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Anyone there to help? (Read 4606 times)
Rose
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Anyone there to help?
08/17/13 at 18:57:05
 
I'm very interested in Decware products and have some questions. It's been weeks since I've emailed three different people and left a voice mail message, but nobody has gotten back to me. Nobody ever picks up the phone no matter when I call. Is anyone even there? Customer service is non-existent, which is very disappointing. It makes me wonder how warranty and other issues will be handled if you can never get a hold of anyone. I decided to try one more time before I move on. Is there anyone who can help me?
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Lon
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #1 - 08/17/13 at 19:47:46
 
Rose,

Sorry to hear the frustrating results of your attempts at communication. If you were to post your questions here, on this thread, I'm sure that forum members will do their best to answer. Try us!
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Doorman
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #2 - 08/17/13 at 19:54:11
 
I hear you. It's intensely frustrating to be supplied contact info. and getting no response.
Even a good reason for no response leaves the (potential) customer no less frustrated--- Angry
don

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Rivieraranch
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #3 - 08/17/13 at 20:55:50
 
What is your question?
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #4 - 08/17/13 at 23:58:00
 
I have a lot of questions, and I prefer to speak with somebody at Decware. However, I do have one question for you guys. I'm interested in the zen mini torii 2. It says that it can be used without a preamp. Has anyone used it this way? What are your thoughts? I have sensitive speakers and don't need a lot of power. They're Tekton Lore-S speakers.

BTW, I originally wanted to purchase Decware speakers, but nobody ever responded to my questions. Has anyone had better luck contacting Decware? How do current owners get in touch with anyone? I'm hesitant to give my business to a company with such poor customer service.  
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dla405j
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #5 - 08/18/13 at 01:18:10
 
As a customer of decware for many years and made numerous phone calls and visits I have found their customer service to be top notch..the whole crew there has taken time with me and been cordial and very helpful.  add a lifetime warranty and the highest quality products that last forever plus design and engineering that is cutting edge and you have a company that is the best of the best.  Don't give up just call again...it's a small operation with everybody involved in producing the best products at reasonable prices..they are very busy multitasking so you may have just hit them at the wrong time....
dla405j
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Lon
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #6 - 08/18/13 at 01:41:25
 
I agree with dla, I find their customer service to be excellent when I reach them, but it can take time and be a bit frustrating to reach them. Calling is best, which is not my favorite way, but it works. Usually when I write to Steve I get a response, and that is also the case with DeVon and Sarah, but it can take time.

As for the Mini-Torri and a preamp:  I haven't owned the Mini-Torii but I have owned six other Decware amps and all can be used quite successfully without a preamp. A very good preamp  can bring an additional somethng special to the sound, but they are very satisfying without a preamp.

The illustrious builder of the speakers Bob Zeigler has had serious health issues in the past month and is on the mend and so speaker waiting is long and perhaps communication is slow. But the speakers are well worth the effort, I can't imagine not having a few pairs!

Best of luck and welcome.
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #7 - 08/18/13 at 01:53:29
 
Thanks for the responses. I'll try calling a few more times, but I don't want to wait too much longer. It shouldn't take weeks or months to respond to customers regardless of the size of the company. The amps do look pretty solid, but there are plenty of other American companies that make amps. Like I said, I wanted to try one last time before I move on.
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Lon
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #8 - 08/18/13 at 02:56:37
 
Rose, Decware is in my estimation worth the effort, and regulars here can help a lot with questions and information. Buying my first Zen amp launched me into a whole new realm of listening enjoyment and involvement. If I examine it closely and objectively, it appears their products have really become an important part of my daily life. I love music, they get me to the music.
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busterfree
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #9 - 08/18/13 at 03:33:52
 
I use the mini torii without a preamp, and I like it. I have found that reviewing old threads helped to answer my questions when I was thinking of buying the amp.

