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New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3 (Read 9743 times)
Steve Deckert
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New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
08/17/16 at 03:36:41
 
Thanks to my friend Dan in the Matrix, I have been persuaded to build a fresh pair of the Zen Triode Monoblocks like the ones that we used to make!

If you're not familiar with these amps, they were basically a 2 watt Zen amp split in half using two chassis and power supplies. They sold for $2500 a pair making them in an interesting irony over one thousand dollars a watt. For about half the price you could own a stereo model with the exact same specs and power and 97% of the sound. Still, some of us love to push the envelope past the point of diminishing returns, so we made them.

Being the slowest selling amp in our line, it was discontinued from the web site several years ago, and built only upon request. Well, I knew Dan's request would be an interesting opportunity to explore where this could go now that we have the new UFO transformers!

You've all heard me say it many times, fidelity is limited by the weakest link in the audio chain. In the case of the Zen Triode monoblocks, there just wasn't a big enough difference between the stereo model and the mono's to generate a steady interest. Now I am finding out that with the added resolution of the UFO output transformers the difference is bigger than before Wink

After some inter-dimensional wrestling with father murphy who's name I refuse to capitalize, where I was first electrocuted and the later bitch-slapped for a good part of 2 days trying to figure out how something with only three parts could not work properly... I emerged from the other side of the worm hole and fixed both amps in probably less than five minutes. Don't get me started...

Nothing good ever comes without suffering aka dues being paid, so Dan, you owe me one, and I owe you one as well because we now have the best Decware Zen Triode Amplifier ever built and the sound of this platform has never been this good so come hear it at this years DECFEST.

Some interesting tidbits, I experimented with different input stages even using a triode wired EF86 thinking that would push the amp over the top, but ended up with exactly the same input stage the Zen has used for twenty years. I did however drop the voltage by switching from an OA3 to an OD3 which dropped distortion, increased the output of the amp from 2 to 3 watts (50% improvement in power) and dropped the noise floor to a new record low - basically blacker backgrounds than ever before and they were already stellar.

While still compatible with all the same input tubes as before, the lower voltage will be a game changer as far as how each tube sounds compared to before. No worries though, if you had a favorite tube that only sounded it's best in the original Zen amp, you can always put an OA3 back into the amps to restore the voltage to original levels. †

These new SE84UFO3 Zen Triode Amplifiers will be shipped with exquisite hand picked input tubes that are happy at both the higher and lower voltages. The output stage of these amps has a slightly higher voltage than the stereo models which add to the amps great speed. Between the higher voltage output stage, the lower voltage input stage, the OD3 VR150 regulation tube and the UFO output transformers these amps have raised the Zen Triode benchmark to a new level.

We will be demoing these wonderful amps along with the stereo models at this years DECFEST 2016. We have the best drivers Omega makes fitted into our corner horns and 2 to 3 watts gets pretty exciting with these cabinets. †Virtually all of the speakers on the Decware Site will work from reasonably well to very well with only 2 watts, so this year is an opportunity to revisit what 2 watts can actually do.

Steve † Smiley

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« Last Edit: 08/17/16 at 03:37:32 by Steve Deckert »  
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busterfree
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #1 - 08/18/16 at 02:55:46
 
Great! I want a pair for sure.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #2 - 08/18/16 at 13:48:05
 
I'm in. Look forward to even more about them.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #3 - 08/18/16 at 21:31:47
 
@ stone and busterfree - If the 6c33c monos are too $$$ and/or too hot for the desert climate that I live in ~ then I'm possibly in with these as well! †I had actually inquired to Steve about the Zen Triode mono's a ways back (prior to the UFO release) and at the time he mentioned that the difference between the mono's and regular Zen amp weren't big enough for him to recommend them over the single Zen amp, but with the UFO and new updates these seem to be the ticket.

@ Steve - 2 questions please ...

1. RE: Omega drivers ... are we talking Louis' AlNiCo's? †These are some great sounding speakers, can't wait to hear the feedback from DECFEST attendees!

