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The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 141022 times)
stone_of_tone
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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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maddog07
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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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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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stone_of_tone
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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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maddog07
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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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stone_of_tone
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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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Steve Deckert
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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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will
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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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stone_of_tone
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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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Lord Soth
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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 »  

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Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
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Zen Select #76
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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 »  

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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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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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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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