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DECWARE UFO MOD (Read 25175 times)
Steve Deckert
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DECWARE UFO MOD
03/22/15 at 01:21:28
 
Hi everyone!

Now that we're approaching our 20th year selling the Zen Triode Amplifier, I wondered if despite it's revisions would there be any more room to improve it?  I mean, the Christmas Comes Early Mod took the amp to a new level of delicacy. The Christmas Keeps Coming mod gave the amp a bump up in dynamics and detail.  The Cryo Treated Beeswax caps let you hear deep into the layers and doubling the thickness of the chassis to increase mass improved focus.  What else is there?

I wondered what would happen if we wound an exotic output transformer. Of course we already build fairly exotic transformers... but I'm talking something crazy good. I mean, are we really at the point of diminishing returns?  I really wanted to find out.

What for example would it sound like if we doubled the lamination's?  What would it sound like if we increased the interleaving?  What would it sound like if we used silver wire?  Can we really hear a difference when a transformer goes up to 80kHz?  Would the difference be bigger than the cryo treated beeswax caps or would it sound exactly the same but with more extension in the frequency extremes?

These were all questions running through my head along with the potential costs involved... and as the saying goes: "You'll never know until you try it."  So, I did... I tried it. A single pair of  extended bandwidth transformers were installed into a SuperZen Triode (model SE84CKC).



The video that can be found here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J08omdtaUDk happened when I decided to take some pictures of it after the first listening tests! Thankfully I remember what it sounded like. I will be pursuing it further so keep an eye on the web site or this tread for more news as it happens!

Steve  
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« Last Edit: 04/05/15 at 23:03:37 by Steve Deckert »  
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4krow
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #1 - 03/22/15 at 01:33:48
 
 Like, POOF! My head just exploded
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #2 - 03/22/15 at 01:41:18
 
But seriously Steve, I cannot find the video that you are talking about. The link just comes back to right here.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #3 - 03/22/15 at 01:51:34
 
Damn Martians, they would steal the stink out of shit if they could!
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #4 - 03/22/15 at 02:10:39
 
Well, there isn't enough air on Mars to transmit sound, so I rather doubt it was Martians!

Steve
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #5 - 03/22/15 at 02:33:02
 
I think it was the Russians! Or maybe the Chinese?...
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #6 - 03/22/15 at 02:50:00
 
I'm sorry. I base all of my scientific knowledge of Mars from Marvin the Martian cartoons.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #7 - 03/22/15 at 05:56:00
 

Steve, you know we don't see the forum the way you do when you log in? It's white and blue for us - not the fancy black with images and all that.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #8 - 03/22/15 at 05:57:07
 
I was just planning my DAC upgrade today, then Steve drops a bomb on me.  How much is this gonna cost??
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #9 - 03/22/15 at 16:51:17
 
Quote:
Steve, you know we don't see the forum the way you do when you log in? It's white and blue for us - not the fancy black with images and all that.


Actually I didn't know that.  I thought I had configured the default template to be like mine.  Well, it is now.  Sorry to those of you who loved the white and blue but it's just too hard for me to keep track of more than one template.

Steve
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #10 - 03/22/15 at 16:55:59
 
Quote:
I was just planning my DAC upgrade today, then Steve drops a bomb on me.  How much is this gonna cost??


Since the forums are a real time platform, I often share information in real time, meaning you get to watch things develop.  I have no idea on the price or availability of it, I posted this thread (and video) to let you know I was going to pursue it.  

My guess is I'll probably have some answers by August or possibly sooner.

Steve
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #11 - 03/22/15 at 16:58:03
 
Ok great.  I'm relieved to have some time to plan if it ends up being released.  Thanks Steve!
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #12 - 03/22/15 at 17:09:13
 
Well,  mine has always been dark brown/black with stars.  I've never seen it Blue and white.  As long as I can read the words and see the Pics, any colors are OK by me.  Mark.
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Core32
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #13 - 03/22/15 at 17:18:15
 
Same here. Always dark brown and black with tree outlines and stars.
And apparently the glow of that UFO obscured over the hill!
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« Last Edit: 03/22/15 at 17:19:15 by Core32 »  
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #14 - 03/22/15 at 17:49:43
 
I'm betting this will be the amp that uses tears from a clown as it's main upgrade!
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #15 - 03/23/15 at 00:27:01
 
 Dang man, you're gonna have to fess up to All that this new project is about. I have wondered many times how far a transformer can be transformed.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #16 - 03/24/15 at 16:59:06
 
Funny video/cool. Thanks for changing from the blue signed in too!
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #17 - 03/24/15 at 18:34:27
 
Hmmm....upgrade Zen, or go with New pre-amp due out in Oct?....great video!  My Background has always been dark style.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #18 - 03/24/15 at 20:28:11
 
That was fun!  I can't wait to see what comes of it ... Looks like Steve has a few things in the pipeline, a new Preamp, a new Super Zen Mod, and perhaps a set of 6C33C mono blocks (if they're still on the table that is???).  At any rate, this should make for a very cool Decfest 2015!!!

p.s. Speaking of Decfest, I really want to attend one time ~ if people really pitch tents on Steve's lot, where does everybody get cleaned up at?  Does anybody know if there are any Navy or Army Lodges in the area?

p.p.s. my forum background wallpaper is also (and always has been) starts at night. Cool
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #19 - 03/24/15 at 20:59:33
 
Quote:
Hmmm....upgrade Zen, or go with New pre-amp due out in Oct?