I think its ability to work with low output sources (like ipods) is positive feature not found on their other amps.
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #10 - 08/18/13 at 05:18:29
 
I honestly don't know which amp is the most suitable for my speakers. I am so new to all of this, which is why I wanted help from Decware. I just bought my first speakers. Until recently I didn't even know what a preamp was. I've been researching and learning, but I am still confused about a lot of things.
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beowulf
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #11 - 08/18/13 at 08:01:22
 
Hi Rose, the Tektons are pretty efficient and are suitable for low powered tube amps.  Can you tell us a few things ...

1. What is your listening room size? (w x d x h)

2. How loud do you like to listen to music? (are you looking to throw raves or listen moderately)

3. What and how many source components will you have? (i.e. Turntable, DAC, CD Player, etc.)

4. Will you be listening "near field" or further back? (nearfield = close to speakers 6' or less)

A lot of guys can chime in and help you narrow down a nice amp or integrated.
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #12 - 08/18/13 at 16:54:51
 
Beowulf,

1. My listening room is my great room, which in an open area. My kitchen flows into this space, and the dining area is next to it as well. So it's a pretty large space. But the great room itself is 17' W, 15' D, and 14' H (vaulted ceiling).

2. I don't like loud music. I guess I listen moderately.

3. I have a TV, Blu-ray player, Roku box, and I'd like to add a CD player later.

4. I'm about 8 feet from my speakers.

Here are some additional information that might help. I mainly listen to classical music. This set up is mostly for music and some video. I only have 2 speakers and don't want surround sound. I don't need a DAC. Sound quality is the most important factor for me.

I plan to use an Oppo Blu-ray player as my source.

I'd like to add a preamp, but I'm not sure if I should buy one from Decware or buy an integrated amp elsewhere. Can I use an integrated amp as just a preamp? How about an integrated tube amp? What would be ideal? I don't want to buy an A/V receiver.

All the additional options on Decware amps are so confusing. It seems like the more I learn, the more confused I get. Thank you for trying to help me. I really appreciate it.
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« Last Edit: 08/18/13 at 17:00:21 by Rose »  
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #13 - 08/18/13 at 17:14:57
 
Those Lore's look really nice. The specifications on them, 8 ohm, high sensitivity means they would play well with the Rachel Integrated, the Mini Torii (in which case you'd not need a preamp) or the TORII MK III (no preamp needed with that, either).

As an alternative to a preamp you could use a DECWARE Z-STAGE. That increases dynamics and allows you to manipulate or "ride" the gain.

I recommend a DECWARE SWITCH BOX that is a new product. You could run all those sources through there, to the ZSTAGE or CSP2 then to the amp you choose.



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JohnWatson
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #14 - 08/18/13 at 17:50:08
 
I have also had trouble getting replies to Emails and I think it's because they get tons. I call when I need to and the response there has always been great, but remember the hours are 10 to 4, Tues thru Fri. I use the Rachel and the Mini without preamps with ERRs and they work great. I tried adding a preamp to the Rachel and found it didn't really add anything for me. I highly recommend not giving up on contacting them, the after service is also first rate and very fast, if you need to use  the warranty!
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Lon
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #15 - 08/18/13 at 18:26:13
 
Rose, if you decide on a premp I'd recommend a Decware one, I've tried several others and they don't compare. But if you were to say use the Mini-Torii you shouldn't need a preamp. You can hook up your Oppo for cd/blu-ray/DVD and DVD-A etc. to one input and your Roku to the other (or maybe the Roku can use the Oppo internal DAC? not sure about the Oppo model you have or the Roku). Should give you darned impressive sound.

Again, let us know about what options etc. confuse you and I'm sure you'll get help here.

Hope you can get a Decware amp.
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busterfree
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #16 - 08/18/13 at 18:51:50
 
In my opinion (and everyone has one Grin), I would start with the Super Zen Triode. This has the lowest price and has fewest 'options' to get confused about. It sounds really good. You may even be able to get an earlier version used or borrow/listen to one from someone in your area.

