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Torii Mk IV Break-In (Read 2545 times)
RW82
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Torii Mk IV Break-In
01/29/15 at 10:09:21
 
Hello All!

I just got my new Torii about a week ago, and over-all I've been impressed, but I've got some concerns too.  I'm pretty sure I'm keeping it though  ;)  

I want to hear about some experiences with break-in, particularly in respect to bass and warmth.  Background, I have all stock tubes with the KT66 TUNG SOL output tubes.  I'm a fan of the Klipsch Heritage line and am running two pairs of Heresy's (circa 2014) at the moment.  I'll get to hear this amp with the entire Heritage line within the next two weeks.

So to start off, I've been using an Emotiva receiver with pre outs for the past couple of months since my last amplifier died and I ordered this one.  When I first started with the Torii, it was very clear, but lean and poor bass.  I've been using it probably 60-70 hours now, and I've got to say I've never seen an amplifier change so much during break in.  There are albums that were just painful and a chore to get through with the Emotiva that are now smooth and enjoyable to listen to.  It's warmed up quite a bit and the bass has been coming in.  The Heresy's are not bass monsters by any means, and they start rolling off around 50-60 hz.  They're a sealed enclosure, so its not as bad as you might think; the roll off is more gradual than a a ported design would be.  The bass is also very tight to begin with, but the Torii makes it even tighter.  It's almost becoming a bit of a problem since by subwoofer is struggling to keep up with the speed of the Heresy's.  With a bit of EQ'ing to counter the roll off curve a bit, the Heresy's can do pretty well without a sub at all and still give a very satisfying experience.  

That's the positive part of the post, now here's my concern:  I took my Torii over to a buddy's house to listen to his La Scalas (circa 1979) with a newly rebuilt crossover network.  They roll off around 50 hz.  My experience was totally different.  We listened to vinyl that had its own line outs so I could hear the Torii by itself, and then compare it to his 200 wpc Emotiva 3 ch amp.  The first thing that I noticed was although the clarity was still there, the La Scala's seemed very very forward.  I don't know if it was the "horn shout" that I've heard about but the highs were just too much.  Not jagged sound, but very pronounced on the high end and difficult to listen to.  The bass was anemic.  We played the same thing on the Emotiva amp next and made sure that the signal wasn't augmented by the subs, and not eq'd.  The Emotiva seemed rich and warm by comparison.  It had significantly more bass, although the clarity, smoothness, and naturalness of human voices wasn't as good as the Torii.  So a little surprised, I brought it back home and listened again on my Heresy's.  It sounded like a totally different amplifier, much warmer and richer than on the La Scala's.  Honestly I am a little perplexed.  I cannot account for the differences in what I've heard for 1.  For 2, I am really wondering if the bass is going to keep filling in for the Torii so it actually can compete with a 200 wpc solid state amp.  My friend is getting a couple of KHorns in the next week or two, so I will get to compare the two amps again soon.  I'm just curious about what it will sound like then!  ::)

Thoughts, stories, anecdotes?
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« Last Edit: 01/29/15 at 10:11:56 by RW82 »  

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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #1 - 01/29/15 at 12:50:10
 
I don't have a Mk IV, I have a Mk II and two Mk IIIs. Nor do I have considerable experience with the type of speakers you have been using.

There is still quite a bit of breakin the IV is likely to go through in the next three hundred hours or so. Be sure that it is getting some time switched off. The tubes themselves will need a bit more break in time. And play around with the controls a lot, they will help you to get better sound especially if you are using different speakers. . . .

My guess is that in a month or so you'll be absolutely enthralled with the music and just enjoying recording after recording.
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #2 - 01/29/15 at 14:32:42
 
RW82,

I've copied & pasted a reply of mine along the same lines from another thread. I have had the original Klipsch RF-7's for over 10 years now. I find them to be very revealing which means you can hear everything upstream (good & bad). Below I discuss overall frequency balance and the tendency for High Efficiency speakers to sound Bright at higher volumes.

My experience is one of two choices: First Choice, select an amp that tends to roll off the high end. To my ear this always results in a perceived loss of clarity & transparency. Second Choice: properly reinforce the lower frequency range. I use twin Hsu Mid Bass Modules and Twin Hsu ULS-15 subs. One of each will actually do wonders in most rooms.

IMO the Hsu are a fantastic value and provide killer speed and accuracy on music. I've had much more expensive subs from Velodyne, SVS and others in the past and on music reproduction nothing I have used comes close to HSU. This link expands on my experience with and effect of the Mid Bass Module in my system http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1360355711

Quote:
Quote:
DBC wrote:

The problem I ran into (and perhaps you will to) is the High Efficiency Tweeters (or in my case Horns) just keep going at Higher Volume while the Woofers start to fade at some point. When this starts to happen the frequency balance is shifted to the high end.


I wanted to expand on my earlier statement a bit. When a high efficiency speaker comes across Dry and or Bright when being played at moderately loud levels it is natural to conclude there is something wrong with the Tweeter or Top End. Years ago I read a professional speaker review that allowed me to look at this type of situation in a different light.

