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Decware SETs vs "the other stuff" (Read 6980 times)
buzz
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #15 - 05/17/07 at 10:30:18
 
Randy in Caintuck wrote on 05/17/07 at 05:01:42:
Howdy Buzz,

I would probably say "I just spent a LOT more money" .....  ;)
... 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.  ...
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. ...
Randy


Ahh, yes... I agree. However, all these amps approach the level of fidelity that the source becomes the weak link. Also, the Transcendents' use of feedback will give a better bottom end (and initial appeal) but sacrifices so much. People today are stuck with a poor medium (CD). A "lot of money" must be spent to find a CD source that can find the 'midrange magic'.

I imagine, most of these converts are using CD as their source, and have never expirienced what vinyl or ultra high end digital source listeners take for granted. Sadly, they are simply trying to make the most of the (flawed) medium they listen to, which happens to sound best in the lower octaves. More joy may have been found keeping the SE84 and investing in better source equipment.

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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 10:43:44 by buzz »  
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mullman
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #16 - 05/17/07 at 12:50:57
 
Well, I heard the Transcendent Audio stuff at HornFest as well.
To me it was nothing special.

It made music, but I much prefer my modded Decware CS...

Sometimes simple is better.
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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 12:52:28 by mullman »  
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MikeW
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #17 - 05/17/07 at 13:37:23
 
Quote:
The contrast between the Carina and the Select / CSP2 combo is interesting ..... with not a runt in the litter.  


I agree........Both are SET amps but it almost seems the similarities stop there. I like both of them.
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troutsnook
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #18 - 05/17/07 at 13:39:04
 
Randy and Buzz,

Randy, you sure know how to stir things up a bit Grin.

Buzz, I do agree with you about the source - I still like vinyl best.  You have to be realistic since everything is not available on vinyl.

I had the pleasure to listen to Randy's system last year - prior to the Zanden and CSP.  It was one of the finest systems I have heard.  The only area lacking was the bottom end - recordings I was very familiar with - substantial low bass - it just was not there.  Since that time, Randy tells me the CSP has taken care of that problem - and kept the magic as well.  I can't wait to get another listen at a later date. Smiley

So much of this is personal preference - really whatever pleases you is what you should get.  I find listening to other folks versions of "Perfection" to be enlightening.  Occasionally I learn things that help with my own set up.  Just don't forget about the transducers - your source and speakers will set the limits on what the equipment in between can do.

Bob
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bo
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #19 - 05/17/07 at 15:18:03
 
A $1000 +/- TT setup doesn’t come close to my Arcam CDP in terms of midrange magic – actually it doesn’t come close in any regard! It’s MUCH better. I’d have to drop $500+ on a cart and $2000+ on a table to match the Arcam or any Meridian for that matter.
THEN, you need to drop another $500 to $1000 on a vinyl cleaning solution and more on storage.

Forgetaboutit!


I believe most audio guys try a few midfi CDP’s and even a couple of higher end Sonys or Denons and come to the opinion that CDP’s cant’ rival even a modest vinyl rig. And that may be so with consumer brand audio - at any price level. Ever hear a $3000 Denon? They’re good but not THAT good. Ever hear a $600 Jolida with some choice tubes? Its better then the $3000 Denon in terms of musicality and magic.
Point is, its relatively easy to get a great sounding CDP if you just look past the brand names and overly popular midfi brands.

I’ve tried time and time to get back into vinyl and I just don’t see the point.


Bill Maher, New Rule:
“Stop telling me that vinyl records sound warmer than CDs. I was alive in the '70s, you dip-shit hipsters. I know what vinyl sounds like. Scratchy! And when your friend throws you the bong and it hits the tone arm, your Foghat record is ruined, man! Plus, when you've got a chick over and you're getting your groove on, every 20 minutes, you've got get up out of the beanbag chair and flip over the Ray Stevens album.”

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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 15:21:50 by bo »  

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buzz
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #20 - 05/17/07 at 16:38:43
 
bo wrote on 05/17/07 at 15:18:03:
...
Point is, its relatively easy to get a great sounding CDP if you just look past the brand names and overly popular midfi brands.
...



