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Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker (Read 8317 times)
ThorSevan
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Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
01/17/12 at 03:59:40
 
Hello,

I would like to start by saying that I'm quite new to tube amps and high end speakers but always been looking for naturally sounding sound system for quite a long time. Recently a good friend of mine talked to me about tube amps and I must say that I was very intrigued at first… After some researches, readings and having listened to a tube amp sound in a demo room have decided to give it a try as a first purchase for my newly acquired space.

I have looked at Decware website and I narrowed my choices to the following combination:
•      The Zen Ziegler Speakers - model MG944
•      The Zen Triode Integrated  - 6 watts per channel stereo amplifier

Could you please review my choice and tell me if both work well together? What other combination could be recommended as the Zen Triode Integrated appears to be temporarily unavailable.

I tried using emailing Decware regarding my questions but received no answer yet so I’m trying the forum…

Thank you very much!

Sevan
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will
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #1 - 01/17/12 at 04:44:15
 
Sevan,

This would be a very good combination. The Integrated is a beautiful sounding Single Ended triode amp and the MG944s are amazing. Most anything Decware offers would be very good with the 944s, but you may have more power needs than the 2 watt SE84+ if you like to listen loud, or have a larger room.

There was some talk on the forum about discontinuing the Integrated, but I have no personal knowledge of this. You could search the forum to possibly find out more. Also, you will find advocates for all the amps and speakers if you read the forums. Everything is really good.

I have a Torii MkIII I upgraded to after I had the Integrated. Both are very good in different, but equally compelling ways to me. For the purist Triode the choice may be the SE84+, and if this is not enough power, you could bridge two of them. The Mini Torii is well loved too, as is the Taboo, though it apparently needs a preamp...yet another option. All have advantages and individual signatures, and are well loved by their owners.

So really, talking to Steve Deckert about your tastes, room and needs would be the best if you can call. Email may sometimes be difficult for him as he receives such a great volume. The phone contact is on the contact page of the site.

If you can't call, maybe you could describe your particular listening requirements....music styles, room size, loudness, sound preferences, intended uses in general...whatever you can think of, and forum members will be better able to help.

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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 04:46:40 by will »  

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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #2 - 01/17/12 at 05:25:40
 

Hello Will,

Thank you for your reply. The reason I initially chose the The Zen Triode Integrated SE34I.2 was because its price range seemed to be in between the available options. I now notice that the MINI TORII has 4 watts output instead of 6 and is slightly more expensive. What’s the difference between both options? I don't plan on listening loud; don't want to bother my neighbour!

My listening tastes are quite various and can span quite far but my main use of these speakers will be for relax ambience music in the living room and to accompany an LCD monitor for movies on rare occasions as well. I plan to drive the signal from a digital source such as a PC/laptop. Would I require some sort of external high-end sound card to accompany the system?

Living room is open space with dining room and kitchen; ceilings are regular 8 feet tall.

Cheers,
Sevan
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #3 - 01/17/12 at 12:19:02
 
I have it on authority that the SE84I Integrated will return in a newer chassis with updated design. It is not known whether it will be near its present price or whether it will go upmarket in price. If it is fitted with tube regulation stages and other things it will be more expensive.

A MINI TORII would serve all your needs. It is a more versatile amp, with nearly infinite tube changes being possible.
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will
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #4 - 01/17/12 at 15:04:07
 
RR, thanks for the clarification on the SE34I.2+. Good news on that! I loved that amp, but for me with the 944s it was just a little quiet for some DVDs. I like to be able to listen pretty loud though. Could have just gotten the Zstage to bump the gain a bit, but it was not made then. Never an issue with music, in fact, with the 944s, I don't think I ever got near distortion with it even with loud music listening.

Sevan, what do you mean about your neighbor. Do you mean a shared wall, or is there some distance between houses? Loudness is pretty relative. For example, would you ever listen loud enough that you could not hear a normal conversation clearly from 12 feet away, or from five feet away???? Also, from your explanation of your open floorplan room, it could be pretty big or moderate size with the open floor plan. Though the power in Deceware amps is all usable, and they are much louder than one would expect coming from a solid state a history, but room size and loudness can matter with low power amps.

