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2013 DECFEST THREAD (Read 14275 times)
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.  It’s 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.

It’s 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) Didn’t 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.  It’s 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.  It’s 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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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #60 - 10/12/13 at 20:44:03
 
Quote:
P.S. It's Brianne - she doesn't like when people mess that up  ::)

My apologies to Brianne Embarrassed.  I should have double checked.

Dan
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #61 - 10/12/13 at 22:36:39
 
She was introduced to me as "Brie" I thought. That is why I put my hands in a small circle, to simulate a round cake of brie cheese.
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will
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #62 - 10/12/13 at 23:42:55
 
I am wondering....can anyone comment more on the sonic details of the MkIV. I am hearing a lot of interest in the Mystery...detail, neutrality...sounds like it has speed and brilliant resolution too. Probably something more making the magic as well?

And the MkIV. What are its signature traits? As I look at LRs great pics, I see russian OA3s and Ruby 5U4G-STs in the MkIV. Though they can work nicely, relative to some other tubes, from my experience anyway, they both hobble the sound in a similar ways...perhaps overly bright and open, and especially the Rubys...even a bit tinselly, lacking in body and subtle information...

The Mystery looks like no Rectifier tubes, and I can't tell, is there some kind of ST shaped OA3. I am just imagining that these tubes alone could make a mark on the comparison between the MKIV and Mystery, so asking for more impressions if anyone is up for it.


SteveC.

Can't say for sure how this would relate to hi-Res, but with my Tranquility, room setup, Pure Music settings, and the way I have my Torii MkIII set up and tuned, I am getting really amazing texture and harmonic information from Redbook. That was a Tranquility design priority though, using the theory that 16 bit 44.1K is actually a load of information if you can just access and exploit it musically.

Not that well done Hi-Rez is not better...just that 44.1 is a lot if fully grasped.

This also makes me think of your impressions of the upsampling with the Teac DAC. Where did that better high info come from??? Also, it makes me think of all the messing around I used to do in Pure Music, one being using a 32bit filter, which I really like. This manipulation's success or not seems to have a lot to do with the quality of a circuit, and if manipulation is employed, the soiund quality the designers put in there to do it. But we are talking about Rebook getting better from excellent technological implementation.

I am really not conceptually interested in Hi-Rez, not because I doubt I would like well recorded hi-rez, but what effect might that have on my enjoyment of other lesser recordings...this, price, and the limitations of Hi-Rez and many recordings, is why I have pursued squeezing the most I can out of the ubiquitous Redbook.
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« Last Edit: 10/13/13 at 00:21:26 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #63 - 10/13/13 at 04:18:35
 
Good point there will about the tubes in the machines.

I'd also like to do comparisons between well-seasoned machines whenever possible. One truth I've learned about Decware components is that they sound better and better over time, take a new one and one played hard and put up wet for years and there is quite a gap in sonic nature.

Like you I've been enjoying excellent Redbook sound and I also have had a fear of flying deeply into hi-res and becoming less satisfied with Redbook. Though I've a few hundred SACD discs and they're great, but they haven't caused me to frown on my CDs so. . . . Hi-res material sounds fantastic played through my PWD on DVD-R but I don't have a way to burn to DVD-R at the moment and that's okay. Redbook sounds so darned good.

The truth I've been discovering after a few years with my PS Audio Duo is that everything passing through it sounds really really good. And then there's the vinyl through the ZP3. Oh my. I'm so glad to be where I am system wise, and I'm very grateful and appreciative.
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« Last Edit: 10/13/13 at 14:10:32 by Lon »  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #64 - 10/13/13 at 13:25:06
 
Nice pics!
SteveC`s waited for, honest a-b comparison between the new mk4 and Mystery amp is just what Steve D hinted at when he told us there would be no vinyl at the fest now that the the new sampling rates had reached par and he was building a new amp. It`s not the death knell of anything but Steves nod to the many members here who regularly leave me thinking I`ve opened the NASA operating manual. You`re riding the wave, so Steves said `Here you are, go play`
And of course it`s for, as he says, difficult speakers, so you wont need to approach clipping if thats what you prefer.
Ample.

Then there is the multi talented mk4 which has more options and modes than ever.

The pic of the new ERR`s design looks stunning. I am really tempted.




