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Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII (Read 30445 times)
RFZ_Quest
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Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
02/20/06 at 05:23:04
 
   
TORII MKII  preliminary evaluationInitial Impressions: The First 50 Hours


After a long six-month wait in anticipation, the audio Gods have delivered upon my highest expectations. The first amp placed on order last year was passed over due to other financial obligations therefore allowing the next customer in line to receive that amp. This delayed the reorder of my current serial number which had a long wait in the build process. Alas, my new successor to the amplification throne has taken residence as the driving force behind my audio bliss. As an owner of a well balanced system consisting of ONLY Decware components, aside from the TERES vinyl rig used as the source, I am well prepared to audition this amp for all its worth. Or could it be that this amp may just be the ultimate platform for exposing the SYSTEM for all its worth?

One way or another the truth will undeniably be placed within the limelight. Will this once and for all prove to be the Holy Grail at the end of the audio journey? Time will tell soon enough but in the short of initial exposure in comparison to my well-seasoned SV83M-DC monoblocks, it is embarrassingly clear as to what separates the boundaries for these design classifications.

My main interest for obtaining the new push pull design was NOT due to any lack of interest or even the slightest regard toward dissatisfaction with my existing monoblocks with the dual core implementation. After all, these amps were the flagship of Decware designs obtained several years ago. If any factor deeming cost versus value played a part in determining the overall scheme of things, keep in mind that the SV83M-DC versions cost the same back then as the TORII MKII cost today! With that being said, I think of every time that I prepare for building a high performance computer system to supercede the last state of the art system. Rapid development of technological advancement pathetically outdates previous state of the art standards within a relatively short period of time. This supercedes its predecessors once standing reign of power and domination into the inherent delegation of a mere afterthought.

I certainly would not go to that extreme for evaluating the rudimentary differences that prevail between these completely different reference standards. My point is that as with computers, components and the software used to drive them are increasingly becoming better within relative cost factors and by far, are much easier for the end user in terms of use, compatibility, and overall terms of satisfaction. In summation, this becomes a win- win situation for the consumer as the price versus value gap tightens its margin for which higher expectations of performance are obtained at a relatively lower cost factor with each cycle of advancement. In general, the end user obtains more for their money than the previous purchase, which by current standards, is rendered obsolete at least as in retrospect to computer components are concerned.

Do not misunderstand me as in no way would I disregard the integrity of the SV83 designs into the embodiment of obsolescence as they will always shine in the highest regard to their particular class. These amp designs hold a very comfortable position of musical authority as gauged by their own relevancy as opposed to any contender in their shadows.

No surprise that it would take the very same designer to improve upon his own masterful designs by which no other has resided in their passage of legendary engineering!

I expect no less of Decware for which they have consistently proven to be the time honored leaders in audio advancement. Although it seems positively impossible for these designs to warrant improvement in any way let alone be challenged by superceding designs, Steve continually finds the path that leads us to the fruition of our highest expectations in regards to audio enjoyment.

We asked for the seemingly impossible and he responded beyond our wildest imagination as to what is truly obtainable in the world of audio perfection.

On to the chase. This latest rendition is nothing short of impeccable! How his creative process has delivered us with such innovation is difficult to fathom until one has experienced the intricacies of his design contingencies in the form for which it is promised to deliver.

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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 14:47:57 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #1 - 02/20/06 at 05:30:47
 
I actually feel as though I have acquired a flawless diamond for the price of an imitation. I have never been so satisfied with such sheer contentment in regards to overall consumer satisfaction in my life! Seeing, feeling, hearing, experiencing this gem factors in very heavily without a shadow of doubt that this amplifier is far too superior to be placed in such a modest price category. Amplifiers sold at the "price no object" boutiques do not remotely attribute the characteristics of this leading edge design but easily cost three to five times as much! Talk about value margins. The best advice that I can give to any potential buyer is that this is the rarest of opportunities! If a man offers you an ounce of gold for the price of lead in proportion, would you not feel utterly satisfied in a pound per pound validation?

Initial impressions straight from the box.


Upon delivery, it was evident that the package was prepared for anything short of a nuclear blast. Although UPS managed to deliver the amp without a trace of mishandling, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have withstood the harshest of handling tactics. The tube set came packaged separately and delivered at the same time with its contents perfectly intact.

As much as I merely wanted to plug and play this amp and set things in motion, I had to marvel in the aesthetics of this awe-inspiring work of art. I doubt that there has been build quality of this caliber offered in commercial products for at least forty years. Usually, to acquire something of this design standard, one must pay an absolute premium. The visual aspects alone secure the promise of a very well designed layout. This amp deserves an honored place among the finest of audio amplifiers at any price!

