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Mini Torii vs. SE84c+ (Read 5563 times)
Kevin
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Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
05/29/12 at 16:21:41
 
I've had the Mini Torii for a while now, and very recently was offered a too-good-to-pass-up deal on a lightly used, newest version of the SE84C+. Over the weekend I spent some time evaluating the two amps side by side on a few different drivers, namely Audio Nirvana 15 Alnicos and Supravox 215RTF64, both on OB panels.

Early impressions are that the SE84C+ (there must be a better name than this for the amp!) is quite a performer. The little amp is very involving, with lots of bass and a nice open sound. Compared to the Mini Torii, there is ever so slightly less power, but actually very comparable in that respect. The SE84C+ has a slight bit more speed perhaps, and the Mini with 6BG6 outputs is a tad warmer. Both are exceptional amplifiers and anyone with suitable speakers would be thrilled with the output from either.

I'd love to hear the SE84C+ as monos. That just might be the be-all-end-all. At any rate, I am VERY impressed with the cheaper, smaller and somewhat uglier little SE84C+.

As for tubes, I used a Sophia 274B, the stock SV83 outputs, and a bugle boy 6dj8 input. The amp is supposed to run EL84 as well, but I tried a pair of nice Telefunken EL84 and they sounded very strange...muffled, compressed and just downright wrong. I'm not sure what that is about, but the SV83 sound good enough that I don't care.

Anyway, I've probably just muddied the water with this post, but for anyone reading who is on the fence about the amps, I can say that both are superb.
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Doorman
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #1 - 05/29/12 at 22:49:16
 
Decware's amps are a bargain, period. I've not heard the Mini Torii, but the SE84CS i had is a very tough act to follow.
I agree that a pair driving the "right" speakers would be very tough to outperform.
Don
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Decware SE34I w/ CCE mod, ZCD, Heybrook/Linn/Clearaudio, Hagerman,
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #2 - 05/29/12 at 23:13:59
 
You won't want to get rid of either one.

The ZEN does not do well with EL84's; that is what the TABOO was designed for.

The ZEN is good for an office system or with really high efficiency speakers.

The MINI TORII is good as a home amp with reasonably high efficiency speakers.
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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ski bum
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #3 - 05/30/12 at 15:52:00
 
Kevin- I'd love to hear the SE84C+ as monos. That just might be the be-all-end-all. At any rate, I am VERY impressed with the cheaper, smaller and somewhat uglier little SE84C+.

I have a pair of SE84C+ and have used them that way on and off over several years.  Couple notes about it...the added power is notable (and frankly, more than I really need using very sensitive speakers)...background hum/noise is ever so slightly increased, but not audible unless your ear is pressed up against the speakers...This is highly subjective, but I feel that a single Zen produces that snake-charmer hypnotic "One-with-the-music" effect more effortlessly than the bridged pair.    

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Rivieraranch
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #4 - 05/31/12 at 02:56:54
 
You could go whole hog and order the ZEN signature monoblocks.

Or go with a ZEN SELECT, which is not "ugly."
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Kevin
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #5 - 05/31/12 at 21:33:48
 
I don't think I'll need to go whole hog. This little amp is a monster!

If I had to choose between keeping the little ZEN or the Mini Torii, I'm not sure which one would win. Maybe the Torii for its amazing versatility, but sonically it would be a tough choice!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #6 - 06/01/12 at 02:28:33
 
I owned a TABOO and a MINI TORII before acquiring my ZEN SE84C+. So we share the same point of reference. The ZEN is great at what it does and is quite unique. Now that I have a TORII MK III and an SE34I.3 on the way I will have experienced every DECWARE amp.
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Kevin
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #7 - 06/02/12 at 01:10:49
 
A little beauty shot with the big 274b in place.

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Les Lammers
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #8 - 06/15/12 at 00:03:40
 
Kevin,

Have you rolled any voltage regulator tubes in your Mini? From what I have read here they make a difference too.

Les
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Kevin
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #9 - 06/15/12 at 15:34:09
 
Hi Les,

Yes, I've tried a few variations of the regulators, including Raytheon OD3W ruggedized military tubes (probably my favorites), Raytheon OB3 and a variety of RCA and Sylvania OD3. They all make slight changes to the sound, but not as dramatic as the input tubes. I've settled on a pair of 5965 (a high end 12at7) in the driver position and either the 6BG6 or my Bendix 6V6 in the output slots.

But in all honesty I'm having trouble pulling myself away from the little ZEN amp with a 274B. It has some kind of magic synergy with my big Audio Nirvana alnico OB panels. As close to the best (if not the best) overall sound as I've ever had in my room. Listened to Rush--Caress of Steel last night and wow! One of my favorite lps sounds better than ever before. And Diana Krall or Nora Jones or Nick Lowe or Tom Waits is just right there in a way I haven't quite heard before.

Disclaimer: I'm using a minimax preamp to drive both the ZEN and Mini Torii, so that has a signature sound too.
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« Last Edit: 06/15/12 at 15:36:15 by Kevin »  

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Rivieraranch
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #10 - 06/16/12 at 03:08:32
 
The MINI vs. the ZEN is a battle that will never be won.
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Les Lammers
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #11 - 06/16/12 at 19:36:44
 
There must be tremendous synergy with the little Zen and your Audio Nirvana speakers. The 274B sure doesn't hurt either. "-)
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« Last Edit: 06/16/12 at 19:37:43 by Les Lammers »  
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Greg12
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #12 - 02/14/13 at 17:57:15
 
This is a great thread as it compares different Decware amps.  I'm curious Rivieraranch, you mention on another thread that you also got a Rachael last year, since you've had it a while, how does it compare w/ the other amps in this thread.  I'm leaning towards gettng the Rachael myself but have never heard anything else.

Thanks,
Greg

Oh, and please, anyone else chime in as well.
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« Last Edit: 02/14/13 at 18:02:39 by Greg12 »  

Torii MkIII, DM947 speakers, Oppo 105
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #13 - 02/14/13 at 22:44:34
 
Rachel is gone. It is more comparable to the ZEN SE84CKC than the others. Only it has more voltage. The sound characteristics are similar.
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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DBC
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Re: Mini Torii vs. SE84c+
Reply #14 - 02/16/13 at 15:53:08
 
Greg12,

I was at last years Dec Fest and heard the CKC, Rachael and Mini Torii all back to back connected to the HDT's (96 db, 8 ohm). I am not sure which output transformers were in the CKC (A or B version)?

To my ears there was very little difference in the volume output capability of the three on the HDT speakers.

When I replaced my 12 year old SE84CS (A output transformers) with the CKC (B output transformers) the CKC plays noticeably louder on my 8 ohm Klipsch RF-7 mains. Point being I don't think a selection between the three should be based on power output specifications alone.

All three amps sounded good to my ear but they were short listening sessions with different music material. In other words none of the three jumped out at me as a clear winner.  Several months later I purchased the CKC but the purchase was not based on the Dec Fest listening session. I just decided to upgrade from my 12 year old bone stock Zen amp.

Having listened to the CKC now for a month or more in my system, it is really an amazing performer.

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Oppo BDP-83SE, SE84CKC amp, Klipsch RF-7 mains, HSU MBM-12 MK2 mid bass module, HSU ULS-15 sub
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