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Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII (Read 7553 times)
Rap
Ex Member



Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #50 - 04/10/06 at 00:09:54
 
You still listening to tubes when you have that nice Teres to listen to music on ::) Smiley

P.s Nice home page Grin
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« Last Edit: 04/10/06 at 00:10:21 by Rap »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #51 - 04/10/06 at 00:35:59
 
Hello Rap,

Thanks! Oh yes, I am definitly listening to that well built Teres vinyl rig with the Decware phono stage.

Just swapping in tube variations at the same time and kicking back to enjoy the results. After this post, I am back to listen to that golden vinyl machine and spin some live Sarah McLachlan performance which is recorded on premium 200 gram vinyl by Classic records. I have the British Mullards in now with the KT88's.

Be back soon.

Paul
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #52 - 04/10/06 at 05:22:46
 
I intended to refrain from making any further comments on the TORII MK2 until I had evaluated a wide variety of tube combinations. After what I just experienced, I find myself with the need to express what I consider just too fantastic to hold back! This amplifier is now very much stabilized with over 300 hours of burn-in adjustment and the character for which it portrays is that of superb speed and incredible force. I never realized what the actual capabilities of the radial (RL2) speakers could extend to until this amp proved what they are made of. The RL2’s are really a very good match for this amp and I can only imagine what I will experience once I mate this amplifier to the custom built HDT MKII’s in the near future. That should prove to be the ultimate marriage and only time will tell.

I just finished listening to Sarah McLachlan on vinyl with the following configuration and it was absolutely incredible beyond the imagination!

Teres turntable with Origin Live Silver tone arm mated to a Dynavector DV20X cartridge.

Decware Zen 1.5 phono stage with a trio of Ei Elite 12AX7EG tube array. *(Directly connected to amplifier. NO preamp is utilized.)

Custom shielded silver interconnects and speaker cables.

TORII MK2 with the following tube array:Ei Elite 6DJ8EG drivers; JJ KT88 output valves; British military version Mullard GZ32 *(CV593) rectifiers along with the Westinghouse OA3 voltage regulators.

This combination provides extreme accuracy with full-bodied vibrancy, which evokes pure emotion within the senses. I am operating the system without the augmentation of the WO32 subwoofer so that I can directly evaluate the main speakers only.  The dynamic presence of this amplifier combined with the high efficiency of the radials proves to be tactile to say the least. If you think that the SPL force of this combination is anything short of exhilarating then think again. THIS AMP HAS AN ABUNDANCE OF POWER AND PROVES TO HAVE MUCH IN RESERVE! I do NOT exceed the twelve O’clock position on the gain control as the dynamic level becomes much more than I need to drive this system into intense volume. I will not use the word LOUD because to me, that evokes a presence of irritable or annoying reference in its description. What I prefer to relate to this combinations sound is that of pure excitement. With only fifty percent of available gain at tap, there is a mutual connection to the music as the notes are effortlessly felt in harmonious form, conveyed with the most articulate reproduction of the musical embodiment.

Take note: I have listened to many different rectifier tubes over the past two weeks. While many sounded very good with the RCA types proving to be top notch, something very special finally became coherent after installing the Mullard military versions.  This is the first time that I have mated them with the KT88’s as I initially auditioned these rectifiers with the SED EL34 Quad and with the JJ KT77 Quad. These sound very involving with crisp clean sound but the KT88 combination seems to take this into a higher level of balance.  The KT88’s provide a fully extended dimensional presence with a more pronounced integration of the lower registers. I.E., Bass lines are extended lower, with increased definition at the bottom frequencies.  There is a constant sense of physical connection with the music as the instruments are “felt” as well as heard. What this combination does for piano and the female voice is something that must be experienced to understand.

The album “Mirrorball” which is Sarah’s live recording from a few years back has always sounded very special but tonight, the TORII MK2 just kicked it up a few notches and this combination of tubes is going to be very tough to enhance with additional improvement if indeed that is really possible. I still have a long way to go with this experiment but after what I heard tonight, I think that I may have already hit the plateau of musical enjoyment. This however is not the final word as I have some Mullard GZ34’s with Blackburn production codes that will make their way into this competition as well as the mighty RCA 5U4G, “GB”, 5Y3GT, and 5AR4 versions. I listened to a set of Sylvania 5U4GB matched rectifiers with “side getters” the other evening and I can tell you that the magic was present there as well. The next step is to evaluate the well respected RCA rectifiers with the KT88’s and find out just how they compare to the Mullards.

The point of this in context is that the choice of rectifiers here is absolutely crucial in determining the overall sound of the amplifier in general just as the right choice in driver tubes can make such a profound difference. In order for your output tubes to sound optimal, obviously this hinges upon the power supply itself. I have already proven that to myself and this area is foremost critical. If you doubt this, try it out for yourself and just see if you can detect the difference.

To be continued…………..


