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S3HOXRS (Read 5661 times)
JOMAN
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S3HOXRS
03/04/17 at 04:49:11
 
Just got my Omega S3HOXRS.  This my initial review, 1st impressions of fit and finish.  IMPRESSED!!!

Theres a number of 1st's for me with these:
1st speaker I've owned finished with a laminate veneer.
1st speaker I've owned with 4.5" drivers
1st speaker I've owned with a magnetic grill

I chose the laminate veneer for a couple of reasons. Somewhere I read that the laminate veneer is less prone to dings and scuffs.  I think Steve may have pointed this out.  Very little upsets me more than when I get a new wood veneered item and in the process of moving it I accidentally ding or scuff it, this can initiate a volley of descriptive adjectives.  So the above comments registered with me.  I also hate it when wood veneer checks because the environment in my space is dry.  Hard to see from a distance but up close looks terrible - ugh.

My concerns were that laminate veneer can look fake and cheap and the joints can be very evident.  This laminate definitely does not look cheap and it does not look fake.  I think that most people would not even think it was laminate.  The joints barely visible and have a pleasing appearance because of the excellent fit and the color match is also excellent.  I had absolutely no reason for concern.

The appearance of the 4.5 inch drivers is going to take some getting used too as the smallest drivers that have been in speakers I've owned were 8" with the exception of one set that had a pair of 6".  Then there's the missing tweeter.  I actually find this amusing in a good way.  Of course when the grill is on you can't see the drivers any way.

The magnetic grills go on one way and pretty much centre themselves - NICE!  The look is somewhat retro and that is perfect for me.

I noticed that the specs on the labels indicate that these are 99DB not 87.5DB, and 4-6 ohm.  No biggie just interesting.  Steve's comments about these being of a size suitable for smaller spaces is right on.

So when it comes to fit and finish and value for the money - 10 out of 10.  Very, very pleased so far.  I have to wait to get my Zen Select and put a couple of hundred hours on both before I can comment on the performance.
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Acetone
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #1 - 03/04/17 at 17:32:23
 
Sounds like good things are in store. Enjoy the ride!
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SuperZen-CKC, ZP3, ZSB, Zstage, DM947-Monoliths, VPI-Traveler-2M black. Philips CDR-880. Decware/Audio Envy/RAC-PC's & IC's, Mapleshade Dbl Helix+ Spkr wire-jumpers, Blue Circle PLC FX2 X0e. Herbies tube dampers, tenderfoots, GIK & PI Audio, DIY room treatments
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #2 - 03/04/17 at 20:16:39
 
Will just alerted me to a typo in my post.  Steve specs are 97.5DB not 87.5DB.  That was typo.

Thanks
Will
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pursuitofnow
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #3 - 04/02/17 at 19:22:08
 
You get your amp yet? Any update on the performance of these speakers?
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #4 - 04/08/17 at 12:06:20
 
Hi Pursuitofnow,

Just noticed your question.  Not yet.  The amp is now on the bench so I guess that I should get it in the next couple of weeks.

I'll post my initial impressions and follow up from there.  Steve did advise me to give the Super 3's at least 250 hours before comparing them with my ERR's.  

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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #5 - 04/28/17 at 04:10:23
 
Just got back from a business trip and the SE84UFO2 was waiting for me.  Unpacked it and hooked it up to the S3HOXRS.

Based on the fact that the SE84UFO2 is new and the S3HOXRS are new, the space that it is in is a temporary and far from ideal, the reviews and warnings that the SE84UFO2 is very transparent and detailed, and the reviews of new Omegas needing time to burn in to be their best I was bracing myself for less stellar results.

Also I am tired from the plane ride back during which we encountered a fair bit of turbulence as we flew into a cold front.  I was reluctant to start listening tonight in view of the above but like a boy with a new toy I couldn't resist, all the while expecting a fair amount initial disappointment.

Well...  the initial result was far from disappointing in fact it was far better than expected and far better than it should have been given the above.  I actually sat down and started to listen and still am.

I won't get into details now.  Far too soon.  Also it would be far to difficult as I'm trying to wrap my head around what I'm hearing.  What I will say is that yes the Omegas are FAST!!!  Shades of good electrostats. I would like to say that this is what I was hoping for but this goes well beyond what I could and should expect from a dynamic speaker and the SE84UFO2.  That's why I need time to wrap my head around this combo.

