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FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X (Read 10759 times)
Rivieraranch
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FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
06/25/09 at 03:42:10
 
I took delivery of my new Mini Torii SE-X amp a few weeks ago. I bought it without tubes because I enjoy the hunt, so to speak. I had been buying tubes for it even before I put my order in so prior to its arrival I would have accumulated the tubes it takes. The monkey wrench in this plan was that my tube tester, sent for calibration in March, has still not been returned to me. I did not feel comfortable placing untested tubes in the amp. I was urged to try the amp with the tubes anyway even though I would have much rather tested all of them prior to placing them in.

The tubes are Sovtek 5881WXT; 1957 CBS OD3 voltage regulators; 1969 JAN Sylvania 6X4 rectifiers; 1960 RCA OC2 voltage regulators; and 1959 square getter Sylvania Baldwin 12AU7.  (The Sovteks and Baldwins had been tested already and the other tubes were NOS. The likelihood that one would have been bad was slight).  I have a pair of JAN Sylvania 6V6 tubes that I would like to try. Before doing that I want to obtain a pair of OA3 voltage regulators.

Once I figured out what all these gizmos were for and where to connect everything, thanks to the online manual, I was ready to turn it on. I connected it to my CSP2, opened the Torii's volume control all the way and used the CSP's gain control to regulate the volume. The gain pots on the CSP2 were turned up only moderately. I turned these pots up a lot more when using my Taboo. I tried the Torii with the CSP2 and without it. I ordered the amp with gold knobs to match my CSP2 instead of the standard retro "chicken head" knobs. That was a good move.

My first conclusion is that this amp does not need a preamp to come to a robust, or even ear shattering volume. It is written that it will handle an input voltage as low as 1 volt. The Taboo likes a 3 volt source. That is where the CSP2 comes in handy with the Taboo. It is not necessary with the Mini Torii.  I may revisit using the CSP2 with this amp, but I would have to do a lot of experimenting. For example, there may be a combination of a certain gain on the CSP2 with a certain volume level on both units that might be more pleasing than using the amp without the preamp. But again, this amp does not require a preamp.  

The quality of the stereo separation is noticeable immediately. In addition, although I have not listened to this thing at length, there seems to be added depth to the sound field. The imaging and focus is very tight and coherent. My speakers are Von Schweikert VR-1 Mini Monitors and with the amp they sound BIG. This is despite their 89db rating. The EX transformers in the Mini Torii SE-X drive the 8 OHM load well.

I do not have anything further to add at this time. I will post further impressions when I log more listening time. Of course, as with all DECWARE gear, it was carefully packaged and shipped timely. It was everything they promised. The unit works well with no problems of any kind, no hum or anything else undesireable.      
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« Last Edit: 06/26/09 at 03:40:02 by Rivieraranch »  

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KimKman
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #1 - 06/25/09 at 04:39:18
 
Thanks Rivieraranch. Good to hear the amp is working well with your VR-1's ... I have a set of VR4's here I am using with the TORII MKII. I do plan to test the Mini with them however. I am going to be using HDT's though in the in with the Mini in my office setup here at home. Should be fun. Will also experiment with tube rolling. Thanks for the time taken to comment and look forward to reading more.

Regards,
KimKman
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Rivieraranch
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #2 - 06/26/09 at 03:39:31
 
I listened to it some more tonight. I spun some discs from the Horace Parlan Mosaic set and also a good audiophile quality vocal recording, "Dinah Sings, Previn Plays."  The quality of stereo separation still is the most prominent thing for me at least. I have never had a dual mono unit or monoblocks so now I can appreciate what this design brings to the table.  

I continue to notice a greater depth of sound stage, more accuracy and presence within the stage. My Taboo has a nice soundstage and some depth but this Mini Torii outshines the Taboo in that department. I have used the "Dinah Sings" title as a reference to evaluate my systems and changes, along with a Diana Krall disc. I have not listened to any other vocals with this unit yet.  

