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Torii breaking in! (Read 4663 times)
walt
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Torii breaking in!
04/06/11 at 20:14:13
 
 For the few waiting for your Torii I thought I would drop a note on how my amp is progressing breaking-in.  I initially indicated here that the Torii did in sound bad in the way many components do during run-in.  My unit has been all over the place in the last few weeks.  For awhile and up until a few days ago it was way to bass heavy and in talking to Steve I switched out the driver tube to a JJ 6922. After a running a day I thought I was dead on track, until two days ago when the sound changed a little too grating and bright.  Using the treble cut just dulled the sound....What the hell...  I put the 6N1P's back in yesterday and most of the bass bloat was gone...go figure.  What I was getting now was a much more airy and detailed sound but still just a little full.  I have yet to contact Steve again but it occured to me that since my speakers are so efficient that the output transformers may be lagging behind in run-in because my averave playback is in the low tenth's of a volt so I hooked up some 7.5 ohm 50 watt power resistors to the speaker terminals and am running some juice through the amp to see it shakes some of the cobwebs loose.  I will report back in a few hours.
 Walt
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Donnie
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #1 - 04/06/11 at 23:43:58
 
Don't tell me bad things!
I just want to hear all of that hyperbole about hearing things that you have never heard before, that you drug out recordings that you haven't listened to in years  just to hear new things. I want to read that a Torii is more addictive than a combination of crack cocaine and midget porn.

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walt
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #2 - 04/07/11 at 06:11:53
 
 I do not intend on scarring anyone off of the Torii.  In fact after running in at higher power this afternoon and giving a few hours to relax. The 6922's are back in and the sense of "space and venue" is great. I think the higher power work out helped.  As I write this I am listening to the Northern Ballet Theatre Orchestra playing 20'th century English ballets while I sit at the kitchen table typing this and the music is full and complete playing at a whisper.  
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Chris K
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #3 - 04/08/11 at 19:39:06
 
Lucky me. I have a friends new TORII III w/Vcaps which I have been given the duty to break in for him. I am at home more than he is so here I have it and it really is a roller coaster ride. Very weird what the amp has gone through over the last 2 weeks. Bass was bloated and blatty sounding on certain material the edgy harsh issue kicked in from time to time as Walt indicated. All the things you ever hear about a tube amp breaking in happen in spades it would seem with this TORII. I'm sure the V caps have something to do with it. Sound stage did some strange shifting around. Most of this happened in the first 100 hours. This amp I have here is close to 150-200 hrs. The detail is quite impressive once it settles down. I've been to DecFest and we've gotten to play around with Steve's TORII demo units in the shop but this is the first time I've lived with it for awhile. It really does what the other Decware amps do so very well but with big brass balls. Grin

The thing sounded so congested at times (like it had a cold) that I though there is something wrong with it.
For all you guys that have to bear the burden of break in it really is something to hear it level off and settle into it's "real" self. Stick with it and don't lose patience. Just play it, play it, play it!  ;)
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Lon
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #4 - 04/08/11 at 20:37:53
 
I don't even remember break-in on my Torii, though I know there were symptoms indeed. I just now remember month after month of fantastic music. The Torii just does all you would want it to. I'm so damned happy to have mine, it's the amp I've wanted all along (and didn't even know it).
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will
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #5 - 04/09/11 at 06:41:25
 
Hey All,

I had similar results from my TORII at first...bass heaviness and density, clogged, and then open mids and highs...the usual. But it was also detailed and open at times with beautiful full bass, and at other times very nice in the mids and highs but too thick in the low and mid bass. And it was always too bassy for me on certain recordings. But when it sounded "right" it sounded so amazing it easily kept my interest in refining the room and synergy of the gear so that I could fully experience the amps potential.

Smiley

So I will write some about my experiences just in case any of you find the amp still too heavy after burn in.

At first  I thought that tube folks desire for deep bass and weight had been solved to such a degree with this amp and that the usual desire for "warm" and bassy tubes preferred for most tube amps did not necessarily fit, at least for my tastes, in my room. So I started looking at tube recommendations differently, with transparent being foremost for me. But I think this is probably my preference anyway.

I also proceeded to find that everything made a notable difference with this amp. It seems like a hybrid horse with every aspect of it tweaked to high performance, but making it demanding in certain settings. Interconnects, all the tubes, and the other usual suspects.....speakers, power and speaker cables, AC power and so on, all make a big difference.

The first thing I noticed is that Decware interconnects contributed to this intense bass, and when I put in some Braided silver Mac cables I got cheap on Audiogon, though less harmonically rich, it made the bass tighter and less intense.