My second choice would be the Zen Triode Integrated. This is only my second choice because of price and factoring in all the choices. (I don't know your budget.) I also don't think you will use the extra power since you listen moderately, but on the other hand you may want the extra power with classical music. I do not know because I have very little classical music.

I have the Super Zen, Mini Torii, and the Zen Triode Integrated. I use the Super Zen the most and that is probably factoring into my statements above. I listen nearfield in a small space.
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busterfree
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #17 - 08/18/13 at 18:56:59
 
Also, I have no experience with the Zen Torii. If it fits you budget wise, there is nothing wrong with getting it and being done with the whole debate. It is a worthy choice as well...
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #18 - 08/18/13 at 18:57:53
 
Lon,
There are a lot of options/upgrades on the Zen Triode Integrated. I'm not sure if I need any of them. I'm trying to compare Zen Triode Integrated, Super Zen Triode (not the mono), and Mini Torii. I don't want something that would be overkill for my needs/speakers.

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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #19 - 08/18/13 at 19:00:44
 
Busterfree,
Do you use a preamp with the Super Zen?
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busterfree
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #20 - 08/18/13 at 19:03:27
 
I do not use a preamp. I do not own a preamp. The volume control on my amps fit my need. I have a rotary switch box in the closet if I want to connect more than two sources.
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Lon
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #21 - 08/18/13 at 19:53:50
 
You are right, there are many options on the Integrated but frankly you don't need any of those. Of the available option the "stepped attenuator" would be a good choice, it will help the sound a bit. What you would most need isn't really listed as an option, that is two inputs not just one. If you went with this integrated amp then you'd need a preamp for additional components, unless your Roku can use the DAC inside the Oppo. That would be true of the Super Zen as well.

As the Mini-Torii has two inputs, no preamp would be needed, which is a savings. That's a consideration. I've never heard that amp, but it's very popular.
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« Last Edit: 08/18/13 at 19:57:32 by Lon »  

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beowulf
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #22 - 08/18/13 at 22:03:19
 
For me, other than the ability to accpet low input devices such as an iPhone/iPad and immense tube rolling choices (which could be fun, but also makes things more complicated) I think I would rather choose one of the S.E.T. amps for the holographic sexiness of the sound they output.

The SETs I would recommend are (no particular order):

1. Super Zen (2 watt SET amplifier). You will need the option for speakers between 6 and 16 ohms for your Tektons.  This is the least expensive way to try out Decware amps.

2. Zen Triode Integrated aka Rachel (6 watt SET amplfier) . I would get option 5, you don't need extra tubes so leave that out and the only other option(s) I would consider would be the (a) stepped attenuator (better volume control) and (b) v-caps (better caps).  However neither of these are necessary as Steve D designs his amps as is, but gives options as that little extra oopmh.

With the Super Zen and Rachel (Rachel option 5 even more so) no Preamps are NOT (sorry I had to edit this post to reflect NOT) needed, so I would buy them first and then see if I might want to add one later on after having them in my setup for a few months.

If you can stretch your budget I think you would have more flexibility with the Rachel and the few extra watts may be better in a bigger room.

And as far as sources ... I would use the Oppo for all my media needs (CD/Blu Ray/Netflix, media streaming, etc.) and the DAC is decent in the Oppo as well so no need to purchase any other sources (such as a separate CD player unless of course if you want to).  Then I would send the Roku signal through the Oppo as well ... although depending on the Oppo model, you may not need the Roku at all because the Oppo may be able to do everything the Roku does PLUS more. Cool
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« Last Edit: 08/18/13 at 22:27:27 by beowulf »  
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #23 - 08/18/13 at 23:45:43
 
Beowulf,
After upgrades, the Zen Triode Integrated and the Zen Mini Torii are about the same price. I can't seem to figure out the major differences besides the way they look. Is one better than the other?
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« Last Edit: 08/18/13 at 23:46:13 by Rose »  
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Lon
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #24 - 08/19/13 at 00:22:28
 
