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EQUIPMENT FORUMS >> SE84UFO25 >> 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
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Message started by Steve Deckert on 11/17/17 at 02:53:19

Title: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/17/17 at 02:53:19


This is the development thread for the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier model SE84UFO25

The amplifier can be found (and ordered from) here: https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84UFO25.html

NOTE: If you have not followed this thread or are new to this amplifier, reading it (or at least my posts in it) will be time well spent because you will gain tremendous insight about not only this amplifier's design but why it's so good. This is information that is simply not covered on the web page!

Back Story: The Zen in Decware is like surfing a wave where the wave is in charge, not the surfer.  

I have decided that this years Christmas design fest where I unplug for a couple weeks and dive back into new Decware amp designs, is going to be something different than intended.

I have decided to go with something other than the 6C33 mono's.  As great as they are, even in a simple chassis they are going to be expensive, similar to the TORII MONO's and while a hand full of us would love them, the majority of people would just be bummed due to the price.

Instead I am going to come out with our 25th Anniversary Zen amp. (Keep in mind that the Zen Amp pre-dates Decware's going on line by several years.)

So far the prototype of this amp concept is owned by Lonely Raven. This is hopefully going to smoke that. Achievements are seldom higher than the goal, so set the goals high.

If it works, it will be so good as to be a game changer.

There is also going to be some new offerings in 2018 in the ZKIT department we're looking forward to that everyone will love!

So those holding out for the 6C33 mono's can have another year to save up for them, you would have needed it anyway.

Happy Holidays!

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/17/17 at 12:42:47

Wow, Eric has gushed about the sound of his Zen amp "all revved up" and I know the 25th anniversary amp will really be something! I know I'm not alone in wanting to see this product appear and in details along the way.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 11/17/17 at 15:31:32

I very much like Eric's amp.  

Maybe this is the reason I just couldn't pull the trigger on a Zen amp purchase despite wanting one for several years.  I didn't know it but I was waiting for the Zen wave to arrive.  The cosmos are tricky.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/18/17 at 01:07:12

My ZMA and the 25th Anniversary Zen Amplifier, will be all I ever need.

Steve, I'm excited to read about it as you take what you developed in Eric's.....to new heights!

.....consider my order placed.....I like serial #0001 (just like it's listed under my Zen Mystery Amplifier).  8-)

Thirteen (13) years of beautiful music produced with my Zen Select #76.....driven by my voltage adjustable output AA Gear... .
Yes, I have been adjusting voltage output into Amps since 1994..... And came the SE84CS into .... My Listening Room (May/2001)....the rest is history....as I scrapped my jaw off the floor....albeit moderate to loud listening levels....but you get the picture.

Time to Coda back....and with a ZBIT (no longer use the AA) if necessary. All in good time of discovery. I look forward to this.

Steve QUESTION: Will you be sticking with the 6922 tube variant for input or switching to the 12AU7, for the Anniversary Edition?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 11/18/17 at 17:49:05

Not that you are taking suggestions, but I would like to see meters and tube regulation in stereo 2W Zen if it works out. This would be unique to the 25th Anniversary amp. How about Cardas copper speaker binding posts and better RCA inputs in an effort to further differentiate this amp?

Regardless, I look forward to hearing about it.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/19/17 at 00:50:50

Yeah, I was thinking those things too buster.....SuperZen UFO2 ....all that and the upgrades .... EricLR prototype + more

......there lies the intrigue of speculation.

.....now I'm also thinking ....why not mirror along side the Anniversary development ....Rachel? ....now I know the special magic of the SE84CS (13 years)...but to hedge for more headroom.....maybe I want/need for Steve's topology mojo upgrades in the Rachel UFO............ .

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/19/17 at 01:07:56

.....and to the Lurkers/Learners out there about these great Amps....don't be bashful....sign up and ask questions please! .... Great people here.

.....www's too. .....so, not to lose site of all this .... Why would I want the Anniversary Amp, when I have a Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier? Are you kidding!? .....Steve's topology Pentode's run in Triode genius  .... And his next incarnation of this......yeah, I'm in...... .

.....and NO....my ZMA is not ever for sale. I just need Decware/Triode, when I want it. My well deserving Stanford grad son......gets my ZMA if my Stent and my favorite craft beers get the better of me  :D

PR for the Marathon is 2:40:41. Hereditary factors for the Heart are a cruel mistress. My son was an All Conference champion in Cross Country.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/19/17 at 03:44:03


Quote:
Steve QUESTION: Will you be sticking with the 6922 tube variant for input or switching to the 12AU7, for the Anniversary Edition?


It wouldn't be a Zen Triode Amplifier if not for the original tube compliment, so the tubes will not change.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 11/19/17 at 05:35:50

I'm sure it will be great, but a fourth iteration of the "2 watt zen amp" in the lineup? Why not trick out a Rachel or even better, create a non-bridged pair of 12 watt Rachel mono blocks (SET + watts for a little more headroom)? The whole reason I was interested in the 6c33c monos was because it was SET and headroom.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/19/17 at 05:39:59

......as I asked/stated in my Reply #361...Beowulf....good reiteration...asking? ....will see what Steve says...... .

.....thanks Steve about my question....makes sense....and I love my 6922 tube variants/bought and paid for....to apply.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by jorgen on 11/19/17 at 11:21:38

What can be done in the Zen triode amp that isn’t already implemented in the mono version available? I asked if possible to add meters in my pair, but because of design Steve could not fix that at the time. Some talk about V-caps that isn’t on the option list, but is an upgrade, may be an option here? Two inputs maybe? But keep the pass-thru option as well. Of course, one chassis... I was under the impression that the mono is pretty much maxed out

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 11/19/17 at 11:53:11


Quote:
What can be done in the Zen triode amp that isn’t already implemented in the mono version available?


This is the interesting part of the process by stepping back from a particular design and trying again without any assumptions. I envision a lot of trial and error.

Is there a better cap or a boutique resistor at 2x price that sound better?

Will a small OC2 fit in the UFO2 chassis in place of XLR?

A second chassis for power supply, large ZMA cap, or dual rectifiers?

A Zen without a tube rectifier?

How about a slightly larger chassis footprint with wood base and optional retro tube cage with Decware logo?


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 11/19/17 at 12:06:50


Quote:
I'm sure it will be great, but a fourth iteration of the "2 watt zen amp" in the lineup? Why not trick out a Rachel or even better, create a non-bridged pair of 12 watt Rachel mono blocks (SET + watts for a little more headroom)? The whole reason I was interested in the 6c33c monos was because it was SET and headroom.


I would like to see an improved Rachael. A single chassis 12 watt SET would be nice. I often wonder what could be done with this amp if there were biasing options like the ZMA or if it could use the KT120 or K150 tubes.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/19/17 at 13:51:04

Yeah, I have to admit my interest in the 6C33C's was the more headroom in triode output. I would want the Rachel or Rachel's at 12 watts per channel, with the Upgrades.

.....and yes, the biasing and don't forget the balancing option I have with my ZMA. I'm spoiled by this.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 11/19/17 at 20:31:53

@ stone - agree, I was not really interested in the 6c33c mono's for the tube compliment, but rather the wattage/headroom and SET circuit.

Living here in the dry hot San Diego climate, I don't think I would ever be interested in the 6c33c mono's anyways due to the heat of that tube.  it's already mid November and we just turned our A/C off last week and opened our windows ... but a couple of days ago it got so hot I was almost tempted to turn it back on.  I live in a place where we keep our windows open pretty much all winter then close them back up late June to early July and run the A/C pretty much until late October all the way up to mid November when we can open the windows back up again.  I've read those 6c33c tubes are like mini space heaters and don't think they would bode well for my area.

@ busterfree and stone - a hot rod'ed 10-12 watt Rachel (in either single or mono chassis) that could come in between the price of a Torii Jr and Torii would really fit the bill for me.  Not only would that be my dream amp, but it would fill a gap in the lineup as far as wattage goes as well.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 11/21/17 at 16:33:57


Quote:
So far the prototype of this amp concept is owned by Lonely Raven. This is hopefully going to smoke that. Achievements are seldom higher than the goal, so set the goals high.



Quote:
Wow, Eric has gushed about the sound of his Zen amp "all revved up" and I know the 25th anniversary amp will really be something! I know I'm not alone in wanting to see this product appear and in details along the way.



When I brought my little Zen amp to Steve, it was kind of tough for me to do because it's an early serial number, and completely unmolested. He genuinely gave me grief about it, pointing out that of the early Zen amps, not a single one has come back for mod or repairs; they they were overbuilt in order for him to have that lifetime warranty that his amps are known for.

But Steve also taught me to trust my gut; if something doesn't sound right, or feel right, or just off and/or I think it can sound better, do something or say something about it! And I really felt that my old Zen amp didn't keep up with the newer zen amps - it still had the transparency it's known for, and still does it better than the ZMA....but I felt like all the newer Decware amps were making the little Zen amp feel slow and old. So I pressed on and told Steve I wanted the UFO mod that he kept suggesting was absolutely worth the cost "and whatever else you  think it needs - I think you know what I like in an amp"

That last part turned into a $700 ouch! Remind me not to tell Steve to do whatever again unless I win the lottery!  ;D

So when I showed up to pick up the amp, Steve had this mischievous grin from ear to ear - I like when I see that, it means the audio gods have whispered something to him and something clicked. And Steve started in with his you'll be blown away, it will melt your brain (etc) and I'm like yeah, yeah, I've heard this before and I'm a picky bastard so to me it's rare something is as good as someone thinks it is. Well I'll be damned, this amp just blew me away!

I've heard the UFO Zens and tweaked out Selects and whatnot and ProgRobs always stood out as being pretty amazing to me - and I honestly felt this surpassed that one. My little Zen had the transparency and honesty it's known for, but it's faster and slicker and appeared to sound at least twice as loud! I easily fill my 25' x 15' x8' home theater with the little Zen and my MG-944 or my Omega SuperHemps. For about a two months after getting the little Zen back I honestly had zero interest in listening to the ZMA - and that's saying a lot because that's like saying I didn't need to eat or drink two months, LOL.

Can I run it out of Steam? Yeah, that's really the limitation of the little amp - there are times I miss the grunt and horsepower of the ZMA, but the little Zen now feels like it does so much more that the ZMA hints at but can't do. Steve mentioned some of his tweaks to me, and I won't steal his thunder, but it boils down to being able to voice not only the tone of the amp, but the speed and honesty. Add to that he's got some great build quality tweaks to eek out a little bit more, so I'm expecting the 25th Anniversary Zen to surpass mine (and be totally worth it).

I'm bummed about the 6c33c amps - not that I could afford them, but to me, they were probably the only thing that could bridge that gap between the honesty of the Zen and the Horsepower of the ZMA. But if it's a $10k amp, 99% of us will want to hear it at DecFest and otherwise just shrug it off...like seeing a $100,000 supercar roll by; yeah it's great, but if I have to choose between a house and a supercar, well...
Even if the 6c33c monos can be brought down to the $6000 range it would be out of reach for most of us, but that's getting it closer to the ZMA territory which even I was able to afford (after selling a car and a rare guitar! LOL)

I wonder if there is space in the lineup for a 6c33c Zen amp. I know a few of you guys that posted don't seem to care about the tube, but more about the headroom, and I get that (seeing as how I run my little Zen out of steam, I do get that!). But like how Steve pioneered the SV83 tube because there is something special about it, I think the 6c33c tube has something special about it as well, even given it's quirks and expense - there is something there. I think I could get by with a 6c33c 25th anniversary Zen amp! LOL

Sorry for the Will level of long post, but it's rare that something exceeds my expectations, and this refreshing of the Zen amp is one of those times. For those of you in the market for this kind of flea watt purity, I wholeheartedly say go for it!


P.S. I like to think me trusting my gut is one of those ways that the audio gods nudge Steve.    ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/22/17 at 15:15:56

Yeah, I'm out of the running for the 6C33C's. As you stated LR, I too, am fortunate to have afforded my ZMA at the time and Cabling (+ my Adagio's). .....NOS Tubes too...... .

Far as the 2 and 6 watt Zen's go?  I have faced the facts.....I'm addicted to my ZMA.....right through its Cabling to my modified Adagio's. I can't go back.

DECWARE BLACK FRIDAY!
My Christmas and Birthday present to me? I am ordering the ZROCK2, Friday 11/24. A good 20% of my Redbook collection (read/Rock)....should benefit from this beauty.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by ginny on 11/22/17 at 18:22:34

Is there a Black Friday special???
If so, what is it?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/22/17 at 18:27:27

Received in an email:

Nov 20 at 6:23 PM
To      
Lon Armstrong
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Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 11/22/17 at 21:37:41

@ LR - cool story dude and I'm sure its a fine amp!

Pardon my being underwhelmed with this latest amp in development ... it's just that I already have a Zen Select and I'll go out on a limb and say that a majority of Decware owners already have and/or have had an iteration of this 2 watt amp in their kits at one point.  There's already 3 iterations of this amp in the lineup as well, so I just don't see any reason for a fourth one when there's other areas of untapped potential that people have been waiting for ... i.e. a SET with a little more headroom.  

If the 6c33c's are going to be too expensive I understand that Steve may not want to continue with the development of them, but putting the breaks on the development of the 6c33c's to make yet another iteration of the Zen Triode 2 watt amp when people were hoping for a SET amp that had the potential of 18 watts is kind of a let down (for me at least).

Anyways, no offense Steve I'm sure it will be a fine amp for whomever may want to purchase it.

p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to all ... heading to Vegas to spend the holiday with mom, big sis and family!!!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/22/17 at 22:04:52



Quote:
Pardon my being underwhelmed with this latest amp in development ... it's just that I already have a Zen Select and I'll go out on a limb and say that a majority of Decware owners already have and/or have had an iteration of this 2 watt amp in their kits at one point.  There's already 3 iterations of this amp in the lineup as well, so I just don't see any reason for a fourth one when there's other areas of untapped potential that people have been waiting for ... i.e. a SET with a little more headroom.  


You make a fantastic argument, and don't worry I plan to continue with the 6C33 amps, just not right now, because as I said, the ROI will be too slow at least for this year.  

As for a fourth iteration of the Zen amp, the 2 watt Zen Triode is the legacy of Decware and I can make it appreciably better than anyone has ever heard one, so I have to do it.  

For those wanting more SET power than the 6 watts, firstly understand that the 6C33 amps are all about the tube and I would pusue them even if they only made 2 watts.

If you want a 12 watt SET amp, you simply bridge a pair of SE34I.5's.  There is no way to get to 12 watts any cheaper and maintain the Decware sound.   People don't realize that SET costs a LOT more to build than push pull.  The power supplies have to be twice as big, and if you use directly heated triodes to keep the hum down the power supply becomes twice as complicated.

To that point, the 6C33 mono's that I prototyped are in fact the 2 watt Zen Triode Amp built with 6C33 tube as cost effectively as possible.  The result is at least 6 or 7 times the price and the weight and the heat.

Beer is here -  more later.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/22/17 at 22:48:51

What I think will be interesting with this Anniversary amp will be the sound and signature of a mono'd pair. They would probably have grunt and sparkle and be all many systems would need.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/23/17 at 02:14:49

Many people don't realize that a Decware SET amp is fundamentally different when bridged than I would say probably most if not all retail tube gear. That difference is in the output stage where in a Decware amp it floats. Specifically there is no connection from the negative speaker binding post to ground like there is in virtually everything else.

Because the outputs float, and the transformers run a non-standard ratio they function rather well in series as opposed to in parallel into most speaker loads. Being in series means that the two tubes are in series as well. When the transformers and or tubes are in series, they become one. They do not have to match. Their differences compliment the whole. In contrast when output stages or tubes are in parallel, the differences fight each other causing an audible smear or veil over the music.

This is why you can bridge a Decware SET amp into mono without any obvious penalty. The 12 watts you're all wanting is a pair of SE34I.5 for around $3K. I can not build a 12 watt stereo SET that sounds better for less than that or even for 50% more than that.  Sure I could set up a KT120 or KT150 and advertise it as wonderful, but so far I fail to be impressed. I have listened to both single ended and they don't have it. Not surprising, but had to try it.  

If 12 watts won't do it, then you need to move into the push pulls. Your speakers aren't fast enough to discern the difference when you compare the two in the Decware line. Other companies, yes, the difference is painfully obvious even on your inefficient speakers. Not so here.

It's been my opinion since the beginning that people should put there money into the speakers and run a 2 watt Zen amp (The super serious ones anyway). It's a big commitment to run large speakers that are around 100dB with response down in the low 20's in a room that can support it and it's not cheap. Instead everyone goes the other direction, bigger amps, smaller or inefficient speakers.

I've done the best I can within the window of opportunity, which is to say the window that defines the fidelity vs. power curve (2w ~ 40W) since anything outside that window can not compete.

Precious few people have actually followed this advise and own a pair of SE34I.5 strapped into mono, so consequently it remains a well kept secret.

As for making the SE34I.5 better with tube regulation, I might do that, it just depends.  Voltage regulator tubes are not in current production anywhere, and are not all that easy to find in any real quantity, so I have to plan wisely what amps would use them, and that is done with price.

So that's where I'm coming from. That said, as mentioned I have every intension on building myself a pair of 6C33 mono's that look good. Likely in the original sketches I submitted that match the ZTPRE. Once I have done that, it really won't be a problem to make more, since I can buy 1 pair of chassis for 90% the cost of 10 pair of chassis, I will own 10 pair of chassis just to build my own pair. I'm going to go to the trouble because the tube has something special that I appreciate and is non-user friendly which also appeals to me on a personal level. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Steve









Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/23/17 at 02:26:44

It's true what Lon says, as everything I just talked about applies to the 2 watt Zen's as well.  In fact it is only a 3dB difference in level between the 6 watts of a bridged 2 watt ZEN and the 12 watts of a bridged 6 watt Zen so by far the biggest bang for the buck is a pair of SE84UFO or UFO2 bridged into mono.

Many have discovered that 6 watts is enough in large spaces with speaks that are 94dB or higher. The assumption is of course that there will be no bass compared to say a 60 watt amp. False. Same bass., Usually better.  Why?  Because a 60 watt amp is paired with 86 dB speakers that have a moving mass of 80 grams and the 6 watt amp is paired with a speaker that has a moving mass of 20~40 grams making the later two to four times faster. Faster bass is always better bass. How low it goes is only a function of the cabinet size and tuning, not the amplifier.

If my true interest was in profit, I would present you all with a nice 300B amp for the same price as a TORII, but it wouldn't sound as good. You would never know that because you would never own both.  

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/24/17 at 03:27:44

Well, as I stated, I'm firmly in what Steve mentioned of his fidelity vs. power curve/window. I'm a firm believer. You will not find me running a Class A/B Amp (in my Listening Room).

I'm at the higher watt rate of 38 and peak power (AB1) of 114 per channel when I push my ZMA.....which is often.....with my higher moving mass of x grams modified Speakers.....that absolutely has crushed all contenders that have entered.

......I will leave it here.  8-)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Dave1210 on 11/28/17 at 11:25:07


Quote:
It's been my opinion since the beginning that people should put there money into the speakers and run a 2 watt Zen amp (The super serious ones anyway). It's a big commitment to run large speakers that are around 100dB with response down in the low 20's in a room that can support it and it's not cheap. Instead everyone goes the other direction, bigger amps, smaller or inefficient speakers.


What speakers would make the short list?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/29/17 at 01:20:18

Actually it can be done with 94dB or higher.  The trick is the cabinets bass response and extension.  I have had a pair of Imperial Horn cabinets at 28 cubic feet per side that were never less than 100dB regardless of the numerous combinations I played with, and a 2 watt Zen amp would just crush you.  While the 94dB won't crush you, they are more than enough for musical satisfaction.  I find the trick is when you find yourself listening to a 2 watt zen amp and you forget your not listening to a 40 watt amp because the bass and punch is the same. Then you know you have a great speaker. The speaker's sensitivity is such that with either amplifier, your listening level is easily reached with one watt. In that world, the smaller amp can often have the advantage and come out victorious in a head to head shoot out.

Back in the 1970's radio shack designed a nice poly woofer sold for the diy crowd to "improve bass response".  It was a high Q driver with an fs of 33Hz or so, and could be in either an infinite baffle or a 5.29 cubic foot ported box. By infinite  baffle, they meant a wall in your house. Cut a hole in the wall and install the driver.  It was only 89dB.  It marked a point in the audio timeline where efficiency was no longer a big priority because solid state was the new thing and power was cheap but still we were all used to large boxes. It took several more years for speaker box sizes to shrink.

