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SE34i.2+ being discontinued! (Read 16920 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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opnly_bafld
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #15 - 12/28/11 at 23:25:28
 
I see, I took it to mean that at some point in the (near?) future it would no longer be available.
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« Last Edit: 12/28/11 at 23:26:11 by opnly_bafld »  
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Lon
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #16 - 12/28/11 at 23:37:35
 
And we're both guessing! Smiley Hopefully we'll have solid info soon.
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Fireblade
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #17 - 12/29/11 at 02:31:13
 
I went the other way around, Lon. From a Cruiser (Moto Guzzi, BMW R1200C) to sportsbikes (Fireblade, Kawi, R1, Fireblade again).

I thought about the single SE84C+ with the assistance of a preamp to boost the input gain and overall output of the little guy, but I'm not sure if my 95 dBs will allow that (listening room is small though).

Ha Ha! ... Ride-On Donnie, good points (especially the Van stuff .. hehe!). Good point on the output voltage check on my USB/DAC: 2.25V full scale output.  Apparently barely enough by itself?

opnly_bafld, those specs contradict literature from Steve on this same site, as noted in my previous post.

Regarding your assumption of my resistance to buy the SE34i.2+, its not. I actually tried to buy through the site and the link was disabled. Sent an email and that was the answer I got from Sarah.  

I would love to be able to get my hands on one of those, as per my needs. Furthermore, I think it is such an important niche, I asume Steve will be replacing it with an upgraded version anytime now (maybe prices will go up with an "upgrade")

Again Lon, your suggestion of a single SE84C+ aided by a preamp (has to be the CSP2+, the ZStage is a Kit and I would not touch it!), makes sense. I read Steve mentioning the boosting properties of this preamp on all Decware amps. Is that right?  Take care now ...






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Fireblade
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #18 - 12/29/11 at 02:59:56
 
Oh wait! The combined prices of CSP2+ and single SE84C+ is $1,670.00, exactly $375.00 more of what I was prepared to pay for the SE34i.2+   and coming short by 2 W/c !! Choice 1

Now, we are in the ballpark of the more sophisticated Mini-Torii at  $1,695.00 at 4 W/c.  Choice 2

Assuming my USB/DAC works with SE84C+ monos, $1,550.00 Choice 3

I think I need to find out if there will be a replacement for the SE34i.2 anytime soon, and the new price.  Choice 4

As you can see, the best deal has always been the original SE34i.2+ at the original price.  Later ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #19 - 12/29/11 at 03:28:40
 
A single Zen SE84C+ and a ZSTAGE would be right around $1200. From all I have read here I think that would do great for you.

I am running a ZEN SE84C+ from 94 db efficient speakers with a 2.5 volt source and I can't turn the volume all the way up without the sound level being uncomfortable.

When I run the ZEN with my 89 db efficient speakers and a 2.0 volt source I can turn it all the way up. It is loud enough and the sound has weight and body.

The MINI TORII would have no problem with a 2 volt signal either  

I ran a ZEN up at DECFEST with a ZSTAGE through 89db efficient speakers and it was incredible; the sound had a lot of weight, authority and control.    
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« Last Edit: 12/29/11 at 03:30:02 by Rivieraranch »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #20 - 12/29/11 at 04:27:12
 
FWIW the specs I gave are not something that I made up, but are taken from the product pages.

The ZStage is a finished product: http://www.decware.com/newsite/zstage.html
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #21 - 12/29/11 at 13:20:34
 
Well, just be careful on that Fireblade. I backed off on speeding around because of the danger component. Exactly a year ago I could have been killed when struck from behind by a pickup truck while I was STOPPED waiting to make a left-hand turn.:)

The ZSTAGE is NOT a kit. I guess you were referring to the chassis/box. I agree that the CSP2+ may be a better choice (that huge transformer does something and so does the tube regulation, and you can individually adjust each channel, so you have a very good balance control, and it's BEAUTIFUL) but the ZSTAGE is a fully-assembled fully-realized preamp from the builder.

I really think if you have a small room and aren't partially deaf Wink that with 96db speakers a C+ and a preamp will do you fine. The only real drawback would be if the speakers had a very complex crossover network.

It's time to call Steve!
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« Last Edit: 12/29/11 at 13:22:07 by Lon »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #22 - 12/29/11 at 13:35:51
 
Hello Rivieraranch and opnly_bafld, these are really good news! Thanks for pointing them out. I could not find the ZStage, as I was looking under preamps. The price total of this combo would be $1,372.00 exactly (or, $77.00 more than the SE34i.2+, which is reasonable).

It's good to hear you can move 94dB speakers at normal listening levels with just the single SE84C+.  Of course, my DAC outputs a max of 2.25 Volts only, so I probably would have to include the ZStage.

It is also great to learn that  the ZStage manages to provide the single SE84C+ (you guys call it the Zen?) the body and dynamics you described, even with 89 dBs speakers!

This narrows the issue to basically two choices:

1. Single SE84C+ and a ZStage Combo at 2 W/c ($1,373.00) = $686.50 / Watt

2. Pair of SE84C+s bridged as Monoblocks at 6 W/c ($1,550.00) = $258.33 / Watt

I need more inputs to make the final decision between these two options now (not financially, that is clear, mind you, but from the perspective of overall performance). I guess I will be asking Steve.

Thank you guys again, these are better news than I thought possible at this point. Enjoy your listening and keep me posted.



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #23 - 12/29/11 at 13:49:53
 
Hi Lon, thanks for your continued support. I know there are risks involved, as everything in life. I've had my share of accidents (one in particular, out of which I was able to walk away, very fortunate indeed.) But you know, I do it with brains and technique, so I don't take stupid chances. Granted, you may not control the other variables, but that's part of the fun out of it. The adrenaline is such a high!

You are probably right about the CSP2+, it would be great, but I think redundant in my case, and too expensive.  The speakers I'm ordering are 95 dBs (not 96) but according to Steve's suggestions in the site, that puts them right in the middle of the ideal range (94-96).

Sarah indicated Steve would be back from holidays by Jan 3rd, so that's when I will be making my final decision.  Good riding ...

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #24 - 12/29/11 at 14:29:56
 
You could just begin by trying a single ZEN SE84C+ to see how it does with your speakers. Then decide on whether to buy another ZEN to monoblock, or whether to buy a ZSTAGE or CSP2+ to augment a single ZEN setup.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #25 - 12/29/11 at 14:30:55
 
Well, ride carefully as well. I just don't get the high from the speed any longer. Happens. . . age makes changes. I may or may not be older than you.:) Happy trails!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #26 - 12/29/11 at 20:40:58
 
Hey guys, thanks for your advice. That is a good idea Rivieraranch, to order just one SE84C+ and see what happens. I would hate to have to order again, so I'm going to ask Steve what would be my chances of success with just one amp, explaining to him my parasite passive DAC output condition (Music Streamer II takes power from the USB cable directly, no power source of its own).  

I also do not know what the DAC's specs term "maximum output voltage: 2.25 V" means (i.e., it goes from 0 to 2.25 Max, so it's not a nominal figure).  Steve will make sense out of this I guess.

Lon, I'm sure I'm older than you. But remember, age is a state of mind.

Can't wait for Jan 3rd ... Take care now.

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #27 - 12/29/11 at 20:57:04
 
Guys, I had forgotten this and I'm sure you will know the answer:  I usually complement my system with a SUB (Velodyne 60 Watts, decent performance) for the lowest frequencies.  

Now my question is how would I go about connecting it to the SE84C+, as I do not see any SUB OUT in back.  I do not see PRE OUTs either (it does not have a Pre anyway). These connections are RCA (mono or L+R, respectively). Those are about the only ways I have connected my SUB in the past

I know some people hook an extra pair of speaker wires from the power amp's speaker OUT (L+R) and connect them to the SUB's speaker input binders.  My SUB has an active XOver to pre-determine the cut-off frequecy to process only those low frequencies, but I have not used it via speaker terminals, so I'm not sure.

Have you guys done it this way with Decware gear? Could you explain?  Thanks again for your support.  Later ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #28 - 12/29/11 at 21:29:37
 
I neither have a sub nor sub expertise, but I remember reading in the forum that using the speaker wire level connections is BEST. If you do a search, I KNOW there are threads or many posts on this subject over the years. . . .
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #29 - 12/29/11 at 21:30:29
 
Fireblade,
I have my sub hooked up with speaker wire to the high level inputs. Seems to work pretty well plus you get a little "Tube lovin'" from your main amp. I'm thinking about getting real serious with the sub thing and having ZYGI build me a Imperial SO this coming year. That should put a little rumble in my neighborhood.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #30 - 12/29/11 at 21:33:04
 
Ha! I'm 56. I don't know, I know I'm different (pretty much always have been) but the joy in speeding along really diminished with me about 20 years ago. I'm glad. I get into enough trouble obeying the limits! Smiley

I do love being on two wheels though. Was just out admiring my old R90. Hasn't run for over twenty-one years. . . except in my imagination!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #31 - 12/29/11 at 22:17:05
 
hi fireblade,  i often use my 84c+ to drive my 95 db efficient audio nirvana 12s. small very irregularly shaped room.  i do use a csp2.  also use a zbox i just got from lon (thank you, lon).  the zbox seems to eat up some output power so i do have to turn up the whole kit and caboodle to keep up loud sounds.  my experience is that the zen is reaching the limit of it's strength without the csp2.....my experience may be being influenced by my unwillingness to turn the zen all the way up.  just me?? so at that point i hook up my pre-owned se34.1 (highly modded by steve to be basically a power amp.  do not know the power output.  just forgot to ask steve.  mystery to me.  just know that decware has started to pull me out of my profound state of audio ignorance......possible suggestion: there is a feature on audiogon  that allows one to  list one's interest in a particular item.  go to the decware section, find the wanteds and proceed.  good luck, don
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #32 - 12/30/11 at 01:02:09
 
If I had to speculate (and I will so here goes...) The integrated is being discontinued because it's based on the old chassie design.  The other thing is that the Mini Torii is a competing amp at that price point and that tends to confuse customers.  
The Mini torii has quite a few design updates such as the voltage regulation and I think that is probably more than worth the $200 difference (at least until the end of the year).

