SPEAKER FORUMS >> ERR /ERRx >> RL-3 terminal assignments

Message started by qaztar on 02/20/08 at 05:45:44

Title: RL-3 terminal assignments
Post by qaztar on 02/20/08 at 05:45:44

I wasn’t sure where to post (first), but since it includes an RL-3 question...

To begin, I'm now the proud owner of a pair of used Decware RL-3’s! I was also provided the opportunity to audition some of Decware’s products (thanks to Paul).

Here’s a rundown - if I get the ‘terminology’ wrong, chalk it up to ignorance. If the ‘audio component combination’, then to memory.

Aside from 4 speakers auditioned, various component combo's were used - including source media (standard CD, SACD, vinyl, and 180-200g vinyl), both Analog (a Teres turntable) and Digital players (Decware modified Sony); a cryo’d Zen Torii MKII amp (full up), 2 Decware mono blocks (model #?, full up) and a CSP2 (1/4 way up for digital, and 1/3 to 1/2 up for analog with the Torii); power conditioning; room treatments; and very-expensive-looking-bulky-silver-beeswax-cotton-based-connects.

The first speakers connected were the HDT MKII (mod)… very beautiful with the same ribbon on the Decware site (but with an aluminum housing). Most system combo's were sweet, very defined, having very good definition at all frequencies. Actually, this system was outright ballsy with the SPL around 107dB across most of the audible range. In the ‘sweet spot’ it was hard to converse, but the music didn’t seem loud. Both D & A sources were used; everything was detectably richer and more ‘open’ on the analog side. All in all, a real ear opener, so to speak.

The next set were standard HDT’s in MDF with DFR-8's: okay, somewhat ugly but amazing. The same A & D sources (and levels) were used. With the Torii in line I finally learned what holographic imaging means (with a track from Roger Water’s “Amused to Death”) – sound ‘moving to the side’ is something I’ve heard before, but behind me something entirely new. This caught me by surprise; and from only two active drivers. Who would have imagined? These speakers taught me how crappy sound can be with some sources… e.g. St. Germain’s ‘Tourist’ CD. All in all, bass was to my liking, the highs never-ending. These speakers made me wonder if I had made the wrong choice with the RL-3’s – but, reassuringly, they also told me that I’m probably not in the financial realm to feed them what they lust for – top end everything. Still… I must admit: very inviting.

Next, the HDT/DFR-8’s with mono's. Ok, I can finally see what the draw is towards low powered SETs. Everything was there, just not as much volume at the low end. After getting used to the ‘punch’ of the Torii, the music seemed a bit lacking (perhaps I should have started out with the SETs?). One recording that sounded great, was Narada's “Masters of Acoustic Guitar”. Waters’s stuff was impressive as well, but again - not as much so (as with the Torii). I think I'd love this combo when I want to listen to some favorite music late at night, not too loud.  

RL-3’s… well, the RL-3’s were as I expected (based on reviews). Rich, melodic, and somewhat like my B&W 302’s, but with a hell of a lot more soundstage! Both A and D sources sounded great, though I’m sure crappy recordings would sound just that (but less than with the previous). These are a charm to listen to, though placement seemed important with imaging primarily affected. The same Water’s recording never did get ‘behind me’, though it extended off axis quite a ways (we didn’t have the time to correctly set these up though). What really stood out over either of the HDT’s was the transparency. The music just existed; something that did not occur with either HDT version. With those, I knew exactly where the sound originated. As well, I heard things with the RL-3’s that I hadn’t in the past, such as the drummer laying down his sticks at the end of one of the tracks in Deadman’s ‘Paramour’. Perhaps a coincidence with that track, but it was impressive. I did get a bit nervous when I heard some very HF distortion, but then realized it was the recording. We didn’t have time to hook these up to the Torii so my analysis on bass is lacking somewhat. Time will tell if they image as well as the previous – but that’ll have to wait; now they’re wrapped in plastic awaiting a suitable amp and a construction of a room to reside in.

