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DECWARE UFO MOD (Read 25466 times)
Bottlehead
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #50 - 04/17/15 at 02:05:19
 
Amen to that, Beo. Those new, higher-watt SET monoblocks w/balanced inputs would really tempt me in a way that nothing else that I've seen lately would. And with the UFO mod? Absolutely. There are a couple of other manufacturers who make such an animal (well, except for the UFO mod), but I'd prefer to stick w/Decware. I hope that Steve is listening. Steve? Any news on the SET monoblocks?
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« Last Edit: 04/17/15 at 02:06:08 by Bottlehead »  
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Fireblade
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #51 - 04/17/15 at 03:15:39
 
Mark58,

Thanks for reminding it to me. I just forgot that mono-block concept. You're right and these are a beauty and should have the same magical sound of the Super Zen ...

Another scenario I'm considering (assuming Steve is ready for that) is to send my Mini Torii to the Mothership for Bees Wax Caps and UFO Transformers upgrades.  Either that, or Torii MKIII w/Bees Wax Caps or a Super Zen with UFO mod ...    :-/  

The PS Audio P3 project has been retired. The difussor panels are on, its just a matter of choosing the right ones, either order them or have them made locally in wood as per LR's design suggestions ... and the beat goes on!
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« Last Edit: 04/17/15 at 12:39:07 by Fireblade »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #52 - 04/17/15 at 13:10:50
 

I hope Steve isn't upset that I'm posting these - but since mono-blocks are on the mind, these were mentioned, and we all enjoy amp porn...




Now, keep in mind, these are prototypes, so the look and feel could change. Steve also said these are on the back-burner while he develops UFO transformers for the various Decware amps.

While I was eager to hear them, he didn't seem interested, and we were very focused (playing) with the new Decware CD.

I hope this project doesn't go the way of the Torii V - I love the SET sound, and Steve admitted he has to get used to SET sound from these particular tubes...he's used to hearing them in OTL format (which I love, and I'm still feeling guilty for breaking his amp! LOL). If he can get the Zen magic with wattage in the teens on this, I think it will open up a whole level of magic we've not been able to tap before.

Sorry Steve for posting this...but you didn't say not too!  :)
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #53 - 04/17/15 at 13:53:16
 
Like others, I was really interested in the success of the 6C33 project, but didn't Steve at one time throw out an estimated price?  If I remember correctly, the cost was prohibitive.  Am I remembering wrong, or are all those pushing the project to start up again ready to jump in for one of these and prepared to pay big bucks?
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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #54 - 04/17/15 at 14:43:49
 
You're thinking of the OTL amp project that was scrapped. OTL is just too finicky - so Steve decided just to do SET monoblocks. He's still tweaking the design, so it's a ways off if he decides to release it.
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #55 - 04/17/15 at 14:50:05
 
Thanks LR!  Now I remember the whole story.
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Stefan
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #56 - 04/17/15 at 20:38:57
 
Wow, does Steve ever sleep??? New streaming DAC, new CD player, UFO mods, next up Torii junior and the new preamp, what an exciting time!
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #57 - 04/18/15 at 03:23:58
 
I'm actually working on the 6C33 mono's this evening as a result of real life testing with a broad range of tubes. Needless to say, my non-adustable bias idea isn't working because once a tube drifts beyond a certain point it looses it. These tubes are in a constant state of drift throughout their lifetime which is why there is no tube testers that will test it sans one and it's numbers are meaningless. So we're going to have to make the bias adjustable and the operator will have to pay special attention to it.  

That said, this is the UFO thread and I dropped in here tonight to say that we have the first batch of transformers completed so you will soon be seeing them as standard fair on the SE84CKC, SE84CKCS, the TABOO MK3, and the SE34I.4. I'm going to be honest with you, as I develop the 6C33 mono's to my liking, I should mention I stopped liking them in their current state after hearing a Zen Triode Amp (SE84CKC) with the UFO transformers. That's actually why I'm futzing with them tonight.

The UFO (Ultra Fidelity Output) is going to be the single biggest thing to happen to Decware amplifiers since we started making them. It goes where no man has gone before.

Steve   Smiley
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beowulf
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #58 - 04/18/15 at 09:57:38
 
Wow, just when you think it's safe to read a post from Steve!