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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #65 - 10/13/13 at 13:42:48
 
I don't know what I listened to through the mystery amp, but it sounded very good. The mystery amp paired up with the corner horns or the HR-1 really, really well. Was it the best sounding amp I ever heard? I don't know but it was really good and I think anyone could be happy with it. In my mind, it flexed its muscles with better speakers more than disappointed with lesser files. If I were buying a new amp, I wouldn't hesitate buying it. There is a synergy that happens between components in a system, some call it magic.. But a certain amp will sound better with certain speakers than it does with others. It's a fact, in my mind and it's hard to predict, but it happens. Remember, the joy we look for is about the music. If certain gear inhibits our enjoyment of the music, it should be a big consideration.

There's a saying I use: "Paradise is a wonderful place, but if one keeps looking for it, they will never find it"  :)
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« Last Edit: 10/13/13 at 13:54:34 by Cosmos »  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #66 - 10/13/13 at 18:07:39
 
Will,  My Mark III/Mark IV conversion will be arriving this Thursday,  so I'll gladly relay my sonic impressions to you, once I get a couple hundred hours on the new caps/wiring.

And believe me, I won't be using those stock Ruby rectifiers for my listening sessions!  They are ok for burn-in, but to say that they hobble the sound...in my experience with the Mark I, II, and III, that's somwhat of an understatement.  I have found Tungsol, Sylvania, National Union, Ken Rad, GE, and of course ANY RCA to be superior.  To my ears, anyway.  ...Also, Torii's rEally benefit from replacing the other stock tubes, especially the two inputs.  Most of you Decwarians already know that.

Lon,  I am fully in agreement with your comment about a well-seasoned Decware amp being much better sonically, than a fresh machine. Day and night difference.   I'm pretty excited about my Mark IV conversion. Although it'll need several hundred hours to fully break in the Jupiter's and other new caps, I already have 5000+ hours on the big iron (transformers).

Will, I owe you a PM or two. Coming later today!


Mike in Seattle area

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #67 - 10/13/13 at 18:44:41
 
Tgarden, I look forward to hearing your impressions. I agree on the rectifiers and inputs...and all the tubes for that matter. I change the big VRs often for tuning.

For rectifiers, in my MkIII, I keep putting back in Chatham 5R4WGYs. I seem to go back and forth between them and some 50's RCAs these days. The RCAs have heavy black plates and top/side, wide D getters. Thanks for the reminder on the Sylvanias. I will pull them out and try them. Mine are I think 40's (with the wires between the plates). Has any particular Rectifier panned as your favorite?

That each tube makes so much difference, this is why I wondered about the amp's tubes and how this effects their sound. I mean, if the MkIV is rich and luscious with those rectifiers and VRs...hmmm, hard to guess. I think the warm 6N1P workhorses must balance them a bit. But at the same time, these three tubes leave out some finesse and micro detail that is important to me.

And I too agree with Lon. The burn in is kind of a big deal on the Torii. I wonder...sounds like Steve changed your coupling caps...and other caps...I assume power supply caps??? but not transformers or chokes? Even with new power tubes though, it would seem you will be hearing where the amp is going in 200-300 hours as you suggest. I recall everything refining over several hundred, but particularly the bass and mid bass seem more obviously slow.

I wonder how many hours are on those amps and their tubes the Decfest folks got to hear?
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« Last Edit: 10/13/13 at 18:48:46 by will »  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #68 - 10/13/13 at 19:43:01
 
Will, I'll have to try out the Chatham 5R4WGY's, I have no experience with those. Ebay or dealer?

 1940's Sylvanias with the wires between the plates and bottom getters, are nice tubes, they should compare very well to the 50's and even the '40s RCA's.  Are they VT-244's or civilian production?  Should be about the same soundwise.

Favorite 5U4's...In the RCA's the 40's bottom getters are great, I sold Lon a NOS matched pair of those. I think he likes them. I've got a pair of 40's KenRads in my Decware ZSM's, they have good bass with nice highs. Soundstage was a bit unfocused in my Torii Mark III, though

Overall, I go back and forth between "older the better" RCA 5U4's, and Tung Sol 5U4's. 1950's and even the 60's Tung Sol's had great quality control, and sound good top to bottom with pretty decent bass.
I like them with both the Torii and the ZSMs.  I'm using Amperex 7308's for inputs in both systems, so that certainly affects the synergy. I used the Amperex 7308's in the Torii I, II, III.  The trick with the Tung Sols is finding a matched pair. Course, it's not so easy with the RCA's, either.