I would like to get my tube tester back, test the 6V6's and install Mullard CV4024's (12AT7's) or 1950's JAN Sylvania 12AT7WA's in front to begin comparing tone. I recently bought a pair of Bendix 12AU7 tubes with heavy duty construction. They have the Sylvania 312 manufacturer code and 1958 date code so they were not made at Red Bank. I wonder how they'd sound. I also scored a pair of Winged "C" 6L6GC's with 1999 date codes. They were auctioned off on ebay as simply  "Russian Military Tubes" with lousy photos that showed only part of the tube. I could see that they were Winged "C" on account of the construction. I believe they cost only $9.99 plus postage. The cost of a new pair is about $50.00, so if these are any good I got a helluva bargain.  I just bought a Hickok 230 emissions tester for $84.00 postpaid. This will become my front line tester to rule out bad tubes before placing them into my Hickok 6000. If the 230 arrives before the 6000 I will begin testing with it.

There is truly a lot to evaluate with this unit and I am enjoying it.  
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« Last Edit: 06/26/09 at 03:43:35 by Rivieraranch »  

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KimKman
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Posts: 51
Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #3 - 06/26/09 at 06:35:26
 
Nice! Thanks for the pics as well. Let us know when you get around to listening test without the CSP2 and your impressions. I have a CSP2 that will arrive shortly but will be using it in main listening room. The Mini will go in the office at first without a preamp at all hooked to music server and HDT's. May then try the CSP2 and ARC LS22 just to see what difference I notice but I am hoping for no preamp at all. Have some pairs, Bendix 5992 and Brimar CV511 to try along with a pair of Siemens/Halske 12AU7 ECC82 Silver Plate so far waiting to play with. Should be fun for sure.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #4 - 06/26/09 at 11:15:15
 
RR,

Thanks for the impressions.  I think you're going to have a lot of fun with this amp and tube-swapping!

Are those Monster Cable speaker cables?  I used to use cables that look like those years ago.  I have to say my system started to shine when I started using TARA Labs and then other cables (now someone will have to pry my Zen Styx from my cold dead hands!)
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1271
Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #5 - 06/26/09 at 13:39:18
 
The speaker cables are plain 12 gauge copper wire with clear cover, bannana terminals at both ends. This has worked well for me. I have DECWARE interconencts.

I am not using the CSP2 with the Torii right now. I want to wait until I can determine best how to integrate it into the mix. I can't come up with the right combination of trim pot settings on the CSP2 and the volume controls on the CSP2 and Mini Torii.  
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« Last Edit: 06/28/09 at 02:15:15 by Rivieraranch »  

090627_004.JPG

DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7156
Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #6 - 06/26/09 at 14:55:51
 
Cool. Looks very similar to the Monster Cable basic 12 gauage.

If you find yourself with extra cash and are wanting to experiment, I highly recommend the Zen Styx.  I never thought I'd like a cable with silver, but I wish I'd gone right there as soon as I could. Took a while to settle in but when it did it was so right for the system.
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tybee
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #7 - 06/27/09 at 05:04:53
 
I have been watching for impressions of the Mini Torii as the design and footprint has much appeal as I also try to downsize oversized equipment. I would like to offer some thoughts on the 6x4 rectifier.  My 6x4 rectifier collection now includes over 20 brands including the square getter Sylvanias.  While I do like older Sylvania 6x4s as well as 12AU7 types, these tubes would be a suggested starting point for the Mini Torii.  For better overall balance, I would suggest trying 50s Raytheons and 50 or 60s Tung Sols with a wavy getter.  They are better balanced compared to the Sylvanias.  I also have 6x4s from Mullard, GEs, GEC, several varieties of RCAs, Valvo, and another favorite, Mazda.  Rolling the 6x4 rectifier may provide the biggest sonic surprise with the Torii besides the power tubes. Many over on other forums give high praise for the the new issue Tung Sols 6V6, so let the tube rolling begin.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #8 - 06/27/09 at 19:05:30
 
It is funny that you mention the Raytheon 6X4 with a wavy getter. I bought a fist full of 6X4's a couple of months ago in anticipation of landing this amp. I remembered that they were Sylvanias. I looked in the box of untested tubes today and noticed that 3 of them are NOS Raytheon yellow label tubes with the wavy getter. Are you convinced that these will sound better than the 1969 JAN Sylvanias I have in there now?