Today, if you put a single 8 inch driver in a nearly 6 cubic foot cabinet you'd be laughed out of the room. Most manufactures can cram at least 5 drivers or more in that amount of space ;)

I have found over the years that the biggest reason not to have too big a speaker in a small room is imaging. Typically the large speakers are hard to make disappear. The Zen amp is however so good at making giant speakers invisible that it works more often than not.

In our line, the HDT and the DM947 are best we offer pre-built that are efficient enough and have the bandwidth to sound like a big amp is driving them with only 2 watts. We do have plans for the Imperials online and also our corner horns as well as our Imperial SO (Sub only) which can be used horizontally across the front of a room and paired with smaller open baffles to create a completely realistic experience on 2 watts.

Horn speakers, good ones, sound heavenly on single ended triodes. The two go well together. Use anything else and you will not like the horn for very long.

Back in the 50's it wasn't that uncommon to find stereo systems built into the house. High Fidelity was a novelty and celebrated. Today it is taken for granted, and compressed and downsized to fit in you pocket.  How special.  It's up to you and me to save it!!!



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JOMAN on 11/29/17 at 10:43:12

I have to be careful about what I say in response to the comments regarding a 25th Aniversary Zen Amp because I ‘m afraid that after experiencing the 2 watt based system that I have I may not be able to be all that objective.  You see I’ve become a Zen Snob and make no apologies for it.

I have followed followed the “philosophy” and continued to work with it in order to achieve it’s full potential.  The results have led me to the conclusion that a lot more is possible with with a 2 watt Zen Amp.  That the fidelity that is possible is completely disproportionate to the power.

Yes, I understand that certain speakers require more power, but IMO, that does not mean that it will result in higher fidelity, just in the ability to drive speakers of lower efficiency.  The two are not necessarily related.

At one time I would excuse the prescence of “ungainly” components as being a necessary evil, not so anymore.  In fact I now acknowledge that such components have become repulsive to me.  No offence intended here, just a statement of how I feel, after all beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there’s no accounting for taste, including mine.

So, in conclusion; A 25th anniversary Zen Amp? - It’s about time to ramp it up to the next level!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/29/17 at 13:22:09


JOMAN wrote on 11/29/17 at 10:43:12:
So, in conclusion; A 25th anniversary Zen Amp? - It’s about time to ramp it up to the next level!

Agreed! I think a bridged pair of these upcoming amps may be the ultimate amplification for my audio/visual system, and I will definitely consider that in the future.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by ginny on 11/29/17 at 15:01:30

I have read a recent post by Steve regarding a pair of 2 watt Zen Amps..."by far the biggest bang for the buck is a pair of SE84UFO or UFO2 bridged into mono.".

Please pardon me if i missed it, but when is the release date of the 25th Anniversary Zen Amp?  I am considering the possibility of buying 2 of these to drive a pair of 95db Tekton Pendragons in a 2.0 ch music/HT system.

Which amp to buy has been the hardest decision to make.  Having read alot about the SET made me consider the Zen & Rachael, then worrying that there would not be enough power, the Torii Jr and MKIV became likely candidates and preferably the MKIV because of it's bass and treble adjustments.

I just can't get my mind off of the SET amps, and now hearing about the upcoming Zen amp mod, AND Steve's mention about a pair of 2 watt Zens is series:  "Many have discovered that 6 watts is enough in large spaces with speaks that are 94dB or higher."


Using an iphone db meter app (and i know it's probably not the most acurate), i have determined that we listen to music at an average of 85db and a peak of 98db at 6'.  If a pair of 2 watt Zens would accommodate those levels with music and also provide enough power for DVD...consider me in!  Source will be an Oppo Sonica and Oppo UDP-203 for DVD transport.

An intervention from the audiophile gods on amp and interconnect cables would certainly be welcome because i'm banging my head against the wall here.

I also want to say "Thank You" to Lon, Will & Lin for previous advice.

FWIW, Christmas present to self will be seeing my name on the Decware Amplifier waiting list.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/29/17 at 15:41:29

Ginny, at the present the 25th Anniversary Zen Amp is something that Steve will work on with the idea of possibly debuting it next October at the 2018 DecFest. So. . . some time to go before it's a new model on the website if it becomes so, maybe a year.

The truth is that matched with an appropriate speaker any of the Decware amps will give amazing music. I've gone through quite a few and have some gathering dust because it's so hard to part with them! So you can't go wrong. . . and it's a hard decision to make.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by alper_yilmaz on 11/29/17 at 20:43:58

Hi Ginny,

I would definitely start with one, rather than two SE84UFOs.  Your speakers are efficient enough to be driven by one amp.  I would invest in a high-output buffer/preamp, though, in order to run the SE84 to its limits.  That is what I do and I have been very happy with the results even though I am using much less efficient speakers than yours (91dB, 2.5-way speakers with relatively more complex crossovers).

In a later stage, you can still invest in a second one, if the first does not satisfy you volume-wise.

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 11/29/17 at 22:24:19

I've read some comments in more than one thread on this forum that running bridged pairs always take away some of the magic. Hence my not ever wanting to buy a second Zen amp and run them bridged.  I would also assume that this would not effect the Zen mono's.

Knowing that I have heard about the reduced magic (when bridging them) a few times on this forum was why I was suggesting Steve to build a pair of non bridged Rachels, but after hearing his explanation on why he doesn't want to I understand that it is too costly ~ so it doesn't make sense as very few could afford them.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/29/17 at 22:50:32

Wouldn't affect the Monos as they aren't bridged, but one chassis per channel.

I'm sure there's a little loss in bridging but there's also a gain. Life is full of losses and gains and balance. . . .

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 11/30/17 at 03:06:38


Lon wrote on 11/29/17 at 22:50:32:
Wouldn't affect the Monos as they aren't bridged, but one chassis per channel.

I'm sure there's a little loss in bridging but there's also a gain. Life is full of losses and gains and balance. . . .


Yes, but the question should be ... Is any loss in fidelity more important than 3dB or so louder volume?

Maybe it's just splitting hairs as I've never heard them in such a configuration, but I've talked with enough people that it would have me believe that it does make a difference in sound quality and to me the loss doesn't seem worth 3dB gain in volume.  IMO it would be better to have a real set of mono blocks in the wattage you need to drive your speakers with the authority that you want.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/30/17 at 12:01:43

Without experiencing it ourselves it's hard to tell either way. To be honest I react from reading the opposite, that the extra gain made the amps more appealing with someone's loved speakers with a tiny loss of magic. No use having a bit more magic if you really can't hear it at the right volumes. To me it really does boil down to the magic of the amps suiting the speakers. I've fallen in love with speakers that have more magic than others for me, and 3 more DB may keep that magic even if the amp loses a touch of its magic.

Jeez, we're talking about magic! I think I'd welcome an opinion from Steve about this. I think in my case, in love with my HR-1s and used to the different magic of the Toriis I might well be able to enjoy the Zen amp magic with a bridge pair, especially of what I imagine a bridged pair of Anniversaries would deliver. Steve is the best judge, and we have time to find out.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and the interesting part of my experience of the last few years is that my "purist" ideas are turning if not on their head, on their side. With my there Z Amigos (ZTPRE, ZBIT, and ZROCK2) everything gets better. . .with three additional components, three more interconnects and two more power cords. You'd think there's magic lost. . . but there's so much that has been gained.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JOMAN on 11/30/17 at 12:22:21

I think that the answer is in what Lon concluded with... Balance.

If we were to state that no loss is acceptable then that would apply to the entire system from the electrical plug in the wall to the room.  Sometimes we can demand the ultimate in one component and get it only to find that it makes matters worse because it shows where the imbalance is.

My system delivers what I want in fidelity and I continue to try to wring out  more, only to find out that some very poor recordings sound much worse and better recordings sound much better.  For me that’s OK, that’s what I want.

I believe that there always will be some compromise and that at some point we will go round and round until reality forces us to accept some sort of compromise.  A compromise that is acceptable to each one of us individually and what that compromise will be will vary from individual to individual.

Perhaps then, for some monos will be it, but for others bridged amps will be more than sufficient.  It depends on the whole system right down to the room.

I don’t know if there is one clear cut answer for anything in this hobby, that’s what makes it both interesting :) and at the same time frustrating :'(.



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JOMAN on 11/30/17 at 12:37:25

Actually Lon, I found that the same has happened with my “purist” ideas (damn it!).  Now I get to rethink everything and reorganize everything (damn it!).  But I like the result and so I keep at it (DAMN IT!) ;).

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 11/30/17 at 12:40:22

Yes, DAMNIT. :)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by alper_yilmaz on 11/30/17 at 16:33:28

For me, it is difficult to figure out if there is a significant sonic difference between one amp versus two amps bridged in themselves.  One of the reasons is the difference in volume.  Without volume matching, one should not get into comparing the two systems.

Back in the day, when I was having difficulty with driving my speakers with one SE84 (I think it was the C+ version), I went for the second one and used the two bridged for a few years.  It definitely reduced the clipping issue and I do not remember noticing a significant sonic difference.  However, even with the bridged amps, the system was struggling with operatic voice or forte piano passages.  So, when we switched to a TORII mkII, it was like a difference between day and night.  

So, again, I would start with only one SE84UFO.  Please note that the most recent version of the SE84 is a total beast in comparison to the earlier versions.  Because of all the changes in the design over years (Hazen Grid mod, UFO outputs, etc.), the amp has reached another level and with the same set of speakers, I am much happier with it.  

If you are looking for crazy volume levels, I would rather go for a TORII or ZMA, but they are different beasts.  With the Pendragons, I have a feeling that one SE84 would suffice, if it is fed with a high-output source...

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JOMAN on 11/30/17 at 16:51:51

I think Alper is spot on (for what it’s worth)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 12/02/17 at 15:51:39

When it comes to the UFO version of the SE84, (which will be true for the Anniversary edition as well--I'm sure they will have UFO transformers) Steve has in fact weighed in on the matter on the Zen SE84UFO page:


Worried about 2 huger than life SET watts not being enough power?

The SE84UFO employs a unique floating output transformer scheme where the negative speaker wire is not tied to chassis ground. That means when the amp is bridged, both channels may either be series or parallel wired. In series, both channels work as one and transparency is preserved.

So with no sonic drawbacks to running the amps in mono, you can expect 6 dB of additional power rather then the expected 3dB. This is thanks to the power increase the amp has when it sees half the speaker load from being series bridged.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 12/07/17 at 02:48:19


A note about the purist approach:

It's easy to think of transparency as the result of fewer parts, but the reality is transparency is about the transparency of the parts.

Think of transparency as crystal clear water, and a lack of transparency as cloudy water. If you start with somewhat cloudy water in a cup it may be hard to tell it is cloudy because there is so little water in the cup. It's not until you add more cloudy water that you begin to notice it's loosing clarity.

If you start with water that is crystal clear in your cup, you can add many layers of water on top of that until the cup is full and it can still be clear.

The reason this has caught many of you by surprise is because most audio gear is not this transparent. There is precious little hand made point-to-point tube gear available with this price/performance ratio.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Martindfletcher on 12/07/17 at 03:27:42

I can say I have no issues with transparency (my perspective at least) with bridged ufo2's.  With zu druid v's spec'd at 16 ohms and if you look at the curve they are closer to 19 in good portion of the spectrum.  I needed the extra power as steve advised.  FYI I start getting distortion around ~95db/meter. Somewhat dependent on source. They are spec'd at 101, most reviews question that number.    Normally listen at 70-80.  So it's enough.  I doubt with those speakers a single se84 with my room size and un ideal acoustic environment would have been enough in my case, but it sounds magical.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 12/07/17 at 03:44:30

ANNIVERSARY 2 WATT ZEN AMP will HAPPEN!

Well, something wonderful is happening here behind the scenes with the Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier development not to mention something completely unique! Even better it is something that is only possible in a 2 watt Zen Triode Amplifier - which is to say that it can't be duplicated in any other amplifier. It is something I have been wanting to do for years on any amplifier and for some reason a dead pocket of brain cells was brought back to life recently and I realized I could have done it all along... go figure.

This is just a teaser, so I'm not going to tell you what I did, or anything else at this point except to say a working prototype exists and things are going better than well.  

Stone cold off the bench in it's first breath it is already more liquid and more dimensional than anything I've ever heard. Yup, this is going to be some good stuff.  It's so extreme and so good, I don't know if I should be happy or disappointed that it took me 20 years to figure this out.

Hehe.. maybe I'll call it the SE84UFOHC for "Holy Crap".

Save your questions, I'll tease you with it more as it develops.

BTW, I know... overly exuberant statements that seem hard to believe and thus diminish everything else I've said over the years, but take it seriously because I have always been able to put my money where my mouth is and if I say no one has ever heard a Zen this good you can be completely certain of it.

-Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Martindfletcher on 12/07/17 at 03:59:20

Nice tease, hope I can upgrade the UFO2's!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Martindfletcher on 12/07/17 at 04:19:41

Steve,

Alpine brewery out here in San Diego named their epiphany beer HFS.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Brian on 12/09/17 at 03:06:24

The most exciting write-up since Torri Jr. I am eager.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/09/17 at 04:41:03


Quote:
ANNIVERSARY 2 WATT ZEN AMP will HAPPEN!

Well, something wonderful is happening here behind the scenes with the Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier development not to mention something completely unique! Even better it is something that is only possible in a 2 watt Zen Triode Amplifier - which is to say that it can't be duplicated in any other amplifier. It is something I have been wanting to do for years on any amplifier and for some reason a dead pocket of brain cells was brought back to life recently and I realized I could have done it all along... go figure.

This is just a teaser, so I'm not going to tell you what I did, or anything else at this point except to say a working prototype exists and things are going better than well.  

Stone cold off the bench in it's first breath it is already more liquid and more dimensional than anything I've ever heard. Yup, this is going to be some good stuff.  It's so extreme and so good, I don't know if I should be happy or disappointed that it took me 20 years to figure this out.

Hehe.. maybe I'll call it the SE84UFOHC for "Holy Crap".


So...Steve, does this mean I should bring mine back for whatever this magic update is?  I'm in town again on Monday.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 12/09/17 at 18:29:29


Sorry, this new Zen requires a scratch built chassis and as a result it will be impossible to upgrade any prior amps.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by alper_yilmaz on 12/09/17 at 18:38:38

So, when is the expected release date, Steve?  I cannot believe there can and will be anything better than the SE84UFO in the price range (plus, say, 50%); but I will take your word for it!  :)

And of course, looking forward...

Cheers,

Alper

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 12/09/17 at 19:13:11

Oh boy, this is going to be A HELLUVAN amp.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by alper_yilmaz on 12/09/17 at 20:02:19

So, maybe it should be named HELLUVAN84 then!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 12/09/17 at 20:04:46

Yes! LOL.

I'm going to try to save up for a bridged pair, and hopefully Steve can leave space in there for a treble cut circuit. . . ..

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by HockessinKid on 12/09/17 at 21:48:22

25th Anniversary Amp🤔🤔🤔🤔
Of course you have to get one.

HK

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 12/09/17 at 21:55:49

Just one?  ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Donnie on 12/09/17 at 22:34:57

The word on the street around here is that Steve is working on some 1500 watt solid state monoblock amps and some really cool 80 Db efficient speakers.
The street around here is usually right.... ::)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 12/11/17 at 04:28:43


Well the Audio Gods have blessed the new Anniversary Zen amplifier design... which is important.

This time the sine they left was and is simply unmistakeable. The amp has been on for days continuously playing music and the power transformer is just warm (110 degrees F). The normal temperature of every Zen ever built since 1996 ranges between 129 ~ 139 degrees F. I am using the same power transformer and the current draw is exactly the same as it's always been.

I am wrestling my way through the burn-in process of VCAPS which I have chosen for this amp to raise both the gain and the dynamics. As always with any cap, there is a window of 30 minutes to a few hours during the initial cold off the bench listening test where you can hear exactly what the cap will sound like once it is burned it. Then it goes away not to return for several hundred hours.  

Another note regarding burning in stubborn caps that I've learned since 1996... what you play when you burn in the cap is important. I learned early burn in is about memory. The cap is learning.

Sine waves, Pink Noise, warble tones, and all the other electronic crap found on Burn-In CD's makes the cap really good at reproducing those noises and as a consequence music reproduction also improves a tiny bit. However, let the cap learn good music, real music, and it will be far better at playing it while as a consequence it will also be better at reproducing the noise of a Burn-in CD.

I say real music meaning non-electronic, non-processed recordings of real instruments that are properly tuned to themselves - is the ideal thing to use when training the caps. Things with complex harmonics are best, such as you will find in classical music. I have found that the most complex harmonics I have found seems to come from 18th century Tibetan Singing Bowls which is an ideal thing to use when training the caps so long as the recordings contain many different bowls.

If you're going to try Singing bowl recordings to burn in new caps, you will also need well recorded music to alternate it with. That said the bowls will cut the burn in time in half.

Anyway back to the temperature thing. There is no SPICE models I am aware of that could predict this sudden temperature reduction, or explain it. The cool thing (excuse the pun) is that everyone who owns one of these will be able to experience for themselves the sign every time they feel the disarmingly cool power transformer.

As a final unrelated thought, I spent most of the week exploring the voicing and trying to wrap my head around how the most subtle things can simply discombobulate the sound. It's like painting a portrait in Oils and you had the face nearly perfect but you just had to see what would happen if you add a little paint here and take a little away from there and presto... it's all F'd up! Now you spend the next couple days working backwards to fix it. In this case what I am referring to is the voicing the power supplies and getting them to the correct speed so that the timbre is correct and the dimensionality doesn't compress. All of this can come from seeming nothing and just as easily return to nothing because just using the wrong brand of bypass cap or the wrong value or both anywhere in the entire amp can wreck it.

The Voicing of my amps, especially this one, is sacred. It's a real bitch to get it there and it comes from unexpected places, so assuming a particular brand or type of cap can be replaced with something that cost more money and positive results will come is foolish. Your job is what's on the outside of the amp, i.e. the tubes, cables and power cords, speakers, room, sources. I juggle all of these during the voicing process to keep from getting an amp that only sounds good in one system.

So that's my update, and truly of the hundreds of sines I've gotten over 25 years, this one is hallmark.  I'll probably spend the next 25 years trying to figure out how it is happening ; )

Steve





Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/11/17 at 05:47:50

(Eric is frantically going through music library to see if there is any Tibetan Singing Bowl music - oddly, find 3 albums)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 12/11/17 at 06:18:51

Since it's running so cool, does that mean you could bore it out, port and polish the heads, throw a high lift cam in it and get it to 10 WPC without it over-heating?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by HockessinKid on 12/11/17 at 11:28:39

Maybe Singing bowls with Ohm speakers?  Ohmmmmm.


HK

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 12/11/17 at 16:54:19

Steve, thanks for your comprehensive last post, to remind me of what you do to make music so convincing and enjoyable in my Listening Room.

You stated (among everything you said and I appreciate):
"Your job is what's on the outside of the amp, i.e. the tubes, cables and power cords, speakers, room, sources. I juggle all of these during the voicing process to keep from getting an amp that only sounds good in one system."

....not an easy task  

Furthermore/you're:
".....wrestling my way through the burn-in process of VCAPS which I have chosen for this amp to raise both the gain and the dynamics."

........and with the raise in gain and dynamics you're providing.....oh yeah.


I'm back in. My modified Adagio's Tweeter's and Driver's, I can't be without...can be driven by the Anniversary Amp. My SE84CS, really had no problem. With the VCAPS, the living hell, as described to burn them in.....will be worth it, to BE BACK IN THE COMPANY OF YOUR PENTODES RUN IN TRIODE ~ 2ND TO NONE.

I look forward to reading more.  


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 12/11/17 at 17:12:26

"If you start with water that is crystal clear in your cup, you can add many layers of water on top of that until the cup is full and it can still be clear."

Lower temp on the power transformer, due to what you stated in your post/reply #398?

....can the new layer of the right clear parts affect this lower temp back?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/03/18 at 14:28:02

OK, here is my summary of what makes the 25AZPT special.  It's really in the attack of the notes.  So notes have an attack, a body and a decay. The 25AZPT is especially fast and really lends great definition to the attack part of the note.  That draws you into the music more, keeps the music moving and involves you.

