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Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3 (Read 2030 times)
Dom
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Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
03/20/13 at 04:49:04
 
Hey everyone,  

Just recently joined the forum and need some advice from current owners.  I am in the market for a either a new "Rachael" or a used Mini Torii.  I would like to hear some comparisons from owners who have owned either one and/or both.  Any input would be greatly appreciated.  I already had the pleasure of having Steve answer a few technical questions, and after our conversation,  I am leaning towards the Mini Torii.  As far as speakers, I will be in the market for new efficient ones, but for the time being will be powering  a Polk audio center channel.  It's not very efficient (rated at 89db) but will  only be temporary.  

Thanks again in advance.

Dom
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Fireblade
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #1 - 03/20/13 at 12:56:13
 
Hi there!  Welcome.

I own a Mini Torii, but have never listened to a Rachael. I understand the Rachael is a very good amp and you can follow its support thread in this forum to get a sense of its appreciation.

Regarding the Mini, I am very happy with it. It has everything I could ask from a low power SEP amp. It is also a fun platform for tube-rolling, allowing you to fine tune it to your sound tastes and particular listening conditions, better than any other amp in the Decware range.

The Mini uses non expensive 6V6 output tubes and it provides plenty of 'pep' and volume for a reasonably sized listening room, provided you have speakers with the minimum sensitivity required (i.e., 93 dB).

You can get all 4 power watts out of it with 8 Ohm impedance speakers, and about 3.3 watts at 4 Ohms. My speakers are DM945's (Decware's) @ 4 Ohms and the synergy and overall sound is just great.

The more I listen to it, the more I like it. I'm sure the Rachael would do quite well too, but I would listen to their owners for a more informed opinion.

IMHO, the tradeoffs involved between these two fine amps are midrange lush, imaging and dynamics. Being a beam tetrode, the Mini is more dynamic. Given the triode nature of the Rachael's circuit design, it is supposed to be better at midrange frequencies and imaging.

Nevertheless, with Decware equipment these differences are very subtle, with a Mini also very rich in the mids and a Rachael with enough dynamics to enjoy your favorite music.

I listen to classical music and bebop jazz, mostly. The Mini's headroom and pep is a convenience I enjoy. If you are more into acoustic music, fewer instruments ensembles or chamber music, the Rachael should be unbeatable.

Having said that, I listen to plenty of chamber music and some acoustic ensembles, and I just love how the Mini sounds with those too. I you're into Rock and prefer louder music, it may be that the Mini is slightly better at this, but this is only my opinion from afar.

Either way, you can't really get it wrong.
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RJR
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #2 - 03/20/13 at 22:22:07
 
Dom

I will give you my 2 cents, though, I am not an engineer nor audiophile, yet I have some practical experience.  I just enjoy music and made a considerable investment in a hi-fi system.  I use a Squeezebox classic fed to a DAC then to the SE34I.33  My speakers are Zu Omen Def with Nano technology.  You can get on their website to find out more.

There are so many variables involved and if you think about it, you can get "paralysis by analysis."  I noticed that I did not have much bass and the mid's and high's were very pronounced and bright.  That soon changed but I realized that some recordings played very well and some did not.  So recordings can really play a factor in all of this and my speakers are very revealing.  I listen to Rock and many recordings are from the 80's and 90's.  

Unfortunately I do not have a preamp and I felt that I did not have enough flexibility with my system.  I spoke to Steve and I decided to exchange and go for the Torii MK3.  I do not have it yet but I am sure that it will sound as good and even better.  This is an investment and you need to decide how much you can really afford.  Remember if you can time it right, you can get speakers (depending from where) and the amp and have 30 days to decide.  Zu gives you 60 days, but both companies are absolutely awesome to work with.  Unlike many I have dealt with.  I do realize that there are other speaker companies out there and you have not made a decision yet.

Hope this helps.

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RJR
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #3 - 03/20/13 at 22:25:41
 
Dom

Forgot to mention that Steve did state that the Mini Torii would have been an excellent choice, too.  I just decided to pay more and go with the Torii MK3.  This is my system for life and I will tube roll.

Good luck!
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busterfree
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #4 - 03/21/13 at 01:50:54
 
Dom,
How will you use the new amp? Center channel only? Two channel set up? How big is your room? Do you listen really loud? What type of speakers are you planning to get?

You really can't go wrong with either, but more info will help the advise. I have a Mini Torii MKII and an SE34I.32. They are both great.

For me, I like Mini Torii because:
  • many tube choices
    dual mono
    can run speakers 4-16 ohms
    voltage regulation


I like Rachael because:
  • run EL34 tubes with Hazen Grid Mod
    SET design
    can run many different rectifiers
    6 watts
    can bridge if needed
    geared toward 8 ohm speakers
    tube meters

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Dom
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Still like that old
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #5 - 03/21/13 at 05:50:14
 
Hey guys,

Thanks for all of your input..it has been very helpful.  To go into a little more detail, here are a few more points....

-  For the time being, I will be using a Polk Audio center channel (89db) rated from 20 - 250 watts (very inefficient) until I purchase a set of bookshelf speakers.  Input source will be mainly from IPOD/IPAD and/or a Bluray player with no DAC.

- Eventually will go with a 2 channel setup and utilizing a very good Velodyne powered sub.

-  Music is mainly either rock/classic rock, Italian opera, or classical music that will be played at background to normal volume levels.

-  Room size is like an 18x35 room with a 12 ft. Vaulted ceiling.

