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DECFEST 2015 (Read 19664 times)
Rivieraranch
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DECFEST 2015
07/11/15 at 02:27:13
 
I don't see anything posted regarding DECFEST 2015.
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TORII MK IV; ZSTAGE; HR-1 SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 KAB MODDED TT; AH! NJOE TJOEB CDP; MARANTZ 2226B; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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stone_of_tone
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #1 - 07/13/15 at 18:19:35
 
First weekend in October from past history.....Steve will post RivRanch. Right now, the Torii Junior needs its launch.  
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« Last Edit: 08/24/15 at 01:43:35 by Steve Deckert »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
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Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
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DBC
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #2 - 07/13/15 at 21:49:10
 
Watch the third video from the left at the top of the Forum Page and it says the first Friday in October.
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Main System: Oppo BDP-105D, SE84UFO amp, Omega Super Alnico Monitors, Twin Custom SLAB 15's (Low Frequency Open Baffle).
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #3 - 08/14/15 at 02:51:13
 


OCTOBER 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  Details can be found here:

http://www.decware.com/newsite/zenfestcam.html

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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #4 - 08/14/15 at 03:28:38
 
As always, all of the gear on the Decware site will be here and available to listen to in dozens of combinations including those where you pair it with or against non-Decware gear should you elect to bring any.

Some of the new things this year will be the TORII JR. which will no doubt get a lot of play time.

The SE84UFO, TABOO, SE34I.4, SE84CKCS will all have the new UFO output transformers!

I can demo the 6C33 Monoblocks this year, as I feel I'm done with the voicing and happy with them.

There will be also be a chance to listen to my latest project, the "DECWARE PILL" aka Precision Audio Clarifier, which is certain to blow some peoples minds....  It's what every audiophile has wanted since the beginning of the hobby... a simple passive device that largely fixes sound quality issues.

And we should be able to at least look at the production prototype of the new balanced preamp I've been working on.

Also with any luck there will be new speakers to listen to, including Randy's if he brings them again this year!

Source components will be the ZDSD and the ZCD240, ZP3 with my best cartridge (a DECFEST 1st) and my Tape machines.

There will also be a couple new Tube Boxes that we intend to put into production.  They are used to store your favorite input tubes.  A product for tube rollers.

Naturally there will be lots of good beer, food, the bond fire and plenty of room for tents should anyone want to just pass out after a late night of listening.

We genuinely look forward to everyone's arrival and if you can't make any of those three days, we will be broadcasting live at 320bps all three days.

Steve Smiley
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litefootdan
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Zenfest 2015 Grilling Idea
Reply #5 - 08/21/15 at 21:16:11
 
Hi Everyone,

I've been milling around the idea of posting up at a grill for a couple hours on Saturday afternoon.  I've talked with Steve and he said he has a grill to use, and I can bring one myself.  To make it interesting I thought I'd marinate a couple different meats.  How about Coriander Lime Jalapeno Chicken,  Honeymustard Sage Pork Tender, Standard Order Hamburgers, and half dozen Johnsonville Brats / half dozen Hotdogs?

I'm just putting this out there to see if I can get some traction.  Steve and the whole family are such generous people, I wanted to see if I could throw a helping hand in.  Please let me know if you have any interest in my proposal as I don't want to over/under estimate supplies.  I'll bring proteins, buns, condiments, and paper goods.  

Thanks everyone, I can't wait to see you all at Steve's!!!
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Ortofon 2M Bronze | Merrillized AR "The Turntable" | ZP 2 | Decware Torii MKIV | Hartley Holton A
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Palomino
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Re: Zenfest 2015 Grilling Idea
Reply #6 - 08/23/15 at 13:57:28
 
Great idea.  I have a mobile kitchen I use when I sail/camp.  Let me know if you need me to bring anything and what $$ you need.
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litefootdan
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Re: Zenfest 2015 Grilling Idea
Reply #7 - 08/23/15 at 19:11:55
 
Palomino,
Thanks for offering your mobile kitchen.  I suppose a folding table would be nice.  I'll make sure to pack one of those Wink    I don't think any $'s are necessary, but that is kind of you.  I just want to put up some tasty snacks for anyone interested in a hot sandwich/burger/dog.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #8 - 08/25/15 at 19:32:43
 

When we get closer to October - make up a list of things you might need help with, and I'll see what I can do. I'm not sure who or how many I'm bringing down with me. So I don't know if I'll have a lot of space, or very little space in my wagon - but I'm happy to help.

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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #9 - 08/25/15 at 20:23:16
 
P.S. Palomino - the Wine must Flow!
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Palomino
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #10 - 08/26/15 at 23:33:05
 
I am stoked about the fest this year.  Better make sure my hall pass is still valid.

Loads of options to listen to.  Love that we can just bring music on a SD card.  Add in some barbecue, sprinkle in some good ol audio bs'ing and you have a fest to beat the rest.  

Plus the stone man cometh.

PS. I may consume some wine.
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litefootdan
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #11 - 08/28/15 at 01:39:45
 
Heck Yeah!!!!!!  Is it crazy to wonder if any records well be spun?
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Ortofon 2M Bronze | Merrillized AR "The Turntable" | ZP 2 | Decware Torii MKIV | Hartley Holton A
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #12 - 08/30/15 at 22:33:06
 
Yes, there will be some LP's spun I'm sure. When you want to hear vinyl just come and find me and I will spin it for you!

In past years, I have always limited the risk of loss to that of a $350 Grado cartridge since vinyl and too many people don't mix well, especially when alcohol is involved Wink

That's why when we played vinyl last year side by side with the tape machines the comment was made "When can we listen to the tape some more?"

This year, I'm going to use my best cartridge to show off how good a ZP3 really is, and the difference between the tape machines and turntable will be less than last year.  Tape machines are solid state, Vinyl rig is all tube, so the playing field is somewhat leveled now.  Next year I hope to have the tape machines all tube as well.

Steve
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litefootdan
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #13 - 08/31/15 at 05:03:09
 
This sounds fantastic.  Depending on how things stack up, I'll have to decide on how to make my next audio advancement.  The Zen CD Player or the ZP3.  One of the two will have to be invested in before the year's end.  If time permits, and guests of this year's fest agree.....  Can I bring a good copy of a revealing recording in both CD and record?  
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #14 - 09/02/15 at 17:31:41
 

Quote:
Can I bring a good copy of a revealing recording in both CD and record?  


Sure, no problem.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #15 - 09/02/15 at 17:55:13
 
We now have plenty of firewood for this years bond fire thanks to the next door neighbor's tree which voluntarily sacrificed itself.  



The neighbor, Dave, thinks it rotted and blew over, but interestingly enough another amp came missing from my shop that same night... so I think it was that damn UFO again.  Some of my scotch was also missing so it stands to reason they may have flew right through the tree by accident.  Anyway we'll put it to good use I'm sure!

Steve
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Palomino
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #16 - 09/02/15 at 19:27:26
 
Wow, that's a little close for comfort.  Could have taken out the shop!

Are you going to be running your mac as a source again?  I am assuming in addition to LPs, we can bring music on an SD card and CDs?



