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25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks (Read 8234 times)
Lon
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25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
04/09/18 at 20:25:19
 
Thought I would start a thread for these new phenomenal amps.

I received my pair today and set them up. I have a hum that I'll have to track down probably because of moving my cables about a bit. . . . The AC-12 power cords are very hard to get in place and that was an effort and I probably have a power cord intersecting with an interconnect cable somewhere in a way it does not like, I'll track that down later, just a small hum.

The immediate impression is one of relief because not only does it appear that I am getting all the loudness that I need, there even seems to be more "useable" loudness than with the Taboo Mk IV strange as that seems.

And what a difference in sound between the two. The Taboo now sounds closed in and old style romantic in comparison to the Monoblocks which are wide open and "fast" sounding. in comparison. It's early and I can definitely tell that these amps will need some hours on them to bloom and I probably won't say too much about them other than:

--they are beautiful; look just like the "non-25th" except that I have a treble cut circuit knob on the front of each of mine in the outside corner
--they are very adjustable between the "bias" choice for both input and output tubes (and in my case the treble cut circuit)
--they dispense clear and detailed sound with micro and macro dynamics
--they are probably going to stay right where they are giving me great sound for a long long time . . .
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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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Dave Evans
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #1 - 04/09/18 at 20:31:19
 

Many thanks Lon
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Archie
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #2 - 04/09/18 at 23:45:16
 
Looking forward to more impressions as time goes on.  Are you using the Z Amigos at this point?  Especially the ZROCK2?
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #3 - 04/10/18 at 01:05:55
 
Oh yes, I'm sold on my ZAMIGO set up so I have my PS Audio DSD, my Oppo UDP-205 and my Magnum Dynalab 90T SE tuner all connected via balanced cabling to the ZTPRE, the ZTPRE to the ZBIT (two stereo single-ended outputs on this one) and the ZBIT to the ZROCK2 with one output and now to the Taboo Mk IV for headphone use with the other, the ZROCK2 is connected to the Monoblocks.

I was able to run the amps from 3 til 8 and they kept opening up and sounding better. They are reminding me of the Torii Mk III in the sense of headroom they have (crazy, they seem louder and more powerful than the Taboo and they aren't!) and I think that's also in part because of the OA3 and OC2 tubes that they share with the Torii and also the treble cut circuit which allows me to get just the right treble I want as with the Toriis). And I can tell there is more tonal and dynamic detail, not highlighted detail, "enveloping" detail.
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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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pursuitofnow
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #4 - 04/10/18 at 04:12:14
 
Congrats Lon! I'm so close to pulling trigger on these. Just need to figure out how much taxes will cost first. Excited to read your experiences that will come. Mind sharing some photos? Smiley
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ANALOG: Thorens VN-150, 2M Black, ZP3, ZSTAGE
DIGITAL: Apple TV, Moon 230HAD, ZROCK2
AMP + SPEAKERS: SE84UFO, Omega Super 3 HO XRS, DeepOmega 8
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #5 - 04/10/18 at 10:45:43
 
Sorry, I don't have a camera and don't do photos. I got my wife's camera out a bit ago to take photos of two components that I will soon put up for sale, and gosh, I'm no photographer.

The amps look exactly like those Juan (busterfree) posted and that are on the product page. . . except a little toggle and knob in a corner of each which is the treble cut circuit. Mine have the walnut bases. Love the elegant simplicity of the black top. . . The look is so close to the ZP3's but my ZP3 is a white top version.

Can't wait to do more listening today! And yes, I have to work on taxes this week as well. . . . .
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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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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #6 - 04/10/18 at 21:56:24
 
I've been listening to these amps all day from 6:30 a.m. to now. I have the stock (red-tipped!) tubes in except for the rectifiers--I just don't like the sound of those Valve Art 274B and I am using a matched pair of 'fifties RCA coke bottle shaped Type 80 rectifiers.

In the "Developments" thread Steve said of the first pair of these amps that they are "male." I have to agree. They just ooze POWER. They dance like a boxer with dynamics and graceful pace and they can deliver real knockout sonics when it's there on the recording, can really shift from a whisper to a roar.