On my Mark IV conversion, the transformers and chokes are not changed (they are the same as the III) but the coupling caps (and from what I see in Steve's undercarriage photos)  the power supply caps are new.  Jupiter coupling caps and ??? power supply caps, along with the new wiring, will need the burn-in.

The Jupiter coupling caps that Steve put in my ZSM's, were 90% there, at 300 hours.  As per your intuition, with the III/IV conversion, I should hear where it's going at 200-300 hours.   Fully burned in at 500+??  Maybe. Already have 5000 hours+ on the transFormer/chokes.

Concerning the demo amps and tubes at Decfest, well..figuring 50-100 hours per week of play time(I'll be getting 110-115 hrs. wk. during my burn-in), they probably have no more than 500 hours on them.  Maybe less for the Mark IV.  

Always nice talking to you, Will.

Mike
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« Last Edit: 10/13/13 at 19:47:18 by tgarden »  
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #69 - 10/13/13 at 19:50:15
 
Did your blue Torii have tube rectification Mike? Huh
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #70 - 10/13/13 at 20:03:44
 
Hi Lin,  You are right!  It did not.  I've had too many Torii's.

I just saw my old Mark I yesterday, it now lives at a nearby friend's home.  I sold it to him for a grand about 8 years ago (with Amperex 7308's).  Sure wish I had it now.  Maybe the best amp Decware ever made.  

It actually drove my Legacy Audio Signature III speaker's with three 10" woofer's, rather well.  Not like the Mark III does, but still, it drove them nicely.  And what is the output on it? Something like 12 watts per channel?  A very sublime 12 watts.

it would be interesting to put some Jupiter coupling caps in a Mark I, and see if it was an improvement or not.

Mike
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #71 - 10/14/13 at 05:43:16
 
Mike,

My tube knowledge and buying is I am afraid a little more rough and tumble than yours. In it though, my luck has actually been notably better via Ebay as compared with the regular sellers.... and notably less cost too as long as I am patient, so all good.

I have been doing some listening with a pair of Chatham 5R4WGY and my recovered-from-the-back-of-the-cabinet Sylvania/Raytheon 40's 5U4G-ST. I can't remember how I got the latter. They were supposed to be matched, and they sound quite balanced switching channels. One is labelled Sylvania 5U4G VT-244 and the other Raytheon 5U4G. Construction looks just alike, except the bottom getter on the Sylvania is square, and on the Raytheon it is sort of a D shaped parasol looking getter (sort of) with a bigger flash. I recall these as being perhaps my most open and airy NOS 5U4G-STs, but still with good bass.

The Chathams I bought on ebay very inexpensively, asking for a matched pair. The other tubes are Amperex 7308, raytheon OC2, Westinghouse labeled (I think raytheon) OB2s, and cryo'd Mullard reissue EL34s. With this set, the Chathams are warmer and more plain in a 'real' sort of way...punchier and bigger, more powerful bass, and with more focus and edge definition throughout. The edges feather out nicely, just not as much as these 5U4s. Really good ambience local to the instruments and decent ambient decay, but less broad ambient info than these 5U4G-ST...

The 5U4Gs are more delicate with wider edges, leaner, more sense of fine detail, and thus more ambient spread. Maybe a bit more 'romantic' sounding...perhaps from less emphasis on the mid mids, and with a very nice upper mid and low high area, they have a more ethereal spacious sound. Not that the Chathams don't have a good spacious quality...they are just more big and focused. The 5U4G bass is real sounding. They are really nice tubes, ones I used to choose to balance slightly darker and denser tubes.

The Chathams might be too intense for me with more pushy OA3s in combination with these powerful Amperex 7308s. These slightly warm, less pushy, more open, and nicely textured OB3s blend well in this system/room. I have a tendency toward some lesser known 7DJ8s for similar reasons with these tubes...more spacious, textural, and less focused than the 7308s, but I go both ways. The Amperex 7308 has a great, fully developed tube sound.

In the end, I like both rectifiers quite a lot. Pretty similar in some ways, and pretty different tendencies also, but they both do their own things very well, and I can get used to either!

Of course...this could be all my funny sense of reality in this particular system! And though I used the Chathams a lot before the CSP3, now I am really out there as I adjust to it...The CSP3 is a powerful tool, with THREE more tube positions to blend with the MKIIIs 5 tube types! I love it though!

