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SE34i.2+ being discontinued! (Read 20202 times)
Fireblade
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SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
12/28/11 at 01:30:44
 
Hi all! I'm new to this forum, first post, and was until this morning a prospective SE34i.2+ customer. I just learned from Sarah that it is being discontinued. Now, after having made all kinds of analyses comparing many alternatives, I was so proud of having finally reached to the unequivocal best choice for me: the SE34i.2+.

Needless to say I'm somewhat frustrated, but at the same time eager to learn from this forum what will likely be a comparable (or better) alternative. Did you all know this amp was being discontinued? Have you learned of a (hopefully improved) potential replacement?

I just hope price remains more or less the same, as it is one of the decision criteria used during my screening. I haven't talked to Steve due to the holidays, so if you know something I would much appreciate your inputs.  Good music listening to all!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #1 - 12/28/11 at 02:22:39
 
Welcome to this forum. I cannot imagine how disappointed you must be after scoping out this amp and learning that it is no longer available.

The SE34I.2 was inspired by the original ZEN design, single ended, dual mono, but with more power than the 2 watt SE84C.

If dual mono is most important to you then a TORII MK III, MINI TORII, or SE84ZTM monoblocks would fulfill this. Or you could have 2 SE84C or ZEN SELECT units wired for mono.

If SET is the most important to you, and you want the same power the SE34I.2 had, a pair of SE84C+ or ZEN SELECT units wired in mono would be as good.

On the other hand, if you are not set on SET, the TABOO with a CSP2+ unit would be a great system.
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Fireblade
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #2 - 12/28/11 at 03:40:51
 
Thanks for your kind reply Rivieraranch. My interest is for a good Triode-based SET. The reason I was to acquire the SE34i.2+ had to do with the fact it had 3 times more power than de SE84C+ and because of the EL34 working as a Triode (not Pentode), and with the Hazel Grid Mod advantage. I'm not too familiar with your suggested choices, but I know I'm not interested in PP configurations nor in headphone amps.

In addition, using 2 SE84C+'s as monoblocks increases sound degradation through added interconnects and forces me to acquire a preamp, as I'm using (with excellent results) a USB/DAC which is powered by my laptop, so it won't offer input gain to the SE84C+'s. This would imply much more money than planned and loosing on the Triode EL34 signature.

So you see, my friend, how frustrating this is for me: I would have been running my dream system: 95dBs Tektons M-Lore, a laptop music server with USB/DAC connected to the SE34i.2+ and an active 60 watt Velodyne SUB. Now I have to start my amp hunting from scratch again.

If you or someone else have more specific suggestions within this particular context I would be very appreciative. Take care now.

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Lon
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #3 - 12/28/11 at 03:59:49
 
Fireblade, welcome!

It's news to me that the Integrated is being discontinued. . .that's too bad as I entertain sometimes the idea of having one again someday. There have been several offered here in the last few months and possibly elsewhere, they do come up used for sale as many move from the Integrated to a Torii, or to other amps.

Two other points: the push-pull Torii does NOT sound like a push-pull that you can imagine. It sounds very close to the single-ended Decware sound. There's an nearly model that every now and then shows up that had 12 watts per channel that may be perfect for you.

And there are the mono-d Zen amps to consider, and the excellent Zen Monoblocks. Also, with 95db speakers, you may be able to drive them very well with the Select or the other Zen amps, or the Taboo. I don't quite understand the "degradation due to too many interconnects." It would in fact be just the same amount of interconnects, one per channel, one left, one right. . . . The amps can be set side by side and you shouldn't need any extra length of interconnect.

Anyway, best of luck in your quest. There ARE Decware options, as I'm sure you'll discover when you talk to Steve.
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« Last Edit: 12/28/11 at 04:01:25 by Lon »  

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Fireblade
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #4 - 12/28/11 at 05:06:04
 
Hello Lon, thanks for your assistance.  About the extra interconnects, I meant having to hook up an extra component (preamp) to drive the Monos. Sorry if I did not make myself clear there. I also missed that the SE84C+ is indeed in Triode mode, so that is one less caveat.

Still, it does not boasts the famous EL34 SET Class A signature (being EL84). I guess I need to know if I would be able to run these monos without the need of a preamp, and assume the EL84 SET signature is to my taste. Plus, it would be $255.00 more, just on amplification.

The Taboo is a Pentode SET (that's why it has higher power, unbridged), therefore it does not even have the Triode signature Class A. Besides, it needs input gain, making it compulsive to add a preamp in my case, a proposition $895.00 more expensive (CSP2) plus interconnects.

The MiniTorii is not EL34 based either (6V6), and it is $400.00 more expensive than the SE34i.2 and 2 W/c short on power. I'm sure it is a wonderful piece, but still assuming the 6V6 is to my taste, it's still out of my league, for the moment.

Regarding the Select, I don't find it in the site with that name, so I am not informed about this alternative.  It seems so far my only hope is the first one (SE84C+ monos), assuming no preamp required.