Now I LIVE with my stereo. I don't have a treated room, don't sequester myself in a dedicated space. There are those who posit that it may not make sense to have this new "edition" of the Zen amp unless one really was in a treated space. Well. . . sorry to disappoint those as one can immediately sense how different these amps are. They throw an atmosphere, you are injected into a world of the sound. There's more detail for sure, but it's a bit mind-boggling as nothing stands out, it's all presented at once in the air and you experience it rather than finger point to it. I notice the "room" in the recordings, the tonal textures, the little energy shift in the attack of the instruments via the player.

These two amps have all that I loved about the Torii Mk IIIs and all that I loved about the Taboo Mk IV driving my HR-1s. . . they don't leave me wanting or needing anything else. I rolled some tubes and I'm back to the stock except for the rectifiers. . . these just are delivering. I now have 6N5P in the ZTPRE and the Monoblocks, this tube is a great discovery for the Decware amps.

As Steve has been seduced into just listening and listening that is all I want to do as well. I have to do other things starting tomorrow. . . but I know I will want to just listen.

The fact that I know they are going to GET BETTER. . . that is another mind-boggling thing. But I know they will.

I'm sincerely grateful to Steve for the design and execution of these SE84UFO3 Monoblocks. More impressions to follow, I'm sure. . .
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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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Donnie
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #7 - 04/10/18 at 23:22:54
 
I'm always confused by buying something and immediately changing everything about it.
In my mind, Steve voiced this amplifier over the last few months, taking his time in trying different things out, figuring out what he thought sounded right.
Does changing the tubes out really make it better, or just different?
Maybe I just don't have the "golden ears" or whatnot. I just trust Steve to sell me what I need.
I guess I'm funny that way.
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #8 - 04/11/18 at 00:07:11
 
Donnie, Steve himself puts in different tubes and listens to them in listening sessions and development sessions etc. Rolling a different tube can really bring some revelatory sound at times. Steve can't ship amps with exotic NOS tubes due to pricing and availability, and he supplies well-tested tubes that he can re-supply but there's no harm in rolling tubes to see how that influences the sound and see if there's a special "synergy" or improved sound in a system.

Lately I've come back most often to using the tubes supplied for a few reasons, but I just don't like the rectifier he has been supplying lately and prefer a Type 80 or 5Y3G type--Steve's photo of the 25th Anniversary Zen amp shows a Type 80 in place. If you read the development thread he was using a 7DJ8 for a while. If you don't hear differences, count your blessings. . . tube-rolling can be an additional expense but many of us find it to be a fun part of the hobby. I personally find it educational, I learn a lot about the potential of the amps doing that. I usually break an amp in before doing any serious tube-rolling, but sometimes I roll tubes to sort of ameliorate the sound when an amp is breaking in and in a "dull" or "harsh" period (it happens). Anyway, to each their own.
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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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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #9 - 04/11/18 at 04:48:21
 

Lon,

I couldn't be more pleased to hear your positive impressions of these new amps! †I didn't let them leave the building until they got me excited in my own listening room. †This is the fourth pair I think... and they are really consistent. †They have a certain "IT" that as soon as you hear it you know you are there. †So far each pair has sounded exactly the same and that's a really good thing because the sound is at the very top of the Zen Triode ladder, and the consistency gives me confidence. †Your impressions give me even more confidence as I've learned to trust your hearing over the years.

Also good to hear you feel the difference is justified even in a real world listening environment which the vast majority of audiophiles live in!

I admit I was worried. I tested them on the HR-1's for a day or so before they left and in my fairly dead room which is about -2dB from what it was before I put carpet in it, I felt somewhat robbed. I needed that 2dB. I knew it would fall right on the line at your place and I was uncertain as to which side of the wall Humpty would fall Wink

You are right, they don't have more power than the Taboo. The reason they are creating more "usable power" can only be attributed to the speed. We have learned that density is a watt multiplier, and now we are learning that speed is also a watt multiplier. †Can you honestly imagine a 2 watt amplifier sound this complete...as if it were 10 or 20 watts? †It's crazy right?