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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #53 - 04/16/06 at 15:24:18
 
This is my Hickok 6000A Mutual Conductance tube tester which is approximately forty-five years old and is in wonderful condition. Line calibration is steady and everything works great. At the least, I plan to replace the capacitors as I doubt they are operating at peak performance levels. They are cheap to replace and this would insure better accuracy under load. This is one of the latter post 1961 models revised for later model tubes and will test just about any tube that we use in our equipment. Tube adapters can always be integrated. I also have two pre 1961 Hickok units for testing older tubes. One being the model 6000 and the other is a model 600A in very nice condition. The Hickok 6000A will be my primary tester which will come in handy to insure proper tube integrity.



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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:36:50 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #54 - 04/16/06 at 15:29:34
 
Preparing to test a set of RCA 5R4GY rectifier tubes with the initial line calibration referance.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:38:15 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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TORII MKII advanced evaluation
Reply #55 - 05/30/06 at 00:12:36
 
TORII MK2 evaluations underway.......

.......Update.........



It has been awhile since this post has been updated but with good cause. I am currently underway with a major task that goes well beyond my initial intentions with this review. To expand further into the depths of comparative listening, I have been granted the opportunity to add a completely new dimension to this diverse evaluation.  Currently, I have added to the mix; a set of RL-3’s, a set of DM944’s (bookshelf models), and a very special prototype set of “full-range-driver” models, incorporating a superb transmission line design with stunning bass and midrange capabilities. Another major upgrade added to this test phase is a custom set of hybrid speaker cables that simply go well beyond those used with my radial 2’s. These are very transparent with EXTREME detail, clarity and extension for which to accurately convey the information produced by the TORII MK2 .

Another dimension that I am focusing on is that of real time speaker and room response calculations, which I now have the capability to monitor with the use of a professional hand held audio analyzer. With this, I know instantly what each frequency is registering in real time, with peak response SPL at my listening position or anywhere else that I choose for accurate room response and averaging. Rather than just trying to express the level of sound perception, the SPL levels sum this up concisely. This absolutely proves the validity for which the awesome sound levels that these very efficient speakers will achieve with the TORII MK2 and with the low powered S.E.T. mono-blocks. The ability to measure with A, C or FLAT weighting can be programmed with a predetermined dynamic range for each category.

I have made some very interesting observations with this analysis, impressed by the data registered from this equipment/room configuration! Of course, my ears are the true judge in the final determination of this ongoing evaluation and that is always the deciding factor. I can tell you this, I do not doubt in any way, the intense SPL readings that are associated with the TORII MK2. With this amp set at LESS than 50 percent total gain, I am amazed by the sound pressure that loads this room with so much more power on tap! With the gain set to the ten-o’clock position and with my listening position equilateral to the speakers at approximately seven feet spacing, this sector provides a balanced triangular set-up with the driver alignment intersecting directly at the point just aft of my head. The direct first response aligns with my ears to where the sound rays pass inline appropriately, to the left and to the right. In other words, the achievement of the “sweet- spot”; where the greatest involvement into the music allows for precise perception of three-dimensional imaging.

Within this equilateral triangle, it came as no surprise that I averaged well over 92dB in the mid-range with peaks in excess of 99dB. I recall at one point when the max reading registered at 102dB! This was achieved during playback of the “SO” SACD from Peter Gabriel using the JJ KT77 output tubes that are fully balanced and matched as a set. I like these particular valves very much as they produce clear detailed sound with solid impact.

It is not perceived as loud simply due to the freedom of sound fatiguing distortion. The greatest clue here as to how many decibels are actually present is within the simple test of normal speech. When you cannot hear yourself talk at normal speech levels over the surrounding music level, this is a good indication of some serious sound pressure going on around you.

This update was to keep you informed of the work in progress with much more to be analyzed. Look for a full review on this diverse mix of evaluations to be released in the near future, as it should be of an informative nature for those seeking a first hand perspective of these fine amplifier/speaker combinations.

For now, I am back to the next phase with the S.E.T.’s in place of the TORII MK2. These will undergo duplicate testing parameters with the exception of the ZTPRE, interfaced for control. The mono-blocks have in place; a fresh set of Ei Elite EL84EG gold pin output tubes, fully matched and balanced with preliminary burn-in for optimal performance. Vintage NOS RCA 5U4GB types supply rectification. The mono-blocks are driven by a set of EI Elite gold pin 6DJ8EG’s. For testing with the S.E.T. amplifiers, the gain control will be set to normal and the volume controls set to high maximum value, dependent on music passages presented.

To be continued…………………..

Paul


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Pyewacket
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #56 - 05/30/06 at 15:46:55
 
Hi Paul,

Well you're doing it again...  Now I'm just crazy over hearing your impressions of the Torii MkII with the RL-2s vs. the RL-3s.  ;)

Sounds like you are having a ball!!!  :D

Terry

P.S.  Paul, I REALLY would be interested in hearing your thoughts of the RL-2 vs the RL-3 with THAT amp.  Especially in the bass weighting of the matchup.

