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The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 145975 times)
jsm71
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #100 - 07/12/13 at 23:20:40
 
Steve, I hope you see this question and can clarify a point you made when listening to the Janszen speakers.  We talked just yesterday about my plans to use the Torii MK3 with David's excellent speakers.  When you said above in this thread that the Torii MK3 didn't match well I need to know if you meant in general or when compared to the mystery amp and the mono blocks?

When I got on the list for the Torii MK3 the only other high wattage option was the mono blocks which are not in my spending wheel house.  From listening to the Torii with my speakers I know it won't drive the Janszens to the upper listening levels but I'm not sure I need that.  If you meant that the amp didn't match well because of sonic issues then I am not sure what to do.  It sure sounded like heaven to me.  I may still need to learn more about the mystery amp.  Is it really the amp I should be considering?  I'm probably targeting into September on the waiting list as it is with the Torii MK3.

Please give me an honest assessment if I need to rethink using the Torii MK3 with the Janszen speakers.  This will be my last amp and I'd rather not make a mistake.  The Janszen speakers aren't going anywhere.  They are keepers.  Others with average efficiency speakers may also be interested in your take.

Scott Marsh
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« Last Edit: 07/13/13 at 01:06:59 by jsm71 »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #101 - 07/15/13 at 20:24:29
 
"When you use a 2000 microfarad capacitor that's the size of a milk bottle the game changes and the tube rectifier becomes the clear looser in this contest".

NO Negative Feedback (Class A.....because AB sucks)

Your custom Tranny (coveted for good reason)

Glorious with the JansZen 87db 1 watt/1 meter.......

I will overnight a certified Bank check for the first one ready to order....let me know.

Thanks Steve for another masterpiece coming down the pike to put the $6800 to $8800 dollar range of Amps on there EAR!  ....and many at twice that........ .      -Stone of Tone

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« Last Edit: 07/15/13 at 20:55:58 by stone_of_tone »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #102 - 07/17/13 at 16:05:18
 
Okay, I know I should not ask...but my curiosity is getting the best of me.

KT66 run in Triode as well as ultra linear Pentode (switch on the fly)?
I have no problem with turning the Amp off to switch between the two-if need be.

XLR (balanced inputs) as well as RCA line level (we got that peek-aboo?)

What is the input driver (preamp) tube? ....it does not look like a 6H30...but, more of a conventional one.... .

Listening to my SE84CS right now sitting in the next room typing this....Larry Carlton Playing sweetly.

So, why the Mystery Amp?  I want low end + a little more headroom without adding a Sub. However, maintaining the Transparency & Timbre Texture of the SE84CS & CKC...or coming damn close.

Candidates Are:

Mystery Amp, Audio Research Reference 75 & BAT VK-55 SE
I will run the AR or BAT direct via NAD M51 Dac, with its Balanced outputs to inputs of the Amp(s) or RCA to XLR adaptors run directly from my Audio Alchemy 3.0 Dac via remote as well.

Hope everyone is having a great summer.  Cheers, Stone of Tone

PS-the SE84CS & CKC will always remain in use...because they will always do what no other Amps can do.........I just want another flavor as layed out in Steve's Car analogy. Steve's Monte Carlo is sweet-the paint and clear coat on it, are 2nd to none (plus under the hood).
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« Last Edit: 07/17/13 at 16:45:51 by stone_of_tone »  

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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #103 - 07/17/13 at 18:24:08
 
Quote:
Steve, I hope you see this question and can clarify a point you made when listening to the Janszen speakers.  We talked just yesterday about my plans to use the Torii MK3 with David's excellent speakers.  When you said above in this thread that the Torii MK3 didn't match well I need to know if you meant in general or when compared to the mystery amp and the mono blocks?

When I got on the list for the Torii MK3 the only other high wattage option was the mono blocks which are not in my spending wheel house.  From listening to the Torii with my speakers I know it won't drive the Janszens to the upper listening levels but I'm not sure I need that.  If you meant that the amp didn't match well because of sonic issues then I am not sure what to do.  It sure sounded like heaven to me.  I may still need to learn more about the mystery amp.  Is it really the amp I should be considering?  I'm probably targeting into September on the waiting list as it is with the Torii MK3.

Please give me an honest assessment if I need to rethink using the Torii MK3 with the Janszen speakers.  This will be my last amp and I'd rather not make a mistake.  The Janszen speakers aren't going anywhere.  They are keepers.  Others with average efficiency speakers may also be interested in your take.

Scott Marsh


Hi Scott,

The sound of the Torii MKIII on the Janszen speakers is wonderful.  The catch is that you are limited to a modest volume during playback.  When Dave was here testing the combo, he said he heard distortion in the lower frequencies.  Rather than try different taps or adjust the bass dampening control on the MK III, we just put in a bigger amp because it was clear he wanted the ability to play the speakers loud on demand.

The Mystery Amp had no issues.  It will be available by October, so my advise would be to either get it, or try the TORII MKIII and see for yourself if it is enough power for you.  I know of one other customer who has these speakers and amp combo who loves it and has never complained of lack of power, so really only you can tell this for yourself.

Should the MKIII not be enough power, I would let you keep it until your Mystery Amp is ready to ship.

