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NEW SE34I.3 coming soon! (Read 16274 times)
Lon
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #100 - 02/18/12 at 13:14:25
 
FB, I'm not even sure which is your earlier question as you have so many!

Audiophile opinion is so all over the map it's really hard to make any generalizations. After all, there are many out there who think we're touched by the moon to even listen to vacuum tube technology when over five decades of transistor technology have superceded it, let alone digital switching amps, etc. And there are profound differences in the way that SET and PP amps are set up by designers, and profound similarities as well.

The advantage here is that we have Steve and his ears and insights and experienced application, and we have a set of amps that offer different power and price points and different circuit designs and layouts but all share his conception of power delivery and fidelity. I've had six of his amps, still have three, and they include small and larger SET and two PP amps, and I got amazing fidelity out of all of them when paired with the right source and speaker. The right source and speaker may even be viewed as more important than the topology and nature of the Decware amp to be honest.

That said, long time users of tube amps can develop certain tropes or fetishes. Smiley For example, some become dedicated to various tube types or sonic signatures, and passionate about them to the exclusion of objectivity to other tube types or amplifier designs etc. You can research one week with dozens of opinions, walk away for a week, and repeat the research. . . and draw two separate final conclusions if you base the conclusion on different "experts."

Maddening at times. . . I went through what you are going through for some time and have gone through various phases of understanding and applied various methodologies to get the type of sound I want. Ultimately in my case at least it boiled down to a love for a speaker (or speaker design) and then outfitting that with the best appropriate amplification and the very best source I could muster, and fine-tuning around that. Over the years I've seen the "amp-speaker" match as of paramount importance. The lynch-pin as it were. Get that right, and then you build upon it with your source and cabling, power. . . etc.

My biggest piece of advice would be not to get hung up on the opinions of others and to look at that link, the heartbeat of amp and speakers, as the most important decision to make. And you alone, in your listening space with your speakers know that really well, and the most informed opinion other than yours is Steve's. Seems to me that if I've absorbed all your thinking and decision-making correctly, you're four weeks into the waiting list on what you feel will work best.
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« Last Edit: 02/18/12 at 14:23:15 by Lon »  

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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #101 - 02/18/12 at 13:43:17
 
Good points, Lon, you're right!  Is such an amazing subject, that I want to go deeper getting familiar with it, hence my continuous questioning.  Yet, as you have just reminded me, the important thing is matching sinergy across components.  

In this sense, DM945's and Mini Torii should definitely cover that 'link,' as you call it.  As far as sourcing, I've made enormous progress lately and I do feel I'm basically covered there too (before fine-tunning, that is).

Thing is, with all this praise surrounding the new amp (and the Triode topology fame in the opinion of many a fanatic), I sometimes loose track on what my own research have taken me.  The more I think about it, though, the more convinced I am I made the right choice, considering.

Thanks!  

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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #102 - 02/19/12 at 04:17:31
 
I certainly wish the SE34I.3 would take 12AU7 as I have many of them and prices on NOS 12AU7 are much easier to live with.

Steve, I note the the new amp does take 6N2P as input tubes.  Does it mean the new amp may able to use 12AX7 for the input tubes as well?  If so, how about 12AU7 and 12AT7?
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hifitubes
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #103 - 02/19/12 at 09:21:13
 
The mini-Torii SEP is back on the table for me given the headphone mod and tube regulation; it's just a great amp, but the .3 looks delicious as well.

+1 on 12AU7 for the .3  ;D
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Rivieraranch
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #104 - 02/19/12 at 13:34:13
 
While I am not the designer; I suspect that settling on the 6N1P was to achieve the warmer voicing for the amp. A 12AU7 is a low transconductance tube with a tame gain. Even if electrically compatible in the circuit it might not allow you to achieve the sound the designer sought.

The Rachel product page offers the 6N2P as an option. Thus, it is possible to slip a higher gain tube into the input.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #105 - 02/20/12 at 05:34:29
 
Fireblade wrote:
"Riviera: Thanks for the confirmation.  Sound-wise, have you heard/noticed big differences between, say, your Mini Torii and a Zen Triode?  I'm sure these exist, just want to know if they are significant."

I'm diggin' what everyone wrote here, but:
Pentodes run in Triode with no negative feedback vs. Pentodes in PP with no negative feedback.......sound very different. I need both the SE84CS and Torii 3....and I rotate. I am deciding on which .3 to get..... . See the thread: "My SE84C & Torii are fighting" etc...in the Torii III Forum for more sentiments.

