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25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier (Read 99508 times)
Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #700 - 08/05/18 at 05:25:54
 

Again listening to another SE84UFO25 with around 8 hours on it, and... there it is -- BLISS.  

This amplifier has reinforced what we always knew... the recording process far surpasses the playback process.  We blame the recordings because there are those recordings that suck, but no doubt there are many times we blame the recordings when in actuality the playback system is the problem.

When I listen to this amplifier, I hear the recordings in a way that not even headphones get, which is saying a lot.

The complexity of timbre and texture is beyond reproach. It takes recordings that were not quite there... and pops them into 3D space for your review like a Genie in a bottle.

It reminds me of drumming. I can't tell you how many evenings during our ten years of Thursday night recording sessions, that I was doing complex things on the high hat and snare that I could of course hear perfectly but no-one else could. For them, the drumming sounding lame because they couldn't hear 80% of what I was doing.  

I have noticed a similar experience with this amp. It's like so many of those lame recordings were actually amazing, you just couldn't hear or couldn't reproduce or resolve the softer complex textures between the notes that were there and were in reality setting the time for what you did hear.

Each time I listen to this amplifier it is like the first time.  Music has become squared as a result of this amplifier's resolution.

Usually an amplifier takes 200 hours to sound great, not 8 hours.  And even when an amplifier peaks with years on it, and just the right tubes etc., it is only 75% as good as this amplifier is after only  8 hours. That's how seriously evolved this amplifier sounds. I can absolutely promise you there is no mass-produced audio gear at any price that can do what this does. I know this because there is no mass-produced audio gear in 25 years that has sounded better than Decware's hand-made amplifier, and this is easily twice as good as anything we've ever done.  

It's like we put it out there for 25 years and no one ever beat it for the price... even with all today's technology and brilliance it just never happened. Now we have just doubled the gap between the Decware sound and everything else.

The biggest thrill of it, is that it will drive the high-efficiency speaker market to new levels of refinement and people will be abandoning their high power amplifiers and power hungry filters (speakers) for some raw-wide open highly present incredibly fast crossoverless drivers so they can actually appreciate how good their amplifiers are.

It's a new age for music...

I saw on facebook tonight a post with a pair of sealed cabinets containing 4-18 inch drivers set up as subwoofers with like 10,000 solid state high efficiency watts handling all 8 drivers. It made me cringe. A single 18 inch driver in the same cabinet that originally housed all 4 would have sounded about 4 times better, and passively crossed with a simple 12dB network would have been easily driven by a Zen Triode 2 watt amplifier and had lower, more textured bass and frankly in every category simply spanked it's ass. The only category it would have lost in is pressure. You can get similar pressure from sticking the exhaust pipe from your car where the sun doesn't shine and letting the pressure pop your ears and ironically get the same giant fake-bass sound without the expense.


Steve

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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #701 - 08/08/18 at 13:18:12
 
Steve,

What is your favorite speaker for  the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier. Grin
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #702 - 08/11/18 at 04:44:13
 

That's a tough call because they all sound like different speakers on this amp... but the DNA2 strikes a very natural balance between laid-,back and detailed, that should sound good in most rooms without getting over the top. Plus the bass is subwoofer proof.  That makes it a great recommendation plus the price is only slightly higher than a single UFO25 at $3800 for the pair.  I think they will be a huge hit at this years DECFEST and with a solid year of testing there is worries about their performance with any Decware amplifier. They sound very much like the DM947 aka Monoliths, but with more midrange presence and more slam.  

With respect to the other speakers, they all sound better on this amp than they ever have, it simply multiplies what is possible and pretty much has its way with the speaker, be it a perfect match or not.

For example, the HDT has never sounded better, the ZOB has never sounded better, the DM945's and 946's have never sounded better, the Betsy Open Baffles have never sounded better, and even the less efficient ERRx and HR-1 have never sounded better at the lower playback levels possible with 2 watts.  

Steve



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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #703 - 08/11/18 at 16:02:43
 
I’ve commented in some of my other posts about my penchant for detail and speed.  For me it’s primarily about being able to hear what the musicians are doing, as you commented... on the snare or the high hat or for that matter on any other instrument.

This can be a very difficult balancing act because going after detail is like being on a sliding scale where one can quickly slide into shrillness or hardness.  The UFO25 has taken me off that delicate balancing act.

I can hear what the musicians are doing easily, readily, without thinking about it and I’ve yet to feel that at any moment things could become hard or shrill.  I don’t even know how many hours I have on it because I loose track of time when I listen.