Is sounds like you are all good, but just checking.

Have you read over Steve's explanations of the different amps and speakers? Though they all sound like glowing explanations, they should be because it is all good stuff. And he is pretty careful with getting the story straight. There may be some things that catch your attention about a given amp.

But after some research here and on the sale site, I would really call Steve to talk about it, especially with the news of the SE34 remodel. He has a long experience with all the right questions to try help you get what you would like most.

Computer playback is a vast arena, and the source (in this case a computer and a DAC, or an all in one sort of server/DAC) is often considered the most important piece. After all, it determines what everything down stream gets! Don't know what you use now, but Decware is very revealing gear, so a reasonably good source is important. I suspect that a card in a computer is short changing yourself.

This http://www.computeraudiophile.com/ is a good place to get a taste of the computer server info out there.

Good Luck!
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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 15:04:55 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #5 - 01/17/12 at 15:09:28
 
Sevan, welcome!

You've been given great advice here. Sounds as if you have a relatively large open area to potentially fill with sound. I'm not certain, from my personal experience, that the sound level of 6 watts per channel will really be satisfying in that area. I tried it for some time, but finally went with the Torii Mk III. A call to Steve is both the best way to reach him, and also the best source of information of which amp will suit your needs.

Hope that we will be reading your impressions of your new amp in a few months!
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« Last Edit: 01/17/12 at 15:11:11 by Lon »  

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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #6 - 01/17/12 at 22:45:21
 
Thanks!

Actually yes, it's a corner condo units but I still have neighbours surrounding me. Open space of about 750cf for living/dining/kitchen rooms + two bedrooms for a total of 1050cf. So I don’t plan on listening to levels where we can’t hear people speak…

Should I consider a pre-amp of some sort for switching from PC/Laptop sound source vs other possible devices? Yeah, I think I will need to get an external soundcard or something for better digital to analog conversion.

Rivieraranch, when you say I can swap tubes on the Mini-Torii, what do you mean exactly, what are the benefits of that?

I think you guys are right – I will give Steve a call tomorrow. Thank you very much for your help and support!

Sevan
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #7 - 01/17/12 at 22:49:07
 
There are a lot of details about all the tubes you can use with the MINI TORII on its product page.  Also there are some posts on this issue as well. It is designed to accept a number of power tubes, all which will give a different sound signature. Same with the input tubes and voltage regulators. It is an extremely versatile amp.
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will
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #8 - 01/18/12 at 04:05:30
 
Sevan,

Actually what you would need to get good sound from a computer is a DAC (Digital Audio Convertor) and a good sense of the demands and setup of the computer to put it together optimally. Alternately there are readymade computer servers out there, and of course CD players, or CD transports to match with a DAC.

If you want to get some knowledge on the digital computer server thing, you might like to look over the FAQ section here http://www.computeraudiophile.com/ for starters.

In my opinion, if you are to get the Decware gear you want (which is very high quality for a real feeling music experience), you would be doing yourself a disservice not to have a really solid and quality front end, be it computer/server based, or a CD player. After all, the amp and speakers can only convey what comes into them.

And I am glad you will call Steve.
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« Last Edit: 01/18/12 at 04:07:18 by will »  

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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #9 - 02/18/12 at 03:15:56
 
Hello guys,

I'm happy I have waited a bit more and now I'm quite happy to see that the new SE34I.3 Tube Amp is out.

I would be getting the following to get started:
- SE34I.3 AMP
- Trapezium desktop speakers for my office left n right of a 24" Dell Screen.
- Some HQ DAC such as Wavelength Audio Proton or Peachtree Audio DAC•iT

Then eventually add the The Zen Ziegler Speakers model MG944 to the living room and connect them to the SE341.3 in the office.

I'll try calling Steve for his advises (still didn't had the chance to do so) but what do you think, is the SE341.3 overkill for the Trapezium? I see it more like an investment at this point. The Trapezium are the only speakers choice that makes sense for my little office room where I got my laptop. Bookshelf would be too big I assume.