Steve
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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #104 - 07/17/13 at 18:37:14
 
Quote:
Okay, I know I should not ask...but my curiosity is getting the best of me.

KT66 run in Triode as well as ultra linear Pentode (switch on the fly)?
I have no problem with turning the Amp off to switch between the two-if need be.


The fundamental characteristics of an amplifier's sound are different enough between Pentode and Triode that a great sounding amplifier would have to be voiced differently for each.  I would rather pick the best sounding one, voice the amp to maximize that, so that's what I'm doing.

Quote:
XLR (balanced inputs) as well as RCA line level (we got that peek-aboo?)


Yes, RCA line level standard, fully transformer balanced XLR will be an option.

Quote:
What is the input driver (preamp) tube? ....it does not look like a 6H30...but, more of a conventional one.... .


6922, 6N1P, 6N23P

Listening to my SE84CS right now sitting in the next room typing this....Larry Carlton Playing sweetly.

So, why the Mystery Amp?  I want low end + a little more headroom without adding a Sub. However, maintaining the Transparency & Timbre Texture of the SE84CS & CKC...or coming damn close.

Candidates Are:

Mystery Amp, Audio Research Reference 75 & BAT VK-55 SE
I will run the AR or BAT direct via NAD M51 Dac, with its Balanced outputs to inputs of the Amp(s) or RCA to XLR adaptors run directly from my Audio Alchemy 3.0 Dac via remote as well.

Hope everyone is having a great summer.  Cheers, Stone of Tone

PS-the SE84CS & CKC will always remain in use...because they will always do what no other Amps can do.........I just want another flavor as layed out in Steve's Car analogy. Steve's Monte Carlo is sweet-the paint and clear coat on it, are 2nd to none (plus under the hood).
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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #105 - 07/17/13 at 18:44:08
 
So, just an update that things are going very well.  I have now had the opportunity to spend many evenings with it on a variety of speakers and sources and haven't heard a single thing I didn't like, so it is most likely finished now.  Unless I change my mind, which is doubtful, I will have it ready to sell by October and we will debut it at this years Decfest.

I'll continue updates between now and then.  At this point my mind is shifting to taking notes while I listen, doing direct A/B/C comparisons between the three TORII's and figuring out the copy for the web page and what I'm going to want to say.

Steve
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #106 - 07/17/13 at 23:36:40
 
Thanks Steve for those answers and I look forward to your A/B/C comparisons and the October release with Copy.    

I hope you offer an introductory gig on it (via email release)....and I will pull the trigger on that.  

Have a great rest of your summer and get out in the Boat!  -Larry
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #107 - 07/23/13 at 20:54:53
 
Okay, unless I missed it.....?

Is this a Integrated Amp with Stepped Potentiometer? The front controls are just for Bias adjustment with the meters for each KT66 tube.  So, on the mech drawing on page 3 or 4, I think it was....where is the volume control?

-Stone
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« Last Edit: 07/23/13 at 20:58:29 by stone_of_tone »  

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maddog07
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #108 - 08/08/13 at 17:10:13
 
Hey Steve... how about some more updates on the Mystery Amp..!!!??

give us some teasers... what will it be named officially?  what will it look like in production - more pics, more pics.. what is the official power rating... etc. etc.  Compare and contrast its sound to the Torii and other Decware amps.  I'm just getting settled into my relationship with my Torii (about 6 months) and now you have to come along and introduce me to her big sister!  Will this cause me to be unfaithful to my first love!
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maddog07
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #109 - 08/14/13 at 15:45:55
 
OK... I give - no more info from Steve.

Does anybody know if the new amp will have the treble shunt and bass "Q" controls like the Torii MKIII has?  Those tweak features on the Torii are the cat's meow for dialing in a single, full-range, high-efficiency driver, xoverless type of speaker...
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #110 - 08/14/13 at 15:55:46
 
I agree. . . those are killer controls that I love having on the Torii Mk III I have.

But. . .if you have a high efficiency driver. . . one probably wouldn't need the mystery amp, one of the super little guys should do it ALL and then some. . . .
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maddog07
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #111 - 08/14/13 at 16:36:15
 
well... that remains to be seen, agh - "heard" I mean.  regardless of power rating... if the mystery amp "sounds" better to my ears, then I'll think I need to replace my Torii.... that's just the way audio nervosa goes.. you know!!   Grin
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #112 - 08/14/13 at 17:16:27
 
Steve is keeping us in suspense.

This Amp is for less efficient Speakers as Lon eluded too. I hope it has the Stepped Attenuator like the Mono's. I like to augment the sweet spot driving the Amp directly from my DAC attenuation. Of course, it will drive efficient design Speakers too.

......loudspeakers that are the typical 86 / 87dB sensitivity.  To that effect the Janszen 's as listened to and posted by Steve.
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« Last Edit: 08/14/13 at 17:18:39 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #113 - 08/22/13 at 22:31:05
 
While it will drive the less efficient speakers rather well, as demonstrated on the Janszen's, I have been doing the majority of my listening with higher efficiency speakers.  Reason being, the additional detail and dynamics of the higher efficiency speakers are more telling of what an amp really sounds like.  It would be easy to make the amp a bit glassy on the top end without even knowing it if all I used for voicing were Magnepans... or other slow, power hungry speakers.