Are these Raytheons 1950's or 1960's?
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« Last Edit: 06/27/09 at 19:12:32 by Rivieraranch »  

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tybee
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #9 - 06/27/09 at 21:02:35
 
I have many sylvania 6x4s and like the older black plate sq getters, but I always find sylvanias seem to emphasize the midrange and treble over bass.  I have 3 or 4 Raytheons like the tube in your picture, but I also have some early 50s Raytheons with orange print screening which I prefer as well as the Tung Sols for US made tubes.  It my understanding that Raytheon made tubes as well as outsourced to CBS/Hytron as well as other makers, but I am not an expert of who made what when.  

Several years ago, I purchased a large of batch of 6x4s on ebay for $15.00. None of the tubes tested below new and included mostly US made square or D getters including Sylvania, Westinghouse, Tung Sol, GE, Raytheon, and RCA.  Anyway 6x4s are still very plentiful and cheap compared to the bigger rectifiers which makes tube rolling on the Mini Torii easy on the pocket. All of the regulator tubes are also very inexpensive to purchase.

In the end, I recommend acquiring a few different pair of 6x4s to find the sound you like best with your system.
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« Last Edit: 06/27/09 at 21:05:58 by tybee »  
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Rivieraranch
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #10 - 06/27/09 at 21:44:24
 
You all made me do it. I am going to run the amp with Winged "C" 6L6GCs, Raytheon wavy getter 6X4W's and GE JAN 6189/12AU7WA input tubes. I have tested all of these and they are fine.

The only voltage regulators I have for the outputs are the 1957 CBS OD3's I bought. I don't know what effect the lesser voltage tubes would have.    
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« Last Edit: 06/28/09 at 02:13:36 by Rivieraranch »  

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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Rivieraranch
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #11 - 06/29/09 at 03:18:23
 
I have had a chance to listen to the amp with the new tube complement in it. The unit has stepped volume controls, probably so you could dial in an identical level on both channels. I can raise the volume 6 clicks and it is plenty loud; but on the 7th click I begin to hear distortion. Luckily there is plenty of detail at all volumes. I just wanted to see how far I could push the unit. The tubes I swapped into the amp were all old stock. They sound better than they did last night, most likely due to settling in.  

Last night I listened to Diana Krall Girl In The Other Room. Tonight I listened to Cal Tjader Mary Stallings; George Shearing and the Montgomery Brothers and Dinah Sings, Previn Plays.  

The Winged "C" tubes have a better midrange than the Sovteks, and easier highs. I found with either output tube, the bass was plentiful.

The Shore disc is a real simple recording, piano and vocals, augmented by bass and drums on some of the tracks. It is very handy for evaluating changes to the system. I balance that against any Diana Krall recording, to see how the newer stuff sounds as well. Not having been very familiar with Shore when she was alive, looking back I now see what an impeccable lady she was. You can tell by how she is dressed on the album cover, with that very smart coral/orange sweater, matching lipstick and five strands of pearls. They don't make them like that any more.      
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Rivieraranch
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #12 - 07/04/09 at 18:59:46
 
Not that anybody around here has been too interested . . .but I switched the 6L6GC tubes for JAN SYLVANIA 6V6's but have not extensively evaluated the sound. I have been busy with work and life, including sending back my Hickok tube tester again because of a meter problem that most likely developed during transit.  

I really want to get my hands on some OA3 tubes. I have used only the OD3 tubes I got.    
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« Last Edit: 07/04/09 at 19:00:52 by Rivieraranch »  

DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #13 - 07/04/09 at 20:50:05
 
Thanks for keeping us informed and hope you're having a nice holiday.

This is an intriguing amp and I enjoy reading your impressions.
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KimKman
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Re: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MINI TORII SE-X
Reply #14 - 07/06/09 at 05:00:05
 
"I am not using the CSP2 with the Torii right now. I want to wait until I can determine best how to integrate it into the mix. I can't come up with the right combination of trim pot settings on the CSP2 and the volume controls on the CSP2 and Mini Torii."

Too much gain on amp? Was considering the CSP2 in the mix here so I would have headphone amp also. The CSP2 is an awesome head amp. May try the one I have first then before getting one for the Mini Torrii. Got mine the end of the week. Getting things setup in the office now. Have to figure out another couple stair climbs first for the HDT's
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