For tubes, NOS 6DJ8s were generally my favorite for input contributing to a sweet yet more open midrange than many 6922s, and generally less dense in the bass, though I liked some 6922s too. But more importantly, if the low and mid bass density does not smooth out to satisfaction with burn in, try OB3s and OC3Ws for regulators. I use Sylvania OC3Ws and Sylvania OB3s, as they are both very nice sounding, warm tubes without building too much low density and having a nice open midrange.

I found these things before getting the room more fully together. I realized that what I had done room-wise with my SE34I.2+ and MG944s was not enough for this amp, so I talked to Steve about it and he helped me figure out how to make good bass traps. I had been studying about room modes anyway adding subtle improvements little by little, but the TORII (in my room) pretty much demanded it, so getting serious about low and mid bass traps made a big difference. During that same time, while waiting for fiberboard to come, on ZYGI's advice I played with the space between the plinth and the passive radiator on the MG944s ending up with about 1/4 instead of the stock 3/8's spacers.

The Torii just had so much bass potential that room modes that barely showed up with my SE34I could get bad, especially with certain material. This was not the case for Lon though, if anything, his room tending to "suck the bass out" a bit if I recall correctly. And I trusted Steve's experience too and he had no bass problems in his room. So since mine was too bassy, while my only other references were not, this helped me see that my room needed more work.

Embarrassed

Finally, I got more serious about vibration with a bunch of Herbiesaudiolab stuff and now with room and vibration together, I can use a great range of tubes and have the Decware interconnects back in, but I still prefer OC3W and OB3s and rarely use the stock OA3s. The OA3s sound really good, as do the rest of the stock tubes, I just prefer a mix tuned to my tastes more. Again, this may just be me and my room though.

I like Groove tube (#7) and cryo'd Tungsol EL34s better too, for my tastes and system synergy being more balanced across the spectrum than the Winged C's….the tungsol being tighter and perhaps more defined and the Groove tubes being rich, but still clean and not syrupy. They may be a bit lean though in Steve's or Lon's systems...who knows. And 50s RCA 5U4G's are great, with tight and strong bass and balanced midrange with open highs.

I ended up with a ZDAC front end with a Mac running error corrected uncompressed data through USB. Then I got the Z-STAGE. The Z-STAGE in particular offers great flexibility for changing the sound of the system with one tube having a big impact on the sound going into the TORII. And if you want to lean the low end down a bit for the recording, just lower the volume on the ZSTAGE and raise it on the TORII until you find what makes you happy. Or to give more weight and bass to it, do the opposite...lowering the TORII volume as you up the ZSTAGE.

I was running the braided silver Mac interconnects from ZDAC to ZSTAGE and the Decware interconnects from ZSTAGE to TORII. Now I am burning in some 1/2 meter Decware interconnects between the ZDAC and ZSTAGE so there are two sets of Decware interconnects. It may be too warm and bassy for me, but the jury is still out. I do love the cables, it just may be too much of a good thing for my setup and tastes. Also, I have come to truly dislike burn in. I am too impatient and will be very glad in a week or two when I can really hear these new cables!

But the point is, there are ways to tone down the bass tendencies of the TORII if needed and with the bass and low mids in balance it just sounds absolutely amazing....deep, articulate, moving...very real...almost surreal the music is so present and palpable!

My TORII did settle in after many hours, but I don't think I would have learned just how beautiful a piece of technology it was without it having sort of "forced me into submission" toward getting the rest of my room and gear act together. Now, with the room pretty tame, a great front end, good cables throughout, the very, very nice MG944s, and synergy among the cast of characters, I can only imagine a system sounding better. It really does amaze me.
Cool
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« Last Edit: 04/12/11 at 18:50:43 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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Donnie
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #6 - 04/09/11 at 14:40:19
 
My system is going to be quite a bit like Will's. Torii, ZDAC, MG944's. I'm will feed them with either my Wadia 170I and WAV files from my Ipod or from my laptop with FLAC files.
I'm not so sure that I will jump on the cable, interconnects, power cable merry go round.  Intellectually I can't buy into it. Sorry, wire cost about .30 a foot to make, I'm not paying $100's a foot for it. But if it sounds better to you I say "Good on ya".
My stuff is slated to be here on Tuesday, I will try to get my impressions to you all soon. I hope my ears are good enough to give me the enjoyment that I have paid for.
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Lon
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #7 - 04/09/11 at 14:49:00
 
Congrats! I wish you the very best as you enter this new world of sound.

I have confidence in your ears and brain, you'll reap great enjoyment and intellectual fascination from the equipment.