Although I would have preferred to see the addition of a powder coated transformer cover to isolate that section from the tube layout which by the way, would have raised the production cost to a much higher level, the layout still presents itself in an unobtrusive manner which screams pure integrity. However, if that option came available, it would be worth the extra cost.

This is no plain Jane amplifier. A great deal of thought went into its design in regards to what the end user would actually take interest as to available connections and controls for the ultimate marriage to ones system needs. This is an integrated design with its own gain control thus eliminating the need for a quality preamp. For my SV83M-DC monoblocks, I drove them with the Decware ZTPRE for which I no longer have a need with the TORII MKII. Evaluate this even further and you realize that this eliminates the need for that extra set of audio cables to make their mark on the audio signal. This presents the amplifier as that much more of an economical value as per cost savings alone. What really makes this special, factors in that of signal integrity, as there is limited outside chance of signal degradation due to additional components and cables in the path to present additional signature alterations. This all further reinforces the Decware motto that "LESS IS MORE" which definitely has taken premise here.

What comes standard on this amp to provide a user-friendly interface for their system is all that one could ask for. At the front of the tube layout, you will find the gain control centered at the most accessible position. Directly behind it lies the switch to control either of two available source paths making it very easy to toggle between my Zen triode phono stage while listening to vinyl and alternatively to my SACD source with its custom tube output stage. To the rear of the amp and completely accessible from the top are the remaining controls in line with the massive high quality binding posts from WBT. From the center outward, you find discretely positioned independent controls for each of the two channels. Starting with the detachable power receptacle designed for premium power cords which is highly recommended, the independent power switches are next in line for easy accessibility. Next, come the input RCA connections that allocate the use of dual source provisions. Alongside the inputs are the nicely designed tone controls for fine-tuning treble output to your situation. Further down the line you find the switches for choosing either 8 ohm or 4-ohm configuration to match your speakers. This can be ordered as an option to have 8 or 16 ohm compatibility as well. Finally, as most properly placed, you have your WBT binding posts that are also top mounted with plenty of clearance for which one can use any type of cable of their choice. Bring on those massive heavy gauge cables for audiophiles that choose to use those duty rated for welding applications! These connections are up to the task if the challenge presents the need to do so.

The tube complement which ships with this amplifier includes everything you need to produce premium grade sound quality. Included are a matched quad set of EL34C’s with the "flying C" insignia to handle the output. The driver tubes are Svetlana 6n1p types that allow this amp to sound very natural and smooth. For rectification, a set of 5U4G’s is included. Tube voltage regulation is provided by Westinghouse OA3’s. As you can imagine, this amplifier will provide you with a substantial secondary heat source to keep you warm during the winter months. Air conditioning will become a welcome factor while operating this during warmer weather but then again, what tube amplifier does not apply to this characteristic? For me, this is an acceptable trade off which I will cheerfully pardon for all the listening enjoyment that will flow effortlessly from that generated heat. It is really not all that intolerable unless you sit three feet from the amplifier in which case I would question the reason for this to begin with.

As with any component, one must understand and accept the fact that all good things come to those that wait and patience is a virtue when it comes to the "break-in" period. Any past audio experience clearly dictates that this is a very necessary and expected process for which the true nature of a components worth cannot be accurately gauged until achieved.

With this in mind, I was fully prepared to ignore the initial sound emanating from this amplifier and to forgive any initial bad elements that may arise through the stress of time induced evolution to reach the projected goal. I have found that it takes approximately the first fifty hours or so for any component to show patterns of stability for which improvements generally arise in stages. One hundred hours will show a marked improvement over the initial fifty and so on. I am satisfied and ready to make an honest evaluation of a components worth once it has reached a minimum of two hundred plus hours. This seems to be the magic number for which the unit has gained the highest potential in my past experience with any other possible refinement being that of astute subtleties.
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #2 - 02/20/06 at 05:44:41
 
The system in question for this evaluation consists of the most crucial elements, nothing less, nothing more.