Not that the body or decay is lacking.  Quite the opposite, but its the attack that makes this the most engaging Decware amp I have listened to.  I put it in and it didn't come out until the CDApS meeting because I just didn't want to.  I put the Rachael back in because I wanted everyone to hear the difference when the Zen went back in.

In contrast, I find that he ZMA gets the body of the note really well and squeezes out the definition.  Its no slouch of course on the other aspects, but it is not a fast as the 25AZPT.

Soundstage on this Zen and imaging are also first class, but again its the attack that I think really separates it from other Decware amps.

I did have to make an adjustment to my bass amps for the Zen and turn them up a few clicks to keep the bass at the same level as Rachael, but otherwise if Steve can keep the attack going in the production model, this will be a really great amp.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/04/18 at 01:32:20

Regarding the temperature, the amp has been on 24/7 since I first mentioned it and the temp simply won't rise.   Consider this, it is the same 170mA transformer we have always used in most of our amplifiers. The Zens only draw around 50 mA on average from that 170mA power supply.  Some are built with a resistor, some are built with chokes, and none have run this cool.  In fact the original zen ran hot.

The only explanation I can offer is that both the resistor(s) and or the choke reflect something backwards back into the transformer through the bridge rectifier which causes friction/heat that isn't necessarily tied to load.

In any case with it running so cool I have no qualms about leaving it on 24 hours a day and it makes sense that without the chaos of this friction, the sound would have insane liquidity - almost disarming.

The reason there is none of this is because I have eliminated the resistors and the choke and am using the vacuum gap of the OA3 tube in place of it to feed high voltage to the plate of each output tube. This has never been done before, only the grids of the output tubes, or the high voltage for the input tubes has ever been done in the past. In this amp all the high voltage for everything is resistor-less and has no chokes, just the vacuum gaps of three separate vacuum regulator tubes, one for each output tube and one for the input tube.

Of course this can not be done with any other amplifier because all other amplifiers use larger output tubes, and we're at the limit of the current capacity of the Voltage Regulator tube with the Zen's 6P15P-EB / EL84 output tube. So something this graceful can only be done on a 2 watt Zen Triode Amplifier.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/04/18 at 01:49:10

Wow, that's an amazing design. Can't wait to see more of this amp!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/04/18 at 03:02:40

Steve, your thoughts on bridging a pair of these into mono?  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/04/18 at 18:12:16


To clarify Palomino's post (quoted here); I loaned him my little Zen amp that is the prototype for the 25th Anniversary amp, and he had about two weeks of playtime with it. He said he wasn't giving it back. I agree with his assessment - the speed and honesty of this amp is very engaging - we just kept running out of steam when we wanted a little grunt, or with quiet recordings.


Quote:
OK, here is my summary of what makes the 25AZPT special.  It's really in the attack of the notes.  So notes have an attack, a body and a decay. The 25AZPT is especially fast and really lends great definition to the attack part of the note.  That draws you into the music more, keeps the music moving and involves you.

Not that the body or decay is lacking.  Quite the opposite, but its the attack that makes this the most engaging Decware amp I have listened to.  I put it in and it didn't come out until the CDApS meeting because I just didn't want to.  I put the Rachael back in because I wanted everyone to hear the difference when the Zen went back in.

In contrast, I find that he ZMA gets the body of the note really well and squeezes out the definition.  Its no slouch of course on the other aspects, but it is not a fast as the 25AZPT.

Soundstage on this Zen and imaging are also first class, but again its the attack that I think really separates it from other Decware amps.

I did have to make an adjustment to my bass amps for the Zen and turn them up a few clicks to keep the bass at the same level as Rachael, but otherwise if Steve can keep the attack going in the production model, this will be a really great amp.


Oddly enough Steve, using the regulator tubes on the Zen amp is exactly what I imagined you were doing - somehow I just *knew* that was the next step in purity for the little Zen. With all the other details you're putting into it, I'm seriously thinking I may have to have a 25th Anniversary Zen myself!!



Quote:
Regarding the temperature, the amp has been on 24/7 since I first mentioned it and the temp simply won't rise.   Consider this, it is the same 170mA transformer we have always used in most of our amplifiers. The Zens only draw around 50 mA on average from that 170mA power supply.  Some are built with a resistor, some are built with chokes, and none have run this cool.  In fact the original zen ran hot.

The only explanation I can offer is that both the resistor(s) and or the choke reflect something backwards back into the transformer through the bridge rectifier which causes friction/heat that isn't necessarily tied to load.

In any case with it running so cool I have no qualms about leaving it on 24 hours a day and it makes sense that without the chaos of this friction, the sound would have insane liquidity - almost disarming.

The reason there is none of this is because I have eliminated the resistors and the choke and am using the vacuum gap of the OA3 tube in place of it to feed high voltage to the plate of each output tube. This has never been done before, only the grids of the output tubes, or the high voltage for the input tubes has ever been done in the past. In this amp all the high voltage for everything is resistor-less and has no chokes, just the vacuum gaps of three separate vacuum regulator tubes, one for each output tube and one for the input tube.

Of course this can not be done with any other amplifier because all other amplifiers use larger output tubes, and we're at the limit of the current capacity of the Voltage Regulator tube with the Zen's 6P15P-EB / EL84 output tube. So something this graceful can only be done on a 2 watt Zen Triode Amplifier.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Brian on 01/05/18 at 01:30:15

"In this amp all the high voltage for everything is resistor-less and has no chokes, just the vacuum gaps of three separate vacuum regulator tubes, one for each output tube and one for the input tube."  - Steve

This sounds so exciting! I hope I get to hear one of these. Of all your amps, I think this is the one I would like best.
Brian

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/05/18 at 14:22:35

It also makes me wonder if maybe there is some obscure regulator tube out there that might be able to handle bigger output tubes...

It would be fun if there was a big stash of some unwanted Russian submarine tubes that Steve could use to develop bigger amps with this.  ;)

Just daydreaming.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/05/18 at 15:14:34

Yup, I try to walk away....and then get sucked right back in with your answer to my temp inquiry.....and pull me back in with tube regulation.
;D

Okay, hook or crook.....I'm buying one in Oct/November.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/07/18 at 05:19:46


It comes at a price, adding the OA3 regulation for each output tube that is...  Rather than the two capacitors used in the power supplies of the SE84UFO and SE84UFO2, this uses a few more. The first cap comes off the rectifier tube just like the other amps but then the power supply is split into three separate filters, one for each tube.  This adds 7 additional caps and nine additional poly film bypass caps. There was no option other than to spit it into three separate supplies due to the 30mA limit of the OA3 tube. And because the large gap beautifully slows things down, all of the caps have to be carefully bypassed to speed things back up. This stretch between speeds expands the transient playground to a very large window giving a more immersive sense of depth and complexity. The slow side of its personality creates unbelievable liquidity. The fast side of it's personality reveals stuff you had no idea was there, and that Zen duality creates an infinitely variable speed power supply that fills in the middle.  

It's not real practical, but it is something you do when you're trying to not be practical, and voyage well beyond that point of diminishing returns, through the neutral zone and into heavy waves of total realism... something I think the little Zen deserves after being such a trooper for so many years!!

Who would have thought 25 years ago when Eric Barbor of Svetlana contacted me to see if I had any interest in an EL84 substitute called the SV83, such incredible effort would have ended up going into the amps for it.  25 Years ago it was a $4.00 tube.  Who would have thought a $4.00 tube would justify a $2500 wholesale price pair of amps (and counting). The bizarreness of it from this perspective just makes it even more desirable to do, just to see how much further can we push the resolution of this amazing output tube, which is actually a Russian 6P15P-EB.

We've always known that EL84's are faster than virtually all 8 pin output tubes, be it pentode or triode wired, but the 6P15P-EB was nearly twice the bandwidth and subsequent speed and as a result nearly perfectly neutral.  So there is no reason not to see how fast the tube actually is... just know it's expensive aka painful, but worth it. I predict it's going to hurt fairly bad until the moment it arrives. Most of the pain will go away in the first hour. I would say 90% of it. By the third week you will begin to understand that the amp is easily worth twice what you paid for it, and it's limited production ensures that it will always hold it's value and you will then become forever pain free.


Steve



Here's a picture of the prototype... don't worry I was just having some fun with the finish.  The actual model will be done in a beautiful textured powder coat resembling a green patina with silver jacks, and white silkscreening for a really vintage upscale look and backlit meters.



The current tube compliment is presently a globe 80 rectifier tube with adapter, a pair of OA3's for the output tubes, an OD3a for the input tube which is a 7DJ8. So far the input stage is working out as a wonderful opportunity to voice your own amplifier. With 3 voltage regulator tubes ranging from VR75 to VR150, you can make any input tube sound three different ways. Powerful tool. The input tubes used and liked are 6N1P-EB, 6N23P, 6N11, 6922, 6DJ8, 7DJ8, 6N5P.  I'm presently torn between the 7DJ8 and the 6N5P with the OD3A on both as to which should be the stock tube compliment... but that could change with more time.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/07/18 at 06:07:44

I am sure this question is looming in the minds of many, but thus far with this amp as you have described, how would you summarize the strengths and weaknesses in comparison to a Torii MKIV or a ZMA.

I am very intrigued by the notion of running a pair of these bridged mono.  My Omega's are 97db efficient and I am running everything through my Ultra preamp.

What do you think?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/07/18 at 06:29:40

On second thought...  I don't care.  Just know I'll be the first to order a pair of these when they come out.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/07/18 at 06:36:29

Speed.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/07/18 at 06:45:52


Submarine tubes,...  that does sound exciting.  How about if we take my tired Carbon Dioxide Laser tube and use it to superheat a titanium diaphragm while simultaneously cooling the other size with liquified gas.  That should get down to at least a few hundred hertz.  Stereo systems always sound better when they could accidentally kill you.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 01/07/18 at 07:01:21

What type of change (not sound characteristics) if any can be expected when compared to a SuperZen.

Still two watts?
Still stable to 1 ohm?
Noise level?
Bias switch?
Dual volume controls only?
One input only?
How limited is production if decided (100, 1000, etc)?
Pushing output tube harder?

Not that the answers will change anything. I like your 2 watt amps.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/07/18 at 07:07:35


Whatever you do, don't listen to Takla Makan at 1:00 in the morning on this thing!  You won't be the same.  

Based on what I'm hearing this means the middle of the night bloom is not all about power, as expected. This proves it's the suns effect on the Ether and much as the state of the power grid. It's also almost disturbing that I'm listening to digital... seems impossible to sound like this.  




Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/07/18 at 07:13:46


Quote:
Still two watts?
Still stable to 1 ohm?
Noise level?
Bias switch?
Dual volume controls only?
One input only?
How limited is production if decided (100, 1000, etc)?
Pushing output tube harder?

Not that the answers will change anything. I like your 2 watt amps.


Yes, same, same, yes, yes, don't know, no, the audio circuit remains identical.  It's just that a well kept secret in audio design is that the power supply has more effect on the sound than the audio circuit itself... and is by far the most expensive part.  The Zen has for 25 years used a 170ma power supply for a circuit that draws less than 50ma., so at the price points we're at getting more extreme than that is well past the point of diminishing returns.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/07/18 at 07:17:17


Steve Deckert wrote on 01/07/18 at 07:07:35:

It's also almost disturbing that I'm listening to digital... seems impossible to sound like this.


ZROCK2 in the chain?  If not, say it isn't so!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/07/18 at 15:21:45

Oh my!  That is beautiful. I like the red. I'm sure the green patina with silver jacks, and white silkscreening for a really vintage upscale look and backlit meters....will be just as stunning.

Oh, I'm trying to hear it in my head....ZROCK2 in play. Not, all about power as you stated and any of us that have owned your 2 watts knows.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Acetone on 01/07/18 at 15:36:15

Nice!!  Question is!  Do I build 2nd system around it, or sell my SE84CKC to finance this?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/07/18 at 17:27:46

Was listening to Borris Blank Tidal Masters on the ZDAC2 feeding the ZTPRE... no ZROCK this time.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Donnie on 01/07/18 at 18:22:12

I just want to say that RED amplifiers always sound better. It is a scientifically proven fact.
I learned that in my advanced studies at MIT. (Mississippi Institute of Truckin')

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/08/18 at 04:23:32

I have settled on the stock tube compliment.  OD3a with a N.O.S. 7DJ8.

I say this because this weekend I put all the exotic bypass caps in the power supply, 9 in total, and up until now, the amp was slower than the Lonely Raven Prototype. More musical possibly but lacked the surprise factor that makes music sound real.  I had to see where the amplifier landed without the full bypass, which has taken all this time.  

Now with the bypass in place the OA3 and OD3 work as intended and HOLY CRAP is the amp fast. I just heard it do things tonight that I have never experienced before. It is like a black hole. And it's going to get better still as the bypass caps break in.  

Literally tonight I listened to something extremely well engineered and recorded, digitally, and walked out of the listening room shaking my head in complete disbelief because honestly, I have never heard anything sound that good.
It was the whole package, weight, power, scale, dynamics, insane, repeat insane imaging, and absolute liquidity with spooky presence. The sound stage was a 270 degree arc and about 50 feet wide, 20 feet tall and 70 feet deep and you could hear around each image. This is personally thrilling to me because I thought I've had better rooms in the past 20 years, but now I know that isn't probably as true as I thought. The thing is, the amplifier was able to literally say -censored- the room, and just force it's will to happen regardless. Talk about making speakers disappear...  it's just sick.- I thought the speakers were really pretty good, but I just heard what they can really do... it's bitter sweet of course because only Decware customers have any idea what I'm talking about.

Happy listening... it's only 9:45 P.M. and it already sounds like 1:30 A.M... some of you know what I'm talking about. Imagine if this damn thing can actually stretch the golden hours of which there are never more than 3 into a number more like 6 or even 9.

My only advise is don't handicap this amplifier with anything less than an honest 94dB 1/w 1/m because it deserves at least that. Also, the bigger the speakers the better.  It will make anything disappear, so don't be afraid of larger full range speakers, the amp will love you for it. At 94dB I can reach the same density and pressure that I do with the larger amplifiers using the same speakers... so I catch myself forgetting I'm not listening to the larger amplifiers, but tonight I have to say that letting the speed out of the box has made it pretty easy to hear your not listening to the larger amps... which makes sense, but look, this is what it actually took... a zen amp that might well be the same price as the TORII MKIV... I'm not counting at this stage, just excavating for that treasure that will pay for all the excavation. ; )

It's just counterintuitive because I always use digital for amplifier design since that is what the world listens to, and it's a worse case scenario in many instances as a source. This is making digital sound better than I've ever heard it.  My only theory is it must be the "stretch" between slow and fast that we talked about with the power supply design.  The amp is slowing it down and speeding it up to the point where 88kHz up sampled is sounding better than native DSD used to. I may have stumbled into something here. It just sounds so real.  Definitely have some new respect for ZDAC2. I can now hear it is better than my favorite, the ZDSD, for streaming from the computer.  It gets along well with TIDAL when set to use the DAC directly as the only output device, ignoring the computer's operating system.

I can already say it was the right decision to postpone the 6C33C's because the original prototypes were not this good. I realize that it is now 10:20 and I still haven't hit the save button. I have never heard an amplifier this good before. I'm sorry, but it's true.  

Anyway, I don't have time to post, because the black hole effect is sucking my ass to the sweet spot.  

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/08/18 at 04:29:29

I can say that before the evening really gets going, I have been completely humiliated by my own amplifier.  I literally thought I knew what was possible and built products to take us all there, and I did.  Tonight I hear that I didn't know shit.

[smiley=tunes57.gif]

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/08/18 at 05:07:35

Well, it sounds like my 97db Omega SAHO's are a perfect match.  I had a feeling the ZMA was an overkill in a sense for such high efficiency speakers when I purchased them. But after my ZMA went back to the mothership for meter repair and upgrades, when I put my 2 watt SuperZen into duty powering the SAHOs, it became obvious that these particular speakers didn't "need" the ZMA.  I must clarify, need.  My ZMA crushes it with these speakers and of the all the Decware amps I have in my possession (Super Zen, Torii MKIV, Rachel, ZMA), the ZMA would be the last amp standing.  

However, since I do have such an ideal foundation to create the magic with these 25th Anniversary amps, I cannot NOT get them.  Yes, them.  Price of a Torii MKIV, or not, put me down for a pair to run as mono blocks.  

Steve, how does serial #1 and #2 sound?   ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/08/18 at 05:19:15

So a little more real time documentation.

I'm still listening of course and all I can say is it's just SICK. I almost can't understand how it can take control like that. Believe you me, it's in charge, and it's conscious. It's freaking me out... the audio gods have spoken and if I make it through the night without pissing my pants I'll be really impressed.

I've just never heard anything do this before!!!!  This is probably going to really be bad for business... or change everything.

This is proof that if you're a slow learner but have the staying power to spend 80,000 hours chasing audio nirvana some higher vibrational being will eventually feel sorry for you and toss you a bone.  This one is hard to comprehend... I guess be careful what you ask for because I'm just getting shredded here... it's so humbling it's embarrassing.

Haha... I get it... game of the weakest link that I've been preaching for 20 years just.... and ironically, or paradoxically right when I didn't think the Decware line had any weak links worth exploiting.  

The sound is so different. It's real.  It's having it's way with physics that defy logic. It's having it's way with the speakers and the room and me all at the same time and the more I notice it, the more it does it, proving consciousness.  

I recognize this kind of power... it used to manifest when we jammed in the studio in Peoria.  The music would become conscious and take over your body and make you play well outside your abilities.  It's happening now with this amplifier. The music has taken over the amplifier.  It seems to be playing WAY OUTSIDE it's capabilities... Not missing the bigger amps ? ! ?  No, because the presentation has the same forcefulness with higher resolution.

OK, I get it again... l am just now hearing the UFO output transformers... what they are actually capable of. Solid state amplifiers sound like turds compared to this. Even the chip amps which are artificially fast are slow.  

See this is what happens when you find the weak link in your system, you get to hear everything for the first time and it greatly exceeds what you thought was possible. See it still happens even to me, so it will happen to you as well!

It is literally a black hole.  So captivating that it is impossible to sit on the side lines and enjoy from afar.  It's conscious and you don't want to insult it.  Unbelievable...  I'm actually scared to listen to my Vinyl Rig, and then some master tapes. There's is no way I would try that tonight.,,, I'm on the edge of my sanity now.

Thank GOD I haven't hooked up the EGGS because this is making tower speakers image better than the EGGS did, which we all know is impossible. When things sound like this, the last thing you want to do is start screwing with it.  It's just too good to touch.









Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/08/18 at 05:31:37

Well Steve, we "don't know what we don't know."  So, to read of this audio epiphany is not surprising to me.  The difference between those who wallow in content to the point of complacency and guys like you, is unwavering curiosity fueled by a "no compromise mindset."  It is inevitable that progress and innovation will ensue, even if it takes 25 years!  Hey, if all of this stuff was quick and easy, everyone would be doing it and you know what, it would be boring as hell!  It is the pursuit of perfection where the thrills lay.  You never want to get there, because then the chase is over.  

I am already anticipating the Decware 35th Anniversary amplifier and all of the incredible mysteries it will possess.  I know you have a few more tricks up your sleeve, even if you have no idea what they are at this moment in time.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/08/18 at 06:08:29

I have to continue documenting this because sadly I'm getting that age where by the time I recall it to write it down to make some point, well you know.

I am experiencing sound right now in a new way. It feels like water. I can feel it. I can swim in it. I can touch it. I can taste it. I can become it. It is so completely immerse and 3D that it reaches from 30 feet behind the speakers right up to your chest and you swim in it. It has so much mass it feels like water.

Things like distortion, fatigue, flatness, boredom, or being teased are alien concepts in this reality. The music is in charge and it literally feels like the stereo system / by the fact that it hits a certain harmonic purity / becomes an antenna for consciousness and then you suddenly have a one million dollar stereo because nothing on earth could sound better than this, even the artist has only heard this in his or her minds eye, never from speakers... this is surreal.

What I am hearing I would have thought was impossible until tonight. Wow did I under estimate speed. I knew our amps were so firkin fast already that I best protect us all... obviously a big mistake or else the universe is just using me for a practical joke and none of this is happening.  

Nice try... it's happening.

Holy Crap, the textures are so complex it just stops time. That would actually explain some of the sensation I'm having. If you haven't read my recent article about "what is sound" I beg of you to do it now, because what I am hearing is directly linked to what's in that article.  https://www.decware.com/newsite/DECWARESOUND.pdf

I feel like I'm hearing music in an alternate universe where the sound is so lucid that you swim in it, and so complex that the species never wasted their time with speech because it was just too slow to communicate complex ideas.