The reason I haven't updated the thread is because I am listening to the amp daily to see if I change it.  I'm a fidgety person so if the amp is left untouched as the result of not hearing anything I think could be noticeably better, then I know we have a winner. So far I haven't touched it, and doubt I will.

I have not made direct A/B/C comparison with the other amps yet, because that would likely skew my perceptions of the new amp.  I need to first hear it as though I was a customer who had never heard the other two.  Then the test will be, hearing the other two side by side and seeing if I still like it as much.

Steve Wink
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #114 - 08/27/13 at 17:13:34
 
Steve, I'm seriously considering this amp if you feel it will have that attention to detail that I love about my Zen Amp, but with a little more push. I'm not sure I could afford the new Torii IV - but if this fits right in-between (price wise) and gets me closer to that holographic sound with more oomph than my one off Zen amp...I'll get in line!

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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #115 - 08/27/13 at 17:31:16
 
Torii Mk III  (25 watts)  about $3K
Mystery Amp (35 watts) about $5K
Torii Mono's (60 watts) about $12K
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #116 - 08/27/13 at 17:37:20
 
Lonely Raven,  I've been following this tread and I think the Mystery Amp will be considerably more expensive than the Torii IV....more in the $5500 ballpark.  The power would probably be around 50 watts per channel....if I'm reading between the lines correctly.  Of course it's all just speculation on my part, until we get more details from "The Man".
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #117 - 08/27/13 at 17:38:46
 
Unbelievable...Steve responded with details while I was typing by last post....thanks Steve!
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #118 - 08/28/13 at 16:07:29
 

Ahh, I must have misread. I thought I read somewhere that this was placed between the Zen and Torii. I didn't realize it would be between the Torii and Monos.

Ok, looks like I need to digu p $3k for a Torii III/IV

~Eric~
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maddog07
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #119 - 08/28/13 at 18:38:41
 
I've been using a Torii MK.III for about 6 months now.  I'm really curious to hear the "mystery amp".  The Torii paired with high-efficiency, crossoverless, full range driver type speakers is the best sound I've ever heard, at any price - bar none.  Competing with anything I've ever heard at RMAF or anywhere else.  I'm not sure how much better it can get.  Get a speaker that is compatible with the Torii's 25 watts and just sit back and be amazed and enjoy the music.  I am attending Zenfest in about a month.  To say I'm anxious to hear the Mystery Amp and the Torii IV would be an understatement.  
I heard the mono's last year at Zenfest.. yes they are good - if you need the power.  But to my ears, the sonic differences were subtle - you'd need volume matched A/B comparisons to hear it and/or have listened to both for many, many hours to distinguish the two.  Considering the cost differential, I'd go with the Torii and roll a few tubes to tweak the sound to my liking - and spend the extra $$$ on speakers and music... I'm just saying.
I'll be listening closely to the Torii MKIV .vs. MK.III .vs. the Mystery Amp at the fest this year to see what I hear before I get in the queue for an upgrade.  Will I hear a difference?  Probably - will that "difference" be perceived as "better"?  Will it be worth the extra $$$?  Only our ears can tell us!!!   Grin
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #120 - 08/30/13 at 17:18:14
 
Thanks Steve, for these updates. I hope your back is healing up.

I plan on purchasing the Mystery Amp. I have returned my Primaluna Dialogue Five and PS Audio PWT/PWDII. I have freed up the funds to proceed with this Amp.

I own the SE84CS stock & SuperZen CKC.....never to be sold. I regret letting my Torii MKIII go. Point being, you don't make Amps that sound "just good enough". You sir, pain staking create instruments for the music to get out.

I look forward to its release. Cheers to all, and all have a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend.    -Stone of Tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #121 - 08/31/13 at 00:39:52
 
Too bad you didn't love the PS Audio Duo, sorry if I steered you wrong, I just adore mine.

Why the Mystery Amp Tone?  Why not a used Torii Mk III (I bet you'll see some on the market!) or a Mk IV?  I mean, you don't need the power of the Mystery Amp. I can't see myself needing the power of one until I buy a big ass house somewhere if I ever do in the future. And if that happened it would probably be the Mystery Amp Mk XXVI!
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #122 - 08/31/13 at 04:42:08
 
Quote:
Lon said,
Too bad you didn't love the PS Audio Duo ...


I bet he just adores the Audio Alchemy stuff ... he's said it on many occasions ... he's runined for anything but Decware and Audio Alchemy Grin
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #123 - 08/31/13 at 14:56:59
 
Lon, you did not stir me wrong. I have always appreciated your input. I am also very pleased with Music Direct not having a restocking fee. I also returned the Primaluna Amp as noted. I took a hit on that one...but I needed to reconfirm to myself how Decware is just plain superior.

I do need the Power. I sold my Torii MKIII because I wanted more Power in my Living Room Rig.....where the Mystery Amp will be.
Steve wrote:
"That actually started the night, and so far I've just been snuggling into the midrange in one of the most juicy amplifiers I've ever heard...   Think Mini Torii with 10 times the power and 80 times the weight...  it's just insane...  I really can't believe this design can sound this good...  it certainly didn't with my first choice of tubes and misc settings....