-  Concern issue for the Torii is the lack of utilizing an el34 tube, which would probably work well with my music selection as well as not being able to bridge the amp if I want to use my center..needing a bit more headroom.  While the Torii MKIII is what I really need..it's a bit out of my price range right now.  On the upside I like that the Torii has the extra output to link to my sub, as well as the lower input sensitivity for my iPod.

-  Concern for the Rachel....lack of the extra output for my sub; and that higher minimum requirement for the input device with the iPod.    But on the plus side the use of the El34 tube, as well as the higher WPC in stereo, and being able to bridge it mono.

Believe it or not the lack of the El34 in the mini tube is REALLY bothering me, plus the fact that I cannot bridge it in mono mode and get a higher WPC to run my center.....potentially holding off until I can afford a really nice set of bookshelf speakers that are away more efficient than my Polk Center.  

Any thoughts on what I just mentioned??

Thanks again...

Dominick



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busterfree
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #6 - 03/22/13 at 04:12:44
 
If your center has dual speaker posts, you could biamp it by splitting a single cable with y adapter to each channel. I hear your concerns about the MT not using the EL34 tube, but the upside is that it can use many different types of tubes.

For the Rachael, you can get an optional output to run a sub.

It sounds like your leaning toward the Rachael. You cannot go wrong either way. Keep an eye out, you might be able to snap up a used Torii MKIII for sale. It is rare, but it could happen.
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Dom
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Still like that old
time Rock and Roll!!

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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #7 - 03/22/13 at 05:31:20
 
My center channel unfortunately has one set of speaker posts, so bi-amping is not going to work.  The only other major concern I have is that I plan on using an IPOD or IPAD as a music source most  of the time...which is ideal for the MT.  

***Question.....has anyone successfully used an IPAD/IPOD with a Rachel without a separate preamp or or ZSTAGE to compensate for ithe IPOD's low voltage output??  If so....please let me know...this would greatly help my decision on getting one unit over the other.  

Also...The lack of the EL34 tube in the MT is not a huge deal breaker.  However I do like that the Rachel has a bridging capability and increased WPC.  

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beowulf
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #8 - 03/22/13 at 06:09:44
 
Quote:
Dom
***Question.....has anyone successfully used an IPAD/IPOD with a Rachel without a separate preamp or or ZSTAGE to compensate for ithe IPOD's low voltage output??  If so....please let me know...this would greatly help my decision on getting one unit over the other.


I do not know the answer to this, however I would take an entry level DAC over direct input via a ZStage.  Even if the ZStage would allow connectivity - you will still be using the crappy DAC that's on the iPod - BUT a dedicated external DAC will not only allow you connectivity, but improve the sound of the music as well.
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« Last Edit: 03/22/13 at 06:16:05 by beowulf »  
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Lon
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #9 - 03/22/13 at 12:13:45
 
When I had a SE34.2 I occasionally ran an iPod in, and really the output was challenged without using the CSP2. I agree an external DAC would help and improve sound (but not all DACs have been licensed and designed to handle the digital output of the iPod).
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ski bum
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #10 - 03/22/13 at 16:20:03
 
With the MT, you can use it straight with the IPOD's weak signal, or, if you use a higher voltage source like a cd/dvd/br player or proper pre-amp, you can use inexpensive in-line attenuators (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=266-244) to reel it back in and allow full range use of the volume control.  

With the Rachel and IPOD source, you need the gain and will be forced to buy additional gear (DAC/pre-amp).
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busterfree
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #11 - 03/22/13 at 23:05:50
 
I have not tried this myself, but you can use the input 6N2P-EV tube for more gain in the Rachael. How much more? I do not know.
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Dom
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Still like that old
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #12 - 03/23/13 at 05:53:16
 
Thanks again for the great advice.  I had place a call to Decware  and waiting for a call back.  I know that either amp will work well, it's just the fine line of the features for each amp I needed help with.  I know at some point I will still need to buy a set of good efficient speakers, but for the time being just trying to make use of what I already have.  

***The last part of the equation is my powered Velodyne sub.  I need to look at the specs in detail, but I am thinking that I  can go from the MT into the sub with the signal, and then from there into my center.  This would allow me to utilize the power of my big sub to sufficiently power my not so efficient Polk center.  If this is the case, then there is no need for me to want the Rachel for its bridging capability.  Thus then the MT is the best choice.
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Donnie
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #13 - 03/23/13 at 12:17:46
 
Dom, Your sub won't provide any more power to your speaker. The speaker level inputs just read the output and pass it on through. Sorry.
As far as using a Ipod for a source, it works but not real well. I use one with a Wadia dock, and if you are not outputting into a a DAC or preamp it is really underwhelming. Not enough voltage. Now if you run it through a DAC, things get a whole lot more interesting.....
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beowulf
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Re: Newbie....need help with Mini Torri vs SE 34I.3
Reply #14 - 03/24/13 at 01:36:41
 
Why (by the way) use an iPod anyways (instead of a PC/Mac unless it's too far from your listening area)?  As far as a playback device it isn't that great and as far as the DAC inside it, well ... they made a lot of compromises to get an entire music device in that small of a package.


There are DAC's out there for $100.  The Schitt Modi comes to mind and was recently reviewed on Digital Audio Review very favorably and received a Dar-ko Award.

My iPod can't hold all my music, so I use my PC as my source and forgo all the other issues that would allow me to use an iPod (including limiting my choices of amplifiers).
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