The final audition was (I’m told) a ‘prototype upgrade of the RL-3’s’ – for dealers only. Taller, these sounded great as well and possibly a bit better than the RL-3’s (like apples and oranges since the Torii was used with them);  just as transparent but with the same note on imaging – maybe setup is quite important with radials in general (though I haven’t heard the 1.5’s). Another impression is that they would do best in larger listening rooms, though, admittedly, I only have a limited listening experience.  

Okay, my question: which set of terminals is the cap installed in? On my pair, the 0.47uF Kimbercap’s are in the upper right terminals – whereas the RL-3 owner’s manual have them in the left. Perhaps a prototype?

In any case, my hat’s off to Paul, who, over 9+ hours intro'd me to some of the terms in in the art of audio and Decware products. To his credit, it took about two days to ‘recover’ from the sheer volume of data and subsequent assimilation (my present system sounded like crap for 2-3 days as well). I’m sure we only scratched the surface. I’d also like to complement Steve and Bob for designing the most of the fine gear listened to (I’m told I now have some of Bob's old room treatments).

Next purchase - an amp for the radials

Title: Re: RL-3 terminal assignments
Post by musgofasa on 02/20/08 at 15:25:38

I can honestly say you couldn't go wrong buying a set of radials!
I have heard several different sets, both the regular and the "retail" design as well as the 1.5s and a couple of custom versions. I absolutely love how they dissapear. You can't point to the speaker while they are playing, but you can point to the instrument or voice that is playing.

The 1.5s are a bit less picky as far as placement, but also have a compromise in certain areas. Not better or worse, but different I would say. I think most would prefer the RL3s to the 1.5s if they were VERY serious audiophile enthusiasts. The average person might not make any note in the difference.
Now I am in process of starting an HDT build myself so I will see just how much "high end" everything they need. I foresee a Tori and a Decware CD player in my future methinks. Of course, with some listening, you might be surprised to find you actually prefer the smaller amp. I have listened to several different speakers on the Tori and I like the headroom and the drive the amp delivers. I wish I had more time to sample it and then even more time to compare to other amps.

What amp are you thinking of putting on the RL3s now?

Keep giving reviews. It keeps me thinking to hear what people think of different set ups.

Take care,

Title: Re: RL-3 terminal assignments
Post by RFZ_Quest on 02/20/08 at 20:10:06


Thank you for the very  detailed and thoughtfully expressed review of your  listening evaluation with my system.

First , I’d like everyone to welcome Gaztar (Tim) to the forums, as I hope that he becomes a regular member here with a greater involvement into the Decware product line. He has a firm idea of  what he wants with a solid direction to where he wants to go within this audio  endeavor.  Our music  style ( classic rock, classical, acoustic, instrumental, & new age ) is very similar, which made the evaluation much easier to convey and appreciate.

The following is a recap of what we listened to for the system evaluation.

I did my best under the limited conditions of the listening  audition to provide an adequate  foundation for which to convey the  properties of this system very strongly.  I was pleased to provide a  thorough, extended listening session, spanning a variety of options throughout the audition. This is something quite rare to find in this day and age, especially within local reach.  I was pleased to offer this opportunity  to someone interested in high quality tube based audio.  At least a strong example of what Decware has to offer has been established from this extensive  listening audition.

We covered a wide range of variables within system changes as  Tim stated so very well. The objective was to evaluate  the quality differences between digital & analog sources of  various grades as well as comparing the  attributes of  a high quality analog source versus that of a  decent digital source with a tube DAC output stage.

This was further reinforced with  the switching of amplifier types  and four completely different types of speaker designs. The majority of this session was with  my custom HDT MK2’s, the TORIIMK2 ( with KT88 power tubes), CSP2, & the DEC685 digital source. For the portion concerning analog playback, the Decware ZMC-1 step-up unit along with the ZP3 phono-stage was used in combination with the Teres TT.

The remaining session was partly with the DFR-8 based HDT’s using  both vinyl as a source from the Teres TT & the DEC685 with premium recordings. We finished off using the RL-3’s & the upgraded version of the retail Radial design for comparative  evaluation.

It was quite clear to both of us just how much of a difference there is to the presentation with these changes in place. This clearly showed the  major attributes between the low-powered SET mono-blocks and that of the powerful push-pull design . Low end response is the  main factor conveyed between the two, which clearly proved the benefits of the more powerful amp with the speakers in question.  We both concluded that the advantages of the  PP amp were very significant in that aspect which makes all the difference in speaker performance potential.