So, if I stopped tonight, it would be a success, I'm certain of it.  I'm just getting started".
I have heard the Mini-Torii in 2008 with Tube regulation....now add 10 time the Power and 80 times the weight.

The development of the Torii Mono's & the Mystery Amp, I believe has led to the significant development now found in the Torii MKIV***. Steve will need to confirm my speculation on this. That development being the no negative feedback circuit for more Transparency.....bring these push pull Amps with no Negative Feedback closer to the Transparency of the SE84CS which is benchmark for me...and will reign in my Listening Room until it is dethroned. The huge Caps on the Mystery Amp will take for ever to burn in....then I bring it in the Listening Room someday. But, it is for the Power to run my Polk SRS SDA 1.2 Speakers.

*** Steve wrote:
•In place of the adjustable bass dampening control I have created a re-constructive feedback circuit that improves clarity, detail, and definition at all frequencies.  It is on a switch so that you can use it or not use it.  (everyone will likely use it)   This mod replaces the bypass caps that were on the cathode of the input stage.  Those caps eliminated the naturally occurring local negative feedback in that tube.  Instead of a bypass cap, I use the output transformer in series with a couple networks that float the output stage above ground slightly.  The result is less phase angle distortion resulting in better transparency.  This was an accident, that turned into another discovery.  It's one of the cooler things that's happened in the past couple years and it will be fun to here peoples impressions of it as they get their MK III's updated.
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« Last Edit: 08/31/13 at 15:02:10 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #124 - 08/31/13 at 15:03:35
 
Okay cool. I'm not at all tempted by the Mystery Amp or the Mk IV. I don't need more power, and I think the Mk III is more "flexible" than the Mk IV will be, and a well seasoned Mk III is just butter for me, just what I want. More transparency does not mean more musicality for me, I have more bad recordings than good to listen to and with the flexibility of the Mk IIIs I have I can make things listenable, and I listen.

I have a Vaughn-modified C amp in my Dad's system and while my original Mk III was back in Peoria for upgrading I had it in my main system. I really do see the super transparency and magic in those amps, but I can honestly say I missed my Mk III insanely and really prefer its mellow drive and ability to be made more forgiving. That I need most. It has gobs of weight too with the HR-1s or ERRs. I can't ask for more and won't.

But I'm excited for you! Keep us posted! (I know you will).
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« Last Edit: 08/31/13 at 15:05:59 by Lon »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #125 - 09/04/13 at 22:44:37
 
I hear you Lon. I am very interested in the HR 1 as well. I am going to Decfest! I will hear them till the wee hours of the morning before retreating to my Hotel Room.

I have these Polk SRS SDA 1.2 Speakers I have become so enamored with (outside the Listening Room) in my Living Room. They can be run with as little as 21 watts per channel in Triode and 42 in push pull as I witnessed from the Primaluna Dialogue Five I had briefly. Briefly, is correct....Upscale Audio only had a 14 day trial period on the Prima and a 10% restocking fee. I spent a lot of time with them....and the short trial period was just as lame as the Primaluna Amp was! But, I digress..... .

I know the Mystery Amp can Power them (Polk SRS SDA 1.2) first hand and by the late Julian Hirsch measurements of these fun Powerhouse Speakers.
I am also interested in running the new KT120 Tubes in it. I want this different animal in the Living Room vs. what I have in my Listening room.

http://www.polksda.com/srsreview.shtml      -Stone

PS-Beowulf, YES.....I am fortunate to have Audio Alchemy since 1995 and it takes a back seat to nothing when decoding the Redbook Stnd. Peter Madnick was paid to go away I think (he never has really gone away/just stopped making 2k Dac combo's that kick the sh_ _ out of other under 10k DACS)....he should design for McGowan IMHO. The PMD 100 & 200 Chips from Pacific Microsonics/Prof Johnson of Referecne Recordings....dual 20 bit Ladder DACS (one per channel)...analog output stage....Peter's design.....and the Volume Attenuator with adjustable voltage output....I rest my case.  Party on Wayne-Party on Garth.

If I hit the Powerball....I will call Peter Madnick on the phone and have his Constellation System(s) installed!  hehe

http://constellationaudio.com/ca/index.php

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/ces2011/ces2011_ss_peter_madnick.htm

.... including Peter Madnick, Audio Alchemy's co-founder. Audio Alchemy's little back boxes, long discontinued (the brand sadly disappeared after it was acquired from the original partners) (uhmmm), are still highly coveted by studios and audiophiles around the world.

Telarc used the Pro 32 & 3.0 DAC in Studio...to name one.
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« Last Edit: 09/04/13 at 23:42:09 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #126 - 09/05/13 at 05:05:31
 
Stone, from the way you talk about those Polks I gotta hear them sometime!  Just checking, but is this the setup you have with the Audio Alchemy stuff?  If so, not a bad price ...
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #127 - 09/06/13 at 06:03:37
 


Another Update:  In the final hours with only 29 days to the opening curtain (DECFEST 2013) I'm pleased to report things are going well despite a few attempts to upset the applecart by the powers that be.

