this time and I received them and it wasn't marked as an additional charge. It's not an option in the shopping cart when you order.

I have stepped attenuators on these amps, on my Taboo Mk III, on my Torii Mk III, and on my ZBIT. (I don't have them on my ZTPRE, ZROCK2 or my CSP3 25th Anniversary arriving tomorrow). I honestly think there's a bit of clarity one gets from the stepped attenuator in comparison to the stock volume control. It's very subtle, but I have compared two otherwise identical models (CSP2+ and Torii Mk III that I had two of the only difference being the attenuators) and that was my impression. But it's not a game changer . . . . I have never had a problem with balancing the two channels with stepped attenuators in the amps or preamps, nor have I had a problem getting the right volume. Likewise I have no problem along those lines using the preamps or the ZROCK2.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 06/18/18 at 00:01:07

Thanks Archie and Lon for the input. I've never had much interest in stepped attenuators until now, considering the mono blocks. Gad to hear they are stock. Thinking it's time to pull the trigger on these amps :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/18/18 at 01:36:08

Steve would have the final word whether the stepped attenuators are stock on these amps--I believe they are, due to the fact that I received them with stepped attenuators and was not charged anything extra, and that there is no option for the stepped attenuator on the order page for the amplifiers.

I'm making an assumption. An email to Steve or a call to Steve or Sarah would be more "official". . . .

But I applaud your decision to order. These are wonderful amps.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/18/18 at 12:44:59

I posted this in the Review forum and an the Facebook page:

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1529248494/0#0

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/20/18 at 19:24:52

Okay, if Joe weren't so busy with his new 25th Anniversary (prototype) amp and the DNA2 speakers I'm sure he'd be laughing at me.

I have kept the CSP3-25 running feeding headphones since Monday evening. This morning I had to get up early and head out to my Dad's and take him to an appointment and do a few tasks at his place and when I got back. . . I took one look at the system and decided to connect the preamp to the Monoblocks.

I have about 40 hours on the preamp or more, and I don't know how many hours Decware put on it in "Testing" and "Quality Control." I'm sure it will continue to sound better for a while. But. . . .

But it sure sounds really good right now and man I am digging the sound! I was worried that my DSD DAC to ZTPRE to ZBIT to ZROCK2 to CSP3-25 to SE84UFO3-25s would be "too much" or add hum or . . . I don't know I was worried. I needn't have worried. I'm getting all the wonder of the ZTPRE and all the blossoming wonder of the CSP3-25 with the great benefit the ZROCK2 adds. And the 25th Anniversary "realism" is even more present.

I went from a year ago believing "no preamp is best' to now REVELING in the sound of two preamps! I just looked at the clock and thought "Oh no! I only have three more hours of uninterrupted listening today!" This is going to be the story of my life. . . dreading turning the system off. . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/22/18 at 14:24:29

Putting a 25th Anniversary Edition CSP3 in front of the Monoblocks has made a sit-up-and-notice-over-and-over-again improvement. And that may be the only exercise you'll engage in for some time, you'll be glued to your seat.

I managed to tear myself away to do a voltage regulation "shoot-off" yesterday and today. The Arcturus OB3 that I have won. At least for now. They are like holographic projectors in these Monoblocks with the CSP3.

I keep thinking "this disc is a real monster of a recording." And then I spin the next one and it draws me right in as well. I know why Steve is spending so much time listening and listening. His new theme song should be "It Could Happen to You." He wasn't entirely joking about the "you should get this setup when you retire" statement. You'll want to retire if you aren't. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Archie on 06/22/18 at 15:16:04

Have you compared the ZTPRE and the new CSP3?  Steve may have to figure out a mod for that too.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 06/22/18 at 15:54:12

I'm using both. The signal path is DAC or Oppo UDP-205 or Magnum Dynalab 90T SE into the ZTPRE via balanced input to the ZBIT to the ZROCK2 to the new CSP3, then to the Monoblocks.

If I weren't using three balanced sources I am pretty sure I would be getting excellent sound from the new CSP3 alone. But the ZTPRE makes everything better, i already know that, and is adding to the total "magic." I'm sure a 25th anniversary mod to the ZTPRE would be excellent, but it's an amazing preamp as it is and I really am not sure I'd mess with it for my needs.