2. Will the new UFO3's be in the same wood chassis as the other Zen amps or have you ever thought of a changeover to something that matches the ZTPRE? †I love the look of the ZTPRE, its the sexiest piece of Decware gear out there IMO!

p.s. I want to go to DECFEST so bad since I've never been to one, but I live 2000 miles away ... arghh! Cry
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« Last Edit: 08/18/16 at 21:51:34 by beowulf »  
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Matchstikman
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #4 - 08/18/16 at 23:22:45
 
When is Decfest this year?
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Lin
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #5 - 08/18/16 at 23:24:29
 
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« Last Edit: 08/18/16 at 23:24:42 by Lin »  
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busterfree
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #6 - 08/18/16 at 23:43:09
 
Yes. I have been asking about bringing back the 2 watt mono blocks as well. I am glad that Steve is revisiting this amp. I look forward to hearing more about it from him and Decfest visitors.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #7 - 08/19/16 at 00:16:18
 
@ Lin - I know, but a 29 hour drive each way I would need 4 days just for travel time and would cost $500 in gas and probably need a hotel room for the midway trip back and forth. †Plane tickets would be $480 each (need one for me and my girl). †Just too pricey for me at this time ... I have 3 teenagers 1 in college, 1 H.S. senior getting ready for college next year and one a H.S. junior getting ready for college in 2 years

... yeah my audio budget is screwed for the next 5-7 years! Cry Grin
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Matchstikman
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #8 - 08/19/16 at 05:24:24
 
I just looked into what it would take to get me there and I'm thinking I could buy a Decware product for what it would cost me to get there.
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Lin
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #9 - 08/19/16 at 21:56:44
 
"I just looked into what it would take to get me there and I'm thinking I could buy a Decware product for what it would cost me to get there."

Kit comes and goes, but Decfest is worth going to at least once.

You might make a bad decision buying from hearsay; making a purchase based on actual experience may give you more satisfaction and save money in the long run. Wink
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #10 - 08/19/16 at 23:00:52
 
Lin, I see your point but hearsay will only cost me 10% restocking fee. †Besides, how many times have you heard something at the dealer, then took it home and it sounded like garbage? †Restocking fee is the way to go.

Truth be told, I don't have the scratch but I would love to be there. †I'll be one of those guys lurking online. †Too bad there isn't a way of communicating with the group that is there in real time.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #11 - 08/20/16 at 15:31:01
 
I just love it when Steve puts on the ole thinking cap and comes up with a new or re-visited product. I love our Rachael but still have a very soft spot for my SE84CS 2 watter. I still haven't got off my butt and tried it against Rachael. Love my Decware gear!! Happy listening, Chris.
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jorgen
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #12 - 08/21/16 at 00:30:19
 
This is very interesting. One Q though, can they be made in a Select look? A meter, and a wood base? If so I'm sold.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #13 - 08/23/16 at 13:48:57
 
I read you Beowulf. I have two in college right now. One in 2nd year private University here and the other starts 3rd year at Stanford.

I have distilled my audio bug/Listening Room down to below/System. Sold my ARC Pre locally on Saturday! Serendipity is mine, in the fact I'm digging my ZMA direct from ZDSD and I'm not looking back. Got the bug to make some more DSD recordings too.

However, I do want the SE84UFO3. As I mentioned (in the Ediswan thread); these mono's would not supplant my ZMA. They would allow me back to pentode in triode...best of both world's (again). I miss my SE84CS (sometimes).

It will be SE84UFO3 vs. Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10.....sometime next year.







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(Germany) Telefunken E88CC ~ 1 pair
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« Last Edit: 08/23/16 at 13:54:44 by stone_of_tone »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #14 - 08/23/16 at 16:21:15
 
But of course, I'm leaning towards the SE84UFO3's favor, with no negative feedback, Class A Triode output/tube 0D3 regulated...and I get to roll my NOS established off my shelf 6922 tube types vs. push/pull class A/B of the ZOTL10. However, I'm intrigued enough to have the 10 OTL in.

Listening to Chick Corea earlier today and now McCoy Tyner. Through the ZDSD/ZMA and the rest of my Rig.....just stunning (need to make DSD recordings of these gentlemen). I'm a music lover and hobbyist too though....so that's why my interest in the SE84 Mono's and 10 OTL.