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Donnie
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #17 - 09/02/15 at 22:55:46
 
We can cut some lumber out of that tree to make the cage for the "Who makes the best DAC" death match .
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litefootdan
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #18 - 09/04/15 at 06:00:51
 
I must say thanks for the uplifting timer at the left of the videos.  It helps me to realize how soon and special Zenfest is.  Just a bit more than 4 weeks and all can be right in an audio world!!!    ;)
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Ortofon 2M Bronze | Merrillized AR "The Turntable" | ZP 2 | Decware Torii MKIV | Hartley Holton A
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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #19 - 09/06/15 at 17:40:41
 
Quote:
We can cut some lumber out of that tree to make the cage for the "Who makes the best DAC" death match


I like the way you think!


Wow, I'm glad everyone's OK Steve. Yes, lots of firewood!  I guess I'll be spending a lot of time around the fire pit. Smiley

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JimmyJet
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #20 - 09/11/15 at 15:16:29
 
Wow, Steve! That's mighty close to the shop! I hope you were kidding about the amp being stolen... Anyway, I'll be flying in from DC early Friday morning than driving from O'Hare. Will be spend all day and fly out Sat. morning. I'll have a few LP's in my carry-on  ;)  Haven't decided if I'll pitch a tent in your yard or stay at a hotel (since I'd have to buy the tent and all the other gear, the price is about the same. But let's see, if I have a tent, I can stay up late drinking more craft beers...  ::)

Cheers! Looking forward to meeting you in person Friday, Oct. 2nd!
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Torii Mk IV [beeswax, attenuator]
Chnl. A:
Thorens 150 [SME M2-9, Dynavector 17D3, Origin Live (DC200 motor, Ultra Transformer & Controller)] => Sutherland 20/20 phono stage [dual mono]
Chnl. B:
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=> Klipsch KG4's [Crites' upgrades
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marcocolo
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #21 - 09/12/15 at 01:43:35
 
I'm coming for one night and wondered which is best Friday or Saturday (meaning come as early as possible Friday and leave afternoon Saturday or Saturday to Sunday). Where will I get the best exposure to guys and gear?? Kiss
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Palomino
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #22 - 09/12/15 at 01:47:12
 
I think Saturday will have more people.  I am doing Friday night Saturday day but that is out of necessity.
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i7 Mac Mini with LPSU/SSD running Audirvana 2, Uptone Audio Regen on LPSU, Chord QuteHD with LPSU, DIY Belden ICs, Torii MKIII, SE34I.32, PS Audio P5 Power Supply, PS Audio Power Cords, Vintage Western Electric 16g Speaker wires, DIY Speakers
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IanO
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #23 - 09/18/15 at 13:02:28
 
I'd love to come but it's a long way from the south of England! Maybe next year?!. As I'm planning new amps and phonostage from you in the new year it would eat into my budget! Hope the pesky ufo's stay away though, especially from the whisky!!! Hope it all goes well... Smiley
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maddog07
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #24 - 09/22/15 at 23:12:28
 
my Zenfest experience... Saturday afternoon is the busiest time.  If you want "alone time" or semi-alone time for extended listening.... come early(Friday) or stay late(Sunday) as far as Friday night and Sunday night... listen very early in the morning... i.e. sometime between midnight and 9 a.m.
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva XMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Wyred STP-SE, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, Cary SLI-80, DM945's.....
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Palomino
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #25 - 09/28/15 at 14:06:09
 
I slapped together a little box that holds my source gear.  Mac Mini, SPDIF Converter, regen (Eric's) and Chord DAC on top, Linear power supplies for the mini, regen and Chord DAC on the bottom.  All music is on a SD card.  I hope to use this for CDApS meetings.

If I get a chance at the fest, I will plug in to hear how my source sounds.  It will probably be a late night/early morning session.  With everything set up but the power cords and ICs, I can hook it up in just a minute or two.  I did the same thing last year but didn't bring the mini and everything was tossed in a cardboard box.

I'd like to hear how the Jr plays with my gear and compare my source to the ZDSD.  I'd also like to hear Randy's speakers and the latest iteration of the DNA with the Mark Audio driver.



I'll also bring my DIY Belden ICs and WE 16g wire if anyone wants to hear them.

Looking forward to some good music this weekend.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #26 - 09/28/15 at 15:17:39
 
Steve posted :

"Also with any luck there will be new speakers to listen to, including Randy's if he brings them again this year!"

Hi Steve,

Thank you so much for your graciousness in allowing me to bring my speakers to the Zen Fest .....

I was extremely happy that they worked well with the Decware amplifiers at Zen Fest 2014 and the Zen amp / Caintuck Audio speaker combo was very well received at the recent Capital Audio Fest in MD.

I have been working on a few new things and they will be ready for the trip on Friday.  Based on what I'm hearing in my listening room with the venerable Zen B that I took to the Capital Fest, I think the new stuff will work very well with all of the fine Decware amplifiers that are currently in production .....

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday .....

Best wishes,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 09/28/15 at 15:28:20 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / tablet
Decware Model SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles and Alpha bass baffles
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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #27 - 09/28/15 at 22:26:17
 

I missed hearing your speakers last year, Randy. I was also trying to avoid any new speaker lust LOL. So I'm really looking forward to hearing them this year now that I'm more settled with my system and simply enjoying the music.

I'll be driving down Saturday morning. Not sure when I'll show up at Steve's, but we'll probably stay late for the magic hours, and I'm hoping to steal the room for an hour or so and do my Demo Tune DJ thing. I'm definitely planning on sitting around the bonfire and enjoying some libations. Maybe I'll bring some Absinthe for those who want to try, and I could also whip up some of my Whiskey Old Fashioned
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #28 - 10/01/15 at 05:28:27
 
Wohoo...!  

I finally got the feed where I want it!  It's always a huge task to get the audio right not to mention the video for the stream.  This year I purchased some new hardware to handle the microphone feed.  It cost 4 times more than what I had, but just sounded like complete shit.  I finally had to pull the plug tonight and go back to what I know works, and boy does it work!  The audio broadcast of the fest will be better than ever this year, with a minimum of 24 bit 320 bps and as high as 640 bps it's getting the room really right.  You are listening to the room more than the speakers, which is actually more telling of how a speaker or amp  sounds compared to another speaker or amp.  

Once again I would like to thank Apple for costing me almost a grand and 6 hours of my time by by changing shit that worked perfectly until they changed it.

So as you can see I am putting the feed up at the top of the forum in video header.  It will also appear on the fest page as usual.  Unless I have issues with it in the forum, I will leave it in both places.

I'm getting pretty pumped Smiley

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Steve Deckert
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ROOM LAYOUT 2015
Reply #29 - 10/01/15 at 06:36:53
 
Looking at the live feed, currently at the top of the forum in the video header, I will label what's in the shot.

From left to right is:  Couch, fireplace, Monolith (DM947), Zen Omni (HR-1), DNA Horn with our desktop speakers on top (Traps), and the Decware Radial (ERRx). Behind the ERRx is one of two tape machines.  Back in the corner, is the Decware Corner Horn.  To the right of the tape machine is the lamp, the CSP3 preamp, and the ZStage which is currently accepting the output from the ZP3 phone stage.  The ZP3 feed by the ZMC1 being excited by a Fidelity Research MC202 cartridge.

Other speakers will be swapped in place with the ERRx's since they are easiest to move and are located at the most common distance apart. The remaining three; Monolith, HR1, & DNA will remain where you see them as each is actually in it's ideal location for this room.