Please let me know if I'm going about this the wrong way. Cheers
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Lon
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #5 - 12/28/11 at 12:36:30
 
Well, in my opinion, though there are differnces between the triode and pentode modes in Decware amps, and push pull and single ended, they are not as represented in other manufacturers, but in fact differing windows from the same room. I find Decware push pull amps to be quite similar in sound to the triode single ended ones, so I would say that being locked into the idea of the "EL34 SET Class A signature" is in fact limiting oneself considerably.

I also feel that with the efficiency of your speakers (and I know there are other factors such as crossover type) you may well be able to get by with the Zen amps. And I must say, as wonderful as I've found the EL34 amps, the low powered SV83/EL84 amps actually have the potential to be the very best sounding of the Decware amps. The speed of the smaller tube in this circuit makes for amazing detail and soundstage. The EL34 amps I moved to because they offered more power that I needed (at the time speakers with about 91 db  in a large room) and I listen to many different recordings, many of which don't sound that great, and in comparison to the SV83/EL84 amps the EL34 amps are a bit more forgiving and euphonic with lousy source recordings. In fact the SV83/EL84 amps may deliver what you're looking for in the EL34 amps. And when the SV83 tube is used, the Hazen Grid Mod is in effect. . . . These amps also have input gain adjustment and can be used without a preamp.

The "Select" is really an amp that no longer exists, which is now in improved form as the SE84ZS, which page is accessible via the catalog: http://www.decware.com/newsite/SELECT.htm
Why it is not on the tube amp page, I don't know, the SE84ZSM Monoblocks also are only accessible via the catalog page. These amps CAN be run without a preamp quite capably. Preamps do add to the sound, and I had to divest myself of the "adding a preamp and interconnects to the system means sonic degradation" thinking. That may well be true of many makes and models, but not when using the Decware preamps such as the CSP2+ or the ZSTAGE (a reportedly excellent line stage preamp that is more affordable). These preamps really do contribute far more than you imagine you might lose. They're a cut above anything else I've used. If you look in the "articles" Steve writes about the use of a preamp, and I think also in the owner's manual or product page for the preamps.

The real best advice I can give you is to talk to Steve about your system, your room, your musical tastes and equipment tastes and let him advise you. NO ONE knows more about the amps and their implementation than Steve and his advice is SOLID. He's also one of the easiest persons on the planet to talk to. I recommend getting him on the phone when you can!

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Rivieraranch
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #6 - 12/28/11 at 14:33:36
 
The SELECT and the MONOBLOCKS are found in the catalog section under the listing for the SE84C+. Go down to the bottom of the listing and you can pull up separate catalog pages for each of these.

I believe that the feared degradation in sound would not materialize with a solid preamp such as the ZSTAGE, which adds gain without coloring the sound.

These little SV83/6P15P-EV tubes are sonic marvels; you won't believe the fidelity they produce.  

If you are stuck on an SE34I.2, there were 2 or 3 up for sale on Audiogon. Needless to say they sold quickly. Buying used has its benefits. If you want to buy something new I could easily understand that as well.
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Fireblade
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #7 - 12/28/11 at 15:53:46
 
Thank you Lon and Rivieraranch for your support.  Indeed, found the literature on those. These are essentially cosmetically upgraded versions on the SE84C+.  I think I could live with SE84C+ bridged monos, provided I would not need a preamp and I get around 6 W/c on 8 Ohm speakers.

Apparently, that's the deal with these, according to the Catalog script. Except, my source, a USB/DAC does not have any power (passive), it takes what it needs from the laptop. Therefore, I am not sure if the no-preamplifier advantage applies in this case.

I feel it's still a setback of $255.00 to get essentially the same thing as the ES34i.2+, isn't it?  

Regarding PP vs SETs, I just know it's a lot easier to build a good Class A Triode SET than a similarly successful PP Triode Class A . So, in general, the tradeoff is quality sound for power and bass control. I'm not implying Decware's PP have not been able to pull this through though, which may be the reason of Steve's success.  I just want to ensure the best sound quality I can afford.

Good to hear about the SV3 sonic attributes on the SE84C+.  I guess I will just need to speak to Steve about the options left.  Thanks again guys for your kind assistance.  BTW Lon, I read in one of the threads you are also a biker, good for you. I'm 61, practically retired, but still run a 2009 CBR1000RR (Fireblade) very fast, on weekends.  Good music sound and biking are my two passions.  Take care!

 
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Pale Rider
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #8 - 12/28/11 at 18:22:24
 
Lon was spot on with this:

Quote:
Well, in my opinion, though there are differnces between the triode and pentode modes in Decware amps, and push pull and single ended, they are not as represented in other manufacturers, but in fact differing windows from the same room. I find Decware push pull amps to be quite similar in sound to the triode single ended ones, so I would say that being locked into the idea of the "EL34 SET Class A signature" is in fact limiting oneself considerably.