I"ll throw my two cents here. . . the main differences are that the Mini Torii has two inputs (right>?) and a higher gain preamp section that will work better with sources such as an iPod, iPad, etc. (Roku?) Technically the Integrated is an SET and the Mini-Torii is an SEP, and the Integrated may sound just a tad more forgiving than the Mini-Torii (emphasis on MAY as I haven't heard it). And the Mini-Torii gives you many more "tube-rolling" options which is important to some.
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seikosha
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #25 - 08/19/13 at 02:37:07
 
Only thing I'd add concerning the Mini Torii vs. the Integrated that hasn't been mentioned is that the Mini is a true dual mono design.
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beowulf
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #26 - 08/19/13 at 03:17:47
 
Quote:
Rose said,
Beowulf,
After upgrades, the Zen Triode Integrated and the Zen Mini Torii are about the same price. I can't seem to figure out the major differences besides the way they look. Is one better than the other?


No, one amp is not better than the other as far as build quality, etc. ... think of it like each one has a different flavor and intent for being in the Decware line up.

The Mini Torii is a Single Ended Pentode (SEP) has a higher gain preamp section - this will allow a person to directly input their iPod/iPad (or other iStuff) into the Mini Torii and use it as a source for playback ... this makes it very convenient for a lot of people who prefer to listen to their music directly from their iStuff (although I don't know who would want to because the DAC on iStuff is just an after thought).  The Mini Torii is also a Tube Roller's paradise, it can accept an immense amount of different tubes which you can try playing with (this is called "Tube Rolling") and different tubes can have an effect on the way the amp sounds.  Another strong selling point about the Mini Torii is its' size and it has a foot print of about the size of a piece of printer paper.  So if this is something that sounds interesting to you then you may want to look at the Mini.

Here's my personal .02 on the Mini Torii, I won't ever be plugging iStuff directly into my amp as the DACs on iStuff sucks, so I would only listen to iStuff through something else that has a better quality DAC (i.e. a stand alone DAC or Oppo type device that can accept USB inputs), so this is a feature that I dont' have a need for.  I also do not care for the immense tube rolling options that are part of the Mini's strong points.  I'm OCD enough as it is and I couldn't sleep at night knowing that I don't have the best combination of tubes in there as possible! Grin ... but seriously there are guys here that get a huge kick out of swaping tubes and if you fall into that category of "an exceptional tinkerer" than I couldn't think of a more better choice than the Mini, but if you're like me and like to set it and forget it and don't listen to iStuff directly, than those options will not be of much use to you.

The Rachel, is more simple being a Single Ended Triode (SET) design and Option 5 has 4 inputs (which is plenty for the equipment you have listed), it also has flexibilty of 2 volume controls (one for each speaker), you can think of this as a fancy balance control that will allow you to adjust each speaker's output volume individually ... this comes in handy if your room is slightly off or open to another room, etc. and you think the sound may benefit by having one speaker slightly louder than the other.

Ok, so that's sort of a ballpark breakdown of the options and what their intents and purposes of those 2 amps are for.  Sound is another story altogether and I've never heard the Mini Torii (which is a SEP), but I have heard Decware's SET designs.  But I imagine being Decware they are both going to sound similar and otherwise great ... but I'm going to give the edge to the SET design.

Here are what I've read and come to understand about the strengths of SET (Rachel) vs. SEP (Mini Torii) and this is a generalization.

SETs are the most linear amplifying device, Triodes produce mainly even order harmonics which are much easier on the ear and thus more attractive for those who don't like the use of any type of feedback.  Their strengths are in the fantastic realism they can impart, especially to the midrange and top end.