Would this be available for a Taboo MK II as well as a Zen Select?
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« Last Edit: 04/18/15 at 10:22:39 by beowulf »  
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Luis
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #59 - 04/18/15 at 11:27:52
 
I need to quit reading these posts... I wish I could send back my SE34I.2 and CSP2+ for a full upgrade but living in Spain don´t make it quite easy... sad. Luis
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #60 - 04/18/15 at 12:57:54
 
I got the postage down by sending the ZP3 and CSP2+ in (for beeswax caps) as a `consignment`.
Had a shock when customs hit me for the full value of new units.
I had to send paperwork in to claim  the difference between new and just the upgraded work, which I got. So in future I`ll remind Sarah  Smiley ( the receptioinist ) to make a note.
The magic words " You can send in your SE3`s for UFO`s now" is going to cost a small packet as I may as well get beeswax as well.
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« Last Edit: 04/18/15 at 16:07:15 by Syd »  

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Luis
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #61 - 04/18/15 at 14:40:19
 
Yeah Will, custom is my biggest concern! I wonder if there is an easy way to show it is not new
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Syd
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #62 - 04/18/15 at 16:39:49
 
Louis, I`m sure Decware can add a price for customs taxation as well as the value of the units. They should be able to just put the upgrade cost as the value.
Syd

If I`d only had the units for a short while I doubt I`d send them in until they`d had a years play, enough time for some seasoning and getting all my other improvements made. The Decware amps raise the bar and respond well to fussing over. They repay you for imaginative complimentary equipment. It`s allways a buzz to read of members room treatment, power conditioning, cables, front ends etc. The Decware amps never say " I cant keep up"

UFO`s....are you ready ?   Smiley
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« Last Edit: 04/18/15 at 16:41:40 by Syd »  

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Fireblade
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #63 - 04/18/15 at 23:09:28
 
What about UFO mods for the Mini Torii? Adding Bees Wax Caps along the way would bring this little amp to another level!

Then again, it won't have the transparency of the Super Zen with UFO's nor the oomph of the Torii Mk III with Bees Wax Caps ...

And the coming Ultralinear design needs to be really transparent to beat the above scenarios.

What to do?  :-/
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« Last Edit: 04/19/15 at 01:29:01 by Fireblade »  

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4krow
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #64 - 04/23/15 at 07:20:44
 
Screw it. I will take the new trannys and install them in Rachel myself. And a minor circuit change to boot is just that. Batter up!
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Core32
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #65 - 04/23/15 at 11:55:54
 
Yeah. We just need a way to add them to the Decware CART now...  :)
I would buy 4 replacements for the faux SE84CKCS pair I'm finishing.
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #66 - 05/14/15 at 14:08:19
 
Received my Zen SE84 UFO yesterday.  Having a CKC already, I really debated whether I should send it in for the upgrade or just pick up a new amp.  In the end, I decided on getting the new amp just because I was really curious to test them against each other to hear the differences myself.  Besides, I'm really enamored with the sound from my CKC and would hate it if it morphed into something where I lost my current synergy.

I will say that in the days before the amp arrived, I sat and thought, what could be better?  In truth, besides a few more watts, there's not much more I could ask from my little CKC which I just love.

It's way too early for comparisons, I'm going to play this one for a week or so before I start doing some back and forths.  All I've done at this point was transfer the broken in tubes from my CKC to the UFO to eliminate any variables that the new tubes would throw into the picture.  Speaking of which, I noticed that Steve shipped the UFO with the Valve Art 274B instead of the 5U4G.  I wonder if that was a sonic or a parts availability decision?  Once I get a handle on the sound of the Zen with my old tube set, I'll make that switch as well.  Should be fun.

Actually as much as the new transformers were a selling point for me, the impedance switches were just as important.  Having the option to change, really adds a new layer of flexibility to the amp.  With my benign 8ohm single driver speakers, flicking the switch between the two settings produces a barely discernable change in volume.  I'll be testing this with some other speakers as well to see how the amp reacts with different loads.

