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2013 DECFEST THREAD (Read 20284 times)
Douger
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #45 - 10/08/13 at 09:08:14
 
I was also hoping to come this year, but ill relatives out  West made it impossible. Maybe next year...
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #46 - 10/08/13 at 19:05:37
 
This is the first chance I have had to post since returning home from Peoria ..... it's a busy life .....

My sincere thanks to the entire Decware family for this year's Zen Fest. †Good music, people and refreshments ..... what more can a person ask for.

There was an unusually good turnout on Friday and it was good to see some familiar faces again and meet quite a few new attendees.

A lot of different amplifier / speaker combinations were heard and the "mystery amp" did not disappoint. It sounded very good with every pair of speakers it was paired with.

As usual, I heard a lot of new music that will be added to my collection in the near future .....

Unfortunately, I had to leave Saturday evening to attend another yearly event with my wife that takes place near my home in Caintuck.

Looking forward to Zen Fest 2014 .....

Randy

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Rivieraranch
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #47 - 10/09/13 at 02:30:39
 
I had a completely wonderful time. The only complaint I had was the weather. it wasn't COLD enough! I enjoy the bonfire, which just did not happen this time. Maybe next year.

Steve has outdone himself again with these new products. He never ceases to amaze me with his creativity. The TORII MK IV in particular along with the Mystery Amp (is that what it will be called going forward?) are superb creations indeed.

The hospitality is top notch as always.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #48 - 10/11/13 at 13:05:34
 

First off, I wasn't playing photographer this weekend. I was trying to relax and listen...*really* getting into photog mode tires me out and makes me no fun. So I only snapped a couple photos. Remember, the the lighting was comfortably dim, and I don't use flash; so my depth of field is pretty shallow.


My gallery for this event can be found here. I doubt anyone feels these photos are print worthy, but if anyone wants a print, I can activate that feature in the gallery and you can order copies for yourself.

http://lonelyraven.zenfolio.com/p436352064













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Lon
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #49 - 10/11/13 at 13:50:17
 
Nice pics! Smiley
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Lord Soth
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #50 - 10/11/13 at 14:08:11
 
Thanks for the lovely pics, raven! Smiley

Is that a Mystery Amp x2?

I'm referring to the one with the Russian Mig fighter jet tubes.
I recognize  them from a similar looking  Almarro Japanese amp which also uses the same bad ass Russian tubes.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #51 - 10/11/13 at 14:21:08
 
Wow, good eye, Soth! That's exactly what Steve said those tubes are.

I don't know much about that amp, I think it's the one that Steve called the unobtainable and/or unaffordable amp. I believe the speakers are driven directly from the tube, no output transformer (if I understood the technology correctly). I hope Steve chimes in on it a bit as I don't want to misspeak, but since it's directly tube driven, the cost of keeping matching tubes in it makes it unaffordable.

A couple months back, Steve messed with me a bit with this amp...he asked if I wanted to listen to the unaffordable amp to get an idea of what really pure music would sound like...then he played some low rez files on it...my brain almost exploded. On one hand, the sound wrapped around the room...it was really amazing, but then on the other hand, it sounded itchy, and had a terrible sibilance that was driving me nuts (due to the low rez files). I almost yelled out for him to stop the music (I probably should have, but I was really confused with what I was hearing) - then he bounced between a bunch of tunes and watched my reactions to gauge what I was hearing. R&D he calls it. Melting my brain is what I call it. † Grin
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« Last Edit: 10/11/13 at 14:58:16 by Lonely Raven »  
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Lord Soth
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #52 - 10/11/13 at 14:43:11
 
Hmm .....that would make the "Unobtainable" amp a giant sized version of the CSP2/3 for driving speakers.

I'm not an audio engineer but I know that one of the reasons why the CSP2/3 sounds so good is because of the OTL design.

Thanks for sharing your audio experience. Smiley


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« Last Edit: 10/11/13 at 15:17:45 by Lord Soth »  
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Auguie
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #53 - 10/11/13 at 22:53:50
 
Raven,

GREAT PICS...now I'm sure I need to arrive on Friday. †It looks like I missed a lot of great music and interaction with everybody. †Next year for sure Smiley.

Oh...BTW, when I talked with you guys on Sat, Brianna had the camera. †She would have to go some to improve on your technique. †

Auguie
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SteveC
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #54 - 10/11/13 at 23:28:54
 
I went to Decfest because I was so curious about the Torii 4 and mystery amp.  I have a Torii 3 and think it's be best thing since sliced bread.

So, when I got there, I had this attitude... "These amps better show me some reason to spend the money to upgrade... or else, I just won't."