Judging which amp will best suit one's needs without actually hearing them in like circumstances or with the desired ancillary equipment (e.g., speakers and source), is difficult. I have the Taboo, two Toriis, and the SE84ZS. They sound more alike than they do different, and tube swaps make far more difference in the sound than the "class" of the amp. I would also not assume that an amp like the Taboo might "need" a preamp. It can certainly benefit from one, but the need may be something you address in the future, not today.
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Lon
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #9 - 12/28/11 at 18:31:32
 
So that's where the handle "Fireblade" comes from. Yes, I'm a rider, don't have a car. Won't say I'm a "biker" though as I don't follow the "lifestyle" in any way.

Personally I don't think it's accurate to say those two Zen SE84 amps are "only cosmetic upgrades" to the Zen C+. Each of them use different parts and have improved sonics, that's the consensus among owners. And the Decware push pull sound IS different than any other I've heard. I've had four separate single ended Decware amps. . . but I would still choose my Torii for my use over any of those, that's in my opinion the best amp I've ever had, for many reasons, and I don't feel I lose anything significant over a single ended amp. . . with my speakers and sources.

Your instinct may be right about the need for a preamp. I don't use computer audio, but both Donnie here and I have found that from an iPod there is more gain needed to bring to amp up to volume. If you want to get everything right the first time you may want to consider a preamp, the ZSTAGE or CSP2+ (I don't feel the latter is "colored") and any of the amps. But again, Steve is the best source of compatibility information.
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Fireblade
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #10 - 12/28/11 at 21:18:12
 
Hey Pale Rider, here´s a quote from Decware's site:

The Taboo has intentionally low input sensitivity so it likes a source with a high output (3 to 4 volts) or a good preamp such as our CSP2 to really flush out it's full potential.  Now remember, my source is a passive asynchronous USB/DAC.

Again, PP vs SET is a controversial topic that I will leave to the real experts, in my case I conceded it may be possible Steve has been able to pull through a special design without paying the price with the usual tradeoffs involved.  But it is also out of my league and I won't need 25 W/c either.

I agree going to a blind date is difficult, that's why one asks around before agreeing to do it. In this case, I need to narrow the options as far as I can, to increase the possibilities of a correct choice the first time around.

Lon, I'm not a biker in that sense either. I just love to ride my bike, and have been for many years. I just love leaning my knee to the ground in the curves a lot better.

I would not be able to afford a preamp at this stage, so that is out of the question. The clue here would be to have the two monos SE84C+ working out of my USB/DAC, without the need of further input gain. This would do it for me.

By the way, the Mini Torii is very tempting, but beyond my budget. I thank you both kindly for your help. I can't wait to see the end of this process and start listening.  Take care.
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Lon
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #11 - 12/28/11 at 21:43:56
 
I'm a cruiser the last few decades. My need for speed has slowed down. Smiley I've got the perfect bike for my needs now and my knees never get close to the ground. What I like most is long trips, but I'm not a fairing or windshield user, I love the air and grit.

You know, I still think it's possible with 96db speakers one Zen amp would power your speakers, and maybe you could afford a C+ and a ZSTAGE. That would be a fine system! Steve would know.

I'm eager to hear what you decide, hopefully after talking to Steve. Hoping you join the Decware clan soon!
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« Last Edit: 12/28/11 at 21:45:49 by Lon »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #12 - 12/28/11 at 21:45:13
 
Fireblade,
Stay away from motorcycles, they are evil, the devil's playthings. They make you spend all of your money, travel all over the place trying to win "races", drive Dodge vans with no windows in them and dents poking out from the insides. You spend all of your money on weird names like Shoei, Vanson and Alpinestars. They make you walk strange and have scars that are hard to explain. And at the end all you have are these story's to tell and the knowledge that you had way more fun than anyone else in the room.
As far as your problem of needing a preamp or not depends on the output voltage of your streamer/DAC. As Lon said, a Ipod doesn't really put out enough voltage to make my Torii play very loudly. Check the spec's of your streamer and see if they give a output voltage. 2 volts seems to be the point of good returns.
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opnly_bafld
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #13 - 12/28/11 at 21:50:05
 
Taboo 2.3 volts for full output

SE34I.2+ 2.5 volts for full output


I personally won't call the latter an integrated because a lot of sources will not drive it to full power (if the specs are correct).

Also, I don't understand why you will not buy one just because it will be discontinued. Huh

Lin
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« Last Edit: 12/28/11 at 23:28:04 by opnly_bafld »  
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Lon
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #14 - 12/28/11 at 22:02:56
 
I got the impression he was advised it wouldn't still be able to be ordered when he was ready to buy. I do find it odd. I thought it was a popular item and don't see why it wouldn't be made any longer unless the chassis is unavailable going forward, etc.
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« Last Edit: 12/28/11 at 22:03:46 by Lon »  

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