Stay tuned...
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #67 - 05/15/15 at 23:34:10
 
I think the Valve Art is his standard stock rectifier now.  I have a few and like them.
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #68 - 05/22/15 at 14:47:07
 
Well I've been living with my UFO Zen now for a week.  It's got a little more than 20 hours on it.  I went back and forth between the stock Zen and the UFO zen a few times (using the same tube set) for the first 6 or 7 hours and I was a little nervous.  In comparison to the stock Zen, the UFO sounded more detailed but was bright and the stock Zen definitely had an edge with a more organic balanced presentation.

At that point I figured I'd just run in the UFO Zen for the next 10 - 15 hours to give it a chance to break in more.  I had a real "oh sh#t" moment one night at around the 11 hour mark where all of the sudden the UFO Zen seemed to flesh out more and I was really getting captivated by what I heard.  I resisted the urge to switch though and thought, perhaps the system was just sounding particularly good at that time.

The UFO Zen continued to give me some really nice moments over the next 10 hours and last night I figured it was time for another comparison.  Once again, I switched tubes and let the stock Zen warm up for a bit and started listening.

Wow.  Up until then, when I'd switched, I always and immediately preferred the stock.  Now it wasn't close.  This UFO mod is for real.  It's as if a veil across every spectrum of audio reproduction has been lifted.  It seems like there is just a slight improvement across the board; tonality, dimensionality, transparency, I hear improvements in all areas.  I'm very pleased.

The only caveat to my comparison is that I did get the upgraded volume control on my UFO amp so obviously some of the improvement could be attributed to the stepped attentuator.

I'm guessing that there are others now with UFO amps.  I'd love to hear your impressions, especially if you were able to directly compare them to their stock counterparts.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #69 - 05/25/15 at 02:44:41
 
I'm watching your impressions closely, seikosha.  Please keep us updated.

Rob
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Acetone
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #70 - 05/27/15 at 17:46:42
 
Yes, very interested in the UFO Mod impressions. Keep it coming.
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #71 - 05/28/15 at 17:59:03
 
Hi ProggRobb & Acetone,

Here's where I am now.  I've put the new tube set into the UFO Zen and have been listening to it this week.  The stock zen is running in my other system.  Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to do some quick a/b's with the two amps.

Previously when I did the comparisons, I had to wait 20 minutes between switches to let the tubes cool down before I transferred them and powered them up again.  Now I'll be able to do it quickly.  I listened to both systems this week so both amps will have hours on them and one won't be thrown into the system "cold" not having been used for awhile.

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #72 - 06/02/15 at 04:34:39
 
Hi Seikosha,

Like the others said, I'm anxiously following this thread and awaiting further observations regarding the UFO mod. Would be particularly meaningful to me because I have the same speakers (Omega Super3XRS) being driven by SuperZen Select. I will most likely send in my amp soon for the mod but wanted to get further observations from you. I'm also very curious about the 4 and 8 ohm tap of the UFO tranny and how this may potentially affect the Super3XRS's presentation.
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #73 - 06/02/15 at 14:08:29
 
Unfortunately, I haven't had much time the last week to do some serious listening of the UFO.  I've been working on tweaking a new build of some Mark Audio single driver speakers and that's been taking up my audio time.

The impedance switch is interesting and of course very speaker dependent.  I've not spent much time on it yet, but I will say that with the Omegas, I can't say that I prefer one setting over the other.  The difference you hear with the Omegas is a fraction of what you'd hear for instance with a flick of the bias switch.  With other speakers, the change could be more drastic and I mean to test this out as well.
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Acetone
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #74 - 06/16/15 at 16:34:48
 
Does anyone know if the original transformer is kept by Decware when UFO Mod is done?
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ProggRob
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #75 - 07/22/15 at 04:04:56
 
Seikosha, update time!!
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #76 - 07/22/15 at 15:41:33
 
Hi ProggRob,

Here's what I can tell you.  Since the last update, I've pretty much had the UFO zen in the system exclusively.  I'd had it set with the bias in the laid back position and had moved the impedance to the 4ohm setting as I'd been forcing myself to use it in the 8ohm setting to get a direct comparison to the original Zen which was set up that way.  Even though my Omegas are 8 ohm speakers, in my quick a/b's I seemed to prefer the 4ohm taps as they added a little more life.