Thanks in advance,

T
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« Last Edit: 05/30/06 at 15:49:54 by Pyewacket »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #57 - 05/31/06 at 01:35:05
 
Hello Terry,

Not a problem. This is exactly my intention with the speakers in question. The whole point of this extensive evaluation process is to provide others such as yourself with some impressions derived from a seasoned Decware listener with as honest and accurate information as one can give without getting overly technical. I realize that what you want to know is how this equipment interacts with each other and the resulting musical satisfaction. That is what really counts and I believe that you will discover my findings to be very straightforward and of the same perception if you choose to acquire any of these combinations. This I would expect if a top-notch source mated with the TORII MK2 kept in minimalist form were used with any of these speakers. The huge factor is of course within your room parameters and the acoustical effect that the room presents to the music. You will find that a select set of premium tubes along with high quality cables weigh heavily upon the total perception of sound quality.  As far as source recordings are concerned, I have music titles that really do not do justice to this system, but when great titles are played back, the system is allowed to breath and the magic distinguishes itself in a seemingly infinite manner.

As you know, I have gone to great lengths for providing the information posted so far and I am only in the first stages of the complete process. My time is limited so it may be awhile before all of this is sorted out, but I am making progress. I am at the stage of comparing notes with the RL-2’s versus the characteristics offered by the upgrade RL-3’s. I have been well accustomed to the RL-2’s for several years and I will make this brief and basic observation from my initial response to the RL-3’s.

The RL-3’s are definitely a cut above with far superior low-end extension. These speakers are a superb choice for the TORII MK2 and make for an excellent match for which is sure to please the most demanding listener.

These are of a completely different signature for which a volume of words could not justify the instant acknowledgement obtained with an actual demonstration. Bass extension is simply wonderful with a level of detail that usually would be associated with the augmentation of a quality subwoofer. I have had the WO32 at my disposal for quite some time now. To create the full-bodied presence of the music that I expect to hear while using the RL-2’s; I have always included the sub for that total satisfaction. With the RL-3’s, you would swear that the WO32 is engaged when in fact it is not even hooked up!

I really do not see the need for additional augmentation with these, as they are that good. When you have been accustomed to having a good quality subwoofer for some time, these factors become readily apparent. As I stated in past posts, I have excluded the use of any subwoofer augmentation, as I do not want to distract from the qualities of the speakers in question. The whole point is to know what the main speakers are capable of in their purest form. If you go back to some previous posts in the reviews section, you will find that the owners of the RL-3’s have stated very close similarities as to what I have concluded about this model. If you read the review that was printed in a major audio rag, it states that the reviewer liked them so much that he purchased the review models rather than send them back!

I have so much more to say about my findings but I shall save that for the final review.  If there is something specific that you would like me to analyze with these speakers and I can accommodate your request, I would be pleased to do so for you.

I will be extensively reviewing the entire line-up of the Decware offerings, starting with the lowest priced models and advancing on to the higher priced models, providing my take on how each one of these designs sound with the TORII MK2.

As a bonus, the evaluations are to be repeated with the Single Ended Triode approach as this will show just how responsive these speakers are to low powered purest amplifiers.

I am pleased that you have expressed interest in this matter. I only hope that I can provide the answers that you seek.

Take care.

Paul.
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Pyewacket
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #58 - 05/31/06 at 15:45:26
 
Hey Paul,

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your insights.  Let me give you a little background into my approach to this "audiophile" thing.

When I was a very young man my grandmother had this wonderful old console stereo that my grandfather bought for her because she really loved her music.  She used to play that thing all day on Saturdays while she cleaned the house and the sound that thing made was just amazing.  Then, my father went and worked two jobs to be able to buy my mother a setup just like hers and for the next fifteen years I had that same sound in my home every Saturday morning.  I never realized just how good that was until it was gone.  Over the years I've spent a short ton on all kinds of gear and NEVER came close to that warm and intimate sound that those old tube rigs put forth.  It only took thirty some years to figure out what it was that made that "sound" so special.

So, I have a genetic double wammy in my love for music and now I have the opportunity to be able to set myself up with what I would consider my dream system.  The biggest hangup I've had is this whole subwoofer thing.  I really don't want to deal with that.

All that aside, back to the speaker comparison...  Over the years of hanging around here I've come to the conclusion that to get what I want is going to take a dedicated listening room, that's already a given.  Now I have the frontend handled as far as the vinyl goes, I'm commited to pick up Steve's gear as far as the tubes go.  Never having listened to any of it I just "know" that it's going to be better than any SS stuff I've ever had.  The final piece to the puzzle has been the speakers.  Well, what better to mate with his tube gear than his speakers.  I've thought about making speakers, I've looked and have been going out and listened to everones highend system that I could find over the last two years and have found all of them wanting to some degree.  Just by listening to everyone here that's had Steve's gear I have a pretty good idea that what I'm looking for is one of the radial speakers.  The whole idea just makes so much sense.  Now it's just figure out which one.  That's where you come in...  Talk about a leap of faith!!!