A Pentode PP amp by contrast, will have a muscular sound, with a better grip on the bass, Pentodes produce even and odd order harmonics in single ended configuration, feedback can be used to lower over-all distortion though to smooth it out ... but it won't have the magic mids and tops of the triode design. I don't believe anything else does.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/13 at 03:19:00 by beowulf »  
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Rose
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #27 - 08/19/13 at 04:14:45
 
Beowulf,
Thank you for the explanation between the two models. I have a better understanding now. Like you, I don't care to use any digital devices for playback. I also don't care for tube rolling either.

You mentioned sending the Roku signal through the Oppo. How do you do this on an Oppo 105?

I'm so sorry for all the rudimentary questions. As I mentioned before, I'm new to all of this. I would still like to talk to Decware before I make a purchase. I really do appreciate everyone's help here.
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beowulf
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #28 - 08/19/13 at 06:05:57
 
Quote:
You mentioned sending the Roku signal through the Oppo. How do you do this on an Oppo 105?


Well, the Oppo BDP-105 is the Swiss Army Knife of the Audio/Video world.  It is already Roku Ready and you need to attach the Roku Streaming Stick into the MHL HDMI Input on the front of the player.  This is the cleanest way to connect it to the Oppo.

If you don't have the Roku Streaming Stick but another Roku device, use an HDMI cable >from the Roku's HDMI output >into the Oppo's HDMI input.  When you turn on your Oppo I believe you can navigate to the Roku from the Oppo's remote's "Home" button.

Since the Oppo already has a good quality DAC and it upscales all video up to 4K, I belive running the Roku through the Oppo will enhance the playback all around.

Still try to get a hold of Decware ... don't give up it's going to be worth it.  They have had some minor setbacks recently with his daughter (a key team member and usually the first responder to inquiries) just giving birth and another key team member having some health issues.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #29 - 08/19/13 at 11:53:36
 
Sarah should be back today....give her time to catch her breath and get back into the grind, I'm sure she will get back in touch soon.

Steve also had a bit of a set back, missing his oldest daughters wedding as he was in the hospital.

Zygi
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #30 - 08/19/13 at 12:44:15
 
You've ruled out the MINI TORII by now.

You probably need 6 watts for classical music, which often goes from dead silent to a full orchestral crescendo at a moment's notice.

A 2-4 watt amplifier would not be able to handle that as well as one with more juice.

To have 6 watts you have either The Rachel or a pair of SUPER ZENS strapped in mono. The Rachel is more laid back sounding than the SUPER ZEN.  I have had both. However the ZEN has a bias switch that goes from laid back to a hotter sound, which you can use on the fly.

You could purchase two SUPER ZENS and run each in a mono configuration. You will get 6 watts per block from that combination. You can get a switch box to route the sources.  You can modify the volume for each side individually as well. If you go the SUPER ZEN route, don't get the EX (6-16 ohm) transformers. Your speakers are sensitive enough that the regular transformer (2-8 ohms) would do fine. You lose some transparency with the higher OHM transformer.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/13 at 12:47:45 by Rivieraranch »  

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: Anyone there to help?
Reply #31 - 08/19/13 at 13:20:08
 
JIm (RR) is giving good advice. Personally, I'd go with the Integrated as it is a bit more mellow/forgiving than the Zen amp sound, and with many classical recordings that will be a boon. Also I recommend you request to have the treble cut circuit added. . . when I had this on my Integrated it was particularly a boon for classical music, allowing you to get the violin tone just right.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #32 - 08/19/13 at 15:40:49
 
How do you get a treble cut circuit added (BTW, I don't even know what this is)? I didn't see it as an upgrade. I'm assuming this isn't free, right?
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #33 - 08/19/13 at 15:51:30
 
This is a trim circuit that is outside the signal path that allows you to tailor the high frequency sound from the speakers, on each channel. It's included on a few models "stock" and Steve told me it could be added to any amp. When I had it added to my Integrated (four or five years ago) it was a 100 dollar option. Whenever you DO (and you will eventually) get in contact with Decware, mention it.