Starting with the star of this show is of course the TORII MKII itself driving a set of well seasoned 2000 hours+ Radial RL-2 designs of which I tailored to my own personal liking. Although these speakers are not far from stock configuration, I chose to experiment with these to extract any possible refinement. These as most know are two-way designs engineered to complement low powered amps with very respectable efficiency ratings. I am a believer in the elimination of all unnecessary signal paths with application of the purest materials possible throughout the remaining signal chain. This did not reflect upon the speakers so much in themselves, as any refinement possible was minimal. These modifications merely attributed a change of signature but still within the realm of the original character. The only avenue of upgrade worthiness lye directly within the speakers crossover network which is already simplified to perform a relatively simple task. Originally, these incorporated an interchangeable resistor path for which the high frequencies could be tailored to a particular listening environment. Through a great deal of experimentation, I determined that the best results were that of total resistor elimination. All that is left is merely the capacitor for the high frequency ribbon element. The radial drivers operate at full range without external contamination within its signal path. All that was left open for experimentation lay within the capacitor itself. What I settled on were high quality Jensen foil in oil speaker caps with solid silver leads. The remaining connections were finished off with high purity solid silver hook up wire with all connections permanently soldered in place. Other than that, I modded the structural housings with some additional sound deadening to the interior along with careful application of Black Hole 5 in the critical areas. I built my own custom speaker cables kept minimal at eight-foot lengths. These were constructed of high purity silver with multiple gauge configuration in conjunction with a core base of cotton, designed for minimal interaction and shielded for maximum protection from EMI/RFI interference. I felt that the mounting position of the ribbon bracket rendered itself as obtrusive to the wave dispersions emanating from the radial drivers. This could not be totally eliminated without completely redesigning the method for attachment. However, it became clear to me that if the brackets were simply reversed with the ribbon driver housings simply flipped 180 degrees, the entire assembly could be relocated to the rear of the wave dispersions, thus greatly reducing the interactions incurred toward the frontal patterns. Yes this created a bit of time alignment delay but since the radial is upward firing to disperse 360 degrees, I concluded that this would not be detrimental to the overall perception. In fact, I found the presentation to be more laid back with a better sense of detail. I have spent a great deal of time listening to these speakers, evaluating and tweaking to the point that I feel to be optimum.
Now that the speakers and cables have been identified, all that’s left is the source itself with the necessary interconnects. As stated, my primary source is that of a Teres turntable mounted upon a vibration controlled structure which I built utilizing oak for the structure filled with sand for deadening and interlocked with hollow aluminum tubing also filled with sand for maximum deadening. The platform is constructed of one-inch thick African Padouk hardwood sealed to the base with a heavy isolation bead of automotive window putty. To further isolate the turntable from external vibration, carbon fiber cones and pedestals have been placed to support it to the platform. The DC drive motor is external with a very low contact area to the platter itself. The motor is powered discretely by battery power with preventive measures taken to reduce external vibration to a minimum. The tonearm is an Origin Live Silver Series with a Dynavector DV-20X moving coil cartridge. Signals are processed through a Decware triode phono stage and fed through high quality silver interconnects directly to the TORI MKII itself. The alternative source is the Decware modified 685 SACD player with dedicated tube output stage using high quality G.E. capacitors. Again, this fed through silver interconnects directly into the other set of inputs on the amplifier. Simple, direct and as free from external contamination as possible. Further into my evaluation, I will bring the WO32 subwoofer into the loop but for now this will be left out of the system so that only the main speakers are heard.

System status online, warmed-up, and optimally ready for a test drive…………………………………………..

I have waited a long time for this moment to arrive and I momentarily hesitate as I reflect upon my expectations. This was similar to my feeling upon hearing my vinyl rig for the first time. I just know it has to be good but will my expectations be justified or will disappointment interject to rear its ugly head? There is no turning back now so this uncharted path must be approached with a positive outlook. Knowing as to the integrity of Decware products and theorem, I know that this is going to be a wild but controlled ride so here it goes!

Three..Two..One..we have ignition; main engines at full throttle we have achieved lift off…..Houston, there are no problems reported here….main engines throttled back as we break through the sound barrier on to our destination of audio enchantment.

Well anyway, back here on the planets surface I have witnessed a new found discovery that has extended way above and beyond any reasonable expectations that I may have conjured about this amplifiers capabilities. No, wait, could this be? I was completely assuming that surely a stone fresh amplifier must sound harsh for at least the initial break in period…but this is not so here….surely the solder slingers must have put this amp through an extensive break in period prior to its journey into my possession? O.K. so it seems to sound utterly superb for something that should not sound this good right out of the box! I am sitting in amazement, anticipating the luxurious sound which is imparting my senses to surely begin a descent into that roller coaster ride of inevitable character change as internal forces work through each hour of operation. It has been my experience to hear multiple changes take place within the first twenty hours of break in so I am fully expecting this occurrence.