Initially I would sum it up by saying that I'm more than pleased and very surprised.  I'll keep you posted in 50 hour increments.

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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #6 - 05/02/17 at 03:23:59
 
It's been 23 hours and I was supposed to wait until the 50 hour mark before giving further comments...BUT...  The speed of these speakers is disarming in a sneaky sort of way, like they're playing mind games with you.

Listening to "famous blue raincoat - 20th Anniversary Gold edition" was, well, disarming.  Cut 10 Night Comes on, the guitar was unreally real. The faintest plucks had texture, resonance and sustain and relative body.  Cut 11 Ballad of the Runaway Horse has all kinds of things happening in the background at very low levels.  The faintest of these and the layering were clearly discernible and once again had proportional detail, texture and sustain.

The SE84UFO2 is burning in nicely and daily the changes are evident.  I did roll the tubes in it, I know, too soon, however The Fivre 5AR4GYS is excellent with TAD EL84 STR and Siemens E88CC in the input position.  Can't say that this will be final set up and it all still has a ways to go.  I do believe the SE84UFO2 is a great match if speed, detail, transperancy and music are the goal.

From the very beginning the speakers did a disappearing act, now they simply vanish.

I believe Steve said that these speakers were "headphones for the room".  That was no exaggeration!
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atran1234
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #7 - 05/09/17 at 23:55:21
 
Will, hopefully you have had time to further burn in the system.  Any significant changes / improvement you had noticed?  Thanks!
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #8 - 05/11/17 at 15:03:55
 
I have about 45 hours on the S3HOXRS and SE84UFO2.  I wouldn't say that there have been significant changes yet other than the two continue to improve.  The top end edge has diminished while the detail remains in tact.  In my wife words "it's richer".

When I say that their haven't been "significant changes" that doesn't mean that the result isn't significant.  It absolutely is!  It's somewhat annoying to try to describe what's happening because the pair is a study in contradictions.

Convention dictates that to get the kind of mid and mid bass response that I'm hearing you MUST have large drivers.  These are 4" drivers that are outperforming all and I mean all of the previous speakers with larger drivers that I have had, and... I'm just have a hard time believing what I'm hearing and writing what I'm writing.

These perform like eloctrostats with solid mid bass, how's that possible with a dynamic speaker???

I'd like little more low or lower bass but I'm told that I have to wait until I get to about the 200 hour mark.  Normally that would be hard to do if the overall sound was "thin", it's anything but.  The detail, holographic soundstage with exceptional imaging, and palpable images, well you have to hear it to believe it. Above all, theres music coming from the pair.

A friend was over last night and we played a few tunes.  He just sat there in disbelief, it was written all over his face, didn't say word for a while and then he would interject remarks like "that guitar is there, I can see it and I can see her playing it" and point in the direction.  At one point he looked at me and asked "you don't have speakers hidden around the room, do you?".

Now at this point I feel it's necessary to point this out, I spoke with Louis of Omega and when I described what I was hearing he said "it's not just the speakers, it's also that 2 watt amp that you have.  Steve knows what he is doing".

That statement emphasized that these speakers are extremely transparent and will delightfully reveal all that is upstream good or bad.  You'd better have a decent source.  When rolling tubes the differences are immediate and obvious.  These speakers will only output the input.  If what I'm describing isn't there, look elsewhere.

Want more bass?  Put an E288CC in the input position and see, I mean hear what happens BUT the trade of on the highs is just as obvious. The system is VERY transparent, so take that into account.

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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #9 - 05/13/17 at 01:40:28
 
OK, hit the 50 hour mark...  Every thing I said before stands only the bass has started to kick in to a greater degree.  I have doubts that I'll need more, so to speak.  Resolution and detail that is nothing less than superb.  Still a little edgy but less so than at first.

The sound stage is expanding, fills the room to a greater degree. The "interesting" thing is that I can walk into it as I approach the speakers.  As I walk toward the speakers mid way between, it's as if I'm walking onto the stage and the performers are still in their places, as if I'm walking onto a real stage.  Only once before have I experienced this with planar speakers and not to the same degree.

