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How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol? (Read 2623 times)
Matthew (was ML)
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How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
01/19/14 at 04:17:59
 
I see there are topics on tubes for the SE34 but none are getting at what I'm trying to solve here.

I just bought a SE34i.3.  Config #1.  V-Caps.  

My source/pre(*) is digital, the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC with bridge which has volume. I listen exclusively to uncompressed WAV and 24bit flac. No 320 bits for me.

Radial Speakers from 3 years ago. ERRs. Love em.  Especially now.

I am running it with the following tubes:
Output: PSVane Treasure MKI 6CA7 or JJ EL34s
Rec: Stock Chinese 5U4G
Input: Mullard CV2493 / 6922

I tried the JJ EL34s.  They are so much easier to listen to but the Treasures have much better bass and are more dynamic with much better focus.

So, amazing amp, Wow!!  Detail, separation of instruments, lifelike presentation is awesome!!!!  

Volume is fine. Listening at about 55-70/100 on the Dac volume.

Have corner bass traps, a rug and absorbing furniture so not a super bright room.

PROBLEM:
I'm not getting that warm, lush tube sound I expected and I 'm even getting some listening fatigue, I think, from the untempered extreme detail of this awesome amp with the 6922 input tubes and the Treasures.  Much easier/enjoyable listening but less dynamic with the JJ EL34s but still not lush.  

QUESTIONS:
How can I get detail, dynamics and lush ease of listening?
Is my problem the Mullard CV2493 input tubes?  I don't need the extra volume but since I don't really have a pre, should I go to 6N2Ps for the openness or do I go to 6N1Ps for the warmth or are the 2Ps just the best of both?

Or can I keep the 6922s for input and warm this thing up with a different Rectifier tube or other?

Do I need to send it back to Decware to get a volume control on the amp?

Thanks.
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« Last Edit: 01/23/14 at 20:28:55 by Matthew (was ML) »  

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Lord Soth
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #1 - 01/19/14 at 07:22:51
 
I suggest changing the tube rectifier.
The default Chinese tube rectifier is solid state sounding.

An RCA 5y3 , Brimar 5R4GY or Philips 5r4gys should help provide warmer tube sonics.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #2 - 01/19/14 at 11:20:36
 
I agree that changing out the rectifiers will be beneficial. I recommend an RCA 5U4G type, perhaps the straight shouldered type. The coke-bottle shape will also be better than the stock option.

But I will say this: if you are looking for the lush vintage tube sound it's not easy to achieve with the Torii which is a much more modern sounding amp, combinining the best of solid state and tube sounds in my opinion. I think you can get it richer and less fatiguing but it won't sound like a vintage unit, in my experience.

I have no experience with those output tubes, but you could also try (after the rectifiers) the JJ 6CA7 tubes. Others report problems with thiese tubes but I've run a handful of sets and have had only one tube failure, after the tubes rattled in the back of a UHAUL for 1500 miles. These tubes give a rich, warm presentation in comparison with other tubes I've tried.
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Matthew (was ML)
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #3 - 01/19/14 at 17:11:52
 
Thanks Lord and Lon. Rectifier tube on the shopping list.

Lon, I don't have a torii.  I have the Rachel. SE34i.3

So, leave the input tubes alone? No need for volume on the amp?
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #4 - 01/19/14 at 17:15:52
 
Sorry, I forgot you were talking about the Torii. Yes you can get the Integrated you have to sound a bit lusher, but still, this is a modern (imo improved) tube sound.

I'm not familiar with those input tubes. I've used 6N1P in all my amps that have that option, and all my attempts to substitute them have led me to putting them back in!

I don't think you need a volume control on the amp as you are not using all the "percentage" of the PS Audio DAC variable volume. If you did have a volume control added you could get a bit of "riding the gain" by adding a volume control and increasing the volume on the PS Audio into the amp, adding a bit of natural compression that way. Or you could add a CSP3 and get even more "riding the gain" options, that might add heft and weight to the sound. When I had an Integrated running a CSP2 as well really improved the sound for me, more bass heft and a meatier sound. May get you closer to the sound you are looking for and diminish some of the listening fatigue.

Some of this may also be that it's a new amp and with more use it should mellow a bit.

Something else to consider: play with the treble cut circuit controls if you have them, consider getting Steve to add them if they're not there.
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« Last Edit: 01/19/14 at 21:34:02 by Lon »  

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Matthew (was ML)
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #5 - 01/19/14 at 17:56:25
 
I don't have a Torri.  I have an SE34i.3.  Just an amp, on/off, that's it.  Would like to avoid the preamp - expense, hardware, extra cables.
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« Last Edit: 01/19/14 at 19:41:28 by Matthew (was ML) »  

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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #6 - 01/19/14 at 18:17:24
 
Hopefully I made it a clearer response.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #7 - 01/19/14 at 21:48:52
 
Having owned several Decware amps, I've never heard one that's "lush, warm,tubey" sounding. This includes other Decware amps I've heard at G to G's.
My current SE34I is amazing with appropriate ancillaries.
They have all been musical in the best sense, no headaches.
OTOH, perhaps your preferences are different, in which case, fair enough.
Good Luck with fine-tuning your system.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #8 - 01/19/14 at 22:14:06
 
Well, you've had the Jazz Track French tracks before. I like them a lot, but I prefer to hear them without the reverb.