The fact that this is happening with only 2 watts, is the thing that is really freaking me out.  It sounds like 40 watts, which I know and love in the ZMA. It's just projecting so much energy into the space and everything in it that the sweet spot is levitating.  

I'm going to have to make some videos of this, because the energy will come through the video and let you hear this happening.  I feel like I have to ask it permission first...  

This is so humbling... I just listen to  what's coming out of my speakers and it's like the first time I've ever heard hi-end audio. Had it the whole time and didn't know it. It just goes to show that the magic in technology is knowing exactly how to do something. There can be no guessing and no chance. It only works like this and I was so close I drove the audio gods mad to the point where they just knocked me up with it pushing my ability to comprehend it.  

Thank God I'm a good listener because I heard the little voices that said "Do this" and "Do this" and I did it. I can't wait for this to be heard by others!  I guarantee you'll either jump out of the listening chair 25 times and pace around in circles, or you'll turn to stone in the listening chair.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/08/18 at 06:18:29

Yea, I've never heard an amplifier this good.  I'm not even sure I've heard anything even close.  I'm really not.  I have to think about that for awhile.  I'm going to pull the plug now before get sucked into an all nighter. Lots to think about, be hard enough so sleep after having my ass handed to me like this. Tomorrow is a new universe of what is possible with the Zen Triode.


Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by will on 01/08/18 at 06:55:37

So nice! Thanks.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/08/18 at 13:34:58

Very exciting news. I think with this news this should not be a "limited edition!"

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by HockessinKid on 01/08/18 at 13:45:48

There is nothing quite like an excited Steve Deckert.  Looking forward to the new 25th Anniversary "Mighty Zen" amplifier.

HK

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by lazb on 01/08/18 at 14:43:17

Steve, reading your reactions certainly makes one wish to participate! Which of your speakers are you using for these sensations?

Joe

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/08/18 at 17:38:09


Steve,

You're probably pretty bushed after last nights session - but I'm in town today and can swing by if the magic is still in the air?


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/08/18 at 17:59:30

Sorry, too busy today, didn't sleep much last night and got lots to do.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/08/18 at 18:39:19

Steve,
Considering the current state of the prototype, and your feelings toward it, do you have a new time estimate - ballpark even - as to when you hope to get this amp to market?  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/08/18 at 22:31:02

I'm in the 91, 92 or maybe they are 93 now with single caps @ 1w/1meter camp. Before my single cap mod, my Adagio's were 91 @ 1w/1meter....with all the kludgy x-over in them.  I might still have a shot at driving them with the Anniversary Amp? If not I will have to muddle on with my ZMA an ZR2.  8-)

Good question Jeff on window of release and I agree Lon ....this certainly should not be an limited release.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by metropolis7 on 01/08/18 at 23:19:34


This is very exciting news. Time to start saving up duckets.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Brian on 01/09/18 at 02:03:52

After reading those descriptions, I don't have anything useful to say!  
But I wanted to say thank you for designing this amp. And congratulations on the accomplishment!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by metropolis7 on 01/09/18 at 02:05:48


So this new Zen will be happy with some 94db 2 ohm speakers with no crossover?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/09/18 at 02:19:28

Happy with 94dB speakers between 2 and 16 ohms.  

Will not be a limited build, other than by what we can hand produce.

Should be ready by this summer.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/09/18 at 03:18:06

Steve, your enthusiasm for this Amp is infectious. I'm glad I waited to add/get back to your Triode design. I'm working for one come Christmas. If I can't run my mod Adagio's to my satisfaction(?) I will need to revisit a little higher sensitivity.

My ZMA System is a lock and goes nowhere. It is just time to climb back into your Triode, in addition.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/09/18 at 20:31:37

Reading again your last half dozen posts.....absolutely exciting! Spot on ballpark $ of the Torii MkIV....makes total sense to me. I know I should run it with an honest 94db sensitivity.....but, I'm still going to give it a shot first....because I have a shot with my love for my mod' Adagio's.

I can't wait to read more development finalization, as you come to your potential release this summer.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 04:04:02

Still digesting this new sound...  the speed of this amp changes perceived physics. It makes the amp sound like is has a lot more power. The music in fact sounds louder. You can feel it in the concrete floor where you stand, in fact everything is energized. This is fascinating to me since it's actually no louder and has no more measured power.  

I have a visualization that will help to explain the ideal power supply filter.

First for reference picture an 8000 gallon above-ground swimming pool, and that will be our capacitor. It's an endless supply of current but sadly it's a slow process to get that current where it needs to go.

Where does it need to go?  Each note in music has a frequency, or speed and will draw energy from the power supply the correlates with that frequency. For example, let's say there were only 88 notes in music that would ever be played because the only instrument on the entire planet was the piano. The ideal capacitor would be 88 smaller barrels instead of the large pool.

The total volume of water of the pool is divided into 88 parts, one for each musical note. The lower notes would draw from larger barrels and the higher notes would draw off smaller barrels. Each barrel is exactly the amount of water the note needs to play at full power. It's not more water so that we need to figure out what to do with the extra, and it's not less water so that we have to compromise the power of the note. This allows each note to play with perfect speed, i.e. no lag and at full power.  

Trying to suck water from the large pool for each note is by comparison a complete cluster -censored- that prevents each note from playing at it's full power and thereby cuts the power of the amplifier as a whole. Of course power is your least concern because the resolution that comes from having the correct size barrels to draw from is the real prize here.

Now this is nothing new, we've been doing power supplies like this for many many years, but on Zen Amplifiers where the transparency is so high, if it's not done right it will make the amplifier sound way worse. Also, it takes a LOT more room inside the amp, and a LOT more money, and because of the resolution I always feared people would shoot the messenger. Decware amps were already faster than just about everything and pushing the envelope for detail about as far as I was comfortable with, but now after hearing this I have to accept that digital has come a long way on the playback side and has never been a problem on the recording side of things.  

What is ODD is that with this amplifier, the bypass is not making power supply grain part of the experience like it would in any other amplifier. (Remember this amp filters the DC between a cathode and an anode for every tube.) Therefor it must have been the grain being featured over the top of the recording that made me think so many recordings weren't good. I am now finding that the things I dislike about digital when it isn't sounding perfect are actually less on this ultra resolution amplifier, not more. This is the very reason why I would not have bothered to go here on my own. It was my desire for a 25th anniversary Zen Amp to be better than anything ever done here before that got the Audio Gods involved to make this happen because if I had any intention on making a Zen amp faster, I would have by now.  

The power supply temperature was the first sine they were heavily involved (Thank God) and the fact that I liked it better than anything else while it was still technically broken gave me the time and the space to listen to the amplifier and finish the voicing of the power supply.  All of the bypass caps were chosen based on their sound as coupling caps in the signal path. I think I used 4 different types which I am certain has a great deal to do with the synergy that is taking place. A) it only took 24 hours to go from questionable to incredible and most power supply mods like that would take a week or more. B) the way it is sculpting out space from nothing is like the expanding universe. There is a tonality to the signature that reminds me of playing mismatched but like minded speakers together and hearing what happens to resulting frequency balance. (Always way better). I recognize that in the sound and I know it's from the cap recipe.

I'm a little disappointed I didn't explore this, (as in I had to be lead by the hand to the answer like a completely lost cause) sooner and on my own. As I nurse my ego back to health which isn't ever going to happen because it's impossible while I listen to the amp, and I can't stop listening to the amp. I have an entire music library to revisit, and a dozen pair of speakers to hear for the first time, so I've got no chance of a recovery.

Interestingly I am working on two things simultaneously... one is this 25th anniversary Zen, and the other is a prototype for a lower price zen that maintains the same price/performance ratio to get more people hooked into this side of the wonderful hobby we call audio. As a result of this experience with power supply design, I am already clear on what to do and how on the other prototype.  I'll give up more on that later, but I want an entry level amp that is below the price point of our current SE84UFO amplifier.

Back to the amplifier sound... one thing I noticed since my last ramblings is that I caught it sounding like an amplifier usually does after 10:00 p.m. at 1:30 in the afternoon which really just never happens.

Right now I'm listening to bells, triangles, chimes, and things that always have been hard to get right in a digital system, and are so easy in an analogue rig. Tonight on this amp they sound right, at least 97% what I would consider perfect. Keep in mind I haven't listened to analog on this amp yet, because I'm a little scared of it ; )  But I will.


Steve








Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by flargosa on 01/10/18 at 04:48:27

Will the RCA input location of the final product be the same as the current prototype?  Towards the front of the amp?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 05:41:54

Some observations from tonight:

I am noticing a different curve that plots the difference between good recordings and great ones. Before the a great recording was about twice as good as a good recording suggesting a somewhat linear curve. Now bouncing between all these same recordings the difference is so far up to between 3 and 4 times better suggesting an exponential curve.

I feel like my ears and hearing in general feel 30 years younger.  

I just can get over the tone. The tonal colors are so overwhelming your mind spills the excess off to your sense of smell and taste.  You can taste the sound.

Dynamics are non-existent as a topic or descriptor. The music just is. There is no dragging it down or hyping it up. When I say it just is, I should specify that it sounds and feels real. You sit there and marvel at it like a kid who just saw Santa Clause for the first time!

Bass & Drum Intro Niles Lofgren Band: Drum and Bass solos are spellbinding and absolutely huge. This is the part that would completely short out someone who has never heard what genetically evolved two watt amplifier can do.

Saitensprung Friedemann: The music has such density and is so tangible that I feel like I could walk on it. Again it just sounds completely real. This exceeds my reference (Acoustat monitor 4 with servo charge tube amps) and it's on cone speakers.

The Bridge Boris Blank: Ha! Surround sound has got nothing on this. Literally. It's just about hard to believe. Also if it wasn't this good, it would be easy to drive by without every pulling over. Glad I stopped.

Tears Run Dry Malia, Boris Blank: An example of a perfect recording in every way. It's a 12 out of 10. Sounds completely real now.

Yesterdays (Rudy Van... Paul Chambers: Just the most fulfilling stand up bass you've ever heard. This is a timbre and texture and tone demonstration as well as being completely 3D and there in front of you. The definition of the bow and strings is too real to have your eyes open because your brain starts to short out when you see nothing there. It's like your sensitivity is increased massively as I would imagine happens to a blind man. I still feel like my ears are getting fresher with every hour I log on this amp.

Have You Heard (feat... King Curtis, Nat Adderly, Wynto...:  It just sounds completely real. Big band music, exquisitely recorded in a big and old music hall.  This is one of those 70 feet wide stages that is 20 feet away from you and 30 feet deep. Horns sound delightful and and the cymbals on the drum kit just sound real.

Holy Crap!... I just had a thought. I hope I'm not dead!! That would explain why everything sounds so bleeping good!

I can imagine the sound I'm hearing is very similar to what you might hear with a 4 chassis fully battery operated directly heated triode amplifier designed by someone who knew what they were doing. It exists, just not for people with more brains than money.

Afro Dite Friedemann: This lights up your soundstage like a Christmas tree, and then like an entire forrest.

Midnight Procession Borris Blank:  A great piece for late night listening. So real, so Big, so layered, just as always really impressive engineering on these recordings. If all recordings were done so well we would all be addicted to our stereos and unable to go to work!

Of course once you go here, it's time to have a beer and and just visit for awhile. 30,000 Days Yello

Yea, the whole album is good.  

I noticed that a couple times when the music put on the breaks, I slid forward off the couch and almost face planted on the floor.  This is the kind of realism I'm talking about... seems to mess with all your other senses. Your level of tactical involvement with the music is super peaked.

The more I listen to this amplifier the more clarity everything I know seems to have. It's like reading from the book of knowledge as you start to connect the dots. A deeper understanding of musics ability to use mans simple oscillator as a carrier to modulate its will.

Certainly there is a greater understanding for the recording process since you can now hear 4 times deeper into the mix.  

Another interesting observation is that all those nagging room acoustic issues that you would like to get to are suddenly some distorted rubbish of your own imagination because clearly when you hear this amps sound, there is no need for improvement.  It's like the room just fixed itself.  Or like the music just phased your room into another dimension where it would have no effect on the music.

Going to man up and try some analog here in a minute.  Been nice chatting with ya.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 05:57:35

Imagine the shock you would feel if you realized that the music you hear is actually conscious and when given the right vibration it will manifest in your space.  It's not just air molecules colliding into repeating patterns of frequency generated by your speaker cone like we're all comfortable thinking, in fact the stereo steps back out of the way when the music takes over.

Again, I've experienced this when playing live music on those rare occasions when everyone was in the same mindset and it started sounded WAY TO GOOD!!!  But, I've never experienced it with electronic gear such as an amplifier.  Somewhat humbling, because it means the music doesn't give a crap weather it's you sitting on the drum kit playing live, or a recording of someone who knows how to play from 20 years ago coming out of your stereo, once it starts to sound that good, it just simply manifests.  Where music exists there is no such thing as time yet time is what makes music possible. It's a paradox.

On that note, have a great night and don't worry some of this technology will find it's way into all Decware amplifiers in do time.  Even yours.

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 06:18:54

Cat's are great listening buddies as many audiophiles know. A cats ears never lie. You can learn a lot about your room and speakers by watching the cats ears triangulate the sound sources.  

Tonight the cat is hearing things behind the speakers that aren't really there from the speakers, but as I pointed out earlier, are actually there.  I hear it, the cat hears it.

Going to finish off the night with Live in Berlin, Yello.  I chickened out on the analog.  Even though I have a lot of Yello on LP until the DAC quits amazing me like it is, I just have to put off analog.  This is the first time in my life that I have ever loved digital.  Why ruin it right?

I'll let myself continue for another day without spoiling it.




Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/10/18 at 06:32:40


Steve Deckert wrote on 01/10/18 at 04:04:02:
Interestingly I am working on two things simultaneously... one is this 25th anniversary Zen, and the other is a prototype for a lower price zen that maintains the same price/performance ratio to get more people hooked into this side of the wonderful hobby we call audio.


Bravo!!!  And lets face it, the largest consumer base in America are the Millennials. Like it or not.  As was the case with all other preceding  generations, age and money directly correlate.  Think back to our 20's.  Most would not have been in position to purchase the equipment we all own. But if this industry is to succeed and stand the test of time, it must have a greater reach and price is a major factor.  But it's not the only factor.  There is plenty of low price gear marketed/hyped as quality.  We can all see through B.S. based on our experience.  That is not true for those who have not travelled the roads we all have.  Making this hobby more approachable will have a broad reaching benefit to us all, regardless of age or income level.  The future of quality-based  audio (notice I didn't use the term "high end audio") will rely on designers and manufacturers realizing the importance of being inclusive, rather than elitist.  

Creating such a "gateway" amplifier for those who are curious/interested, for the greater good, is one of the most refreshing, forward thinking ideas to come from Steve, in my opinion.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 06:38:24


Something pretty amazing is happening...  a few beers into the wind now. Some of you are familiar with the 1dB per beer rule. We're three beers in, thus 3dB louder than when we started. I'm listening to Live in Berlin by Yello on tidal, the Master series version of the album.  I shit you not, I am attending a live Borris Blank concert in Berlin in my listening room on a 2 watt amp.

It's impossible with 94dB speakers.  A 104 dB speaker, perhaps... Yet it's happening. I don't want to hear it any louder or any softer.  It's at the magic level... the ZMA level even though we know that's impossible.  So this is the power of micro speed in an amplifier. Simply insane to be pulling this off on a 2 watt amplifier and having it sound so real, so big, so deep, so dense, like a live concert sounds?!?  

It's got me completely involved in the concert and experiencing it live. Boy you could really mess with someone's mind if you blindfolded them and turned this on. See what happens when they discover there are only two speakers in the room.

Music like this pushes the performance boundaries of the amplifier which is always of great interest to the designer, and it's so different it's just a nice escape.

Jeff, kind words for sure, but yes, been wanting to do it for a long time, and then decided I am going to do it because I'm tired of wanting to do it.  Also going to be adding some more DIY amplifier kits here very soon, and we all know that how many of us got hooked into the hobby.

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/10/18 at 06:51:54

Ha! Ive been having a blast just following your playlist from these last posts tonight.  Been a big fan of Boris Blank and you are spot on with those track disruptions.  The other stuff was also fun to explore on the ZMA and Hegeman combination.

Thanks for the interesting, provocative, and entertaining posts these past couple nights.  Im a night owl so it has certainly provided for some great reading & listening.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 06:55:18

Yea, I can relate to the night owl... that's when things get clear and accomplished.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 06:59:09

This amplifier is healing my ears.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/10/18 at 07:08:05

The concert is over and this is a trip... the clapping and cheering at the end was the best part!!!  So real.  SO REAL.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/10/18 at 07:38:11


Quote:
Afro Dite Friedemann: This lights up your soundstage like a Christmas tree, and then like an entire forrest.


Not a 25th Anniversary, just a ZMA, but criminy!!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/10/18 at 13:21:16

Fascinating reports Steve. I'm not familiar with the music you are listening to, nor am I a beer or alcohol drinker, but know that the sound must be delicious. I know there are many who have their appetite to experience sound like this thoroughly whetted now!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 15:13:09

I am so enjoying this Steve. Settling in with your ZR2 creation and then this Amp, is more than I could have hoped for in 2018/Audio!
The first paragraph in reply#461   ......has me secure, for my Speaker's...1 5/8" round ribbon; Midrange/Woofer 2, 6.5" underhung voice coil drivers, 4.5 cross...single capped.

Yes Jeff, Steve's decision to make one more affordable was not lost on me. My son of 22, would be hooked..... .

Funny, the db increase/beer effect! I love when that happens!

Surprised Lon, you mentioned you're not familiar with the music? Paul Chamber's started playing in my head....soon as I read Paul & Rudy (Van Gelder)....Steve mentioned....it does not need to be an specific one of Paul's.
Furthermore, as I have stated before....alcohol not needed too.....love my listening sessions with coffee as well.....but love my beer!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/10/18 at 15:49:41


Well I hope I can come hear this amp soon!  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/10/18 at 15:59:39

Oh I knew the Paul Chambers piece and the piece with King Curtis but not the other pieces, which is okay. Steve's description gave me an idea of how glorious the sound is.

For those who love alcohol fine. I've seen it ruin the lives of too many friends and coworkers nd members of my first wife's family. . . I don't enjoy it or being around it. That's just me.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 16:04:06

I checked out some of Steve's tracks on Tidal.  Nice recordings.  May not be everyone's cup of beer, but I really like the Yello Live in Berlin.

I may have missed this in an earlier post, but Stone mentioned this amp being in the price range of a Mk IV.  Is that the current estimate?

I'd have to sell more stuff.  I appreciate some of the technology trickling down to lower price amps, but I'd like to figure out a way to buy this amp.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 16:10:26

Nope LR. You are not allowed to hear it!



..........I'm just jealous, you travel with work through the area and get to stop in.  :D


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/10/18 at 16:17:53

I hear ya. I'd like to buy two of them! (I'd need to mono block them). I'd need to sell a lot too. I just might.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 16:19:30

Alcohol:
".....and maybe, too, as a new study suggests, a more creative one."

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/drinking-alcohol-wine-booze-beer-work/story?id=16150294

....and not to be insensitive to your mention of its destruction Lon. I respect that. I don't want you to think I ignored what you stated and is so true, by posting this. I just know from my own experience, the creative standpoint to be true at times under the influence and as we all know alcohol is a double edged sword.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 16:27:25

Palomino, Steve stated in reply#440:

"a zen amp that might well be the same price as the TORII MKIV... I'm not counting at this stage, just excavating for that treasure that will pay for all the excavation. ; )"

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/10/18 at 16:29:24


Quote:
I hear ya. I'd like to buy two of them! (I'd need to mono block them). I'd need to sell a lot too. I just might.


I right there with you Lon.  That is my plan to run a pair to my Omegas.  I have an extra Torii MKIV and non-UFO Rachel I will be listing in the near future.

I will keep my ZMA to power the Hegemans and alternate between my fully restored HK Citation II.  No way I am parting with my ZMA in its current state.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/10/18 at 16:35:07

Studies, shmudies. I have seen what I have seen with my own eyes, and I've had my own experiences, and I don't at this point in my life like to drink nor be around those who do. Which is neither here nor there. It's not required to enjoy music, and in fact in my days of making music it got in the way of good music more often than not.