As for wire. . .well I didn't believe, and I didn't want to believe, but my ears and the increasing transparency of my system led me to believe. I will just note that you can skip a lot of experimentation and jump in with the Decware cabling and power cords when you want to go to the next level. They're top quality especially for the cost and work extremely well with the Decware gear.
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will
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #8 - 04/09/11 at 15:27:10
 
Donnie, I agree with you and with Lon on the cable thing. 100's per foot seems ridiculous to me, but as Lon experienced, transparent, revealing gear will make good cables quite obvious, that is if your room is half good. This has been my experience too anyway. I really like Decware cables too, and for the sound, materials and quality, think they are a bargain.

You will get great sound from stock gear, it is just another level with better cables. Also, if you want to dip your toe in without building them yourself, on Audiogon, you can get in on auctions for MAC (myaudiocables) very inexpensively. I got my braided silver interconnects for something like 38 delivered, and a 3' MAC HC power cable for about 55 delivered. They are different than Decware cables, but still good. Also I have made cables using VHaudio stuff.

What the wire is made of, how it is configured and how and what it is terminated with definitely makes a difference though.

That said, whether you get into cables or not, have fun with your new stuff. With all three pieces coming at once, you will most likely get quite an interesting burnin/breakin period, each piece needing its own time to really come into its best performance. Have fun! I bet your ears will experience some revelatory pleasure!
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« Last Edit: 04/09/11 at 22:45:45 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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ZYGI
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #9 - 04/09/11 at 17:07:43
 
Donnie,

I built you the best set of MG944 to date, they deserve good speaker cables.

While I don't have any of the newest interconnects Steve makes I do have the ZenSTX and the difference was amazing. I used for years, good quality 99% pure and oxygen free copper wire. I have had people bring over there very expensive cables over the years, and yes I heard a difference but not enough to spend that kind of money on cables. Then one day I get a box from Steve, in it was 10-20 pieces of the wire to make ZenSTX all 3-5 feet long. (the ends of rolls he had been saving) I called Steve and asked what it was for and he just told me to jamb the ends together and solder them and give them a try. Boy was I surprised, it sounded not just different, but way better in every aspect. I then ordered a set of STX's.

I think if you put them in the system right now, you wouldn't hear a difference as the system hasn't settled out yet, and you haven't heard what its doing with the cables you now have, then in say two to three months order a set of cables, so you can hear exactly what the cables are doing, you would have to be pleasantly surprised.

Just my 2 cents worth...for what that is worth.

ZYGI
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Donnie
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #10 - 04/09/11 at 17:25:05
 
I plan on just running my system for a while just to get a feel for it. From what I read I need to put quite a few hours on it before  do anything.
I do see the same spec. wire that is listed for the Decware speaker cables on ebay for $22.95 for 25'. It is 10 gauge instead of 8, but I bet I can't tell the difference. $50 worth should set me straight.
The only other thing I am going to do is paint my Torri's base RED.
Zygi, Thanks for making mine the best to date, I won't abuse them with crappy music.
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walt
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #11 - 04/10/11 at 01:09:10
 
 Well it is good to know that my experience is not that different.  I have Tung Sol reissues on the way as well as OB3's.  I have a pair of RCA 5u4G coming and some 6dj8"s to try also.   My wire is mainly MAC power cords and interconnects and Supra speaker wire hard wired into the crossover.   My only source at this time is a Vectuer L-42 cd player.  I love this deck.  It uses a pro model Matantz transport and has an output of 4 volts.  I have had it a few years and it made my Meridian's sound like Fisher-Price.
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will
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #12 - 04/10/11 at 18:43:58
 
Hey Walt,

Wow, that is a leap....four new tubes sets! I can't tell how much you have played with tubes, but you have a number of options now, and synergy can be found in both expected and unexpected combinations.

The way you describe your Torii with its jumping around, it sounds like it will sort out with more playing time, finally giving you a good place to make decisions from. I don't really recall how long mine took to settle down, but I bet you are approaching the "bloom" stage.

I wonder from your earlier reports...it sounds like it does sound good to you when it is in a "good" mode. Is this true, or is it just too heavy all the time? Is it the low mid and bass? Any "muddle?"

And I guess you have played around with speaker placement. The Torii, could be bringing out room modes that your old amp did not???

I have not tried JJ 6922s but have noticed that some tubes tend to take a longer time to find their sound than others...and guess the JJ's might be exacerbating the effects of the tonal shifting you are experiencing as they need burn in themselves. You will probably find the Tungsols to sound pretty erratic and hard around the edges for a while too.

I imagine your 4 volt input may be contributing to the low end density as well. At least with my ZSTAGE, it pumps up the Torii's weight with more voltage, but I generally run it higher than the usual CD player voltage and like it, so I get your opinion on your CD player. It may just be something that needs adjusting to???