The saxophonist Barney Wilen was just about 18 then. He blossomed into quite a player, I've collected all I can of his work.

I have all those vinyl except I have Miami on cd only. In the West is weird because there are different tracks (same songs recorded in different venues) for about half this album compared to the original. All of them are great relaeses.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #9 - 01/27/14 at 20:31:36
 
I haven't rolled a lot of tubes in my Rachael, but I agree with the RCA rectifier suggestion above.  I just bought another one to use in a second system.  I can't hardly listen to the Ruby rectifier that came with the amp.

I also find 6922's smoother as input tubes than the original 6n1p's.

On the output tubes, my current favorite is Cryo'd JJ's El34s.  I do find them more precise than the KT88s I also have been using.  If I want a bigger lusher sound with more bottom end, I go with the KT88s.  If I want an even more aggressive tube than the JJs, I go with the Tung Sols EL34Bs.
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Matthew (was ML)
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #10 - 01/27/14 at 21:08:58
 
Thanks all.  I'm waiting on the following tubes to arrive:

All: Cryoed (from Ron @ cryoset.com) 1 pair 6N2P-EV's, 1 pair 6N2P (grey) and a pair of 6N1P-EV's.  Supper nice guy.

And a Cryoed Phillips 5R4GY Rectifier.

It should be very interesting to see the difference between them all and then maybe I'll send the JJ EL34, Treasures, and 6922s to get Cryoed to make them all smoother.

May also have to change or cryo the interconnects that may be letting digital harshness in from the Perfectwave dac.  Let's see.  Changing the output caps on the DAC might be an option too.  I can't even solder.  This new hobie is maddening!!!

I'll report back in several days once I have made a few changes and let something desirable burn in for a bit.
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« Last Edit: 01/27/14 at 21:10:00 by Matthew (was ML) »  

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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #11 - 01/27/14 at 22:06:22
 
Yes, I'm especially interested in your impressions of the Phillips rectifier.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #12 - 01/27/14 at 22:26:50
 
Cryo'd 6N1P-EV are my favorite input tube on my 15 year old Zen amp.

I think it will smooth out and warm up your amp where you want it.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #13 - 01/28/14 at 01:08:15
 
Howdy, ML.

I have the SE 34i.2+, but think it is probably close enough to the current model for my experience to be of interest.

Like you, I was using a high quality dac with volume control (the Lavry DA 11) to drive the amp.  The sound was very good, but I felt like I was missing some "weight" or "warmth."  I then decided to audition several active preamps.  While each active preamp sounded a bit different from each other, the common denominator was that each active preamp brougth forth the "weight" or "warmth" that I had previously felt missing.  (I don't mean to suggest that the amp "needs" an active preamp; each setup is unique.)

Setting aside the active preamp vs. driving directly from your dac issue, here is a tube combination which I've found to help warm things up:  Drivers - 6n1p-ev; Outputs - JJ 6CA7; Rectifiers - Any on the higher end of the voltage drop spectrum (e.g., the 5R4GY or 5Y3).  It looks like you are already headed on this path with the 6n1P-evs and Philips 5R4GY rectifier.  

I'll be very interesed to hear how this all turns out for you.

Cheers,
Blake
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« Last Edit: 01/28/14 at 01:14:12 by dias »  
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Matthew (was ML)
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #14 - 01/29/14 at 21:42:59
 
I’ve been writing this offline over the past few days so you can share in my journey.  

With PSVaneTreasure MKI 6CA7 and Stock Chinese 5U4G Rectifier

Listening to various Sun Ra and also Branford Marsalis, Eternal

Mullard 2493: Very clean and clear.  Sparkly highs.  Exciting.  Lively.   These are great tubes.

6N1P-EV (shiny pins). Definitely more laid back than the Mullard 2493s. Softer rounder.  

6N2P EV (shiny pins). Yup, it’s louder. Big powerful full. Wow, the soundstage is huge. What a cool special experience of the music. Wish I could get these speakers to lock in the center of the soundstage, I’d have it all. Maybe I need dual volume on the amp.

6N2P (grey pins) 6N2P's made at the Voshod factory, 1981 grey's same as 2p regular but maybe cleaner, brighter, more lively? So hard to tell.  More sparkle and liveliness.  May be artificial but it is interesting. I like them also for sure.

Reviewing the above input tubes again with JJ EL43s this time

JJ 34s are more laid back, smoother, sweet, but slow, like I find myself waiting for the notes to come out.  So weird.  Hmmmm???
PVane Treasures 6CA7: Louder, more powerful, more up front, better base, punchy more authoritative.  Might need a cryo cooling to smoothen it out a bit.. Hmmmm…..

But I’m still not getting the lushness and warmth and real power/authority I seek and have heard before on a push-pull integrated with EL-34 output tubes, (2) 12AU7 driver tubes, (2)12AX7 input tubes.  Granted this amp had 30+ and it was played loud in a totally dead treated room with standard front facing towers vs. my Radial ERRs.