I listened to the Torii4. It was great, much like the Torii3 from my memory.  Switched to the mystery and it was great too.  The differences seemed small.  The tori had a slightly fatter ass, more bottom end. More lush, smooth, delicious. The mystery amp was more rigid, clean, more controlled.  It seems to have a much tighter vise grip on every note comming out of the speakers. accurate. I listened mostly with hr1's, 945's+passive subs, and HDT's.

First impression/conclusion.  Not really a big difference between the Toriii4 and mystery.  Maybe the kt66's sound better than the el34's, so maybe getting a 4 for the price of a 3 is the thing to do.  The Mystery didn't impress.

Steve's new Teac UD 501 DAC is also very interesting.  They switched up-sampling on and off (44.1 kHz to 384 kHz music) and you could clearly hear some top end loss when it was turned off.  New lesson for me: upsampling cd quality music really does sound better. (I never would have guessed this.  Like getting something from nothing.)

Later on Steve put on high res music files, and then I was in trouble.  Now the difference between the mystery amp and Toriii 4 became hugely apparent.  That tight anal grip the mystery amp has on each note..... Well it is perfect for accurately, truly rendering high res music. I never realized it could be that sharp, clear, and real.  I went back to playing my old favorites in low res and they all sounded like crap by comparison.  High res on the mystery amp showed me there is a whole new level of ball game going on above what my Toriii 3 (and the 4) is doing.  Itís really in a different league.  

Second impression/conclusion.  The mystery amp is way better than I realized, but only if I have good source material.  All the music (all mine is cd 44.1) sounds just OK on it.  Not good enough to show it's true capabilities.  

So, the dilemma.  I risk making all my cd quality library sound "just average" if I get a mystery amp.  I can enjoy my favorite songs better on a Toriii 3 or 4.  And really, since I only have a Zdac and a Bifrost, I really should money into the DAC before the next amp.

Itís funny, now that I think back, Steve said this very same thing about the mystery amp ruining CD quality music for him.  This is what he meant.  This amp is made for music that I don't own yet. I haven't started building a high res library because a) cost.  b) Didnít think it mattered. c) My favorite music probably won't exist high res ever.   The Mystery Amp is the vehicle to explore high res music.  It separates the men from the boys when it comes to recording quality.  If you have a high res collection, you want this amp.  

I just don't know if I want to invest in a high res collection.

This revelation also changes the calculus about other parts of the system for me.  Now will speaker wires and power cords and interconnect differences be even more profound?  Will the mystery amp show me things or flaws I haven't heard before? (Generally, I'm of the opinion that wires are the last thing that matter, meaning they have the smallest effect on sound compared to the amp/speakers/DAC/room)

So there's my take.  There exists this magical level of music reproduction above my current CD/Toriii3/HDT existence.  I thought it was myth. But it's real.  Such a dilemma.

On the speaker front, the HR-1's sounded great on both amps.  The HDT's... I listened to them of course because I have them... my reference point.  The 945's were very good last year with the Rachel.  And very good on the Toriii4 and mystery.  But it's true, when you hear them on the passive subs... They become "full size" speakers. They sound so good and full that you can't go back to just the bookshelf.  The horn sub basically makes them sound like a DNA and a 944 or HR-1 had kids.  You get that full bass, and you don't pay for it in the mids and highs at all.  Itís actually a little boomy on the Toriii4.  Less so on the mystery amp because of that superman grip that amp has on the speaker.   That makes the bass coming from combination of mystery amp + 945 + horn subs, the best, lowest, tightest sound.   Add to that some high res songs...  that's an amazing experience.





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maddog07
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #55 - 10/11/13 at 23:34:11
 
Quote:
Thanks for the lovely pics, raven! Smiley

Is that a Mystery Amp x2?

I'm referring to the one with the Russian Mig fighter jet tubes.
I recognize †them from a similar looking †Almarro Japanese amp which also uses the same bad ass Russian tubes.


that is an "experimental" output transformerless amp that Steve said he could never feasibly bring to production, but that it sounds absolutely amazing.
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Lon
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #56 - 10/11/13 at 23:44:08
 
Everyone, thanks for your impressions.

Steve, interesting impressions and thanks for sharing. I'm really a "software" over "hardware" guy and my goal for the hardware is to have it bring out the best in my many (many!) recordings. Most of them don't sound that great when a really really revealing system trots them out for display, so I think the Mystery Amp would be not the best choice for me. With all the flexibility and it's natural character I've been able to get a very musical sound for a broad range of recordings with my Mk III, and it's a wonderful thing, haven't had that sort of broad range of satisfying sound for decades before.