I mentioned cables earlier too. I think the Torii with its driver communication, and very extended bass (down only 1 dB or so at 10 Hz), it may be extra responsive to different interconnects. I sure hear a lot of difference with different cables. Makes me think that if your interconnects are designed for "warmth" and "extended" bass, and you have some other cables around to try, it could be worth playing with.

Tube-wise, your experience with the 6N1P sort of mirrors mine. It can be very detailed and nice from the mids up, but in my setting, with my tastes, low end heaviness was contributed to by it. And the 6922s I have tried generally give the impression of a strong, but tighter bass....well, sort of tighter throughout really....but usually "warm," so your initial JJ experience matches pretty well for me too, though "grating and bright" is not the usual in my experience. So depending on the 6DJ8 you got, my guess is it will be somewhat closer to the 6N1P in midrange and highs, with detail and harmonic texture, and perhaps less extended and feeling tighter in the bass.

I think the OB3 would be the place to start though. If you change only them at first the impact of regulators will be pretty clear, and I suspect you will like the shift in the density thing. If it turns out to be a direction you like, then OC3Ws will take it another step if needed. Then perhaps the 6DJ8s and who knows…depends on the specific tube. All of the ones I have tried (all NOS) have characteristic family resemblances, usually with an open midrange presence, extended highs, and good bass definition, and not overly strong bass. But within that, they have quite a range of balance and "warmth."  It will be interesting to hear your feeling about the tube family. I think you will find that the RCAs do what the stock 5U4Gs do, but with more definition and depth. And finally, the Tungsol EL34, if they act similarly to my cryo'd ones, will probably be a pretty notable shift in terms of the "vibe" of the amp, especially for the first 50-100 hours. If I remember correctly, their clarity sounded enticing to me at first, but over stated. Then they went through phases of too hard…too bright, mixed with a little murkier times, and finally started to smooth out and "warm" up, sounding similar to the first impressions, but friendlier…with lots of definition, but deeper, rounder and sweeter.

I hope everything comes together for you. To me the Torii's potential to assist in disappearing into the music is amazing. But perhaps its accuracy and transparency for passing the signal unrestricted can make it demanding for synergy between gear and room. Once that is met though….to me it is amazing!

Good Luck!
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« Last Edit: 04/10/11 at 18:49:42 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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walt
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #13 - 04/11/11 at 03:02:27
 
 Will,
I just finished up my work week so I will re-read your last post when I am more able to place all in context.  The Torii  a keeper. I have no doubt that it will get better only because it has its moments where it is glorious, and others where it  just sounds good.  I talked to Steve before I bought and he said the reproduction of space in an audio system is related mostly to the amplifier.  That right now is the biggest thing that comes and goes as this amp breaks in.  My room and listening position is not good enough to give me all the depth I would like but this amp images floor to ceiling and very wide, even beyond the speakers.
 As far as 'muddle' it is mostly gone.  
 Where is the best place to locate Volt Regulator tubes.  They can be had cheep  but ebay has a lot of singles but few pairs.
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will
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Re: Torii breaking in!
Reply #14 - 04/11/11 at 05:22:32
 
Walt,

For Regulators I have found the following sources. I am sure there are more:

http://www.tubesandmore.com/   cheap...search tube name and/or call
https://www.tubeworld.com/index_high.htm  
more selection/seems to know his tubes.
http://www.audiotubes.com/bjtubes.htm#main%20list  
perhaps more selection/decent tube knowledge

http://www.nostubestore.com/
Perhaps my favorite for NOS selection and knowledge, that is if you have time to email back and forth, and make an order big enough to have the shipping work out (about $15 for registered mail last I ordered), and a couple weeks to get them shipped unless you go for FEDEX as oppose to registered mail. In Turkey. Good prices, great selection and many more tubes available than those listed on the site including many regulators. Koray is the guy to email.

Sounds like all is coming together nicely. After burn in and with the room and the right speakers well sorted out, the sound stage could get closer to boundless when you consider the sense of space with reverberation and decay. In my system, the direct instrument sound is well outside the speakers...varies with recordings and really is limited only by the recording choices as far as I can tell. But it typically can get maybe 12-15 wide by 12-15 deep and much wider on some recordings that take more advantage of panning. But with the sense of decay and space, with eyes closed, at night, it can be for the most part without edges for me. Virtually, no walls. And the musician placement (if mixed to do that) is very discrete...feeling in space like they would feel with eyes closed in a good live venue.
Wink
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« Last Edit: 04/11/11 at 05:54:41 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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