The three heaviest amps that people will want to hear are planted on the floor in the middle of the room so that they don't have to be moved.  In front is the new TORII Jr.  Behind that is is the TORII MKIV and behind that is the ZMA (Zen Mystery Amp) aka HOLY GRAIL Wink

The smaller amps will be brought into the room and placed some where near these three amps.  Either in front of, to the side of or possibly up on the table with the lamp, CSP3 and ZSTAGE.  Also on this table is the turntable , ZP3, ZMC1 and power supplies.

Since the audio feed is hyper sensitive you can always hear everyone talking as loud or louder than the music, so if you have headphones on and are following along, you will hear what amps are being hooked up and with what speakers, etc.

For example, I dearly hope no one heard what I just said when I knocked my beer over on the keyboard - the bench and the floor, because I'm testing the feed as I type this.  Oh how embarrassing... so while we're on the subject, Dear God in Heaven please forgive all the harmless but distasteful f-bombs I and others will utter during the fest. It can be hard to remember that the microphones can hear a fly fart in the restroom 30 feet away behind closed doors.

Let's just say that for those of you who plan to watch the feed,  you'll not miss a single word spoken in the building... and that alone can be it's own form of entertainment!  However, since you're all into high def streaming, you can be certain that just playing the 72 hours of DECFEST 2015 will be some of the best music you've heard and all recorded at 24/96kHz.

If while ease dropping on the fest if you hear pops or sounds behind you that make you turn around repeatably, this is a normal side effect of a live high fidelity broadcast.  Please don't drink coffee in excess during this transmission.





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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #30 - 10/01/15 at 13:58:33
 
I like the idea of a fairly "set" room.  Less setup time = more music.

It always made me nervous carrying those heavier amps as well.

Last time I checked it looked like the weather is going to cooperate.
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i7 Mac Mini with LPSU/SSD running Audirvana 2, Uptone Audio Regen on LPSU, Chord QuteHD with LPSU, DIY Belden ICs, Torii MKIII, SE34I.32, PS Audio P5 Power Supply, PS Audio Power Cords, Vintage Western Electric 16g Speaker wires, DIY Speakers
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bvictor
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #31 - 10/01/15 at 20:11:26
 
Steve's comment:
"Once again I would like to thank Apple for costing me almost a grand and 6 hours of my time by by changing shit that worked perfectly until they changed it."

AMEN!  I love Apple's stuff, but it pisses me off that they keep f'in up everything that worked just fine, when the new tweaks add next to nothing.  If it ain't broke....
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DECWARE: SE34I.2, HDTs; CSP2, TABOO, Zen Styx, RL 1.5s; Mystery Amp, ZDAC-1, Klipsch KLF-30s; Bridged Raches with Klipsch Forte IIs and Monoliths
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #32 - 10/01/15 at 20:16:35
 
+1
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Dave1210
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #33 - 10/03/15 at 14:00:50
 
I tapped into the stream later last evening when tape/vinyl was being played and it sounded fantastic, particularly the vinyl.  There were a couple records that stood out, The Who and Frank Zappa.  

It was hard to tell what speakers were being played but I think it might have been the 'El Caminos'.  

It looked like the ZMA and Torii Jr were getting all the love early on, but folks seemed to settle in on the Torii Mk 4 later in the evening.  

Looking forward to what others have to say.  And thanks again Steve for the live feed!
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #34 - 10/03/15 at 15:51:15
 
Had a great time at Decfest yesterday. Thanks Steve for the wonderful laid back hospitality. Lots of great conversation and so nice to meet some of the forum superstars!
It was really nice to check out the differences between my Tori III, the IV, the Jr. and the ZMA. Most intrigued by the ZDSD.
Also, Palomino, you are hardcore. I saw you on the feed this morning at like 6:30. And you are still there at 10!
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« Last Edit: 10/03/15 at 15:54:59 by marcocolo »  
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DBC
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #35 - 10/03/15 at 16:15:51
 
My girlfriend and I arrived at Decfest yesterday (Friday) around 1pm and stayed till 5pm. I've been to Decfest before and as always everything sounded very good. We heard a bit of vinyl off of Steve's Rig which was a big treat.

Speaker wise we heard the HR-1's and Monolith's. The two amps we heard were the Torri and Mystery amp. Multiple speaker & amp combinations were played. Each combination offered up different flavors on different music. You could spend days trying to figure out which combination works best for the music you prefer.

Afterwards on the way home I felt pretty good about the Super Zen / Omega Alnico Monitor combination I have at home. Yes, I heard some music reproduction that is better than what I have at home but it was not by a country mile and I have a lot less invested. It's also impossible to judge how much Steve's listening room helps ???

Decware provides the opportunity to achieve great sound at a modest price price with the Super Zen and Monitors. From there the sky is the limit depending on how much you wish to invest. All really great gear.

Steve & Devon were very gracious hosts as always.
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Main System: Oppo BDP-105D, SE84UFO amp, Omega Super Alnico Monitors, Twin Custom SLAB 15's (Low Frequency Open Baffle).
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Lonely Raven
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #36 - 10/03/15 at 17:16:13
 

I've got my issues sorted out on the homestead, and I'm heading down your way soon. Will need to check into the hotel, then head to East Peoria.

See you all later this afternoon!
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beowulf
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #37 - 10/04/15 at 06:36:22
 
Been popping in and out of the live feed all day.  My favorite combo is the ZMA and DNA horns.  Secondly I believe the UFO Rachel with the DNA horns.  Didn't hear enough of the Torii JR to make a good assessment as they just weren't hooked for long at the time I popped in and out.

Everything sounded great though ~ even through my tiny computer speakers in my bedroom.

p.s. wanted to give a shout out to Randy's speakers as I thought they sounded great as well!
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« Last Edit: 10/04/15 at 06:59:10 by beowulf »  
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #38 - 10/04/15 at 15:18:40
 
I was able to spend 24 hours at Zenfest.  I slept around 6 hours, but all the rest of it was spent talking, listening, drinking and eating - in that order, I think.

A few general thoughts and then I will list my impressions for whatever they are worth.

Devon and Steve were gracious hosts as always.  I wanted for nothing.  Devon even went back to the house and brought me something to eat after I missed dinner Friday night

The new somewhat fixed room layout really worked.  It was easy to switch out amps and speakers.  There was also a space in front of the amps to put your own gear.  All the cords still reached.

And just to plug this fest in general, where else can you go to shoot the audio bull with a large group of genuinely nice, helpful,  and knowledgeable people, hear some great music, evaluate gear and drink beer?

I believe Steve has had a prolific year, coming up with multiple new things that make a big difference.  Sitting around the campfire, he simply told me it comes in waves.

So I set out with these equipment review objectives:

1. Tori Jr
2. DNA horns with the MarkAudio drivers
3. Rachael with UFO transformers
4. Zen CDP/DSD

I'll list my impressions in no particular order.  Keep in mind that in order to control the review environment, I brought my own front end and I have my own version of the Monoliths.  For the most part, this limited other variables to the room/gear.

The Tori Jr delivers as promised.  Raven told me after he heard it that it sounded like the ZMA and I was looking for more information.  Well, there is not much more to say.  It sounds like the ZMA.  In fact, I stepped out and they switched amps and it was several songs before I figured out they had switched to the ZMA,  I had one concern and one thing that I want to hear more from others about.  One was the dual volume control.  I like a single volume control, but see the value of having two.  Just not what I am used to.  The other thing is that I found the Jr easier to overdrive.  I think the ratio of output from the DSD and/or my DAC to the volume controls on the Jr need some careful attention.