This never happened! I have had this amp in use for one week now operating at fifty percent for five hours non-stop each night with a cool down period until the following day. On the sixth night, I left it on constant loop play with my SACD at low volume all during the night and throughout the next day equating to more than 24 plus hours non stop with the last ten hours set at reasonably strong volume levels. All that I can say about this observation is that I have yet to hear any fluctuation in sound quality! If what I am hearing IS in any way considered to be marginal in respect to this amplifiers hidden capability, awaiting its projected bloom from cocoon to flight status, than I will truly be mesmerized by its promise!
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #3 - 02/20/06 at 05:49:39
 
I have been listening to many of my favorite LP’s as well as select digital recordings in the SACD format which always sounded fantastic with the SV83M triodes. This is the same system with only the change of amplification and the elimination of the preamp and one set of interconnects from the audio chain.

There is no contest here. The TORII MKII picks up where the smaller triode amps fade out, taking us to the conclusion of the musical event. This is not something that has to be heard several times with careful scrutiny for which to base a determination.

The closest analogy that I can use to describe the difference between these amp designs is like that of a person with gradual vision loss. The changes are minute as they occur throughout time. However, it becomes obvious that the person is missing the finer detail of ones surroundings. If the person had always been lacking full visual acuity and suddenly corrected this into dramatic focus, it would be readily apparent as to how much detail had gone unnoticed.

That describes the difference between what I am hearing now as opposed to my previous configuration.

I will go into depth as to what is most discernable in this evaluation as I continue through the break in period.

Currently I have a set of quad matched JJ KT88 output tubes on order. It will be interesting to compare the unique signatures between these and the EL34C’s in service now.

Paul.
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Sam in USA
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #4 - 02/20/06 at 05:54:33
 
So, in what areas do you think TORII betters the SV-83s?
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Lon
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #5 - 02/20/06 at 11:52:40
 
Congratulations Paul!  What a fun read. . . enjoy your bliss and keep us posted of further impressions.
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teepeeworks
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #6 - 02/21/06 at 06:46:44
 
Paul,

Are you the guy who wrote the Monoblocks with Radial review?:

http://www.decware.com/paper40.htm


Keep it up and let us know how things progress.  :)

Oh, and please refrain from telling us how your Teres/ZP 1.5 absolutely slaughters your DEC685. I don't need to read such things.  :)

Take care,

Corey
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eparson
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #7 - 02/21/06 at 18:41:48
 
Interesting that you didn't have to go through a break in period with your MKII.  Mine was almost unlistenable out of the box, after about 2 weeks things started to improve. Now, I have over 300 hours on it and the sound is nothing short of amazing....
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #8 - 02/22/06 at 01:40:59
 
Lon,

Thank you. I knew that you might find interest in this review, as you have been a long time owner of the radials driven by EL34 amplifiers. You can relate to what I am experiencing and it is clear that you have a very broad background in music evaluation.

I am pleased that you have found this to be informative and my goal therefore is to carry on with this adventurous journey throughout the most critical stages. This in an attempt to provide those that are interested with a broadened insight as to the scope of another fellow Decware end user.

Yes, you can be sure that there will be more to follow on this evaluation, as this was only the beginning stage. As time progresses, wading through the amplifiers break in period, I will be carefully forming accurate mental dissertations without the clinical approach. My intention is to reflect most honestly, the fine attributes which set this amplifiers character apart from that which I have been so accustomed over the past few years.

Keep in touch and check back in about ten days as I am sure to have displayed further insight upon my experience. If it does take longer, please have patience as this will eventually be posted.

Paul.
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #9 - 02/22/06 at 04:02:23
 
Corey,

Yes, you caught me! That article reflects quite some time ago, descriptive as to how I perceived things back then. As you recall, I had not requisitioned any form of acoustical treatments at that stage of the game but I was hard at work investigating the possibilities through the informative articles, sharing Steve’s insight as well as my own study of the subject. Many changes have taken place since that era and I still take this all in stride.

My only source available at that time was that of an $1800.00 Arcam CD player with the highly touted “ring DAC” developed by DCS. When I sold that unit on Audiogon, the new owner contacted me and raved on with absolute praise as to the sound quality this particular unit had. I would agree that this was one of the most forgiving digital sources that I had ever heard. That is until present day! I was deep into the process of examining d.i.y. sources for which to build the ultimate transport system reclocked with the finest aftermarket devices available and coupled with the most refined tube DAC that could be mated with such in the most complementary of degree. In parts only form, the realization of this build would have surpassed the $5000.00 mark and with no guarantee of success or satisfaction.