This reviewer was at the speaker manufacturer auditioning a new speaker with the design engineer. The reviewer noted that the speaker sounded bright and the engineer agreed. The engineer returned with different woofers and to the reviewers puzzlement began changing out the woofers. The reviewer asked "Why are you changing out the Woofers when the problem is with the Tweeters?" The engineer responded the Tweeters are fine, the speaker lacks Mid-Bass causing a frequency imbalance that the Brain interprets as a Bright top end.

The reviewer went on to write what a remarkable change the different Woofers made. All of the perceived Bright top end was completely eliminated. By increasing the Low Frequency output a proper Frequency Balance was restored. The reviewer also noted that the speakers appeared to have more presence with less amplifier power.

When it comes to High Efficiency speakers Tweeters and or Horns can play at very high volumes. The lower frequencies on the other hand require considerably more power and cone area to maintain a proper frequency balance at moderately high volumes. So at moderate and higher listening levels the Zu's two 10" woofers are unlikely to pressurize a room adequately on the low end.

In my case my mains each have two 10" woofers. My two Mid Bass Modules have 350 Watt Amps and 12" drivers. My two Subs have 600 Watt Amps and 15" drivers. I was rocking out the other night at an average 98db listening level for about 2 hours with no fatigue. It was great. At the end I turned OFF both MBM;s and both Subs and my speakers alone did sound Bright.

So back to the Zu Omens. Their tweeters are probably capable of near live performance volumes. The 10" low frequency drivers are likely not capable of pressurizing your room to comparable live performance volumes. Just not enough speaker cone area to do that job.

I expect the Zu will break in and relax somewhat with time. Beyond that experiment with toe-in to hopefully mitigate the High End a bit. Furthermore experiment with speaker placement in an attempt to reinforce the Bass and Mid Bass regions. You might have to place these closer to your front wall than you are used to with other speakers? And of course try to maximize Bass output by experimenting with the gap height under the speaker.
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #3 - 01/29/15 at 15:41:14
 
Lon is right about the tubes needing break-in.

Power tubes need at least 150 hrs before settling down.

Every tube in the Torii has an impact on the sound.

Are you using the stock Chinese rectifier?
That should be replaced immediately with a NOS tube e.g. Philips 5R4GY sold by Upscale AUDIO.
This little tweak will improve all sonics across the spectrum.

For more sonic clarity , EL34 tubes have an edge over KT66 tubes.
The Torii mk4's Hazen Grid mod kicks in for more sonic clarity.



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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #4 - 01/29/15 at 21:37:54
 
RW82- I echo the break in thing. I have a SE84CS 2 watt zen that I used with some Klipsch RF-82 or something like that, and my Rachael and ZP3 that I got from Steve at the end of October are just now settling down. You have a little ways to go before you should make any judgements. It just takes time and then one day you will be listening and that zen cloud of bliss will drop on your head like a fine wine....patience. Happy listening, Chris.
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RW82
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #5 - 01/29/15 at 21:52:12
 
Ok, so here is another question about the break-in; maybe a dumb one.  Is breaking an amplifier in specific to the amp-speaker combination?  Maybe my 4 ohm parallel speaker load is breaking in the amp in a specific way that doesn't sound great on other 8 ohm speakers.  I don't know, just trying to learn more about the process.  Thanks!

As far as the rectifier is concerned, I was looking at that particular rectifier before you posted.  $200!  But I hear it's one of the better changes you can make to the tube setup.  I will definitely look at it!
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #6 - 01/30/15 at 14:57:58
 
Hi RW82,

Alternatively, I suggest NOS
Either TUNG SOL 5Y3G OR 5Y3GT
Or RCA 5U4G OR 5U4GT

for about $25 each.

They can be purchased from either "Brent Jesse" or "VacuumTubes.net" or "nostubestore".

Rectifiers will be able to last the entire lifetime of your amp.

Or if you want to cut to the chase, just get a pair of Brimar 5R4GY rectifiers for slightly more than the Philips 5R4GY .
You will never have to look over your shoulder for the next best rectifier. Wink
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RW82
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #7 - 02/11/15 at 06:30:20
 
Figured I would check in --

I think I've past the 200 hr mark for break in.  The bass is coming in, and the mids and uppers are changing as well.  I can now have a very good listening experience with my Klipsch Heresy's on a Flat EQ no sub, even though the speakers themselves start rolling off around 60 hz.  One thing that I will say is that the Torii seems to be much more like a living machine than my experiences with solid state amplifiers.  I think you can have a SS amp figured out in an hour or two.  The Torii is gonna take a while.