If I was in your position I'd jump on a Mini Torii.  
Second Choice would be a Torii III and then you can wait in line with the rest of us.     Wink  
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« Last Edit: 12/30/11 at 01:03:43 by Jason »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #33 - 12/30/11 at 01:38:36
 
Fire:

Before buying my little ZEN SE84C+ in October I owned a TABOO and a MINI TORII. I must confess that the SET magic of the little ZEN amp took me by surprise. Not that it is "better" but different in a certain captivating, involving way. For example, I took two weeks off for the holidays and brought the ZEN home rather than leave it at the office.  

Now I am thinking of someday acquiring another ZEN to create monoblocks, or two ZEN SELECT SE84ZS to monoblock, or the ZEN SE84ZTM MONOBLOCKS with the tube regulation. I might just do it.  Therefore, I think you are on the right track to begin with an SET amp. I should have.      
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #34 - 12/30/11 at 03:24:58
 
Donnie, you mean the high level speaker input in your Sub, right? That is, a pair of speaker wires (L+R) from the amp's speaker OUT to the high level speaker IN of the Sub?  Thanks.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #35 - 12/30/11 at 03:39:19
 
Thank you, Don Pettit. Now this is not good news. My listening room is small also and somewhat irregular (opening on one side) 15' x 10', so I may need more power also (same 95dBs).  Unless the Nirvanas have a complex crossover and/or an odd impedance curve.

I don't understand the ZStage consuming output power? I thought the whole idea of that box was to increase gain and to boost the amp's output/dynamics/performance, with an added tube flair. How come it is doing the opposite?

I think that adding a 2nd ZEN in a 2-monos config should be even better than adding a preamp to a little guy like the Zen. I mean, it does not need really any further tube flavor, what it needs is a buddy to carry the load!  Although the gain stage of a CSP2+ helps (as should the ZStage), there's no substitute for power in this case.  And it's even cheaper ... Am I wrong here?

Thanks ang good listening!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #36 - 12/30/11 at 03:46:31
 
Don was talking about the ZBOX which is different from the ZSTAGE. The ZBOX is a unity gain buffer amp, not a preamp.

When you really need power, nothing else will really do. But the CSP2+ or the ZSTAGE bring many benefits to the table. If you look at the owner's manual for the ZSTAGE there's a section where Steve writes about "riding the gain." A fascinating and fun process whereby weight and dynamics can be added (or subtracted!) from the sound. I love my CSP2!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #37 - 12/30/11 at 04:07:50
 
Hi Jason, thanks for joining in!  You may be right on the first assumption, but it seems to me these are two distinct niches:

1. The Mini Torii is a technological show-case (the jewel of the house). Boasts all kinds of engineering tricks, including miniature dimensions. It's like two Zens sharing the same chassis, but with many non-standard features. Only 4 W/c (8 Ohms)

2. The Zen Triode is a classical SET amp, which when bridged provides 4 W mono (8 Ohms). With larger tubes this power goes to 6 W mono. Sharing the same chassis, these two monos act like an integrated amp.  More power and convenience, no extra features but without the need of a preamp.  Classic design integrated SET.

Regardless of pricing, these are distinct offerings to satisfy different needs.  I bet the new chassis is part of an upgrade, as you said, and maybe a price increase justification over the SE34i.2+.  I doubt and hope this model won't be discontinued indefinitely.

That's just my ill-informed guess, so take it with a grain of salt. I like the Mini-Torii but I can't jump on it before talking to Steve about my real options. He's coming back after the offer has expired, but cé la vie!

Take care now ...

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #38 - 12/30/11 at 04:18:20
 
Thank you Rivieraranch, for sharing that thought. I always wanted to try a real SET (a purist audiophile dream). I think this is my opportunity. The same price would get me a full blown 35 W/c all tube PP AB1 amp, fully upgraded, including a step attenuator and even a tube rectifier, on a time-proven amp like Bob Latino's Dynaco VTA ST-to, but is not the same.  

I rather spend in sensitive speakers and a Triode SET, and get more sound quality at same levels of Sound Pressure (SPLs) not power.  Thanks again. Great listening ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #39 - 12/30/11 at 04:30:12
 
Hi Lon, thanks for pointing that out. It seems I keep confusing all this weird names .. He He..! (maybe Alzheimer's is getting close?  HOPE NOT!!)

Indeed I meant the ZBox. Just replace that name where appropriate in my previous discussion, thats exactly what I was trying to say.  

BTW, my ex BMW R1200C will become a classic in due time, just because of the odd and unique style (and 1st and last Cruiser from BMW). I purchased the first one that came out in 1996/7.  The R90 was similar to one of my first bikes, a Moto Guzzi 850 T (1975 model). God I'm old!!  Cheers,

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #40 - 12/30/11 at 10:13:09
 
This is to correct some statements I made in a previous message: I inadvertently assigned the ZBox attributes from the ZStage. My apologies.  The ZStage is the one that could help boost performance and dynamics when amp's power is in its limits, no the ZBox, sorry.

Later ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #41 - 12/31/11 at 15:26:28
 
Hey Fire.  You are right in that the Torii platform is technologically different that any of the true SET's.
Quite honestly, if I was trying to choose M Torii vs Integrated, I'd like to have an integrated myself.  In fact, I would trade my first gen Torii for an integrated.
I started off in Decware land with a Torii because of the power but along the way I did have a Zen Select for a while to compare it to.  Had to have one just to make sure I wasn't missing something.
I owned another SET along the way too.
In the end the bigger Torii's won out as being best overall amp.

I hope if the integrated lives on it will be on the new platform with the OA3 regulation added.
I will be sorry to see it leave if it doesn't return.




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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #42 - 12/31/11 at 15:45:54
 
Hey Jason, you're right, an Integrated on the new platform with a few more regulation stages would be a natural evolution of the product, and a fine machine. But I think that the "line" could use an Integrated at the price point the old one held; I think such a new one would be a bit more expensive(?)

There are many wonderful choices in the Decware catalog. You can really suit your room and power needs and always have a quality amp with great sound.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #43 - 12/31/11 at 19:05:25
 
Hey Jason, what exactly is the OA3 regulation? I'm glad you like your big Torii. Have you had the opportunity to compare the Zen Triode (SE84C+) with your Zen SELECT? Are there great differences? I think Lon mentioned that this was kind of an upgraded version of the Zen Triode?  I'm curious about these upgrades.

Regarding the integrated, I hope Steve offers some fast replacement at reasonable prices.  Also, could you tell me exactly why you think the big Torii is a better amp overall (other than power)?  

I hear you Lon, and agree with both statements. Later ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #44 - 12/31/11 at 19:19:27
 
An OA3 is a voltage regulator tube type. This is one of the tube types you can use in the voltage regulator stage of the Torii.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #45 - 12/31/11 at 20:46:06
 
Interesting ... I had heard of tube rectifiers (AC to DC), which are supposed to improve the amp's performance relative to SS rectifiers. Never heard of tube regulators. No susprise, I'm a neofyte in this field. Thanks ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #46 - 12/31/11 at 21:09:46
 
The Torii and Mini-Torii have three stages of regulation/rectification; the details are on the pages for the Torii and Mini-Torii. I can attest that this allows one many different possible sound signatures by changing tube types and tube brands in these stages. Part of what makes these amps so special and versatile.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #47 - 12/31/11 at 21:30:19
 
Got it! I'll check on that, thanks ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #48 - 12/31/11 at 23:00:25
 
One of the reasons I'd have to say the Torii II worked best for me is that it eliminated the need for a sub.  I was running it with a sub, and very good one at that, but in the end, with speakers that will actually make bass, it wasn't necessary.  I noticed you mentioned a sub in your other thread.  
If I had to sum up what's best about a Torii compared to everything else, it would be that it's involving, and like Lon says, you can just enjoy the music and forget the gear.

And one last thing, I don't think a lot of people really appreciate the Torii's PP topology if they havn't heard/owned one of the original ones
that started this lineup.   The Torii MK II had a lot to live up to.

Concerning the Zen C vs the Zen Select at the time.  I never had opportunity to compare the two, but basically the Select upgraded the rectifier from a 5y3 to a 5u4 and used the wima coupling caps.  It was less forgiving of a sub par source (Cd).