I will keep an eye open for some Tungsol 5U4G-STs! The thing I love about having a lot of different tubes, all the ones with good basic qualities can be well used by synergistic mixing and matching, each set opening fresh musical experiences!

Thanks Mike. Always a pleasure to hear your impressions and I really look forward to the MKIV settling in for you!
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« Last Edit: 10/14/13 at 05:45:59 by will »  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #72 - 10/16/13 at 22:52:20
 
Since my post, I've been reading a lot about hi res stuff and digital audio in general.

I'm a computer guy, so I understand bits and bytes.  I just don't know very much beyond the basics of 16bit PCM when it comes to audio.

Another thing I want to say is that I don't have a "refined ear", the way Steve and Bob can hear flaws... I can't judge well any single piece of equipment.  But it's very easy to tell when one thing is different/better than another when comparing between them.  (which is why I go to Peoria)

I too was a firm believer in "44.1khz is plenty.  96db dynamic range is plenty, and more than any master tape has". etc.   But hearing was believing at decfest. There was a difference when the sampling rate was tweaked.

I found a couple things that shed some light onto what I might have heard.  The difference was definitely on the treble end.  A high frequency roll off for 44.1 vs. 384khz playback.

These two pages have great info:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded
This one basically says: 24bits is unnecessary.  16bits has more dynamic range than we even use.  Especially with the compression (loudness wars) of cd's in the past decade or so).  (neat site: see Dynamic Range Database. http://www.dr.loudness-war.info )
The thread also says that sampling frequency does make a difference.  smaller and smaller time slices (more frequent sampling) allows for more accuracy, less error, less distortion.)
take away for me: Bit depth=blah.  sampling rate=yay.


http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/05/measurements-teac-ud-501-pcm-performance.h...
This post measures the TEAC dac, shows how good it is, etc., yeah, yeah. But it also points out a mode where Digital Interpolation is turned off (putting it in a Non Oversampling mode).  The frequency plot of this mode shows a substantial treble freq roll off compared to when interpolation is turned on.  (sine wave is jagged vs. interpolated to be smooth)
take away for me: The Teac has a mode that can lose lots of treble (maybe this was what we were hearing when playing with the sampling rate).

So, again, I can't judge a thing by itself well, but I hear the diff between the Mystery and Torii.  At first I didn't think the differences where that big. They were clearly audible differences, but they didn't seem worth it to me. (I know the price/performance plot is not linear. we all pay a lot more to get just a fraction better performance).  But after hearing how clear things could be on the very accurate Mystery, then by comparison, the looser, lusher Torii, was less preferable to me. (At the cost of making my poorly recorded favorite songs sound worse.)

I also want to make a point about a mistake we all make.  Psychologically, we all believe if A is better than B, then B must suck. Well, those of us with more than one decware amp know that they all do different things well, and overall, any of them are extremely fine amps on their own.  So when discussing torii3 vs. torii4 vs. Mystery... none of this means there's a bad amp in the bunch.  I know we all know this, but it's difficult for us sometimes to not make that judgment.  know what I mean?

So,
a) maybe there's some basis for the high freq roll off I heard.
b) high sampling rate, interpolated music can sound better than 16x44.1khz
c) all the decware amps are great and compare well to other brands.  we're splitting hairs. Smiley



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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #73 - 10/17/13 at 01:02:08
 

Awesome post!

I appreciate the time you took to voice all that. I think this is what makes this (small) forum great, is being able to express our thoughts and theories. I've had several crazy theories over the years myself...and I don't think Steve and Bob would be where they are now if they didn't say "what if" or , "I wanna try this and see what happens"

And honestly, if you could hear the difference between the Torii MK IV and Mystery amp, then your hearing is as good as anyone's. I know my fiance for example, no matter how closely she listened she couldn't hear a difference. It all sounded really good to her - she just couldn't split those hairs!  ;D
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #74 - 10/17/13 at 03:20:13
 


Thanks to everyone who attended this years fest!  Besides the 80 people who made the trip, we logged  188 people who watched the live feed!

I tried to post this years videos on demand but ran into technical issues and had to regroup.  Instead of putting them on the video server, I split them up into individual segments for each speaker/amp combination.  

So, these videos can be found here: http://www.decware.com/newsite/zenfest2013.html

And we also have this years killer pictures that can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/105633305@N07/

I'll be working on the web pages relating to the speaker changes, followed by the web pages dealing with the new Torii MK IV and Mystery Amp as time allows.