I was impressed as well with DNA horns.  After hearing these and the larger brother to the 10P, I feel these drivers have a distinct signature and its one that I think I like, but it may not be for everyone.  They are crisp, punchy and have great defined bass in the DNA cabinets.  

The best emotional connection I made with a combination at the fest was with the Rachael UFOs and the DNA horns.  I don't know if it was because it was the first combo I heard early Saturday morning when I had the room to myself or what, but I was entranced for about 30 minutes.  So I can say that the UFOs benefit both the Zen and the Rachael.

The surprise performer at the fest for me and I think a few other people were the El Caminos.  These debuted at the last fest and Eric and I built a pair with Bob's direction, but the pair in Steve's room simply sounded better.  Chris also has a pair on loan from Bob and he said the pair in Steve's room also sounded better.  Anyway, as the fest progressed I found these speaker figuring prominently in the rotation.  

Unfortunately, my digital front end spent a lot of time in the mix during the time I was there.  When Chris was out of the room, people were a little timid about using the CDP/DSD.  This did give me a good feel for how my gear compared to this combo.  I was also able to put my SD card into a USB adapter and play my music through both.  In this configuration, the CDP pulled the files and passed them to the DAC in the DSD.  Balanced output from the DSD fed Steve's conversion box to RCAs out the amp.

Anyway, I felt that my Mac Mini setup did fairly well.  It was hard to match the output in order to really tell, but in the end with matched output levels, the CDP/DSD combo puts out more density.  Not thick and slow, but rich and fast.  Also, I heard more detail from the DSD.

I failed again this year to adequately hear Randy's open baffles.  I heard about two songs, but it was late and I had to get some sleep.

I was impressed by the copper beeswax caps in Marcocolo Tori Mark III that he had plugged in for a few songs.

I was disappointed that my front end was in as much as it was and thus my music was listened to a lot.  I am pretty bored with it.  I did, however, shazam a good amount of music and will be searching for it today.

The systems all sounded really good.  There were no disappointments this year.  I think the UFO transformers and Steve's new sources raised the level of play.  I consistently heard things in familiar music that were both new and very pleasing.  A good, short fest for me.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #39 - 10/04/15 at 17:34:33
 
Thanks Pal for your impressions.  I would like to hear the Torii Jr. and the Rachel with UFO transformers as well as the DNA Horns and El Caminos, as a result of your descriptions.  Maybe I'll run across a super deal on the DNA Horns someday...but the ones you listened to had a different driver than the stock speakers...correct?  I have pretty much decided to stick with the speakers, amps and other gear I have and concentrate on cabling and tube rolling to keep it fresh.

In regards to two volume controls...I love it.  I have a pair of Zen Signature Monoblocks and couldn't imagine not having this flexibility to adjust for asymmetrical speaker placement or, in many cases, just being able to decrease the volume of the channel where the drums are.  Same in my main system with the Torii MK IV, only the adjustment is made via the CSP 3 in the chain.  My suggestion is...try it!  You'll like it!  Mark.

PS...looking at Steve's listening room had me thinking how could I duplicate the set up with multiple speakers and Amps?  My conclusion is that my main room has too many openings.  But I could and will add another set of speakers in the den...currently I have the Zu Audio Souls and Omega Alinco Super 7XRS speakers side by side.  The Omega Alinco 6XRS will be added as soon as I get motivated to clean and rearrange things a bit.  I am curious how the Alinco 6XRS compares to the lower end Alinco Super 7XRS.  For now the spare pair is sitting in my bedroom not making music.
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« Last Edit: 10/04/15 at 17:50:31 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;
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: DECFEST 2015
Reply #40 - 10/04/15 at 18:27:40
 
The "new" standard driver for the DNA is the MarkAudio Alpair 10P I believe.  Not an expensive driver if you are DIY oriented.

I can see how the dual volume controls can help.

I did the "I am back from Zenfest and need to see how my room/equipment compares" test.  It faired pretty well.  I really liked how expansive Steve's image is in that bigger room.  Mine is large but mostly generated via diffusers.  Steve's is deep and wide and has more "air".

In terms of my system sound, it sounds pretty good, but I think there is an additional level of detail that I heard - primarily in the bass definition - that the ZMA/Jr/UFO Rachaels get.

One other test I did but forgot to post about.  I did a regen comparison in vs out on my rig.  I think there were only 3 or 4 people in the room.  I definitely heard the difference and I think Paul did too.  John would have to weigh in on what difference he heard.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #41 - 10/05/15 at 20:14:55
 
Hi everyone!

Wow, what a great fest... again! The weather was great, and so was the company! We were packed both Friday and Saturday with a nice mix of regulars and new faces. Every year we are surprised by how far people travel to attend the fest. This year the award goes to Hans, who came from Ireland!  In fact he just may get a speaker named after him for making the trip!

A special thanks goes out to litefootdan who provided and grilled up Saturdays meal which was simply delicious! Also a giant thanks to Bob and Chris for helping run everything. If it weren't for them I don't know what I would do.

The live feed went well this year with no down time. We had 2400 views from 840 people over the three days. Some web browsers would say the feed was offline after a period of time (cache full maybe?) but worked again with a simple refresh of the page. Anyway, I managed to capture about 200 gigabytes of Video... basically almost 72 hours straight. When I find the right software to load files that big, I'll cut it up into usable slices and make it available for viewing online.

Late Saturday night there was another small UFO spotted briefly in the listening room... when I find it on the video, I'll post that as well.

Sadly, when you have as many amps as we do, not all get listened to each day. It wasn't until Sunday afternoon that the SE84UFO was played for the first time. I say sadly because if anyone had requested it on Friday or Saturday, my guess is it would have stolen the show for several hours. When we paired it with Randy's little open baffle speakers on Sunday, even I was was somewhat dumbstruck by how good it sounded. I'll post a video of that pairing here on the forum when I can as it easily demonstrates that our least expensive amplifier gives the same incredible fidelity as our more expensive models.  And paired with Randy's $350 or so speakers it makes it possible for anyone serious about audio to have Decware sound in their home for less than $1500 !!!!!

Thank you everyone who attended and watched online!

Steve & DeVon



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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #42 - 10/05/15 at 20:18:04
 
Well, what can I say... this was my first DecFest - caught a 6:00 a.m. flight to Chicago from D.C. Friday morning, drove 2.5 hours to E. Peoria, arrived at Steve's around 10:30, met wonderful people, listened all damn day until 2:00 a.m. (while sampling craft beers), slept in Steve's yard, got up at 7:00 and listened some more until I had to drive back to the airport around 8:30 a.m. -- whew! What a whirlwind of about 32 hours -- I'm still on stimulus overload!!! Too much to take in in too little time!

Before I give some impressions, let me start by thanking Devon and Steve for being such gracious hosts and providing a cozy environment and making me feel right at home (not to mention plenty of good food and drink).

Secondly, I would like to say I met a hell of a bunch of really nice guys:

Chris - I have to start with you - a big thank you goes out to you for spinning all my vinyl and swamping amps in and out for me to compare - I really appreciate your gracious willingness to help out in so many ways, including lots of good discussion.