It was then I made the transition into the high-end world of exotic turntable designs. I discovered the Teres line and that was all it took. Chris Brady from the Teres development staff is very much like Steve is with Decware. The products they have developed are on par with what is going on at this end of the spectrum. The components developed by these two companies were meant to be united for the perfect balance of musical harmony. I believe that Steve’s phono stage design simply became the icing on the cake for these world class designs.

I definitely would not bring ill bearing upon such a comparison as to the SACD tube DAC design derived from Steve’s engineering talent versus the Teres alternative. However, I am quite partial to the magic of a well-executed vinyl playback system and for me there are truly only two serious formats available today. That being the introduction of DSD engineered SACD digital and the fine offerings produced today by those that specialize in premium analog masters offered on the vinyl technology available in the present time. Once you have experienced 45- rpm master recordings cut with the finest of lathes using only proprietary analog mastering equipment from labels such as APO Records, you will know what the fuss is all about. Listen to a “direct–to-disc” mastering session and you have delved into pure audio nirvana!

I have sent Steve a sample variety of what I consider to be some of the very best recordings available today and of which will be a very big part of my upcoming review for these two sources in side by side evaluations with the new TORII amp. Two of these vinyl offerings will be from APO records (Analogue Productions) one of which is 45-rpm and the other in a microphone- to- lathe; Direct to Disc master recording. These will be the reference grade for the vinyl source. On the SACD side of the fence, only the best premium recordings will be analyzed to show the extreme of what this unit can convey. How about authentic cannon fire shot in multiple succession and captured in real time from “1812 overture” mastered in pure DSD! This you have to experience. The wide dynamic range present on this disc is like nothing I’ve heard in the past for this title and it ranks high upon the list of reference discs. I have many discs in this format, which definitely give vinyl a run for all its promise. That being in terms of dynamic range and accuracy. However, even with the best of the digital format, I like so many others (I detect a pattern here), am consistently drawn to the superbly natural sound that only quality vinyl seems to provide. In other words, digital has always seemed more clinical in presentation to me while the vinyl counterpart just imparts a sense of relaxing vibrancy.

I will attempt to cover this in detail with the continuation of my review. Until then, I have a great deal of listening to do.

Take care.

Paul
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #10 - 02/22/06 at 04:17:17
 
Sam in USA,

I do not mean to cut you short on your question but since this will be a major part of the upcoming review format, I ask that you read my observations when I present them which will be soon enough. If I do not provide the specifics to your question in general at that time, then please feel free to ask about any particular aspect.

Thank you.

Paul
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #11 - 02/22/06 at 04:32:33
 
eparson,

I fully understand the bizarre nature of my findings! As I said, I was fully anticipating what you yourself experienced. Why that I was spared this agonizing dilemma is beyond my belief. I can only imagine now as to what the future holds in store especially once I introduce the high end JJ KT88’s into the picture!

For now I will take my good fortune and run with it.

BTW: give us some updated detail about your current impressions. What music sources are you examining and what makes them special to you with the TORII MKII driving your system?

Paul
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #12 - 03/02/06 at 23:42:27
 
Just recieved a matched quad set of JJ KT88's and will be installing them shortly. Further evaluation will soon take place with these installed in comparison to the EL34's. The new amp now has over 100 hours burn in time on it and sounding very good.

100 hours plus "phase-two" evaluation coming soon.......................
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Zygi
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #13 - 03/03/06 at 01:43:11
 
Paul,

  I couldn't even listen to mine for the first 100-200 hrs. I think your going to be in for a big suprise....

  Hows the A10's


   Keep us posted.

     BobZ
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #14 - 03/04/06 at 01:53:04
 

Hello Bob!

I know that this seems unusual in any regard for me to find this or any amp to sound this good with limited hours. This as I stated, has caught me completely off guard. I completely expected as such for this to sound rough for quite a while and as stated, did not find any unpleasantness even for a fresh component. I was so surprised by this that I even had to ask Devon if there was a chance that this amp may have had an extended break-in period at the shop prior to shipping. She said that to the best of her knowledge, it had zero run time with the exception of testing and quality assurance. So there you have it. It's a mystery but I'm not complaining!



More to come…….


Paul.


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« Last Edit: 09/09/06 at 15:49:01 by RFZ_Quest »  
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DirtDawg
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #15 - 03/04/06 at 02:32:38
 
shsh... not so loud, please. Smiley
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« Last Edit: 03/04/06 at 02:32:50 by DirtDawg »  
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Rap
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #16 - 03/08/06 at 00:21:45
 
[quote author=RFZ_Quest  link=1140416584/15#17 date=1141776685]These are the Emission Labs 5U4G's.
[/quote]


What! speak up son..