Music with  very low frequency information is easily conveyed by using the  TORIIMK2. Much of this is pale by comparison with the SET’s as can be expected. This was to show  just how important the choice of amplification is towards achieving the level of performance across the entire musical spectrum dependent upon music choice and speakers used.

Another key factor which we focused on was that of  standard  commercial digital recordings versus that of my custom 24-bit 96 kHz recordings  transferred from a vinyl source. These custom recordings were made directly from the TT & ZP3 phono-stage, routed into the soundcard of my computer. The soundcard used is the professional series  X-fi  design from Creative with 24-bit 96 kHz capability.  Mastering was performed with Creative’s Wave-Editor, with the files created in .wav format without compression or loss at a very high bit rate for maximum sound quality.  The actual burn rate used was regulated  as slow as possible for accuracy of the transfer to disc.

The finished .wav files for these albums average around 800+ MB per  LP side, which were recorded in ‘real time’ at full retention. This takes a considerable amount of HD storage space, but since I have 1000 GB’s of  HD capacity with a high speed transfer rate, this is no problem. This allows for a huge bank of stored music to burn  when needed. I designed all of the custom labels which are inscribed with a laser using a special Light-Scribe drive system which is secondary from my main Plextor  drive used to burn the music files.

Besides myself, only  Bob Z, Steve D, & Tim have heard what these recordings have to offer. I believe that they are significantly better than standard digital discs, but I would have to let the others that have heard these custom discs voice their opinion on the results.  I believe that this improvement was clearly conveyed by a large degree in the listening session.

All of these factors clearly represent just how much the sound of any system can and will change by  the  synergy applied within. Source, amplification, & recording quality was the primary focus here which produced an extremely wide degree of quality factors depending on configuration.

Title: Re: RL-3 terminal assignments
Post by RFZ_Quest on 02/20/08 at 20:12:51

As a bonus to purchasing my set of  Decware RL-3’s, I included a  set of acoustical treatments to launch  Tim’s audio journey  into motion  with good measure. A select collection of my 24-bit 96 kHz recordings  was included as an extra bonus. Someday when Tim gets his system in order, maybe he can provide some additional thought on this vinyl to digital process.

I’ve passed on the torch to someone that will greatly appreciate the potential gained from this, for which I hope will lead to countless hours of musical enjoyment to the fullest degree possible. If I have accomplished the simple goal of presenting the finer aspects of audio for the advancement of high quality sound presentation, this was well worth the time involved to do so!

Thanks again for your  great review of this process Tim. I hope that this has all helped you to get a better understanding of this complicated process for which your gained insight will provide the foundation to achieve your desired end result within the final system choice. Good luck to you in this process. I believe that you are better armed with the knowledge it takes to make the correct decision in future equipment additions as well as room acoustical properties for proper sound reinforcement.

BTW: A call to Bob or Steve would be best to answer your question about the capacitor placement in the RL-3’s. The set you have is exactly as Bob built them.


Title: Re: RL-3 terminal assignments
Post by ZYGI on 02/21/08 at 03:23:46


  You also have my pair of RL-3's and yes, your cap is on the correct side. This is the way all new RL-3's ship. To date, the best amp in my opinion for the RL-3's, is the Torii-I,  if you can find someone to part with one.  My second choice would be a set of "C's" mono blocked, fronted with a CSP-2.


Title: Re: RL-3 terminal assignments
Post by qaztar on 02/23/08 at 06:06:14

Thanks for the kind welcome to the forum, a comment, a question, an answer to a question, and suggestions on amps for the RL-3's.  I'm planning on taking things rather slow (enjoying it) – now mulling over some info from the tome "master handbook of acoustics", refreshing and expanding my rusty compendium of knowledge about tubes/amplifier basics (starting with ), and studying the site. Not sure which Decware amp(s) I'll end up with, but will definitely be giving Steve a call when I’ve achieved at least some basic level of competency in all this (it’s been a while since I used those jay-omega’s or "s's" in analog work)... fun stuff!


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