Here is what Steve says bout the circuit in the Torii Mk III page:

Trim control on each channel for the treble.  This allows you to adjust the top end this amp offers so that virtually any loudspeaker can sound right, be it a Lowther full range driver or your favorite hi-fi speaker.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/13 at 15:53:38 by Lon »  

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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #34 - 08/19/13 at 16:54:18
 
Rose...
on the communications issue with Decware right now.  I have been communicating with them the last couple of weeks myself and found them to be a bit less responsive than normal.  And I found out "why" from DeVon last Friday - Steve had an accident and has been down & out for the last couple of weeks.  Sarah has been out also.  Good news is; Steve is on the mend and Sarah will be back shortly as well.  Decware is worth the wait - trust me.  They are not ignoring you.  I have found that the phone is typically the best way to communicate with them.  You are dealing with a very personal, family business and they will treat you like family also - just be patient and persistent - when necessary.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #35 - 08/19/13 at 18:32:39
 
maddog07,
Thanks for the update. I understand that unexpected events occur in life. I don't hold it against anyone. People keep telling me that it's worth the wait, so I will continue to wait.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #36 - 08/19/13 at 18:45:34
 
I apologize beforehand for yet more rudimentary questions I am about to ask. These are based on what some people have told me.

1. Do I need a DAC? I was told that I do since I'll use my speakers to listen to CDs. Apparently I either need a separate DAC or a preamp with an internal DAC even though the Oppo has a DAC.

2. I was told that I need an active preamp. Why?

As you can see, I'm still confused about a lot of things, and I have a long way to go and learn. If I don't buy an amp from Decware, I'd like to at least buy a preamp to use with another amp.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #37 - 08/19/13 at 19:53:30
 
Rose,

The Oppo has a DAC within (all CD players do) that has gotten really good reviews. I've personally not been bowled over by the sound of Oppo players, but my DAC and Transport (two separate units that are combined in a CD player) costs far more than the Oppos I've heard. You don't need a standalone DAC, I think others may have said you do because they may think you will be using a computer as a transport for your discs.

In your case the Oppo's DAC section can be accessed via inputs on the Oppo to be used by other components such as your Roku, so you really don't need another DAC.

The need for a preamp will depend on the amp you select. Some (one or two Decware amps can be configured this way) do not offer any control of volume or more than one input, so these would need a preamp, although not necessarily an active one, some passive would work. But others have more than one input and a "preamp stage" that allows you to switch between sources and control volume. One configuration of the Integrated offers four inputs and volume control. One would not need a preamp with that amp, though a good one may improve sound quality or make it significantly better in some ways.

Bottom line: you probably need neither a DAC nor a preamp with your source and the right amp.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #38 - 08/19/13 at 21:07:43
 
Quote:
Rivieraranch said,
If you go the SUPER ZEN route, don't get the EX (6-16 ohm) transformers. Your speakers are sensitive enough that the regular transformer (2-8 ohms) would do fine. You lose some transparency with the higher OHM transformer.


RR, this is good to know ... I always suspected that the regular 2-6 ohms transformer would be best even though a persons speakers would fall into the 6-16 ohm range.  How would you feel with a pair of 16 ohm speakers such as the Zu Soul Superfly ... would you still go with the 2-6?
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #39 - 08/19/13 at 22:12:26
 
FWIW
I have owned several SE84s and I have an original Torii, with all of them an active preamp was necessary to reach a satisfying listening level on about 10% of my CDs* with a standard 2 volt out CD player. Most everything else also benefited from an active preamp.

YMMV,
Lin
*Classical and Jazz
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #40 - 08/19/13 at 22:19:28
 
Quote:
Rosa said,
1. Do I need a DAC? I was told that I do since I'll use my speakers to listen to CDs. Apparently I either need a separate DAC or a preamp with an internal DAC even though the Oppo has a DAC.

2. I was told that I need an active preamp. Why?


Echoing what Lon said ...