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« Last Edit: 03/08/06 at 00:30:11 by Rap »  
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Sam in USA
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #17 - 03/08/06 at 00:29:18
 
[quote author=Rap  link=1140416584/15#18 date=1141777305]


What! speak up son..



[/quote]

Aye Aye! Captain!  :D
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Rap
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #18 - 03/08/06 at 16:43:12
 
Sorry Sam the letters only go up to 24 in size Undecided no use writing 30
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slappomatt
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #19 - 03/08/06 at 17:35:09
 
why are we yelling?  ???
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teepeeworks
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #20 - 03/08/06 at 17:50:50
 
Paul,

That is very interesting that your Torii required no break-in. Huge bonus.  :)

I don't know why but I love the F-16. It's concept, looks, small size, the single engine, just like that jet.

Take care,

Corey
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Zygi
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #21 - 03/09/06 at 00:57:20
 
Corey,

 While the F-16 and the new F-22 are sweet machines, my favorite is the A-10.

  BobZ
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« Last Edit: 03/13/06 at 02:38:22 by ZYGI »  
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Sam in USA
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #22 - 03/09/06 at 02:34:30
 
Awsome pics!
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MAC -SteveH
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #23 - 03/22/06 at 22:36:46
 
Well - wassup with the JJ KT-88's Paul??

I've been running the JJ's for a long time now. Fantastic sound. Extremely linear.

FWIW - the MkII does kick sum ass right out of the box!

I don't miss my SE84CS one bit! (sorry Grey) (not really)
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #24 - 03/23/06 at 01:02:17
 
Hello MAC- SteveH,

I know that my further comments have been lagging behind on the TORII MK2 but for a good cause. My time has been short lately and what spare time I do have has been spent searching and acquiring several different tube types.  Some new production, with most being high quality N.O.S. types. It will be awhile before I can report on any of these as they are evaluated. Tube rolling is going to be a major aspect of the continuing review and I want to try many different configurations to know the difference in what this amp can do.

Since the SV83M-DC mono-blocks will be compared in this evaluation with both vinyl and SACD sources, I am also going to test these with upgraded tubes. Currently I am using the Svetlana SV83’s with 6922’s. I have two matched sextets of Ei gold pin Elite EL84’s and some Ei gold pin 6DJ8’s coming for these. I will also be evaluating with Mullard  N.O.S. rectifiers. These amps have the advantage of considerable break-in so that they are at peak presentation.

Currently I have a set of  N.O.S. Mullard rectifiers coming from England. They will be used for all tests in comparison to the stock Ruby’s in use now.

For driver tubes, I am in the process of acquiring many different brands of N.O.S. types to include Mullard, Amperex, RCA, Siemens, etc… to include sets of 12AX7’s for my phono stage and 12AU7’s as well as 12AT7’s for my SACD output stage.

I am also working on a set of N.O.S. 5U4 rectifier types from RCA and Sylvania. If I manage to get these, they too will be evaluated with the others. A matched quad set of JJ KT77’s are also on the way to be used on the TORII MK2. These have very high praise and are a direct replacement as upgrade versions for the EL34’s. I am very satisfied with the overall presentation of the S.E.D. winged “C” EL34’s that I have now and the JJ KT88’s are awesome with this amplifier. Both of these sets are highly recommended with the TORII MK2. I intend to experiment with a great deal of variations with these amplifiers and it will be interesting to discover the different signatures each trial will bring forth. I really want to hear just how far the sound quality can be extended with the right tubes.

It will take some time to get through all the tube swapping so have patience and I will report as things progress. I am glad to know that someone besides me found the initial sound of the TORII MK2 to sound reasonably good right out of the box. It seems as though all other reports reflect otherwise and I have really been puzzled by this. I am very satisfied with this amplifier, I expect much greater results to come forth as time progresses, and discover the ultimate tube configuration to tailor the sound just right.

More to come…

Paul
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veryoldcat
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #25 - 03/23/06 at 02:00:39
 
[quote author=RFZ_Quest  link=1140416584/0#14 date=1141437184]

Just to assure you that my hearing is intact; I recently had an audio gram using the sound booth with headphones and I passed that test with flying colors.
[/quote]


The eyes, don't forget to check the eyes...

Thanks for the great Torii impressions Smiley

Karl
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #26 - 03/26/06 at 16:06:23
 
You are welcome Karl. This is only the beginning. Stay tuned as much more info is coming around the bend. I bet you thought I was challenging your eyesight with that french script. I hope it did not give you a headache as you need to be at your best for listening to audio.