God Bless you for choosing the Type 80 rectifier with adapter. If I could that would absolutely be my choice for the the stock rectifier for this amp. The 274B is still the best sounding in current production that's affordable. That said, a real type 80 globe rectifier is magical and highly recommended.

I have to almost laugh when I hear you describe the sound of the Taboo compared to your new un burned-in monos. The same thing happened to Joe and myself when after listening for several hours we put in the TORII JR and the sudden contrast created a comparator that suggested the same thing. It was the first time in Decware history I heard one of my own children sound a little off.

You and I both are in love with the Taboo MK4. It's so damn good. Even without lucid mode the pentode output stage and floating ground brings something to the table that is truly special. To make that sound, well, bad, is a real accomplishment don't you think?

Can't wait to see how these amps unravel your head in future posts to see if there are any parallels to my own euphoria!

Happy listening and God's speed.

Steve


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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #10 - 04/11/18 at 13:42:21
 
I'm loving these amps Steve as I knew I would when I fell in love witht eh SEP sound of the Taboo Mk IV. I'll try to be silent a few days as I do our taxes and do more listening. . . .There's a lot to wrap your ears and mind around with these amps as they are "familiar" and yet so different as well.

I did one more change with tubes. . . . My wife was so intrigued by the OA3 and their huge top to bottom orange glow she says "Those must be burning hot!" I pulled one out and showed her that actually they were just a little warm to the touch. That really surprised her. . . but ultimately she was distressed that they glowed so much right in her line of sight as she sprawls across the couch. So I dug out a "magic" pair of rectifiers that I had used a lot in the Torii Mk III. They are old, they are labeled Arcturus and "OA3" but they glow like an "OB3" and only have the glow exposed at the top of the tube. Problem solved for Lucy. . . and in fact the sound is excellent. These two tubes have an interesting and appealing texture and give a bit more of a center fill to the sound and have a hint of warmth that is nice to have. So I will leave these in enjoy the sound. . . .

Yes, I'm wiling to believe that "speed equals watts" as my ears and brain tell me this to be a true impression. "Density equals watts" is a reality in my system as well with my "ZAMIGOS" pumping gain into the amps. . . this was first really evident with the Taboo and immediately evident with the Monoblocks. I love the Taboo . . . and now it's back in service as a headphone amp. . .win win as it's amazing with headphones!

These amps are so worth the wait and I'm so glad they are here. They really do work well with the HR-1s, which was the only fear I had. Thanks for all the zen and work that led to these!
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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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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #11 - 04/11/18 at 14:47:19
 
One more add: I do really like the Type 80 rectifiers in these amps. . . not surprising as I have liked the 5Y3 types previously. I do have one "globe" Type 80, an Arcturus, but not a pair. I can't say I prefer the Arcturus to the RCA bottle-shaped. . . but I will target getting a pair of the "globe" type in the near future to give them a good comparison.
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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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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #12 - 04/11/18 at 14:49:22
 
Congrats Lon enjoy the tunes.

JD
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #13 - 04/11/18 at 15:27:10
 
Thanks!
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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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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #14 - 04/11/18 at 18:05:00
 
Congrats Lon.
Look forward to hearing more.
Enjoy.
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #15 - 04/11/18 at 19:22:11
 
Thanks! Everything's sounding mighty fine right now as i wrap up my federal taxes. On to State. . . or maybe tomorrow for the state taxes. . . .
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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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Archie
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #16 - 04/12/18 at 01:11:11
 
Quote:
One more add: I do really like the Type 80 rectifiers in these amps. . . not surprising as I have liked the 5Y3 types previously. I do have one "globe" Type 80, an Arcturus, but not a pair. I can't say I prefer the Arcturus to the RCA bottle-shaped. . . but I will target getting a pair of the "globe" type in the near future to give them a good comparison.