About a week ago my wife had another of her get-to-gethers.  And as usual came the request (demand) to play music.  The listeners were the type that frequent live events.  The comment that stood out that was often repeated... “this is just beautiful”.  This at a high volume in an untreated room.  (Don’t get me wrong, I do intend on treating the room.)  

Comments that were coming from people who engage in live events speak volumes about the UFO25 and the sysytem as a whole.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #704 - 09/01/18 at 05:20:13
 
Quote:
I saw on facebook tonight a post with a pair of sealed cabinets containing 4-18 inch drivers set up as subwoofers with like 10,000 solid state high efficiency watts handling all 8 drivers. It made me cringe. A single 18 inch driver in the same cabinet that originally housed all 4 would have sounded about 4 times better, and passively crossed with a simple 12dB network would have been easily driven by a Zen Triode 2 watt amplifier and had lower, more textured bass and frankly in every category simply spanked it's ass. The only category it would have lost in is pressure. You can get similar pressure from sticking the exhaust pipe from your car where the sun doesn't shine and letting the pressure pop your ears and ironically get the same giant fake-bass sound without the expense.


Boy, that was a bit over the top...  the truth is that was the day when I scanned my facebook newsfeed in the morning and saw the new $20,000.00 power cord from if I read it right, Synergistic Research.  It literally put me in a foul mood all day, and see what happens?

At least we all understand that more is often less and less is often more. That doesn't however make it any less frustrating to watch someone walk out in front of an oncoming car.  

Anyway, to keep things on topic, the reason for tonights post is to report that this evening is being spent with the first SE84CS from late 1999.  Bone stock just the way it went out the door.  Still works btw... huh.  The sound is glorious.  The difference is the resolution is nicely subdued compared to the new 25th Anniversary Model, or even the current model SE84UFO.  What it does so well, is get the tone and timbre absolutely perfect.  It's striking because that's it's main trick.  

Listening to the new 25th Anniversary Model adds dozens of layers with hard to believe dynamics and speed to that same beautiful tone and timbre.  

Tonight I am listening to the Best hits of Steve Miller Band on tape and using the DNA2's as the speakers and it's certainly not the first time I've heard an older Zen amp on tape, but is the first time I've heard one this old on the new DNA2 loudspeakers.... holy crap I wish I had these speakers back then!!!  The combo is just so good, with ANY Zen Triode amplifier of only 2 watts you will have a full and encompassing sound without volume issues even in 400 sq feet listening spaces.

I also have the very first original Zen Amp ever built, so before this trek is over I'll visit it as well.  That way all the Zen Triode amplifiers can have a chance to meet each other and compare notes.

Steve



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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #705 - 09/02/18 at 15:48:01
 
Steve,   Sounds like your having an enlightening time with your babies/creations.
I love my SE84-CKC, but the new (week old) UFO25 is already showing itself to be a monster amp in comparison. Sooner or later I may have to move the monoliths to the second system and spring for those DNA2's. They sound enticing!!! Hope to hear many more good things about them  from the Decfest crowd.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #706 - 09/03/18 at 06:14:11
 
 
UPDATE 9/2/18

So I have been spending the weekend listening to the original Zen Triode Select Amplifier.  The Select was identical to the standard version except for the WIMA FKP1 coupling caps.  Today, the difference is better (UFO) output transformers and cryo-treated beeswax caps.

As I commented, the tone and imaging is fantastic on a good source... and I've been getting lost in the amplifiers musicality all weekend.  No comparisons against the UFO25, just letting it do it's thing to me.  It's been great!  Several times I have caught myself wondering why I ever tried to change it : )

But tonight, while floating in a magical tape, I kept thinking about how great it would be to have really big speakers.  Something taller, bigger, more visceral...  the same thought I now realize I've been having for the last few days.  Wanting better speakers!!!  Then it hit me... these are the DNA2 speakers and they have performed well beyond my best hopes on the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifiers.  

So the listening level is exactly the same between the original Zen and the 25th Anniversary Zen, and the difference is the speakers sound twice as big and twice as everything on the better amplifier.  It's really amazing when you let that sink in for a minute.  Same two watts, but someone traded your 8 inch speakers for 8 inch speakers centered between dual 15's on each channel!

Just more proof that wattage and power are not the same thing.