Take care.

Paul
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #27 - 03/26/06 at 16:26:55
 
Update: Tube rolling has been initiated! Reports coming soon.


I just recieved a couple of packages yesterday with some of my NEW stock tubes that I will use in the comparison tests. These include the new JJ KT77's which are direct drop in upgrades for the EL34's and matched sets of Ei Elite gold pin 6DJ8EG's and 12AX7EG's. Most importantly my Mullard CV593/GZ32 N.O.S. rectifiers also came at the same time.

Here is the set of tubes recieved along with my set of JJ KT88's:





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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 14:50:11 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #28 - 03/26/06 at 16:34:15
 
Here are the 12AX7's (trio) which will be used in my 1.5 Phono Stage. Two are identical matches with the third which is very close. The closely matched tube will be placed between the balanced set and this will become non critical considering it's function. Beside them are the 6DJ8's. These will go into the amplifier.

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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 14:51:53 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #29 - 03/26/06 at 16:43:00
 
This is the set of JJ KT77 output tubes Quad matched. They are currently "breaking-in" residing in the TORII MK2


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 14:53:04 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #30 - 03/26/06 at 17:02:29
 
Now for the special prize:


The O.E.M. Mullard CV593/GZ32 rectifiers.




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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 14:57:28 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #31 - 03/26/06 at 17:16:16
 
The new tubes in place with the JJ KT77, GZ32, Ei Elites in operation:



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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:05:27 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #32 - 03/26/06 at 17:20:40
 
Another view with a lighter wide view.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:06:18 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Pyewacket
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #33 - 03/29/06 at 14:55:45
 
RFZ, you're killing me here!!!  I can't wait until I can put my order in for one of those bad boys!!!  :'(

I keep telling myself... Patience, patience, patience.  But, I want it right now!!!

Glad to here you are really enjoying this fine looking piece.

Anyway, keep up the reviews and updates as I know this will be invaluable when I do get mine.

Back to work,

Terry
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #34 - 03/29/06 at 16:02:52
 
Am I supposed to be seeing pictures with these posts?

Dave
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Pyewacket
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #35 - 03/29/06 at 19:25:26
 
Dave, I have the same trouble but you can get around it by right clicking on the little red x and select properties, highlight and copy the address and past it on the address line of your viewer and hit go.  Silly thing, when you hit the back button, now the picture will appear in this post.  At least on mine...
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #36 - 03/29/06 at 20:12:50
 
Ya know I ended up doing the same thing. weird eh?
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #37 - 03/30/06 at 04:19:16
 
Hello Terry,

Just remember, patience is a virtue! As the song goes:” Anticipation Keeps Me Waiting" and the TORII MK2 is worth every second of it as the rewards are incredible! I hope that you get yours very soon. Just remember, the build turnaround is about six weeks so that gives you extra time to get your funds gathered by the time it is ready and you are not charged until the amp is ready to ship.

Do not mean to antagonize you but maybe my input will help you to make a more "informed" or at the least "suggested" purchase.

Yes, I am enjoying my amp along with the rest of the system to an extent that is difficult to describe. I will be taking my time evaluating this amp with multiple combinations of tube choices and comparing with the well familiar SV83 monoblocks. Those amps will undergo tube upgrades as well to keep the comparison tests within perspective. I just received today, twelve each matched and balanced Ei Elite gold pin EL84's which gives me two full sets of output tubes for these amps. I also received two more sets of Ei Elite gold pin 6DJ8EG driver tubes. These will go into the monoblocks as well. A pair of N.O.S. gold pin Amperex 6922’s is also in the works. Multiple variations of N.O.S. rectifiers will also be interchanged on these. I have a matched trio of 1964 vintage Amperex 12AX7's on the way for the phono stage to be compared against the Ei Elites. For the SACD tube output stage, I have acquired a bulk set of very fine "used" old stock 12AU7's and a couple of 12AT7's to test the signature of different brands *( 31 tubes total). This set has a mixture of RCA, G.E. Sylvania, etc.. and I am bound to find some select tubes here that will tailor the sound to my fullest satisfaction. I have a N.O.S. variety of quality rectifiers to include RCA, G.E., and Sylvania versions of the 5U4G, 5U4GB, 5Y3GT, plus some others. I should have a very diverse range of choice here and the results should be interesting. When it is all done and over, I shall have plenty of quality tube surpluses to fall back on.

My evaluation tubes are just starting to filter in, it will take a fair amount of time to compare these tube variations so sit back, and you will soon read about my experience when I feel ready to post my thoughts about this.