However, I have found one thing I absolutely cannot stand... removing the grills and looking at those miniature drivers against the backdrop of the sound stage. The scale of it and the images does not correlate with the size of the drivers, makes no sense. Unbelievable! The grills stay on! Perhaps they should be the full length of the speakers. Wink
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Steve Deckert
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #10 - 06/14/17 at 04:26:34
 
I think the demo would be to make some 24 inch x 60 inch frames with black grill cloth stretched over them and stand them in front of the speakers so that it looks like you are listening to a large pair of planers.  


... then remove the frames : )


I think the fact that you can get two four inch drivers per side to do this is pretty much proof that transparent amplification with solid recordings will transcend the physical every time.  One of the reasons why the 2 watt Zen and these speakers go together so well is that both create the ultimate illusion of impossibility on their own, and together the combined effect is more than double.

Steve
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #11 - 06/18/17 at 02:46:44
 
Please, don't encourage me, it doesn't take much.

Some of my friends wives are already PO'd with me.  It seems that they get into... "discussions" about a new system and budgets after visiting.
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #12 - 06/30/17 at 12:19:36
 
I've lost track of the hours because life's gotten in the way but I'm probably around the 80-90 hour mark and there have been further developements...

Everything is more real, more present in my space.  My own personal invitation to a private event, is the best way I can summarize it.

The natural decay of the whole instrument or the smallest inflection or modulation of a voice is more complete.  The layering and harmony of a group is more detached from the room, even though the room acoustics are terrible.  

I thought I knew all about this and had experienced it before (I'm no newbie to this) but this combination has set a new benchmark for me and I still have 100 or more hours to go!

I feel that it's important to emphasize that my comments have to be taken in the context of the synergy of a system and not just the speakers themselves.  If the upstream components are not half decent you probably will be disappointed.

I'm not suggesting that you have to spend a ton of money, realatively speaking.  In fact this is the disconcerting part.  A 2.3 watt amp with speaker cables that attach with no fancy, triple plated, mega dollar connectors.  Bare wire ZSTYX cables into the 2.3 watt amp.  The speaker connectors are Swiss CMC silver BFA type, about $4.00 ea.  This into speakers that have no complex external shape, no tweeter and a pair of 4.5" drivers.  

As you can tell I'm still having a challenge getting my head around this.  This is one aspect that you should be prepared for.  By the way, I do have a CSP3 and would highly recommend one.  Being able to adjust the gain structure is a contributing factor.

I'll keep you updated as developements occur.
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #13 - 08/16/17 at 01:53:26
 
I now have about 150 hours on the amp and speakers.  At the risk of belaboring the point, please take this as an update of the SE84UFO2 and the S3HOXRS combined.

I was in the mood to listen to the Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Sessions and I listened several times because 1.) I was completely absorbed in the music/sound and 2.) I had to hear it more than once to make sure that I wasn't imagining things, or that I wasn't being honest with myself.

And every stinking time I tried to maintain stoic, anylitical objectivity, within seconds (and I mean seconds) I was absorbed in the presentation and immersed in the music.  Like trying to arm wrestle a Grizzly Bear.  Did I really go down in a micro second?? Can't be, let's try this again.

The interesting thing was I didn't have to strain to hear the incredible detail which was presented in the context of music.  Okay, take the cymbal, the leading edge of each rhythmic strike could be clearly heard, no matter how soft or loud, along with the following transients.  No matter how the rapid the rhythm there was no blurring and at the same time the leading edge of every pluck of a guitar string could be heard and the blossoming of the reverberation of the building that followed, with every pluck no matter how soft or loud, never blurring!!!

Accompanying instruments could be clearly heard, leading edge to complete decay no matter how softly played.  And all of the the vocals were completely intelligible no matter how restrained or how intense, being totally seductive.

Nothing ever competed with the other.  Instead there was total harmony.  As a result the music was sensed immediately, and the sound was the cherry on the topping.

Evidently I have at least another 100 hours to go before the system is nicely burned in, I wasn't expecting this in the first 150 hours, don't know what's next.  Maybe a ZROCK2???

I have also settled on a tube set for the amp and I do not expect to be making any changes:

Rectifier-Mullard CV539/GZ32, Output Tubes-Svetlana SV83 (original production) and the Input-Siemens E88CC, gray shield, w/splatter plate and halo getter.

Stay tuned, will update after the next 100 hours.



