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Decware SETs vs "the other stuff" (Read 7126 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
05/16/07 at 18:23:27
 
On another forum frequented by many of the lurkers and members of the Decware forum, there is a thread or two singing the praises of a low powered power amplifier and matching preamp that have received a lot of positive press.  A few comments are made indicating that these are sonically superior to the Decware SET amplifiers.

I recently spent several days listening to these pieces through some loudspeakers I am very familiar with (owning a pair myself) and through a front end component that I am VERY familiar with (being my Camelot Uther).  I also was able to spend some time listening to my Decware Select and CSP2 with the same associated gear.

To make a long story short, if anyone has been considering the purchase of the highly touted gear mentioned on the other forum and selling their Decware amplifiers ..... I would like to save you the trouble of finding out that you made a serious mistake .....  :P

The other amplification spent a lot of time in the system and was well warmed up.  Both my Select and Dave's (from Parker Audio) were each in the system for about 30 minutes, with the CSP2 running for a total  of about 60 minutes.

Not to be misunderstood, the other amplifiers sounded OK ..... but to my ears (and quite a few of the other folks who approached me after the listening session) there was simply no comparison as to the musicality and naturalness of the sound ..... with the Decware gear coming out on top.

If anyone feels that I am coming from the position of a "homer", please understand that I have bought and sold more audio gear over the past 25 to 30 years than I care to think about.  If the other amplifier / preamp combo was better sounding to my ears, I would already have placed my order for them.  I have not ..... and will not.

In the past, I was dead set against having an active preamp in my system ..... not being all that impressed with the ones I had heard.  For the past couple of years, Steve has strongly suggested that I should try one of his preamps.  Since purchasing the CSP2, I can say with absolute certainty that you have not really heard what your Zen amplifier is capable of until you have heard it with the CSP2.

The readers of this (and many other) forums are always looking for ways to better the sound of their audio systems.  Changes in the system usually bring a "different" sound ..... but, after scrutiny, different is not always better.

In Caintuck, we have a saying ..... "The grass is always greener over the septic tank" .....  ;D

Just something to think about .....

Randy
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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 06:39:27 by Randy in Caintuck »  

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davedutill
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #1 - 05/16/07 at 19:08:31
 
What the hey!!

I'll chime in on this one.

The Decware amps were the Amps that others were judged by on sound quality!  They ruled the fest of the South!!  Gritfest, thats right, no cream of wheat here, was rocked on more than one occassion by the mighty lil Decware amps.  Our amps were followed by an Eddie Vaughn Carina and  Joels integrated. John had brought a homebrew, what I called the cool Satchel amp.  Then bringing up the tail end was the transcendant.  Yes, it had tubes galore, it worked flawlessly as a night light for people coming in and out of the room.  

Perhaps the Transcendant could be used as a Septic cleaner?

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MikeW
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #2 - 05/16/07 at 20:23:51
 
I do agree with Randy and Dave that the Decware gear is very hard to beat and at it's price point almost impossible to beat. I too over the last few years have bought, sold, traded and exhausted myself looking for the best treat for my ears. I have gone from flea powered to high powered, from tubes to SS and back again.

Currently I prefer the sound of the SET amps as opposed to anything else. Sometimes I miss some bass response but not that often. SET amps require careful matching of components both upstream and downstream. When the match is made you have something special.

I have in my possession two of the amps that were mentioned but mine are all in stock form. I believe Dave's and Randy's Selects are tricked out a little Wink

Also the Carina I have is a prototype and I am sure there are some differences in the production Carina. I do believe that since I have added the CSP preamp that the CSP + Select does one heck of a job playing most kinds of music.

If you own Decware gear and want a better sound you will have to spend a lot of money and still might end up disappointed. I can say the same thing for the EV Carina. It is a fine amp.