Steve's lastest implimentations of all his amps using the voltage regulator tubes; they are being used mostly to help with power conditioning.


 



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #49 - 01/01/12 at 01:09:03
 
Hi Jason. Got it! Thanks. Would that mean, then, that the Zen (relative to the Torii) is less involving?  How much less involving would you say?

I made some back-of-the-envelope calculations to check the effect of lower nominal impedance and higher sensitivity of my future speakers, relative to my current SS setup at 50 W/c.  Anyway, it's amazing, to say the least! I wanted to attach an image for you to check it out, but the system would not allow it.

The results show a single amp (SE84C+) putting up about 73 W/c equivalent to my current setup, and 128 W/c also equivalent to my current setup, when 2 monoblocks are used.  This is the best argument to release the doubt of a SET's real power.

For this reason, I'm changing my speakers' order from the M-Lore (8 Ohm, 95 dBs) to modelt81 (4 Ohm, 95 dBs). Decor wise (my wife is going to kill me!), the former were much better (narrow, tall, fitting), but the latter ones (bulgy, ordinary cubes) ROCK!

Jason, I'm sorry to squeeze the issue, but I think it is important. Let me know what you think about the less involving feeling you have experienced with the SET's, if you will. Thanks for the info.  Later ...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #50 - 01/01/12 at 07:00:11
 
Well, I also did calculations on the minimum power required to run my current system with 4 Ohms, 95 dBs, to check if the single Zen Triode can pull through (same concepts, the other way around).

Results absolutely confirm it: Min required, 2.0 W/c; Redundancy (power reserve), 15.2% (from the nominal Zen at 2.3 W/c @ 4 Ohms)

Further, these results have been additionally taxed by an error round-up buffer of another 15%. Therefore, I am being very conservative, as I don't think round-up losses are that high, and my linearity assumption for the last dB (from 94 to 95, which should be exponential), is not a gross assumption (at this already steep stage of diminishing returns on the exponential function anyway).

Conclusion: A single Zen Triode definitely can do it. Now is just a matter of minimizing transmission losses (interconnects, speaker cables, Y splitters, etc.).

Room acoustics and the speakers' impedance curve are still unknown variables to confront, though. We'll see. Later ...




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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #51 - 01/01/12 at 15:17:48
 
Cool. Well, I'm looking forward to hearing what Steve has to say. He may throw you a curve ball that will let you hit one out of the park.:)
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #52 - 01/01/12 at 15:47:43
 
Dear Fireblade,

There is a very good SPL calculator for speakers at this link.

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html#anchor_13115

It works for me! Smiley

BTW, wish u a Happy 2012 New year.

Regards,

Soth
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #53 - 01/01/12 at 17:12:36
 
Ok, I'll fill in a little more here.  I guess it would help to know that the current speakers I'm running are the HDT's.  Full range, crossoverless.   With the small amps, they do everything extremely well, but on a lot of recordings, they sound lean and thin nad you think to yourself hmm, something is missing.   What took them from 'gee that sounds good' to 'Wow!!' was the extra power of the bigger amp and most important the treble cut that the Torii offers.
Other speakers will have different requirements.

I guess I would describe it is like this, with a Zen C you will likely have to choose or tweak speakers to find the best match.  With a Torii, you can match the amp to just about any reasonably efficient speaker.  I look at it as the more expensive amp costs you less in the long run if you don't end up swapping speakers to find that holy grail combination.

Also, don't forget that speaker crossovers steal a lot of power.  that's why most of us try to eliminate or minimize them.

Lon, I agree it's would be nice to have an integrated at that same price point.  It might be possible, becuase if the plates cost less than the old style box, that savings could be applied elsewhere like regulation.  

At any rate, we need to have our opionions heard.  
Steve!!!   Don't drop the integrated, we think it should stay!



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #54 - 01/01/12 at 17:17:07
 
Jason, very good point about the Torii being a powerful and adaptable amp that you aren't limited to speaker choices in the way you are with the SET amps. And in my opinion you really don't sacrifice sound quality. . . it's slightly different, but not inferior.

That treble cut circuit is amazing. I believe that Steve posted that it could be added to any of the amps, though I can imagine it might be difficult with the smaller ones. But I can't imagine being without one now, it's the perfect tool. I'd encourage anyone to investigate having it added when ordering, or even retro-fitted.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #55 - 01/01/12 at 17:25:09
 
If it appears that there is sufficient interest in an SE34I.3 EL34 SET Integrated, DECWARE would probably keep making it.  

Their business model is based upon their love of audio. As a company they don't introduce models to achieve a certain pre-determined profit margin. In many instances, they roll out a new piece of audio just because they can. Take the MINI TORII for example. Steve took a look at an old 6V6 amp that became the inspiration for the MINI.

If he wanted, he could take the SE34 design and configure it into  monoblocks with tube regulation on the outputs. But the integrated would accomplish the same goal; SET sound but with with higher power.      
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #56 - 01/01/12 at 18:44:45
 
Very useful, nice comments from all you guys, thanks. Ron, I sure hope I can beat that ball park wall!

Hey Lord Soth, I checked your link, liked it. In my case (Zen Triode and Tekton 4 Ohm, 95 dBs), the SPL came at 95.9 dBs. That should do it, don't you think?  This is also consistent with my rough power reqs calculations using my current system as reference.  BTW, happy new year to you too, Lord Soth.

Jason, your description makes much sense and helps me understand the relative implications. Thanks for that. Also, I think I now understand better the relative contributions of the big PP amps at Decware.  Also, contrary to what I learned in the past, apparently a tone/treble control seems very welcome in many practical contexts.

It used to be anathema for an amp to process the source signal (a purist view), alluding added distosion. But the recorded media, in many cases, renders it a practical approach, I guess.

You now, Riv, I started participating in the forum desperately looking to hold on to this integrated model that I thought was ideal for me.  Now I'm reconsidering ... I mean, it is an important niche in the Decware line and all, but now I don't feel I depend on it.

I think the logical evolution path most of you have gone through, is more or less the natural and better one: Start with the single Zen Triode or two (monos), or the integrated, and then grow into the more versatile and powerful stuff. You sort of develop an appreciation for the gear as you live with it, and get ready to appreciate what's next in the line range.

Over ten years ago I still had powerful PP monoblocks (VTL 225), and loved the sound, but I always dreamed of a purist SET, especially after reading many people's comments through the years about their special sound.  Now, the integrated is two of them in one chassis, and with more power to boot! This combination is a killer. That was my reasoning when I came to the forum.

In retrospective, I guess my audio appreciation evolution path has gone in the opposite direction.  Later ...




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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #57 - 01/01/12 at 18:51:51
 
Just want to mention: Steve's treble cut circuit is not in the signal path, if I understand what he's written it simply allows you to redirect some of the high frequency information as a shunt to ground. No sonic degradation, just a reduction in output of that information. Works brilliantly, and makes about a third of my collection far more listenable. A godsend for me as I want to be able to hear mediocre and worse recordings with enjoyment, and I can.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #58 - 01/01/12 at 19:47:36
 
Just a suggestion On the SE34I.2. Check out one on the used market. They do pop up. Agon, that other auction site, and here in the classifieds.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #59 - 01/01/12 at 20:10:30
 
I think I had read it somewhere in the site too, but it is just difficult to understand how it's filtering the signal without affecting it.

I guess he uses some kind of mini-resistor to cut-off/shunt only the extreme highs (according to the level of tone control set by the user).

Not easy to do right  ..  That's why the majority of amps that offer tonal control offer either signal manipulation (with agreed loss of signal attributes in the process) or music direct (untouched signal path.)  The user has the choice by pressing the button called music direct (to bypass this filtering process).

What is important is that you feel you're not loosing sound quality, and that means the objective has been attained.



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #60 - 01/01/12 at 20:17:30
 
Thank you, Chris K, I've checked now and then both at Audiogon and here.  A couple of those appeared in Audiogon recently, and were gone the same day! Thanks for the tip, though
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #61 - 01/01/12 at 20:54:16
 
FB, these are all excellent points the guys are making.  Speaker matching for the little Zens is so critical.  Can be a PITA, and possibly more expensive.  Unless, of course, you choose right the first time.  Seems to me you are doing your due diligence.

For a Zen and small room, you need:
-Sensitivity and friendly impedance, just to get your foot in the door.  95db/w would be the minimum to me.  The Tekton appears to be a good match, worth considering.
-You also need either very smooth off-axis response (can anything beat an ERR?) or controlled directivity.  This will help keep overall power response at your ears true to the source.  I'm not convinced the Tekton measures up here (the tweet will have much wider dispersion that that big woof in the crossover region), and would probably require more extensive acoustic treatments for the room and care with placement to sound it's best.

That's just a partially informed wild eyed guess, never heard the Tektons.  And my ears are probably shot from listening to those big ol horns all these years.  (By the way, if you can find some old Klipsch Quartets, they work splendidly with Zens in small rooms.  Forte ll, too, if they'll fit.)
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« Last Edit: 01/01/12 at 21:10:56 by ski bum »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #62 - 01/02/12 at 15:55:33
 
Hi ski bum, thank you for the very good points you are making. You've got me thinking now.