I love SACD, have a great player and quite a bit of dics. Other Hi Res is wonderful, I have some, but I'm not going to go there and start collecting those in abundance as I have a lifetime's worth of music right now (doesn't stop me from buying more CD and vinyl, but don't want to go computer audio and so Hi Res is sort of not in my ball park.

Thanks for sharing your impressions and putting them in that framework.
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« Last Edit: 10/12/13 at 01:28:27 by Lon »  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #57 - 10/12/13 at 02:04:13
 
Great pics LR!  Are those the newly re-designed ERR's?
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tgarden
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #58 - 10/12/13 at 02:17:33
 
Did anyone play any vinyl at Decfest? †If so, I'm curious how the Mark III, Mark IV, and Mystery amp, compared to each other.

My Mark III/IV conversion shipped today, so I guess I'll find out how it sounds on vinyl, later next week.

Mike in Seattle area

PS †a lot of stuff at Decware shipped today and is going out next Monday, also
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« Last Edit: 10/12/13 at 06:50:43 by tgarden »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #59 - 10/12/13 at 07:24:25
 
Quote:
Oh...BTW, when I talked with you guys on Sat, Brianna had the camera.  She would have to go some to improve on your technique.


That's very nice of you to say so; I appreciate it. I'm still a beginner, but I've been told I have an eye for it. I'm not that familiar with Bri's camera, but I know enough to get by.   Smiley   P.S. It's Brianne - she doesn't like when people mess that up  ::)

Quote:
Later on Steve put on high res music files, and then I was in trouble.  Now the difference between the mystery amp and Toriii 4 became hugely apparent.  That tight anal grip the mystery amp has on each note..... Well it is perfect for accurately, truly rendering high res music. I never realized it could be that sharp, clear, and real.  I went back to playing my old favorites in low res and they all sounded like crap by comparison.  High res on the mystery amp showed me there is a whole new level of ball game going on above what my Toriii 3 (and the 4) is doing.  Itís really in a different league.  

Second impression/conclusion.  The mystery amp is way better than I realized, but only if I have good source material.  All the music (all mine is cd 44.1) sounds just OK on it.  Not good enough to show it's true capabilities.  


So this explains why everyone was asking if my files were High Rez files after my own listening session putting the MK IV, Mystery, and my Zen Amp (LOL) up against each other in the room. All my files were CD Rips I did myself just before the drive down - and I heard more than a little difference between the MK IV and Mystery - enough so that I put in my order on the Mystery. I look forward to spending some time with it on higher res files! (I admit, I kinda went into this with very little knowledge of the Mystery amp, I was fully expecting to put my order in for the Torii, and was really there to listen to *that* amp (the Torii MK IV), I wasn't expecting to be blown away by the Mystery)



Quote:
Steve, interesting impressions and thanks for sharing. I'm really a "software" over "hardware" guy and my goal for the hardware is to have it bring out the best in my many (many!) recordings. Most of them don't sound that great when a really really revealing system trots them out for display, so I think the Mystery Amp would be not the best choice for me. With all the flexibility and it's natural character I've been able to get a very musical sound for a broad range of recordings with my Mk III, and it's a wonderful thing, haven't had that sort of broad range of satisfying sound for decades before.


I really understand this now...and Steve warned me when I was shopping for speakers and maybe a bigger amp, that I might not like some of my recording anymore. I rejoice when my gear helps make clunky recordings sound listenable!

That said, I like the detail and neutrality in my gear - probably to a fault. Part of me says it just helps me weed out the weak recordings, but the truth is I worry about being so hyper-anal-detailed, that it loses the life that's caught in all recordings. While I agree the Mystery was a very neutral sound compared to the MK IV, I also recognize that it made music pour out of the speakers and fill the room, and it had a harmonic content that I found astounding. Not just micro-detail, but something more. Again, these just standard FLAC CD rips.


Quote:
Great pics LR!  Are those the newly re-designed ERR's?


Yes - Bob mentioned that to me when I saw them there. I'm not sure I got a chance to listen to them. I don't recall...I was trying to ignor speakers as I just got a pair - I was very focused on finding my next amp!

So, I just finished re-reading the whole Mystery Build Tread, paying closer attention to what Steve said now that a Mystery amp is something in my near future - I wasn't trying or wanting to like a $5000 amp! Steve has some great insights into the amp and Amp Building and Design in general. I'm glad I read it looking for details.


On a similar thread, has Steve said anything about the NOS RED caps yet? I doubt I'm going to upgrade to those...at least not at $500 - but I'd like to hear Steve's take on why have them vs OEM.

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