I've got a lot of components in the signal chain and in the way that I thought last century this would have given me the willies. Instead I am having the deep jollies. . . And the ZTPRE may be why I am enjoying a noise-free hum-free experience with all those components in line. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Archie on 06/23/18 at 01:08:29

That's groundbreaking.  2 preamps in the chain!   ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 09/28/18 at 17:19:39

I finally ordered 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks with glass resistors, real walnut bases, and walnut knobs. Can't wait!!!


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 09/28/18 at 17:44:47

Awesome! You'll be very happy with them!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 01/18/19 at 13:04:08

Well, since I last posted on this thread the Monoblocks have been seasoning and sounding better all the time. I wen from using both the CSP3-25 and the ZTPRE to just using the CSP3-25 and now just using the ZTPRE, which gives me full balanced input and output to my ZBIT for my three sources and great sound. And I have learned more fully how to adjust the gain on the entire system and maximize my headroom and get the frequency balance and dynamics I crave.

I've been rolling tubes and really find that the Amperex 7308 are not going anywhere, and neither are the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B. Lots of other complements possible, but I like those. And I've rolled output voltage regulation and these REALLY change the amp. I have fallen for the sound from 0D3W regulation tubes, and I have four "varieties" now: Tung-Sol, Raytheon, Sylvania and Chatham, and I prefer them in that order, though any and all work very well, with subtle, and not-so-subtle frequency balance changes the main differences.

These amps are amazing. I no longer have a Torii Mk III, sold them both, and don't miss them. These and my Taboo Mk III and Mk IV are the only ones I have left now, the Torii Mk II is also gone. Those Toriis are great amps, BUT I have fallen in love with the smaller output tubes and SET/SEP sound. (And even with my HR-1s I don't need more power at all). Just so immediate and also so immersive and involving. †I have my Taboo Mk IV at Decware now for 25th Anniversary upgrades. I have a feeling when it comes back I'll send in my Taboo Mk III for the same! These mods RULE.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 01/24/19 at 01:33:18

Status update: Final Listening Room Evaluation!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 01/24/19 at 01:44:20

Good news!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/09/19 at 16:47:59

I now have about 40 hours or so on my new anniversary monoblocks and they are just killer. I can't wait to hear what more hours bring. I think very highly of the SE84UFO with copper foil caps and for the past three years would feel confident putting up against anything out there. However now experiencing what these anniversary mods bring to the table is just another league I was not aware of. The soundstage is huge in comparison. Wider deeper, taller. Notes are coming out in front of me. The older SE84UFO still sounds great but very flat in comparison.

These new amplifiers are a true listening pleasure and I'm so glad I have them. I get it now as to what folks on here have been referring to. Engaging to say the least.

Jim

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 03/09/19 at 19:23:41

I don't set up to favor sound staging but yes those aspects are improved with the 25th Anniversary Monoblocks. Sound that draws you in would be how I would best describe the effect they produce. Especially with vinyl I've never heard more realistic playback. . . sound just seems natural and "solid" while still being fleet and dynamic.

Steve is rightfully proud of these milestone 25th Anniversary amps.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by pursuitofnow on 03/10/19 at 08:09:58

The sound definitely draws me in :)

I play a lot of vinyl as well and while it does sound outstanding I'll be sending in my ZP3 and ZSTAGE in for anniversary mods next week. I have a ZROCK2 with anniversary mods in testing currently.

I'm really looking forward to having all anniversary mods to pair up with the monoblocks!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 03/10/19 at 09:47:41

Excellent. I will soon almost have an all Anniversary mod signal path for digital when my modded ZROCK2 arrives tomorrow--only the ZTPRE will not have available mods, and eventually I think it will. (I'm no longer using a ZP3 for my vinyl playback, at the moment I'm using a PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter, which sounds amazing paired with the ZTPRE).