I've been seeing the various mentions in this Forum about the Type 80 rectifier and I'm getting curious to try them.  Would these work in both the ZP3 and CSP3?  What do you (and others) recommend as far as tube and amp to try them in?  I guess I'd need the tubes and the 4 to 8 pin adaptors?  Searching ebay these don't seem especially expensive -- or am I looking at the wrong tubes.   Tongue
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #17 - 04/12/18 at 01:19:25
 
No not terribly expensive. Yes, they'll work in the CSP preamps (I have one in a CSP2+ right now) as well as the ZP3 and the Zen Amps . . . I have a pair of Tung-Sol bottle-shaped in my Torii Mk III as well. As a rule of thumb they're electrically pretty identical if not identical to the 5Y3 tube that followed them historically so any of the components that †use this tube will use the 80.

They are not very expensive. The oldest is the "Globe" shape which I have seen dated into the 'twenties. I have one of these, an Arcturus and it sounds pretty nice but a pair of 'fifties bottle-shaped sound better to me. I also have a pair of straight short RCA tubes that look a lot like the basic 5Y3 that sound pretty good. The globe shape, which are also known as 280 and 380, are often the most expensive in unused matched pairs as . . . well they're old. But there's good priced examples of all the types out there.

The converters are easy to get too. I have a pair of bakelite ones and also three porcelain and brass ones that Steve also seems to use that may sound a bit better and are more expensive. They certainly look nice!
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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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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #18 - 04/12/18 at 01:30:21
 
Thanks Lon.  If and when I get some spare time I'll look some of these up!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #19 - 04/12/18 at 13:12:59
 
Hi Lon.

Congrats on your new amps. Been reading about the upgrade and Iím seriously considering to ship my ordinary mono amps for this upgrade. Curious to learn if anyone who have had them updated could give some impressions before and after. Itís a lot money, but also about the only thing I spend money on... so I guess Iím going to do it sooner or later.

I have to say the ones I got isnít exactly slow and boring either,
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #20 - 04/12/18 at 13:16:53
 
Jorgen, I hope that someone chimes in with info for you, it seems two or three people have done this so far and will probably be receiving their amps soon.

I don't have experience with the previous version of the Monoblocks--I'm sure they sound fantastic as well and reports certainly have been positive! I'm really enjoying these new "25th" ones and I'm sure you would too, but I also am sure that the shipping alone is a big expense.
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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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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #21 - 04/12/18 at 16:17:44
 
Hi Lon,

Congrats on the Monos!

I know it is a bit early to make comments on this, but is it possible to make a preliminary comparison between the UFO versus the 25th Anniversary upgrades as of yet?  Among the three Decware amps I have (SE84UFO, SE34I.2+ and TABOO mkIII), the one with the UFO transformers surpass anything I have listened to from Decware (including a TORII mkII and the early versions of SE84s) not by a hair, but by a huge margin.  In other words, the UFO upgrade improved the whole sound so significantly that I cannot even conceive if the sound can be improved any further at all!

After hearing all the hype about the 25th Ann. upgrade, I might still consider selling my SE84UFO and invest in an SE84UFO25.  One thing that I am not fully comfortable with is the number of tubes on that amp though.  With 7 tubes instead of 4, there are a total of 5 tubes to roll which makes the itch more painful than fun!  :)  You know I really like simplicity in my signal chain, so apart from using a preamp (maybe), I stay away from other additional components.  So I am also questioning myself re: if an amp having only input, output and rectifier tubes is complex enough already...

Best,

Alper
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #22 - 04/12/18 at 16:47:27
 
Alper,

I can't make that comparison. I have two Taboos, a Mk IV with the UFO transformers and a Mk III without. The only "Zen Amp" I currently have is a C amp modded by Eddie Vaughan to be a power amp only (that's the only mod I know of though I suspect there's more). So I can't really make any comparison between one of the Zen "UFO" amps and these new UFP plus the anniversary mod.

My gut tells me though that you would immediately sense a difference, a distinct improvement, with the 25th Anniversary Zen. There's more "there" there. All those things that you like about the UFO (I love the UFO transformers in my Taboo Mk IV) should stand even more amplified. I would say be patient and wait for a direct comparison. . . or get in the queue for one of the amps when they are released. . . I don't doubt you would feel the improvements are worthy.