About 3 weeks ago I started to notice that there were times when I just wasn't as impressed as I'd been in the past.  Music just seemed a little less dimensional and organic than I thought it had been.  At first I just chalked it up to the honeymoon being over, but it nagged at me for a week before I realized that I'd since moved the impedance switch from the 8 to the 4 ohm setting.  I flipped it back over with the thought that I'd just let it sit and listen for another couple of weeks to see if my impressions changed.  They did.

Whatever it was that I felt was robbing me of my ultimate enjoyment came back and things are sounding better than ever.

I haven't listened to the original Zen in quite awhile and it'd probably be a good time to throw it in for one last comparison.  I think I'll have time this weekend so I'll get that amp warmed up in another system and then do some final comparisons and then post some final impressions.

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #77 - 07/22/15 at 16:34:52
 
Well I'm glad you got things back to normal!

I've had so many of those moments when things feel "off" in my system.  Sometimes, it's just me.  I also notice it during certain times of day or week when the grid is getting taxed and power isn't optimal.  Other times I'll make a change to my power setup, tubes, or room treatments and think within the first 5 minutes I've made things better, only to find over time that it's worse.  

No hurry on the impressions, just didn't want you to forget about us!  I'm getting closer to pulling the trigger on the UFO however and wanted another data point to take into consideration.

Best,
Rob
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #78 - 07/22/15 at 17:09:19
 
Same here, interested in a real user impression of the UFO.

I've also experienced the frustrating changes in sound quality, even during the same listening session, when the grid faces the demand peaks that make it noisy, unstable and simply unlistenable to my standards. During the night sessions, the later it becomes, the better it sounds. The opposite happens when I start listening quite early. No doubt there may be subjective elements involved sometimes, but in my case at least, I believe is the AC quality: Literally 'night and day' sound differences.
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Acetone
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #79 - 07/22/15 at 18:13:30
 
Seikosha,  thanks for the update and ditto on fire and prog's comments...some days are better than others. but, with the decware amps much more to the good!
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #80 - 08/04/15 at 20:32:49
 
So a little update on the Zen UFO after some direct comparisons last week.  Everything I've mentioned before still stands.  The UFO amp just sound more solid in every parameter.  One thing I noticed that I hadn't before is that there is an ever so slight glare with the stock unit.  I never would have guessed it was there before but now it does show up.

Listening to these units side by side really tells you that although you think your stuff is good, there always is something better.  I was completely enamored with my Zen and besides power, I really didn't think I could ask anymore from it, yet with the UFO, I got little improvements across the board even in things I thought couldn't be improved upon.

I still wish it had a little more power and the resultant body, but you can only get so much from these tubes, and having a small room and relatively efficient speakers makes it a compromise I can live with for now.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #81 - 08/04/15 at 20:55:37
 
Excellent, just the thing I wanted to hear.  Thanks for letting us know!
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #82 - 08/05/15 at 00:05:49
 
Sounds promising, indeed. I hope the same effect can be expected in the Mini Torii. I'm not sure if the same level of benefits realized in the Super Zen through the UFO may be carried over to other amps.
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Acetone
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #83 - 08/05/15 at 17:38:18
 
seihoska,  thanks much for the update
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Brian
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #84 - 08/11/15 at 16:27:50
 
seikosha said:  "I still wish it had a little more power and the resultant body"

Are you running a preamp with your el84 amp? I believe that would add body. Perhaps those in the know could correct me if I have misunderstood the effect of a preamp with this particular power amp.
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« Last Edit: 08/11/15 at 16:28:38 by Brian »  
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #85 - 08/11/15 at 17:58:16
 
Hi Brian,

I actually have a Zstage that I occasionally run with the Zen and yes, it does ad some body but at the expense of some transparency and purity.

There is no such thing as a free lunch!  :-)

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Mini Torii, SE84CKC, Omega Super3XRS, Oppo95 as Transport, Shiit Bifrost UBER Dac, PS Audio P3 Powerplant
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will
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #86 - 08/11/15 at 21:46:18
 
Though I use a CSP3 now in my main system, I struggled with the Zstage for optimal "transparency and purity," and I felt like I basically got there. I could hear harmonic benefit from another tube, more body, and my fav, it allowed gain riding, letting me tune for more body/tonal density or less depending on recordings. Finally, this happened without notable loss in fine detail and articulation, but took a just right setup.

