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Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII (Read 31603 times)
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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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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Pyewacket
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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Pyewacket
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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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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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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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 16:28:04 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #72 - 09/17/06 at 20:16:42
 
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #73 - 09/17/06 at 20:22:31
 
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #74 - 09/17/06 at 20:26:19
 
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