Steve


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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #707 - 09/04/18 at 20:58:50
 
Holy Crap!!  UFO25 floored me last night. Spun Radiohead "moon shaped pool LP" and it absolutely had me riveted to my chair. Big, big 3D wide/deep/tall sound engulfed me. It was damn near scary good.
Thinking about it now make me shake my head, what was that? I need to que it up again tonight and try to wrap/warp my head/ears around it...if possible!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #708 - 09/04/18 at 21:52:06
 
Quote:
Thinking about it now make me shake my head, what was that?


Speed, Accuracy, Resolution, Power   ....Decware   Wink
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #709 - 09/04/18 at 22:34:31
 
These amps (I have the Monoblock version, so the plural in my case) really do seem like impostors. They dish out big, powerful sound that are confusing from their looks.

As Steve has pointed out upstream in this thread: speed and density equals power. That became apparent to me when I got them (and is also apparent with the ZROCK2 and CSP3-25--part of the density being fed these mono blocks.)

It will be interesting to hear the impressions from Decfest.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #710 - 09/05/18 at 04:16:19
 
Just spent an evening trying out the NOS Raytheon OC3W.  Picked a couple up after Lon’s comments about the OD3W that he had tried, at $2.00 ea why not???  In the UFO25 I seem to gravitate to the OC3 along with GE OA3’s that Lon also commented on and now are a permanent fixture, and do not find that the bass suffers as was so evident tonight.

This is not about tube rolling in the “typical” sense because I’ve liked every combination so far.  It’s not about improving the UFO25 because it is THE end game amp.  I’d liken this to my ability to enjoy various spirits depending on my mood at the time.  One time I might reach for a very nice 130 proof Bourbon, another time it might be a nice 100 proof Scotch and if I’m particularly spirited I’ll probably reach for the 110 proof Islay, heavily peated, with the smokiness filling the room like a bon fire.

I do end up gravitating to one of the above more often than to some of the others but all have a place.

I’d agree with Lon’s comments about the “meaty” aspect of the Raytheon’s.  As I was listening I thought about what a treble reduction circuit might be like.  Took a little off the attack but not to the detriment of the over all prsentation and it was very smooth indeed.  So another keeper (damn).

In my UFO2 the signal tube was a Seimens E88CC.  In the UFO25 I use a Valvo/Hamburg PCC88 D getter.  After putting on who knows how many hours I though I’d try the Seimens E88CC again, just for fun.  I had the Sylvania JAN CHS OC3 Navy in with it along with the 6P15P-EV power tubes.

You ever see the ad, I think it was from NAIM, with the guy sitting in an arm chair holding on for dear life, hair straight back leaning forward?  Well that was me tonight.  What an experience! Here’s the kicker - no listening fatigue!  Talk about power and bass with all the rest of it.  I don’t think I’ll be doing this every night but once in a while, for sure!

So it looks like I’ll be putting together tube sets to enjoy from time to time with one that will be my go to.  To bad I can’t add 3 or 4 more listening rooms.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #711 - 09/05/18 at 05:41:29
 

After listening to the original Zen Triodes over the weekend tonight I turned to the UFO25 and ran some of the same tracks I've been listening to...  All I can say is that if you don't want to find yourself AT the concert or studio be careful about getting this amp.  It's absolutely hard to believe that it is 2~3 watts.  I've always been one to go along with the view that a push-pull pentode class A/B amplifier done right is the last word in bass quality.  So fast and powerful.  The UFO25 I admit after listening to it tonight has better bass.  It seems impossible, I know, but it actually does.

Usually when an amplifier is really great, it's really great at one or two things. If there were going to be a weakness you would expect it to be in the bass with only 2 watts, but standing in the doorway tonight I heard that power and deliverance and conviction of a TORII or ZMA coming from a two watt amp, with a little extra something that even they couldn't duplicate.

I am pretty sure this years DECFEST is going to blow some minds.  Tonight I finished the quality control and final listening tests on #30 and it's weird but each listening evaluation is like listening to my original amp. The consistency is benchmark.  My only complaint is that the same thing that is happening to Acetone is happening to me every time I listen.  I suspect as I've always said, it only takes a couple weeks to a couple months for the brain to rewire itself to process the resolution and performance of this amp.  Process, not understand.  You will never understand how it does it because even I have a very difficult time dealing with what I'm hearing.