Best,
Sevan
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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #10 - 02/18/12 at 12:54:15
 
Sevan,

I think your planning is sound. From what I've read here about the Trapezium speakers, and my first hand knowledge of the earlier Integrated, I'd say NO, not overfkill. Would be suitable and make the speakers sing. And then work excellently with the larger speakers. Sounds like a good plan.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #11 - 02/18/12 at 13:51:19
 
I concur, from personal experience.
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #12 - 06/12/12 at 07:43:23
 
Hello,

I hope you guys are doing well.
I received emails confirming that my order is almost completed. Quite excited!
So I have decided to purchase the DAC I require and I was hesitating between these following from the same manufacturer:

Peachtree Audio iDac - 900$
Peachtree Audio Tac-it - 449$

I don't have any iPod but the hardware specs for DAC still appears better.

or:
The Halide DAC HD - 550$
halidedesign.com/dachd/

What do you think?

Best regards,
Sev
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Lord Soth
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #13 - 06/14/12 at 15:47:15
 
Hi there,

If you are willing to spend US$900+, I heartily recommend the Oppo-BDP 95 universal player.
The DAC is fantastic.
On the front, there is a USB port which allows one to playback FLAC or mp3 files stored on a USB thumb drive.

http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-95/
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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #14 - 06/14/12 at 15:53:28
 
Personally, I'd look into a Wyred4Sound DAC1 or DAC2. These are purported to be wonderful DACs. I heard a DAC1 briefly in someone's home and was impressed.
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will
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #15 - 06/14/12 at 16:00:22
 
I have not heard the DACs you are interested in. Have you checked out.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/

Lots of information on DACs.

Also extensive reviews here:

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/

I use an open box Tranquility DAC and see no reason to look further at this point. It seems equal to my Decware gear. Cables up the price though, and  good cables matter.

With Decware amps and speakers, it becomes quite clear that the source is super important. It is the beginning of the sound and if it degrades the music from the onset, the amp and speakers will definitely reflect this.

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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #16 - 06/14/12 at 22:07:01
 
Thanks! It's not quite clear on their website, is the W4S DAC-1 (DAC1) an USB dac I can just plug in to my laptop?

Cheers
Sev
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #17 - 06/14/12 at 22:09:06
 
Oh nevermind, it sais it here: 24-bit 96kHz Asynchronous USB input.
Thanks!
Sev
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Donnie
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #18 - 06/14/12 at 23:07:36
 
I have a Wyred4Sound DAC-1 and love it! It has a little more bottom end than  my dead ZDAC had. I will say that both the Decware and W4S DAC's are great performers. Make sure that you keep enough money back to buy good interconnects and speaker wires.
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #19 - 06/15/12 at 07:59:22
 
Hello, in this price range of 900$ should which one should I choose between the W4S DAC-1 and the Wavelength Proton?

As for cables, I assume that neither the DAC or the Decware amp comes with interconnects between them. Can I buy these directly from Decware?
How much $ are we looking at ?

Thanks!
Sev
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Donnie
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #20 - 06/15/12 at 10:53:01
 
Sev, All I can say is I'm very happy with my W4S DAC-1. I read great things about the Wavelength but I haven't listened to one.
The DAC-1 comes with a good USB cable but no IC's. Decware makes very good IC's and speaker cables, look at the website for pricing.
I use some Mapleshade IC's that I like a lot that weren't that expensive.
I didn't believe that cables could make any difference, and I was wrong
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will
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #21 - 06/15/12 at 13:49:24
 
Interconnect discussion on this forum:

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1326053557
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« Last Edit: 06/15/12 at 13:49:46 by will »  

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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #22 - 06/29/12 at 06:29:33
 
Hello,

Just to let you know that I received the SE341.3 today and the trapezium speakers should arrive shortly.

So I was installing the tubes and I was wondering what is the difference between the 5U4G vs 5Y3 tubes that came with it? I assume I can try both and hear the differences myself when I get the speakers but I noticed that the pinout of both tybes aren't the same so I was wondering if both would work with this amp?

Still debating on the DAC, I was aiming to the W4S DAC1 but this thing looks as big as the SE341.3 so I might desire something smaller for my desk.

Can't wait to hear the setup for the first time.