I only mentioned it in this thread in that the "third beer" rule of things getting higher in volume and somehow "deeper in listening" (a fallacy) is not in my repertoire

Enjoy what you enjoy. I'm drinking sparking mineral water, milk and coffee as my staples. I'm not judging, just saying how it is with me.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 16:35:35

It's only 429 miles/6.5 hours drive from Oakdale to E. Peoria. By appt. come Spring~Road Trip!

Holy shaaat! It has been 10 years. I was at Decfest 2005 & 2008.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/10/18 at 16:36:44

Ha!  Just a hop skip Stone!  ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by deucekazoo on 01/10/18 at 16:39:54

"Well I hope I can come hear this amp soon!"

Me too! My ears are not as finely tuned as LR's and Steve's but I would love to hear this amp. I have been running my CS amp this hole time so would love to hear the difference between them and this new one.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 16:40:17

No doubt Jeff! If I was in 3 hour range...I would become the unwelcome house guest.  ;D

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 16:53:08

Thanks Stone.  From what I have heard of Eric's amp and now recognizing this is a completely different (and better) beast I think its a strong value proposition, to be sure.

Jeff, it may be a good time for others to upgrade/join the legion of Decware owners soon.  That's how I bought my Torii - when the ZMA came out.

I have two amps, two different power plants and a spare DAC or two that could be on the block.  I'd hate to see any of them go, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/10/18 at 17:11:19


Quote:
Nope LR. You are not allowed to hear it!

..........I'm just jealous, you travel with work through the area and get to stop in.  :D


I wouldn't be surprised if Steve kept me at bay for a bit...the past two visits when checking out something Steve was excited about I was like:




Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 17:19:50

Pal, what you reported on of Eric's Amp...will be interesting if the "entry level amp that is below the price point of our current SE84UFO amplifier." .....Steve stated (possibly) he wants to come in at $....matches Eric's?

As Steve states below....I can imagine these two Amps on the bench side by side as he manages to work on the slow down and speed up he describes with the power supply, caps and regulator tubes, et al, ....beyond my laymen brain.  Fascinating ART!

Furthermore, the entry level not to cannibalize the Annv. Zen Amp.


"Interestingly I am working on two things simultaneously... one is this 25th anniversary Zen, and the other is a prototype for a lower price zen that maintains the same price/performance ratio to get more people hooked into this side of the wonderful hobby we call audio. As a result of this experience with power supply design, I am already clear on what to do and how on the other prototype.  I'll give up more on that later, but I want an entry level amp that is below the price point of our current SE84UFO amplifier."

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 17:20:58

HA! Ren & Stimpy!

Yes, understandable, Steve is not ready to have anyone in yet.


Not that he is worried whether you Like or not.

He, is just not ready to have anyone in-at this development spot/position in time-common sense to me.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 01/10/18 at 17:33:46

I'd like to throw a bit of water on the fire.  I believe every word Steve wrote about his listening experiences.  That said, I remember (pushing 40 years now!) the first time I got stoned and listened to music.  My stereo was nothing to brag about but I was inside the music and it was a three dimensional space that I could touch.

Conditions of the mind, accessible through concentration, drugs, suggestion, or whatever, are powerful and "real."  I'm only mentioning this because no matter how good Steve's amps are, I know that I will NEVER hear them the way Steve does (or some, but by no means all, listeners).  Steve's listening abilities are developed to a super-human extent, as they need to be to do what he does.

The reason I bring this up is that I've been an observer to a few of Steve's newer amp design threads and the buzz always makes me want to sell everything I own and buy his latest creation.  This isn't "sour grapes," just my attempt at keeping perspective.   ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/10/18 at 19:24:16

Archie, understood and well-expressed. I do know that my "listening" has really improved over the last two decades, especially the last, but none of us can hear into these amps the way Steve, creator and student/master of the electrical interface with music can and does.

I listen to my system and am very happy. But I do know that Steve creates improvements by "blood, sweat and beers" as Richard Rawlins says, and they ARE exciting to hear. And it's hard not to want that improvement, even as we listen in contentment to the blessings he has helped us attain in the past. But it's wise to keep things in perspective. Wise, and a struggle to do so.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 19:26:15

Valid point Archie, but having listened to what Steve came up with for Raven I tend to buy into his enthusiasm here.

Even though I still have it, I won't put it back into my system because my Rachael pales in comparison.  I don't want to be spoiled and then have it taken away.

And here is how Steve described the latest iteration to me in a separate email back in mid-December:

Imagine Eric's amp running on pure DC battery power and that's pretty much what it sounds like.  Sorry the PS Audio power plant does not compare.

Raven's amp is like #100 or something and it still has the same transformer and permanent power chord.  The RCAs are upgraded and I think maybe the speaker taps, but I kept thinking "what if I could get an old Zen and have Steve work this magic but upgrade some more of the hardware??"

He's done that and added the power mods with this new amp.  This is going to be a good.  After I first heard it months ago, I told people to just buy it.  It can only be better in the latest itereation.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/10/18 at 19:28:56


I totally get that, I'm a skeptic at heart; when I go in, I go in with as neutral of a mindset as I can, or an "OK, Impress Me" attitude like a producer seeing yet another starlet that wants to make it big.

It's rare that something really Wows me fully. DirectStream did (and has with *most* of the OS updates), ZMA did right off the bat. Steve's old listening room in the early days of the Zen amp definitely did. And the prototype for the 25th that Palomino is borrowing. Not really much else has.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 19:31:02

And when Raven told me he was listening to the Zen instead of his ZMA, that was additional confirmation for me.

Bring on the hype.  Bring on the amp.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/10/18 at 19:32:37


Quote:
Raven's amp is like #100 or something and it still has the same transformer and permanent power chord.  The RCAs are upgraded and I think maybe the speaker taps, but I kept thinking "what if I could get an old Zen and have Steve work this magic but upgrade some more of the hardware??"


Damnit, if you aren't listening to it I'll just come and get it then!

I think it's serial # 47 or 49

I'll let Jeff get serial #1 and #2 of the 25th anniversary, and I bet Stone will get #3, then change his mind, then change his mind again, then change it back.   ;D  I'd be in line for the 25th, but I don't see me being able to afford it anytime soon. Maybe if Steve kept it under $1500.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 19:34:18

All this talk has me reconsidering that decision to keep it out of my system ;D

I may seek out your services to help sell some of my equipment.  You know how to move the merch

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/10/18 at 19:36:40

Bugger - I'm going to do donuts in your lawn with my truck.  :P

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 20:03:43

To funny LR!  

I will be in the 10+ serial number range.
I can't do the summer release initial order/launch.
It will be Oct/November for me.

I am so glad it won't be a limited release.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 20:13:47

It will be interesting (as I mentioned in my reply#490):

Entry level Zen (like Eric's little Zen hot rod/presumably or better)

vs.

Anniversary Zen (whole other league).

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 20:21:54

I have my ZROCK2 coming to keep me busy + my NOS Input Tube collection growth/addiction....continues.

Decware 2018.......sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 20:24:02

The mods to Eric's amp were *not* inexpensive.  

If Steve can bring some of this to a Zen and keep it in the ballpark of a Rachael, that would be great.  Using the same caps I don't know how he would do it, but he is Steve and I am, well, not Steve :)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by metropolis7 on 01/10/18 at 20:59:33


I believe that the planets are aligning in my favor. Been deliberating over a SE84UFO for a while and I suppose my reticence paid off. Ready to dive in headfirst when this beast is brought to market!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 01/10/18 at 21:26:37

[quoteValid point Archie, but having listened to what Steve came up with for Raven I tend to buy into his enthusiasm here.

Even though I still have it, I won't put it back into my system because my Rachael pales in comparison.  I don't want to be spoiled and then have it taken away.][/quote]

This, and what follows in other posts is NOT helping me keep perspective!!!!   ;D

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/10/18 at 21:30:02

Give up Archie.  The cosmos are aligning and Steve is channeling their power.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/10/18 at 22:13:42

ZROCK2 is packed and ready to ship. I will have to call Sarah tomorrow and pay for it.  Oops, wrong Thread. :)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Tommy Freefall on 01/10/18 at 23:40:26

Beer is of course an excellent accompaniment, but Tequila is an awesome pairing with Steve’s amps!
(just make sure it’s 100% blue agave)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JD on 01/11/18 at 01:12:42

I just think it's damn cool that a designer and a great one at that lets people in on the process.

JD

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/11/18 at 02:32:08

No doubt JD. I still marvel at my ZMA and enjoyed the process thread back in 2013. I good read to revisit or for others whom have never read it.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 01/11/18 at 02:42:30


Lonely Raven wrote on 01/10/18 at 19:32:37:
I'd be in line for the 25th, but I don't see me being able to afford it anytime soon. Maybe if Steve kept it under $1500.


Yeah I doubt I could swing a pair of mono's (I don't feel one would be enough for my setup) as I thought he mentioned they will come in at the price of a Torii MK IV.  That would make a pair of mono's close to $7,000.00.  Making them the most expensive amp (per watt) in his lineup ... $1750 per watt! :-?

That makes the 60 watt Torii Mono's, which in comparison @ $93.26 per watt, sound like the deal of the century! ;D

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/11/18 at 04:49:43


Quote:
That makes the 60 watt Torii Mono's, which in comparison @ $93.26 per watt, sound like the deal of the century! Grin


Ha, that made me laugh.



Quote:
The mods to Eric's amp were *not* inexpensive.


Um yeah, the mod to my old Zen A was $700 by itself!

Steve would have to go back to a simple box, stripped down design, same power transformer, but do the caps like mine to get the speed right. If he could bring it back down to the original $499 price that my Zen was back in '98....now that would be something!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/11/18 at 15:15:55

At the risk of being labeled a passenger who is spending a little too much time on the SS Fanboy, I’ll write one more post on this amp.

Given that Raven *will* someday take his amp back, I decided to do an A/B last night – Rachael vs Zen -- using Steve’s Tidal playlist.  I went into it knowing which I would like better, but I thought I might be able to jot down some differences that others may find useful.  Both amps were run plugged into my PS Audio P5 with PS Audio AC10 Power Cord to the wall, Cryo’d Hubbel outlets and dedicated 15A circuit.

Steve has selected a nice playlist here and that was clear with Rachael.  My notes include nice big soundstage, interesting positioning of instruments, nice ambient content by Boris Blank, maybe a little sibilance on the female vocal on Tears Run Dry.  

Some of the tracks were a little in my face but I was able to back the volume off a bit and they were fine.  Nils Lofgren sounded like it always does.  On several of them I thought these are neat, creative artists and I like their music.  Overall clear and accurate picture with a fair level of engagement.

I put in the Zen and let it warm up.  I find that it takes about twice as long for the Zen to get to its happy place than it does Rachael.

Then I sat down determined to analyze the differences.  

You’ve heard this one before, but I ended up pretty much just sitting there, feeling immersed in the music.  I listened to the playlist, then I listened to it again, then I went out on Tidal to listen to more tracks by the same artists, then I listened to the playlist again.  Nearly three hours.  Poof.  Up in smoke.  No notes.  I felt that satisfaction you get after watching a really emotionally engaging movie.

This morning I got up early and went down for another listen with the intent of jotting down at least some notes and managed to do so.  In addition to what I have said in earlier posts about this amp being quick and getting the attack right (which engages you), it also draws you in with how lush the soundstage is.  Its enveloping to a higher degree than Rachael and its cozier there.  

As mentioned before, I do have to turn up the Crowns a bit to get the bass to the right level, but I love the timbre of the bass from this amp.  That alone makes this a more enjoyable amp.  It has rich timbre on other instruments as well, but I am a sucker for good bass.

The most immersive songs were Tears Run Dry and The Bridge and I can relate to some of Steve's comments although I don't think I am getting the full experience he is.

I had to keep reminding myself that I am getting this level of engagement out of a little gray box with red and black plastic speaker taps and a power cord thinner than the one that came with my kid’s new computer.  

I get the $$ per watt analysis.  But in fairness to the big picture, try doing that analysis with one of those tube amps vendors that show up at the audio shows.
 
So, I would put a different spin on the analysis.  $$ per level of engagement.  Hard to measure and relay to others, but I think we are all looking for that value.  

If the production model (or its shared DNA siblings) are anything like this amp, I think Steve will deliver a very high $$ per level of engagement.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/11/18 at 16:50:42

$700 upgrade ~ is inexpensive in the scheme of things.

Here is how it lays down:

Steve stated he wants to bring the Entry Level Amp in under the 995.00/UFO ZEN.
I think it can be done....if it goes a little over (2, 300 or to $1495)/no one would fault him....It will be, LR/Eric's equivalent Zen or better.

Then we have the 25th Anniversary Amp...with Tube Reg' + all the other Steve's/expertise (please read his last dozen posts).....and a whole other ball game.....and will justify its ticket for entry.

Hope this helped.

NUMBER ONE FAN BOY HERE!   ;D ;D ;D ;D
.....AND WHY I CREATED THIS THREAD: 08/22/14 at 17:45:10.  8-)

Hey, I did not cancel my ZROCK2!  (tool(s)) :P
Oh, when I have canceled...I've order an other product...for example; my PAC-S's.....and I've OWNED/PURCHASED NEW: SE84CS, Torii III, SuperZen, CSPreamplifier3/with Jupiter Caps & Styx Speaker Cable.  

Love my ZDSD & ZMA.....more purchased by me from Decware, than the Tool types......... .


I look forward to J of A getting his hands on a pair....and reviewing come late summer!


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 01/11/18 at 17:34:37

I may have misread Steve's post about the "entry Zen," but I thought he wanted to get something for sale at a more attractive price point for newbies and not necessarily something up to the modified Zen level.  1K for his lowest price amp is shocking when you come in cold.  It needs to be a "gateway" amp that leads to the harder stuff!   ;D

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/11/18 at 17:40:14

PS Audio did this with the Sprout.  Not sure how well that product has done for them.  But I see the wisdom in it.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/11/18 at 17:53:12


Quote:
I may have misread Steve's post about the "entry Zen," but I thought he wanted to get something for sale at a more attractive price point for newbies and not necessarily something up to the modified Zen level.  1K for his lowest price amp is shocking when you come in cold.  It needs to be a "gateway" amp that leads to the harder stuff!


That's how I saw it as well. That's why I mentioned it would be amazing if he could do my Zen for that classic $499 price. The V-Caps would immediately put it out of that price range, but if he could keep the power supply speed, UFO transformers, classic power supply at that $499 or thereabouts. Wow.  Maybe to get it into that range, base model (classic power supply transformer with my PS caps), at $499, then do a $200 UFO option, and $200 VCAP option. The key would be to have it at that price to pull people away from the $300 Chinese tube amps that people think are actual tube amps.  ;D  But then give them an option for the real Zen magic.


Quote:
So, I would put a different spin on the analysis.  $$ per level of engagement.  Hard to measure and relay to others, but I think we are all looking for that value.  

If the production model (or its shared DNA siblings) are anything like this amp, I think Steve will deliver a very high $$ per level of engagement.


I agree with this wholeheartedly. That's part of what made the ZMA a Duh! purchase for me. Horsepower and engagement. The little Zen certainly is a whole nother level of engagement.




Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/11/18 at 18:57:42

Obviously, it is speculation on my part....I'm a good speculator.

I think it can be done (match LR prototype) under or at $995 Archie, as I mentioned.

However, working on them side by side on the bench (25th Ann)...if the temptation to add a little more to the Entry Level.....?....could justify bringing up the EL a notch/$ (or, have option upgrades for the Entry Level). Still, very approachable in price.

Fun, to speculate! Intrigue!





Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/11/18 at 19:25:00

I don't think you will ever see a Zen amp for $500.  

I priced out a build a couple years ago with basic components the circuit board and it was more than $350.  Add in skilled labor, etc. and you are over $500 easy.  Granted Steve gets better pricing on components, but I don't see any positive margin there even with lower prices on materials.

Loss leader is probably not a strategy that is often employed by small businesses.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/11/18 at 20:11:14


That's exactly what I was thinking as well - back when Steve was hand building these himself, he didn't have the overhead he has now with a proper shop.  Loss leader doesn't make sense as well.

Granted, he could always hire me to sling solder for him - I'm cheap, and good at following ready made examples.   ;)

Have solder, will work for watts.



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/11/18 at 21:21:52

Certainly no loss leader need be done. But, as I said, their might be a reading comprehension problem here....but, here it goes.... As I said, with the base entry model....option upgrades/offered at the time of entry level amp purchase....or later send it back for upgrade. .....Steve making them side by side on the bench right now like I said, you need to wrap your brain around that..... .

Side by side = Annv Amp and Entry Level Amp.

Enough on this matter.....probably will be lost in translation again.


Heck, my ZROCK2 is coming and with my ZDSD, ZMA, Kabling and Speakers....I might have to poke out climbing back into Steve's Anv Triode until Fall of 2019.  8-)

That is Twen-ty Nine-teen. ....F A L L

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Syd on 01/11/18 at 21:46:11

Bring on the vinyl review....hope Steves anchored down.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by tybee on 01/11/18 at 22:43:46

I have been watching this thread with great interest, but can anyone share what speaker Steve is using for his tests?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/11/18 at 22:57:32

Good question!  Steve will hopefully let us know.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by hifiguy on 01/12/18 at 00:30:34

Hi Everyone... I too have started saving-up for a Zen Anniversary. Very exciting. How much fun is doing high-end audio with 2 watts?! I'm going to be using a floor-standing version of the Omega CAM.

Also, I was wondering what the Zen Anniversary would sound like on a high-end headphone? Any chance of a headphone-output option on the new Zen amplifier(s)... please!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/12/18 at 02:11:02


Quote:
I have been watching this thread with great interest, but can anyone share what speaker Steve is using for his tests?


I was about to ask the same question.  If I was to guess, the Monoliths!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by DB2 on 01/12/18 at 02:26:10

"You’ve heard this one before, but I ended up pretty much just sitting there, feeling immersed in the music.  I listened to the playlist, then I listened to it again, then I went out on Tidal to listen to more tracks by the same artists, then I listened to the playlist again.  Nearly three hours.  Poof.  Up in smoke."

Not at all. It was three hours immersed in the here and now.

Be here now!

Be here now!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/12/18 at 02:40:57

Hifiguy - welcome to the forum!

Any Zen Triode amplifier can be used to drive headphones including planar headphones by using a remote headphone jack that is wired to the speaker binding posts. The sensitivity of the headphones when exceptionally high will reveal the noise floor of the amplifier in which case a series resistor is used to drop the output below the noise floor. We can make these jacks for you and tune them to your specific headphone for about $200.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/12/18 at 03:01:07

Actually, I have used the Monoliths (DM947's) but most of the time I have been using a new DNA horn we're experimenting with. It is simply a scaled up version of the current DNA horn on the site. Rather than using a 5 inch driver it uses an 8 inch driver. In fact it uses the same driver compliment as the DM946/DM947 which is the 8 inch crossover less silver flute wool cone driver and the isodynamic planar ribbon tweeter.  The signature of the speaker is very similar to the DM947.Monoliths but better. The cabinet is an inch and a half thick composite co-mass layer damped DNA horn that gives higher efficiency, tighter more articulate sound with more slam and because you can hear a couple dB increase in efficiency over the Monoliths it gets louder on the 2 watt Zen. This somewhat small difference is just enough to feel like I'm listening to the DM947's on the ZMA which is a favorite pairing of mine. The density and size are about the same, the ZMA having slightly better control and the new Zen having more resolution.

The speakers are proving to be something special with the 2 watt Zen, and being able to get this efficiency across such a wide bandwidth really makes you forget you're only using 2 watts, so that is a small part of my raving about this amplifier and since I really like what I'm hearing right now I don't want to scramble my brain with a bunch of new variables (like speakers) at this stage.

This weekend I'll either sabotage by new found fondness for digital by listening to analog, or who knows... anything can happen.  I just know I don't want to have to work the following day ; )

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/12/18 at 06:03:01

Stone,
It sounds like this new DNA may be the perfect (higher sensitivity) compliment to your modified Adagio's allowing you to exploit the 25th Anniversary for all its got.