My, "Reference-keep you glued to your listening seat-system" with Contemporary Jazz to a lot of good Blues and Blues Rock is my SE84CS with Kimber Select (listed in signature) and my AA gear with remote wand driving the SE84CS direct. Plus the original SV83 Svetlana tube is very special to me (6N15NM) paraphrasing the Russian letters. Wide bandwidth video tube with delicate wiring and a very cool getter halo on top.  Extended treble/nuance/decay/tone and timbre with air all around and sparkle not matched by anything else; if your front end is up to it with cables and the speakers. My Kimber Select 1030 especially takes the SE84CS to another level. Furthermore, I only have two pair of speakers out of nine pair I own that will sing with the SE84CS & Torii.....well worth the effort.

I just picked up a complete Audio Alchemy front end from Audiogon and it runs flawless. (I am still grinning over this find!) I'm using that with SState and a pair of Genesis Genre II's that have the Kapton Ribbon Planar Tweeter......very nice. Of course I also run this 2nd AA front end to my behemoth SDA SRS Polk 1.2 speakers. However, it's not the SE84CS fidelity or Torii 3.    

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« Last Edit: 02/20/12 at 06:13:06 by stone_of_tone »  

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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #106 - 02/20/12 at 15:13:50
 
Hi stone, thanks for sharing your experiences.  I get it that among LE84 pentodes, there are competing sound differences between SEP and PP configurations, in class A, and that your true fidelity reference setup is a beam tube SEP wired as a triode (i.e., SE84C+).

This has made you consider the .3 as an interesting alternative, due to its natural Triode tube (EL34) and the SET configuration, class A, assuming of course all the other elements in the chain are up to the task.

If I understood you correctly, this confirms my initial hesitation.  I would like to have the fidelity (transparency, liquidity, air, soundstage, etc.) of a Triode SET, without the possible weaknesses involved, if any.  Nevertheless, I know the Mini is a pentode (6V6) tube SEP wired up as a Triode and a class A (almost no feedback) amp, sharing much of those characteristics, with some tradeoffs already discussed earlier.

It would be interesting to hear your evaluation of the new integrated, compared with your current SE84C+ reference setup.  I suspect the Hazen Mod plus the more linear behavior of the natural Triode would bring up some sound differences.  Specifically, I would assume differences in the frequency extremes relative to the midrange and some pleasant harmonics being added.

In the end, I think having the weakest link of the total setup up to par is far more important than slight differences in these design choices, assuming they have been correctly designed and built.

Please correct me if I've come to the wrong conclusions.  Thanks again ...












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« Last Edit: 02/20/12 at 17:33:08 by Fireblade »  

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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #107 - 02/21/12 at 02:15:24
 
Sorry, you're right, that's a Pentode, and the 6V6 of the Mini is really a Beam-Tetrode.  

In any event, I was thinking in terms of what Steve wrote back in 2000:

In a pentode such as the EL34 where the screens are not tied together internally, it is possible to wire it as a "true triode". It is the only pentode I know of that is.

So, in this sense, one can assume this tube as a Triode if wired accordingly.  So much so, that many people automatically assume the EL34 will be used as a Triode in most designs.

The mistake is in my expression: 'natural Triode', which by the above, is definitely wrong.  My point remains, though, in that one (EL34) is a virtual Triode while the other (EL84) resembles a Triode (pseudo-Triode), thus, having definite differences in sound.

Good point, opnly_bafld, thanks!
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« Last Edit: 02/21/12 at 02:59:37 by Fireblade »  

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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #108 - 02/21/12 at 14:37:48
 
It's not that I missed that, but it is just a generalization.  What I mean is, I'm sure you would agree then, that Steve should also be making solid-state amplifiers, or less sensitive (more crossovers) speakers.  Since it also depends on all the other variables anyway, according to this generalization, it could well be that a certain SS gear has the best sounding possibilities.

The point is, assuming you start with what people consider the best amp configuration for your particular objectives, means you're one step closer to get there.  Whereas, you could change all the other variables in the setup and still miss the best sound because you started with a less than optimal amp for those specific goals.

IMHO, under the same conditions, an amp configuration will take you to your objectives easier than another.  You'll still have to get everything else up to par with it.   Just thinking ...



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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #109 - 02/21/12 at 20:52:56
 
By the way, stone-of-tone, I read the referenced thread and have come up with a general impression (based on all you guys' described experiences), that the Mini Torii may well be in the middle of this continuum between crisp detail, sweet transparency, speed of transients (SE84C+) and high fidelity power and dynamics, complex resolution of congested passages (Torii III).

As described by Steve about the Mini Torii,  'it behaves as a Torii III'  but also shares as many of the traits of the SE84C+ and company, making it, for me, the ideal amp to have in a smallish room environment for jazz and classical orchestral music listening.