I have to honestly say, no amplifier has ever gotten me off harder than the UFO25.  The closest contender was my 6C33 OTL amplifier, something I thought I would never hear anything best in my lifetime.  So close was it, that some would argue it was the better amp.  It does some things that the UFO25 can't do, but the opposite is also true.  In the end the fact that we're comparing a 2 watt amplifier and a 20 watt amplifier on equal ground says a lot.

Another thing that occurred to me is this:  I have noticed how good EVERYTHING has started to sound this past year, while at the same time the UFO25 makes everything else sound broken, it also has increased my audio processor from 4G to 16G in less than a year.  Now I hear beauty in things where previously it was masked by less neurons.  This became obvious this past weekend listening to the original Zen triode amps.  One 20 years old, and the other 25 years old.  I never heard either of them sound so good.  Never.  So what has changed... the amps?  nope, the ears, yes, the source, yes.

Listening to this amplifier is not the typical mainstream audiophile experience.  You can't play it without becoming engaged with it.  That means that despite your best efforts, background music is just a fantasy.  In fact this is where it begins it's witchcraft.  You try to play it in the background while you work or relax and like it or not you become captivated.  It controls you, not the other way around.  This is the Yin and Yang of Zen.  We have crossed the neutral zone with this amplifier and for those of you who chase the holy audio grail, be careful what you wish for.   While it is effectively a drug, the only side effect is obsession.  I believe sound like this has healing properties and spending a little too much time with it would only have the consequence of living longer.

Happy Listening!

Steve






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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #712 - 09/05/18 at 05:59:31
 

I just realized...  more neurons...  now everything sounds better... the amplifier has increased my consciousness.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that why we're all here?  

I can only imagine how hyperbole this must come off to an outsider just stumbling in for the first time...  but the hyperbole is quickly melting away as the first owners of these amplifiers are confirming my reports.

Happy listening it's for real!


Steve
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #713 - 09/05/18 at 17:02:16
 
Joman - I agree on the tube rolling...different flavors..variety the spice of life!
Steve - The Bass...OMG, just wonderful..hearing Bass so tight and commanding along with the great attack of the drums. All so well blended with all other instruments, no one getting in each others way. Sometimes that 15-20min LP side just swishes past so fast I ask myself..."How the hell did that LP side go by so quickly?"  "It feels like I just put it on a few minutes ago?"  Running my sources thru Zrock2 and Zstage so I should attribute them to some of this magic! Not going to remove them...why mess with it if it ain't broke!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #714 - 09/05/18 at 17:40:52
 
Glad that my liking the OD3W translated to you liking the OC3W!

These re amazing amps! I agree with Steve that the mind needs some "re-wiring" to get a grip on the nature of the fundamental change they represent in playback. I have and in a way I now both expect sound reproduction that is off the hook, and am able to enjoy sound reproduction that is not quite there, knowing only the 25th anniversary tech can get it there and I have that to listen to as well.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #715 - 09/05/18 at 20:08:28
 
"Tonight I finished the quality control and final listening tests on #30 and it's weird but each listening evaluation is like listening to my original amp. The consistency is benchmark.  My only complaint is that the same thing that is happening to Acetone is happening to me every time I listen."

Thanks for the nice write-up, Steve. This indeed sounds promising.

I really do look forward to receiving the #30 soon... Smiley

Best

/M.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #716 - 09/06/18 at 00:29:26
 
Just curious, those of you buying this amp, are you getting the tubes with the amp or opting to supply your own?
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #717 - 09/06/18 at 02:41:42
 

So far only two people have not gotten the amp with the tube compliment.

Today I was doing a UFO25 and setting up the tube complement.  I had a fresh pair of output tubes, both tested perfect, and the same.  Put them in the amplifier and both biased exactly the same.  Measured the channels and the power was exactly matched. Even at full power, the distortion % on each channel matched (THD).  The problem is that THD is only looking at the highest harmonic relative to the fundamental so far as I can tell on this analyzer I use, and I saw that the right channel tube had a rich band of harmonics that were probably 20 dB higher than the the left channel.  Granted, below the audible noise floor, but here's my theory on that:

Just because you can't hear it, or it is being filtered out so that you can't hear it, if it is there, it occupies space.  Its presence has an effect on the music.  

Probably spent an extra 30 minutes finding two pair of output tubes that had identical harmonics at clipping, as I do for every UFO25 tube compliment.  Why?  Because we can.

Steve
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #718 - 09/06/18 at 03:44:31
 
Quote:
Just because you can't hear it, or it is being filtered out so that you can't hear it, if it is there, it occupies space.  Its presence has an effect on the music.  