Like you, I will not sell my ZMA. Just too good and has its strengths.  It can power speakers the 25th Anniversary cannot.  I don't want to lose that capability.  So, it will power my vintage/restored Hegeman Model 1a's which are about 92db efficient, similar to your Adagio's.  In the same room, I will create another amplifier/speaker compliment using a pair of 25th Anniversary amps with my 97db Omega SAHOs.  Best of both worlds.  Can I do it with one amp? Yes, I can.  I had great results with a single Super Zen powering these Omega SAHOs (with my Ultra pre-amp).  That being said, this new amp will be better enabled to drive like speakers than the standard 2-watt Zen amp, based on what Steve is reporting.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Dave1210 on 01/12/18 at 11:07:11

Definitely has been a fun read and I know this amp is going to be really special.  

The below also caught my attention...


Quote:
...some of this technology will find it's way into all Decware amplifiers in do time.  Even yours.


Steve...which amps could be upgraded and when do you think that might be possible?

Nothing like pestering the developer about his innovation pipeline before the initial innovation even launches.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/12/18 at 14:04:37

FWIW, the speakers I am listening to with the Zen have the Silver Flute driver.  Steve does some modifications and has his own waveguide but the sound is similar.  

Using the TEAC 503 as my DAC/pre it is big and produces more volume than I need.   My room is on the small side 16.5 X 12.5.  YMMV

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/12/18 at 15:24:26

Oh yes J of A, the scaled up version of the current DNA horn-I took notice.

It has been 10 years since I have seen Steve and DeVon. I plan, by appt., to stop in....if they are willing to put up with me for a few hours.

I plan to do this before I take off to TX, ....tend to my Folks and their Roses and Pineapple Palms.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/12/18 at 17:18:01


Sounds like Palomino and I might have a new speaker build to do soon! LOL


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by lazb on 01/12/18 at 17:58:40

Sounds to me like if Steve and Ziggy do not put it into production you may have more than two of them to build!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 01/12/18 at 19:06:41

I hope to do a comparison of the Dayton Audio AMT to the ribbon tweeter this weekend.  Just for fun.  

While the Silver Flute was never intended to be in an open baffle, I find it to be very good.  The wool cone has a nice organic sound to it.  I will also put the Tang Bands back in this weekend just to see which I like better.

I have built a DNA and my own version of the monoliths.  Raven and I later built the El Camino horns, but it was a flat pack from Zygi.  Night and day difference with the flat pack.

Believe me, this type of build is best left in the hands of professionals.

Anyhow, I can really imagine the sound Steve is getting and think a commercial version of the 947 DNA is a great idea.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/12/18 at 19:48:32


Quote:
Raven and I later built the El Camino horns, but it was a flat pack from Zygi.  Night and day difference with the flat pack.


Seriously - seeing the precision of Bob's work is very humbling.  Yeah, if I had to choose between making one from scratch, or paying extra for a flat-pack from him, I would absolutely get the flat-pack!

That said, I do have a really, really nice table saw now.   ;)


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/13/18 at 01:34:00


Quote:
Steve...which amps could be upgraded and when do you think that might be possible?


So far the only candidate is the SE84UFO3 monos because that is the only other 2 watt Zen amp with a tube voltage regulator. I have just completed the upgrade to a pair today in fact and will be evaluating the results shortly.  

As those with the monos know, there is only one OA3 tube in the design so the natural question is will we put a second one in and the answer is no. The monos only use one half of the input tube which does not draw enough current to fire a voltage regulator tube and keep it lit. At the same time since there is only one output tube instead of two the power supply generates a higher working voltage. This means we can drive both the input tube and the output tube with the same OA3 regulator. Presently the SE84UFO3 uses the OA3 to drive the input stage and shunts a bunch of current to ground to keep it lit. By removing the shunt and combining both stages we can actually benefit from a higher working voltage than before. The upgrade took 11 additional caps per amp, and a couple resistor changes and some basic rewiring.

Now completed I'm expecting similar results to those I've been writing about with the stereo amp. Also this particular pair were optioned out with type II beeswax caps and I left those installed rather than changing them to VCAP's and then updated the recipe accordingly by using more beeswax caps for some of the bypass work. This should be a very interesting comparison. VCAPS are more percussive while BEESWAX are more organic. The higher voltage on the SE84UFO3 will naturally make the signature more percussive anyway, so in those amps it is possible VCAPS might be a bit much and the Beeswax will actually make the amp sound more like the stereo version... which would be ideal.

In testing on the bench today I did notice the clipping character of the amps was improved and the distortion dropped a bit indicating they can be pushed a bit harder than before.  We'll see.

As for the other amplifiers in the Decware line I will be experimenting with various bypass recipes to see what improvements can be made and if their cost is justified.

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/13/18 at 02:46:08

That's really interesting Steve. Those monos are beautiful. . . and if they have the potential to be as wonderful with the new tech. . . wow. And with Jupiter caps too.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/13/18 at 16:11:36

Eager to hear more about an "Anniversaried" pair of Zen Monoblocks. I have always sort of wished I had a pair of Monoblocks and I'd be tempted to get a pair of these if all the mojo of the 25th Anniversary Zen were there. And their 2.7 watts may just be enough for my audio and video needs with the ZTPRE as a pump to feed them. . . .

Exciting times for the Decware world.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/14/18 at 17:30:54

Sadly I found one of the tube sockets is chipped on one of the amps meaning it was built that way.  On tuesday the builder will replace input stage and socket. I'm not going to listen to these amps until that has happened, but have great expectations and will report back when I know something.

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/14/18 at 17:49:43

Thanks Steve. Looking forward to your impressions.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/14/18 at 19:22:00

Nice to read about the SE84UFO3 monos with the Jupiter's instead of VCaps, as candidates. The different topology derived you mention, very nice as well...to achieve your goal of putting the 3 on par with the AN25th.....at the 3.5k ballpark for either, or.

What I would like to see...is an remote volume added to the ZSTAGE preamp? Looks like their is room to put it in. Bring that to us at $1295 (you won't be able to make them fast enough/here/on Facebook and get/purchase the mailing lists of the Hi-Fi mags...we/you know the ones-direct mail subscribers-about your ZSTAGE WITH remote), per my calculations with Jupiter caps. Then I'm set running ZSTAGE to ZROCK2 to ZMA and UFO3 mono's or AN25th. (Obviously, single input & output at $1295....additional cost for more inputs and another output).

I want the simplicity/transparency (as you wrote) found in the ZR2 of the single tube WITH that simplicity/transparency of the single tube in my remote volume ZSTAGE preamplifier.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/14/18 at 21:08:38

That would be cool if the ZSTAGE could be fitted with a remote volume control. . . I personally doubt that it's feasible.

I don't know Larry, I've had the ZSTAGE and I've had and have CSP2+ and I've the ZTPRE. I really preferred the CSP2+ to the ZSTAGE, so I think you may be better suited with your AR preamp if you prefer that to the CSP3 you used to use. Me, I'm good forever with the ZTPRE, I've never heard anything better and don't plan to stray. What I'd love to see is a ZROCK2 with either dual volume or another way to adjust balance. . . in my second system a ZROCK2 will be the icing on the cake, but because of room/positioning issues a little bit of balance control would be excellent and I don't have it in any of the other components.  I don't want to run a CSP2+ AND a ZROCK2 in that system . . . the only real complaint I have with the Peachtree Audio Grand Integrated Z1 I'm using there is that there's no balance control. . . otherwise it's working great as a pre, DAC, amp and headphone amp. And the ZROCK2 would allow me just that little bit of tailoring I sometimes want.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/14/18 at 21:48:45

It would be cool and I think it can be fitted. Steve was working on a switch box with remote volume he spoke of.

I'm not totally sure.... But I think Steve put the ZSTAGE up to 0 to 15 volts output and as you know the ZROCK2 handles larger input now. Your ZSTAGE might have been the 0 to 5 volts output.

Love my Audio Research single tube FET Hybrid Line Stage.... But would like to go all Decware. Probably keep my AR too.

Off topic, ....my girlfriend went to the Vikngs game with my ticket. I need to play it cool for my stress test tomorrow.  :'(  she is a bigger fan than me .... And I made sure she went.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/14/18 at 23:34:41

Okay. I still suspect you'd be disappointed with the ZSTAGE but the proof is in the pudding. I'd also still be surprised if Steve could put a remote volume control within it.

Hope your test goes well, best of luck.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/15/18 at 05:04:32

I prefer the ZMA direct from my ZDSD.  I look forward to only adding the ZR2. Their is a purity of tone from the ZMA I like.

However, I do like this particular Audio Research Line Stage signature pushing through the ZMA.....turns it into a beast of weight and definition.

Just curious about an enhanced ZSTAGE?

Thanks on the test....should go well.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/15/18 at 05:40:30

Wishing you the best Stone!  I'm sure it will all go well.

And very cool gesture to "punt" on the tickets and allow your girlfriend to have the experience of her life.  Well done amigo!

All of this is so very exciting.  You and me have some pretty killer gear.  Yet, we are at a point in time where we are presented with some very exciting/interesting information to chew on that may, or may not, catalyze some unexpected buying decisions.  But whether we pull the trigger or not, is immaterial.  We have subscribed to a philosophy in Decware that continues year in, and year out, to peak our interest and provoke thought.  Regardless of how we slice it, it is a win!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/15/18 at 17:17:41


stone_of_tone wrote on 01/15/18 at 05:04:32:
I prefer the ZMA direct from my ZDSD.  I look forward to only adding the ZR2. Their is a purity of tone from the ZMA I like.  

I preferred my source directly (through the ZBIT to get that extra voltage) as well. Until the ZTPRE came along. Blew that satisfaction away. . . now I can't imagine life without the ZTPRE. Didn't feel that way with the CSP preamps.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/15/18 at 17:19:59

Thanks Jeff....I think it will go well.

Sue, enjoyed the history making win last night, ....is an understatement.

Speaking of catalyzing (so true...what you just said above).......which are the inputs vs. outputs in the ZROCK2?

I assume nothing ......if they are not marked.....I am not hooking them up?!!!!  

Soooo, I'm sitting here with my Zrock......wondering!   ::) ::) ::) ::)

Nothing in the Manual....and nothing in the copy/website? Unless, I missed it.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/15/18 at 17:23:38

The outputs are those furthest from the IEC inlet, the inputs those closest to the IEC inlet.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/15/18 at 17:28:16

Thanks Lon!

I had a 50/50 shot at it.  I'm left handed....so most things in life are difficult for me.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 01/15/18 at 17:29:41

Since Steve says that the ZTPRE is a pair of CSP3s in one chassis, is the difference due to the balanced in/out you think?

Ha ha, I asked that same question about the RCA position a couple weeks ago.   ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/15/18 at 17:42:44

For me. . . I think yes, it's the balanced in and out and also the increased range of gain that is output. Even when using a lower gain setting the sound seems to benefit. And it is dead silent in a way that no CSP preamp I've had ever has been. (Steve has a "no hum" circuit built in and you get NO HUM out of it, and the differential circuitry eliminates a lot of single-ended noise). This has four toroidal transformers as well, and I think this is a factor, as is the fact that solid state fixed rectification is used (the electrical setting is well-chose and there's no sag or degradation of a tube).

So a number of reasons potentially. And there's the remote control. . . which I didn't think I'd use much but I use all the time.

I didn't really "believe the hype" but I find it to be as Steve notes: a preamp that is not there but makes everything sound better. Even single-ended sources plugged in using a quality adaptor sound better than they do through a CSP preamp.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/15/18 at 17:44:34


stone_of_tone wrote on 01/15/18 at 17:28:16:
Thanks Lon!

I had a 50/50 shot at it.  I'm left handed....so most things in life are difficult for me.

You're welcome. I think Steve has been consistent with this configuration with the products in these chassises. And it makes sense when I think "Inputs are furthest in, outputs are on the outer edge."

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/16/18 at 06:42:39


So here's a thought - ZTPRE with regulator tubes?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/16/18 at 11:53:16

Hmmm. . . not sure where they would fit in the chassis design. . . and not sure they are needed. (I think the ZTPRE sounds phenomenal as is and doesn't need that line of regulation, but I am using a P10 with it as well). (I love my ZTPRE, it has really taken my system up another level).

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/17/18 at 03:36:41

Time for an update on the Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier...  I was fortunate enough to have my good friend Randy of Caintuck Audio over yesterday, who's ears I completely trust, for some conformation.

The sound of this amplifier seems too good to be true and since I found out I'm not dead and it's still happening I better be sure I haven't just simply lost it.

The good news is that I haven't lost it. We sat down to listen to it around 5:00 P.M. and before we even realized what happened it was 2:00 A.M. and then I decided to do the unthinkable, I put on some analogue tape.

Couple things happened... we both found out at the same time, despite my doing it for years, what tape actually sounds like.  It ruined us both.  

Also after spinning a few tapes my cat tried his hand at operating the tape machine which didn't go well for the tape. And interestingly I could have cared less that an expensive tape was nearly destroyed because the high you get from this kind of sound is so strong that it takes a lot more than that to kill your buzz.

This morning after a nice breakfast, we sat down to listen for a bit and next thing you know it's around 3:00 P.M. So clearly I think this illustrates that time travel is possible.

I'll also make the following observation: At 10:00 A.M. when we sat down to listen the sound quality was virtually indistinguishable from the sound we got during the middle of the night.  And I've been noticing this happen for the last week now.

On a personal level, this is the biggest breakthrough I've had since I built my first tube amp and discovered the middle of the night bloom of which I've written some articles on. I say that because I've always dreamed of and tried to figure out a way to get THAT middle of the night sound during the daytime. In the 1990's, I listened only at night, and because of those middle of the night experiences I have never until today been able to do any serious listening during the day... This is going to be a serious game changer for me. Not only does this somehow recreate the middle of the night bloom, but it does it with easily more than twice the un-hyped up detail that I've ever heard.

Despite my earlier efforts and I think Randy will agree, there are not words to accurately describe what we heard, nor will there ever be. It's something you have to hear for yourself to believe it. Randy and I go all the way back to the first Zen Triodes and have been listening to them for all these years and this thing simply went were no amp has gone before.

I believe the amp had its way with Randy, just as it did with me last week when I posted about it... so now I feel like it's a real thing and not some weird spell I cast on myself that makes me hear things that aren't really there.

Steve





Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/17/18 at 06:44:26

Great update Steve!  And I have been around Randy long enough, and it only takes a New York Minute, to realize his ears are to be trusted.  

Keep the updates flowing....   I am sure there are many who are chomping at the bit over this amp.  

The only question is, who is getting serial #3?   ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by will on 01/17/18 at 07:35:46

Exiting! I think I can imagine what you are hearing!

Since I started playing with bypasses on the power supplies of my Torii and CSP3, after eliminating caps I had that were not ideal for all types of music and tones, and finding ones that worked nicely together, I came to a combination that has remained pretty solid in the Torii. Though I still play around a little, I keep coming back to a similar place...six or seven pairs of bypasses (1 or 2, depending on the arrangement, bypassing bypasses), the combination of different synergistic cap values and types adding complexity that is really beautiful.

With connectors and the volume pot upgraded also, what you describe sounds similar to what I am hearing....lucid, fast, easier flow, deep, fine detail complexity in deeper space bringing out definition, textures, enhanced ambient and harmonic complexity, bass solidity, natural timbre, improved soundstage saturation and separation....

When I imagine VRs for each tube's power, UFOs, a super simple circuit, and quality bypasses on a more discrete power supply...it must be magnificent!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by jorgen on 01/17/18 at 14:36:47

Great read in this thread. Got an extra smile on my face when i read about a possibility for an update on the mono amps- even if i dont exactly find them to come short in any way. Mine are fitted with upgraded caps already.  Looking forward to read the test With these updates, and curious to when it can be done and to what cost

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by lazb on 01/17/18 at 15:52:03

Were the euphoric listening sessions using the "new" 8" speaker horns or a combination of several speakers?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Randy in Caintuck on 01/18/18 at 02:59:04



Greetings all,

After my return trip to Caintuck from East Peoria (fighting the winter weather) I had to catch up on some errands this afternoon ..... but wanted to share a few thoughts about the new amplifier.

First, all of our listening that was done Monday evening was done using the new DNA horn with the 8" driver.  Without any doubt, this is one fine sounding speaker.  In times past, my favorite Decware speaker was the ZOB which shouldn't be much of a surprise since I spend most of my time listening to open baffles and have become very sensitive to "box colorations" in most conventional speakers.

Of course, it's possible that whatever the amplifier was doing made the DNA horns sound spectacular ..... but I don't think so.
Whatever the case, the Anniversary amp / 8" DNA combo produced music that made me lose all track of time.

The following thoughts concerning the new amplifier were validated by a second listening session on Tuesday using a pair of my Betsy & Buck baffles which I am VERY familiar with.

I currently have in my home stable of amplifiers an SE84UFO, a pentode Spud and a custom built 300B.  All of these amps are excellent sounding in their own way. Many of the readers of this forum are familiar with the SE84UFO, the Spud has only a single gain stage and when used with speakers efficient enough to let it strut its stuff is a revelation and the 300B sounds nothing at all like many "typical" syrupy sounding 300B amps ..... it's more like a 45 or 2A3 on steroids with all of the beauty of a directly heated SET without the negatives.

Having these amplifiers as my references made me curious as to just how good the Anniversary amp could be.
I was not prepared for what I heard ..... period.

Anyone who has attended a Decware Zen Fest and has heard Steve's reel to reel front end is aware of the amazing realism that it produces.
After hearing it the past two years, I have done my best to forget about it and convince myself that I'm too old to get involved in a new music format ..... but if you ever hear it, you will be ruined for life.
Take my word for it.

Thankfully, in addition to being ruined once again by the reel to reel front end, we also played some familiar CDs that I brought with me and streamed tunes from Steve's computer ..... so I was able to hear the amplifier on a level playing field.

To the point ..... when this amplifier goes in the Decware online store, I will be buying one.

What does it sound like ? The answer is simply "music".
Everything is just right. Steve told me that it's a combination of things including the power supply, capacitors, voltage regulation, etc. that combine to make it sound as good as it does.

The attack of notes, the decay, the space and air between instruments and vocals, the tonality are all excellent ..... but what amazed me the most was the depth and focus of the sound stage. I'm accustomed to a deep sound stage, but the amplifier created an image deeper than any I have heard in Steve's room in the past (with both pairs of speakers) and the focus and density of the image at the back of the sound stage was so real that I felt like I was able to reach in and put my hands on the instruments and voices.

To make sure that the listening session was not "chemically enhanced", I limited myself to one beer over the several hour "concert".

I'm sure that most of the readers of this forum are familiar with and probably bored to tears with all of the "audio jargon superlatives", but this amplifier really is that good.

On Tuesday morning, I had every intention of hearing the new amp with the Betsy baffles I brought with me and spend about an hour with that combo.  I finally forced myself out of the listening seat and headed home at 3:00 PM .....

I went back and re-read everything that Steve shared concerning his listening sessions with this amplifier and could not find a single thing I could disagree with.

Thanks for indulging my long winded rant ..... but anyone who is considering the purchase of their "last amplifier" and has a pair of speakers efficient enough to let this amp sing should give it a serious look .... and a listen.

Happy listening,
Randy


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/18/18 at 03:48:23

Tonight I am listening to the SE84UFO3 with the anniversary update. Since it is just starting the burn-in it of course has me thinking about burn-in and I realized something important. Capacitors have memory that occurs in the specifics of how the dielectric and the foil seat together. Temperature cycles and signal passing through the cap creates a physical change in the cap that you can hear.  

It's been my experience as I've mentioned in the past that if you want your caps to sound good on music, use music to train them during the break-in process. Use music that is well recorded only. Use music that you like. Do not use burn-in discs as that will train your cap in many cases to play test tones and then when you switch to music it has to be re-trained to sound good with music. Can it ever be completely retrained is the question.

It is very apparent even in the first hours of listening to these monos that like the stereo unit, there is simply no grain in the high voltage power supply so even unburned in the amp has over the top liquidity. That means that the coupling caps are never going to see or experience grain ever in their service lifetime so I think this is having a profound effect on the sound of the cap as a result of how it is burning in.

The immediate difference I hear between the two at this awakening state is that the mono's have more power and more headroom. I'll keep you posted as things develop.



To comment on Randy's post, I felt like the speakers on Tuesday were simply extraordinary and still just as hard to believe as ever! In fact I heard more similarities between the two speakers than differences until you look at size price and weight and then there is no competition for Randy's baffles.

Here is how good they actually are - if I had to give a demo of this new amplifier in front of the worlds audio critics with Randy's baffles, especially these new ones, I wouldn't even hesitate. Besides meeting my criteria for a speaker able to clearly demo what the amp is all about, it would just make the amp more impressive since people would have such a hard time rationalizing what they hear from such a simple and smaller speaker they would give the amp more credit.

