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Zen Fest 2012 (Read 4937 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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Zen Fest 2012
10/08/12 at 18:59:48
 
I arrived in Peoria a little after noon on Friday and was able to stay until 7:00 PM Saturday ..... unfortunately, there is a craft fest in Falmouth, Kentucky that runs the same weekend as the Zen Fest every year ..... and if I know what is good for me I am back in time to take Mrs. Randy to it on Sunday .....

Zen Fest 2012 was a great success with the usual good food, good folks and some neat new gear to check out.

I expected the new SE84CKC amplifier to sound good ..... and it didn't disappoint.  It carries on the fine tradition of the low powered Decware amplifiers and anyone who buys one will be more than pleased with the fine sound.

The new ToriiMono amps and Steve's reference turntable really lit up the MG944 speakers ..... a big, tasty sound that filled up the room in a very impressive way.  Steve spun some tracks from the Tuck and Patti "Tears of Joy" LP and the sound was a real treat.

A pleasant surprise was the "Rachael" amp / DM945 speaker combo ..... sounded mighty fine to me.

As usual, the hospitality was top shelf and DeVon and Sarah kept everyone happy with food, drink and information on Decware products.

There was a very good crowd of attendees on the days I was there and it was great to touch base with a lot of old friends and meet some new ones .....

Thanks again to the Decware staff and family for a thoroughly enjoyable event.  Looking forward to Zen Fest 2013 .....

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Auguie
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #1 - 10/08/12 at 23:13:25
 
I arrived around noon on Sat and right away started to meet everyone.  Since this was my first ZenFest, I was eger to meet and talk audio with everyone and everyone, and there was plenty to talk about.

And...OH THE SOUND...OH THE MUSIC.  It was all great.  As Randy said, the Torii Monos playing LP's thru the 944's was AWESOME!!  And the ZOB's absoloutly floored me.  And let's not forget the amps...Mini, Rachael, SuperZen were all great.  What's a guy to do???  So much good stuff...so little time...so little $$$.

And finially, my most heartfelt thanks to Steve, DeVon, Sarah, Bob Z, and all the Decware folks.  They truly made my trip worth while and made me feel welcome, just like an old friend.  I'll be back next year!!!

Thanks again,

Dan
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Decware SE84CS M Monoblocks & HDT Speakers; First Sound Presence Deluxe MK I Pre Amp; Wyred 4 Sound DAC-1/Oppo 971H (as transport for now); VPI Scout/Dynavector 10X5 Cart; Phonomena II Phono Pre; Magnum Dynalab FT101A Etude Tuner; XLO/Wireworld/Signal Cables.
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ZENCDUSER
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #2 - 10/09/12 at 15:02:13
 
Randy and Augie,

Great reports!  Do you recall what speakers were used with the Super Zen/SE84CKC?
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deucekazoo
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #3 - 10/09/12 at 18:14:45
 
I was there only Friday but it was a fun time. I really appreciate the headphone station they set up. I spent quite a bit of time there auditioning the different amps with my headphones. I had a nice seat and in from of me I had the Zen Head, CSP2+, Taboo and the Mini Torii. All great headphone amps. I found out the CSP2+ was not a good match for my headphones (50 ohm). But the Taboo did great and my favorite out of them was the Mini. I did not audition the Zen Head because I already own one. But one thing I have to tell you is the Zen Head is a sleeper. It is one great headphone amp that a lot of people over look. I said it once and I will say it again. The Zen Head is one great headphone amp but combine it with a Zbox and something magical happens. I confirmed it on Friday that I don't need to change a thing with my setup right now.

John
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Auguie
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #4 - 10/09/12 at 22:29:44
 
Zencduser,

If my memory is correct, and remember there was LOTS of beer flowing, I think it was the 945 Stand Mounts.  Randy...can you confirm?

No matter what the speakers were, the sound was GREAT!!!