Hey if we all had the same 'ears' we wouldn't need so many HI FI choices. Smiley

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One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people's minds.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #3 - 05/16/07 at 20:44:24
 
MikeW wrote on 05/16/07 at 20:23:51:
I believe Dave's and Randy's Selects are tricked out a little Wink

If you own Decware gear and want a better sound you will have to spend a lot of money and still might end up disappointed. I can say the same thing for the EV Carina. It is a fine amp.



Howdy Mike,

While it's true that our Selects are "slightly modified", I had the privilege of hearing a stone stock Select in my system during paulc's recent visit.  The stock Select put on a great performance and held its head high .....  8-)

For purposes of clarification, the amplifier I was comparing to the Select was not the Carina.

The Carina is also a fine sounding amplifier.  The contrast between the Carina and the Select / CSP2 combo is interesting ..... with not a runt in the litter.

Best wishes,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 05/16/07 at 20:49:34 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Doorman
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #4 - 05/16/07 at 21:31:02
 
Thanks, Randy. I've not had the opportunity to listen to "that other" tube amp, but my Select is staying put!
I agree that the (tubed) pre makes all the difference. Go figure!
                                                                                                                       Don
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Lon
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #5 - 05/16/07 at 22:46:25
 
You know what? I'm not even considering other equipment.  With the CSP2, the ZBox, the DEC 685 and the EL34 Monoblocks and the RL2s I have a Decware system that brings me enjoyment every day.

Yeah, I'll consider another Decware product. . . why not?  And I'll eventually have my Monoblocks modified by Steve.  But. . . I'm not tempted by any other brands. Smiley
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DaveCan
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #6 - 05/16/07 at 22:54:54
 
 I feel quite fortunate that I was able to order my Taboo last summer. I can't afford to change out gear all the time so I did the research asked around and finally put a order in for one.

I know it's a SEP and not a SET but I must say for the price my money and ears are safe sitting in a Decware chair. Now I'm itching to try a CSP2 with my amp, and if I can get one sometime I'll feel quite safe and happy to put my money with Decware.

Great products that can fit anyones budget that can compete with high dollar out of most peoples reach  stuff.    Dave Smiley

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rayd
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #7 - 05/16/07 at 23:06:10
 
There is something special about the Select - and I might add - Parker, combo. For me, it's the emotion they empart (The Last Samurai soundtrack with Japanese koto drums sounds absolutely scary through this system). I've never experienced this before. That being said, I wish I had a wee bit more power  :'(
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buzz
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #8 - 05/16/07 at 23:37:34
 
davedutill wrote on 05/16/07 at 19:08:31:
What the hey!!

I'll chime in on this one.

The Decware amps were the Amps that others were judged by on sound quality!  They ruled the fest of the South!!  Gritfest, thats right, no cream of wheat here, was rocked on more than one occassion by the mighty lil Decware amps.  Our amps were followed by an Eddie Vaughn Carina and  Joels integrated. John had brought a homebrew, what I called the cool Satchel amp.  Then bringing up the tail end was the transcendant.  Yes, it had tubes galore, it worked flawlessly as a night light for people coming in and out of the room.  

Perhaps the Transcendant could be used as a Septic cleaner?


Its a shame to bash Bruces' products... they are miles ahead of most gear, including much tube equipment. Also, he has done much to enlighten 'audiophiles', and offers tools to help the average Joe learn about what makes amps tick. (LOTS of hard work, even more difficult than building for resale) And although his amps may not sound as good as the SE84, believe it or not, there are amps that sound better than the SE84.

What will you say about Decware products when you experience that?

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« Last Edit: 05/16/07 at 23:38:34 by buzz »  
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bo
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #9 - 05/17/07 at 00:04:35
 
buzz wrote on 05/16/07 at 23:37:34:
Its a shame to bash Bruces' products...although his amps may not sound as good as the SE84, believe it or not, there are amps that sound better than the SE84.

What will you say about Decware products when you experience that?