Now with all that blather out of the way... My listening room is not going to be very big, standard bedroom size.  Hopefully I can make it into one of the ratios that Steve put in his white paper on listening rooms.  With that, listening will be in the near field.  However, I do like to have my "sessions" and crank it up on occasion.  With the balls the MKII has that shouldn't be an issue, but I don't want Joe Walsh leaving the room because the final transducer is lacking.  I've heard so many people here talk of how good these speakers are and reference the likes of Diana Krall, Bob James, etc.  Not any that I can remember that talked about, The Who, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd or The James Gang.

Can you still be an audiophile and listen to that?  Regardless, pace, rhythm and dynamics are what I'm looking for and from what you've stated so far, what you have is all that and a bag of chips.

So Paul, if I haven't put you to sleep with all that drivle, I'm all ears...   Cheesy

Terry

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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #59 - 06/01/06 at 05:34:03
 
Hello Terry,

That was interesting to hear about your past leading up to your current philosophy about audio in general. You have expressed your intentions very well and I believe that this provides me with a clear picture as to what your focus is and what will satisfy your goals. Realistically, I can only give you my perspective as to how I perceive these components but it should give you a good lead as to what may be a more proper fit for your application. There is zero risk associated with buying Decware products anyway and the designer himself always best serves final recommendations. Steve goes out of his way to give each customer the kind of personal attention that is usually unheard of with any company that I have dealt with for any product.  

I believe that most customers past and present can relate to that statement and I have yet to hear any negative feedback regarding his personal advice for which to select the appropriate gear. To add to this, you have Zygi’s personal consultation that I will without reserve, state wholeheartedly, that his word comes from that of true experience and wisdom.  Steve and Bob make for an outstanding design team and it is of my experience that their word is as good as gold. As far as I am concerned, any direction given by them can be “set in stone” as audio gospel.

When I was in my youth back in the sixties and into the seventies, I was never really exposed to any real Hi- Fidelity products (except for those being hyped by the boutique audio dealers) and there was no involvement with any serious audio direction within my family. I never knew what tube based equipment sounded like back in that era. It is no wonder since all of that was considered obsolete by the mainstream and the push was on for big mega watt solid-state components and speakers so large that it took two men to move them. You needed the big SS amps just to drive the majority of these designs due to the low sensitivity factors. Since I lacked experience with any refined tube based gear during those years, I based the current “state -of- the-art” (as it was referred to by the  promotional peddlers) type of monstrosities, for which to gauge what was supposed to be the most refined sound quality ever offered in  audio.  Looking back to that period, hindsight has given me 20-20 vision. Today, I am finally confident with how to put this all into perspective.

I fell victim as many did, to the premise that high-powered SS amps mated with oversize speakers were the only way to go if one was serious about audio. With the money that I spent chasing that goal in the eighties, I can only look back at my ill-advised delusions of audio grandeur and find it amusing at best.  We live and learn and sometimes life sends you down a rocky road when you were convinced it was the super highway.

One fortunate aspect of my youth was that vinyl records were the source of ultimate fidelity and aside from a turntable, open-reel decks were absolute “state of the art” devices for rendering music as reference grade quality. I still would not dispute that today when you take into consideration that technological advancement by dedicated designers has brought us such refined analog offerings available today that simply was not offered back then. This is not to say that good quality turntables were non-existent, but to merely convey the fact that the level of standard has advanced significantly. With the recent and steady upsurge in analog interest, and the fact that hard-core purists refuse to give up that aspect of audio reproduction, the resulting formulation has brought us some of the greatest designs ever imagined in analog playback.

To make things worse, I hastily made the transition to the CD format during the early to mid eighties and that only compounded my misdirection into audio disenchantment. One of the greatest analog components that I ever owned was that of a studio grade Akai 747 open reel deck with the type 1 dbx circuitry. Back in 1983, this was truly a work of art when it came to open reel machines and it had a hefty price tag as well. I ended up making a severe mistake by selling it, as it seemed that open reel decks were becoming obsolete with the “great” digital domain that was promised on the horizon.

Do not get me wrong here, there are some decent sounding digital components on the market but it has only been within recent years that this has come about. After hearing the modified Sony unit with the much-improved SACD format, I have found that digital can be an acceptable means to enjoy audio if done right. Once I actually had the chance to truly focus on the benefits of a well-designed hybrid offering, I find myself getting more involved with the digital format once again. This has a great deal to do with the benefits of a quality tube based output stage which renders the tonal balance to a closer facsimile of well regarded vinyl offerings.  I am still adamant as to the sound of properly produced vinyl and it shall remain as my reference grade standard until something comes along that will change my perspective towards analog playback. With the direction that things are going in the audio world, I have my doubts!

Now as far as music selection goes, I can easily accommodate your artist category. I have a huge collection of vinyl and digital offerings, which cover the majority of well-known “Classic Rock” releases with many that are substantially improved upon with refined remastering. Although my musical direction has changed dramatically over the past few years, I still resort to these timeless classics for a trip down memory lane on occasion.