Auguie
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Decware SE84CS M Monoblocks & HDT Speakers; First Sound Presence Deluxe MK I Pre Amp; Wyred 4 Sound DAC-1/Oppo 971H (as transport for now); VPI Scout/Dynavector 10X5 Cart; Phonomena II Phono Pre; Magnum Dynalab FT101A Etude Tuner; XLO/Wireworld/Signal Cables.
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jpv
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #5 - 10/10/12 at 14:32:29
 
I arrived Friday morning just as the frozen rain decided not to make a cold Decfest even colder. I left the fest Sunday at 3:00. (I didn't make it to the Beef House on time. It was OK, a fine steak and a few beers later my wife wasn't upset anymore.)
 I got to say hearing the mono blocks was a real treat. The power and ease of the music was fantastic. The whole playback system just filled the room.
The food and drink were great as usual. Thank you DeVon and Sharah.
I purchased a kit what I will work on over the winter.
Steve,
  I left my Elvis Costello "Armed Forces" album there. Enjoy it and I'll pick it up next year.

Thanks again,
John

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VPI Scoutmaster, Grado Sonata1, Counterpoint pre amp and amp (modded by Altavista Audio), Proac sp. and home made subs. Lots of room treatment. Anti-cable sp cables, Decware IC, ZKit 1.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Tube be ... or not
tube be ... it's a
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Posts: 402
Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #6 - 10/10/12 at 18:22:28
 
Howdy Auguie,

I think you are right ..... the SE84CKC with the DM945 "book shelf" stand mounted speakers was one of the combos.  I'm pretty sure that the SE84CKC was paired with some other speakers as well, but I was out of the room at the time.

The SE84CKC amp sounded mighty fine to me ..... but I must admit to being a huge fan of every SV83 based amplifier that Steve has ever built .....

Best wishes,

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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archeion
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #7 - 10/10/12 at 23:32:21
 
The SuperZen Played on the Trapeziums in the office for almost all of Saturday.  It sounded great!
With the low voltage source, the zstage really kicked it up a notch.
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« Last Edit: 10/10/12 at 23:33:44 by archeion »  
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Auguie
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Posts: 45
Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #8 - 10/11/12 at 00:35:19
 
Oh yea...I forgot about the Trapeziums on Sarah's desk.  They sounded AWESOME!!!  Jim, aka RR, was listening to them most of the afternoon.  Wish I had the room on my desk, but I'd probably never get any work done if I did.  How do you do it RR?

BTW...I missed the HDT's on Friday.  How did they sound?  What amp was driving them?  Wish I could have been there.  Maybe next year (and there will be a next year!!)

Dan

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Decware SE84CS M Monoblocks & HDT Speakers; First Sound Presence Deluxe MK I Pre Amp; Wyred 4 Sound DAC-1/Oppo 971H (as transport for now); VPI Scout/Dynavector 10X5 Cart; Phonomena II Phono Pre; Magnum Dynalab FT101A Etude Tuner; XLO/Wireworld/Signal Cables.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #9 - 10/11/12 at 00:36:46
 
This was my second ZENFEST and the best ever with the new MONOS on audition. I had a blast at the event this year. I particularly enjoyed helping build a blazing bonfire outside on Saturday. There is nothing quite so nice as standing in front of a fire radiating such wonderful heat.

Steve, DeVon and Sarah were lovely hosts as always. I cannot thank them enough for going to all the time, expense and effort to hold this event.  I want to see the pictures. Where are they?


I can't wait for my new Super Zen!
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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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Auguie
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #10 - 10/11/12 at 00:48:16
 
Randy,

I know what you mean about the SV83 amps.  They have a special magic that has to be heard to understand.  My own mono's suprise every time I listen, and they are still breaking in with my HDT's.  I love this hobby!!!

You know, one of the things that struck me was that everyone I spoke with said this event is one of the few times, if not the only time, they could talk about their/our hobby with someone who shares the same intrest and desire.  I don't have the kind of community where I live to have these types of interactions.  Wish I did!!

SO...thanks again to Steve and all the Decware staff for allowing me/us to have this interaction.

Dan

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Decware SE84CS M Monoblocks & HDT Speakers; First Sound Presence Deluxe MK I Pre Amp; Wyred 4 Sound DAC-1/Oppo 971H (as transport for now); VPI Scout/Dynavector 10X5 Cart; Phonomena II Phono Pre; Magnum Dynalab FT101A Etude Tuner; XLO/Wireworld/Signal Cables.
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Donnie
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #11 - 10/11/12 at 01:12:38
 
Dan just hit the nail on the head! It is pretty remarkable to be able to start up conversations about audio with anyone at the 'fest and not get that usual blank stare back at you.
When I got back to work on Monday I remarked that I just HAD to have a new pair of HR-1's. Someone asked me how much something like that would cost. Well when I told them, they just said that I was crazy and probably a little stupid. Well I very well may be, but at least I'm in good company.
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opnly_bafld
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #12 - 10/11/12 at 01:48:05
 
"Dan just hit the nail on the head! It is pretty remarkable to be able to start up conversations about audio with anyone at the 'fest and not get that usual blank stare back at you.
When I got back to work on Monday I remarked that I just HAD to have a new pair of HR-1's. Someone asked me how much something like that would cost. Well when I told them, they just said that I was crazy and probably a little stupid. Well I very well may be, but at least I'm in good company."




