Reviewed by: Paul_Bui, Audio
Enthusiast from Milpitas, CA,
Price Paid: $1995 at www.decware.com
Product Model Year:
This is a follow-up review after over a year of using
these monoblocks to drive relatively high efficiency speakers such as the
Radials RL-1s and RL-2s, and the Horns from TheHornShoppe.
SET amps, these SV83Ms prefer lowish impedance speakers. While they don't like
such high impedance beasts as the Moth Cicada (12 ohm 94 db), they'll be much
happier driving speakers of 8 ohms or lower. I even think they deliver most
power transfer into 4 ohm speakers, provided crossover kept to minimum or none
and efficiency at least 90 db.
I get the most satisfying sound from them
driving the Horns with the ZERO Autoformers installed between the amps and
speakers, and two REL Storm IIIs. There is a good balance of speed, slam,
midrange presence and detail, low bass extension and agility, highs detail and
extended as far as the Fostex Fe108 Sigma drivers go. Sources are the Vecteur
D-2 transport linked with the EVS Millennium 24/96 DAC II (discontinued).
Although tube biasing is done automatically, the amp has a toggle bias
switch in front that lets the listener choose between a purer sound with truer
tonality signature or a bass boosted more powerful presentation. It's like
having two amplifiers for the price of one.
Besides, there are two
rocket switches in the back for POWER and STANDBY. I always start by switching
on the STANDBY while leaving the POWER off. In this mode all tubes get the power
but can make no sound, so I can make any cable or interconnect swap while
letting the amp warm up (very useful feature if you're to compare, say, two
speakers or cables or even sources).
These low powered amps have
excellent speed and accurate timbral presentation. Their soundstage is deep and
wide beyond speakers (and exceeds room dimension sometimes); image specificity
and size are pretty good and even better when impedance is matched between amp
I'm still exploring these amps. They won't be replaced by
any super amps for a long time.
Keep on improving with months
Can drive 2 ohm load
Reliability - never
had a problem for the last 18 months of use
Tubes not that
expensive to replace
As a low powered SET amp, will likely to clip when
asked to drive speakers of efficiency lower than 90 db at high volume levels or
speakers with complex crossover networks.