To all the other guys, sorry I don't remember all your names, but the few that I do:
Palomino, I enjoyed listening to music from your collection, great discussions, and listening to Holly Cole sing "I Don't Want To Grow Up" 7:30 Sat. morning with the Tori Jr was magical.
Tim, the recording engineer, I enjoyed our discussions about the biz
Marco, enjoyed listening to your hot-rodded Mk III and discussions about digital and you proved to me that digital can sound damn good!
Mike, enjoyed our discussions about ALL your gear – wow, what do you “not” have…
Randy, thanks for demoing your speakers, really nice presence for vocals
Bill, enjoyed learning about your speaker cabinet building adventures and seeing your work – exquisite!
And thanks to the guy who offered me his spare tent – I enjoyed our conversations
To the other guy that brought vinyl, I enjoyed talking with you and seeing pics of your turntable rig.

My impressions:  I came to DecFest to audition the ZMA, the Mk IV, and the Jr. Chris spun my vinyl and switched amongst all three amps playing the same set of songs so that I could compare. To my ears (and we all know listening/hearing is subjective, right guys?), the ZMA and Jr. sounded very clear and detailed, but there was just something missing as far as sound stage and warmth – then I heard the Mk IV, and bam! It was all there… it had plenty of detail but backed it with the girth and warmth that I thought was missing when I auditioned the ZMA and Jr.  When Chris spun up my Decca first pressing of The Who’s Tommy on tracks The Amazing Journey and Sparks, with the Mk IV, I not only heard soundstage width, but depth… something I’ve never experienced before! Keith Moon’s drums were dead center stage, BUT… they were located about 20 feet back from where I was sitting – it sounded as if he was playing them right in front of the leopard carpet hanging on the back wall of Steve’s listening room! I was transfixed and astounded to say the very least.

That was it as far as I was concerned – the Mk IV was my Holy Grail and knew at that moment that would be the Zen amp I would be purchasing. Later that night I asked Steve why I didn’t hear the deep depth on the ZMA and Jr.? Steve explained that the ZMA and Jr. were designed for linearity and detail; the Mk IV was designed and tuned for depth and a really big sound stage. So, I had a logical explanation and that sealed the deal for me and told Steve I’d be putting in my order for a Mk IV. Case closed.

Early Saturday morning, Palomino was listening to the Rachel, and knowing that I had to leave in about 90 minutes to drive back to O’Hare to catch a flight, he very graciously asked me if there was an amp I wanted to listen to before leaving and I told him I’d like to try the Jr. one more time. I listened to his front end playing the Holly Cole track IDWTGU. Well, besides being able to hear her every breath in and around the mic, the very delicate and light buzzing and rattling of the upright bass which was being plucked very lightly, this amp, as opposed to the day before, had the warmth that I accused it of lacking… What the hell! Chris came in and joined our listening session and said, “That amp grew a pair of balls overnight!” We all agreed but couldn’t figure out why. Then Chris remembered that with all the back and forth comparisons on Friday, a couple of the amps were left on and the Jr. idled for about three hours, and since it was a new production unit, those three hours were apparently crucial to completing part of its break-in cycle. Damn! By then, I had to leave to catch a plane and didn’t have time to spin up my vinyl of The Who so I could use my reference tracks so it would be apples to apples.

So now, I’m in a quandary… and yes, I am losing sleep over it! My gut instinct is to go with the Mk IV because a holographic image is important to me even if it means giving up some detail, but I just can’t get the sound of that last listen to the Jr. out of my mind. Uhg!!! Lesson learned:   fellow Zen’ers who have never gone to a DecFest but plan to:  don’t try to do it in one day… Next year I plan on at least two days! As Chris would say, “The second day is usually when the “magic” happens!”

Anyway, I just want to close by saying even if I owned every piece of gear that Steve produces, I would still come to DecFest just because I have never met a bunch of nice and generous guys to hang out with, drink beer, listen with, and discuss audio engineering all damn day and night! Hope to talk to you guys online between now and next year’s DecFest!  Cheers!
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Torii Mk IV [beeswax, attenuator]
Chnl. A:
Thorens 150 [SME M2-9, Dynavector 17D3, Origin Live (DC200 motor, Ultra Transformer & Controller)] => Sutherland 20/20 phono stage [dual mono]
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=> Klipsch KG4's [Crites' upgrades
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #43 - 10/06/15 at 00:39:46
 
Decfest 2015, or what I did on my Saturday.
I woke up at my usual 4:30 AM and checked out the live stream from E. Peoria, not much going on.
I hung out around the house until my wife told me that I really should go to that Dec-thing because I always seem to enjoy myself.
I then made a calculated decision to ride my motorcycle the 75 miles up. So I put on a whole bunch of clothes and riding gear and set out in the 46 deg. morning. It was a uneventful ride up other than the wind gusting at around 86 MPH out of the north east.
Arriving around noon and removing 3 layers of riding gear I stumbled into the world headquarters of the Dec-nation.
Once inside I was immediately recognised by Steve and he quickly hid anything of value from my grasp. Smart man Steve.
As I entered the listening room, equipment was being moved, music being picked and serious looks were being thrown around. One thing to always remember is that you can never be too serious about having fun!
I had the chance to hear the "El Camino's" being played. Though the sliver grey color reminded me more of my '70 Plymouth "Cuda than any stinking El Camino! Their performance were on par of that big block 6 packed monster!
I then stumbled into one of the back rooms to see Bob Z holding court.
As always, stories were traded, yarns told, opinions on many subjects aired. Bob did make me promise not to tell Steve about how cheaply he could get into 3D printing (less than 1K) and I haven't said a word to him about it.
I did get a chance to look at Randy's speakers. He should learn to never let someone like me look at something, because I'm thinking that I might have to build myself a pair.
I then said a quick goodbye to everyone and re-donned my riding gear and made my way back to Decatur.
The 86 MPH tailwind meant that I made the 75 mile ride home in a hour and 2 minutes, several speed limit signs were ignored.
I got home in time to take my dear wife to a early supper.
All in all a very good day.
Donnie
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #44 - 10/06/15 at 02:07:30
 
DecFest 2015 was certainly not a disappointment .....

As always, the Decware family hospitality was over the top and it was a pleasure to visit with some old friends and make a few new ones.

In years past, I was never 100% happy with the sound of the bass in the demo room ..... but Steve pulled off a serious miracle to make the bass in the room wonderful this year.

Tight, deep and tuneful ..... it was simply top shelf .....

I had a chance to spend some time with almost every Decware amplifier and loudspeaker.  Impressive ..... one and all.
Picking a "winner" would be a very difficult thing because everything I heard was very, very good.
On Sunday, after everyone else had cleared out, a couple of gentlemen came in and Steve treated them to some wonderful music via his reel to reel tape machine and the ZMA amplifier.
That was as close to a live performance as I have ever heard.
The scale, sound stage and tonality were truly a wonder to behold.
I have been in this hobby a long time and have never heard anything better. Anyone wanting to hear what is possible and looking for a "benchmark" to reach for should make the trip to Peoria to experience this system.  You will not be disappointed .....

Late on Friday night I tried to set up a pair of the speakers I brought to the Fest.
The way everything was laid out, the speakers were in a seriously "nearfield" position in relation to the listening seat and I was severely disappointed in the sound .....

However, on Saturday I moved a few things around to give them a little breathing room and the Rachel amp brought them to life .....
I was also able to hear them with the Mini Torii and the SE84UFO.

Wow .....
Steve is not just woofin' about how good the new transformers are.
That little two watt amplifier can really sing .....

Once again, thanks to all those who contributed to make this year's event a real treat.