I have every L.Z. album released except for CODA and The Song Remains the Same “live”, all remastered and released by Classic Records on premium 200-gram vinyl. These are by far the best sounding releases that I have heard to date and a huge improvement over the digital format. I have “Who’s Next” and “Who are You” on vinyl plus a nice European double album which was an import offering with a complete span of their career hits.  I have the entire Pink Floyd catalog on vinyl with some vinyl that were original pressings and some remastered versions as well. Plus I have all titles by Roger Waters (except for “Amused To Death” which is very rare and quite expensive) and David Gilmour on vinyl to include “The Wall” Live In Berlin by R.W. The “Amused” title by Waters was mastered by a technique called “Q” sound and  provides a very unique and surrealistic sound quality to the soundstage. I have a collectors edition from Sony Music with this remastered from the original studio tapes onto standard CD format gold disc. It is a bit reminiscent of the quadraphonic sound that always made their live performances so special.

There will be more on this. Thanks for your confidence!

Paul.
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Pyewacket
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #60 - 06/01/06 at 20:20:43
 
Hi Paul,

Now we're getting somewhere!  I'll tell you, I've been all over the place on this speaker thing.  Just went potty over a set of La Scala's I found in a thrift store... Then I heard them.  That ended that right there.  Thought maybe it was their age and the room etc.  Found a gent through a friend of mine that has a pair of the newer RF-7's powered by 65 watts of Mac power.  I'll say this, they were loud.  I really thought that was going to be the ticket as far as an efficient dynamic speaker goes that wouldn't require a subwoofer but that was a little over the top for me as far as forward sounding.  Maybe tubes, cables etc could tame them down a bit, and they really get some good press over on the Klipsch forums.

As far as the RL-3's go, everyone that has heard them have had nothing but great things to say.  A couple of lads from here really got unhooked at one of the Decfests when they heard them coupled to the original Torii.  This whole sonic-holography thing really really has me going.  I really want to experience this and I'll do what it takes as far as the room goes but in the same breath can the little guys do a Pete Townsend power cord?  Does David Gilmour's guitar have that sheer size and weight with it?

Everyone has said how nice they are but can they be naughty too?  That's the question.

It's not like I even have anything to compare or really offer as a comparison other than those two Klipsch rigs I've heard and in their defense, they were far from optimized but I have to tell you I think I'm in the audio armpit of the free world down here in SW Florida.  Everything is keyed to home theater or trying to see who can get the biggest sonic cannon in their car.

That's why I really appreciate reviews like yours.

Terry
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #61 - 06/03/06 at 16:02:54
 
Hey Terry,

I do not know anything about the La Scala's but there must be a suitable reason for their residence within a thrift store. Somebody else did not care for these either apparently. Yes there are a multitude of reasons for why any particular item ends in a thrift shop, garage sale, e-bay or whatever the case may be and that does not reflect negative connotations against the item as some people just do not know what they have and since a particular item may have no meaning to them, they place no true value on it and merely dispose of the item in haste. Sometimes one can really come across some amazing deals when it comes to people selling particular items to which they are completely ignorant of their true value.

There is one thing for sure. Now that you have had a listen to the La Scala's, keep that image locked into your memory and use it to compare notes when you ever get the chance to hear the RL-3’s or any other of the Decware models. I bet that you will come to the immediate conclusion; “damn, I almost screwed the pooch” as you will soon understand what you would have missed out on.

I would probably have a difficult time getting you out of my listening chair once you had the chance to listen to this set-up. I can easily spend an entire day listening non-stop to my system without once ever questioning its overall ability to satisfy my expectations.

If with any possibility, you must try to attend Decfest this year and ask Steve for some personal time within his custom audio room. That room is built to reveal the utmost from quality audio gear and gear he has! Trust me, from what I have gathered, this year is going to be exceptionally good compared to the previous years and it is only going to get better. Then you need to spend some time with Bob and discuss the technical aspects of the entire speaker line.

BTW, Bob has an incredible sounding audio room as well. The room is relatively small but not when it comes to audio perception. When I walked into this room with speech as the primary source, I had an immediate thought as to how this room’s acoustic balance is really ideal. It made possible for me to detect very distinct character change within how my voice sounds to myself. Tonal presentation within the room is very smooth and well balanced to say the least. If you were guided into that room blindfolded and asked to listen for a while, your mind would fool you into conceiving a much larger atmosphere. He accomplished this with minimal but well executed placement of diffusion and absorption. I would bet that if those acoustical treatments were to be removed, so too would the presentation be.