I recently added a pair of supertweeters to my Omega SAHO’s.  Starting at 18KHz, they are outside of the audible range but taking them out, putting them back in, and doing it several times over revealed to me that they do in fact have a detectable presence and energy. Improved detail, decay, realism and cohesion were my assessment of their impact in my system.  

Despite my chronic skepticism, my curiosity got the best of my and I ended up purchasing a pair with the assumption they would be returned.  Six months later they have gone nowhere.  

I couldn’t agree more.  The energy influence is real and it DOES affect our aural experiences.  

I sure wish I could make it up to Decfest again this year to hear first hand the magic of this amp I have been following since day 1.   Ill be in Scottland on a biz trip touring a bunch of distilleries from Sept. 25th to Oct. 3rd.  As much as I would love to..  there would be hell to pay with the fam  :)
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #719 - 09/06/18 at 04:50:22
 
I bought mine without the tube complement only because I have a rather large inventory of tubes among which were a pair of 6P15P-EV Red Tipped from Decware as well as a 6N1P Red Tipped.

The 6N1P Red tip is now in the driver position of my CSP3 and the pair of 6P15P-EV Red Tiped are in the UFO25.  I like to keep spares and so will be acquiring more of these.  

For the rectifier I am using the Sophia 274B Aqua, again, I had a pair, one as a spare and at the cost of these and how they performed in my UFO2 I had to give them a try.  No disappointment here and these will stay.  IMO they are superb.  

For me this was not about saving money as the tubes that I use actually cost more than those that Steve supplies.  If one was buying an F1 Racing car what tires would one put on it?

This is no audiophile amp! It’s a very serious music machine! Some may think that using the analogy of the F1 is going over the top, well, it isn’t, Last week we had company over and a couple got up and started dancing.  
It’s that engaging and compelling.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #720 - 09/06/18 at 16:23:05
 
I also did not get the tube option as I also have a nice assortment to roll.
I may opt to buy a pair of red tip 6P15P-EB from Steve just to see.
The pair I have in are gold grid - military 1983' and the meters are both even at approx 33. I can hear the sweetness of this amp growing day to day. So, will remain patient thru a good 200+ hours of break in before I have a little fun with tube rolling!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #721 - 09/06/18 at 18:32:37
 
Quote:
Just because you can't hear it, or it is being filtered out so that you can't hear it, if it is there, it occupies space.  Its presence has an effect on the music.  

This is a verbal expression of a "feeling/thought" I have had for some time now. Looking at audiology graphs of my hearing "tests" I should be almost deaf to reproduced music in any detail at all. I discovered, with the 25th Anniversary ZEN Amp and the DNA2 speakers that "hearing and appreciating" reproduced music involves far more than "frequency analysis reports". Thank you DECWARE for showing and allowing me to continue enjoying "HI FI" music reproduction!   Cheesy Grin Cheesy
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Brian
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #722 - 09/08/18 at 03:24:00
 
Steve said:  "Probably spent an extra 30 minutes finding two pair of output tubes that had identical harmonics at clipping, as I do for every UFO25 tube compliment."

One of the best advertisements I have heard for Decware amps.  
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #723 - 09/13/18 at 13:33:09
 
Another unbelievable evening with the UFO25.  I’m going through my tube inventory with the intent of selling some of it and came across a couple of Tesla PCC88 White Print factory code 37 (Trinec or Trencin factory).  I was about to put these in the “sell group” because, supposedly, the yellow label are the ones to get and these are supposed to be just OK.  Then I thought “should give these a try just to see”.

I did, and... WOW!  Especially the vocals, the best yet.  Lost a little more than I would have liked on the bass extension but the highs and mids were incredible right off.  Talk about hearing what all the musicians were doing, every little detail, it was all there.

The down side was the bass and refinement that I am used to.  I then recalled that I had 6N5P’s that were going in the sell pile.  So I put one of these in the CSP3 driver position and it all came together - truly the you have to hear it to believe it situation.

Some may think this an exaggeration but, I will put my system up against any non Decware 100 watt amp at any price!!!

This is not about tube rolling.  Any combination of tubes that I’ve put in has been very good to excellent.  This is about being able to get exactly what one wants because of what the UFO25 is and does, IMO.   (And yes I picked up more of the Tesla PCC88 37, at $8.00 ea I couldn’t resist, and now, tube inventory reduction is a must  ;))
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #724 - 09/13/18 at 14:28:25
 
Awesome. You're right in that these amps can make multiple tube complements sound amazing and you can tailor to get just the sound you want.