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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #14 - 09/26/17 at 17:28:24
 
Hi, JOMAN

Have you tried to listen on this speakers complex music material (i mean classical large orchestra recordings)?
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #15 - 09/26/17 at 20:10:01
 
Hi Joman,

Thanks for the updates!  It is great that you are enjoying your SE84UFO and S3HOXRS combination.  I am enjoying a new SE84UFO myself these days with B&W DM630's at 91dB, much less efficient than your Omegas.

I have been experiencing some very nice action with incredible detail, soundstage, air, bass, etc. (also very similar observations to yours); but somehow my G.A.S. for looking into ways to improve the sound even further never goes away, so I am definitely interested in the S3HOXRSs.  At one point, you mentioned that you would not need more bass from your setup.  I understand from that statement that you are hearing quite some satisfactory bass.  After almost 200-250 hours or so (I guess, right?), would you mind elaborating more on the bass you hear?

With my Hoyt-Bedfords (also by Omega) driven by SE34I.2+ or TORII mkII, the bass was there as everything could be heard in amazing detail, but it was not as prominent as the mids and treble.  And whatever I did (including tube rolling and a subwoofer), I could not get around that.

I wish I had time to attend the DECFEST this year to hear the combination at the spot!

Enjoy...

Alper
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #16 - 09/27/17 at 02:38:26
 
Hi Artem and Alper,

Artem, yes I have listened to large orchestral recordings.  One of the more challenging that I have is Hi-Fi a la Espanola - Frederick Fennell, Eastman-Rochester POPS Orchestra.

This recording is dynamic, dramatic and all of it comes through.  No blurring of instruments all presented in harmony.  The speed and resolution can be distracting at first.  Take the tambourine for example... the attack is fast, very fast and the decay is fast.  Nevertheless you clearly hear the timbre of the skin when struck and in conjunction the response of the zils or "jingles" no matter how fast the rhythm all of this comes through and sounds "real".

The problem at first is that this level of speed and resolution is unexpected and it becomes somewhat distracting because it takes a bit of time to get ones head around this "surprise" all the while the orchestra keeps on and it's hard for me to take it all in and keep up, that is until I get somewhat accustomed expecting all of this to be thrown (in a good way) at me.  The system is still a little on the hot side but not strident and it continues to improve.    

Music that is somewhat more intimate or slower in pace is easier to keep up with.

As far as the bass is concerned Alper, I cannot conclusively say that I won't be looking for more bass at this point.  I barely have 200 hours on the system and I was told to give the speakers at least 250 hours and preferably 500 hours.  What I was surprised at was the bass that was available in the first 100 hours and on that basis felt that I would not need more but the jury is still out on that.  In fact I was dreading the first 50 hours and was pleasently surprised.  In fact it gave body to instruments like the cello or piano IF it was in the recording.  

But it is not the deep extended, wall of bass.  However as the speakers continue to burn in I notice that there is more extension and more of a foundation to the music IF it's in the recording.

The system is very, very transparent and resolving to a degree unforgiving.  That's what I want, right into the bass.  The system is also very responsive to different tubes.  I put a E288CC in the driver position of the UFO2 and indeed there was deeper bass and over all the result was "smoother" at the expense of the resolution to a degree noticeable to me.  There's always a trade off and I'm an uncompromising sort.  I wan't the resolution.  

What I mean by that is that on the system now you can hear the leading edge of the drum skin when struck, very clearly, (super fast, another  "surprising" moment) as well as the following lower timbre of the drum clearly resolved.  Makes it more "real" to me.  I would like the lower timbre to be deeper and a little more enveloping, if that makes sense, but in no way do I want to trade off the leading edge.

Will I get all that in the next 200 hours? What if I don't? Over the years I've learned the importance of patience, which still is not one of my better virtues.  But not having it in this case can makes things worse and more costly.  

Also I have to factor in the matter of room acoustics.  The place we're in now is temporary with very poor acoustics.  We're moving this weekend but our new abode is not totally complete.  Which means that it will be a couple of more months before the system will be in a treated room.  I'm not going to go to the endth degree in treating the room but it will be treated to reasonable degree which for this system is a must IMO.

I will order a Z-ROCK as part of the room treatment based on the comments from the members to date.

So until all of this takes place the jury will be out on the matter of bass, but I do believe I can get there with a bit effort and "patience".  If I were to sum it up... there's a good amount of the right type of bass for me but I would like more of what is there and a little more enveloping.  So for a while yet this will be a work in progress.