I was for a long time in the "keep it simple" camp, and what could be simpler than the Zen circuit as it was first conceived. But my position has been turned on its head with the ZTPRE and ZBIT and ZROCK2. . .three more components that should be cluttering up the sound but instead magnified the sound and made everything so much more "real." So I would not worry about additional tubes and caps. . . Steve knows what he's doing and you may not NEED to do any tube-rolling. . . the new 6N5P that Steve is supplying is an excellent tube, and I'm sure all the regulation tubes will be. I've been rolling those in the Torii Mk III amps and they make a difference, but not as much as other tubes in these circuits.
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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 SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #23 - 04/12/18 at 16:47:45
 
Alper,
Based on what I have read from Steve's commentary along the way, I would guess that tube rolling is not necessary and that burden can be avoided altogether. If this amp turns out as good as what Steve proclaims, right out of the box, as-is, will be a transformational experience.  

As far as the number of tubes in the 25th, two of the seven are voltage regulators and are not in the signal path.  Much of the additional complexity of this amp is in the power supply chain, not the signal path.  So, I would not consider the switch from your SE84UFO to the 25th as adding anything that would degrade the sound purity or otherwise get in the way of the recording.  Based on the position of the RCA inputs, it may be that from point-to-point, there is less in the way with this 25th than the SE84UFO.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #24 - 04/12/18 at 18:50:11
 
Dear Lon and Jeff,

Thanks for your immediate input!  Sounds like I will need to hop on the train for the SE84UFO25!

Cheers,

Alper

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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #25 - 04/13/18 at 01:02:39
 
Quote:
Congrats on your new amps. Been reading about the upgrade and Iím seriously considering to ship my ordinary mono amps for this upgrade. Curious to learn if anyone who have had them updated could give some impressions before and after. Itís a lot money, but also about the only thing I spend money on... so I guess Iím going to do it sooner or later.

I have to say the ones I got isnít exactly slow and boring either,


My amps are still burning in after the modification. I am still running my original tubes. I do not get to listen as often as I want, but these amps make me want to listen more often. I can get lost in the music. I have toe tapping experiences. It is great. This is with the stock tubes. I plan to roll tubes at some point.

While the amps went back home for modification, I listened to my SE84UFO with a $200 rectifier and $200 input tube in the same system. I enjoyed it but not as much as my SE84UFO3 with 25th mod with stock tubes.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #26 - 04/18/18 at 17:03:32
 
Juan,
Will be quite interested to hear the results of any tube-rolling you do.

I have over 80 hours on my pair today and they are sounding better day by day. (I want to note that I am using both a PS Audio P10 and a Decware ZROCK2--both of these components so strongly influence my system that I feel they must be mentioned when talking of the "sound" of anything in the system).

The soundscape has opened up and gotten wider and deeper. The tonal balance has been evolving and I have been adjusting it with the treble cut-circuit in the amps and the ZROCK2.

This is the most "atmospheric" amp I've ever had. The Torii Mk III was the best in this regard previously and I had thought it was the "power" of that 25 watts that was the key. Instead it appears it was the "speed" and "density" as this two watt amp has both those in spades.

My experience mirrors Juan's--I get lost in the music and sound and my toes are tapping!

I am actually only using the original 6N5P input tubes at this point. A few days ago it seemed time to roll some tubes and I ended up with a pair of Tung-Sol Type 80 rectifiers, Westinghouse OA3 (that are probably RCA made), and SV83 output tubes--I really like the SV83 more than the military version of the tube--warmer, smoother by a hair each.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #27 - 04/20/18 at 00:45:44
 
The Monoblocks have hit the 100 hour mark of music playing through them . . .and boy do they sound awesome. . . .

I did some tube-rolling today. For a spell I preferred my oldest pair of RCA 5V4G bottle-shaped rectifiers, but I went back to the Tung-Sol Type 80s as the RCAs were just a bit too "spacey." I unseated the 6N5P. . . it's a fantastic tube but it was just a bit TOO fast for my system these days. . . I put in a pair of GE 6DJ8 "Smokies" that add just a little bit of shadow and body. It's just right right now. . . SV83 output tubes and Westinghouse (probably made by RCA) OA3s complete the complement.