It's curious to note that I have not been able to find higher than 95 dBs at affordable prices (either that, or they are too big for my needs). It's also interesting to note that Decware speakers' range are 94 dBs or less, except for two (one at 95 & one at 96).

The most concerning uncertainty right now is exactly what you're disclosing: Impedance dynamics and directionality (the last one should be of less concern in smaller rooms though).

TBH, I'm not familiar at all with these specs, so I'm going to have to trust other people's experiences, as I cannot demo these.  I've looked for several well known discontinued speakers out there, like the ones you mentioned, but these are hard to get (they are sold the very day they show-up on 2nd markets).

I would hate to have to re-furbish this room, as it's been done and the wife may not like the end result either. It's not so bad in terms of acoustics, I would say (not an expert), except it has an opening on one side that connects into another room.  I guess I'm just running a calculated risk here with the Tektons model 81t, but it's as far as I can accomodate for now.

Of course, the other alternative is to go with the more dynamic Mini-Torii. It's a shame price went up recently by $200.00. Nevertheless, the SE84C+ still allows the opportunity to further increase power down the road by bridging into monoblocks configuration, if deemed required.

Finally, I have also considered adding either a ZStage preamp or a ZBox to boost the little guy up.  These choices are not something I can decide on my own, and would prefer not to go into an endless trial-and-error process to find my definitive setup.

It is thanks to input like yours that I can increase my chances of nailing it the first time around (and, of course talk to Steve soon). Appreciate. Later ...














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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #63 - 01/02/12 at 16:04:29
 
FB, note that the ZBOX will likely improve the sound of any source you pair it with before a Zen amp, but. . . it won't "boost" the sound as it will not add any gain. ZSTAGE or CSP2+ will.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #64 - 01/02/12 at 17:06:23
 
You're right Lon, I just re-read the info. The ZStage is the one with the capability to ride the gains on both sides for improved dynamics (I keep mixing these up, sorry).

The following is an overview of my choices:

1. Zen Triode by iself
2. Two Zen Triodes in tandem (monos)
3. Zen Triode + ZStage (from my USB/DAC)
4. Mini-Torii by itself
5. Possible SE34i.2+ Replacement by itself

Speaker-wise, I'm still stuck with the Tektons model 81t, for now. Physical restrictions/decor won't allow anything else within this specs range that I know of.

If anybody wants to add comments on these choices I would be happy to read about them.

Thanks, Lon. Take care ...











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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #65 - 01/02/12 at 18:07:33
 
"The most concerning uncertainty right now is exactly what you're disclosing: Impedance dynamics and directionality (the last one should be of less concern in smaller rooms though)."

I disagree with either being of less concern.  Friendly impedance is perhaps more fundamental in planning a system, but speaker behavior is where the rubber meets the road.  

"It's curious to note that I have not been able to find higher than 95 dBs at affordable prices (either that, or they are too big for my needs)."

For new speakers of the controlled directivity/horn type with high sensitivity (higher than Decware's offerings) check out Pi Speakers.  Very inexpensive kits for the DIYer, and finished products at still reasonable prices.  I have no idea what their return policy is.  They are in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Is that close enough for an audition?

"I guess I'm just running a calculated risk here with the Tektons model 81t."    

If you are planning on having them veneered, the cost is pretty close to the Decware DM945 (http://www.decware.com/newsite/DM945.html), which has a striking similarity to the Tekton (but is much sexier looking), and you can rest assured of it's compatibility with Decware amps.  (Yeah, that's homerism, but this is the Decware forum after all!)  

   

 



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #66 - 01/02/12 at 18:31:21
 
You would have a return privilege on the DM945's [if you ha-ted them, which appears highly doubtful]; not sure if TEKTON has one.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #67 - 01/02/12 at 20:44:29
 
Decware, Tekton, and Pi all have similar 30 day return policies with restocking fees, for non-custom finishes only.  The DM945 already has gorgeous veneer work, but I think that's a custom option for the Tektons, which may overrule any return.  Can you live with flat black?

The 8.1t and Decware DM945 would probably present similar room interactions with their similar driver complement.  Either would likely prove to be high-value, Decware-amp-friendly speakers, if not cost-no-object perfection.  

Alternately, you could try the controlled directivity approach.  The similarly priced 3 Pi would be more sensitive (good option should you go with a single SE84 or Select).  Wayne (owner of Pi) is quite familiar with Decware amps and several of his customers use them.  The 3 Pi is pictured here on their home page:

http://www.pispeakers.com/contents.html

I suppose my horny bias is showing through, but I've had great results with the approach.  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #68 - 01/03/12 at 00:18:13
 
Thanks to all for these interesting observations. But hold your horses now, hold your horses! I understand your enthusiasm, but let's check the facts:

1. The DM945 is a bookshelf design, and thus has its dimensional compromises. There is just so much you can do with materials and clever design, but you cannot beat acoustical physics.  These speakers are as much as 17% smaller in volume to the Tekton 81t. This is a big difference, especially sharing the same transducer size of 8".

2. The DM945's are $995.00 vs $649.00 for the 81t.

3. The DM945 is 94 dBs vs 95 dBs on the 81t. Note, this last dB is a deal breaker, as the consensus on these forum discussions has been not to go under that 95 dB limit figure for the Zen Triode (it should be 96, BTW).

One thing I cannot judge is the difference in the high frequency (tweeter) design/behavior on either models, so probably the DM945 is better.

My current speakers are bookshelf too, though even smaller.  They sound ok as per sophisticated sake-soaked birch wood baffles, in both transducers, are bi-amplified at different power for tweeters and woofers, and bi-wired by design, but are not high-end. I would not compromise sound to physical compliance.

I know the site insists the Zen Triode can move these speakers with weight and authority, but this also depends on the overall setting (listening environment). Since I may not be able to control my environment that much, the more sensitive the better, to be on the safe side.

Regarding the Pi Speakers from Tulsa (and, yes, is far away from home), I can see they propose a new, more sophisticated approach to directionality. Yet, I insist, if you define your sweet spot in a traditional system, and plan to listen within that area, the otherwise desirable omni-directionality, axis-deviation correction, etc., are less substantial an objective, especially in smaller settings. That's why it's called 'sweet spot'.

We are trying to build the best system possible within a budget, so lets invest in best bang for the buck.  My system will never be optimal, but should sound very good provided I invest smartly. BTW, Pi Speakers have inexpensive kits, but their comparable completed speaker sets are more expensive than Tekton's.

If these sound great, who cares about black finishes? Actually, black goes well in my intended setup structure, seriously.  To think about ... Later.





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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #69 - 01/03/12 at 02:00:55
 
"3. The DM945 is 94 dBs vs 95 dBs on the 81t. Note, this last dB is a deal breaker, as the consensus on these forum discussions has been not to go under that 95 dB limit figure for the Zen Triode (it should be 96, BTW)."

I'm not sure if Decware actually measures or calculates based on driver measurements, but 94 dB 1w/1m is believable given the drivers used.

Again based on the drivers used I'm pretty sure the Tekton's are rated at 2.83v/1m which with 4 ohm drivers will give a 3 dB advantage over 1w/1m (ie 95 becomes 92dB).

Comparing the stated specs from various manufacturers is usually like comparing apples to oranges because of differing measurement techniques.
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« Last Edit: 01/03/12 at 02:13:57 by opnly_bafld »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #70 - 01/03/12 at 02:39:48
 
I see what you're saying opnly_bafld, and this is a serious (unknown to me) twist in what is supposed to be standard specs.  I will need to check with Erick about the units of measurements used in reporting their 95 dBs sensitivity parameter.

If you are right, there's a big difference and a real drawback on Tekton (deal breaker right there!)

Thanks for the warning.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #71 - 01/03/12 at 02:53:24
 
Ok, while I check the sensitivity measurements issue, let me ask to any of you possible current or previous owners of the SE84C+ /DM945 (or DM944) combo about your impressions.

I'm particularly concerned by the relatively limited volume on the DM945 box.  If I have a preconceived notion that's blurring my judgement on the DM's, in relation to their potential synergy with the Zen Triode, I need to know it, and hopefully make a better decision.

Again, thanks so much for your support.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #72 - 01/03/12 at 13:28:47
 
opnly_bafld: I found the info on sensitivity measurements, and your poit is correct:

If the impedance is 4 ohms, then the power output would be 2.83V x 2.83V ÷ 4 ohms = 2W, rather than 1 W. Since every doubling of power is equivalent to 3 dBs, the 95 dBs rated at a theoretical 8 Ohms should be 92 dBs.

I sent a message to the designer to see how is he reporting the sensitivity on his 4 Ohms speakers, to make sure.

Thanks
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #73 - 01/03/12 at 15:19:21
 
If you want power and authority with just two watts, I'm afraid you will have to go bigger.

You near Baltimore?  

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/ele/2779628646.html

Or NY?

http://rochester.craigslist.org/ele/2699244590.html

Or Denver?  (They're asking way too much, these have been up for a while)

http://denver.craigslist.org/ele/2754780529.html
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« Last Edit: 01/03/12 at 15:47:42 by ski bum »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #74 - 01/03/12 at 15:47:50
 
Hi ski bum! Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, I'm way far from Baltimore. Besides, buying something this old implies re-furbishing all the internals. That's a complication for me and brings up the final cost.  

