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Is there ever a point where it sounds too real? (Read 3439 times)
Steve Deckert
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Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
02/23/19 at 01:06:11
 

Is there ever a point where it sounds too real...

yes.

When it sounds too real, it sets off a fight or flight response because you know it's not real, and your eyes can't see anything in your room other than speakers so what happens is a gross conflict of senses.  Your ears are telling you it's real, you eyes are telling you it's not real.  Since this is a physical conflict between light and sound, the only way to deal with it is to surrender to it and leave your body while you listen.

I bring this up tonight because I am listening to a TORII MKIV before I ship it out on Tuesday and this one has the full Anniversary mods done to it!  I am astounded at how tight the bass is and the percussion this amp has.  Rim shots or anything done on wood blocks, for example, sound completely real to the point of insanity.

Not the the MKIV has ever been shy on power, but the 25th Anniversary Upgrades make the amplifier sound as though the power has easily doubled.

The only information on 25th Anniversary mods are scattered throughout this forum (use search function at the top of the page to find it) but for those with TORII MKIV or any version of the TORII, the mods are as follows:  Beeswax bypass mod $700 and Glass Resistor Mod $280.

The glass resistors are special 1% precision metal film resistors that are encased in a glass tube sealed at the ends with metal and an inert atmosphere.  There are no "audiophile" resistors being sold that are this good.

Anyway, if you own a TORII and are not familiar with the Anniversary Mods or on the fence about doing it, I'll give you an idea just how big a difference it actually makes;  Had I heard a TORII MK4 with these mods, the more powerful ZMA amplifier would have never happened, guaranteed.

I just switched to the heavy duty tests to really flex the amp and juice up the caps... dubstep.... the insane bass and the way this amplifier is handling it just has me shaking my head over and over and over.  

You know, I'm just going to admit it - I (of all people) had no idea how good these amps actually are.  For 23 years I've throttled them back to make them somewhat forgiving and affordable.  Now I hear what I could have been listening to all this time ; ).

The experience called "listening" no longer captures it.  It's way more than listening, the satisfaction from hearing this sound it is more like a drug, or like eating chocolate or your favorite food.  It is very physical.  Especially when using the DNA2 loudspeakers, and did I mention OMG how tight the bass is and how low it drops???  Holy crap it's good stuff.

Happy listening



Steve
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Lon
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #1 - 02/23/19 at 01:42:32
 
The "Happy Listening" many of us have we owe a lot to you Steve, and we appreciate your explorations into the audio ether and we reap the benefits hungrily.

Great to hear that every model that has the mods installed is a winner. I'm listening to my modded CSP3 and my modded Taboo Mk IV working together right now in my newly set up living room audio-video system and just marveling at how good they sound. And Tuesday or so I'll have a modded CSP2+ to check out. I realize how lucky and blessed I am.
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ScottNC
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #2 - 02/23/19 at 17:04:41
 
Over the past year I've often wished I had jumped back into audio sooner after my long absence from serious listening and tinkering. I would have learned more along the way etc & etc, but right now I am so glad I took the plunge when I did.
With my brand new upgraded ZTPRE (thanks again Steve), my new modded ZROCK2, my ToriiMKIV all upgraded and modded, my DNA2's breaking in nicely I think I may have really lucked out with timing. I've gotten to jump back in over the last 9 months and reap all the benefits of Steve's several decades of building better and better gear.
 I've often wrestled with "should I have started right off with a ZMA, did I miss the boat on that one?" well, over the past week, since getting my amp back and ZTPRE into the system, I don't feel the need. Sure when the first watt doesn't suck, how could another 15 not be fabulous?? I'm sure it would, but even in my really very large, volumous room (rooms) I really feel satisfied that my  TORII's 25 watts is plenty for the job at hand. Even with the significant room treatments, which seem to suck sound right out of the air, I can play the system sufficiently loud enough, cleanly, to blow myself away. That's a lot said for the modded, upgraded MKIV and all the gain added items in the chain. I'm loving it! I'd highly recommend all upgrades and anniversary mods, a home run there, many times over.
HAPPY LISTENING is an understatement. Smiley
Best,
Scott
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Greg12
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #3 - 02/26/19 at 00:44:43
 
I'm getting so tempted to send in my Jupiter capped Torii Mk III for the Anniversary upgrade. Can't take reading about all this Anniversary upgrade goodness much longer.
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ScottNC
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #4 - 02/26/19 at 02:27:38
 
Not trying to influence you in any way...
Those upgrades will make it seem like you also got a speaker upgrade for free   Smiley

Best,
Scott
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #5 - 03/30/19 at 05:28:27
 

Still listening to the 25th Anniversary Mods on the TORII MK4 amplifier...

First off, let me say I have a whole new respect for the TORII MK4!  I have never heard it sound this good!  It's fundamental design is exploited by these mods. The mods add great speed, detail, imaging, control and even headroom to the amplifier. If you needed a single adjective to describe all that, I would nominate "animated".