Thanks and don't forget we do listening appointments all year long including on weekends during the winter so you don't have to wait until DECFEST to visit.

-Steve



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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #75 - 10/17/13 at 05:11:07
 
Wow, the video's are cool ... so who else is feeling the DM945s with the bass cabinets are quite the show stoppers?  They even sounded good through my PC Cool
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #76 - 10/17/13 at 12:40:37
 
The 945s/passives were the show highlight for me with the mystery amp.

Anyone know what they are going to sell for?
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #77 - 10/17/13 at 12:45:43
 
Great pictures SteveC!  Thanks for taking the time to take these.
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #78 - 10/17/13 at 14:17:29
 
Quote:
The 945s/passives were the show highlight for me with the mystery amp.

Anyone know what they are going to sell for?


I believe Steve said the passive bass cabinets will be about as much as the speakers.

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #79 - 10/17/13 at 18:38:17
 
I'd put that in the good value category.  Even without any hardware on them, there is quite a bit to building those cabinets.
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #80 - 10/17/13 at 21:10:03
 
Quote:
Lonely Raven said,
I believe Steve said the passive bass cabinets will be about as much as the speakers.


+1 ... hearing rumors around $2000 ... which = excellent value IMO! Cool
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #81 - 10/18/13 at 02:44:13
 
SteveC  

Thanks for your research and thoughts. I guess DACs are like amps, we have all heard it... they can use a lot of the same technology and sound quite different. I get interested in tech, then tired, finally coming back to the same place... the sound is not at all just the parts and technology, but the voicing of those things together. And this puts me back to getting stuff that is made by folks I believe in and who know sound the way I like it.

I guess I think the ear is probably the most important part in the final design process when all the parts matter...caps, resistors, wires, chips, input and output section parts and configurations, vibration control, solder, connectors ....then it is up to us with components, cables, feet, tubes...lots and lots of variations possible with the same stock DAC or amp.

I went through a lot of comments and tech talk when I decided to try my Tranquility DAC...a DAC not at all in the trend of high resolution and async popularity. And though I tend to mistrust some aspects of trends (especially with all the latest tech truths blaring on), I still find it seductive, but finally I decided to try the super simple, NOS, 44.1/16 Tranquility anyway. A lot of hard core listeners agreed that it sounded more like the music than a lot of other offerings.....for many, better than most popular DACs up to 3 times its price, no matter the Res, bit rate, async... like Ayre, Wired For Sound, PSAudio Perfect Wave, Wavelength and so on....

Me, in the gear sticks, I had no real way to try stuff. So I talked to the developer, and I liked what I heard...a smart guy, clearly on a creative quest. Reminded me of the first time I talked to Steve Deckert, you can tell when they are "on it" in a personal quest for great audio.

In hand, the Tranquility was much better than my pretty heavily modded Oppo 83, the Rega Apollo I had, and my ZDAC/Zstage combo. It had this great way of not being there and was particularly brilliant at the upper range of information, presenting subtle micro detail, ambience and shimmer in remarkably clear and musical ways. Then after getting the new output stage, the DAC outdid itself notably, and I have had no real desire to look further. REal feeling music in this room has remained my goal, and I have it.

My system clearly reveals traits of different ICs, different feet and foot placement, power cables, tubes, and the rest. I know I would not hear a lot of what I hear if my front end were not very, very resolving and musical. And actually, it is not just the Tranquility, but how it works with a tweaked Mac Mini, highly adjustable Pure Music player software, a great USB power interface, and cable and feet synergy.  

So is 44.1 enough...Clearly all DACs are not created equal, no matter the tech, and it may still just depend.

The Tranquility team had very good ears and minds. They got where they were going with repeated blind testing in multiple systems, and comparisons to master tapes. They surprised themselves that they could not get more of what they liked with high res and async. And if you think about it, you would have to be a fool in this Hi-Res/async world to try to market a NOS DAC if you did not feel it was solidly better.

Anyway, I am content for now with this particular 44.1/16 DAC, and it likely would have made the Mystery amp and the MkIV sound different than the Teac. Who knows just how, but likely different, and probably very good if my system is an indicator.

I appreciate your input on those two amps by the way.