I should just walk away with the ZMA! I might try too.
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Matchstikman
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #15 - 08/23/16 at 17:16:26
 
Stone, just wait.  Steve will issue the ZMA II one of these days.  Very few things stand as they were created.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #16 - 08/23/16 at 17:33:03
 
I would not modify my ZMA. I have it seasoned in to well to risk a change. I chose not to upgrade my SE84CS, I owned for 14 years (in my original signature below) or Super Zen I owned for 3 years. I also owned a Torii III.

I want UFO with tube regulation ~ low power SETriode (EL84). †New units ~ Mono's.
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« Last Edit: 08/23/16 at 17:35:34 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #17 - 08/23/16 at 18:36:47
 
I hope there is a ZMA II some day.  Then I will have a shot at a ZMA v1.  That's how I have my Torii III.  Somebody moved up to a ZMA and I bought their amp.  I am part of the Decware ecosystem, dining off that which is left behind.  I am patient.  I wait and I watch Smiley
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #18 - 08/23/16 at 18:47:48
 
Nothing wrong with that Pal. I've been kicked in the shorts, a few times over the last 3 years (especially), with having a lot of gear in (shipping to and from, keeping a product-I later sold/ARC Pre on Saturday and some restocking fee's).

But, it has distilled me to where I'm at now and pleased with the results in my Listening Room.

However, it has balanced out mostly, I got a couple of great used deals in my mid-fi Rig. A couple of good prices in the Listening Room Rig too.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #19 - 08/23/16 at 19:00:52
 
I think of it as an investment in the hobby as well rather than an ill advised buy.  You always learn something even as you do end up taking it in the shorts.

Guys plunk down a ton of dough to play golf , Maybe they learned something new.  A little more practice.  Memory of the fun the had on hole #9 sinking that birdie put.  Not much tangible really.

I got memories, learnings, etc plus a bunch of friggin hardware!  Some of which I will pass down to my kids.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #20 - 08/23/16 at 19:04:21
 
Well put.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #21 - 08/23/16 at 19:12:58
 
I'm with you guys, these can be heirloom products and are tangible things that give enjoyment day after day. I'd be tempted with a ZMA if it had the tone controls that the Torii Mk III has. Those tone controls are what have changed my audio world. If I can afford it one day I'll make Steve figure some way out to get the tone controls on that thing Smiley It would take a ZTPRE and ZMA with this tonal flexibility for me to move away from the sonic bliss that I have. . . but I know that would be another level of sonic bliss. Just don't have the coin, may never. Still, I'm HAPPY.
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Matchstikman
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #22 - 08/23/16 at 20:36:31
 
I don't know about heirlooms or passing it down to the kids. †Most young people today don't even have a CD or think of vinyl as a curiosity. †They like having their entire collection available online and are happy to listen on their Beats headphones and I'm not talking through a tube headphone amp, either. †Today's music is compressed which I believe leads to lo-fi more than hi-fi.

I expect after I'm gone most of the hardware I have will be sold for pennies or given away.

The other day I was in a furniture consignment shop and this kid said he had an old stereo with working tubs. †I said, you mean tubes? †And he said, yeah, tubes. †They even glow. †Now, that was funny.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #23 - 08/23/16 at 20:57:16
 
Yes, but would YOUR children have that attitude? My Dad had a modified Dynaco tube system as I was growing up and he was proud of the sound. I grew up wanting the latest gadgets and got them. . . but knew after having them for a while that was not the right sound, and went to tubes. Maybe that's not how kids are now, but I respected my Dad and what he knew and his tastes and found myself mirroring them later in my life. I would have "inherited" that Dynaco system if my younger brother didn't while I was in Texas.

Anyway, these components can outlast us, which is one of the main components of what "heirloom" means I think.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #24 - 08/23/16 at 21:12:32
 
It takes some introduction.  I actually put a Rachael / Trapezium on my son's desk with a Bifrost DAC.  He was home for the summer and listened.  He now knows the difference.   I caught him the other day in my music room listening to my primary system.  We checked out a few songs together and it was fun.

I don't know if he will become a full blown audiophile, but he at least now understands and appreciates the difference.
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #25 - 08/24/16 at 22:01:55
 
A sneak peak at the first pair...