So why do these mods exploit the TORII design, and why is that a good thing, and what the hell does it mean anyway?

Let's get into the TORII design for a second.

What makes it different is that it is a pentode with no feedback so without careful design, the amplifiers current output will increase with loudspeaker impedance. And it does,... the careful design being how far I let it bend the stick.  You know, nothing like stored energy

Since loudspeakers have large peaks around the bass region and an ever increasing rise in impedance as we get into the treble region, the Zen TORII MK4 becomes super energetic in the bass and in the highs. This happens because there is a direct relationship between the complex impedance of the loudspeaker and the amplifier's output current. Put another way the amplifier and the loudspeaker have intercourse.

This is unusual, as most amplifiers have feedback or in the case of triodes, are linear no matter what the impedance of the loudspeaker is.  In fact in today's world it is common to see amplifiers with extra high damping factors "so they can't feel the loudspeaker" gaining greater consistency from speaker to speaker.  Speakers on the other hand are typically made with complex crossovers  that show the amplifier a benign impedance curve that is much flatter than normal. It's like the amplifier has a rubber on, and the speaker has a rubber on, so we can be absolutely certain there will be no real connection between the two.

So the TORII is intensionally the exact opposite and these mods gave it far greater control while at the same time making it twice as animated. Truly difficult to stop listening to! It sounds very alive which is one of the hallmark qualities of the SE84UFO25 that has so completely wrecked 50 people including myself and counting.  

Without getting into comparisons between this amp and the ZMA, the point of this post was to document the observation that this amp responds better than any other amp to the 25th Anniversary mods, because of it's nature. The TORII MK4 is like a small block chevy with some real torque and great RPMs.  The ZMA is like a big block with even more torque and having owned both over my 40 year addiction to muscle cars, I still can't frick'in decide which is better and many are in the same camp. Which is better might well be determined by the weight of the car you put it in and the chassis.  The weight of the car is speaker efficiency, and the chassis is room acoustics.

Back to the music... I have Qobuz playing 24bit recordings from my modified TEAC DAC feeding the ZTPRE which is feeding a ZBIT that is feeding the TORII MK4. Using the DNA2 speakers since that became a reference during the 6 months of intensive listening to the SE84UFO25. The tubes which I only intended to play with for a few nights are inexpensive Russian 807's that cost around 10.00 ea on eBay.  Driving them with gold pin Siemens 6922's.  Clearly these output tubes are the best bang for the buck I have ever found for Decware amplifiers.  You need an adapter to run them, but those can also be purchased on eBay for around the same price.

What I hear with these 807's is insane midrange liquidity with absolute clarity and realistic presence.  The bass is soft and firm at the same time.  In fact after listening to it for a week I realized it is more realistic bass.  Never gets fluttered or out of control, or overbearing or too heavy. It's like the tube can feel the speaker through the amplifier (which it can btw) and make adjustments on the fly.  It's just 100% perfect bass all the time no mater what you through at it.

Rectifiers are the same Psvane 5U4 that we ship with SE84UFO25.

Oh, and btw, now having had Qobuz for several weeks now, I have figured out why I was so impressed with TIDAL's MQA high res stuff.  It was simply better sounding than the 320bps standard stream so it sounded magical...  the real 24 bit material on Qobuz is about the same amount of difference, making TIDAL history in my life. Wink

In closing, listening to this amplifier tonight is giving me a serious dose of proud papa syndrome!  Yea, I would hang my name on this ; )

Steve


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Steve Deckert
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #6 - 03/30/19 at 06:13:24
 

OMG!

PACIFIC AM, from the Album TOY, by Yello (Borris Blank).  A 24bit, 48khz recording streamed from Qobuz being played on the TORII MK4 with Anniversary mods...  I decided to turn the volume WAY up and see what happens...  This is usually a great way to wreck a good thing. Not tonight! Another seriously HOLY CRAP moment!  

I wish I could find a way to describe the leading edges of the notes, especially the power notes, on this amplifier. Solid state is so slow compared to this!. Yes, I know that statement will get a lot of engineer's panties in a bunch, but I could really care less because I can prove it. The CRUNCH factor is on a scale of 1 to 10 at least a 17. It's just got so much SMACK and ATTACK and SIZE while it remains juicy warm the whole time. No shit, I think this might be better than sex folks...

Having way to much fun myself, now...