Looking forward to DecFest 2016 .....

Randy
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« Last Edit: 10/06/15 at 17:16:55 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / tablet
Decware Model SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles and Alpha bass baffles
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Steve Deckert
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #45 - 10/06/15 at 17:36:24
 
First video from the live feed with Randy's speakers:

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1444149314/0#0

Steve
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #46 - 10/07/15 at 02:29:04
 
Hopefully a couple simple questions...

1) About how loud was the music playing in the room?  I'm sure it varied throughout the weekend, but did anyone take any measurements?  It seemed fairly loud on the video feed.
2) About how far were the speakers from the listening position (couch)?  How far were the speakers from the front wall?  Is  the room treated?   You can't see any treatments from the video feed.
3) Were the digital sources being fed directly to the amps via RCA or was there something else in the signal path?
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« Last Edit: 10/07/15 at 03:44:23 by Dave1210 »  
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #47 - 10/07/15 at 10:20:02
 
I have one question to add to Dave's.  

1. Were the 6c33c amps played at any time ... and if so, does anybody have any impressions?
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #48 - 10/07/15 at 15:30:12
 
The 6c33c monos were played briefly. I don’t think they were on long enough to fully warm up, however their sound improved all the time they were on. I think they started to show some of the magic of Steve’s OTL towards the end, but it’s hard to tell as I have only heard the OTL once a year ago and everything has changed since then (music, room layout, DAC etc.) I remain very interested in them as there is a quality to the sound that is just wonderful, and unfortunately hard to put into words. I’m looking forward to hearing them again, hopefully a finished fully warmed up version, at next year’s Decfest.

I’d also like to thank Steve, DeVon, and everyone else involved for putting on another wonderful Decfest. It would be very hard to exaggerate how valuable, educational, and enjoyable this event is.
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Torii MKIV, Mini Torii MKIII, Mini Torii MKII, original “El Camino” MTM speakers, Tang Band 1808s in homemade cabinets used with SVS Sub, Schiit Bifrost Uber, Schiit Modi 2 Uber, dedicated circuits.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #49 - 10/07/15 at 23:02:44
 
Dave, the music was played at a pretty high volume most of the time. Frequently loud enough for it to be hard to hear each other over. Unfortunately I didn’t take any measurements, next year I’ll be sure to as that would be interesting to know. As for the other two questions I’ll let someone who knows for sure answer. Although I can say the room is treated.
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Torii MKIV, Mini Torii MKIII, Mini Torii MKII, original “El Camino” MTM speakers, Tang Band 1808s in homemade cabinets used with SVS Sub, Schiit Bifrost Uber, Schiit Modi 2 Uber, dedicated circuits.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #50 - 10/08/15 at 09:33:25
 
BadWolf, thanks for your impressions.  I saw them on the table, but was beginning to think they were just a static display.  Hopefully those monos and the new preamp will be available at the next fest!  I'm actually going to try and make it to that one if at all possible.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #51 - 10/08/15 at 11:23:04
 
Thanks BadWolf.  What was your favorite amp/speaker combo?  

Beowulf, I hope to be there in person next year as well!

I also thought of one additional question, specific to the ZMA.  What were the KT66's biased at?  
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« Last Edit: 10/08/15 at 11:26:22 by Dave1210 »  
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #52 - 10/08/15 at 14:25:08
 
I would guess the speakers were around 7/8' from the couch with 5/6' behind them.
The wall behind the speakers has a good size opening into the entry hallway.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #53 - 10/08/15 at 16:47:41
 
I feel your pain JimmyJet (REPLY #42). The Jr. might be to similar to my ZMA....and I should have ordered the Torii IV, for my long winter's comparison. However, I do have the JR. coming on in come November.

Listening in parallel Volumes for both my ZMA and new Torii Jr., should be a lot of fun! Come Spring, maybe somebody gets one of the two? But, I will tell you.....I might be reluctant to part with either. I'm trying to swing the new PRE from Steve as well. I know it will be the only PRE I could except in my System sans my CSP3.

Good luck Jimmy, in your choice between Jr. or Torii IV. You really can't go wrong........
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Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
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Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #54 - 10/08/15 at 17:48:34
 
I'm getting the impression that the Torii Jr. might be better named the ZMA Jr.?
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #55 - 10/08/15 at 18:14:26
 
Not so fast on that Arch... . After I spend through mid March of 2016 with her...rotating out and in with my ZMA: I will do my best to describe in detail, one towards the other. I should have the Jr. sometime in November. With extended listening...maybe she shares more with the IV?

Oh, I should mention....I'm so pleased with my System...especially to play/listen at Live levels, when I want to. Plus, with/because of my very recent upgrades-they have taken me where I wanted to be....I'm set.  Just more music ~ more music/coming in.

BUUUUUUUUT, NOWS the time I can do this....and I so respect and love Steve's Amps.....I look forward to comparing the two....being fair to the Jr. Per my SPL meter.....when I want to go there....above 84db avg. SPL.

Own:
ZDSD
CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps
Zen Mystery Amplifier

Pending:
Torii Jr.
New PRE

Sold:
SE84CS (Listened to for 13 years)
Super Zen CKC
Torii III

All = purchased new from Decware.
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« Last Edit: 10/08/15 at 18:24:28 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #56 - 10/08/15 at 20:37:44
 
Dave, picking a favorite amp speaker combo is incredibly difficult. The one that stood out to me the most was the new Mini Torii with the UFO transformers with the El Caminos. Of course the El Caminos kind of stole the show as far as speakers go, they sounded great with all the amps and all the music, and people would continually switch back to them the entire fest. The new Mini sounds wonderful, I really wish I could have compared it to one with the old transformers. The El Camino and Mini combination is all the more impressive as the speakers aren’t the most efficient and the Mini of course is a very low watt amp. It drove them effortlessly and had incredible richness and bass. Even having owned a Mini for years I’m still amazed at how versatile and capable it is. To anyone ever trying out the Mini it must absolutely be allowed to warmup for 20 minutes or more to show its true potential.

I think someone said the ZMA was set to 60.

Some other standouts and thoughts from the fest -

The Rachael was incredible and would be on the top of my list if I were to consider getting another amp.

I think the Torii Jr. had something wrong with it some of the time, maybe a bad connection or tube, or was just so new it was still in the earliest stages of being broken in. Even with that it really stood out with a level of detail and clarity that was hard to believe.

Randy’s speakers were a real treat when they were setup properly.

The Torii MK4 got a lot of use and sounded great as always. Unlike previous fests I could really tell the difference between it and the ZMA. Maybe due to the ZDSD. I can see why the ZMA often wins when compared to the MK4 in back and forth comparisons. I personally think it’s a mistake to compare them that way though, as they are very different amps. Rather listening to one for an hour or so, taking a break, and then listing to the other for an hour or so would be a better way to choose IMHO.
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Torii MKIV, Mini Torii MKIII, Mini Torii MKII, original “El Camino” MTM speakers, Tang Band 1808s in homemade cabinets used with SVS Sub, Schiit Bifrost Uber, Schiit Modi 2 Uber, dedicated circuits.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #57 - 10/09/15 at 03:06:13
 
where the el caminos the silver ones?
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #58 - 10/09/15 at 04:00:14
 
Yes, they’re the silver ones. Although when they are made available they’ll have a different name.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #59 - 10/09/15 at 11:26:47
 
BadWolf...how would you describe the differences between the ZMA and MK4?
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #60 - 10/09/15 at 16:33:56
 
Thanks stone_of_tone, I look forward to your evaluation of the JR.