Same happened with a lot of experimentation with the juptered CSP3. I got it clean and spacious, and with more tonal density and dynamic potential than the Zstage.

I have tried to pump up volume with a Zstage and CSP3 on a Taboo and Rachel, and they really did not do very much for volume before clipping set in. And gain riding may not be as great an option with a Zen for a lot of material depending on recording loudness, DAC voltage, speaker efficiency and all that, if there are volume issues with the Zen. Then running the Zstage high could potentially be overly dense and dark.

For me, getting the Zstage "alive" and spacious took a neutral and open sounding power cord, neutral silver ICs (I use VHaudio silver "recipe" and Grovers at the moment), good feet, and just the right tubes, most tubes being too dark and "colorful" for my tastes in the context of the voicing. My favorite is a 50s Siemens 12AT7...open, transparent, dynamic...but there were a few others I really liked too, especially from that same period.

I don't know what Steve is using now, but I think I recall mine had an auricap in it and the "capping phrase" was putting in a Jupiter cap. Once burned in, it took the very simple Zstage circuit to notably higher level of musical detail...here anyway....perhaps similar in some ways to your experience seikosha with the UFO, the cap made me realize the fuller potential of the Zstage.

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« Last Edit: 08/12/15 at 01:20:11 by will »  

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kevtn8
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #87 - 08/25/15 at 06:32:40
 
Seikosha,

Thank you for the comparisons and the updates. Thanks to you, I just sent in my amp to Decware to have the UFOs installed. With tube amps, the output transformers are the most important components with the signal caps and power supply a very close second.

So in summary, you prefer the impedance switch in the 4ohm setting with your Omegas?

This is interesting because Louis himself mentioned that he preferred the 4ohm tap in testing with amps that had multiple taps.

Last question: Since you've been testing some Mark Audio drivers, have you heard the MA Alpair 10p driver yet? If so, how does it compare to the Omega RS5 in your Super 3XRS?

Looking forward to your response.

Kevin
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seikosha
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #88 - 08/25/15 at 13:52:38
 
Hi kevtn8,

I actually prefer the 8 ohm setting.  Whenever I play with the switch and do quick a/b comparisons, I always prefer the 4 ohm setting, but then over long term listening, I end up switching back to 8.  That's where I have been keeping it.

I have a pair of 10P's in a Pensil cabinet.  They are very nice.  Compared to the rs5 in the Omega 3, they go lower and have a bigger warmer sound.  The 3 has them beat though in speed and transparency.  I can see where people would prefer the Pensils, but in my room, I like the purity and the detail that the Omegas provide.  They just sound a little more refined than the Pensils.

In a different room and perhaps with solid state electronics, I might prefer the Pensils.  
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kevtn8
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #89 - 08/26/15 at 07:29:09
 
Seikosha,

Thanks for the clarification. Wow, both the 4 and 8 ohm tap on the UFO must be pretty close on the Omega for you to go back and forth like that. Louis wasn't joking when he says that the impedance on all his drivers are very friendly to most amps. I can't wait to try them out on the Omegas. The 8ohm tap will extract bit more power from the Omegas and probably is reason why you eventually chose to keep it there.

Regarding the MA Alpair 10p in the Pencils compared to the Omega 3XRS, I'm glad you like the Omegas more ( since I have same speakers  ;D) but more importantly I don't like speakers that are too warm. I believe the combination of the Zen Select and Super 3XRS produces a near perfect tonal balance. Its as  perfect as I've ever heard it in my system and I don't want to change anything right now. I just hope the UFOs make this combo even better and more refined.
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Tube-aholic
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #90 - 12/09/15 at 00:17:05
 
seikosha, you can always buy another super zen and run them as mono blocks  ;)
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MarkR7
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #91 - 01/27/16 at 00:37:50
 
With the $300 UFO Mod for a CKC, does that include the Jupiter caps in the price, or are they more?
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kevtn8
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #92 - 01/29/16 at 08:14:04
 
Jupiter beeswax caps have been standard on all of his amps for a few years now. If you are referring to the newer Jupiter Copper foils, those are optional and you should call them if interested.
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