One attempt was the accidental improvement I made in the TORII MK IV.  Obviously if the audio Gods were going to pick a time to enlighten, it would be an attempt to humble, so they made the MK IV almost twice as good just to test my resolve on the Mystery amp.  I still like it.  No, Love it.  The two will no doubt be compared over and over again but it will always be apples and oranges making the comparisons futile.

Another attempt was disguised as Father Murphy when the amp developed a hum that it never had before... and with only a month left till curtain time... go figure.  Turns out it was the audio Gods helping me do some final tweaking by using Father Murphy to steer me to the idea.  I had a ground at the input jacks which are supposed to be isolated. It developed with expansion and cooling of the chassis over time compromising the insulator. I couldn't figure out what happened for days. Last night I told my friend Dave that the amp could be fixed without adding any parts at his insistence that it would need another pie filter and more segregated supplies... even though I had no idea what the solution was I knew it wasn't what everything was pointing to.  Today I worked all day on tracing the eddy currents in the chassis chasing what I call inter-dimensional ground loops trying to make the hum stop.  I discovered that with this insulator compromised a ground loop had developed through the input cables and volume pot, but not until AFTER discovering a better way to ground it which corrected the problem in the first place... so now when UPS vibrates the thing to death in the back of their trucks and an input jack grounds itself at the chassis, the amplifier will still remain hum free and work perfectly.

This is how you know you're being guided by a higher power, because it is assumed these spirits transcend time and can therefor see into the future.  Saw one of these amps start humming and disappoint the hell out of a special customer which caused an unpleasant chain of events.  Decided to tell me about it.

Anyway, the fact that Father Murphy and the Audio Gods are active in these final weeks is good news, and gives me great confidence in what I'm hearing.

Speaking of that, I have been listening to my newest speakers with it and the sound quality and refinement is amazing.  They actually made my corner horns sound like sand paper in the top end... first time ever.  

So I will keep you posted as things continue, meanwhile I'm still listening to it, and tomorrow without the hum and stress of not knowing how to make it go away.


-Steve
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« Last Edit: 09/06/13 at 06:05:04 by Steve Deckert »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #128 - 09/06/13 at 15:46:26
 

Newest Speakers? Which ones?
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #129 - 09/06/13 at 16:26:53
 
The DM945's with the bass trap.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #130 - 09/07/13 at 13:20:09
 
Nope, Beowulf....the thread post you put up is for the cheapy Alchemy stuff.

Steve, very cool how this shook down on solving the hum and a better way to ground it.....for the Mystery Amp!

I look forward to hearing it with the DM945's.  I can't wait till the Fest...I sold Medtronic stock...and I'm jonesin' for some Decware Products.   -Stone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #131 - 09/07/13 at 15:20:30
 
I might have to reduce or liquidate some positions myself, if this continues.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #132 - 09/09/13 at 17:05:03
 
10-Roger all that.  Just when I thought I was about to get the system settled for a bit... then along comes all this stuff.  There is no cure for audiophile nervosa.  And there is only one semi-effective treatment: constant infusion of new & improved !!!
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #133 - 09/09/13 at 17:15:35
 
Not to much audiophile nervousa for me. If the piece does not cut it after appropriate set up and burn in...it gets returned or sold...like some of my recent endeavors. I just know what I like when I hear it....then buy/enjoy and keep it.    3 weeks & 4 days until the FEST!

I have had my AA Front End for 18.5 years and counting.
I have had my SE84CS for 12 yrs & 3 months.
I have had my SuperZen CKC for 10 months....never to be sold.
I have had my Kimber Select 1030 IC & 3033 Speaker cable for 13.5 yrs.
I have had my Parker Crusader's for 8 years.
I have had my Polk LS90 for 20 yrs & 6 months.
My Vintage Polk SDA 1's for 2 years next month.
(*these musical SDA 1's stay in the Listening RM with LS90 switch outs...my behemoth SRS SDA 1.2 Speakers are out in the Living Room*)

I am in my 3rd house with my best Acoustically Treated Room yet!
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« Last Edit: 09/09/13 at 17:21:08 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #134 - 09/09/13 at 18:34:03
 
Stone, I'd love to know more about your acoustically treated room! Do you happen to have a thread here? Photos?
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #135 - 09/09/13 at 20:07:24
 
LR, I have never posted pic's before. I will though, eventually.

I have four Systems with my latest creation being my Klipsch Reference RF-7 II's out in my Garage. I'm not a big Klipsch fan by any means. But, these are fun out there. My neighbor friends don't understand Tone/Texture or want to have Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins or Ben Webster in the room. Or, bare notice to and the enjoyment of whom a particular saxophonist is and the different TONE, each of these Saxophonists has. So, the Listening Room is beyond their scope. However, the Garage with the RF-7 II's and my Living Room Rig with my Polk SRS SDA 1.2 Speakers.....they can wrap their brains around.