The Oppo BDP-105 has actually 2 state of the art DACs inside it.  I believe one DAC is for when playing media such as CD's and Blu-Rays from the Oppo's drive and the other DAC is for external components such as your Ruko and if you added another source component such as a PC or Mac.  The sound of the DAC is subjective, some people really like it, some don't ... I think it sounds pretty good, Lon doesn't care for it.

1. So, No ... you do not need a DAC if you run all your source components through the Oppo (in fact the Oppo is a DAC).

Think of a Preamp as a device that you hook up all of your audio source components to and you can control things such as volume, balance of everything connected to it the Preamp.  An Integrated Amp is a combination of a Preamp + Amp usually in one box.

A lot of Decware amps come with volume controls and inputs, this allows you to hook up 1 or 2 source componets (such as your Oppo) directly to the Decware amp because you can control the volume, etc. through the amp, but I wouldn't necessarily call that an Inegrated Amp as when I think of a Integrated I think of a unit that has a little more control other than volume control, I also think it should have multiple inputs, a selector switch that would allow you to hook up more than one component and some form of balance controls.  By the way the Rachel hits all the marks for this.

Decware offers a Preamp called the CSP2+, and it can be used with almost if not all of Decware's amp and lot of people love this little preamp as giving just a little more oomph by combining it with a Decware amp.  But it is not a necessary componet if your amp has volume controls and inputs.

Since the Oppo has inputs and volume control ... you can actully think of the Oppo BDP-105 as a Preamp/Home Theater Processor (that just happens to also have a Universal Disc player in it) as it does almost everything those 2 components can do (although it is limited by the number of inputs compared to full blown Home Theater Processor (usually they have 5-10 inputs or more whereas the Oppo has only 2).  A lot of people buy the Oppo because it is a great Blu-Ray player, but they don't realize that it can do way more such as act like a A/V Preamp/Processor, it can stream media from anywhere in your house, it can play Blu-Rays, CDs, SACD and just about anything else on disc under the sun, it can play files of a USB Drive, Hard Disk Drive, etc., etc.

2. So, No you do not need a Preamp with your current system because the Oppo is a Preamp and the Rachel also has enough control to get your room setup nicely.

Here's what I woud get and how to hook it up:

Decware Rachel option 5 (this will be your master volume control and your source componets will hook up to this (except for the Roku, which will hook up through the Oppo to take advantage of the Oppos DAC and video output processing).

So...

1. Roku HDMI output into the Oppo HDMI input,
2. Oppo HDMI output in your TV's HDMI input,
3. Oppo RCA Stereo outputs (the Red and White ports) into the Rachel's RCA stereo inputs.
4. Set the Rachel's volume as high as possible before clipping and then use the Oppo's remote to control the volume of the source components.

All media including CD's, etc. will played through the Oppo so you will have to turn on the Oppo everytime you watch TV or Listen to music.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/13 at 22:27:16 by beowulf »  
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #41 - 08/19/13 at 22:28:47
 
With the SUPER ZEN and 16 ohm speakers I think at that point you would be best to get the optional SE transformer (6-16 ohms). However with 8 ohm 96 db efficiency you are best to stick with the standard transformer.
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #42 - 08/19/13 at 22:55:04
 
Rose and anyone else who wants background info about DAC's
This tries to answer "what is a DAC and why would anyone want one?"

DAC: Digital to Analog Converter - converts a digital signal to an analog signal.

Digital signal: music represented as 1's and 0's, similar to Morse code.  It can be bits in a computer.  hi and low voltage on a wire.  The microscopic pits or lack of pits on the surface of a CD, which reflect or don't reflect a laser passing by. A digital signal is any information stored/transmitted in 2 states (binary), kind of similar to Morse code.  I'll say "1's and 0's" from here on.