I gave this "lengthy" response in an effort to put the matter of bass in perspective and in no way wanted it to be misleading.  Hope this helps.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #17 - 09/27/17 at 16:07:05
 
Hi Joman,

Thanks so much for such a detailed and well-put response!  It is definitely not misleading at all, and it describes what I have experienced so far as well.  The good thing about the speaker I use (the B&W's) is they are efficient enough (91dB) to give me quite some volume in my bedroom and since it is a three-way design (with two woofers and one tweeter) it gives me very balanced sound at the expense of some volume (I guess) due to the cross-over design.

However, I am sure there is significantly more room to improve.  I kind of avoid full-range/single-driver speakers as most of them have this shout effect that I do not enjoy and find very fatiguing and I come across with the bass almost always problematic when coupled with a low-powered SET.  At least that is my experience with my Hoyt-Bedfords and some Zu's.  But I must admit it is mostly me, as I do not spend effort and money on room treatment (big mistake) and I am also extremely impatient when it comes to waiting for long-term results of a sound system.  Also, I do not want to give up on the Omega's or Zu's or Decware speakers, as most enjoy them to death; so it must be mostly me...

Again, thanks for the detailed explanation.  I definitely need to hear these at the DECFEST!  :)

Best,

Alper
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #18 - 09/27/17 at 16:39:02
 
Alper,

Don't give up on Decware.  I am so impressed by my UFO2 and I do have some history in this "hobby".  What I like about Decware is that you can tune a system without having to change components which can get to be frustrating and costly.

Also, take your source into consideration.  I have at times changed speakers in an effort to get "better" bass only to accomplish that by changing my source.

Cheers
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #19 - 09/27/17 at 19:12:56
 
No, no!  I am not giving up my SE84UFO!  It is one of the best amps I have ever heard, and I believe I have heard quite a few.  I would not even say it is the best for the dollar, because that would be really downgrading the amp.  It is in a much higher league than its price tag shows.

I have had it for 2.5 weeks now and it is getting better and better.  And actually, I am quite happy with the signal chain:

Apple TV --> Copland DAC215 (via optical digital) --> SE84UFO --> B&W DM630

which is fed by DH Labs cables as well as power filters by Stein Music and BlackMagic.

The weakest link, I guess, here is the pair of speakers.  But I somehow love what I am hearing.  If I did not know that the sound came through B&W's, I would not even question the integrity of the system.  I just have this prejudice that the system can be improved even further, starting from the speakers.  Maybe, I should just sit back and enjoy without further questioning.

Otherwise, SE84UFO it is!  :)

Best,

Alper
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #20 - 09/27/17 at 19:31:06
 
When you can sit back without further questioning let me know how to do it!  ::)
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #21 - 10/14/17 at 18:08:35
 
Just moved in to the new place.  The system is not in its final location but has been set up in a space that is 14’x26’x9’.  It’s an open concept with the listening position in the middle of the area so that the back wall is well behind.

No room treatment, quite live as the floors are hard surface.  Half c-tile half wood.  No problem in filling the room with lot’s of oomph to spare.

The initial change that has taken place is in the bass response.  Far more present.  Feel it in the wood floor and on the back of the sofa...  Another surprise.  I’m of the opinion that I will be satisfied with the bass once the speakers fully burn in.  Jury still out on that, however it is becoming more and more appearently that to be at it’s best the system does require attention to the room acoustics and if that is done the result could be very rewarding.

2.3 watts and this kind of bass???  Never would have believed it!

That’s all I’ll say for now.  I’m going to put another 50 hours on the system and comment at that time
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JOMAN
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Re: S3HOXRS
Reply #22 - 10/15/17 at 01:25:38
 
Had to add to my previous post..

Son in-law’s brother came over this afternoon.  He’s a musician and records.  Showed him the type. 80 RCA Rectifier and of course we had to try it.  Ended up preferring the Mullard GZ32.  

This was his first time listening to the SE84UFO2 and Omegas.  I had to challenge him... How many watts does this amp have David?

Long pause, studies the amp then “80!”

“Nope, I’ll give a second chance”

“Give me a hint higher or lower”

“Lower”

Very long pause... “15?”

I held my hand and motioned - 2

His response... “TWO! Two? That can’t be, that’s crazy.”

Steve was right... this never gets old.
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