I need to keep looking around, as the 8.1 T Tektons at 4 Ohms are confirmed 92 dBs (not 95 dBs as reported) at 8 Ohms.  Therefore, I'm looking back to their M-Lore at 8 Ohms and true 95 dBs.

Unless I find something at 4 Ohms at this same sensitivity, or a significantly higher sensitivity at 8 Ohms, I'll need to get two SE84C+'s, as my min power needs increase now to 4.0 W/c at 8 Ohms.

Looking forward to speak to Steve this morning.  Thanks again ski, take care ...




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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #75 - 01/03/12 at 16:29:49
 
Ok ski, same thing with the other two alternatives: too old! These were discontinued in 1996. Assuming the ones on sale are from that last production year (tough chance), they are 15 years old minimum.

I need to clarify that I don't live in the US. My last residence there was in Chapel Hill, N.C., while getting my Ph.D. many years ago (UNC). I'm going to use an importer to bring the stuff down here, in Panama. This fact complicates matters for refurbishing old/used equipment.

This also precludes me from taking advantage of 30-day trials, as shipping back and forth this distance is prohibitive, including also double customs clearing fees.

Finally, I need to point out that I pay a mark-up of 33 % on average on every US price to have it sent to my place (shipping, customs, importer's fees, etc.)

I tried to contact Steve a while ago but he's out of the office, so I'll talk to him later.  I'll ask him about the DM945, the only suitable speaker in the Decware range within my budget.

Thanks for trying ski, I really appreciate your support.  Later ...



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #76 - 01/03/12 at 19:25:41
 
Ok, your location complicates matters.

Panama makes me think of exotic local hardwoods.  If I were you, I might consider getting one of the Pi kits on the cheap and contract a local artisan to have some beautiful, exotic wood cabs made locally.  It would probably end up being less expensive than shipping any pair of built cabs from here.  Think of the possibilites!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #77 - 01/03/12 at 21:31:11
 
Yes, theoretically. In reality, local artisan skills are scarse and quite expensive. Furthermore, exotic hardwoods are now protected by law, so these are either very expensive (export) or unavailable for the common public.  Besides, it will take forever to have them done.  In the end, is still going to be cheaper bringing the cabs surface (by sea).

Had the privilege to speak to the Master: Suggested Mini-Torii & the DM945's. He explained their features and strong points. Steve seems a very nice guy, indeed.  The problem is, I agree with him, so nobody is going to defend my money  :-/

Well, I need to think about this whole issue for a little while more. BTW, according to Steve, that integrated will be back in a new chassis and probably with the power tube regulation feature, around springtime. That's a long wait for me.

I'll get back to Ben Webster et Al.  later ...

.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #78 - 01/03/12 at 22:35:27
 
Well, there you go. You got the verdict from the big man's mouth. I'd follow it. Smiley

It's interesting to me as for some reason I've no curiosity or interest really in the Mini-Torii. Partly I think that's because I already had interest in the Torii, and because I had really grown a bit crazy from tube-rolling when it was introduced as a great platform. . . for tube-rolling. Smiley Also, in guitar amps, I had most problems both with maintenance and finding the sound I want with an amp I've had that used 6V6 tubes. None-the-less I'm sure it's a fantastic amp, seeing  the devotion that owners have for it, and the glowing reports from those who hear it.
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« Last Edit: 01/03/12 at 22:36:28 by Lon »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #79 - 01/04/12 at 00:51:14
 
Our Man In Panama

The Mini Torii/DM945 combo is one that I had not envisioned. I am sure that Steve, based on what you told him, came up with that to address all your wants.

The main advantage to the Mini Torii is that with changes in tubes you might feel you have a different amp. The 6V6 tube gives a good overall presentation, well-defined soundstage with a prominent midrange and good bass. A 6L6 would open up the soundstage, make it less defined and beef up the bass. You can also play with the inputs as well. A 12AU7 is only a starting place. You could go 12AT7 or even 12AX7.

My MINI is no less than a sonic, thermionic marvel.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #80 - 01/04/12 at 01:11:39
 
Yeah, funny how things have developed in the last couple of weeks ... From the SE34i.2+ to the Zen Triode monos, to single SE84C+, to single Zen Triode and ZStage ...  and now the Mini-Torii.  Out went the speakers I considered elsewhere too (given the specs).

The point is, the Mini-Torii shares the best of a SET with lots of headroom, pace and flexibility, similar to the Torii (keeping scales out).  I'm not so much into rolling either (never done it), but the opportunity is there anyway, who knows.

I see you play the guitar ... Interesting, when I was a teenager I had a rock band, played the lead guitar (not too good). I then played only for myself and close friends off and on for another 20 years.  It's been over 15 years since I quit playing altogether.  

I'll go check 'What's spinning?' for fresh ideas ...











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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #81 - 01/04/12 at 01:21:24
 
If you want to consider the SE84C+ again......

Not sure how you feel about single driver speakers, but I have a pair of Hoyt-Bedford Type 1 speakers (8" 8 ohm 97dB) paired with a 1.7 watt SET and they can get very loud together.

I used to have a pair of Omega Compact Hemp speakers (8" 8 ohm 96dB /same company as H-B above) that I used with my Decware SE84B, that combination also worked very well.

Lin
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« Last Edit: 01/04/12 at 01:23:50 by opnly_bafld »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #82 - 01/04/12 at 01:21:41
 
I play a bit of guitar, it's more that I love instruments and their construction and sounds, I'm not good at playing guitar, a bit better at bass, probably a bit better at piano and I'm best at drums, I played drums in a few bands ending 22 years ago. Just play for myself now, it serves as a sort of meditation for me.

I've collected a lot of instruments but I'm not doing them justice so I'll probably seel a number of them soon.

I'm glad you got an answer and the speaker situation was well thought out and prodded by openly-baffled and ski bum, man this place is just amazing. It's been interesting to see the progression of your inquiries and decisions. Hope it all comes together as you'd like!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #83 - 01/04/12 at 02:00:41
 
Riv, you know, I think he was trying to accomodate the fact that I started looking for the integrated, and he feels the Mini is even better (not as an amplifier, mind you), but in the sense that it offers so much in one package (essentially, a two mono SET in one chassis, like the SE34i.2+, but with the improved headroom stemming from the tube input stage power treatment).

He also stressed the advantages of tube rolling.  It's also reassuring that you really like your Mini.

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #84 - 01/04/12 at 02:11:39
 
I hear you opnly_bafld, and I'm not yet completely sold on the Mini, but it really tempts me. The thing is, playing loud enough is one thing, but having that power reserve is another. The Mini offers both greater power at 3.3 W/c but also the improved headroom due to the tube input stage power treatment.

Steve even mentioned that this is the only way to avoid having to use the PS Audio (something, I forgot), which conditions your main input before going to the amp.  Much of the grainy, edgy sounds at high frequencies stem from dirty mains supply.

The best way to actually get rid of this dirty element is through the power rectification and voltage regulation performed through tube amplification, which is one of the advantages of the Mini.

Economically, I'd rather spend less with a single Zen Triode and try cheaper (but capable) speakers.  I'll take a look at those speakers you mentioned. Thanks for your input.



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #85 - 01/04/12 at 02:12:03
 
I bought the third MINI ever produced, a prototype with a painted top plate. It was the first one made using EX transformers. At the time they were deciding which transformers to use and decided that the EX transformers went better with all the speakers. This amp came to me fully broken in and sounded divine! I ended up selling it to turn around any buy a regular factory model with the powder coat top; this was a stupid, cosmetic reason. I am needless to say very happy with the new MINI TORII I bought. The first thing that struck me about the amp was the stunning stereo separation it offered. Technically it is SEP, but it is little different from SET. It is done very well.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #86 - 01/04/12 at 02:26:08
 
"The thing is, playing loud enough* is one thing, but having that power reserve is another."

But doesn't a systems ability to play way louder than you listen translate into power reserve/headroom?
(Not saying the flea watter is the answer for you, I have the luxury of 2 VG systems so I can have my cake and eat it too. Wink)

I won't tell you my 09' Decfest story (it ends with you spending more money). Smiley

*actually I said "very loud" which of course means different things to different people

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #87 - 01/04/12 at 02:27:03
 
Thank you, Lon. You and all the guys in this great forum who have kindly supported me so far, have been instrumental in the imminent definition of a setting that I expect to enjoy for years to come.

Come on, now, your instruments' versatility is uncommon among non-professional musicians, so I think you deserve more credit than you allow yourself.  This makes me remember the tremendous joy I experienced while playing in my teen group.  I think playing in a band (good or bad) is just great fun!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #88 - 01/04/12 at 02:42:07
 
So there you have it, Riv, a pioneer among us mortals, in the use and abuse of the now famous Mini-Torii. It should feel great to have had that opportunity. And, you're right, it is a Singe-Ended Pentode configuration.  

Steve mentioned that this is the only one (SEP) that sounds the way it does, as far as he can tell. I could feel he was very proud of this accomplishment. He said he had broken several 'rules' when designing it!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #89 - 01/04/12 at 02:51:39
 
You are probably right, opnly_bafld. Yet, for some reason, Steve insisted in pointing out the special Torii-like (the bigger brother PP design) headroom.  Again, I think he refers to the pristine loudness that may be possible with the input power treatment via tubes (rectification/regulation), that is not present in the Sen Triode.