Anyway, my Acoustically treated room is done frugally (I'm not cheap-just Frugal).
I used Natural-Aire air cleaning filters for diffusion, without any cardboard grid enclosure around them/just raw of course (18 of them 20 x 30"...they are green/I like green). I also have Michael Greene Room Tunes Triangles in the upper four corners of the room for high frequencies.  It is quite tasteful looking (really). I used clear push pins (6 per panel).  -Stone
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« Last Edit: 09/09/13 at 20:46:11 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #136 - 09/09/13 at 21:27:41
 
Stone -

had a pair of sda srs 2.3TL's many moons ago.  Interesting speaker - they were a ton of fun.  Crossover's in them are beyond complex for the full blown SDA part.  Good luck figuring out what it does when the caps go bad and drift out of spec. over the years.  I have heard you can still get replacement 6.5" drivers from Polk for them - not sure about the tweeters.  I wouldn't mind having a pair of them to play with again someday - as long as I can get parts.  I have two other speaker projects in the works right now though.  And just completed my first DIY crossoverless, high efficiency, full range project - a true revelation in detail resolution and realism - bettering anything I have ever owned and about as good as anything I've ever heard - at any price.

I'm preparing to go down the Decware diffusor path shortly, though my current room is dead as a door nail.  A little too dead actually.  However, with an impending remodel though, I'm afraid I'm going to have a much more "live" room to deal with.  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #137 - 09/09/13 at 22:05:40
 
I am no solder slinger....so I envy you maddog.

However, I have a good guy just down the road at:
http://www.midwestspeaker.com/

He refurbed my SDA 1 (just the Spiders needed some work)...I use in Stereo only in my Listening Room. No SDA needed at 76 - 82db SPL on these with my SE84CS. Xover...everything else is fine on them.

My big guys SRS SDA 1.2 Polks are still in spec/and I do run them in SDA all the time (Living Room System). Great thing is you can update/upgrade these to 1.2TL's with parts from Polk shipped to my guy at Midwest Speaker. So, if they start to go wonky on me...I'll have the work done and they will come back to me even better.

The Polk Forum tends to have Zealots and Facists on it...but I don't let it detract from these great Speakers. The Polk Forum is where I learned that SDA's can be upgraded, yes TL Tweeter's and the ISOPhase Xover- better than ever compared to the original parts-to live forever. 

I prefer the two pair of conventional Speakers I have found, out of 13 I have had and still own 10 pair.....my LS90 & SDA 1 gives up the most musical texture in my treated Listening Room with my SE84CS (Zen Select)...between 76-82db SPL.  Not a fan of single driver efficiency just for the sake of playing louder and they get away from the Natural Timbre of the Instruments for me. I have my SRS SDA 1.2 for playing louder-which with SDA are pretty damn good....just no where near the SE84CS in my Listening Room....where I do have weight and dynamics....but also have that ultimate Timbre/Tone I like over single driver Xoverless.  

However, I look forward to hearing the HR 1's and Listen to everything Steve has to offer at the Fest...it has been awhile (5 years).  ....and of course the Mystery Amp that can drive anything....up my ally for the big guys in my Living Room! Or, it might end up in my Listening Room too. But..........the SE84CS is a pretty tough NUT to Crack.
  -Stone

PS-my SuperZen CKC continues to Burn in.....in my bedroom system with my Zen Styx. It will make its way back into the Listening Room for a full evaluation again with my AA Front End, Kimber Select 1030 IC & Kimber Select 3033 Speaker Cable.  She is getting there..... .
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« Last Edit: 09/09/13 at 22:43:42 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #138 - 09/10/13 at 18:59:24
 
Loved the sda's for their "party" ability.  Do you have the "bass brace" also?

I have owned over 30 pairs of speakers across my audiofool years - and counting.  I have 4 completely different types on hand right now - soon to have a fifth.  I have never heard any speaker, at any price(including several ribbon and electrostat models), that contains a pile of passive crossover parts that can compete with the speed, detail resolution, micro dynamics, transient snap and most realistic and natural "tone" of the high-efficiency, full range single driver DIY speaker project I just completed a few months ago - this "opinion" only applies when they are driven by my Torii MK.3.  Stringed acoustic instruments, piano and the human voice are simply "in the room" spooky real, emotion invoking, hair on the back of the neck raising, good.  I got started on this "quest" after several years of trips to the RMAF, where every speaker I heard of this type, just kept drawing me back to their room - they sounded so real, so detailed without being forward or fatiguing.  This was back when I was a pure solid-state guy.  I had to convert to "tubes" to embark on this recent leg of my audio journey.  Still a tube noob... but I'm getting there.

I've hauled my Torii around to several other local audiophile friends houses to hook it to their speakers - all types that have crossovers.  At this point in time, so far, I can only conclude that the real magic is coming from the "lack of a crossover".  While the Torii exhibits its characteristic sonic personality to some degree on every speaker I've hooked it to so far, the real magic has only occurred "so far" on speakers with no resistors, capacitors, inductors futzing around with the signal.
I would speculate, that perhaps it is possible to get to this level of rez and realism in speakers with passive xovers using ubber expensive, super sonic, space modulated caps, coils and resistors... but why bother going to the hassle and expense?
while the 12" full rangers I am using get more than loud enough in what is basically a 2400 sq.ft. room with a 9ft ceiling.  If I want even more weight and volume... I can double or triple up on drivers.  There are some DIY'ers out there, that have done just that.  And I am kind of doing that on the soon to be 5th pair of speakers I mentioned above, which are Hawthorne Audio Trio's - being customized to my desire by Hawthorne.