And this was all set in my mind before all the talk about the new SE34i.3, which triggered my original question.  I guess we'll have to wait for the new owners of the amp for impressions and comparisons, but as I said before, there are definitely tradeoffs involved, and I think for someone sticking to a single amp (for a long time, at least), the Mini Torii sounds like the best bet.

No wonder Steve recommended the Mini Torii to me, after considering my specific listening objectives.  Thanks to all for your inputs.
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #110 - 02/21/12 at 21:28:07
 
Fireblade -

When you ordered your Mini Torii did you upgrade to VCAPs?  The reason I'm asking is I thought I saw the VCAP option listed for the MT awhile back, but now it does not appear on the "Add to Cart" page.   I've reviewed the MT forums and there is no talk of VCAPs with the MT - maybe it is not recommended?  Just curious.
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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #111 - 02/21/12 at 22:41:26
 
Hi markv!  When I ordered the Mini Torii, there was not that option, nor have I learned of it's possible existence until your mentioning it.  

I'm not even sure what good it would do, although I've read Steve's claim for other Decware amps, that except for the more expensive Teflon VCaps, the Caps used in his designs are all audiophile grade, and cannot be improved upon.

Hope this clarifies your doubts.

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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #112 - 02/22/12 at 14:17:24
 
I think it would be interesting to look at this possibility (the CuTf VCap), as after some research, I found out many positive opinions with the replacement of the coupling caps with this particular brand and foil material.

I assume you have one (1) of those per channel (for the output tubes?), and the cost may be around $250.00/pair of CuTf VCaps, plus replacement labor.  Not that expensive if it's true it will improve that much the original sound.

I'm not even sure if this is applicable to a Mini Torii (as originally brought up by markv).  Only Steve may know, but I sure hope someone in this forum, other than Steve (the Man is real busy), may participate with some leads into this promising topic.  

Here's a link to the designer of the CuTf VCaps:

http://www.v-cap.com/audiotechnique-v-cap-review.php

Later ...

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« Last Edit: 02/22/12 at 14:20:24 by Fireblade »  

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Steve Deckert
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #113 - 02/23/12 at 15:52:50
 
Vcaps in a Mini Torii are not an option.  They are physically too large to fit, plus the mini has 4 caps rather than 2.
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Fireblade
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #114 - 02/23/12 at 16:41:01
 
Thanks for the input, Mr. Deckert.  It would be definitely expensive having to replace 4 of them, even if these would fit!
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #115 - 02/29/12 at 12:30:02
 
Quote:
Posted by Markv "Steve -  I know you have numerous configurations available, but I was really hoping for a headphone option"


+1 to the headphone request.

Dear Steve, I too hope that you will consider adding a headphone option to "Rachel" ala the "Taboo" or the Mini Torii.

If available, the EL34 based sonics will make this a fantastic headphone amp.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #116 - 03/01/12 at 23:45:02
 
I stand a hair's breath away from ordering one of these babies. I understand there will still be a significant wait. I am trying to decide whether to get one with a single volume or a dual volume control.

Who else is in my same position?
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #117 - 03/02/12 at 02:04:55
 
I ordered one, but I am not a fan of dual volume controls. I went with the stepped volume upgrade. I have no plans to ever sell this amp. I am looking forward to it. My SE84C+ will be my back up amp...

I was bummed when the SE34I.2 went away. I was a hair away from ordering one. Then, I looked at the Mini Torii. I did not like the gain and the dual volume controls. I was glad to see the new SE34I.3.
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Lon
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #118 - 03/02/12 at 02:05:19
 
I had an SE34.2 model with dual volume controls. It was very useful to me as I could compensate for an asymmetrical speaker placement with the separate volume controls. It was very easy to match the channels when in a symmetrical positioning as well. I enjoyed the flexibility.
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #119 - 03/03/12 at 08:53:36
 
If I order, is my card charged upon ship? I need to get in line!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #120 - 03/03/12 at 12:18:18
 
It is charged when shipped.

I ordered mine and found a discount code still valid.
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« Last Edit: 03/03/12 at 12:28:01 by Rivieraranch »  

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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #121 - 03/03/12 at 14:00:47
 
RR -

Looks like you're going to have to add another shelf to your wall setup for Rachael.   Smiley
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #122 - 03/03/12 at 18:09:33
 
No, it will grace the top in rotation with the TABOO and MINI TORII.
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #123 - 03/03/12 at 18:25:04
 
ORDERED. Sadly, I had to sell my miniT in a pinch last year.