I hope the UFO mod doesn't cost as much as a new pre-amp!  Though I'm sure exotic silver-wound output transformers don't come cheap.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #20 - 03/26/15 at 22:32:00
 
I pulled my Super Zen CKC off of eBay. I said to myself, if this dual transformer output is any thing like what Steve has done with the output of  my ZDSD.....well then I want the mod! Keep us posted indeed Steve. Shame on me for having a momentary lapse of reason an possibly letting my CKC leave my Decware family stable!


I was going to relist my Adagio's too with better pics. I pulled them as well. I will sell those locally.
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« Last Edit: 03/26/15 at 22:36:49 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #21 - 03/26/15 at 23:30:46
 
I was tempted Stone.  Got to pay taxes though.  Thanks for removing the temptation.

I wonder why the same mod couldn't be done to Rachael?
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #22 - 03/27/15 at 11:19:53
 
I hope Steve offers the transformer upgrade for all Decware products.

Silver has a wonderful sonic clarity as compared against other metals.
I'm using it for my interconnects and speaker cables.

It would be cool if all Decware internal innards were made using the same anti-werewolf anti-vampire technology. Wink

Cheers!
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #23 - 03/27/15 at 13:07:58
 
I was waiting for the Tori5 upgrade but was disappointed. This mod added to the Tori3 to Tori4 upgrade could change that.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #24 - 03/27/15 at 20:31:58
 
Funny LS, anti vamp an werewolf.  ;D

Preachin' to the Choir here (Silver rules). I thought adding my KS3035 a couple of years back, to my System would be to much of a good thing with my KS1030 IC's. It turned out to be bliss. I just ordered a pair of ERRx. My 3035's could be to much for these though-will hear. I have my Zen Styx, Audioquest Rocket 33 an Kimber KS3033 with 9033 Jumpers for the ERRx too, if needed. Running them without the caps will have to be experimented with too (w/9033's).

I decided to keep the stuff I was going to sell (see Classifieds). Expecially, my Cable Stable. I'm selling my Adagio's locally-good lesson learned there. Also, my surplus of Svetlana SV83's. These should not sit.  Cheers indeed.

Furthermore, yes, IL, Pal an LS! You guys just made me think to ask Steve when I send in my CKC....can we upgrade my legendary SE84CS too! I can box them both............ . Hopefully, Steve will let us know here soon.

PS-I sold 2 pair of Svetlana SV83's (6N15NM) to Acetone an a pair to Lonely Raven. They will ship on Monday guys. However, I'm bulk posting the rest of them in two lots on eBay next week. They will be gone (except for my personal stash of course). If you have an original C, C+ or CS....you might like them better than the EV EL84 types, or maybe not. I love them an use nothing else in my SE84CS. I call them the Tube that started it all............ .
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« Last Edit: 03/27/15 at 21:21:14 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #25 - 03/27/15 at 21:47:20
 
You didn't give me your Pay Pal address! I might take two pair now, I sold one of my laptops I have for sale. Give me your address and I'll send you some $$$ for those tubes brother.

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #26 - 03/27/15 at 22:27:03
 
Ditto here Stone...also sent you PM.  Thx
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #27 - 03/29/15 at 00:26:23
 
You bet guys. I sent you both PM's.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #28 - 03/29/15 at 15:09:37
 
This UFO mod is somewhat nebulous at this point. Steve might well decide that it is not worthwhile or not commercially feasible.

What about really pushing the envelope; using a Rachel chassis for a dual mono ZEN with OC2's for the inputs and 0C3 for the output tube; dual rectifiers?
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« Last Edit: 03/29/15 at 15:10:23 by Rivieraranch »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #29 - 03/29/15 at 15:32:01
 
Technically that would be two regulation tubes. Probably would be nice to have dual rectifiers too!