Bo, I have 1000+ cds/dvd/sacd/dvda collecting dust. Only a couple hundred LPs. Give me a list of CDP that you think can compare with vinyl. I have heard many and sent them packing. Perhaps I need to try Arcam or Jolida? So far I cannot agree with you... but some of my favorite music is only on cd, and I wish I could find a digital source that even came close to the ZP3.

For me, I have tried time and time again to get back into digital, and I just don't see the point... Ho, hum.

As far as 'midrange magic' goes either you know what it is or you don't. To even be more cryptic... sometimes it happens or not... even with vinyl. Steve knows.




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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 16:46:23 by buzz »  
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Rob
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #21 - 05/17/07 at 21:14:13
 
Personally, I  LOVE  vinyl. My  friend  in NYC's  set-up is to  die  for. Of  course, it  also is about $12K in gear  :o

I  abandoned my  LP rig  several years  ago.
a) Cost  of  ownership
b) Lack of  quality/pristene  recordings
c) Flexibility of playback (i.e. skipping tracks, random  play, etc) plus  playing in my  car - discman, etc.
d) Ease  of  use/maintenance
e)  FUD factor - I  don't  worry  about  kids, pets, dust,  and  other elements  so  much  with CDs.
f) pure enjoyment  factor


The  last meaning I was  constantly obcessing over  the  sound  of  my LP  rig.
I  would  A/B  like  recordings  of CD  and LP  - and  the  vinly,  when a  good  shape  recording, WAS/IS  superior.

However,  for  me  it  is  that "law of  diminishing  returns"  rule. When  you add up  all the  factors, to  me  it  simply was not  worth it.


I  have  a  hot-modded  Shanling  CD T-100  tube  output  CD player. I  have  owned the  Musical Fidelity AC3,  Meridian 801,  Marantz 63SE  - all  very  good  players  and  all  "analog  enough" for  my tastes  not  to deal  with  the  vinyl rig.
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« Last Edit: 05/17/07 at 21:17:37 by Rob »  

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selmerdave
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #22 - 05/18/07 at 00:42:35
 
bo wrote on 05/17/07 at 15:18:03:
I’ve tried time and time to get back into vinyl and I just don’t see the point.


Bo, that's the point.  You get it or you don't.  If you don't appreciate what vinyl does, you won't appreciate vinyl, regardless of the pricepoint of your analog or digital setup.  That's why it's a never-ending argument, it's about personal taste in sonics and preference.  What makes or breaks the listening process for one person is not the same as what makes or breaks the listening process for others.  For some it's <40Hz, for others it's >20kHz, for others it's dynamics for others it's sheer power, for others it's subtlety, for others it's strings, for others it's vocals, etc.  There are aspects to playback that vinyl offers that digital doesn't.  Simply.  I've heard plenty of very high-end digital setups and sorry, they don't do that thing that a $20 cartridge on a $100 table does.  They do many other things (perhaps most in that instance) better, and I'll be the first to say that a high-end digital rig can be *very* enjoyable to listen to and will do many things that vinyl can't.  But I hate it when people say that one can do what the other can't, because they can't.  You can have the top-of-the-line Teres with whatever other gear you want to name with a mint new lp and, sorry, the background is not going to be as black and nonexistant as a good digital rig.  Not going to happen.  And for some that makes or breaks things, and so obviously those people won't like (or "get") vinyl.  Of course.  And obviously that's just an example and there are many other aspects that are parallel. The reverse is also true as I think most vinyl-lovers would attest, although it's a little harder to put into words as it isn't such an empirical thing as noise levels.  So rather than say that people who like vinyl are nuts, just accept the fact that you "don't get it", and nothing wrong with that.  You're not alone.