Today I have heard little peeks of info that I never heard before on some of the music I've listened to, and the sound of DVR shows has been spooky. These amps ARE a step beyond their predecessors. . . they have a "hugeness" to them that certainly belies their 2.7 watts per channel, and they project a distinct atmosphere to slip into. . . I told my wife they were "moody" and she said that would make them a perfect match for me (BURN!) . . . . She likes their sound too, she hears that they are different. She thinks I'm lying when I tell her how powerful they actually are.

A few days ago in trying to find a way to describe these I found myself feeling as if I were the microphone. In some cases it seems as your ears are a single stereo microphone that is picking up all the sound. In a way this feels right because you seem to have bypassed all the other stages of the music and be that closer to the performances.

I also feel these will season further and open up more. Which is almost a scary thought.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #28 - 04/20/18 at 14:21:32
 
Grin   told you!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #29 - 04/20/18 at 19:34:42
 
Hi Jeff,

I just re-read your message quoted below.

"As far as the number of tubes in the 25th, two of the seven are voltage regulators and are not in the signal path.  Much of the additional complexity of this amp is in the power supply chain, not the signal path."

Do you happen to know if the upgrade with respect to the power supply chain contributes to the cleanliness of DC or it improves the headroom, or both.  If it is about cleanliness, I have Stein Music's "Inline Power 2" and Blacknoise's power filters on both of my systems, which increase the speed a lot and provides me with a much darker background.

Maybe Steve can chime in here as well!  :)

Best,

Alper
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #30 - 04/21/18 at 19:45:11
 
Slipped in a few hours of listening today. Put the 6N5P back in as well as the Arcturus OB3s that are labeled OA3. And the Tung-Sol Type 80 bottle-shaped rectifiers are back in as well. This is the best all-around sound complement right now in the amps' "seasoning."

I have no doubt that in a treated dedicated room these amps would just toss one into an alternate sonic universe. . . I can see why Steve has 16 hour sessions. In my living space they are very involving, inviting, musical and communicative. My wife turned to me an hour ago and said "That sounds REALLY nice." For her to even notice says a lot.

These little devils sound better day by day.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #31 - 04/27/18 at 21:31:56
 
I have about 150 hours on the Monoblocks so far and they are sounding very "alive," opened up more than the first week.

I've a pretty good handle on the "signature" now having gone through tubes and also different gain settings on the amps and ZTPRE and ZBIT and also different modes and voltage etc. on the PS Audio P10. It's very interesting I can get about the same sound with a 6N5P and an OB3 as I can with a GE 6dJ8 and an OA3 with adjustments. It's sort of maddening how many different flavors I can evoke with this set up.

As far as the P10 I have my output voltage at 121 and with the current complement (GE 6Dj8 "Smokies" and GE OA3 and Tung-Sol Type 80 bottle shape and Svetlana SV83s) I am using the "High Regulation" mode as opposed to the "Low Distortion."

It is a real pain to reconfigure my preamp and ZBIT and ZROCK2 configuration so I have not tested the Monoblocks straight from the PS Audio DirectStream DAC either single-ended or with the ZBIT balanced. . . . I know from all my experience with these components and I am going to prefer, nay NEED, the ZTPRE and ZBIT and ZROCK2 in front of the amps to get this sound that I am loving. . . so I'm just listening that way.