Rectifier and regulator tubes really are influential as well as input and output tubes. I did a flurry of rolling the first month and have slowed it down since. Settling on the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B and finding the effects of the OD3 really helped me zero in on what works best for me, and going to Amperex 7308 dialed it in for me. All signal tubes in my chain are Amperex (ZTPRE, ZROCK2, CSP3-25 and SE84UFO3-25s) and I'm really enjoying that consistent signature. Until I feel brave enough to unscrew the top plates on the Monoblocks and roll in my favorite regulator tubes for the input tubes. . . I'm done rolling. I really want to not jeopardize the synergy booming right now.

What really helped me cement this was experimenting with isolation components; I tried different footers and what has really been helpful is placement of Herbie's Audio Lab "Sonic Stabilizers."

I have finally really settled into the sound and my next project is to find just the right jaw support of jaw cushion to minimize the damage of my jaw hitting the floor as I spin discs! Hi-res from DVR and Blu-ray are especially gob-smacking. This is the best audio I've ever heard. . . and I don't want to minimize the impact the HR-1s have on this system. Tomorrow my Dad and his brother (my uncle Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy, visiting from Seattle) are stopping by and the system is very different from when they were both here last year. . . I am eager to see their reaction.
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #725 - 09/13/18 at 14:38:39
 
Jaw Support, hmmmm, I think you just hit on the next must have for Decware aficionados.  Steve is obviously too busy to develop this so how about you and I develop it.  It’s going to be a very limited market so were going to have to give some thought to projected sales and price, and of course a catchy Brand Name.
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #726 - 09/13/18 at 15:02:32
 
Nah, I'm retired and my household and family responsibilities are about all I can handle right now and maintain enough listening and watching time. I'm going to rig up a sling support that will drop from the ceiling and secure me at the sweet spot. Should work well for a while. . . .

I'll leave the entire enterprise to you for a marketable product!
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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Acetone
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #727 - 09/13/18 at 15:29:53
 
Joman & Lon,
60+ hours on my UFO25 now and decided to listen to a few CD's last night, rather than LP's!
Wow!  The "blow you away" "jaw dropping" sound on this amp is becoming more and more consistent as it burns in. If this consistency holds I may start doing some tube rolling sooner than expected. Hard to describe the heft and weight it throws at you. The sound in commanding, yet warm and detailed.
I can't find words to do it justice, or I could just use a bunch of audiophile jargon till it began to bore everyone....It's just so damn good!
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SE84-CKC & UFO25, ZP3, Zstage, ZRock2, ZSB, DM947-(946)Monoliths, VPI-Traveler-2M black. Philips CDR-880. Audio Envy/RAC-PC's & IC's, Mapleshade Dbl Helix+ Spk wire & jumpers, Blue Circle PLC FX2X0e. Herbies tube dampers, Tenderfoots, GIK, PI Audio, DIY panel
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #728 - 09/13/18 at 16:36:41
 
Lon, Oh well, OK, I would need a partner in this venture but I got you.  Send photos of your AntiJawDrop mechanism when completed.  

Ace, I had to turn on the system this am to see if last night would repeat itself.  It did and the weight, heft, as you said, was such that I had to walk away to process what I heard because in comparison to the higher power amps that I have had or have heard, some very pricey ones at that, what I am getting just doesn't.... “add” up?  (Where’s Einstein when you need him???)
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #729 - 09/13/18 at 17:37:28
 
JOMAN wrote on 09/13/18 at 16:36:41:
Lon, Oh well, OK, I would need a partner in this venture but I got you.  Send photos of your AntiJawDrop mechanism when completed.  


Here's my working prototype. I may not need the harness to anchor it to the ceiling. . . .

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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #730 - 09/13/18 at 17:53:15
 
HAHA!  Nice Lon.  Just add the Decware logo to the chin area and you are good to do.  

Steve, you should include one of these in every 25th Anniversary pelican case.
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Rachel//Super Zen//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Muse Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//Zen Head//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Omega SAHOs//DM946//Oppo UDP-205
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #731 - 09/13/18 at 18:04:10
 
Jeff,  Adding one of these is a must.  (PSSST... may prevent litigation due to injury and consequential damages)

Lon, you’re retired???? Look a lot younger than I pictured you.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #732 - 09/13/18 at 18:22:50
 
Yes I'm retired. I'm 63 now. I retired at 52 from Texas state government, they had a "rule of 80" that after ten years if your age and service added up to 80 (mine was 52 and 28 years of service) you could retire with full benefits (or continue working until 65).  I took the retirement because my wife had just died and I was exhausted after helping her fight her cancer for two years. It isn't a big pension but it was enough that I gave up working again after an abortive attempt in Austin at the beginning of this decade. And I was able to add to my income by taking my early social security payments last year.

