replaced by the Anniversary Edition SE84ZS
notes below apply to both the SE84CS and SE84ZS.
between the two models are covered at the bottom of
The Select Zen Triode amplifier, model SE84CS, is
a tweaked out version of our original Zen Triode
amplifier (model SE84C).
Several years after our original SE84C came out we
started seeing lots of tweaks emerge that were
claimed to improve the sound or performance of the
The only concern we had regarding these "tweaked"
amps is what will happen if too many of them find
their way into the used amp market. Will
they represent the Decware sound? How many
of them after having been tweaked will actually
In response to this we decided to come out with a
new version that was already tweaked but done in a
way that doesn't stray from the original Zen
concepts of balance and simplicity.
In short, no parts were added, nothing was
complicated. In fact one of the two
resistors (the grid stop resistor) in the signal
path was actually eliminated. This was made
possible by the incredible stability of the amp
and its amazing resistance to oscillations. All of
the internal parts were upgraded.
We made the chassis black, updated the binding
posts and added a pair of "purist" input jacks to
the front of the amplifier located only 1/2 inch
away from the input tube and connected directly to
it's grid. It can't get any more direct that
this, so the wire purists can enjoy using the amp
to evaluate the real differences between
NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE ZEN TRIODE
Here are a few reasons why (in the real
world) it's better than other SET
It does not need an easy to drive loudspeaker
and will have no problems with impedance of 4
ohms or less.
It uses SV83 output tubes which are faster,
more neutral, and better sounding than
over-priced 2A3 and 300Bs.
It has less parts than any amp out there, no
circuit boards, and is stoutly
This is why this little amplifier can drive a
conventional 90 dB 4 ohm loudspeaker with such
clarity and why most others can't.
FUNDAMENTAL DESIGN GOAL
The SE84CS power output is designed to sit in
fidelity vs. power
. The yellow
represents the optimum window.
As amplifiers get bigger to create more power they
require more parts and often employ cost-effective
compromises to get the efficiency up and keep them
stable. Things like class A/B operation, push-pull
circuits, negative feedback and so on that make
cost effective power a reality but at the price of
absolute fidelity. Very few people get to hear
anything in this optimum range because up till now
you needed BOTH efficient AND easy to drive
speakers which are fairly rare and
The SE84CS is not like most other SET amplifiers
that work best with no serious dips in the
speaker's impedance. Instead it is designed to
LOVE difficult to drive loads and will happily
drive almost a dead short without complaining.
This means that the amp will drive regular
loudspeakers without suffering in the bass regions
and that is in direct contrast to the common
conception that SET amps don't have very
impressive bass response.
SIGNIFICANCE OF HAND BUILDING
We build these amplifiers with seasoned hands and
an infectious passion. No circuit boards used
here! Each amplifier is built start to finish by
the same master solder slingers that have hand
built every one of our popular amps!
The quality is impeccable and the reliability is
unmatched by doing things the old school
If you're into metaphysical tweaks like magic pens
and such you will certainly appreciate the massive
amounts of Karma that soak into these amps during
We believe in Karma. Mass produced amplifiers
don't have it. Ours do. We think you'll hear the
difference right away.
You'll notice a small toggle switch on the front.
This is a significant feature of the
. Similar to our original Zen Triode, this switch
controls the signature (or personality) of the
The two possible positions of this switch yield an
even-tempered frequency balance or a bodacious
signature with lots of low end slam. This ensures
that the correct dynamics can be applied to
different loudspeakers or just your different
Combine this with a little tube rolling and
you gain tremendous power over the signature
of the amplifier gaining the ability to adjust
it for any given system.
Many people who own the original SE84 series
amplifiers will bridge them mono and run two.
This is possible without a significant
reduction in fidelity because the output
transformers float with no reference to ground.
When an SE84CS is bridged, the outputs are
wired in series causing both halves of the
amplifier to act as one.
A pair of these amps will even drive magnapans
with excellent bass response at the reduced
listening levels associated with late night
One of the biggest things people will wonder about
is the potential compatibility of their
An acceptable speaker for these amps would be something
90 dB 1w/1m or higher and something 8 ohms or
lower. For example 91 dB @ 4 ohms would be
nice. Higher efficiencies allow for greater playback
levels. Simple designs are usually better and less
crossover circuitry is often better too. If you
are content with only low to modest listening
levels then you really don't even have to worry
about finding special speakers. Ideal speakers
can be found here.
I would invite you to call me
to discuss any questions you might
CHANGED FROM THE SE84CS to the new SE84ZS:
primary difference between the old and the new can be found in the
material has been changed to T6 Aluminum which is of course non-magnetic.
At the same time the thickness of the chassis has been increased
by 4 times. The plates are precision lazar cut and finished
in a baked on powder coat enamel. The color is near white
with a high gloss to minimize infrared heat absorption from the
size of the original chassis was 6 x 10 inches. The new chassis
are 6.5 x 14 inches and are coupled to a solid walnut base adding
another 3/4 inch to the dimensions. By stretching things out
a bit the internal layout was able to be further refined. The
original sacred tube layout and spacing remains unchanged.
wise there are no significant changes except for the use of a more
refined G.E. brand film and foil coupling caps. The volume
control has been moved to the front which improved the signal path.
Direct and variable inputs are both located at the rear.
larger power transformer is used which meets C.E. ratings and can
be wired for all voltages around the world. It is of course
both 50/60 cycle compatible. It's higher mass acts to further
binding posts were also upgraded to a WBT style that fits up to
the new amps have a slight advantage due to the lower overall resonance
of the chassis/tubes. This improves focus, dynamics, and makes
for blacker backgrounds.
hardwood bases have been designed as user replaceable making it
possible to have any kind of hardwood, domestic or exotic.