In regards to some of the conversation between you and BadWolf, allow me to throw in my 2 cents regarding a couple of things:

1) just being there all day on Friday, from that listening perspective, I would have to agree that the JR did sound like a "ZMA JR", but I don't think there was anything wrong with it, but that it was a new production piece that had not been burned in - I don't know what day you guys were there, but if you were there on Saturday and not Friday, just let me tell you it sounded very thin, albeit transparent and revealing, on Friday. But by Saturday morning, it was much warmer sounding, which leads me to my next point,

2) there was a reluctance to keep the amps on throughout the day because of concern of "heating up the room" - well, okay, but how about just turning down the thermostat in the shop? I mean it was only 55 outside. Point being, we can't really fairly compare amps if they are being switched on/off every time you want to demo a different one. (Also, if it's true that the JR being used was truly a new production unit, it really should have "cooked" a few days before the fest.

Not trying to sound like a complainer, but I think in order to judge the amps fairly so as to make an appropriately informed decision to purchase, these amps need to be 1) broken in properly before the fest, and 2) left on during switching amongst different amps for comparison. I'm mean, this ain't solid state... agreed?  Cheers!  8-)
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« Last Edit: 10/09/15 at 16:34:28 by JimmyJet »  

Torii Mk IV [beeswax, attenuator]
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=> Klipsch KG4's [Crites' upgrades
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #61 - 10/09/15 at 17:54:29
 
Dave, I’m really hesitant to try and describe the differences between the ZMA and MK4. It would be so easy to come across as sounding like I think one is better than the other which I personally don’t think is the case, they are just different. I heard Steve describe the difference really well in a couple sentences, but I can’t remember how he put it. I think probably the biggest difference and the one I noticed most this time is dampening, the ZMA has a lot more than the MK4. When I originally compared them and decided on the MK4 two years ago the difference was almost imperceptible to me. The next year wasn’t much different. So this fest was the first time they seemed dramatically different. Maybe the way the MK4 was set made all the difference, it has setting for bass control, impedance, and feedback. Just comparing two MK4s to one another with those set differently could make them sound like two very different amps, and I have no idea how they were set at any fest. I actually don’t know how they are set on my MK4 right now, I just put them on what sounds best. That’s a huge variable that I never even really thought about until just now. My suggestion to add to Jimmy’s, maybe the default, or “best” settings should be marked on the fest amps so one could at least have a good starting point when doing comparisons.

JimmyJet, I totally agree with your comments. I wasn’t aware that was why they weren’t leaving the amps on. I also heard that the isolation transformer couldn’t handle more than one of the large amps at a time. Whatever the case it does pretty much invalidate most of the quick comparisons, as one is always comparing a warm amp to a cold one.

As far as the Jr I want to be abundantly clear I don’t think there is anything wrong with the amp, rather something seemed to be going on that was affecting its performance on Friday, which is when I heard it the most. The more I think about it the more I think it was probably just due to it not having many hours on it. That being said I was still stunned by the quality of its sound. I would love to hear it more after it is properly broken in. From what I heard and if naming it were up to me I’d sooner name it the ZMA Jr than the Torii Jr. To me it sounded more like was in the ZMA family than the Torii. Just my totally subjective impression in less than ideal circumstances. If I heard them again today I might say the opposite, so don’t base any purchase decisions on it.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #62 - 10/09/15 at 19:06:24
 
Hi BadWolf.  I understand your hesitation.  That said, I think you can communicate your observations objectively.  I think about reviews as a starting point, and if it helps someone start closer to the finish line, that’s success.  Most of us can’t afford to bring in every single amp to determine if it’s a good fit.  Reading observations from those that have done comparisons can be helpful.  

I always look forward to reading what people have to say after Decfest.  For some reason, it appears that the volume of post-Decfest comments is lower this year versus previous years.  Maybe folks are still in a zen like trance from the amazing sound!  

The setup this year seemed fairly conducive for comparisons of different amps/speakers, but it sounds like there are still some optimizations that could help.  Comparing a warm amp to a cold one is far from ideal.    

I didn’t think you were supposed to leave tube amps powered on if they aren’t connected to a load.   Although I think I heard Chris say it was fine as long as music wasn’t playing through the amp to saturate the transformers.  That is news to me.

Also, I think Steve could create a dummy load for the amps so they can remain on/warm all the time with damaging them.  I use the below with my guitar amp.

http://www.thdelectronics.com/product_page_hotplate.html

I appreciate your willingness to share and engage in a discussion.  

Cheers!  
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #63 - 10/09/15 at 19:58:50
 
BadWolf and Dave1210,

I just got off the phone with Steve an hour ago and he told me it was the power supply that couldn't handle more than two very well (someone else at the Fest told me it was due to room temp.) So, there's the answer; however, toward the latter part of Friday, the JR stayed on for 3 hours mostly idling while people listened to the ZMA & MK4 vs the JR -- and that's when I think it finished its break-in period because as I said before, it sounded like a different amp Saturday morning.

As far as the JR being in the same class as the ZMA, you are correct and that is not a totally subjective statement. If you go back to either page 3 of this thread, I posted a long review of DecFest and mentioned in there that Steve told me the ZMA and JR were tuned/optimized for linearity, whereas the MK's were tuned for depth and sound stage. Two very different types of circuits.

For me, I am all about a huge sound stage and the MK4 actually had me hearing Kieth Moon's drums being played 20 feet behind the rest of the instruments/vocals -- I've never experience front-to-back sound stage before; only left-right. To say the least, when I heard this, I was put into a trance.

For others, a very linear and detailed amp is what is nirvana for them -- and this is where the ZMA comes in, and the JR to some extent. After I heard the JR broken in by Saturday morning, I would say, that the JR is a cross between the ZMA and the MK4 - linear and detailed, and yet a bit of warmth and sound stage as well.

After speaking some more with Steve on the phone today, I am going with the MK4 as well as his entire phono stage including the SUT's, and ZBOX - a big order, but I have to be able to re-create that depth at home - I'm hooked and I need my Decware fix...  :o
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« Last Edit: 10/10/15 at 16:34:57 by JimmyJet »  

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=> Klipsch KG4's [Crites' upgrades
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #64 - 10/09/15 at 22:05:12
 
Congrats JimmyJet on your System order.

I decided not to buy the Jr. To close to my ZMA. The evolution of my System this past year and most recently, what I have done....I'm locked in to musicality I only dreamed of.

Now, for me, I will do some Pre 6922 Tube rolling from Upscale Audio. Uncle Kevy has a couple more pairs I want to hear what they can do vs. my NOS Ediswans.

Cheers, and hoping you get your Decware real soon...... .





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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #65 - 10/10/15 at 16:26:53
 
Thanks SoT - looking forward to it. Next week I pickup my new turntable built by Dave Archambault of Vinyl Nirvana: an upgrade AR sub-chassis, new plinth, new acrylic/polymer arm board, new SME M-2 9 tonearm, and Dynavector 17D3. However, I won't be able to listen to it because I don't have a phono stage with SUT's for the LOMC cart..  :'(

Didn't realize you already had a ZMA, so yeah, you don't need the JR - quite a rig you have there  ;)

After I get the Decware gear, my next adventure will be cable rolling...  ;)

Cheers!
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Torii Mk IV [beeswax, attenuator]
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Chnl. B:
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=> Klipsch KG4's [Crites' upgrades
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #66 - 10/10/15 at 17:39:28
 
Anyone get to compare the Jr against the se84 ufo or Rachel with regards to transparency and soundstage? Obviously more power with the Jr, but I wondered how it compares when it comes to delicacy and imaging?!. I use Dm946's so any of these should match well.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #67 - 10/11/15 at 18:56:30
 
Quote:
Hopefully a couple simple questions...