The Monoblocks have become the most detailed amps I have ever had, and unlike some system configurations I've had in the past, the detail is not a fatiguing and off-putting thing, the detail is presented seamlessly across the frequency spectrum and interwoven in the imaging and stage presentation. I'm getting a bigger sound both in apparent loudness and stage width and depth than ever before. This "detail" extends into the dynamic realm and the music breathes and moves in an improved manner. I honestly feel fulfilled with these amps driving the HR-1s and as Steve has warned I find it very hard to stop listening. I keep trying to get more time in and so far Lucy hasn't been TOO annoyed. She thinks the amps are very nice and though she doesn't like the full orange glow of the OA3 tubes I've decided to build a complement around them because when watching Blu-ray or DVD or the DVR I can actually SEE the OA3s flash which means the low frequency information is causing distortion. . . except when it is very distorted I don't even notice the distortion, it's characteristics are so full and enveloping. . . . With the OA3 I think I get a bit more distortion, but I can also visually insure that the gain is low enough to not cause distortion.

I have these amps in a living-room/dining-room area and not a treated room, nor are they as far out into the room as I'd like--a concession to Lucy and her highly visual taste in living decor and furniture placement. Still I find the three dimensionality involving and the imaging very accurate. Those who live for sound stages and images floating in the air in a dedicated, treated room will love these amps.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #32 - 04/28/18 at 21:35:38
 
Grin.            Your words are saying what my ears heard!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #33 - 04/28/18 at 21:50:26
 
Hope you get a chance to order soon Joe!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #34 - 04/29/18 at 20:40:47
 
My name is on the list so order will be automatic when Steve allows it!!!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #35 - 04/30/18 at 02:03:06
 
Wow, today I rolled in a pair of "super-cryo'd" 6N1P and the dynamics and sound staging have never been better. They're sticking in for a spell. . . .
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #36 - 05/02/18 at 18:14:00
 
Well, the cryo'd 6N1P are out and "red-tipped" 6N1P from Steve are in and though the cryo'd may be a bit more dynamic, they are a bit tart in comparison and I prefer these from Steve.

I've got SV83 output tubes from Svetlana in, and the bottle-shaped fifties RCA 5V4 rectifiers, and Sylvania OB3 regulators and the sound is exceptionally good. There's more depth to the sound field today which is a good thing as I have the speakers closer to the wall than I'd like due to household constraints. I have to run off to an appointment and I don't want to. . . I just want to keep on listening. As Steve noted it's good to be retired when owning these. I'm retired and still don't have enough time! They just draw you in and hold you prisoner. . . .

My CSP3 with the Anniversary mods made the "Build List" . . . can only imagine what they will bring but my imagining is pretty well-honed these days and I imagine the CSP3 is going to really kick things up even higher. . . and I can't wait to try headphones with that preamp.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #37 - 05/04/18 at 18:55:54
 
This afternoon I removed the six 6N5P that I have in the ZTPRE and replaced them with six of the 6N1P that I got with the ZTPRE, red-tipped from Steve, and put a pair of supposedly '79 6N5P from ebay (matched pair far more expensive than the others I've bought, I burned them in about 100 hours in one of my CSP2+) in the Monoblocks. Wow. This is the warmest (without being muddy) and most dynamic (they're breaking the speed limit) combos yet! I have an Amperex 12AU7 in the ZROCK2. Note to self: don't change anything for a while!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #38 - 05/04/18 at 22:50:15
 
Lon,

Not sure if I am more excited for the owls (huge fan of the avian species) or monoblocks...or the combination of both. Psyched for you and where you are at enjoy the music!

JD
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #39 - 05/05/18 at 00:04:56
 
JD,

Lucy and I are living in a paradise with a huge state wildlife preserve literally across the street from us and we see so many wonderful birds. An eagle dropped onto the frozen lake to eat a fish less than forty feet from us when we got married by the lake two years three months ago, that was something! And this year it's these two owls. We've seen one owl the last three years or so but this year two, and they've been around near every day since early last month.

So life is good for me, here with nature all around and with this amazing system to listen to. And with a loving wife and a good dog and my family not too far away.

Have a great weekend JD!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #40 - 05/05/18 at 23:22:51
 
Sure sounds cozy, Lon. Enjoy!
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #41 - 05/09/18 at 19:22:50
 
Well, poor Lucy was sick all weekend and Monday and Tuesday and was finally able to go to work this morning, so today the Monoblocks are on again. I believe they have reached that point of hours and use that they are going to change subtly over time but no more big changes, just seasoning.