Hope that I can provide some interesting and useful suggestions stemming directly from my perspective with the amps I have. Oh and yes, I do plan on incorporating some "HALO" tube dampers to further enhance the sound of these tubes.

Later.

Paul
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Pyewacket
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #38 - 03/31/06 at 17:37:50
 
Hey Paul,

Thanks for your comments.  This patience thing for the most part has been poverty driven thanks in part to a spendthrift now ex-wife.  With that though, they also say that things happen for a reason.  Now it looks like as Decware has matured over these last ten years I'll be able to have an all matching compliment of components with the new chassis design being implemented these next few months.

It's really exciting now knowing exactly what I want for my personal rig and it's even better listening to people like yourself that have such good things to say about it.

Right now it's a bit of a trial as I work for an accounting firm, (just a little crazy at the moment!!!) and fighting the urge to rush the finishing touches on the house and property to get that ready for market.

But, in the mean time, who knows what's next on the Decware burner...  

Terry
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #39 - 04/03/06 at 03:42:19
 
Here are some of the tube selections that will be evaluated.



I purchased this bulk set of 12AU7's with two 12AT7's which are all premium old stock for the mere price of $1.00 each!




The majority of these are labeled "made for Hewlett Packard by RCA". The rest are a variety of Sylvania,General Electric, one made in Japan (Dynascan). These are all in excellent condition with years of life left in them. I have tested many of them and they sound superb! The two enlarged photos are what I consider to be the pick of the litter. These are clear top 12AU7's. The left photo is a G.E. with dual side getters and the one on the right is a RCA. This RCA tube alone is worth more than what I paid for the whole set!
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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:10:13 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #40 - 04/03/06 at 03:49:17
 
Here are my select picks that made the purchase very worthwhile.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:11:11 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #41 - 04/03/06 at 03:56:45
 
Everyone should have a few of these lying around as surplus.


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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #42 - 04/03/06 at 04:01:54
 
This is a set of N.O.S. 5Y3GT rectifiers to be evaluated.




I have listened to these in the TORII MK2 for a few hours and I like what I hear.
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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:13:15 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #43 - 04/03/06 at 04:18:09
 
This is a very nice set of N.O.S. RCA 5U4GB types.I have listened to these in the TORII MK2 and I am currently evaluating them in the SV83M-DC Monoblocks. See photo below with these installed.



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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:23:42 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #44 - 04/03/06 at 04:27:38
 
Here are the RCA 5U4GB rectifiers along with a matched and balanced set of Ei Elite gold pin EL84EG output tubes and a Ei Elite gold pin 6DJ8EG driver. Of course these are the old monoblocks.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:14:49 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #45 - 04/03/06 at 04:32:12
 
These are currently installed on the monoblocks.



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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #46 - 04/09/06 at 23:16:56
 
Since the last post, many more tubes have arrived and I am slowly testing them as time permits. It is kind of like Christmas around here except that I am buying my own gifts!

Here is another photo of the TORII MK2 with the RCA 5U4 ST style rectifiers in harmony with the KT88's.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:27:16 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #47 - 04/09/06 at 23:40:06
 
I picked up a rather unique find and with relatively low cost *(shipping cost from the Ukraine only), a bulk purchase of N.O.S. Russian military 5U3C rectifiers that date back some time before 1960 if I am correct on the vintage. These were manufactured at the Svetlana factory. They are BUILT about as heavy duty as it gets! These are the same size as the Ruby ST types that ship with the amp.





I was offered these from a guy that built amps and used these in his designs. He no longer needed them and offered the entire stock of TEN pristine (never used) tubes in total for only $1.00 plus the shipping which really cost a good bit. All in all, I invested about six dollars each per tube. These are Russian versions of the Western 5U4G designation. This of course makes them fully compatable for experimentation as direct drop-ins.
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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:29:19 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #48 - 04/09/06 at 23:45:49
 
Some more photo's of the N.O.S. Russian military 5U3C rectifiers.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:31:04 by RFZ_Quest »  
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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #49 - 04/10/06 at 00:03:33
 
Here are the American counterparts. I just recieved this N.O.S. set of RCA 5U4G rectifiers in pristine condition. These are my referance standard along with the British military Mullards. I believe that it is going to be very difficult to top these in overall performance.


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« Last Edit: 10/14/06 at 15:34:47 by RFZ_Quest »  
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Rap
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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DaveCan
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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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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RFZ_Quest
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Re: Preliminary evaluation: TORII MKII
Reply #81 - 09/17/06 at 21:34:57
 
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RFZ_Quest
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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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