I'm not that interested in the small amps any longer (though I'm enjoying a modified C right now, playing Max Bennett). But this would be an interesting "dual mono" amp.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #30 - 03/31/15 at 00:35:33
 
This mythical dual mono tube regulated ZEN should also have meters.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #31 - 03/31/15 at 00:43:52
 
NO,no meters unless there's an option not to have them. I don't like them, and I personally think they ruin the look. Wink
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #32 - 03/31/15 at 21:22:44
 
Maybe not meters...BUT we do need more cowbell!! Sorry, I just couldn't resist. I fired up my SE84CS the other day driving my Stax Gamma headphones, what a crazy good amp that is. I can wait to try it on my new speakers when they arrive. Back on thread. Happy listening, Chris
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #33 - 04/06/15 at 00:09:24
 
I have decided to proceed with the UFO transformers for the Zen Triode Amplifiers.  

As of today, they are now an option in the shopping cart for the model SE84CKC and SE84CKCS. We have after almost 20 years, stopped production on the original transformers, so once our inventory runs out - these amplifiers will only be available with the UFO transformers and the price of the amps will increase by around $200. Once the original inventory is depleted and UFO's become standard, there will no longer be an option for different transformers in the shopping cart.

What is a UFO transformer? UFO stands for Ultra Fidelity Output which is simply a wider bandwidth and better sounding transformer with even flatter frequency response. They are the same physical size as the originals except that the winding now completely fills the core window.  You can see the two in the picture below. Top one with the blue bobbin is the original, bottom one is the UFO.



These transformers feature a lamination that is half as thick as the original so there are twice as many to create a core that is more efficient with less saturation.  In addition, the copper windings feature considerably more paper interleaving and more precision in how their made.  These two things are what make possible 3 times the bandwidth of the original Zen Triode transformers.  Also improved were the lead wires.  We doubled the thickness of the wire, changed from copper to silver, and use a Teflon insulator and now run the leads from the bottom rather than the top of the bobbin.

We will be offering the UFO mod to existing Zen Triode Amps built back to 001 in 1996.  Cost of the upgrade will be $300 parts and labor and take between a week and ten days on average.

UFO transformers are hand made in the USA with USA wire, USA steel and USA labor.

Operationally the 2 watt UFO transformer used in the Zen Triode Model SE84CKC and SE84CKCS will replace the two prior models.  In the past, the stock transformer was a 9800 ohm primary against a 6 ohm secondary.  This makes the amp capable of driving speaker loads below 1 ohm, which very few if any other SET amps can do.  An optional transformer was offered with a 3300 ohm primary against a 6 ohm secondary to better accommodate speakers above 8 ohms.  You could have your amp built with one or the other.

The new UFO transformers achieve both ratios by having a 6600 ohm primary against a dual 4 and 8 ohm secondary.. the trick being to hook 8 ohm speakers to the 4 ohm tap and 4 ohm speakers to the 8 ohm tap and let the reflected impedance change the primary impedance to nearly match original specs.
The beauty of this is that we now have a switch to go between the two secondaries so now you no longer need to worry or care what impedance your speakers are, you simply move the switch to the better sounding setting.  The advantage of this is that both settings will usually sound good, the difference will be power.  For many who don't need every drop of power the amp can muster, this switch will be like having two different sounding amps.  In fact, when used with the front located bias switch that adjusts the voicing of the input tube, you can effectively say you have a choice of four different amplifiers at your fingertips.

ZEN TIP: High Impedance primaries in output transformers can have better transparency in the top end when compared to a lower primary impedance.  What I doubt many people realize is that creating a primary with a higher impedance than optimal for a given tube and then creating a secondary tap that is lower than optimal for a given speaker makes the reflected impedance adjust the primary to the ideal value for the tube and the gains in top end transparency are not lost.  ;)

UFO transformer design for the SE34I.4 is almost complete...  We will increasing the size of the transformer over the original for this amp as well as making some other changes to the circuit.

Steve

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« Last Edit: 04/06/15 at 00:10:09 by Steve Deckert »  
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #34 - 04/06/15 at 01:26:07
 
Steve,

Are balanced inputs still an option for the CKC Select?  I did not see that as an option in the cart.

I have an Oppo 105D with balanced outputs.
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« Last Edit: 04/06/15 at 01:27:58 by DBC »  

Main System: Oppo BDP-105D, SE84UFO amp, Omega Super Alnico Monitors, Twin Custom SLAB 15's (Low Frequency Open Baffle).
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #35 - 04/06/15 at 01:32:06
 
Excellent news, Steve. Any thoughts on doing this transformer upgrade for the Mini Torii eventually?
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« Last Edit: 04/06/15 at 01:33:14 by Fireblade »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #36 - 04/06/15 at 05:01:11
 
Great news Steve. I will send my SE84CS in for the UFO MOD. I can't part with it......except for sending it in for the MOD.