This was my first exposure to the RL-3’s for a real sit down session. Bob has the original TORII MK2, which is a one-of-a-kind in design layout. This amplifier along with a modified digital source being that of a tube output stage became the driving force for this session. I have these speakers in my audio room now and I can tell you that they are very impressive with everything that I have played back on them so far.
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #62 - 06/03/06 at 16:06:06
 
continued;

To answer your question about this systems ability to reproduce a power cord with authority and realism can be answered affirmatively with confidence. As for the sound of Gilmour’s guitar, let us consider the following. I have had the distinct pleasure of hearing Dave play live during two separate world tours; the first being the post Waters Floyd era while promoting the “Momentary Lapse Of Reason” tour and the second being that of the “Division Bell” tour. The MLR concert was inside the Minneapolis Metro-Dome while the DB concert was held at an outdoor stadium in South Carolina. I could have seen the show again in Atlanta a few days later but did not attend. These shows are performed in extraordinary form with robust quadraphonic configurations. I attended the Roger Waters tour promoting “The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking” at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin TX and again attended the ‘99 “In the Flesh” tour in Kansas City. He puts on a show lasting well over three hours with an intermission between sets so that the stage crew can change the stage settings for the second half of the show. The second part to his show focuses heavily on very early Floyd material on through the successive years for which he was the major influence behind that group’s success. For a musician that is now 61 years old, he still has what it takes to sell out major events and for good reason.

As luck would have it, Roger is touring again this year with a heavy emphasis on the material from “Amused to Death” along with some new material that will be presented to audiences for the first time. The second half of his show will be the reproduction of “The Dark Side of the Moon” played in its entirety as it was done during the “73 world tour. Of course, it is a shame that Dave, Nick and Richard are not going to make for the original band performing that legendary album, but Roger selects world-class musicians as his touring band and they pull it off very well. The differences between Dave and Roger run too deep to make that possible. A recent offer of 250 million dollars to regroup for some major tour dates proved insufficient to make this happen. It just so happens that Roger’s tour is scheduled for October the 3rd in Phoenix and you can be sure that I will be there! Ticket prices are unbelievably high with even the worst seats costing more than a small fortune. A front row center ticket to this event is over $2000.00! Quite scary isn’t it? There are only three concert events that interest me for which I would pay today’s ticket prices and I just covered the two major ones. The other event that I would like to see live would be that of Sarah McLachlan and there is no doubt as to how great that show is.
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #63 - 06/03/06 at 16:09:10
 
continued;

I wandered off course there and I imagine that you thought I had diverted from the answer. No, just leading up to it. I guess to compare what the actual guitar sound is when played “live“, one would have to hear this firsthand as a reference. While any home audio products that I know of are not going to produce arena level sound production as witnessed at a live event, a scaled down system in proportion with the correct surrounding elements stand a good chance of believable comparison. Nevertheless, the primary focus here is to compare tonal accuracy, impact, and emotional connection to the mirroring of said comparison. As I have heard actual representation of David Gilmour’s guitar playing in a live atmosphere, I feel that this serves as a base for which I can relate in order to answer this question with any sense of conceivable reliability.

First, remember that different speaker designs convey uniquely different sound characteristics, with the RL-3’s or the remainder of the Decware line up to be of no exception. This is why one must carefully select the right speaker for their particular tastes. The RL-3 is designed to be a very “openly” detailed holographic speaker for which comes across as very smooth and laid back with an additional forward facing midrange driver to give you that sense of immediate involvement. With these, you get everything that the radial design is known for plus the sensation of direct sound reinforcement that gives you the best of both worlds. As for the bass, you could not ask for a better rendition in the lower registers.

Let us examine this on a larger scale. Going beyond just the likes of Floyd’s guitar sound in general, take it a step farther and ask; does the imaging reflect the recreation of the live quadraphonic set up? This is where the RL-3’s are going to shine where many other designs pale in comparison. What you have here is a seamless atmosphere that makes you forget the limitations of your room. Sound appears to be evenly perceived from the room as a whole rather than the focus upon a direct source stemming from its general direction.

When you step up from the low powered S.E.T. amplifiers to the TORII MK2, a completely new set of parameters are set into motion. I can tell you that there is nothing to be missed in any way by stepping up to the much more powerful push-pull design. In fact, I am so spoiled by the sound produced by the big P-P amp that I find the alternative single ended mono-blocks to be way out of its league when it comes to overall presentation.

It is like the difference with high performance engines, which are nothing short of giant air pumps. It is all about efficiency produced by superior design with the right combination of parts, machining, assembly parameters, octane rating, etc. I have built several radical small block motors in the past, but never with the overall satisfaction obtained from my large cubic inch big block that I had when obtainable high-octane fuel was cheap and abundant. (Those days are history and only the memory remains)

Both types of motors will produce excellent results but more cubic inches are simply giving you a greater platform for which to produce usable instantaneous power.  One who knows the difference would not mistake the visceral growl that emanates from the big blocks exhaust in comparison to the alternative small block version, which produces a uniquely different register of sound. This of course becomes apparent with properly engineered exhaust parameters when applied to the specific engine configurations.

I hope that the above-condensed analogy gives you a bit more insight as to how the laws of physics dictate end results in general and this certainly applies in audio as well.

