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Novice on Tubes (Read 1089 times)
Grampswyatt
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Novice on Tubes
05/14/13 at 16:03:11
 
I have been looking for a hi-fi system for several months. Lets say it has been over 30 years since my last system. That consisted of a Yamaha integrated amp, B&O turntable and Klipsch Cornwalls all purchased in the 70's. No tuner, just LP's. Just don't listen to it loud anymore. Want a system that is low volume/high detail.... which led me to this site. I realize I am asking quite a bit from those whose knowledge is way above my level. Thanks for your help in advance.

Anyway, I have on order some 944's. Room is ceramic tiled with rug in center. This room is my home office, in it 10+ hours a day. Room is 9-1/2 x 23'. 1 Long wall is windows, other long wall opens up (DBL French doors) into bedroom. It is not the most idea room but it is what I have. I need some direction on a few items if I could ask. I will not be using headphones so no need to go there.

My amp selection is between the TOR II Mk3 or the SE34I.3. I am leaning to the SE34I if it will drive the 944's nicely.

I plan to use my old DVD player till I decide on what to do about a CD player. I have a Pioneer Elite DV-37. Do I use this along with a DAC device or one of the Zbox-ZStage's? I get a little confused on the way to get the better results out of a sub-par disc player. Replace it or improve it?

Next, I need direction on best way to get digital music from my computer to the amp. Get a good sound card, go to a DAC or one of the ZBox/ZStage, to the amp?

Finally get a turntable. It would most likely have a MC cartridge so would I need a phono pre-amp with one of my selected Decware amps from above?

I guess I have asked enough. For now, have fun right now. Once again, novice on this so bear with me. Thanks
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Palomino
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #1 - 05/14/13 at 17:09:19
 
I can answer a few questions.  There are others that are more knowledgable, but I'll get the ball rolling.

I don't know the 944s.  Others on this forum have had or have the Torii and/or the SE34 in combination with these speakers and I'm sure can offer advice.  My sense is given your listening needs, yes, you will be fine with either.  The Torii will play them significantly louder.

You can run the CD player directly into either amp.  You will likely get better sound if you have a separate DAC.  You have to have either optical or coax output from your CD player to make use of the DAC.

Also, the best bet is to get a DAC to use with your computer as well.  Many come with USB inputs that allow you to run USB cord into the DAC and then on from the DAC to your amp using RCA terminated cords.

You will need a phono preamp if you intend to listen through a Decware amp.  MC is less common so check to be sure what you have before you buy a phono preamp.  Some only have enough gain for a MM catridge which is much more common.  If you intend to switch back and forth from CD and phono, you'll want multiple inputs on your amp or an external switchbox (also made by Decware).

Others can comment on the need/benefits of the Zstage/Zbox.  It can improve your sound, but is not necessary.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Chord QuteHD with Linear Power Supply, Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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beowulf
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #2 - 05/14/13 at 18:41:01
 
Hi Grampswyatt and welcome to the forums.  Palomino gave some good advice.  The Torii should drive most efficient speakers (94dB+) fairly loud in your room and the SE34I.3 would do good as well (but with even more efficient speakers 97dB+).  With low wattage tube amps you are best to stick with very efficient speakers ... the lower the wattage, the more efficient your speakers need to be in order to give you more headroom for volume.

What I've come to understand from people who have compared the Rachel SE34I.3 and the Super Zen SE84CKC that they are somewhat close in loudness even though the Rachel as a few more watts than the Super Zen, but the Torii will drive less efficient speakers to higher volumes.  So that gives you a few options ... if you want all the S.E.T. sexiness stick with the Super Zen or Rachel, but if you feel you may want the headroom to experiement with less efficient speaker designs than the Torii would be your best bet.

If it were me, I wouldn't put too much effort into CD playback ... a PC or MAC combined with a good DAC will match (and can even best) all but some of the best CD players out right now ... I think you would have to spend quite a few thousand $$$ to get a better sound out of a CD player compared to a computer with a good DAC.  If you have a lot of CD's, what I would do is Rip them to the hard drive of your computer and focus on the playback ease and great sound you can get from a DAC/PC combo and forget the CD player all together.

Ok, since the Rachel, Super Zen and Torii are integrated amps (the Rachel can be ordered as an integrated option) there is no need for a PreAmp (although there has been a lot of discussion that it can improve the dynamics of your system, but even still it is not necessary with those amps and can always be added later if you want to experiment).

The Super Zen comes with 2 inputs and the Rachel can be ordered with 2 inputs as well, so you have inputs for 2 sources (1) PC/DAC and (2) Turntable/Phono Preamp and you would be all set, however if more inputs are needed you can add a Switchbox to cover the rest otherwise you will have to switch cables back and forth between your sources.

If you want to listen to vinyl records then you need a turntable of (course Tongue), but you will also need a phono preamp as none of the Decware Integrated Amps have a phono stage/preamp built into them.  There are a lot of good ones out there depending on your budget, but I have heard amazing things about the Decware ZP3 Phono Preamp.

If you listed a budget we could help you get close to it, but the following setup would be a really good system.

1. Decware Super Zen SE84CKC or Rachel SE34I.3 Integrated Amplfier.
2. Decware ZP3 Phono Preamp (or an entry level phono preamp such as the Rega Fono MM or MC).
3. Rega RP3 or RP6 Turntable (or VPI makes great tables if you want to spend a little more).
4. Schitt Gungnir or Bifrost DAC (combined with your PC).
5. Speakers ... are pretty subjective, but if you like horns Klipsch's are really efficient, also Zu Audio, Tekton, Omega, Hoyt-Bedford and Blumenstein Audio make really efficient designs.
6. Speaker and Interconnect Cables and Misc.