Steve
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Greg12
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #7 - 03/30/19 at 10:25:44
 
How much would it cost to upgrade a Torii III? I already have the Jupiter caps.
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #8 - 03/30/19 at 11:51:15
 
Steve will need to answer, or Sarah, as the price list presented on the forum only shows the poly bypass mod for the Torii Mk III:

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ScottNC
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #9 - 03/30/19 at 13:45:54
 
Steve,
Thanks for your update, it’s always nice to hear that I’m not just “Thinking” my system is sounding awesome from all the additions and upgrades and Anniversary Mods!
I’m also running Qobuz and Tidal (til my year subscription  is up) through Roon, it really is something to have such a huge library at your finger tips sounding soo amazing. What a great vehicle for instant discovery of “New Music” and the ability to pull something like “Toy by Yello” out of the ether and have it right now, I like it.
My system feed is pretty similar to what you have going right now, sonicTransport  to Mytek Brooklyn DAC to ZTPRE to ZBIT to ZROCK2 to Torii MKIV to DNA2’s (with a REL S3 SHO slid in there Smiley)
It would be extremely hard for me to not think I’m not getting close...to whatever it is I’m chasing!
Thanks for the great description of the MKIV, it saves from having to come up with my own, I have it printed out for future reference.
Good Weekend to All,
Best,
Scott
Guess I’m headed to eBay for some 807’s, like it will ever end Smiley
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #10 - 03/30/19 at 17:34:26
 
If the TORII MK3 is already upgraded with Beeswax caps, then it is treated like a TORII MK4 with respect to the mods.

Steve
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #11 - 04/13/19 at 04:15:49
 

Having another mind bending night with the TORII MK4 with Anniversary Mods.I've played the $10 Russian 807's 12 hours a day for weeks now and have worn them out a bit as evidence by the once tight airy bass now becoming bloated. So back to a fresh set of Tungsol KT66 and it's a double whammy because not only is the bass rock tight, but the power is also doubled. 807 has reduced power in the TORII MK4 but still usually always enough.

So tonight I wanted to treat myself so I pulled out the big guns...  a M&K RealTime Records Live two-track direct to disc 45RPM LP of Ed Graham "Hot Stix"

First of all I have to say that overwhelming take-away of this experience was the EXQUISITE timing and dynamics and space. Really on every benchmark I have never heard anything better. This not only becomes completely real right in front of your face, but also demonstrates what one in a million drummers with 'the gift' can really do. This recording played back on both the HR-1 and the DNA2 which is what was easily within reach, is literally perfect. I've never been able to say that about any recording before. The amazing thing is how well the TORII MK4 let me experience it. Effortlessly and 100% believable. Smoothest raw textures you'll ever hear.

Let's put it this way, I have already listened to both sides twice, and will probably do a final cleaning and then get serious about listening to it several more times. This kind of sound quality makes digital sound comparatively stupid. even DSD, sorry.

Also as someone who has played the drums I have to say that I pay a lot of attention to the drummer in any recording if the recording will allow it, and a drum solo is pretty much all telling.  This man, Ed Graham, I have never heard a drummer this good, ever.  

Steve

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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #12 - 04/15/19 at 00:36:33
 
I packed up my Torii today and it’s off to the Mother Ship for the anniversary upgrades! The ZP3 will be right behind it! Can’t wait!
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ScottNC
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #13 - 04/15/19 at 00:48:05
 
Bike,
You are going to be very happy with your decision, it is like getting a completely new amp.
Best,
Scott
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #14 - 04/15/19 at 01:20:24
 
I agree with Scott. The wait is hard but the results are stellar!
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bikehappy1
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #15 - 05/10/19 at 23:35:37
 
Could we see a really cool pic of Torii MKIV 25th upgrade insides??
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ScottNC
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #16 - 05/11/19 at 03:09:16
 
I think I have one or two, I took some closeups when Steve was trying to help me with a problem. I’ll do a look in the morning and post if I find them.
Scott
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #17 - 05/11/19 at 15:10:16
 
I found a bunch, here is one for you.
A whole bunch of expensive caps and goodness!
Smiley
Scott
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IMG_0108.jpg

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pursuitofnow
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #18 - 05/11/19 at 19:04:04
 
wow! Just look at all those jupiter caps!
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bikehappy1
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #19 - 05/12/19 at 01:24:59
 
Way cool! Thanks Scott! I didn’t have type II caps so I upgraded to those along with the 25 upgrades. I should get it back on Wednesday!
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #20 - 05/12/19 at 20:14:55
 
No problem, enjoy...
It’s one of those keeps on giving gifts from Steve, that is so much of what DecWare is. A new journey.
Best,
Scott
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bikehappy1
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #21 - 05/16/19 at 18:53:50
 
I hooked up the MKIV-25 last night and listened for a few hours. I had the caps replaced with type II beeswax along with the bypass upgrades. Initially it seemed pretty much like it did before. During the night, after a Jimmie Dale Gilmore recording, I played some Johnny A. The Johnny A made me take a step back, blink my eyes. It kinda jumped right out at me. Should be more fun to come! My ZP3 returns this next Tuesday and then I'll check out some vinyl. Cheers!!
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bikehappy1
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Re: Is there ever a point where it sounds too real?
Reply #22 - 05/22/19 at 17:17:48
 
I received my ZP3-25 back last night and hooked it up to the MKIV-25! Absolutely wonderful sound on my KG-4's. The holographic airy and dynamic sound has returned! Thanks Decware for the affordable hi-fidelity experience!!
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