It will be really interesting to hear reports of how they work in different rooms, and with different components, feet, cables and so on as more Decware lovers get them. I did not like the Torii MkIII anywhere near as much at first as I do now that I have adjusted the amp itself, and the rest of the system/room with it as part of the whole. And my guess is that listening to it here, it would sound like family, but perhaps not necessarily like the same amp in comparison to a stock MkIII in Steve's system/room.

This is part of what I love about the Torii...it lets us adjust it to our own system/rooms and tastes, while stimulating creative refinement with all the other parts...working together to get that captivating players in the room feeling. That is an incredible thing!

I guess all this rambling has convinced me that I am probably very good with my MkIV order. It will be great fun to play with.

Thanks,

Will
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« Last Edit: 10/18/13 at 05:15:14 by will »  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #82 - 10/18/13 at 03:34:15
 

I'm listening to my modded Zen-A, trying out "new" music, and I keep thinking to myself...I wonder what this is going to sound like on the Mystery amp!? It's going to be like rediscovering my collection all over again. Even now, listening to discs I've heard hundreds of times, I'm catching things I've never heard before. It's going to be a long 10+ weeks...

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #83 - 10/20/13 at 03:59:15
 
Dear fellow audiophiles,

Did anyone manage to hear the new ERRx speakers at the Decfest?

Any A-B comparisons made?

I'm was thinking of getting a pair of Zu Soul superflys to pair with my Torii MK 4.
However with the new Decware ERRx announcement from Steve, i'm seriously tempted and I'm back to the planning stage again. Wink

Would appreciate any comments even from those who only heard the older ERR model.
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #84 - 10/20/13 at 04:01:11
 

Go back and listen to Steve's overhead videos. Even with the basic sure microphones, you get an idea of what the ERRs are capable of.

The more I think about it, the more I'm aiming for a set for myself later next year!
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #85 - 10/20/13 at 06:43:08
 
Because I'm accustomed to HDT's, I'm used to the very direct, in your face presentation in the sweet spot.  When I heard the ERR's last year at decfest, I noted how the sound came from everywhere. I didn't pay attention to sound stage.  At this years decfest, when I heard the new ERRs, I was very intrigued and impressed... the speakers were quite close to me on the couch, but the music/soundstage was way back against the wall by or behind the amps.  that trick was novel to me.  I hadn't heard soundstage thrown back that far on other speakers.  It usually floats between or just behind the speakers... not on the rear wall.  really, I stared at the ERR's just 6 feet in front of me and couldn't believe the sound coming from 14 feet back was really coming from the speaker.  I mentioned it to someone sitting next to me on the couch, but don't remember who it was.  I don't remember this 'trick' on last years ERR's, but I might not have paid attention.

$0.02



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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #86 - 10/20/13 at 12:42:17
 
As a previous owner of RL1 speakers that became RL2 speakers and now an owner of ERR speakers, I can say that the older models projected that sort of image and sound stage with ease, and I imagine that the new model excels at this. What I saw as the biggest improvement through the development of the three models I have is the tonal balance, the midrange became progressively more transparent and bass both quicker and deeper.

I bet the new model is something else!
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #87 - 10/20/13 at 13:34:38
 
Hi Gang, I've just been browsing back through my favourite Decware threads (I see my first input was back in 2006). I will keep browsing.
It is great to see Decware products are still putting the rest to shame.
It has probably been mentioned already (I haven't read that far), but when is Decfest 2014. I'm due for some holidays. A trip to ole Blimey is on the cards and maybe I can squeeze in a visit to USA.
Cheers,
Valiant
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #88 - 10/20/13 at 17:09:01
 
Hmmmm...I didn't hear the ERRx this year, or, like Steve did last year, didn't pay that much attention.  I was more interested in hearing the Rachel amp with HDT's.  Like Steve, I have HDT's and really like the sound in the sweet spot, although my pair does have a deep, wide sound stage.  Probably room dependent.  I'll have to listen more intently next year, especially if I get the Rachel I'm saving up for.

Valiant, Decfest is held every year on the fist full weekend in October, beginning on Friday at 10:00 AM.  Look for info next year around august.

Dan  

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #89 - 10/20/13 at 19:56:13
 

The nice thing about the Radial speakers, is that they are less dependent on the room, or room treatment to get that big soundstage. They project music more like the instruments that created the music.

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #90 - 10/20/13 at 21:03:50
 
Quote:
Will said,
The Tranquility team had very good ears and minds. They got where they were going with repeated blind testing in multiple systems, and comparisons to master tapes. They surprised themselves that they could not get more of what they liked with high res and async. And if you think about it, you would have to be a fool in this Hi-Res/async world to try to market a NOS DAC if you did not feel it was solidly better.