Dave
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charlieboy
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #23 - 05/18/07 at 01:02:09
 
I have owned the Wright 3.5 2a3 monos, Decware Select monos. I currently own Electraprint 300B monos, and my current rig for a while now has Cary 805C SET monoblocks. I am very happy with my Cary SLP98P preamp and 805C monoblocks. A very good friend practically gave them to me or I would not have spent the money that they would have cost. I do remember though its been a while one of my favorite setups was my Decware ZTPRE with my Select monoblocks and my Klipschorns. Hard to beat for the money.
I have noticed the vinyl issue come up as well. I have never had a better sounding setup than my current one with features the VPI TNT 3.5 table as the centerpiece. It makes it a no brainer for me since I have over 8000 records. I have a long long long list of great records that I have upgraded and weeded out over the years. Some Mercury Living Presence or Living Stereo lp's are 50 years old and sound amazing.  It is more of a hassle to clean and such but for me thats part of it all....kind of a ritual when I find a near mint 50 year old lp for a dollar and clean it up and sit in front of the tubes and I am blown away.
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« Last Edit: 05/18/07 at 01:13:27 by charlieboy »  

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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #24 - 05/18/07 at 04:13:43
 
buzz wrote on 05/17/07 at 10:30:18:
Ahh, yes... I agree. However, all these amps approach the level of fidelity that the source becomes the weak link.  A "lot of money" must be spent to find a CD source that can find the 'midrange magic'.

I imagine, most of these converts are using CD as their source, and have never expirienced what vinyl or ultra high end digital source listeners take for granted.



Well said .....

While not being at the absolute top of "the digital heap" my current rig is at least within throwing distance ..... and I can say with some certainty that most music lovers have never heard digital sounding as good as what I'm listening to now.

I have felt for a long time that it is a pretty special system that makes the Decware Select the "weak link" ..... and my opinion has not changed with a $16,000.00 (retail) digital front end.  I took my other DAC (Camelot Uther) to the recent HornFest and it opened the eyes of several people as to what digital is capable of from the comments they made to me.  I now wish that I would have taken the Genesis Digital Lens and Stereovox digital cable.  The difference would have blown some minds .....  8-)

To my ears, the Zanden is better than the Camelot Uther ..... but not 2 1/2 times better.  I would not have paid full price for the Zanden ..... my pockets are not that deep.  If I had to live with the Uther, no tears would be shed by any means ..... it's a killer piece .....  :)

BTW ..... I noticed that you have the same phono cartridge that I do.  Another benefit of having the CSP2 in the system is a second input.  The friend who built my SO Imperials just put together an audio rack for me and the turntable is now in the system for the vinyl I enjoy.  Life just keeps getting better.

As much as I hate to sound like a broken record (no pun intended), the addition of the CSP2 to my system makes at least as much of a positive difference as anything that has been done or added to the system.  With the Select and CSP2, the end result is truly greater than the sum of the parts.

Best wishes,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 05/18/07 at 04:19:48 by Randy in Caintuck »  

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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #25 - 05/18/07 at 05:02:42
 
Interesting thread.  

As usual I feel obligated to chime in about vinyl vs CD… a phrase that osculates in the most literal sense.  It’s a very black and white phrase that with a bit of irony depicts only shades of grey.  Nevertheless: It’s not so much about “getting it” with regards to vinyl as it is about hearing it “when it is set up right.”

When I am developing an amplifier I only use CD because of the consistency.  Also because most people listen only to CD and because as pointed out, CD’s do several things better then vinyl.  The reason I don’t use vinyl during amplifier development is because it’s too easy to accidentally mess something up with the tone arm, cartridge and table.  The only way to be certain what you are hearing is honest or at the full potential of your rig would be to do a serious pre flight check which can takes hours.

Having the cartridge force of by a ½ gram will destroy the magic of vinyl.  (As a friend of mine recently found out in the nick of time before selling an amp that was actually better then his own)  

The distance between the needle and the pivot point of the tone arm has to be perfect otherwise it will destroy the magic of vinyl.

The angles of the cartridge of which there are three, must be perfect otherwise it will destroy the magic of vinyl.

And the theme goes on – the height of the tone arm controlling the angle of the arm must be perfect and should be adjusted for each thickness of record you play.