Analog signal: the air vibrations that hit your eardrums are analog pressure waves.  you feel analog vibrations with your hands on the speaker or a nearby wall or window, or in your lungs when loud enough. These are the real musical vibrations as they came from the originating musical instruments. less frequent vibrations are bass notes. more frequent vibrations are treble notes, etc.   An Analog electrical signal on a wire, if you could see it visually, would "vibrate" exactly the way you feel with your hand on the speaker.  The electricity on the wire would oscillate exactly like the window does.  I'll use "vibrations" from here on.


Here's picture showing gray analog wave and red digital samples
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/04/Digital.signal.discret....

the red digital signal has discrete values: 0,4,5,4,3,4,6,7,5 and so on. A sequence of 1's and 0's represents code, similar to Morse code. (ex: 0000 is 0, 0100 is 4, 0101 is 5, so the coded sequence is 000001000101 (0,4,5) Anyway, not necessary to remember this part. Just know that 1's and 0's represent the discrete red value's, which approximate the original vibration.  the DAC tries to reconstruct the vibrations from the discrete values/pulses)

The analog signal is: the gray wave form or vibration.

The DAC coverts the red discrete values into a continuous wave (vibration). converts electrical pulses (codes) into a continuous electrical vibration

The quality of the DAC determines how accurately this gray vibration is produced.

A small digital mp3 player has music in 1's and 0's.  but it has to go through a DAC before it goes out to the headphone jack(speakers), because speakers need the electrical vibration, not the 1's and 0's. (If you've heard the old sound a computer modem makes when it dials and connects to a service provider, that's the sound of pure 1's and 0's. Fax machine is doing the same thing.  digital noise)

DAC quality differences (are multidimensional) and audible to us all. There's lots of DAC quality debate.   The DAC in an mp3 player is cheap and relatively inaccurate. (it's just good enough)

There are many many separate DAC's on the market from $hundreds to many $thousands.  and as many opinions of their quality and value per dollar.

A CD player take's 1's and 0's off a disc (the sequence of pits), and outputs small vibrations (thus an internal DAC had to have been involved).  The quality of the DAC has a lot to do with the price of the CD player.

People who play music files straight from a computer...usually buy an external DAC of their choice.  they feed 1's and 0's from their music files to the dac.  The dac feeds small vibrations to an amplifier.  the amplifier amplifies the vibrations to the needs of the speakers and then you hear those vibrations.  (Decware amps do this will least alteration to those vibrations, so you hear what was originally there)


So, a DAC is a very fundamental device in modern music playback.  most people don't realize they are there or what they do.  People who care to control the quality of their music from source to ears, choose which dac they use. (or buy an excellent CD player, same thing).

to contrast: The only analog sources I can think of that don't need a DAC are cassette tape, reel to reel tape, vinyl records.  The vinyl physically records the vibrations in the grooves.  The magnetic tapes record the vibrations in the magnetic media instead of recording 1'0 and 0's into the magnetic media (There's is a device, a DAT (digital audio tape) that does exactly this, records 1's and 0's into the tape, and must use a DAC for playback))
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« Last Edit: 08/19/13 at 23:27:49 by SteveC »  
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #43 - 08/22/13 at 21:28:35
 
Rose,

Thank you for sticking it out despite not being able to contact us!  I've read over the advise given in this thread and you're in good hands.  With Sarah on maternity leave for 8 weeks this summer there has been several issues with the rest of us trying to pick up the slack and obviously failing at it.  It's not an excuse because as you pointed out, there is no excuse and no one agrees with you on that point more than I.   I am creating office space now to hire more help.  Also I'd be happy to talk with you in person.  With Sarah back in the office checking messages, I'm sure you'll have better luck if you decide to try and call again.

Thanks,

Steve
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Re: Anyone there to help?
Reply #44 - 08/22/13 at 22:42:00
 
Steve,
Thank you for your reply. You're right, everybody on the forum has been very helpful. I completely understand that things happen in life. I'm glad I waited it out.  :)
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