It's like when he described the DM945 speakers' performance (other than the specs we were discussing about), he talked about the 'body' of the music, as a distinctive attribute from the DM's compared to other bookshelf type speakers.

I think both avenues are a great start, and I'm still considering all corners.  Thanks for pointing this out.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #90 - 01/05/12 at 18:07:44
 
Just to muddy the waters a bit, please search for my postings within the past year.

I have a little personal recording studio in a 10x12 room, using an Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC pushing a single SE84C+ and dual HSU STF-1 Subs (via a separate preamp which then feeds dual Velodyne SMS-1 sub EQ's, and then to the HSU subs).  I get the best sound by not using any external crossover (just what's built into the subs), and sending two RCA cables out of each DAC output (to feed the corresponding speaker and sub).

I'm using PMC TB2S+ speakers (fabulous!) with just a 90dB rating, I'm listening near-field (30-36 inches away), and the sound is just amazing.  My normal listening volume at the central sweet spot is between 80-85dB.

Bottom line: anything more than 2 watts would go to waste in my setup, and a friend told me he can't believe that the sound in my little studio compares with multi-million dollar studios that he's been in.

Food for thought...
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« Last Edit: 01/05/12 at 18:09:47 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #91 - 01/06/12 at 00:40:25
 
Mark,

Are you running the SE84 and the PMCs fullrange?
If so, have you ever listened extensively without the subs running?

Thanks,
Lin
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« Last Edit: 01/06/12 at 00:40:44 by opnly_bafld »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #92 - 01/06/12 at 00:58:21
 
Lin -

Yes -- full bass is going to the PMCs and the subs (but the subs have their own built-in low-pass filter), so the subs provide bass augmentation.  I've done extensive testing of my room, and the PMCs by themselves have a big dropoff in bass response below 90Hz (caused more by the room than the speakers) -- but that contributes to the really nice "blend" that I get when adding the stereo STF-1 subs.  For such a small room, I've been really lucky with how things have worked out.

But, by themselves, the PMCs (in my room) just don't have enough bass for my taste, and to allow me to properly evaluate the bass on mixes that I work on.

P.S. -- I had the PMCs for several months before I fully realized that they were too bass shy.  It wasn't until I started doing some tests that I realized what was going on.
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« Last Edit: 01/06/12 at 01:13:01 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #93 - 01/06/12 at 01:14:07
 
Hi Mark. Good for you! BTW that's exactly the SUB connection I am going to use: Two Y spliiters for each DAC output, one end to the amp and the other to the low-level IN in my Velodyne, repeating for both channels. The only doubt I have is potential degradation of the signal going to the amp (SUB is of no consequence), due to the extra splitting/low quality of the commercial Y splitters.  

You sure are close to those speakers. In my current SS system and smallish room, the average sweet spot is anything between 100 to 108 inches away (8.5 to 9 ft). Your setup is almost midway between speakers listening and using headphones!

Well, if it works that good, excellent. I just couldn't be that close, I suppose. It must take some getting used to. That explains not needing any further power, as 80-85 dBs SPL should be absolutely achievable with 2 W/c and 90 dBs speakers, but is not my thing. Thanks for sharing the tip.

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #94 - 01/06/12 at 01:26:11
 
I was amazed that I couldn't sense any degradation splitting the output of my DAC to the SE84C+ and the subs -- but the degradation in my case was horrendous then I first tried to use an extra pair of speaker cables to push the subs' high-level inputs.  I could have sworn that I would have to use an active crossover to make this work, but luckily I didn't

Nearfield monitoring ihas been pretty typical in recording studios for the past 30 years or so, and I've never really liked it until I got this current setup.  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's great for mixing songs.  And it 's also unbeatable (from my point of view) for a critical solo listening experience.  But it's critical to have a speaker with a killer crossover design (like the PMCs) when listening that close...
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« Last Edit: 01/06/12 at 01:29:16 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #95 - 01/06/12 at 01:50:16
 
I take it you are using the readily available Y splitters? I'm asking because I've never seen a high quality type yet. It's great to hear you have not sensed any degradation with these.

I currently use a splitter from the mono SUB OUT in my SS amp because my low-level SUB input is stereo (+ 3dBs when using both channels). But I was unconfortable considering this same setting for the signal path from the DAC to the amp, when the time comes (have never done that, as my current amp has Mono SUB OUT).



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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #96 - 01/06/12 at 02:51:01
 
I'm using a pair of AudioQuest brand solid (all metal) splitters that I got from Amazon for about $12 each.  I've also tried some $6 similar generic ones from PartsExpress.com, and I can't tell the difference.  Again, I can't detect any degradation whatsoever.  And I can hear really low-level detail with this setup.

Bottom line: you have to try it to know for sure.  I would have bet that it wouldn't work -- but it did.  And it sounds absolutely amazing.  And you're right -- my setup is a cross between speakers and headphones, which is exactly what I've been looking for.  But, again, it requires a superb crossover (if your speakers have a crossover) to listen nearfield.  Otherwise, it'll probably sound unacceptable.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #97 - 01/06/12 at 04:01:50
 
Mark,

Do you by any chance have Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem or something similar that for a least part of the song is just double bass and voice?

I'd be very surprised if your 90 dB PMCs will reproduce the bass cleanly at the levels mentioned with ~2 watts based on my recent experience with 90 dB single driver speaks and a 1.8 watt SET nearfield at <90 dB*. When I switched the amp to pentode (6w) it had no problems and most of the time in triode mode it worked fine.

I was just thinking your subs might be masking the rare occasions (depending on the type of music) when the SE84 may not be enough.

Lin

*I didn't have the meter out so I may have been higher than 80-85.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #98 - 01/06/12 at 04:23:43
 
Excellent point!  My STF-1 subs only go down to about 30Hz, but that's not a problem for me because the lowest string on an electric bass guitar only goes down to about 41Hz, and I roll-off everything in my mixes below about 35Hz, anyway.  Yes -- I don't mix classical music. Wink

However, the beauty of the setup I've stumbled into is that the speakers by themselves (in my particular room) have absolutely no significant output below about 40Hz -- so I can't even hear where the SE84C+ is likely to be "struggling" a bit.

So yes, the subs are absolutely taking up the slack (from 30Hz-90Hz).  But if/when I start listening to enough double bass (or other orchestral mixes), I'll probably have to consider upgrading my HSU STF-1 subs.  But the system sure sounds great (down to about 30Hz), which works very well for all my current mixing and listening needs.

But that's still a great point!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #99 - 01/06/12 at 04:50:05
 
Oh, by the way, Lin -- before I got the subs I WAS able to get the SE84C+ to distort very badly by using it as an electric bass guitar amplifier, with the SE84C+ volume knob at max -- so when pushed hard, 2 watts just doesn't cut it for extreme low bass (but it was just fine when not pushed that hard -- at lower volumes).

And I think that experience contributed to my initial decision to see if I could successfully integrate subs into my setup.  So, again, that's a really good point that you brought up.
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« Last Edit: 01/06/12 at 04:53:09 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #100 - 01/06/12 at 12:41:26
 
I guess I should have mentioned that my speakers are in a sealed box, start to roll off at 150 hz and are down 12 dB at 75 hz.
Therefore I'm not referring to deep bass, but the power required to reproduce certain instruments even at lower levels.

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #101 - 01/06/12 at 15:07:38
 
Lin -

So can I presume you use a sub to fill in the lower end of the spectrum?

But going back to your implied question, I guess at my nearfield 80-85dB standard listening level, I'm pulling well under one watt out of my SE84C+ -- so that may explain why I have no issues whatoever at this time from 30Hz on up.  And even though I'm not currently using low-bass orchestral samples in songs, I use some pretty low synth bass and electric guitar notes at times, and (luckily!) I've had no issues getting solid bass out of the system.  But below 90Hz, most of that is coming from the stereo HSU STF-1 subs.

I even tried playing some live low electric bass guitar notes through my system after my previous post, and they sound rich, deep, and totally solid to me at this time.  Not a hint of what I would expect to hear if the SE84C+ bass was breaking down.

Based on my original bass guitar distortion issue at max volume on the SE84C+ (before integrating the stereo subs into my system), I could have sworn that I'd need an external active crossover to filter out the low bass from going through the SE84C+ and getting to the PMC speakers.  But, luckily, I didn't.  So I'm glad I tried out this setup first before mentally dismissing it as unworkable.  Again, to my ears, it's now one of the best sounding systems I've ever heard.  But nearfield listening certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea...

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« Last Edit: 01/06/12 at 19:06:37 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #102 - 01/06/12 at 15:22:05
 
Lin suggested:

Quote:
Do you by any chance have Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem or something similar that for a least part of the song is just double bass and voice?


PMFJIH, but I echo trying this recording. It is a great track for hearing the mid-range and low end at the same time with fewer "competitive layers" to listen through. Good album overall. Good on CD and nice on hi-res as well from HD Tracks.
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« Last Edit: 01/06/12 at 15:24:16 by Pale Rider »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #103 - 01/06/12 at 17:36:55
 
Fair enough -- I'll see if I can track it down and give it a try...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #104 - 01/06/12 at 22:26:26
 
"So can I presume you use a sub to fill in the lower end of the spectrum?"