1) About how loud was the music playing in the room?  I'm sure it varied throughout the weekend, but did anyone take any measurements?  It seemed fairly loud on the video feed.
2) About how far were the speakers from the listening position (couch)?  How far were the speakers from the front wall?  Is  the room treated?   You can't see any treatments from the video feed.
3) Were the digital sources being fed directly to the amps via RCA or was there something else in the signal path?


The volume varies, however the peoples voices in the listening room behind the couch and in the adjacent room are a relative constant throughout the show. That said, you can always tell how loud the speakers are relative to the talking.

The speakers are placed on a 10 foot arc from the listening position in most of the videos because I had one clearly marked out on the floor.  The distance from the front wall is on average 4 to 5 feet. The lamp sets on a shelf up against the front wall.  The wall is not flat.  Room has hidden bass traps, minimal diffusion, normal amount of absorption.

While pre-amps were available, to my knowledge one was never used.  On Friday for the first 1/2 of the day, I used my tape machines as preamps until someone asked to hear the ZDSD straight into the amp.  From that point on for the rest of the fest the ZDSD was always directly connected to the amplifier's RCA inputs.

These comments  apply to all the videos from this years fest.

Steve
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #68 - 10/11/15 at 20:14:30
 
Some great discussion, here’s some thoughts…

The setup was never intended for AB comparison because the isolation transformers I use will support only one amplifier at a time.  On Friday, when the TORII JR was said to sound bad there were two amplifiers plugged into one isolation transformer.  

Getting into an AB or ABC frenzy over amplifies is too much hooking and unhooking to be very productive, and setting up a switcher, while giving reasonable comparisons between amplifiers, disqualifies the transparency of all of them, so I could see no reasonable way to do it. Listening to an amplifier for an hour and then changing to a different one is generally the best approach.

Having the amplifiers pre-warming would have been nice, I will try to get more isolation transformers for next year so that can be done. All three of those amps use VR tubes that require 22 minutes to stabilize so listening less than that amount of time would have been counter productive.

All the amplifiers at the fest were fully broken in, including the TORII JR.  All the tubes were new and each amp was QC tested with the channels matched to within a few milliwatts.

As for comparisons between the JR and the ZMA, they are in fact closer to each other than they are to the TORII MK4, the similarity being the higher damping better bass control.  Otherwise the two amps are quite different.  ZMA with the big power and incredible musicality, JR with a touch less of both, but slightly higher resolution.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #69 - 10/12/15 at 14:36:33
 
Thanks Steve, for the clarifications on the ZMA and Jr. If I could swing both the Jr. and the new PRE.....believe me I would. I look forward to read from you how the new PRE fleshes out and purchasing. I know nothing else could replace my CSP3.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #70 - 10/14/15 at 18:08:18
 
And in comparison with the se84 and Rachel??
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #71 - 10/16/15 at 03:57:03
 
I am making progress with the 72 hours of video from the fest.   Here is an excerpt from Friday with the Radial speakers (Model ERRx) paired to the Rachael (Model SE34I.4).  I had Tungsol 6L6G new production output tubes in the amp.  No preamp was used.

Compared to the stock EL34 output tubes the 6L6G Drop the power and have a more dreamy feel.
https://decware.wistia.com/medias/ox62o3ucm5

Steve
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #72 - 10/16/15 at 04:20:18
 
I will keep posting the videos here as I find them.  Then I'll put them all in one place somewhere so people can review the whole fest.

Steve
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #73 - 10/16/15 at 19:20:54
 
Here's an excerpt from the fest with the Zen Open Baffle paired with the SE34I.4 6 watt Rachael.  Tungsol 6L6G output tubes were used.  ZCD240 as the source.  No preamp.

https://decware.wistia.com/medias/s19vj0x7qg

Steve
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #74 - 10/17/15 at 05:16:52
 
I missed being in the house the weekend of the festival, so I am glad to get to hear these recordings. Thank you, Steve.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #75 - 10/20/15 at 09:18:44
 
Hi Steve

You posted a link to the Fest at 19:20 on 10/16/2015 would you be so kind as to tell me what were you playing, sounded like double bass and piano.

My thanks  :)
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #76 - 10/27/15 at 02:56:17
 
Hi Mark...have you tried the Shazam app to identify the song?  It's usually quite effective, even with small clips of music.  I used it to identify a couple of tracks from Decfest.  Cheers.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #77 - 10/27/15 at 14:27:17
 
Dave

Downloaded the app and my question answered. My sincere thanks Smiley Smiley
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #78 - 10/27/15 at 21:21:04
 
You're welcome Mark.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #79 - 11/01/15 at 15:57:15
 
Here is a video from the fest comparing the Torii MK4 to the ZMA using Bob's Silver Prototype Speakers

https://zenamps.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/bobs20151.mp4

Steve



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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #80 - 11/04/15 at 02:21:01
 
folks.... I've said this before, but worth repeating again here after this years fest.... "There is no "best" Decware amp".  They are only "different" and depending on your speakers, sources, room and mostly your personal preferences, will determine which one is "best" for you.  I've heard them all, many times at the fests, and have owned three.  I currently only have one at the moment - a Torii III w/Jupiters.  They will have to pry this amp out of my cold, dead hands because I have yet to hear any other amp, at any price, that is better (to my ears) when driving single, high-efficiency, full-range driver speakers with no crossovers.  If there's a better amp for this kind of speaker - I haven't found it yet.  Over 30 years of chasing the holy grail and this is as close as I've ever been to "live", musicians in my room, totally engaging music in my listening room.

so.... sorry you guys, or gals, looking for a recommendation or some kind of subjective ranking of Decware amps - can't be done - doesn't exist - not possible.  You're just gonna have to mosey on in to Peoria and hear for yourself, or just order one - there is a money-back guarantee you know - as long as you're willing to wait for it to be built.  And... you can go "all Decware" and never look back if you just want to get off the merry-go-round - if you're so inclined.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #81 - 11/04/15 at 21:16:18
 
Ha MD, you said it again. . . and it's still right.

And I'll add: a SEASONED Decware amp is an amazing thing!
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #82 - 11/05/15 at 22:23:28
 
I feel like (from the video at least) the ZMA seemed like it had a bit more authority in the bass, and a bit better grip on the speakers ... but I don't know if the volume was the same at any point.  They both sounded wonderful though.
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #83 - 11/13/15 at 08:36:03
 
Hi

Does anyone know if there will be any photos posted of the 2015 fest
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #84 - 01/24/16 at 08:46:10
 
Hi

Does anyone know if any photos of the 2015 Decfest have been posted as I have not yet seen.

Regards Mark  :)
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #85 - 04/04/16 at 01:30:14
 
Any news or plans yet for Decfest 2016?
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Re: DECFEST 2015
Reply #86 - 04/04/16 at 04:13:24
 
Normally it is the first weekend in October.
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