And I'm very happy with the way they sound. I've driven myself a bit crazy the last week with tube rolling but I've found some great complements and have pretty much settled on a set with one possible substitution: a pair of 6N5P in the inputs, a pair of SV83 in the outputs, a pair of Tung-Sol Type 80 rectifiers and either my trusty old pair of Arcturus bottle-shaped OB3 in the regulation spot or a newly-arrived pair of RCA short straight OB3 rectifiers. There's a clarity that the RCA offer that is quite nice, and they are fully glowing tubes so that distortion can be visible if I reach the limits, but the Arcturus have a warm mellowness that suits most of the music I listen to to a T. So the Arcturus may win out.

I'm back to running 6NP5 in the ZTPRE and loving that "signature"--and six 6N5P tubes I ordered from Decware should be arriving in a few days so I'll swap those in and the ebay bargain tubes out when the Decware tubes arrive.

These Monoblocks are continuing to knock my socks off and cause me to bemoan the limitations of my listening opportunities and the length of sessions. Amazing sound and I've never heard more detail more pleasantly and properly presented. I'll enjoy these as much as I can until the next adventure arrives, the 25th Anniversary version of the CSP3.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #42 - 05/09/18 at 22:25:56
 
Sounds good, Lon. Glad Lucy is finally feeling better!!!

Be interesting to hear your take on the anniversary CSP3.  The road has no end. You will eventually have to hear the DNA-2 speakers in your room.  ::) Tongue
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #43 - 05/09/18 at 22:39:30
 
You're probably right about the DNA2. But. . . barring unforeseen circumstances. . . that would be a long way off as financially my next focus will be on a new kitchen and a garage with storage area. Going to be a while to swing that. In the meantime I have the amazing HR-1s and I love the heck out of them.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #44 - 05/11/18 at 07:27:10
 
Lon, glad the mono blocks are working beautifully for you!

One thing I never fully understood ... obviously the mono blocks have the additional power supply and it doesn't appear to include the things like those boutique glass vacuum tube resistors and maybe a few other boutique offerings, etc. but otherwise ...

1. are the mono's using the exact same circuit, resistors, tube compliment, etc. as the 25th Anniversary Stereo Edition? Or were there just "some" mods done to the mono's in order to make it "as close as possible" to the performance of the 25th Anni stereo version?

2. has the top plate been changed on the mono's ... i.e. rearranged, were gauges added, were the RCA connectors moved to the volume control areas (as in the 25th layout), etc. or do the mono blocks look exactly as they do in the existing pictures on the Decware website?

Thanks!

Edit: Never mind question 2 as I found an earlier post stating that all the mods are done internally and the only notation is on the sticker otherwise it looks the same as the regular existing mono blocks ... that said still confused on how much of the guts/circuit is really changed on the monos to resemble the actual 25th Anniversary model.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #45 - 05/11/18 at 08:22:25
 
Hans, it's pretty much the same mods as I understand it, though done before the glass resistor was implemented. As there is only one output tube per chassis rather than the OD3 regulator tube to regulate both output tubes in the SE84UFO2-25, the Monoblocks each have one OC2 regulator tube to regulate its power tube, and this is located in a socket placed inside the chassis. Otherwise as I understand it the bypass capacitors for the various stages are very similar if not identical. Steve notes that the end results were very similar with a slight power difference in favor of the Monoblocks; he referred to the Monoblocks as slightly masculine, the single-chassis amp as slightly female in comparison.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #46 - 05/12/18 at 07:10:11
 
Thanks for the clarification Lon.  I think you made a great choice between the two ... if I were interested in a Zen amp I would definitely go with the mono blocks as well.
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #47 - 05/13/18 at 05:21:00
 
Iím sorry if this has been covered.  What is the cost of the 25th anniversary mononlocks?
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #48 - 05/13/18 at 06:01:43
 
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ANALOG: Thorens VN-150, 2M Black, ZP3, ZSTAGE
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Re: 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks
Reply #49 - 05/13/18 at 11:52:48
 
The cost is the standard cost of a pair plus $1360.
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