Because I was retired I was able to relocate to Ohio early 2013 and spend two plus years care-giving my parents until my Mom died and I got my Dad situated in a great assisted living community. And I found my wonderful second wife along the way. . . so I'm here to stay.
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #733 - 09/14/18 at 00:16:46
 
Hey Lon,  That had to be rough.  Never like to here about this sort of things.  But you’ve hung in and that’s no small feat.  Glad that things are working out now.

Best Regards
JOMAN
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Acetone
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #734 - 09/14/18 at 00:32:18
 
Hey Lon,  may I suggest a drool cup attachment on the antijawdrop device!
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SE84-CKC & UFO25, ZP3, Zstage, ZRock2, ZSB, DM947-(946)Monoliths, VPI-Traveler-2M black. Philips CDR-880. Audio Envy/RAC-PC's & IC's, Mapleshade Dbl Helix+ Spk wire & jumpers, Blue Circle PLC FX2X0e. Herbies tube dampers, Tenderfoots, GIK, PI Audio, DIY panel
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #735 - 09/14/18 at 00:37:27
 
That's probably a good idea, though really the Decware Drool Towel should do that job. . . .
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #736 - 09/14/18 at 00:38:32
 
That's probably a good idea, though really the Decware Drool Towel should do that job. . . .
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #737 - 09/14/18 at 01:29:28
 
Not funny guys!!!  I happen to be listening now and had this fleeting thought... wonder what two would do?  No I have to go change.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #738 - 09/14/18 at 14:28:03
 
OK, CD's again last night and UFO25 did it's magic again! If this keeps up I might as well start some tube rolling and see if I can't enhance this more than beautiful sound! O.K. Joman, get a hold of yourself.
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #739 - 09/14/18 at 15:32:03
 
I can’t!!! The damn UFO25 has it’s grip on me.  Working from my home office and decided to take a break and throw on some tunes... WHAT A MISTAKE.
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lazb
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #740 - 09/14/18 at 20:06:39
 
Joman, I understand and appreciate all the excitement as I am listening to the prototype UFO25 and the prototype DNA2 speakers! Steve was a tiny bit skeptical regarding the volume level and whether I would be happy with it. Totally unnecessary concern. The volume is all and more than I could ever want or need. Still, your previous comment wondering what 2 of the amps would do, has coincided with the same thought I have had. Is number 2 necessary? Absolutely not. But still......   You know how it is!!!
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #741 - 09/14/18 at 21:18:04
 
Thanks for the affirmation lazb.  As Ace put it  using “audiophile jargon” is boring and I would add irrelevant, then how does one describe the experience without sounding like one is loosing it?  

You’re absolutely right about not needing #2 especially in my case with 97dB efficient speakers.  I often find myself lowering the volume not turning it up without any loss to density and weight, actually sounding better at the lower volume.

Now doesn’t that sound crackers?
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #742 - 09/28/18 at 23:11:30
 
In a recent post I stated that “I tend to be heavy handed with my gain structure as afforded by the ZDSD, ZR2 and CSP3 and as a result on the rare occasion I can push the UFO25 with my 97dB speakers”.  

I decided to have some fun and try another tube setup in my CSP3 and check the gain structure on the system.  Heavy handed was an understatement.  So I made a couple of adjustments and decided to test the limits of the UFO25.

What can UFO25 2.3 watts do with 97dB efficient speakers in a room that is 14’ x 25’ x 9’?  I had the volume set so that on my Sound Meter app the readings were between 70dB to peaks of 90dB averaging between 82dB-83dB.  Now this was not just shrieking volume, there was density in spades and no compression that I could detect.  NO evident distress on the UFO25!

There was however very evident distress on my wife and I’d rather not publish the dB readings of the expressions of her displeasure, which surprisingly, she couldn’t mange to get dB peaks that were much higher.

What kind of 2.3 watts is this???    

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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #743 - 09/28/18 at 23:19:05
 
Forgot one critical piece of info... I was sitting 11’ From the speakers holding the phone/sound meter app.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #744 - 10/15/18 at 06:20:51
 
Hi Joman,

What is your favorite tube combination for the UFO25?  I am planning to order one within the next few days, but I am not sure if I should order it with the tube complements or not.