Who is Bruce? Are you talkign about Transcendent Audio, the ones that use like 37 tubes? Play music and heat your home all at once – LOL!!  :-X
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Eli Duttman
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #10 - 05/17/07 at 03:57:42
 
bo wrote on 05/17/07 at 00:04:35:
Who is Bruce? Are you talkign about Transcendent Audio, the ones that use like 37 tubes? Play music and heat your home all at once – LOL!!  :-X



OTL amps are space heaters.  Rozenblit's are not too bad.  Look at AtmaSphere.   Tongue

JMO, you want OTL, go tube driver/MOSFET "finals".  I've got a 250 WPC in 8 Ohms AVA FET-Valve that sounds fine, thank you.   Wink
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Eli D.
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Terry
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #11 - 05/17/07 at 04:09:13
 
Eli Duttman wrote on 05/17/07 at 03:57:42:
OTL amps are space heaters.  Rozenblit's are not too bad.  Look at AtmaSphere.   Tongue

JMO, you want OTL, go tube driver/MOSFET "finals".  I've got a 250 WPC in 8 Ohms AVA FET-Valve that sounds fine, thank you.   Wink



Eli,

What is the circuit toplogy of the FETs, class AB?

TG  [smiley=2vrolijk_08.gif]
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opnly_bafld
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #12 - 05/17/07 at 04:17:31
 
Eli Duttman wrote on 05/17/07 at 03:57:42:
JMO, you want OTL, go tube driver/MOSFET "finals".  I've got a 250 WPC in 8 Ohms AVA FET-Valve that sounds fine, thank you.   Wink


I agree, I love my tube amps but when I need more power I use Monarchy Audio Tube/Fet hybrid monoblocks with 200w/ch (50w class A).

Lin Smiley
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Terry
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #13 - 05/17/07 at 04:30:52
 
opnly_bafld wrote on 05/17/07 at 04:17:31:
I agree, I love my tube amps but when I need more power I use Monarchy Audio Tube/Fet hybrid monoblocks with 200w/ch (50w class A).

Lin Smiley



Monarchy Audio's sites says this:

"The current-output stage is totally transparent, so if there are any sonic characteristics  observable on (not my typo but theirs) this amp, it would be attributable to the tube’s own sonics."

Although I think their amps more than likely sound very good I don't buy that kind of sales talk, at least knowing what I know about electronics.  Everything has its sonic characteristics, however small it may be, NOTHING is totally transparent, at least not yet.

TG  [smiley=2vrolijk_08.gif]
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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 04:31:51 by Terry »  
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #14 - 05/17/07 at 05:01:42
 
buzz wrote on 05/16/07 at 23:37:34:
And although his amps may not sound as good as the SE84, believe it or not, there are amps that sound better than the SE84.

What will you say about Decware products when you experience that?



Howdy Buzz,

I would probably say "I just spent a LOT more money" .....  ;)
Then again, I have owned some pretty nice amplifiers ..... including the very highly regarded Wright Sound 2A3 monoblocks and the Korneff 45 ..... and at the end of the day I sold them and still have my Decware Select.  The DH-SET amps sounded "different" for sure, but there is something about the sound of the Decware Select that is even more real and involving than the others, IMHO ..... and they cost a lot more than the Select.  I'm happy to admit that personal preference is involved, but there is a musical honesty to the Decware amps that is not often found.  When V-Caps and the CSP2 are added to the equation the situation is even better ..... much better.

One of the reasons I started this thread was that a comparison was being made between the Transcendent amps and Decware products by some folks who were previously big fans of Decware products ..... and were now treating the Decware products like a red headed step child.  While allowing for the fact that they probably did not hear the Decware gear with the benefit of V-Caps and a CSP2, the situation "stuck in my craw" and needed an outlet.  Since the issue involved Decware products, I thought it proper to use this forum to make my comments.

I welcomed the opportunity to hear both amps and preamps in the same system and had no problem deciding which products sounded better to me .....  8-)

Regards,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 06:27:06 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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