Cheers!
Sev
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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #23 - 06/29/12 at 12:01:41
 
Congrats on being the first to report in with the new Integrated!  The web page just shows 5U4G as the rectifier so until you hear from Steve or other Decware informants, I'd just use those. . . .
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hifitubes
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #24 - 07/01/12 at 11:56:56
 
I thought folks had switched to GZ32 on previous versions of the amp and more than one reported a big benefit.
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #25 - 07/19/12 at 19:54:50
 
Hi guys,

This is to let you know that the Trapezium and the SE34I.3 Amp have been received and installed. You can have a look at the setup here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorsevan/sets/72157630655028608/

I'm still missing the DAC and using straight 1/8 to RCA connector from my laptop for now..

It's already sounding great so I can't imagine with a great DAC and after the burn-in period.

Cheers!
Sev
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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #26 - 07/19/12 at 19:59:06
 
Congrats Sev! Just in time for the weekend! Smiley
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #27 - 07/19/12 at 20:00:57
 
I also wish to add that the speakers and amp are very nice looking - they are of very high quality and carefully crafted with passion!

Sev
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Donnie
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #28 - 07/19/12 at 23:20:04
 
What DAC did you decide to buy?
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #29 - 07/21/12 at 07:58:44
 
I ordered the DAC-1 with the hardware upgrade that brings it to the DAC-2 specs. They don't have the unit in stock right now so I'm thinking to just get the DAC-2 instead.. it comes with a remote for what it's worth!

Sev
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Donnie
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #30 - 07/21/12 at 11:45:23
 
Sev,
A remote is the one thing I wish my DAC1 had. It just would be handy.
I'm pretty sure you will be blown away on how much better your music will sound by using a DAC instead of the sound card in your computer.
What media player are you using?
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #31 - 07/22/12 at 05:54:03
 
I'm currently using the original smaller version of Winamp. Quite straightforward - plays what I ask him to play.

At the moment, I'm feeling that I'm missing some rewarding bass in my music with the trapezium, perhaps it's because of the ongoing burn-in period or that my laptop DAC is really sub-bar. I'll wait to receive all my gear and then I will have a better perception of the system and overall sound.

Thanks!
Sev
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #32 - 07/24/12 at 20:36:26
 
Hello,

I hope you guys are doing well.
The DAC-2 is scheduled for arrival at the end of this week - i'll let you know.

Meanwhile I have a question, would it be possible to drive two sets of speakers with one amp? I would like to have bigger tower speakers in the living room and ideally I would use the same DAC/AMP. Any high end switcher exists that would not alter audio quality significantly?

I was aiming towards the MG944 but the other speakers looks quite interesting as well and intrigue me. The Extended Range
Radials or the High Definition Towers. What are your thoughts on this?

Cheers,
Sev
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #33 - 07/24/12 at 21:23:52
 
Interested to hear your impressions of the DAC2! It has a great reputation.
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #34 - 07/28/12 at 18:25:48
 

Good Saturday everyone,

There are no words to describe the importance of a DAC in a sound system and the difference it makes. Switching from my laptop output to my desktop with a "good" soundcard already provided some audible improvements but switching to the W4S-DAC2 was day and night of a difference. It’s hard to tell when many variables are changing at the same time like speaker and amp burn-in and switching DAC in the process but nevertheless I can say that this system sounds amazing and I’m rediscovering music, mostly tracks with instrumental and vocals.

Well recorded tracks have so much details, clarity and presence that it’s hard to describe the pleasure listening to them.

One funny thing, the W4S DAC-2 appears to have high output when configured to FIXED volume mode that even with the Decware amp volume set to the lower end things get quite loud!

Thanks for all the advises,
Sev
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #35 - 07/28/12 at 20:13:15
 
Sev,
I'm glad you like your DAC, I sure do like mine.
I had to blow up a picture of your system to make sure that you are using a PC.
There are 2 other things that I would like you to now try. One free, the other free for now.
First download a trial copy of JRiver 17 media player. After you use it you will throw rocks at Winamp. You can run it for 30 days free, then it is only $49 or so.
Second download a copy of Fidelizer, it optimizes your computer for music playback. Plus it is free.
You will thank me after you try this combo.
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ThorSevan
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #36 - 08/25/12 at 08:20:35
 
Hello,

Thank you Donnie, I will try these out.
I have one question about the W4S-DAC2 and SE34I.3 tube amp.
I noticed that the default output volume of the DAC2 in FIXED mode is very high so that I have to lower the amp volume all the way down..