Listening Room:
Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew
Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Decware DSD DAC / Recorder (@ -20 Ref Level @ 16/176.4)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps (NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/CCa/7308 for input tube)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier (NOS/Platinum/Matsushita / National PCC88 / 7DJ8 in A12 an B12 inputs)
Kimber Select KS3033 Speaker Cable
Vintage Polk SDA1 Speakers in Stereo (91db)
XLO Pro Power Cords to CSP3 an ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ZDSD an CSP3, Regenerated/118, 119 an 120v are used/Multiwave off...ZMA on HC Output)

Decware SE84CS (NOS Svetlana SV83's from 1980's-not the New Sensor knock-offs) ...when SE Pentodes run in Triode/Decware Style...needs to be in the System!


*****Sending my SE84CS in for the UFO MOD

*****Decware ERRx Speaker's coming in 3 to 4 weeks!

*****Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modded/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-on Tweets/5 or 10k cross.....should have in a week-finished

Pending: Decware Preamplifier, October 2015
Pending: ZP3
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« Last Edit: 04/06/15 at 14:25:54 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #37 - 04/06/15 at 12:46:31
 
My Rachaels are looking forward to a great holiday Steve !
Beeswax caps.....and UFO`s.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #38 - 04/06/15 at 14:24:18
 
Good call Syd. I want the Jupiter caps & UFO MOD. However, I want to keep the "original" of my SE84CS. So, no CCE or CKC for my CS. Staying old school/2001 with Svetlana SV83's.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #39 - 04/06/15 at 16:07:26
 

Awesome news!
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #40 - 04/06/15 at 22:51:40
 
I dont know what the mod will equate to in sonics. Wider bandwidth conjours up some thoughts about extension at both ends with a flatter graph, and even more clarity and realism, all of which I think I have. It`s all come out of the blue and is just the reason I was looking for to make the Jupiter cap journey for the Rachaels a must.
I love the Rachaels as they are but wont stand in their way.
And a switch for taps and some new circuitry.
And it`s about time I had a splashout on some extra Decware fidelety.   Cool

It`s quite a big change, new output trannies, and voiced by Steve.
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« Last Edit: 04/06/15 at 22:58:05 by Syd »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #41 - 04/06/15 at 23:27:27
 
Along the same lines here Syd. I have a pair of Decware ERRx coming. So, I figure my SE84CS sent to Steve with the Tube compliment I like, voiced by him with the new Output Trannies and Jupiter Caps if he feels it excels with those too. Breathe some new life into her/CS! The ERRx are rated at needing a few more watts to start. However, the CS will push them well I bet. Of course, my ERRx will be run by my main System: ZDSD + CSP3 + ZMA.

Nothing against the Super Zen CKC and its CCE + CKC Mod and how it will excel with EV an EL84 Tubes.... . I just like my old CS with my NOS Svetlana output tubes and true NOS 6922 Sovtek.

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« Last Edit: 04/06/15 at 23:31:44 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #42 - 04/16/15 at 02:13:25
 
Son of a bitch! Rachel too? I am resisting even the idea, but in the end I know what will happen.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #43 - 04/16/15 at 11:57:40
 

i'd like to talk Steve into making a pair of Zen CKC mono blocks with the UFO transformers.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #44 - 04/16/15 at 12:32:18
 
Riv,  I guess I could send in my Decware SE84ZSM Monoblocks with CKC mod, Jupiter Caps and upgraded plate resistors, that I bought June 2014, in for the UFO mod but I love them so much just with the Mods the prior owner did, that I'm afraid the magic would change.  So I probably won't.  I assume these didn't sell well since they were discontinued.  At first I thought I may have overpaid a little since this retailed for $2800 originally but now I think I under paid...they're that good.  Mark.

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/tube-decware-se84zsm-monoblocks-with-ckc-mod-ju...

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« Last Edit: 04/16/15 at 12:39:38 by mark58 »  

"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #45 - 04/16/15 at 12:35:47
 
Mark,
You really need to stop posting that audio porn man.  ;)
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #46 - 04/16/15 at 12:42:25
 
Core32, Never!  I'm addicted to it.  Mark.
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #47 - 04/16/15 at 12:47:43
 
Doesn't the bridged monobock version lose transparency vis à vis the original Super Zen?
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« Last Edit: 04/16/15 at 12:48:01 by Fireblade »  

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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #48 - 04/16/15 at 13:09:34
 
Fireblade,  if that question's for me...these would not be like bridging the current CKCS, which would give you 6 WPC, I believe.   These are two separate Mono Amps each with 2.3 WPC.  I'm not good with the technical aspects of Decware gear but here's a post from Steve. Mark.

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1215205416

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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: DECWARE UFO MOD
Reply #49 - 04/16/15 at 22:03:54
 
Yes, I think those are a different deal and not like bridging 2 CKC's, etc.  I'm still hoping that Steve isn't giving up on the 6C33C mono blocks yet. Huh
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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kevtn8
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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