Best,

Alper
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JOMAN
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #745 - 10/16/18 at 11:40:36
 
Hi Alper,

I did not order mine with the tubes only because I have so many good ones to work with and some of these are pricey.  I knew that I wanted to stick with the Sophia Electric 274B Aqua and once that was a given I made the decision not to order the tubes.

Here’s what I ended up with...
VR Tubes:
Pair of CEI OA3 GT (these are probably GE or Raytheon with the top getter flashing, a little difficult to find but cheap when you do).  Sylvania OD3W (Right now there’s an Ebayer that has them on for $12.+, a little more than I like but worth it, after I got the first pair I ordered a second - spares, probably overkill).
 
Power: 6P15P-EV, It’s worth getting these from Steve and having them matched to the amp.  If you don’t like them I’ll by them from you!

Driver/Input: Telefunken PCC189 (Managed to score a couple NOS for $75.00, and yes, at that price, I got a couple more for spares.  These are killer!!!  I have to dial the volume up a notch with these.  The one that come with the amp is a Matsushita/National PCC88.  Nice tube, tried one, similar to Mullard but not my cup o tea.

Keep in mind that I can further “tweak” the effect with the tubes that are in my CSP3.   So when I put the Tele’s in I changed the driver in the CSP3 to a Valvo-Hamburg PCC88 D getter (59) hard to find.

The whole thing is still burning in, so it’s not really conclusive at this point but... I do think it will be and even now the end result is so good that at times it just staggering.  I know that sounds over the top but it’s true.

The other thing is that no matter what combo of tubes I tried they all sounded good.  It’s just that I was able to “dial” in exactly what I wanted, what I was striving to achieve for a long time.  I recently talked with Steve about the CSP3-25 and he said that no matter what tubes I put in it the CSP3-25 will make them sound better than what my CSP-3 does.  That’s the point, that’s what I found to be the case with the UFO25.

These Anniversary Edition components, regardless of which you get, are going to make the difference.  Tube rolling becomes fun, it’s not to “improve” the component per say.  Simply to get what one wants.  Tube rolling from a different perspective than that of what I was doing before.
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Acetone
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #746 - 10/16/18 at 16:39:17
 
Alper,
  I completely agree with Joman that tube rolling is more revealing in the UFO25. I've rolled 3 or 4 different tubes that all sound great, but with different strengths and weaknesses to my ears. I just put in a Telefunken PCC189 (smooth - short gray plates 1968') and would say it's the best tube so far, the others being Lorenz PCC88, Valvo PCC88 (thanks to Joman), Amperex 60's usa Jan-6922, Mullard PCC189, Philips-miniwatt PCC189. The Valvo is probably #2 for me. Also running: Mullard 60's GZ32, RCA 50's 0A3's, RCA 60's 0C3a, 6P15P-EV's 83'. Gonna also try a Tesla PCC88 (thanks again to Joman). I am very, very happy that I purchased the UFO25. It has given me many "holy crap" moments in the short time I've had it. Plus, I know it's going to improve...I have about 130 hours on it so far!
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SE84-CKC & UFO25, ZP3, Zstage, ZRock2, ZSB, DM947-(946)Monoliths, VPI-Traveler-2M black. Philips CDR-880. Audio Envy/RAC-PC's & IC's, Mapleshade Dbl Helix+ Spk wire & jumpers, Blue Circle PLC FX2X0e. Herbies tube dampers, Tenderfoots, GIK, PI Audio, DIY panel
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #747 - 10/16/18 at 16:51:31
 
I've been noting the same on my SE84UFO3-25 Monoblocks, any tube complement really sounds good, and it's a matter of finding the one that works best for your system. These amps are very revealing and very musical, a combination that does not always occur.

Totally enjoying the organic field of sound these present, a tapestry of detail and finesse gracefully filling the room. I'm spoiled now, there's no going back for serious listening, and if I can choose, casual listening. And excellent with video material as well--immersive.
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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lazb
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #748 - 10/17/18 at 23:27:10
 
Agreed, Lon. I have been noticing sound tracks on movies and other TV programs more since I became a Decware "denizen". The music often makes me wake up and pay attention!! I never cease to be amazed.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #749 - 10/19/18 at 06:24:32
 
Thanks All...  This really helps...

Best,

Alper
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