I was wondering what brings the best audio quality and dynamic range. Having the DAC-2 to a lower volume and use the Decware all the way up or the alternative, which is to have the DAC-2 at high levels and the Decware at very low.

Right now, I've set the DAC-2 volume to 55 on 70 for maximum output so this gives me a good workable range of volume control on the Decware.

What are your thoughts on this?
Is having the Decware at low volumes kinda removes all the benefits of having a nice tube amps and mainly listening to the DAC output straight without amplification? But also, does having the DAC too low removes dynamic range from the output signal?

Thank you very much for helping me figure these few things out.
Sev
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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #37 - 08/25/12 at 13:56:41
 
My PerfectWave DAC has a digital preamp out like the DAC2 does. I run it into my Torii. After a lot of experimentation I've left the Torii turned all the way up, and use the volume control on the PWD. As long as I'm above 50 or 60 or so I'm losing no resolution using the digital volume control, and the sound is excellent. I believe that even a bit lower there would be little real fidelity loss audible. I think using your setup this way is probably giving you great sound with no drawbacks.
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« Last Edit: 08/25/12 at 15:11:12 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,
PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #38 - 08/25/12 at 17:03:11
 
Hello, thank you for your answer - a few more questions:
1. Is the amp tube lifetime affected by the volume setting?
2. When building the Se34I.3 without volume control, I assume the amp would output it's maximum value ex.: similar if volume control was set to highest position?
3.  There is no "downsides" in running the Se34I.3 amp at maximum volume setting?
4. There is no "downsides" in running the W4S-DAC2 at lower settings?
5. Where is the ideal place to adjust volume settings:
+ Within the audio player
+ Within the W4S-DAC2
+ Within the Decware Se34I.3 amplifier

Cheers!
Sev
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #39 - 08/25/12 at 17:25:25
 
I'd use the DAC myself, mostly because I could use the remote. I'm lazy.
Some of the computer guys will say to use the amp or the preamp's volume controls because the digital controls truncate bits. I can't hear it.
As far as running the volume all of the way up on your amp causing damage, I ran my Torii WFO for months on end with no harm.
The main thing is to figure out what sounds best to you. Most of the "experts" are self appointed. I'm going appoint you to be our "New Expert"on your combination. Tell us what works best for you. I really want to know what you think.
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #40 - 08/25/12 at 17:33:11
 
Perfect answer.

As for me, I have tried all different kinds of combinations with my Torii and CSP2. Because the CSP2 brings separate channel gain into the equation things can get even more complicated. I have tried running my Torii maxed out but find I like the "riding the gain" solution that Steve has talked about many times(do a search) better. So in my setup I have my Torii 7-10 notches(attenuated gain) from maxed out, CSP2 between 9-12 o'clock on the gain, and it's individual channel gains at about 8 o'clock. With this setting I get a tremendous amount of body, and great dynamics. I use the gain control of the CSP2 to move the volume higher/lower.

Ultimately your ears, as Donnie so perfectly said it, will decide what's best.
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #41 - 08/25/12 at 19:08:38
 
Yea, that compression from riding the gain is really cool. And I do ride the gain a bit with the sources connected to my CSP2+ (and CSP2 before that). But the clarity and depth I get from the PWD running into a wide open Torii has seduced me away from it for that source. Smiley
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,
PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #42 - 08/25/12 at 20:45:23
 
Exactly the point. We all have different setups,  different rooms, different ears and different preferences. Nothing wrong with hearing what others are doing so we can gain some semblance of wisdom through experience but ultimately the right answer will be lying there right in front of you.
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Lon
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Re: Help me validate Decware Amp and Speaker
Reply #43 - 08/25/12 at 21:12:33
 
No arguments from me. Sometimes I tire of experimenting with the sound, these amps and preamps and speakers from Decware I have are so flexible!
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,
PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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