This is where the subject of impact comes into play when comparing the similarities of actual sound with that of reproduced sound on a scaled down level. With the TORII MK2, you will be within range when mated to appropriate speakers. If you are not satisfied with the recreation of drums, bass, wind instruments, piano, organ, or in your particular interest; the recreation of a “believable power cord”, I would find this very difficult to fathom. The TORII MK2 is quite capable of the above, accomplishing this with authority and accuracy (speed = detail), and does so without undue stress!

Therefore, there lies the definitive answer.  Go for it with confidence in mind, as I fear not any regret within your overall satisfaction.


Whether you are looking for the finesse of fine Classical recordings or those of intense power structure, you will “have your cake and eat it too” with this very fine amplifier, speaker combination.

To be continued in the final review.

Paul
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« Last Edit: 09/09/06 at 15:53:43 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #64 - 06/05/06 at 13:50:53
 
Hello Paul,

The time you've taken to answer all my questions is greatly appreciated.

"Go for it with confidence."  I have to say I feel much more at ease being able to make that jump.  I think the deal maker on this whole endeavor was how spooky close your impressions echoed John Mazur's review of the RL-3's when he was running the 24 watt Eastern Electric M520, and that one really had my motor going.

Thanks again and I'll be looking forward to your final summary.

Terry
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #65 - 09/05/06 at 01:16:28
 
I have taken a bit of time off from doing all this evaluating but I'm preparing for another go at it soon.

I had an idea this weekend that I would like to know how many people would be interested in.

I want to do a side by side shootout of the most favored "current production" KT88's on the market today.  I was fortunate enough to find a vender that is willing to advance me two sets of new cryogenically treated quad matched KT88's for my evaluation and contributing review on his site using these in the TORIIMK2 . I get to try these out and only pay for what I like. If I do not like any of these, a full return is granted with no obligation.

Here are the two sets of cryogenically treated KT88 quads to be evaluated:





This source uses professional cryogenic processing and all tubes are double matched in quad sets. The final Gm matching is performed after the cryo treatment.


As you know, my evaluations with the Decware TORIIMK2 have been performed with only the JJ KT88 versions non-cryo'ed and they are very impressive throughout the audio spectrum.

I checked these out today on my Hickok 6000A Gm tester and I was quite pleased with the results after approximately 1000 hrs of burn time. The results showed that every tube tests like new, showing no sign of degradation from extensive use. Each tube reached full scale on the Gm reading (3000 micromhos) with zero gas leakage and strong filament continuity. Two of these pegged the meter hard giving a "better than new" reading!

By adjusting the SHUNT dial to a reading of 2000 and reducing the Filament voltage selector by one step, this gives a good indication of long term tube life. If the reading remains within the green sector "GOOD" range, then the tube passes the life expectancy test. ALL of these JJ KT88's actually increased and held steady well within the acceptable range and all tested uniformly.  This should say something about long term integrity for these current production tubes. Considering the gentle load that the TORIIMK2 presents to these power tubes, I expect them to last at least 3000 hours+. Only time will tell and continuing tests will be verified with results posted as time progresses.

My idea is to evaluate all three tube sets and find out which that performs in all categories and comes out the decisive winner overall.

This is my current set of JJ KT88's that have held up very well.




I guess to be fair about this test which will provide accurate analysis between all three types, I need to send these JJ's off for cryogenic treatment which I am sure will extend their life expectancy even further. The performance should show marked improvement as well as this process is known for it's significant benefits.

If you would be interested in this analysis and would like to know the differance in performance characteristics between the JJ, Sovtek, & Electro-Harmonix varieties, give some feedback here and I will include this report with continued evaluations.

Thanks.

Paul
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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 16:22:19 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #66 - 09/06/06 at 14:34:18
 
Hello Paul,

Hope this finds you well, you sound as if you've been as busy as a one armed wall paper hanger!

I would really be interested in hearing about what you find out with these comparisons.  I would much rather be able to buy a matched set of new tubes that are going to sound good and not have to spend a lot of time combing around for NOS items.

From what I've read so far, the KT-88 really gets high marks in this amp so this should be fun.

This cryo thing seems to really be catching on.  It didn't seem that long ago where more than a few were putting it off as snake oil.

Take care for now,

Terry
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #67 - 09/09/06 at 16:20:22
 
KT88power tube comparisons begin.....

The Cryogenically Treated KT88's ready for evaluation.




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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 16:25:47 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #68 - 09/10/06 at 00:15:39
 
Two fresh sets of power tubes, matched and optimized by cryogenics for optimal sound quality.




The primary focus here is to hear how these different types perform against each other in the TORIIMK2. The Sovtek fat bottle KT88 tubes can be seen below the Electro-Harmonix versions at the top of the photo.
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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 16:26:57 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #69 - 09/10/06 at 01:11:28
 
Compared to the JJ KT88 in the center, the addition of the Electro-Harmonix on the left and the Sovtek on the right, expose the design detail which clearly shows each to be of a different nature as seen by the obvious distinction. I expect the sound distinction between them to be just as easily recognized. It is my focus to discover the strengths and possible shortcomings which may be inherent within their design.