Looking forward to this one:

no volume control
1 input
VCAPS
no tubes included
custom base

..gonna be a keeper for sure
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #124 - 03/03/12 at 18:30:31
 
Looking forward to your impressions Jim!
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #125 - 03/03/12 at 22:44:19
 
I ordered one with a volume control, but without tubes or any other razzmatazz.
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #126 - 03/04/12 at 00:34:01
 
Congrats, Rivieraranch!  I wonder why you have not considered a Torii MKIII?  After all, you already have more than one SEP or SET in your arsenal.  Any particular reason?  I don't blame you, though, this new Triode design is very tempting!
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #127 - 03/04/12 at 13:05:55
 
The reason is that I don't need the incur the cost nor do I need the extra power.
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #128 - 03/04/12 at 14:53:02
 
Thought so.  Besides, I'm sure you won't be willing to part with any of those jewels anyway.  Good for you, enjoy them!  I'm looking forward to your comparison verdicts on all of them, relative (of course) to the Mini Torii  ;).
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #129 - 03/04/12 at 15:51:08
 
The MINI TORII is in use right now. So I will be comparing it to the TABOO.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #130 - 03/06/12 at 00:03:03
 
I too look forward to RR's impressions.

If work permits and I plan a little ahead.....? I hope to go to Decfest, hear the new .3 with the ERR's and Steve's new Horn. Steve D's Pentodes in Triode are my thing for sure.   Cheers......
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« Last Edit: 03/06/12 at 00:07:05 by stone_of_tone »  

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Rivieraranch
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #131 - 03/06/12 at 03:25:52
 
I understand the wait is 12 weeks for this one. I selected the black figured base and a gold knob. My other gear has gold knobs so why change now. I will have some time to score some nice EL34 tubes. I don't know which kind would be best for this amp.
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toddathan
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #132 - 03/07/12 at 18:13:05
 
Steve:

Will a headphone out be offered on this amp?  If so, what heaphones would best pair with it--orthos or dynamic?

Thanks,
Todd
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Rivieraranch
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #133 - 03/08/12 at 00:35:18
 
I don't think this circuit could accommodate a headphone option.
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polarbear9988
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #134 - 03/12/12 at 11:45:16
 
I am wondering what rectifier tubes may be used in the SE34I.3.  I am a little cautious as to the types of rectifier being used in the amp as I once put a 5AR4 in my SE84 and it degraded the sound of my SE84 heavily.  Do you think 5Y3GT is good for this application?  Thanks.
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Lon
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #135 - 03/12/12 at 12:06:53
 
I would start with a 5U4GB. . . that is I believe the "stock" tube.
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polarbear9988
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #136 - 04/01/12 at 10:04:01
 
Thank you Lon!  

Here is another question.  I brought a pair of Philips 7DJ8 the other day for my upcoming SE34I.3.  I put the 7DJ8 in my SE84C and tested it out and the 7DJ8 did not sound bad at all.  Does anyone have experience with 7DJ8s with any of the Decware amps?  People mostly said that 7DJ8s are drop in replacement for 6DJ8 only with higher filament voltage.  However, I also noticed that someones are saying about cathode poisoning on the 7DJ8s if they are being operated below spec filament voltage (7V).  Does anyone have long term experience with 7DJ8s being operated as 6DJ8s?  Do 7DJ8s end up with shorter life or they are about the same as 6DJ8s?  Thanks.
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Lon
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #137 - 04/01/12 at 13:08:04
 
I know that will, Greg and others have been using the 7DJ8 in their Torii Mk IIIs with good effect. I've stayed away because I'm enamored with the 6N1P tube in my amps, and just use those now, never was too impressed with the 6DJ8, so didn't move to that 7DJ8 as a possibility. There have been no reports of the 7DJ8 being harmful to the amps.
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polarbear9988
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #138 - 04/02/12 at 07:03:01
 
Lon,

Thank you again for your invaluable information!  

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Lord Soth
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Re: NEW SE34I.3 coming soon!
Reply #139 - 05/05/12 at 14:18:37
 
I've been using PCC88s / 7DJ8s (Telefunkens, Valvos, Siemens, Philips, Lorenz, Mullard Blackburn) as replacement for 6N1Ps in my Decware CSP2+ without any problems whatsoever.

In fact, the "best" tube so far which I have tried is the Lorenz PCC88. It has the same amount of sonic clarity and resolution as the famed Siemens CCa Grey plates in my possession.
In fact, the Lorenz PCC88 has a slight edge over the Siemens CCa because it has an even more "3D" like soundstage and better retrieval of inner details.
In other audio forums with other equipment e.g. the Schiit Lyr, you can find similar opinions whereby the Lorenz PCC88 is actually preferred over Siemens CCa.
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