Maybe I need a preamp.  Maybe I’m seeking a different animal.  

Now, with New Cryoed Philips 5U4G Rectifier made in 1972 in Holland

Putting it in now and listening to Patricia Barber Blue Café, Morning Grace….
Wwwwoooooowwwwww.  Ok, I am floored.  Right out of the box, even just as I heard the power going in to it and the volume picking up I could tell the difference.  This is a Game Changer!!!! This nailed it.  The rectifier just makes everything right.  So round, so rich, so live.  Bass is soooo much more deep than I have ever heard from these speakers and very detailed.  The only thing I haven’t liked about these speakers ERRs is the missing midrange presence; well,   there speakers have midrange presence now -- so real and so present.  Absolutely rich and lush and absolutely not syrupy. ….I’m totally blown away.  Layers and depth too.  And it is fast at the same time.  It is so amazingly live.  You can hear the hands of the hands hitting the hand drums with amazing precision as if they were here.  Her breath and the acoustic guitar on whatever track that was….  Nothing missing, everything gained.  I’m in blissful sensory overload.  Damn it!!!  How am I going to get any more work done today.  Maybe I’ll just celebrate.

Now for syrupy.  I can’t believe how much love and appreciation I feel for my fellow geeky obsessive compulsive audiophile tube rollers.  I’m absolutely a newbie and totally new to tubes.  I feel like a little brother to you guys.  Thank you Steve Deckard for your esthetically gorgeous and sonically memorizing masterpieces and all the conversations. And to his faithful, probably sick in the head like me cult-like followers, thank you for your input.  Also, Ron at Cryoset.com – what a mench.  Seriously, you all have given me a beautiful gift this week.

And, thank you to whoever wrote this thing and led me to my 1972 Phillips rectifier that I think a few of you also read.  http://www.head-fi.org/t/694525/dubstep-girls-massive-5ar4-5r4-5u4g-rectifier-re...

No, didn’t get any more work done today, BTW.

FANTASTIC!!!!

The winners are:
The Linchpin and Gamechanger- Rectifier: New NOS Cryoed Philips 5U4G Rectifier made in 1972 in Holland
Input: These 3 are great.  All different.  Cryoed 6N2P-EV or 6N2Ps (grey pins)Voshod factory, 1981 - Bought them from Ron @ cryoset.com.  .  6N1P also great.  But different.  Ron, is awesome.

Output: PSVaneTreasure MKI 6CA7 (from Decware I think).

I know I should listen to all the combinations again, now with the new rectifier, but it sounds so good I just don’t want to.   You know what I mean?  I’m sure I will.  But not today.

Also, to get the ERRs to step up in the bass and mids (comparatively speaking), I have been running them with fast 10 ohm resisters in the tweeter

Private message me if I need to edit this for clarity or errors.  You guys are the best.

-      Matthew
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« Last Edit: 02/11/14 at 21:28:14 by Matthew (was ML) »  

Matthew
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #15 - 01/29/14 at 23:40:04
 
Wow Matthew, talk about doing due diligence! Sounds like you have found some great sound, and like you I would hold steady for a while! Smiley
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Matthew (was ML)
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #16 - 02/03/14 at 23:09:50
 
We'll if I'm going to be all OCD about this thing, I may as well do it right Smiley

Any experts on why the 2P can be noisy noisy in the SE34i.3?

A friend told me this"The 6N1 have a Mu of 28-33, where as the 6N2P are at 85-95. I don't think the tubes (6N2P) per se are noisy, they are just noisy (mismatched) for the Decware amp. "

But Steve Decard prefers them as do I so I'm struggling with them the word "mismatched."  

Steve did you design the amp for the 6N2P or discover later that you liked them, and finding ones that fit are just a consequence of luck?

Would you explain.  Or would someone. pls explain.
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« Last Edit: 02/03/14 at 23:11:47 by Matthew (was ML) »  

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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #17 - 02/03/14 at 23:21:31
 
I never found them noisy.  Just clipped a lot sooner (more gain).

Anyway, I think the owners manual says to be sure to get the military grade, not the run of the mill.  I would imagine the run of the mill are the noisy ones.

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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #18 - 03/15/14 at 01:17:45
 
+1 for the  cryoed 6N2P-EV... huge  difference from 6N1P-EV- bigger stage, more volume- incredible... still dead quiet through HE-500's via headphone jack. AEG-Telefunken EL34's, Rogers 5AR4- thanks JEF!!
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #19 - 06/18/14 at 06:54:15
 
I would also suggest running the DAC wide open, avoid it's volume control, and add a Tortuga Audio LDR. The new update is out and I know folks have used every other type (Lightspeed, Bent TAP) and this is a game-changer device.

I run mine before my Rachel and have an Auralic Vega at volume 100. Sublime.

i do agree on the 5U4. I use the big EML and love it.
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Re: How to warm-up a SE34i.3 no vol, no pre,DAC w/vol?
Reply #20 - 06/18/14 at 07:10:09
 
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