The midrange and high frequencies are changing and I am having some trouble finding the right language to describe it.  You always read in different reviews terms used to describe sound, and I think a lot of them are cliche'd.  I don't know if what I am hearing is "warm" or "sweet" or my favorite cliche'd compliment "the sound of an amplifier costing many times more."  Whatever that means since almost every amplifier reviewed sounds  like a more expensive amp.  The bottom line is that I listened to a pair of 600 W mono blocks today that sounded amazing.  I couldn't really fault them.  But, I did miss something in the sound they made that was difficult to articulate.  The Torii definitely had "it" and the SS amps did not.  I'm hoping to get some more direct comparisons done tomorrow. Maybe after I can listen to them side by side I'll be able to tell you what the "it" factor is.
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #8 - 02/16/15 at 19:04:08
 
The MKIV will continue its ups and downs for 300-350 hours. And you really won't hear all it has to offer until around 600. What you are beginning to get makes sense... more refined bass and the tube magic... lucidity and natural harmonics. By now your tubes are probably about burned in...Some of those power tubes can really take a long time...and the circuits, connections and transformers. It all takes time. The refinement will continue. And Bass is the last to pull together fully. I would be really surprised if the Torri bass were not enough once burned in and tubed to your tastes, but it is somewhat quirky with some speakers. If this worries you, call Steve and he will walk you through it.

Also, don't think of the switches as anything but tuning devices. Everything will be fine no matter where you set things. If the back impedance setting is better, use it. If the bass switch off is better, use it that way. These preferences may change after another hundred hours too. The amp will clarify across the spectrum and quit those extra warm and extra lean segues.

Rectifiers are very good tuning tools and they all sound different. What is good? I find the Phillips 5R4s powerful and extended, but finally I miss some inner delicacy. To change Recs, or any other tube, begins where you are. And unless you know the characteristics of the tube, how it compares to what you have and where you would like the sound to go, it is a shot in the dark. May get lucky, but you may not like them. I can see how the Phillips 5Rs could be good with Siemens EL34s, since these 34s have rich mids, textured by a pretty pronounced upper mid bump in the MKIV. So the solid power of the Philips might work fine tuned up by the rich textured EL34s. But if the EL34 is not your thing, say you like tighter bass, or your system/room tends to brightness, or if you are like me, preferring the powerful, relatively linear, open lucidity of Genalex KT66, well that is different.

In this context...though I would replace the Rubys, I personally would not use a 5Y3GT in the Torii. The Tungsols and RCAs are beautifully tones tubes, but they flatten the extraordinary dynamics of the amp while also reducing bass. But if this is what you need for your system and tastes, then they could be just the right choice.

When the sound is this refined, everything matters and everything effects everything else.

I agree the Rubys will need to go, but I wouldn't want to recommend a tube without knowing how you would like your sound to change. And you really won't know your sound for a while anyway!
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« Last Edit: 02/16/15 at 19:12:12 by will »  

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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #9 - 02/22/15 at 00:36:28
 
Where do I buy the Brimar 5R4GY rectifier tubes? Would it be a good idea to have them cryogenically treated?
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #10 - 05/10/15 at 17:13:02
 
Those are British rectifiers and often show up in Ebay.co.uk.

Good Hunting! Smiley

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RW82
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #11 - 05/22/15 at 06:59:21
 
Ok, for the people that have read down this far, this amp is friggin' amazing.  I'm glad I had the patience to see where it ended up!

Here's my tubes I'm running:

Amperex 7308's
Brimar 5R4GY
New Mullard EL34's  (Very Recently Gold Lion KT66)
1950's RCA OC2
1980's Raytheon OA3
4 Klipsch Heresy's

** Subwoofer using high-level inputs**

So the long and the short of it is that this amp sounds exactly like I want it to now.  I'm done tube rolling for a bit I think.  I have been running the Gold Lion KT66 since I got the amp in January.  It turns out, they're not a great fit for my Klipsch Heresy's.  They've got great control of the bass, but the Klipsch's are a sealed box design, so they also have great control of the bass.  Together, they choke the life out of the bass and my Heresy's sound anemic.  So, I added a subwoofer through the high level inputs.  Life was OK, but I was still curious about the EL34, so I ordered a set from Upscale.  I got the Mullard EL34 that was cryo-treated.  The EL34 is very loose and boomy in the bass but, with the bass control switches on, it was also OK.  A little boomy, but OK.  So, I disconnected the subwoofer completely to see what what would happen without it.  Between the loose EL34 bass and the tight bass from the Heresy sealed enclosure, I think I've got a great match!  I've left the bass control switches off for the time being and I am not missing my sub at all right now.  I really wish I would have played with the EL34's sooner.
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii Mk IV Break-In
Reply #12 - 05/22/15 at 08:56:56
 
Hi RW82,

Congrats to you on getting "the" sound.
Sounds like we are both in the same camp who prefer the EL34 Hazen Grid mod type of sound.

It was Greg in the Decware Forums whose positive experience with EL34s convinced me to take the crucial first step to switch over from KT66 tubes.

Congrats too on getting the Brimar rectifier.
Those rectifiers are likely to be able to last at least twice as long as the Torii MK4 which comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cheers!
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