The listening life is so good, which makes the rest of life automatically better.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 04/16/19 at 18:40:34

I've had my 25th Anniversary Monoblocks for over a year now! Now the really good listening begins, I find that the years after the first the Decware amps really perform so very well and in tiny increments season in with a refined sound.

I've played around with tubes in my ZTPRE lately, and experimented for a while with tubes in the ZROCK2, but I'm locked in with the tubes I have in the Monoblocks--they just sound so good give me what I want.

Amazing amps! The Taboo Mk IV driving speakers made me ready to try the even smaller powered amps and I am so glad I did, I have ZERO temptation to go back to EL34/KT66 etc. type tubes and push pull design. I'm hoping I can have a few decades with my SE84UFO3-25s.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 07/11/19 at 14:39:56

I'm loving these amps. As they season in, and as I learn more how to feed them best, I am getting amazing sound with many tube complements. It's like owning a closet full of amps in important ways.

Lately I have been using a particular pair of military 6N6P that I thought I might well have paid too much for at first. They were too thin and vague sounding for my first experience in the mono block but after a few weeks of more than satisfactory use in the Taboo Mk IV-25 and CSP3-25 in the second system, they really opened up.

In my main system now they are creating quite an experience. The OB3 is the best voltage regulator for the output tubes for them, and a particular old pair of RCA the best of those on hand (I tried OA3, OD3, OD3W and OC3W as well, the OB3 has the best overall sound and texture). I could still use a bit more bass, and will tailor the system to that end in the next few days. In comparison to the 6N5Ps from Steve that I am using in the ZTPRE and was using in the mono blocks these 6N6P have the focus that the Amperex 7308 bring to the table, but not the slight veil of warmth, and they have the spacious dynamics that the 5814A that I use in the ZROCK2s has in comparison to other 12AU7s. A win win for excellent recordings, and working well for the mediocre and below recordings that serve as the bulk of my collection.

I'm glad I tried them, originally prompted by an email from Johnny Slate who posts here. I'm leaving them in for a while. . . .  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by jslateiv on 07/11/19 at 16:49:27

This is great to hear Lon!  I'm going to have to revisit that tube in my 25thAnniv.   I have been stuck on a Valvo E288CC as the input and it's been so good that I havn't even had the thought to 'roll' in a long time.  And your right, with these current mods and the ZR2-25th..  there are so many unbelievably good tube combinations that it can make your head swim. Hope your well my friend!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 07/11/19 at 17:19:10

All is well here Johnny. . . Those Valvos are very good. I have three of them in my CSP2+ with the 25th Anniversary mods and they work so well there I just leave them alone. ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 07/11/19 at 20:12:08

I forgot to mention that I rolled through a few rectifiers again this week and landed back on the Aqua 274B. I so so WANT to love the Mullard GZ32 that so many use here . . . and these have some very appealing qualities and may come the closest to the Aquas with the right tube complement, but they are just too thick and rich in comparison, it's like Mullard Mrs. Butterworth "maple" syrup and the Aqua like real NE Ohio maple syrup. If the real stuff is in the house. . . you use it. These Aqua rectifiers still amaze me with their open clarity. I'm so glad others mentioned them.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Post by Lon on 07/12/19 at 14:55:22

Well, as Jeff and Scott have noted elsewhere on the forum it's hard to let sleeping dogs lie, and it never ends. . . .

In consolidating space (Lucy: "Do you really need all these tubes down here in this cabinet?" Me: "Yes, but they can be stored elsewhere.") I went through all my voltage regulation tubes and realized I had three pairs of OA3 tubes (some funky old RCA, a Westinghouse, and a GE) and as old RCAs have been working so well in the system lately I popped in the pair of RCA for the RCA OB3.

There was the last ounce of bass I was missing with a dribble of more treble grit than I wanted, so playing with the gain between source, preamp, ZBIT and amps. . . wow! Just great dynamic and clear sound with the frequency balance I was craving.

So I discovered yet another "amplifier" in my Monoblocks and will be enjoying this one I think for a while. (Let sleeping dogs lie Lon, let them lie! As I write this Fiona the dachshund is asleep next to me.)

I have two great systems right now, and the 25th Anniversary mods are making them be all they can be.

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