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SE84CKC vs SE34I.3 on speakers and headphones? (Read 2876 times)
Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 3613
SE84CKC vs SE34I.3 on speakers and headphones?
01/17/13 at 17:23:58
I have a question for Steve.

I have a 1 year old CSP2+ and Taboo. Lon Armstrong loaned me his old SE84, I think SN #27. There is no doubt, I like the transparent, natural sound of the SE84 over the Taboo. It is so obvious it is hard for me reconnect the Taboo.

The SE84 works very well with my Klipsch Heresy III's (99db). I assume it is the Triode I find so appealing. I would like to buy a new, dedicated Decware (triode) amp for the Heresy's. Could you help me decide between a new SE84 and a new SE34? I know there is a power difference between the two. What are the differences in sound?

Can either model be had with a headphone jack? That old SE84 sounds fantastic with my 25-50 ohm headphones too.

The difference in sound between the two amps is pretty straight forward:

The SE34I.3 is slightly warmer with a more tube like sound thanks to the larger EL34 output tubes.

The SE84CKC is more neutral and a bit faster thanks to it's smaller SV83 output tubes.  That combination gives it a bit more resolution as well.

As far as a power difference, the SE34I.3 is about the same power as your Taboo.  The power output of the SE84CKC is basically the same as the SE84 you tried, but with a touch better performance and headroom.

Headphone jacks are not offered as options on either amplifier because of the shared ground between channels that a headphone jack requires.  Both of these amplifiers have floating outputs.  The best way to connect headphones to either is to use an external headphone jack connected to the speaker binding posts.  That way when you are not using headphones, you can unhook it and restore the amp's ground scheme to it's original design.

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