Last February Eric Hider sent me an email that said to be on the lookout for a battery powered 32/384 DAC that can play any resolution at native.  They said it was going to be a few months which would have been June/July, so they must have had some delays getting it into production.

You should hold out if you are that pleased with the Tranquility at 44.1/16 ... I can imagine the 32/384 DAC will not be a disappointment since they have been working on it for a while now. Cool
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #91 - 10/25/13 at 22:56:17
 
Quote:
Hi Gang, I've just been browsing back through my favourite Decware threads (I see my first input was back in 2006). I will keep browsing.
It is great to see Decware products are still putting the rest to shame.
It has probably been mentioned already (I haven't read that far), but when is Decfest 2014. I'm due for some holidays. A trip to ole Blimey is on the cards and maybe I can squeeze in a visit to USA.
Cheers,
Valiant
aka
Gary


Gary... Dec/Zenfest is always the first full weekend of October as I understand it.  I went in 2012 and this year... and that's when it was. So for 2014, that would be October 3, 4 and 5th.
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #92 - 10/25/13 at 23:40:45
 
I too was seduced by the ERR's at Zenfest 2012... but at that time was way into my 1st DIY single, full-range, high-efficiency, xoverless speaker build (think HDT-like), so didn't pursue the ERR's at that time.  My goal at the 2012 fest was "amplification" for my DIY's, which led me initially to a SE34 and then my current Torii MK.III.
I was surprised to see the ERR disappear from the Decware website earlier this year.. but then learned they were being replaced by the new ERRx - so that explained that.  
Then I just saw them at Zenfest a few weeks ago, but for some reason, I was never around when they were actually in the listening room and thus never heard them.

Since they are now available for purchase in the "new" section of the website, I may have to give a pair a go in 2014.  Despite their excellent 2-ch stereo listening potential, I cannot imagine a better speaker for HT duty.... can you imagine two pair of these - Front L/R and rear L/R surround?  I'll bet good $$$ it would be better than a 5, 6 or maybe even 7 ch setup w/conventional speakers in terms of the all encompassing sound field produced..!!!  

Back at the 2012 fest, I was also impressed by the 945.  So much so, that I bought a pair about a month before this year’s fest, and took delivery while I was there.  Got them breaking in now.

I gotta tell ya, for me personally, I prefer the sound of the 945 in its stock form, without the dust cap/phase plug mod. and without the passive TL bass extension stands.  Yep, it’s a novel approach to bass extension as we’ve come to expect from Steve & Co., and it works.  However,  I've been a "boxless" speaker convert for 20+ years, stats, planar ribbons, etc.  I have six different pairs of speakers on-hand right now as I have come to accept that no one type of speaker does everything the best for all types of music in all room acoustical situations.  Three pair in my existing stable are boxless types.  I guess I've just become too acclimated to the pure sound of these types of speakers where there is no box resonances or colorations.  IMHO the 945 exhibits far less “awk” coloration in its monitor form.. I choose to add the last couple of octaves, with authority to the extent I desire via the remote volume control, of a Velodyne powered sub... total sonic picture is much cleaner to my ears... of course YMMV.

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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #93 - 10/26/13 at 02:55:48
 
I know people are using the ERRs for HT Duty, but I on the other hand like my dialog aimed directly at me.  It's the most important part of the movie and I think movie soundtracks in general are meant to be separated by pinpoint sounds and deviances.  I cannot imagine the dialog and other parts of a soundtrack radiating all over the room would be all that great (but of course this is just my opinion and I've never had the pleasure of listening to the ERRs).

I think a speaker like the 945 or 944 would be much more enjoyable for movie playback (especially the center channel).  For surrounds I think ERRs would be pretty cool, but way too expensive.
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Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #94 - 03/13/14 at 15:48:33
 
Hi Steve, Gary (Valiant) from Australia.
Any dates for the 2014 DECFEST?
I can possibly squeeze in a 2 week teleport to the US, would like to pick up a trip to Kennedy Space Centre, or Houston.
Cheers,
Gary
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Lin
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Posts: 292
Re: 2013 DECFEST THREAD
Reply #95 - 03/13/14 at 22:47:48
 
First weekend in October.
3rd 4th and 5th in 2014.
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