One thing I learned as a result of the things we did during Randy's visit is that at this level it is an exquisite balance between speakers and amplifier and room to get the kind of sound stage depth we were getting. During one test with crossover points on the Baffles changing it by a few percent made the back of the sound stage somewhat disappear. This is because the midrange got about 1/2dB louder and the phase angle no doubt changed from the change in inductor size. I know that this would have been easy to miss with any other amplifier because no amplifier I've heard has the same focus for ever layer all the way to the very back of the sound stage.  

If sound were light and ears were eyes, even with 20/20 vision depth of field is less focused than what's up front and since audio amplifiers always seemed to achieve a similar result it is easy to assume that it is the same for sound. It's actually not. The focus does't change regardless of how far away the sound is, unless something alters it.  So it's quite alarming to hear such 4K focus so far back in the stage and realize that's how it really actually is.


Steve




Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/18/18 at 13:01:48

Steve, I'm certainly not surprised at how well the new anniversary design shines in the SE84UFO3 as these amps always seemed to me to be capable of fantastic sound, though I've never heard them. I'm interested in a pair . . . I'll see what I can do when the new version is made available.

Randy, how awesome that you got to hear what the 25th Anniversary Zen can do with both the new DNA Horns AND the Betsy Open Baffles! With both you AND Steve over the moon with the sound. . . we who have learned to trust both pairs of ears know that there's real magic in the new design!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Martindfletcher on 01/19/18 at 00:29:03

Last year I purchased 2 ufo2's steve wired them for mono to cope with my 16-19 ohm druids, and I was debating if I should get the 25th anniversary amps,  I thought nah...  then I looked at what I spend on cartridges.   Then thought I am in!


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by jorgen on 01/20/18 at 01:35:14

For those of you more capable; ELI5 what is done with the ufo3 mono amps when upgraded.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/20/18 at 03:58:33


I'm still listening to the monos and the thoughts that come to mind tonight is that I am reminded why I like the Beeswax caps as the burn in is so much less traumatic and quite a bit faster.  Already the amps are sounding so good that I know I'll be on the fence as to which one is actually better.  The slightly higher voltage of the monos and power that comes with it brings an endearing sense of honesty to the playback, but other than that it's hard to tell what the differences are without a lot of tube rolling. It's very captivating so far.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/20/18 at 18:12:13

Gosh Steve, you have me hoping that 2.7 watts would work for me for both audio and video needs. Or if I could get a transparent switcher that would allow me to switch between two amps and one single set of speakers!

Three things about the 25th Anniversary design and implementation:

1) SILVER. The 25th anniversary of a wedding is a "silver anniversary." It might be cool to visually add "silver" to the cosmetic palette of the amp(s) . . . top plate in a silver paint, "Decware" in silver on a face plate, something visual like that. Might even add a degree of "spousal approval."

2) BRIDGED AMPS: It seems that with the new UFO transformers sonic degradation from bridging a Zen amp properly is diminished or not existent. There are many who would find that a pair of bridged 25th Anniversary amps would be great to power speakers like the HR-1 and ERRx etc. We love these speakers, and we'd love to have the "magic" of these new amps. Would you consider a "pair of bridged amps in one chassis" as a future model? Seems it would cut the cost of a pair of bridged amps and save on power cables, etc.  seikosha was wondering why one was not offered in another thread, and it's an interesting question.

3} The TABOO: would the Taboo as a power amp be compatible with/considered for the 25th anniversary redesign in the future? That would be about 4 to 5 watts I think that could meet the needs of someone considering a pair of bridged Zen amps in one or two chassises. . . .

Thanks!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 01/20/18 at 23:21:04

Good questions and suggestions Lon and seikosha.  I do think he mentioned something about an upgraded green colored chassis a couple pages back ... trying to imagine what that would look like?  Perhaps the green color of some old school Altec Lansing drivers.  I also like your idea of a silver Decware 25th Anniversary badge/moniker like the Decware/Icon with 3D plate.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/24/18 at 04:33:28

I can tell the majority of the break-in is completed and while there are some differences between these monos and the stereo model, they have basically arrived at the same address. I could easily forget which ones I was listening to and at this point it wouldn't be difficult to accidentally fool myself as I switch back and forth.

My observation or takeaway tonight is that the success I'm having with these anniversary amps is largely effected by tube rolling. The input tube and the rectifier tube are the major players with these anniversary amps just as it is on any Zen Triode amp. Since the resolution of these amps is so extreme, differences in tubes are magnified. Where you would normally hear a very noticeable difference between two different input tubes, it is now like hearing completely different amplifiers.

I'm also going to predict that the lower voltage stereo model is going to have a more dreamy sound while the higher voltage monos will have more headroom. To try to figure out which is actually better is going to be a waste of time because we're into the subtleties of voicing.

My strong advise is to stick with the regular Zens on speakers less than 94dB 1w/1m (unless you listen near field) because if you make this about power it's possible to miss the boat. The efficiency, which is a result of less moving mass in the speaker, is a requirement to track the speed of the amplifiers and without it some of the magic and the value of the amplifier would be diminished. Which is to say the difference between the SE84UFO2 and these would be smaller.

In fact it would be my preference that the speakers be placed well away from the wall because again the difference between the two amplifiers would be lessened. Will it sound better than a SE84UFO2 in any situation... yes. However it designed for serious aka hardcore audiophile use because that is where the design can shine and reveal it's magic.

Do you need a perfect room, no. You just have to have a decent room and put some effort into speaker placement and type. Each year I have done things to improve the acoustics of my room and while the improvements have been very noticeable I felt like I could take it further and probably should. These amps have achieved the sound stage I was looking for and it either means the room was better than I thought, or the amps are magic. Either way I just saved a bunch of time and money on trying to make the room better.


Steve



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/24/18 at 06:41:38

Interesting results. Sound like amazing amplifiers, both versions, and we're excited.  I'm a bit confused. . . stick to the Zen if with speakers 94 or below, and the Monos above 94?

I'm really enjoying the Taboo Mk IV with the ZROCK2 and ZTPRE and even have headroom with the HR-1s. The only real "wish list" for this set up would be a Treble Cut Circuit as well. Perhaps I should just stay with this set up if I want to continue to use the HR-1s, especially as I have to have the speakers closer to the front wall than I'd like. Any chance the Taboo Mk IV could (in time) take advantage of this "Anniversary" re-design? Perhaps only possible with a "power amp only" version?

Lots to think about, and exciting times in Decwarelandia.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 01/24/18 at 07:17:35

Confused a little as well ... go with a pair of bridged Zen Anniversary stereo amps if under 94dB or Zen Anniversary mono amps if above 94dB?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 01/24/18 at 08:14:37


Quote:
My strong advise is to stick with the regular Zens on speakers less than 94dB 1w/1m (unless you listen near field) because if you make this about power it's possible to miss the boat.


If I am not mistaken, I believe what Steve is saying is, if you don't have speakers with at least an efficiency of 94dB, you should not go with the 25th Anniversary amplifiers (monos included) and instead utilize the standard 2-watt Zen amps - or other Decware amps in the current line up.  

The magic of these 25th Anniversary amps will not be realized with less efficient speakers (less than 94dB).  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/24/18 at 11:15:37

That's a good interpretation Jeff, thanks. My HR-1s don't quite make it . . . not quite 94db efficient. I may be SOL as far as these new amps go. . . . I need the omnidirectional aspect of the HR-1 in my room setup, and buying an amp AND speakers would be prohibitive!

Lots to think about, but still, Monos as good as yet different as the Zen in these new versions, great news. Options are good, two different routes to sonic splendor.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Martindfletcher on 01/24/18 at 13:40:53

I would think 2 bridged stereo amps would have enough power, in terms of magic and transparency, that's a steve question.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/24/18 at 13:47:54

Yes, that's an option I have considered. And a considerable expense. .  . . Personally I believe that with the UFO transformers and the available capacitors that the "magic" would be there, but yes, that's best to be heard from from Steve!

I'm obsessing over this a bit but this is an exciting move forward for Decware, and the excitement so far from Steve is encouraging, and there's a lot of interest from Decware owners and potential Decware owners. (I've gotten a few messages from Facebook readers expressing interest and wanting to continue to see developments.)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 01/25/18 at 00:12:22

@ J of A ... I agree with Lon ... your interpretation seems to be about the best of the bunch.  I'm sure it's going to be a great amp regardless, but it seems as if the Zen Ann's improvements are going to be much more noticeable with high efficiency speakers above 94dB and greater.

Lon, sorry to hear that these might not work out for you as you are one of the most vocal supporters of them ... hopefully Steve will chime in about going bridged (though that's going to be expensive).

Although from Steve's enthusiasm the Zen Ann's are blowing away the 6c33c mono's at this point ... my initial disappointment with hearing that another 2 watt iteration was coming forward was its limited ability of play back with speakers that are less than what I would consider high efficient seems to be coming into reality again and I'm not sure if these are for me either.  

I know that even my single driver 95.5dB Omega's are super easy to drive with the Taboo MK II, but I still sometimes wish for a little more headroom when watching movies (not with music as I am completely covered there, but during quiet dialog passages I always find myself reaching for the remote to turn up the volume in some cases to the absolute max).  Perhaps one day he'll get around to making another SET with more power and headroom.

Well Lon, you could always go Omega (jk ;D ... I know you love your HR-1s!)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/25/18 at 00:24:03



Quote:
If I am not mistaken, I believe what Steve is saying is, if you don't have speakers with at least an efficiency of 94dB, you should not go with the 25th Anniversary amplifiers (monos included) and instead utilize the standard 2-watt Zen amps - or other Decware amps in the current line up.  

The magic of these 25th Anniversary amps will not be realized with less efficient speakers (less than 94dB).


Correct.  Now, it's not a rule by any means, just a natural desire from the creator of the amplifier for people to hear it, and a knowledge that lower efficiency speakers will somewhat diminish it's potential.  I knew when I wrote it that it would cost sales, but it's the truth.

That said, anyone wanting to experience these amps who doesn't have appropriate speakers can contact Randy of Caintuck Audio for an open baffle speaker.  The ones on our site for $450. a pair will do it., but he has new ones with two drivers that are so good, I would have to listen to them again to determine which is better, the new DNA horns or Randy's new baffles.  Anyone not having heard these speakers will just have to trust me on this one.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/25/18 at 00:50:55


Another Update of the SE84UFO3's with the mod...  funny how this hobby works - today I listened to the monos again and gave them my blessing comparing them to the un-modded mono's even my cat could hear they were better.  So I decided to put the poor guy who ordered them out of his misery and get the amps in the shipping room today.  

I turned them off and hooked up the stereo unit which has been unplugged for a few days and turned it on to let it warm up. Curious how it would compare now that the monos are burned in and I'm happy with the results, I turned up the volume and prepared to un-pause the source which had been playing on the monos when I turned them off. Same song, right in the middle.

Now if you read yesterdays post, you know I was pretty convinced these mono amps sounded almost the same as the stereo amp. Then I hit the play button and in under 3 seconds the stereo amp had basically laid the monos to rest. I suppose the look on my face would have been priceless.

So, all day I spent making the mono amps as close to the stereo as possible. This involved installing the additional VR tube and then setting up an independent filter supply for it. I put an OC3 on the inside of the amp since it's likely to last for many years. Eight hours later the monos are almost a carbon copy except for two resistor values that were raised slightly to deal with the higher voltage. The fear of failure made me smarter as it usually does, and I was able to overcome how to get the second VR tube to work.

So having just put them back on line and un-pausing the source, it took again about 3 seconds to recognize the sound. It's now JUICY like the stereo model and can be billed as a mono version of the same amp with the same sound.

This was important because there are likely to be SE84UFO3 owners who after following this development thread will want to hear this anniversary amp and if their amps can be upgraded to the same sound and performance they will be thrilled. You can imagine however if a SE84UFO3 owner gets the mod, loves it, decides some day to get the stereo anniversary model and compares the two and they don't sound the same...

So one more evening with the monos, I'll let you know what happens.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/25/18 at 00:55:26

In the first section of Elenor Rigby by Duofel, I just got goosebumps from my ankles all the way to the back of my neck.  I think that's a new record on the goose bump meter and I haven't even started yet.  Time to eat something and prepare my brain for what's about to happen!

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/25/18 at 01:43:59


beowulf wrote on 01/25/18 at 00:12:22:
Well Lon, you could always go Omega (jk ;D ... I know you love your HR-1s!)

Well, I know those are great speakers. But. . . I won't be able to afford speakers and amp. And. . . I have a unique situation. I'm using half of a big room in our house (that started out as a cabin. . . one big room that is living room, dining room, den. . . One half of it (with an irregular, sloping ceiling) is the living room and my system is in this half. The HR-1s have a magic that allows one speaker to be near a corner and the other to be without a side wall. I put two chairs along that side and I get left and right with nearly identical frequency balances and a strong center image. . . it's all almost as if this was a complete room, not half a room. I've had other speakers in this room. . . and boy that does NOT happen. So not only do I love the HR-1s, and somehow afforded them and paid for them, but I'm loathe to change speakers as I can't change where the system is set up, this is the only possibility even IF I had free reign to set up the system anywhere.

I think I can live with the Monoblocks, I'll put that to the test soon. As I have a lot of gain from the P10, the DS DASC and the ZBIT And ZTPRE the HR-1s are surprisingly nimble with lower powered amps in this room, and I have a Zen C that was modified by Eddie Vaughn to be a power amp that I can hook up and run through its paces with both audio and video aspects of the system. If the C cuts the mustard the Monos will, and I'm pretty sure with my system I won't be wasting money on the sound quality. And if I someday get higher efficiency speakers that work in this room, or another room, I'll have the amp to use. And there's still possibilities of birding two, or that there may be another option on the horizon. Hope is still alive!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/25/18 at 01:49:30

Rocking good news Steve! The monos would be my top choice if they could cope well enough with my HR-1s. Beautiful amps and I love the idea of mirror image amps side by side.

Question: do you think the Taboo might be a candidate in time for the 25th Anniversary treatment? Might be a great fit for some of our speakers and systems. I could send you a Mk III if you wanted one to play around with. ;)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/25/18 at 04:15:40

TONIGHTS NOTES:

Bass & Drum Intro - Niles Lofgren Band Live: Just sounds and feels completely real.  My thought is that this will short people out because it's too good.  They won't believe it, and they'll think either they've lost it, or some kind of trickery is involved.  They'll talk themselves down from it to keep their sanity.

Tarova - Snark Puppy: Sounds like I am standing there live in so much as it sounds real. But I'm listening to a solid state P.A. system of average to above average quality.  This explains why I've always had some issue with this one.

Midnight Procession - Boris Blank: The master of texture, soundstage and dynamics. The music feels so real and so much more real than normal that I feel like I'm doing something forbidden like looking at porn.

Ein Samen Kauboj - Friedemann: The vividness of some of the instruments, like the wood block. The complexity and texture in that simple wood block strike even though it's only 1 second long is like purchasing a book and when you got home the covers and pages were glued shut.  Tonight it opened and there are 632 pages in that one second strike.

Afro Dite - Friedemann: The slide up the guitar string has enough data in it and hangs time long enough that any good guitar player would know what brand strings they are and how long they've been on the guitar. Most audiophiles are thrilled to hear the finger sounds on the strings, which is like 4 pages of a book several hundred pages long. Even live you don't get this much detail from the strings a lot of the time because the noise floor in the room is higher, your setting farther away, or the same distance but speakers are focused at your head, the real guitar is an omni directional instrument that to sound like this has to be close miked. That means the sound I am hearing is the same level of detail and complexity I would hear if I were playing the guitar myself.

That could be the magic of these amps, perhaps somehow they actually create dream time, like drummers get, where time slows down in so much as the notes get farther apart and you have like 5 seconds or more to think about them and plan your next bar even though to everyone else your playing at 120 bpm! Perhaps that's why you hear the notes hang in the air I would say 300% longer with these amps.

The problem then becomes trying to figure out how so much data was actually captured on the CD/Stream?  It just seems completely impossible to me.  

Trackless Deep - Yello: When you first dreamed about hi-end audio looking at a glowing amplifier in the magazine that costs more than your car, and you fantasied about what it might sound like.  This is what it sounds like.

Waving His Hello - Anna Ternheim:  This song is like standing on the edge of the grand canyon listening to angles.  The choir is usually what cracks up when this song is played back and with these amps you can hear it's not distortion in the recording, just an artifact of the compression that the engineers were likely unable to hear.

Partido Alto - Dominic Miller:  Exciting presence with forward and intimate dynamics, it just sounds completely real.  Crazy real.


Observation - I spend 50% of my time in the sweet spot and 50% just outside the listening zone where I hear the room and not the speakers. When the music sounds too good outside the listening zone that I have to go set in the sweet spot to see what's happening I notice a difference in the sound quality between the spots... obviously, but each has it's merits. What I notice or realize tonight is that when I walk into the sweet spot now the difference is three times larger than expected. This is solid science because I go between these two spots every day, seven days a week and on average 8 hours a day or more.  It's what I do. So I am used to the difference in sound I am going to hear from my outside the listening zone location and my in the sweet spot location. Very used to it. To be completely stunned each time I do it now, is just nuts.

If you analyze what I wrote the last couple days about these monos and compare that to what I'm writing now you can clearly see the state of mind is different. Tonight I am not alone because the music is here and it's now conscious, completely tangible and real. Before this last go around I would say it was so good I couldn't find anything wrong with it, seriously, but it wasn't alive and it wasn't conscious. You can sense consciousness when it is in the same room with you.

Saitensprung - Friedemann: Just such a great execution.  So 3D, expansive and intimate with such exquisite textures. Listening to this when it's over I find myself thinking if this much detail can be found in a 16 bit format which is what's left of a 20 bit master with the least significant bits erased (4 bits) compared to other amps I must have only been perceiving about 10 bits. I realize I am up sampling with the ZDAC2 everything to DSD but no algorithm can write this much correct information between the dots. So since there is no logical explanation we go back to the spiritual explanations where the music manifests through the amplifier and has it's way with the room and speakers because it's not bound by physics.

Witching Hour - Jesse Cook: I can see a stand up bass that like a Disney animation, has arms and legs and it's playing itself with a somewhat indescribable expression on its face. Sounds completely real, but that part is a little surreal. Like every cut I've played you are feeling the music and it feels like you experience the music and it experiences you.

Takla Makan - Yello, Dorothee Oberlinger: OK, it's so real, I moved my head out of the way as if a baseball was coming at me so I wouldn't get hit in the face with one of the notes in the music.

Another observation: Couple days ago I kicked things up a notch in the monos when I put some NOS Amprex 6DJ8's in the amps similar to the 7DJ8 I have in the stereo model.  I took out the 6N5P, which is just beautiful but I was craving more detail if you can imagine...  tonight I have the 6N5P in the amps and have not even heard the 6DJ8's, nor do I have any plan to this evening.  I'm afraid to.  We're out in the neutral zone here and this is no time to be "censored" with the ship.

And make no mistake about it, these are space ships that can travel both through space and through time. There is no drug that can compare to music that sounds this good.

I Tried to Tell You - Smooth Jazz Lounge Nights: Sounds like a very nice dinner club with a front and center table, the building is solid and old, you can feel it in the sound. No drywall or steel studs here. The drum kit has an energy in the high hats that you would only experience if it were real and you were standing 8 feet in front of the kit.

Oppression - Ben Harper: The bass drum feels like it's 5' in diameter about 20 feet back stage left. It's moving a lot of air in a round pattern coming directly at me.  The separation and tonality, every audiophile adjective (EAA) it contains. Simply real sounding.

Yesterdays (Rudy Van Gelder Edition) (2007 Digital Remaster): The mesmerizing bow on this bass and the bass itself and Mr. Chambers are just so incredible. This recording would sound good even on mid fi gear, .....  on this however,  holy crap, how many times can I say real in a single post.  

There's no sense on going on because everything sounds and feels real. It shouldn't be happening but it is, and it's doing it on 16 bit digital source files.  

Lets just sum it up by saying the UFO3's can be made into UFO325's and at this point the only thing I've learned is that these monos might be better than the stereo model by the mere fact that they are one amp per channel. That is the impression I am getting using tubes that aren't even as good so it's a pretty good sign.

Just for kicks I gots Lon's CD today in the mail with largest existing Tannenberg pipe Organ (1728~1804). Astounding sound not to mention the human pumping bellows to create the air!