I think one of the greatest things about our hobby, is that the level of satisfaction any of us can attain with our audio systems can be achieved via so many different methods, combinations and paths.  This keeps us all "on the hunt" for that next great thing that will get our MoJo's workin'.  
I'd love to hear your setup with the sda's.  Last Polks I owned were 10B's.. a very musical speaker.  had them in our first HT as main front L/R's.  This was after I had the 2.3's in the man-cave system.  A friend of mine still has this pair of 10B's.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #139 - 09/11/13 at 15:14:47
 
I know their is one thing we can all certainly agree on; the common denominator for our Listening preferences and pleasure is a DECWARE Amplifier.

I agree Maddog...that the level of our satisfaction can be attained through so many different methods and paths.

You mentioned "Mojo".....I still visit my LISTENER Magazine's and visit Harvey Gizmo's site......to fire up my Mojo. I miss that dude and I think he would have loved Steve's Amps.

If he didn't?! I would argue with him at a show about it with his Celt and Tube Head Dress on! "Pentodes run in Triode are the best Harvey....proof is in the Listening...so take your 300B Tube and........." .
...(and Tubes run in Push-Pull with no negative feedback are awesome too...if the rest of the Topology is up to the task...as it is in Steve's Amps...Primaluna need not apply).

http://www.meta-gizmo.net/Tri/intro-tri.html
I took my "Stone of Tone" moniker from Harvey (title of one of his papers/writings...to be found in his archives at the site).
http://www.meta-gizmo.net/Tri/index-1.html

As enticed as I am about the new Torii IV.....I want what is closest to the Mono's for my Living Room 2 channel CD & Vinyl Listening pleasure. That being the Mystery Amplifier with common ground for my SRS SDA 1.2 Polk Speakers. If I don't like it with these Speakers? I have at least 3 other candidates in the house....or I'll just have to get the HR 1 to mate with them. Even though the HR 1 does not need the Mystery Amp grip/power....but will be interesting to hear at the FEST with the MysA. The JanZen's Steve had in-house intrigue me too.

Steve's email-sent this morning:
"This year I am particularly looking forward to revealing the Mystery Amp, as I believe under the context of being designed for the absolute most serious audiophiles, it is my best sounding amplifier to date".

He put a full/small teaser picture too.

It might take a year to two years to fully break it in....but I believe it will be worth it. My CKC continues to improve at 10.5 months......I am digin' the Jupiter Caps. The Mystery Amp, SE84CS & CKC should complete my Stable.  

Then on to the HR 1's........before the Snow melts!
(Yea, I did not forget about the 12 weeks to have them made....the Amp too).

PS-if you do read "The Stone of Tone" Paper by Harvey....realize, I appreciate its content in the context of the metaphor. I do not do the Chronic for Listening Smiley. However, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee with my morning Listening or sometimes, a couple of Summit Extra Pale Ales with evening Listening.    



"TUBES SOUND BETTER THAN SOLID STATE. Something didn't seem right about this at first because tubes were the old fashioned gear that we just chucked in favor of PERFECT solid state.

Who can we trust? Yet, every rock and roll guitarist used a tube amp. It only took one taste…under the influence to hear the big gaping gap between tubes and transistors. After we heard this big sound gap, and we weren't stoned, we could still hear the big sound gap, and we were confused….but our ears were telling us a profound truth".
http://www.meta-gizmo.net/Tri/adv/STONEO_TONE.html

From Harvey...and I quote:
"I am not suggesting marijuana smoking is the strategy to determine what audio electronics are best for you, because it is a waste of money, and could get you arrested. There is a better path to take you the high place you aspire to…just listen to music with tube electronics because it will affect your mind exactly the same way…because only tube circuits can create natural tone. Only tube electronics can alter your mind in the right way.

Now let me give you the world's quickest pedagogic insight about why tonal quality is so critical, and it is purely pragmatic and empirical: Tone is the most important musical attribute because tone it is the elixir, the stimulant of musical ecstasy. It is well documented that the right combination of even and odd order harmonics, which determine tonal quality, stimulates our brain to secrete endorphins, dopamine, and other exotic brain juices, which induces a very pleasureful "high" out of body experiences. Harmonics are an exogenous neural excitant: harmonics are an external stimulant that excites the nerve endings of our brain..like sex, the smell of barbecued steak, or the vibrations of a V-8 motor…and makes the brain juices of ecstasy flow".

IMHO...I rest my case..... .  Stone of Tone

PS-Maddog...I do not have the Bass Brace....also was used so Toddlers and Pets would not parish if they knocked these behemoths over on themselves...yikes! My kids are older now and live with their mother. Talking of further augmenting bass....I do have a HSU MBM 12" just behind the couch.  I do enjoy this piece out in the Living Room. Not necessary in the Listening Room.
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« Last Edit: 09/11/13 at 17:11:40 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #140 - 09/11/13 at 18:26:16
 
Update:

The amp is now 100% complete and ready for battle.



It's a meaty bugger...  takes one man to lift it, but takes two men to set it down carefully... it's just insanely heavy.  