No, I bought a new flea watter a couple of months ago and I was using these temporarily.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #105 - 01/06/12 at 23:52:18
 
It's been a bit of a pain integrating stereo subwoofers, but well worth the effort.  But to be honest, I don't think I'd be able to make subs work with speakers that start to roll off at 150Hz.

But -- out of curiosity -- with your response down about 12dB at 75Hz, have you noticed any bass performance anomalies?  And it sounds like you're using somethng other than a Decware low-wattage amp?
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #106 - 01/06/12 at 23:56:04
 
On the general Active SUB connection topic, I understand there are basically 6 possible configurations (correct me if I'm wrong):

1. DAC OUT to SUB IN (Low-level) - Indep. vol. controls, can use SUB X-Over

2. AMP/Preamp Low-level PRE OUT to SUB IN (Low level) - Indep vol. control, can use SUB X-Over

3. AMP/Preamp High-level PRE OUT to SUB IN (High level) - Volume control in tandem, can use SUB X-Over

4. Same as 3 above, with High Level OUT from SUB return to Amp IN - Indep volume control, using SUB X-Over

5. AMP High level OUT (spkrs) to SUB High Level IN - Indep volume control, can use SUB X-Over

6. Same as above but with SUB High Level Spkrs OUT return to AMP High level OUT (spkrs) - Indep volume control, using SUB X-Over

Best ones, advantages and disadvantages? (I hope these are right, but I'm not sure about all of them).

I think this is an important element in the setup and I want to make sure I tapp all the synergies involved by choosing the best in my case.

Any comments or suggestions?

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #107 - 01/07/12 at 00:14:47
 
And don't forget the option of inserting an active crossover (like the Bryston 10B-Sub) after a DAC or preamp, and then in essence T'ing off to the power amp and the subwoofer.  That's what I thought I'd have to do to prevent what I thought would be occasional SE84C+ over-driven bass to my PMC speakers...
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #108 - 01/07/12 at 00:40:01
 
That is a great approach I was not aware of.  It can certainly eliminate the stresses of crossing over at high levels (AMP), and avoid a lower quality built-in SUB X-Over. Nice

Bass is crucial and very demanding, especially with flea Watters.  So, which is the preferred one for a setup consisting of Source / DAC / Preamp-AMP / Speakers? (other than adding an external X-Over?).

I guess I want to understand the tradeoffs involved, as these are not clear to me yet.  I know most of these will work, and normally I wouldn't care much and would choose the easiest one. But in our particular, low level/high sensitive speakers' setup, I think optimizing this is as important or more than choosing the right cables and interconnects.

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #109 - 01/07/12 at 01:19:07
 
FB- there is some amount of pleasant harmonic texturization from the output trannys that would be passed on if you fed speaker level signal to the sub.  While not absolutely necessary, it's something to consider.

Most subs don't have any high pass filtering in either their line level pass through or the speaker level pass through, so you don't really need to waste extra cables routing things that way.  Keep it simple.

If you need to squeeze a little more out of your amp then an active crossover would come in handy, but my experience mirrors MarkBlair's.  I actually have one but don't presently use it.
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« Last Edit: 01/07/12 at 01:37:13 by ski bum »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #110 - 01/07/12 at 01:52:56
 
And to tag on to ski bum's comments, if you don't use a really excellent active crossover, you'll probably be creating more problems.  I've tried pretty much every feasible option in my current setup (except for the active external crossover), and the DAC > low level (rca) out > splitter > SE84c+ and the active sub(s) works best for me.

The main danger in setups like this is the overlap of frequencies below the sub's cutoff freq, since both the sub and main speakers output overlaps there.  I'm really lucky that my main speakers (coupled with the room) trails off fairly steeply starting at my subs' crossovers.  But your mileage may vary.

But, IMHO, this option is at least worth trying before considering the huge additional expense of a decent external active crossover (like the Bryston).
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« Last Edit: 01/07/12 at 01:55:59 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #111 - 01/07/12 at 02:06:04
 
Got it, ski. Thanks! I just feel wiring speakers OUT (high level) is cumbersome and prone (maybe) to more degradation?

Can we then narrow this to either the pre OUTs to low-level SUB IN (L+R) or the splitter for DAC OUT to AMP and SUB?  Which is more convenient you guys think?  

The former, when applied to the Mini Torii, incorporates some input stage tube effects and has volume in tandem with SUB (which can be adjusted further on its own, if desired).

The latter is independent of the amp (no input tube stage effects), and SUB controls volume for all low frequencies under the X-Over cutoff.

Thanks again ...







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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #112 - 01/07/12 at 02:22:19
 
My DAC has a volume control, so I now leave the volume on my SE84C+ at max.  So a setup like this would control your amp & sub volume at the same time.

I should mention that -- either way -- you're going to have to spend some serious time getting the amp & subs' relative volumes correlated.  There are some good manual ways to do it (the book "Get Better Sound" has some really good advice), but I used a couple of software spectrum analysis tools (along with a calibrated microphone) to assist.

Either way, this step is, IMHO, crucially important to getting balanced sound.  Furthermore, I don't think a single sub will ever work as well as stereo subs -- both balance-wise and stereo image-wise...
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« Last Edit: 01/07/12 at 04:21:15 by MarkBlair »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #113 - 01/07/12 at 15:38:53
 
Got it, Mark, thanks. I was going to setup the SUB this way, before I learned about the other possibilities.  Now, learning from your experiences I will definitely go that way, initially.  

With respect to adjusting bass volume, I believe it must be much more difficult in a stereo bass setting. In my own mono SUB experience, the SUB's volume can be adjusted independently until you hear the level that best complements the rest of the system. That is how it works in my current setup.  My bookshelf speakers are so small I need to use the SUB's Direct X-Over at 200 Hz to get the best effect (in this setup, I'm using the SUB OUT from my SS amp).

Regarding the bass stereo effect, I was under the impression that bass is essentially mono. Presumably, it does not have to be stereo. At least that is the notion around. Evidently you seem to have experienced a different result by making the bass stereo, which is somewhat peculiar and new to me.  While surround sound applications may justify multiple SUBs, I thought two-chanel music stereo is normally complemented by a single SUB.  I'm learning every day.


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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #114 - 01/07/12 at 15:45:28
 
I'd like to have one each of these per channel. Not sure my floor would take them though!

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #115 - 01/07/12 at 15:56:56
 
BTW, in my curret SS setup (using the SUB OUT), every time I increase (or decrease) the amp's volume, the SUB's relative volume adjusts accordingly, automatically. I presume the same is true by connecting from the PRE OUTs. I would think not so when linking from the DAC.

In your case, the DAC has a volume setting and you can centralize all volume control there, but my DAC does not have that volume setting.  Mmmhhhh  ...  Should I then use the PRE OUTs instead ( to avoid having to re-adjust the SUB's volume every time I change the amp's volume?)  Is the PRE OUTs signal really volume setting dependent?
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #116 - 01/07/12 at 16:01:45
 
Hey, Lon: You mean the girl or the mammoth speaker-looking protraction back there?
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #117 - 01/07/12 at 16:33:05
 
"While surround sound applications may justify multiple SUBs, I thought two-chanel music stereo is normally complemented by a single SUB.  I'm learning every day."

http://mehlau.net/audio/multisub_geddes/
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #118 - 01/07/12 at 16:50:06
 
Well, my floor could stand a pair of the gals. I'm not sure that it will hold up to the pair of Jensens!
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #119 - 01/07/12 at 17:13:57
 
Quote:
But, IMHO, this option is at least worth trying before considering the huge additional expense of a decent external active crossover (like the Bryston).


Agreed. I would love to have budget room for the Bryston, but no. And there are some well-made active crossovers that cost a bit less. Fireblade, depending on the aprpoach you take, you might want to consider one of the Paradigm X-10/20/30 units. Bob referred me to them, and so I picked up an X-30 off ebay. I am not sure if I will actually deploy it, because I am still wrestling with my own sub integration. I am getting two servo subs (Rhythmik guts) built in cabinets like my ERRs. Those won't be done for a little while. In the meantime, I am experimenting with my old Orb powered subwoofer just to see what seems to work with the system. Progress is slow, because I have very little free time this time of year, and I have some room placement challenges, and I am still figuring out the best way to take advantage of the Ultra's multiple outputs. Plus, I am tasking my subs to do double duty in both the HT aspect of my system, and the 2/5.1 audiophile side.

Anyway, there are a number of ways to go about integrating subs, as well-identified earlier in this thread. I highly recommend this series of articles on bass management and integration by the fellow from Red Spade Audio, because they will help reduce the trial & error work. I downloaded the software, procured the Behringer mike and mixer, and just started taking measurements. Having objective data to check against what your ears and brain are subjectively telling you is invaluable.