If you wanted to improve the sound of your sources - you can add things like the ZBOX later and then experiment with Power Conditioning, Power/Interconnet/Speakers Cables, etc. but I would get a basic system setup first.

Anyways, that's my .02 ... enjoy your journey! Grin
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Grampswyatt
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #3 - 05/14/13 at 19:14:00
 
I certainly appreciate the advice/suggestions. Very helpful. I may not have made myself clear but I have some Decware speakers on order, the MG944's.
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Donnie
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #4 - 05/15/13 at 01:22:29
 
Grampswyatt,
I pretty much of the way am doing what you are thinking about. I have a Torii III with MG944's running off of a computer. I have a tendency to listen a bit louder than most around here so don't judge me too harshly.
I do sometimes listen at low levels early in the morning before the world wakes up and I can attest that the resolution of this combo works quite well.
Figure out if you want to be a Apple guy or a PC guy. Just remember you can buy 3 times the PC for the cost of a Apple. Get yourself a good DAC and rip all of your CD's to your hard drive. Get a good Audio player and sit back and enjoy. Simple and easy. Don't fall into the trap of trying to reinvent the wheel, simple, simple, simple!
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Owner of the infamous RED TORII
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #5 - 05/15/13 at 01:46:24
 
Low volume, high detail, all you need is a SUPERZEN, a good direct drive table such as a KAB modified TECHNICS. Forget about REGA, they are a PITA to operate, tweak and keep running right. You can get the ZP3 phono preamp or a REGA or other unit. Better yet, get a stereo receiver with a phono and tuner.

DM 944's will serve you well as a speaker; they should be ordered in 4 ohm resistance to mate well with the ZEN. The SE34I will drive the 8 ohm 944's nicely. The SE34 is a little more mellow than the ZEN. However, the ZEN has a front end bias switch up front where you can switch from cool to hot, if you know what I mean.
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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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Lon
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #6 - 05/15/13 at 01:52:44
 
I beg to differ, I have two Regas and they are easy to set up, stay set up, and they sound fantastic!
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #7 - 05/15/13 at 02:23:40
 
But Uncle Lon, what about having to lift the disc off of a spinning platter? You can't bear down on the record with a good cleaning brush or the platter will slow down or stop. The dust cover doesn't stay up. The VTA becomes problematic with some cartridges because you can't adjust the arm height. Changing from 33 to 45 RPM requires you to lift the platter and reposition the belt. I had REGA clones for a long time and went with direct drive because of convenience.
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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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Lon
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #8 - 05/15/13 at 03:06:11
 
I have no problem either lifting a disc off a spinning platter, or turning the unit off to change records. I clean my records with a SpinClean and just use a brush lightly when needed. No problem. I don't do 45 often at all, but with my main Rega RP3 I have the TTPSU and just push a button to change between speeds. I use Rega cartridges (one has an Exact2 the other an Elys2) and I love the sound and have no problems with them. No problems with my dust covers staying up at all. I guess Rega CLONES have all kinds of problems Regas don't.

I wasn't really a fan of direct drive in the past, and with the White Belt and TTPSU my main RP3 is dead on speed, has PRAT to die for and is more satisfying to me, in fact, than my digital front end most of the time.

So I'm glad you like yours, I love my Regas.
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« Last Edit: 05/15/13 at 03:07:06 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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beowulf
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #9 - 05/15/13 at 03:31:20
 
+1 for the Rega!

It's a no brainer, set it up once and forget about it.  If you're into endless tweaking though you may want to look elsewhere as Regas aren't meant for that.  I can lightly dust my records while it's on, but I use the Spin Clean as well so ...

+1 for the Spin Clean too! Wink

Lon, it's a great device and simplistic in nature isn't it?  It's a little bit pricey, but once I used it I wouldn't want to be without it!

Depending on your budget, the Rega Fono MM or MC isn't too bad, there are better, but as an entry level phono stage I think it's pretty decent for under $400.

Another one I've been looking at is Lounge MM LCR Phonograph Preamp ... for a little over $200 it's a great value and has really good user feedback.
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« Last Edit: 05/15/13 at 03:36:55 by beowulf »  
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Lon
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #10 - 05/15/13 at 04:35:08
 
Rega RP3 and Decware ZP3. . . great combination. I'm just saying. Smiley
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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marky
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #11 - 05/15/13 at 13:33:16
 
A gentle wipe with the anti static brush and lifting the record off and on while it`s still spinning I dont give a second thought to on my belt drive Roksan. The thought of using a weighty record clamp though, ugh. A session on the 12" singles once in a while is cool. Must get a spin clean.
I`ve just ordered one.  :)

I`ve been having a marathon session over a couple of weeks going through all of my cassettes. The Decware amps make them sound better than ever of course, but the surface noise on some albums that I recorded 25yrs ago is a good reminder that a spinclean is required !

Gramswyatt you`re fortunate to be going for the 944`s they look superb, and coupled with a Decware amp/s I`m sure you`ll be in for a treat.
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« Last Edit: 05/15/13 at 14:10:28 by marky »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.BenzLP , M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Grampswyatt
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Re: Novice on Tubes
Reply #12 - 05/15/13 at 21:45:57
 
Maybe another question.

What are benefits of Variable Line level outputs and V Caps.

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