And you will be grinning from ear to ear every time you listen to them. Cool

Lin
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« Last Edit: 10/11/12 at 01:49:22 by opnly_bafld »  
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Chris K
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #13 - 10/11/12 at 03:44:49
 
Donnie none of my friends here at home get it AT ALL. NONE. Yet nearly every piece of hi-fi and numerous 70's and 80's consumer-fi gear I've gotten over the years is all worth decent money. Some of what we do is admittedly "stupid" but overall most people cant wrap their head around just listening to music anymore. And to pursue expensive reproducing equipment (to them its exotica) is alien to them and I really have some who say the system sound great but it does not sway them one iota toward the hobby. These are the people in whom I inculcate an innate response to call me when they see gear at sales or friends that someone is dispatching of. More and more I cultivate minions that tip me off to stuff that sells so I can fund the "good stuff" that I want. If your friends and family dont share your passion then at least get them to involve themselves as your spotter. Do this by making yourself known as the hi-fi Guy!!!  ;)
BTW I really wanted to hear the Big TORII monos. So sorry I could not attend.
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« Last Edit: 10/11/12 at 03:46:36 by Chris K »  

Hi-Fi Gear: More than I need! Not as much as I want!
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SteveC
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Re: Zen Fest 2012
Reply #14 - 10/11/12 at 07:15:14
 
I was there from mid Friday through Sunday and had a great time.  Mike Ziegler and DeVon made me feel instantly at home, showed me around, introduced me, etc.  It's a very nice atmosphere and crowd at Zenfest.

As an owner of Decware amps and speakers, I already know how good this stuff is.  I made the trip due to my curiosity about the rest of the products.  I love my HDT's so I was similarly impressed with the bigger vocal presence of the ZOB's.  The ZOB's are audio "holodecks", and nobody believed there wasn't a bass driver in the bottom of them.  The ERR's filled the room with laid back sound, very clear yet not in your face at all.  I noted how they seemed the opposites of my HDT's.  The HR-1's seemed to be a middle ground and filled the room like the ERR’s did, and gave a strong focused presence to the listener... the best of both worlds.  I was blown away by the big-speaker-sound coming out of the DM945's with the Rachel.  That sound was impressive the same way the Trapezium + Zen combo is.  I also really liked the Rachel + HDT's.  At times, the ZOB's and DNA's were pushed too far on smaller amps (evidenced by the wincing on Randy's face when it happened), but they sang on the Torii.  The new Mono's have power out the wazoo... that's my biggest impression of them... Decware clarity with power and authority.

(I don't have the right vocabulary to describe these things correctly.  The speakers are all definitely different, but all very good individually on the right amp. )
I also spent a lot of time outside by the fire bs'ing with Mike, Bob, Jim, John, Sarah, and others.  It became a circuit for me.  Overheat inside listening to tunes... Cool off outside in the cool air fireside...  Drink a beer... Rinse, wash, repeat.  At one point Mike noted that he's never heard the music play all the way outside of the building the way it was.  That was during one of the Torii Mono demos.  Power and authority.

The crowd was a mix of existing owners who knew most of the equipment, and those who were hearing the equipment for the first time.  I enjoyed helping people mix and match amps and speakers, telling them what I loved about my Torii, showing off how versatile and adjustable it is.  The kids in all of us had fun playing with all the cool toys. Smiley  Lots of people had questions about amp and speaker matching, tube rolling, cabling, etc. I just told my story... After learning my Zen amp was everything is was talked up to be, I decided to just trust Steve Deckert's experience, judgment, and efforts to make his stuff world class.  (I spent some time, but not too much on the hifi roller coaster)

I had a blast at Zenfest.  I owe a great big thanks to Steve, DeVon, Sarah, Bob, and Mike for a great weekend.

I've put the photos I took at the fest on a memory card and mailed them to DeVon today.

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