If you look at these tubes closely, it will become evident that the construction quality measures are clearly superior in the EH & Sovtek tubes. I give bad marks to the JJ version for its visual flaws which are not a problem with the two other types. What I am referring to is the fact that every JJ bottle is canted off center which makes it difficult to fit in tight areas due to it's size already. This does not affect the tubes performance but I find it to be an unacceptable visual flaw. Aside from the visual flaws, the JJ‘s are quite impressive in sound quality and will be hard pressed to contend with sonically! They are noted to be the most costly of the three sets as another factor to weigh upon.



I have started out this morning with the burn-in adjustment period for the freshly installed Sovtek KT88 output tubes first. Right out of the box, these are very promising and I believe that they show the potential for first class performance. I have listened to these  throughout the day and am quite pleased with them so far with the RL-3 speakers being used for the evaluation.

Look out JJ, these Sovteks are riding your tail with extreme vigor! It seems as though  the  race is a close one and a new winner here may just arise. I am really impressed with what I have heard so far and I believe the Sovteks to be a viable choice as it stands at this time. The ultimate test will be applied when the highly detailed NFX cabinets with the DFR-8 drivers installed are brought back into the loop.


Up next is the Electro-Harmonix trial and we shall see how these stack up in the performance race.  

This should prove to be interesting!

More to come as the evaluations progress…….
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #70 - 09/17/06 at 20:02:46
 
I have been listening and comparing as time permits, to the contributing aspects for each of these power tubes in question. At this point of the comparative testing, I find both the Sovtek & Electro-Harmonix KT88 versions to be very respectable! Each has distinct quality virtues with both types taking the TORIIMK2 to impressive levels of audible comprehension. These are being tested with some extremely rare “late thirties” to “early forties” 5U4G  large shoulder style rectifiers manufactured by General Electric. For the driver tubes, I have installed a matched set of 1970 era Tesla 6922’s.

For maximum exposure of micro detail, the TORIIMK2 is now driving the set of NFX  speakers with the impeccable DFR-8 full range drivers. These are refined structures which incorporate a hybrid cross utilization of factors known for articulate reproduction of sound.  These speakers have the  low frequency response  associated with enclosed cabinet designs, coupled with the transparent qualities of mid-range and high frequency detail found in “Open Baffle” designs. These attributes are unified within this superb sounding speaker which are highly revealing across the audio spectrum..
The resulting “speed” of this speakers focus becomes the ultimate platform for revealing subtle & “not-so-subtle” effects within tube rolling.

Here are some detailed visual aspects for the tubes being used in this testing phase.



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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #71 - 09/17/06 at 20:12:52
 
Shown is the Sovtek KT88's in operation with the rare General Electric rectifiers that are approximately 65 years old! They are just like new and in perfect condition.


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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #72 - 09/17/06 at 20:16:42
 
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #73 - 09/17/06 at 20:22:31
 
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #74 - 09/17/06 at 20:26:19
 
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #75 - 09/17/06 at 20:28:23
 
The Toriimk2 with the Sovtek KT88's in operation. Note the low profile for the Sovtek's. They are ideal for situations of minimal clearance where large rectifier tubes can be a problem.


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« Last Edit: 09/17/06 at 20:35:10 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #76 - 09/17/06 at 20:36:54
 
  Well I feel abit funny as one man telling another man that he has some fine looking tubes ??? but those are some fine ones you got there RFZ....    Dave Smiley
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #77 - 09/17/06 at 20:43:29
 
The following pictures detail the Electro-Harmonix KT88's in place of the Sovtek's.


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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #78 - 09/17/06 at 20:52:40
 
Quote:
Well I feel abit funny as one man telling another man that he has some fine looking tubes  but those are some fine ones you got there RFZ....    Dave  


Not to worry Dave, I will avoid putting anything into that statement. Trying to read between the lines on that one could get someone in trouble. Better left in black & white.

Thanks for the observation. They sound just as good if not better!

Later.

Paul
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #79 - 09/17/06 at 21:00:21
 
The Electro-Harmonix KT88's fully balanced and cryogenically enhanced.


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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #80 - 09/17/06 at 21:17:40
 
This enlarged view shows the internal construction for the upper section of the EH tube. The Electro-Harmonix KT88's are claimed to have a new technology introduced within these which cancel out the bad effects of odd-order harmonics so highly desirable even-ordered harmonics can prevail. It must work because these are the most fluid and harmonically balanced power tubes that I've experienced to date. *ABSOLUTELY incredible!


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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #81 - 09/17/06 at 21:34:57
 
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #82 - 09/17/06 at 21:40:29
 
The full view of the TORIIMK2 with the cryogenically treated matched quad of Electro-Harmonix KT88's.


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