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« Last Edit: 01/07/12 at 17:32:35 by Pale Rider »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #120 - 01/07/12 at 17:28:27
 
opnly_bafld posted this link:

Quote:


This is a good summary. I have a lot of respect for Geddes' work, and I have heard some of that theory in practice. Some very good speakers. But I have always found his multi-sub approach especially interesting, particularly his advice not to high-pass your main speakers. A lot of other writers seem to recommend high-pass specifically to reduce their bass load. I am probably more in that latter camp as well.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #121 - 01/07/12 at 20:04:31
 
opnly_bafld, found the article, thanks.  Pale Rider, your link is broken. Could you check it out?

Anyway, the matter is much more complex than I thought. I think I'm going to experiment when the time comes.  In the mean time, I'll stick to a single SUB, linked through the DAC and will adjust the volume at both sides of the equation (amp and SUB) for volume adjustments.

If it sounds good enough, fine.  If not, I'll start researching the subject more thoroughly.  Thanks to all for your assistance.

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #122 - 01/07/12 at 20:38:15
 
Fireblade -

In essence, my DAC (with its volume control) is also acting as a pre-amp.  So if your DAC doesn't have a volume control, I suggest (as you thought) splitting off your pre-amp outs to control both the subs' and amp's volume at the same time.

And you can certainly survive with just one sub -- but it's a myth that low bass is mono.  And so there are two arguments for multiple subs: 1) you can achieve a more uniform bass response (in this case, the two or more subs usually work with mono bass), and 2) you can achieve true stereo bass with two subs (or multiples of two if you're particularly adventurous!).

In my case, I was actually able to achieve both goals -- true stereo bass and a pretty darn flat response (but only at my central sweet spot) down to 30Hz.  Most folks are happy achieving goal #1 (which is certainly not a trivial accomplishment).  That was my primary goal (an even bass response).  But since I was able to accomplish that with my subs symetrically placed just in front of my nearfield monitors (but on the floor), I was also able to get true stereo bass.  And for true stereo recordings from an actual venue (as opposed to being synthesized with an mixing console and added stereo effects), you can certainly hear the difference with stereo bass.

Again, I've been very lucky with my setup.  BUT -- if I hadn't tried it, I would have never known it would work so well.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #123 - 01/07/12 at 22:13:47
 
For true venue recordings, as you call them, theoretically a stereo bass audio system (objective 2) should reflect a time delay from one side (channel) SUB to the other, unless the recording of the bass happened to be in the exact middle of the physical soundstage.

This, because lower frequencies travel much slower (relatively speaking) and true stereo should reflect the distance from the bass player to either channel.  Is this the bass stereo effect you're referring to?

When you refer to uniform bass response (objective 1), isn't it equivalent to having a single SUB that does not peak or dip relative to the rest of the frequencies (i.e., the proper relative volume setting on the SUB)?

Trying to understand this ... thanks for your patience!

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #124 - 01/07/12 at 22:33:48
 
Fireblade -

Sounds like you're on roughly the same page as I am (but bass doesn't travel slower than treble -- the wavelength is just longer).  But I wouldn't obsess too much about stereo subs.  That could be left for a future enhancement.

But getting a consistent bass level (objective 1) would be a huge accomplishment -- so mayble it's a good idea to proceed in phases.  I started with one mono sub before I realized I wanted to see if I could make stereo subs work.

So yes, I'm talking about uniform bass levels -- and I think that's what everyone wants.  I was able to get that with one sub -- but only within a relatively small sweet spot (again, I use nearfield monitoring).  Typical mid-field listeners (which I define to be roughly 8-10 feet away from the speakers) who want a sweet spot that can acommodate more than one person will -- in my opinion -- be hard pressed to accomplish that (a uniform bass response) with just one sub -- particularly in a room of less than 2500 cubic feet.

This is just my opinion, so don't let that stop you from trying!  And you know what?  Uniform bass response, stereo subs, etc., are NOT CRITICAL to getting great enjoyment from great music.  So -- don't sweat the small stuff. Wink  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #125 - 01/07/12 at 22:55:40
 
Agreed, Mark and thanks!
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Pale Rider
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #126 - 01/08/12 at 03:29:51
 
In the Homebrewer hobby, where some of us can get truly fanatical and build/buy full barrel microprocessor-managed, digitally controlled brewing systems, we have an internet acronym: RDWHAHB, which stands for Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Home Brew. Sometimes I have to remind myself of the same thing here. I still remember listening to my little transistor radio as a kid, and simply loving the music.

The problem with high-fidelity is that once you start, it is very important to try to keep one's sense of perspective. Having said that, I think what Mark says is right. You can enjoy the music without perfect bass, though I do believe good bass is very important to a well-rounded, accurate, believable system. But taking it in phases is probably a very good suggestion. I would add the further suggestion to try and map a path that facilitates growth or improvement, without the requirement of throwing out or selling stuff. Experimenting with subs and separate amps can get pretty expensive. Given my decision to go with a dual servo sub approach, I now have some extra items I don't need. Funny thing is, the Rhythmik servo approach is where I was first inclined to go, before I got sidetracked and then returned to a variant, still servos but in custom cabinets.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #127 - 01/08/12 at 15:47:12
 
Home brewing must be exciting ... Though I'm a wine guy myself. I wish good wine could be done at home too.

I also remember as a kid all the pocket, leather-bag small transistor radios we used to cherish.  

You know, that's absolutely right. I plan to give the basic system a chance, while trying to improve on speaker positioning, limited room conditioning and SUB placement.  After that, we'll see. I know once you get used to a sound quality level, you always want to improve on it.  As there are always opportunities (though at diminishing returns for the investment), the curiosity and  ever present aim at the wholy grail of sound is a perennial, addictive temptation.

In the end, what I enjoy most is the music, and this ought to be the objective that hopefully will help me control those urges.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #128 - 01/08/12 at 22:06:01
 
Between Ultra, Torii, and ERR break-in, Bob Z. suggested to me I take my time. He's right. I remember the day "the bottom fell open" on the ERRs. Very rich in the bass. And the Toriis continue to bloom.

Right now, I have very good, solid, articulate bass in the system, but I will eventually get the subs done, and then we shall see what we have next!

P.S. I am also a wine person, but wouldn't dream of trying to make it. Had a brother in law once who did, and he did it about as well as possible, but still..........meh. But it is possible to make superlative beer.
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« Last Edit: 01/08/12 at 22:07:57 by Pale Rider »  

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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #129 - 01/08/12 at 22:26:03
 
Wine gives me a headache. I am a beer person. At DECFEST they serve beers that you have never heard of.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #130 - 01/09/12 at 03:54:34
 
Don't get me wrong. Although I prefer wine, I can enjoy a well brewed beer too.  The best I've tasted was in Sao Paulo, in a pub that made their own beers.  I spent two years living there, so I developed a taste for this wsell-known special black beer from the house, that I simply loved.  Problem is, I don't find these around anymore.

While working in Cologne, years ago, a german co-worker made me taste several types.  Good beer, although strong and at room temperature.  This way you can really taste the ingredients, but those weren't for my.  Funny!
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Hank
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #131 - 01/10/12 at 20:43:10
 
Really sorry to see this gone from the lineup.  I got one about a year ago and set it up on a finished piece of wood like in the documentation.  Great if you don't mind the "science fair" look and no one around to put fingers where they shouldn't. Sounds absolutely wonderful with a pair of Tekton 8" single driver speakers.

I have the CSP-2 or ZenHead for a pre-amp stage, but it sounds best without.

i was thinking getting another one for case mounting...oh, well  :(

Regards,
Hank
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #132 - 01/10/12 at 20:45:59
 
I feel your pain Hank!

I do expect that the new replacement with one or two more regulation stages will be an improved one, and likely a sonic wonder. And I bet if you seriously wanted another to match yours that used ones will become available.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #133 - 01/10/12 at 20:48:37
 
Expect the new replacement by the end of spring, according to Steve.
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #134 - 01/23/12 at 01:08:36
 
Actually, to my pleasant surprise the new amp is happening with some divine luck at a much earlier time than expected.  I'm listening to it now.  I made a post in the SE34I.2 forum.

Here's what shook out...

New integrated sounds better than the old ones do, in part from "lucid mode" being the foundation of it's design.

The price is staying the same and my even be offered with a single pair of inputs for less money still.

That puts it in a similar sonic league with the Mini Torii, but at a lower price making it an easier choice when trying to decide between the two amps.  It works well without a preamp, as it always has.

Steve
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« Last Edit: 01/23/12 at 02:55:59 by Steve Deckert »  
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Re: SE34i.2+ being discontinued!
Reply #135 - 03/06/12 at 02:56:14
 
Hi All.  Can someone tell me how to wire two sets of speakers with 2 subs to my system?

Macbook Pro Source via Toslink > Havana DAC via RCA > CSP2+ Pre > SE84C+ > ERR's (8ohms).  Plus now have Tekton OB4.5's (4ohms) with 2 8" Tekton Subs.

Do I wire subs off the DAC RCA's with a splitter, wire the subs together from their speaker posts.  Then wire 4 speakers in Parallel from Amp, starting with 8ohm ERR's to 4ohm OB's?

Do I wire subs off Preamp Mono Sub with a splitter, then same as above?

Do I split the Stereo out of the Preamp to the subs, then same as above?

Obvious rookie here, who is easier with seeing than words...

Thank You!

Z
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