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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #26 - 08/24/16 at 22:23:56
 
She sure is purdy!
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #27 - 08/25/16 at 02:30:16
 
I want those dragon covers for my TORII JR Wink
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #28 - 08/25/16 at 05:44:22
 
That is my maker's mark. †I have put it on several random products that have passed through my hands to see if it feels right, which it does. †The SE84UFO3 will be the first item to carry the mark from serial #001 on. †It's only fitting really, the amp that started Decware and here it is today in it's 20 year fruition having peaked out in this consistently simple form.

Interesting story, †I always figured if money was no object and you wanted to see how far you can take the fidelity of a Zen Triode using the 6P15P-EB tube it ships with, it would likely involve inter-stage coupling transformers to replace the cap between the input and output stage. †

This is where I learned (as usual) there are no consistent roads of assumption with this design, and for what the transformers improve they also actually take away. †I suppose the strength of the Zen is the very fact that it takes the weakest link in the circuit's signal path - the capacitor - and makes it the amplifiers strength. †It does this by using the effect that the cap has on overall phase angle in the fundamental voicing and output stage design to a point where like a fine piano, it is tuned... don't mess with it.

I have been listening to Dan's and my own pair break-in for the past few weeks and they are like magnifying glasses. †I have been playing with a variety of input tubes to get a feel for what the amp will bring to the customer. The input tubes include 7 expensive NOS 6922's, 2 outrageous 7DJ8 long bottles, 6 NOS 6DJ8's, several hand picked 6N23P, a few hand picked 6N5P's, and of course the stock 6N1P-EB that all Zens have shipped with not to mention the latest 6922 from Shuguang, the 6n11.

If we take all of these, the 6N1P is the juiciest. On the other end of the scale is the most pristine detail nearly to a fault tube, the new Shuguang 6n11. †It's resolution is exhilarating... with good recordings. †Nevertheless, the insane speed and resolution of that tube with several NOS tubes being possibly as good with overall perhaps better balance, the combination with the UFO output transformers is really a new benchmark. †Tonight it bested a system that should have laid it to rest.

Boy, this hobby just never gets old does it Wink






s


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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #29 - 08/25/16 at 15:37:40
 
It never does get old Steve. Thanks for the insights and tube info. I look forward to these.

So right, my ZMA is tuned like a fine Piano. I can't use a Pre with it anymore. Look forward to more on the Mono's and your release date.
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« Last Edit: 08/25/16 at 15:40:15 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #30 - 08/25/16 at 17:09:22
 
Steve,

Love these updates and it helps to build the anticipation for Zenfest.  Makes it more fun to attend.

Would you encourage trying the Shuguang 6n11 in other Decware Amps?
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #31 - 08/26/16 at 17:21:56
 
Great question Pal. I have never heard of that tube or seen? I'm okay with it possibly besting what I will tube roll in these Mono's. Great price.

Wish I could afford the 6C33C Mono's with quite possibly the ZTPre. I would be afraid to hear this combo.....probably would obsess on having them. †8-)

However, the glass is very much half full. I'm grateful to have the ZMA and some great gear through my Room the last 3.5 years. Have my Listening Room System where I want it. Bringing in a pair of these Mono's will be a nice rotation with my ZMA. Don't see selling one or the other a year or so from now. I could not part with the ZMA.

Well, with the sale of my two Pre's/recently....I should be able to swing these guy's.....bring back in the Triode's! I'm sure what ever price Steve settles on.....like the ZMA....it will be worth every penny.
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« Last Edit: 08/26/16 at 17:26:10 by stone_of_tone »  

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Zen Select #76
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darrwood
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #32 - 09/11/16 at 04:19:53
 
I have for sometime dreamed of a mono system for 78s and early mono 33 1/3s I bet this would be awesome with the right TT and speaker combo!
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #33 - 09/11/16 at 18:27:23
 
I am glad I only live 50 miles away to be able to get to hear this at Zenfest this year.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #34 - 09/25/16 at 05:11:25
 
Copy of a post I made in the DECFEST FORUM:

Only 2 weeks away!  I am having fun preparing for everyone this year!  The ROOM has been a large part of my focus this year and it has made some rather dramatic improvements, both in imaging and bass quality with additional tuning and treatments. 100% natural with no DSP. Optimized at both ends.