On cheaper tables that use platter mats, the type of mat used can make or break the magic, it has to be the right mat.

The choice of cartridge design and proper matching it to the right tone arm , ie, high mass, low mass, uni-pivot etc., will make or break the magic.  You can spend 6 grand on a tone arm and cartridge that don’t like each other and get better sound from a 600 dollar equivalent that is properly and synergistically matched.

The anti-skate force must be perfect, and the table must be level or the magic in vinyl will go away.

It goes on from there…  

Then when you get it all perfect, you may and typically do get stuck with mediocre results that in my opinion destroy the magic of vinyl. (Due to other handicaps down stream)

To me the magic of vinyl is what it does that CD’s can not.  Comparing the very best with the very best.

People who spend 10 grand  (not excluding those who spend far less) learn how to set all these variables up, and learn how to hear what each variable does to the sound when it’s off in either direction.  They generally have a fascination for mechanical things and an appreciation for beauty in motion.  These people are unanimous in the knowledge of what vinyl does that CD can not.

FOR THE REASONS states above it is very few vinyl rigs that are set up properly to their full potential.  Many are so handicapped that they really tip the scale heavily in the Vinyl vs. CD argument to digital.

The phono stage is probably as important if not more, then all of the above.  This is assuming that you haven’t handicapped the phono stage with an inferior preamp, or amplifier, or both.

This IMO is why there even is an argument about which sounds better.    When I have completed the development of an amplifier and it’s been in service for a healthy period of time, then I find out how good it really is by going through a pre-flight ritual on my vinyl rig and listening to records.  

Regrettably this whole hi-end vinyl thing is not practical.  You have to almost be a skilled watch maker type of guy to get it absolutely right.  Tape was a much better alternative for mass enthusiasts and CD was a natural alternative to that - offering too many advantages to ignore.  It is technically superior and inferior at the same time, and so is vinyl.

Once you spend some real money on digital it gets pretty easy to happily enjoy CD’s right along with Vinyl or even instead of vinyl.  

A big reason I come off as a vinyl advocate is because a cheap and or expensive but poor sounding CD player is no comparison to a properly set up mid-fi turntable, and for sincere broke audiophiles who lust to hear how good an SET amp can sound, it’s a less expensive way to find out.

The goal of all of us should be to focus on improving digital both in sound and in value so that eventually everyone can take the digital side of the argument with no substantial opposition.  I mean even I listen to digital 90 percent of the time since I have music on all day every day in the shop.  I want it to sound as good as possible.


Steve Huh
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #26 - 05/18/07 at 05:08:45
 
Hey Randy...  remember the mono recording I did of a single imperial playing a jazz radio station that came out in sudo stereo?  The one that started the "Hell, those aren't big" thread in the Imperial forum...  well I've posted the original wav file, uncut (75megs) back on that thread and now that you have imperials I suspect you would find it an interesting listen.  Just download and burn it.  ;)
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #27 - 05/18/07 at 05:35:11
 
Steve,

Very good points on the vinyl setup process. I was almost ready to sell my TNT. I finally got it it sing like no other table,arm,cart combo, and when I put the step up you built me in the chain it has done nothing but got better with time. It was a simple trial of tracking weight and VTA which was very cruical for my combo.

Charlie
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« Last Edit: 05/18/07 at 05:37:08 by charlieboy »  

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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #28 - 05/18/07 at 12:07:23
 
If all the material I have in several rooms of this house were available at the same cost and with the same ease on vinyl right now I'd be a vinyl addict. . . . I truly do know the magic of vinyl playback and there's nothing like it!  

I'll echo Randy's praise of the CSP2.  As mine has broken in and become integrated into my system it's proven to be a centerpiece that ties together threads of magic.  And having that second input is such a great thing.  Kudoes to Steve on this great machine!
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bo
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Re: Decware SETs vs "the other stuff"
Reply #29 - 05/20/07 at 02:39:14
 
Check out Altmann's DIY TT...with Harley Davidson inlet valve & valve guide as TT main bearing!!  

http://www.altmann.haan.de/turntable/
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