After hearing what this amp does with 24 bit 384kHz PCM files as well as SACD 2.8mhZ and 5.6Mhz files I am spoiled for life. My entire CD collection is now officially garbage and will never pollute these ears again. Thank God I lived long enough to see digital playback finally sound good enough to compete with vinyl... it gives me great hope for the future of audio.

Steve



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« Last Edit: 09/11/13 at 18:30:04 by Steve Deckert »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #141 - 09/11/13 at 18:39:39
 
Amazing! Congratulations Steve (and all of us who get to hear it)!
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #142 - 09/11/13 at 22:33:34
 
Look at that beautiful beast!

Steve, how heavy is it?

Awesome....can't wait.....ROAD TRIP!   -S
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #143 - 09/12/13 at 03:01:48
 
Congrats Steve!

Thanks for taking all of us along for the ride.

BTW, can't wait for the MKII version of the Mystery amp to be released. Wink
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #144 - 09/12/13 at 03:37:16
 
Steve, I just read your output tube biasing info again & the OA3 keeping things clean (power) for the preamp stage. Very nice..... .

Soth, I just send it back for MKII updates....quick turnaround by Steve. No problem....forgetta about it.
If you can afford to buy the car....you need to be able to have new after market rims an Pirelli's put on it right?

:-)  -Stone
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« Last Edit: 09/12/13 at 03:41:10 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #145 - 09/12/13 at 14:30:16
 
Think about it? This Amp is within reach....and can run Speakers I am most interested in. You might say: "You have not heard it yet"....well, I know I loathe solid state enough...I just tolerate it for my other Systems.
So, I am not worried about the Mystery Amp not being "Involving"....it will be......with the POWER to run these candidates with the M51 running Balanced IC to the Mystery Amp -or-unbalanced via my Audio Alchemy front End.

http://nadelectronics.com/products/masters-series/M51-Direct-Digital-DAC
http://vonschweikertaudio.com/vr-33/
http://www.vienna-acoustics.com/products/beethoven_baby/beethoven_baby.php
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Magnepan+1.7+for+Sale&id=9C9E6797891B7480003...
HR 1.....in the running too
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« Last Edit: 09/12/13 at 14:37:36 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #146 - 09/12/13 at 16:17:41
 

I'm looking forward to hearing it Steve!
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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #147 - 09/12/13 at 19:06:10
 
Sooner or later someone is going to ask which amp sounds better, the new TORII MK IV or the Mystery Amp so I'm going to do my best to answer this question...

The MK IV has gotten 20 to 30% better than the Mk III, which put it in danger of being better than the Mystery Amp. Of course this is a good thing... unless you're the Mystery Amp. So to find out where everything stands the two amps were compared side by side the other night, first on 16bit 44kHz digital files and then later on high resolution files. Both were driven directly from a DAC with no preamp to keep things simple for the comparison.

Speakers used were 94dB 1 watt so that power did not enter into the comparison. Although the Mystery amp has more power than the Torii, the difference is only a few dB. It's enough to drive some of the harder to drive speakers that the Torii had trouble with, but I'm not going to use a low efficiency hard to drive speaker for the comparison. If you have speakers below the 90dB range, and have the budget for it, get the Mystery Amp.  

So with a level playing field and on speakers that can reveal the finest nuances the comparison turned up the following findings:

Sound stage and imaging is equal between the two amps.

The MK IV, like it's predecessors, has a very complex signature on multiple levels.  As a result it is endlessly seductive and fascinating to listen to.  On the standard digital format (16/44) that most people still use, I found it made the recordings more enjoyable to listen to, while the Mystery Amp on the same files was less inspiring.

The Mystery Amp's signature - well, it doesn't have one. It's as honest as any high dollar solid state amplifier, but without the "92dB of Global Negative Feedback often seen in solid state designs", it's transparency is incomparable. This is where the term "LIQUID HONESTY" comes from. Liquidity and absolute honesty are two things in amp amplifier that rarely come together.  

When comparing the two amplifiers on hi-resolution files and vinyl, the Mystery Amp has the ability to take things to a level slightly beyond the abilities of the MK IV, and if it didn't, the Mystery Amp would be considered a failure.

On vinyl, I found using my 450.00 Grado cartridge, both amps were keepers. I could happily live with either one. Using my Fidelity Research cartridge with the van den Hul tip, which has considerably more resolution, I found the Mystery Amp to once again come out on top.

SO, if someone asks me which amp they should get, I'm going to first ask what kind of speakers they have to determine if both amps are even candidates. If both amps ARE candidates, then I'm gong to ask what kind of source is being used... and what formats are being played.  If they tell me they have an NAD CD player, we aren't going to talk about the Mystery Amp. If they tell me they have bit perfect output to a high resolution DAC and only listen to 24 bit files, we probably aren't going to talk about the MK IV unless there is a budget involved.

Hope this helps!

Steve



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will
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #148 - 09/12/13 at 22:48:26
 
Thanks for the overview Steve. This is helpful. I envy you folks that will be able to AB the two new amps at Decfest!
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Alainjoel
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #149 - 09/15/13 at 05:17:28
 
Stereo with separate subwoofer amp
Re:the mystery amp.
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