The corner horns are at peace with the universe and can reproduce it down to 20Hz without effort on our 2 watt Zen Triode Amplifiers which is fun to hear... but then when you hear what the same 2 watts can do on a pair of 15 inch drivers in the Imperial SO subs you'll think what you're hearing is impossible. Bring on the Organ music and electronic synth, the speakers go lower than you can hear but damn near move the earth your standing on while doing it. Trust me it's memorable.

So on this theme to debut the new Zen Triode Monoblocks (SE84UFO3) I have set up the Zen Open Baffle's with the FRX drivers in parallel with a passive subwoofer using one 15 inch woofer in our 28 cubic foot folded horn. Same for the other channel. This way you can experience what is possible with a couple watts on multiple levels... bass scale, depth and texture, underpinning presence in the midrange and top end that make everything sound real. It's total hardcore audio porn and it's all being driven by our ZCD240 directly feeding the amplifiers with a single pair of interconnects.  Simple, simple, simple.  

So this year's theme is pretty much getting back to basics and focusing on what started Decware and how good it has become in 20 years. I know everyone will be shocked at the resolution and performance at both extremes of the UFO Zen's.  

Speaking of UFO Zen's, don't be shocked if you see some UFO's in the night sky during the fest.  Just say'in.

I'll post some pics of the room as I start getting it together this weekend.

Happy listening!

Steve
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #35 - 09/25/16 at 08:32:40
 
Sounds great Steve ... any idea on pricing for the Zen Triode Monoblocks yet?
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #36 - 09/25/16 at 18:23:56
 
Very nice setups Steve. I look forward to the Live Broadcast once again this year.

I work that Saturday night and have the Vikings game on Sunday the 9th (girlfriend is a season ticket holder).

..... Next year/I'm planning ahead. I have not been down since 2008.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #37 - 09/29/16 at 04:36:42
 
Here is the UFO3 demo I mentioned earlier. †



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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #38 - 09/29/16 at 05:48:16
 
Absolutely, positively drooling to hear this incarnation of Zen!!! †So very excited to be present for this.
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Kboe
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #39 - 09/29/16 at 17:50:32
 
Super inspiring to make the most of my room to be once we move.   I don't have those resorces but I bet I can do the same as far as simplicity and taking care to find tune  what I can and do have.  Absolutely beautiful Steve.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #40 - 09/29/16 at 20:37:18
 

Looks great Steve! I love seeing more diffusers up!

I still dream of that room at your old house that was wall to wall diffusers, and how truly 3D that sound was.  One of my top Bucket List items is to have a dedicated room that sounds that good someday.

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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #41 - 11/01/16 at 06:08:01
 
Any word on when the Zen Monos and UFO3s will show up on the product page?
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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #42 - 11/03/16 at 05:46:28
 
The amps will be online on or before Monday the 14th.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #43 - 11/03/16 at 19:49:40
 

Nice! I'm glad to see you're making headway on finishing them up!

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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #44 - 11/15/16 at 20:03:20
 
Any word on these yet? I am VERY interested in them and might move the SuperZen to the bedroom system.
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #45 - 11/15/16 at 20:15:04
 
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Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
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Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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Matchstikman
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #46 - 11/15/16 at 23:36:45
 
Can anyone that heard these at Decfest comment on them?  Specifically, if you can, the difference between the monos and 1 SE84UFO2.  How was the weight and dynamics and loudness?
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #47 - 11/25/17 at 11:23:30
 
Hi  Steve,
Can you move this thread to the SE84UFO3 section?
Does the SE84UFO3 ship with 0A3 or 0D3?

Thanks
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Decware ZTPRE, ZBIT, CSP3, SE84UFO, & SE84UFO2
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Re: New Decware Zen Amps - SE84UFO3
Reply #48 - 11/25/17 at 14:30:50
 
Mine was shipped with the OA3 tube. Havenít considered trying any other, but I have planned to buy some alternatives, if there are some which are compatible. I have the same type in my MiniTorii
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