I don't know how these amps are doing it, but like all the music these spaceships just make pit stops in different space times and the experience is completely real. Now that I've started listening to this unprocessed organ music well recorded in a large space I'll have to remain here for the rest of the evening. No coming back from this. In fact I'm going to see what kind of organ music I can find on Tidal to amuse myself after this is done. Boy the sound of this particular organ is taking me back to the organ I grew up with as a boy... uncanny resemblance, the room the organ is in sounds familiar, much like the space I remember.

The music on this CD is so good. It completely took me back to 1969 in my dads church.... what a complete trip to go back after more than 40 years. The experience is vivid. Ever have a dream that was completely real? Becoming conscious that you are dreaming in a dream is called lucid dreaming. What is it called when you are awake and become conscious that you are in a dream?  

This reminds me, because organ music will bring many systems to their knees, that despite the 2.7 watts I wouldn't want to turn the volume up any louder. It is at the actual level it would be in the church, which is plenty loud believe me. How is it doing it...  Well it's at the magic live volume or damn near it where even 1dB quieter would take it just outside of real and 2dB would bring it from real back down to real good and there is a large difference between real good and real. I wouldn't want to loose even 1 dB under any circumstances so the speakers must be a solid 94dB from top to bottom and have some bottom.

BTW, I could be getting 98% of everything I'm hearing now from Randy's Baffles believe it or not... as the low slung driver that close to the floor generates real bass and it's large.  So yea, even this CD could be easily appreciated on these amps with Randy's humble speakers.

I'm going to spend the rest of the evening listening to organ pipes resonate through my castle.... it will likely end as it usually does with the IMPERIAL SO's handling the bottom end...  and we have all the power need somehow!


Steve









Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/25/18 at 05:10:44

So now I'm listening to a large organ and a full orchestra which would clip most amps and by some miracle it is not clipping, and it's just impossible. So then I decided to do the unthinkable, put on Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 and it did it with ease!  WHAT!  OK, so now lets just see what these amps would do on a pair of HR-1's...

If there was more than 1dB of difference when I hooked them up I must have missed it.  I'm listening to Tocatta on the HR-1's and it's the same... just as good, just as loud some how...

Boy that was a reminder of how low and powerful the HR-1 bass is!

These damn amps are making a fool out me, writing in circles.  Boy when the Audio Gods decide to teach you a lesson they really have calculated just how far they can bend the stick before it snaps.  Unbelievable.

So I guess you could use a pair of HR-1's with these amps and get better results than I thought.  The bass is so good and so low and tight you wouldn't think it was possible from such a small footprint as the HR-1 and certainly not driven by a 2 watt amplifier!

This is why you don't publish live journals ; )

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/25/18 at 05:44:56

Using the HR-1's I notice that on Takla Makan for example, you can tell we're right on the edge of the amps clipping so to correct for it, we drop the volume by another dB or two which combined with the 1 dB lower efficiency is just enough to make a difference.  Boy what a tease.  A pair of the stereo amps bridged would just sale right through it as if you were listening to the larger DNA horns with possibly a touch more headroom.  A room that was smaller or more live would also do it so a bridged pair may not be needed for some people.

Meanwhile it has me wondering what the HDT would sound like and many of the other speakers so the rest of winter will be more than bearable as I find out!

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by will on 01/25/18 at 06:46:59


Quote:
Do you need a perfect room, no. You just have to have a decent room and put some effort into speaker placement and type. Each year I have done things to improve the acoustics of my room and while the improvements have been very noticeable I felt like I could take it further and probably should.


In my room, I experience notably improved soundstage when power supply bypasses in the Torii MKIV, and CSP3 are well balanced. I like milder bypass iterations quite a lot....illuminating. But finding the boundary of getting the most from them, when everything is totally awake and balanced, but before things get too big and hyper articulate ....amazing....but in that area especially, it appears there are as many ways to throw the balance as create it!

Either way, the caps used, values, and how they compliment each other have been really big deals for me. When it works, it is something like those unusually great listening sessions when the magic happens with captivating wonder. But once the power refinement is sweet, it is less of a passing thing...it sticks.... disappearing into beauty becoming more normal.

It makes sense, the power supply effecting everything, making transformers, tubes, resistors, caps, wires, connectors.... reflect their truer potential. I have not heard anything close here, dense tonal resolution in spaciousness that does not feel affected. And I love it when it comes with speed, but also with a beautiful ease that increased resolution from emptier space creates. Deep and musical bass with natural feeling definition (for the most part!@#$%^) and refined timbre...beautiful speed, everything complex while also being discretely defined, and integrating musically...captivating drum and cymbal hits.....piano hammers shifting reality....richness that can bring tears.

It sounds to me like less noise; effortless immediacy and greater signal integrity and resolution helping solve congestion on complicated parts; more complete fine detail, bringing out more tonal layers and smoother and more natural edge creation and transitions.... definition that sounds real....harmonic complexity...ambient completeness, layers, and transitions that help define a player in space.....and all made clearer coming out of deeper and more empty space.

As I interpret it, for cleaner and musically tuned power and signal...different caps, like different tubes, offer loads of subtle ways to bring out beauty that in combination can be pretty far from subtle.....  

Back to soundstage....enhanced speed, resolution, and space, enhance soundstage saturation and spacial information, making it bigger, more engulfing and real feeling, finally enhancing how I interact in it. Seems increase in perceived volume comes along with this. Not using a meter, I am pretty sure my volume actually goes higher before distortion.


Quote:
My strong advise is to stick with the regular Zens on speakers less than 94dB 1w/1m (unless you listen near field) because if you make this about power it's possible to miss the boat. The efficiency, which is a result of less moving mass in the speaker, is a requirement to track the speed of the amplifiers and without it some of the magic and the value of the amplifier would be diminished.


Though this Anniversary amp sounds like it breaks even the Decware mold of power as it relates to how it pushes speakers, here, I have not been able to fully enjoy anything with less power than a Blue Torii with my HR-1s, though the 944s did pretty well with a SE34. The Rachel and Taboo I auditioned in more recent years sounded really good, but something really important to me happens with more driver push/extension and headroom. For my tastes, and biggish rooms, I need the drivers to move more for deeper emersion. After Toriis for years, in this setting, I would have had to get more efficient speakers in order to really get what the Rachel and Taboo had to offer.

From your listening with the Anniversary Zen on the HR-1s, even if on an edge, to get that far into them with 2 watts seems to illustrate just how far the mold you have made of excellence from the first watts has come! Congratulations.....Very exciting!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 01/25/18 at 09:19:28

Hey Steve, will the 25th Ann mono blocks also come in the green patina chassis that you mentioned the stereo version will come in?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/25/18 at 11:52:16

Wow! I'm glad you listened to the cd of a performance on the organ my great great great great great grandfather built! It's a very good cd and I knew you would enjoy it. And thank you for listening to the HR-1s with the Monos. I suspected the HR-1s would perform well and it appears that they may just do the ticket here for me. But it also appears as if a bridged pair of the 25th anniversary Zens would do better.

This is exciting, YOUR excitement comes through. It's great to be a music lover, and it's a great time to be one.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/25/18 at 15:57:00


Lon, is that CD available for sale?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/25/18 at 16:24:41

Yes Eric, it's here:

https://ravencd.com/merchantmanager/product_info.php?products_id=133

And it's on amazon and cheaper there from market place sellers.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by mark58 on 01/25/18 at 17:03:49

OK Lon, once you reminded me about the CDs I decided to open the box and check them out today...the Tyner in now...I think it will take a couple listens before I settle into it.  The Blue Mitchell looks like quite the line up.  I'm not used to hearing him in such a large group...that one later.

Just to get the interconnects settled and warmed, I put them in the second system between the ZROCK and Monoblocks...so far so good.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/25/18 at 17:34:48

Yeah, there's not that much difference between the Ultalinear and the Stradivarius to me, just a little more of the good body and detail in the Stradivarius, and when you have an all Stradivarius setup the goodnesses are all cumulatively enhanced. I hope you enjoy them, they've given me really good sound. I moved some equipment around and it turned out I was only using those in my second system. . .and I can put those you sent to me in there as I have a balanced source and a ZBIT.

The Tyner is not really one of my favorites of his or Blue Note in general but I have warmed to it over the years. At least now you can hear what the latest Japanese mastering on SHM-CD (or not, some have been reissued not on SHM-CD) sounds like. I think you'll like the Mitchell.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/25/18 at 21:31:46

Well, I did a quick test. I took the Taboo Mk IV out of my system and put in its place the Zen C amp I have that I bought four years ago (it's one modded by Eddie Vaughn to be a power amp only, and I'm not sure what other modifications were made!)

I didn't listen long. Did is sound anything like the Taboo? It had a family sound. Did it sound better than the Taboo? No. It sure needed time to warm up and come out of its dormant stage from not being used in a few months. And I didn't give it that time. I wanted to go back to pleasure listening.

But I did play music through it from the PS Audio Duo, listened to some TV broadcast via both DVR and the Blu-ray and ran a bit of an episode of the X-Files from the Blu-ray set I've been going through, Season 6.

I was surprised that everything was loud enough. Music, definitely. The video sound. . . yeah my wife might have wanted to turn it up a bit more, she doesn't hear as well as me and likes compressed sound, but man, it was loud enough. Bodes well fr me and any of the 25th Anniversary models to come.

I let out a short and subdued "Yee Ha" (what can I say, I spent more than three decades in Texas) and put the Taboo back in. Now I can stop obsessing. (Yeah, right).

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Chris K on 01/25/18 at 22:22:14

Hi Steve Randy and others!
Sorry once again no Fest for Chris. Missed you guys.
Just started following the last page of this thread. Steve are you aware the years those cuts on the Paul Chambers recoding were done? That makes it even more amazing!!!!
I simply love the great recording that was done in the mid 50's to early 60's in the jazz world. Stunning accuracy and ambience. Live stuff at the Village Vanguard and other NYC clubs is so REAL!

In the  "TONIGHTS NOTES" long post listing a bunch of tunes you listened to I wondered what speaker you listened to? More the bigger DNA horn mostly?

Demo'd lots of the cuts you played and all of it is super detailed.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Randy in Caintuck on 01/26/18 at 00:41:04



Hi Chris,

Man ..... we really missed you as well.
The Zen Fest is just not quite the same without you being there .....  

On the night that Steve and I enjoyed our extended listening session, we were using the "big DNA horns" exclusively.
While quite a bit of the music was played from Steve's collection and was new to me, I did bring a few CDs that I am very familiar with.

The Anniversary amplifier brought out some things and presented them in a way I had not heard before.  This amplifier is the real deal.

The next morning, I was able to hear the same CDs through my Betsy & Buck speakers, so I had a "double reference" for comparison.

The amp was mind blowing with both pairs of speakers.

Looking forward to having this puppy in production, as well as the upgrades that will be available for existing Decware amplifiers.

Hoping to see you at Decware Fest 2018 .....

Best wishes,
Randy

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Chris K on 01/26/18 at 15:10:10

Thanks Randy for the kind words. Good to be missed. So you and Steve listened to the BIG DNA exclusively the night and Caintuck speakers the next day. Now what I want to understand from Steve's later post after you left that he did indeed put HR-1 in and maybe even some other speakers. I'm curious as to his long post referencing several cuts he played through with color commentary just what the bulk of the listening was done on. Comparing speakers.

Steve you seemed that evening to switch out speakers at points checking not only compatibility with the monos regarding power ability with each but that the amps characteristics crossed over to other speakers. Just curious if the large horn was the main speaker used.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/29/18 at 03:03:10

Hi Chris,

Great to hear for you, and yes you are missed!

During the voicing and subsequent evaluation of an amplifier, it helps to keep variables down to a minimum so I lock into one speaker for the majority of comparisons. I usually pick something pretty fast like the HDT's, but this large DNA horn, which is what I've locked into for the majority of the development, is in the same league and I've been enjoying them since the fest.

For example, as I type this I am back to listening to the stereo model and I can feel the music in the keys of my keyboard while I type this.  Never noticed this before with all the thousands of hours of setting here listening to music... It's no louder than normal, just highly energized.

Such an amazing combination. For my ears it gets everything right from top to bottom, front to back, left to right, floor to ceiling, and does it with a perfect frequency balance in my room.

Because this particular combination makes great recordings sound real, we should describe the control:  ZDAC2's high output transformer coupled RCA jacks feeding the ZTPRE's transformer coupled RCA inputs. The output of the ZTPRE running balanced 22 feet to the ZBIT feeding the SE84UFO25 which is paired with the (let's call them) DNA2's speakers.

I would say the amp and preamp and source are the main gig here, and you could get this magic on any number of different speakers so long as you keep it at 94dB or higher and make sure the speaker has great bass.

Steve



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/29/18 at 04:20:12

 
This weekend I took a couple nights off with no music to just let the sound of both amps replay in my head. Trying to figure out what the differences are, and which one is better IF one is actually better.

The mono's have been packed and probably shipped by now, and I feel a bit of a loss. I believe they were actually better, and on certain levels they should of course be since it is dual mono. If they didn't do things better than the stereo model there would be no reason to have them. That said the question obviously becomes how much better and what if anything can the stereo model do better than monos?

After listening to the stereo amp tonight I realize what the difference actually is. The difference is that the stereo amp is female and the mono amps are male.  Bother and sister I would say, of some genetically advanced race ; )

Being mostly male ourselves we are conditioned to think stronger or bigger is always better. As I listen to the stereo amp tonight, this is what I see it's capabilities are: (see image below)



Anyone who thinks this female has less power than her male counterparts is a fool, in fact this particular one could easily take out an army of men by distracting them in front of oncoming traffic, so on this point I will suggest the stereo model and mono's are equal but different just as male and female.


I swear every time I set in the listening chair in front of this amplifier I feel like I've went to heaven. The sound is unearthly good.

Steve





Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 01/29/18 at 05:08:16

Steve,

The Monos you just shipped were standard or modified?  You lost me in your last post as to what you are missing.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 01/30/18 at 21:47:58


The monos I just shipped were SE84UFO3's with the 25th Anniversary Updates.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 01/30/18 at 21:59:40

Cool. I hope they went to someone who will report about them here.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 01/30/18 at 22:13:49

Can you give a price including the upgrades?  I'd like to see if this is something I can aspire to!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/01/18 at 04:01:09

The Anniversary Mods for the SE84UFO3 are $680 per amp.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by joralieu on 02/01/18 at 04:30:53

Will the anniversary mod work with a Mini Torii?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/01/18 at 05:05:27


Now that the dust has settled from the UFO325 development and I am able to just focus back on enjoying the SE84UFO25, I thought I would post another short update.

For about the past week I have shifted from digital to tape. I am using two machines. One machine is feeding the ZTPRE just like the ZDAC2 so I can get comparisons between the two sources without changing any other variables. The other machine is feeding the amp direct.

My cat has  adopted the role of tape inspector and he now sits on the tape machine and watches the tape go round and round. He takes his job very seriously, which is somewhat amusing as he becomes transfixed by the rotating reels just like I do. You have to realize that for a creature that can sit motionless for hours waiting for a mouse, this is like a day at the races!

Anyway before I got sidetracked on that, the Anniversary Zen is just a complete joy to listen to. I have been going through my tape library and literally hearing all my tapes for the first time. Even better it's resolution has helped me to diagnose and solve problems with certain tapes easily, issues that I have been distracted by for years. So what I am saying is that for years each of my tape machines have had certain issues, like the operator not adjusting things right, that are now easily detected. Another issue is that many tapes are not labeled as to what EQ they use, IEC or NAB and while you can usually tell by ear, there are some tapes that fall into the neutral zone and you waste a lot of time listening to them both ways. Now, the EQ settings are obvious within seconds.

Back to the cat... "Fine, if I can't touch the tape I'm just going to play with the knobs." as he systematically discovers what each one does...

Since making this amp, I feel like my hearing has gotten 100% better because I can hear so clearly and so deliciously deep into the music and of course my hearing has not changed, it is the amplifier. What has changed besides the amplifier, is my music library has finally unmasked itself.  

You would think the balance of recordings you wish were better and recordings you love would change as the dramatic increase in resolution would make the lessor recordings unlistenable.  Just the opposite has actually happened with many of the recordings that fell into the category of "why isn't this better?".  Recordings that dwell heavily into compression that sound more like noise than music, yea, they still suck.

Anyway, it has been a real pleasure to find out that virtually all of my tapes sound twice as good as they did a few months ago!

My favorite set up the past few days has been my Otari tape machine plugged directly into the Anniversary Zen's input jacks. Can't get much simpler than that, and at 10.75 volts into a ZBIT transformer a preamp really isn't needed.

Also, with this direct from the master tape to the amplifier with nothing else, more variables are eliminated so I can wrap my head around the sound of just the amplifier even better than before.

So the takeaway I get from tonight is that the amplifier is so good, it has caused me to re-listen to tapes I had on the sell pile and caused me to put many of them back in the keep pile. Imagine that!

I suspect that between the digital recordings, LP's and tapes, this amp will pay for itself in new music that I own but never thought I liked.  


Steve



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/01/18 at 05:11:08



Quote:
Will the anniversary mod work with a Mini Torii?


That's a good question. Two thoughts come to mind. Not sure there would be room for all the additional caps even it is was possible, and not sure if the original 6V6 bias point would pull to much current or not. Many of the alternate tubs that can be used with the amp would likely no longer be usable.  

Nevertheless it is something that will need to be explored in the coming months.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by alper_yilmaz on 02/01/18 at 06:09:31

Steve,

Do you have a price in mind for the upgrade for SE84UFO?  Or a price for the brand new version of it?  Also, when should we expect the release?

Best,

Alper


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/01/18 at 16:45:40

Steve,

plans for going under the hood of Rachael with the 25th mods?

.....NOS tube rolling never gets old....to hear my favorite Input Tubes, using both halves of the triode driving a EL34, KT88 in your Triode or 6L6G/6PS3-E's.....in Triode is an exciting thought.

.....and the obvious parallel's of running for example/from my matched quads....KT88's & 6PS3-E's in both my ZMA and Rach'. 5.8/channel headroom too (for my Speaker's).

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/03/18 at 01:54:43

Some of the technology (for lack of a better term) will find it's way into every applicable opportunity over time, no doubt.

Right now, based on what I know about VR tubes, the only amplifier that qualifies for the full benefit of this technology are amps that use the EL84/SV83/6P15P output tubes. The reason is that these tubes bias at only 25 mA which is the happy zone for a VR tube. EL34's and everything else we use bias between 40~60 mA. Even if it were possible by overheating the VR tube, there would be sag.

Remember, running the entire amplifier from the VR tube slowed the amplifier down which is in part what polishes the liquidity. The bypass caps that were always optional from a design aspect are now required to restore the speed.

Think of it as a car going down the highway. It's speed can very from 40 to 80 mph. Adding the VR tube in the fuel line changed the speed from 10 to 60 mph. The torque nearly doubled however, so the ride became smoother and more exciting at the same time.  To get the top end back the bypass caps are placed all along the fuel path. The final result is that you have a car going down the highway with twice it's normal torque and a speed range from 10 to 160 mph with the most insane throttle response you've ever experienced. It is so sensitive that if an ant crawled across the accelerator pedal you would feel it.

So only the original Zen Triode 2 watt Amplifiers will ever have this technology until I get a lot smarter.

-Steve


P.S.

Been listening to my radio station reel to reel tapes again and they range from 1950-1989 and are primarily but not all, soft rock and country. The reason I went with these formats is because they never use a compressor. As a result of not using a compressor and being recorded on tape originally, the sound quality is at worse equal to a 45 RPM record but most of them were taken directly from tape.

These recordings as it turns out are virtually 90% audiophile grade sound. Most of the classic rock and country we grew up with is this way. I have very little hard rock and metal because those formats could not exist without a compressor. Compressors are what kills sound quality.

Anyway, the point was to say that most of the classic rock we grew up with was actually recorded with audiophile standards and plays back with the same quality as many great jazz or classical recordings.  I couldn't commit 100% to this statement until I started using this amplifier...

SE84UFO25 - Operating at a higher state of consciousness for the sonically aware.



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/03/18 at 02:47:25



Listening to a 1991 tape from the tale end of analog radio.  NSC 101, 1991, Week 17

Rodney Crowell - Things I wish I'd Said  

Simply stunning as is pretty much the entire tape. I can't believe how many of these I sold thinking they weren't very good. Mistake.

What a game changer!

This amplifier is magic.


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/03/18 at 07:39:01

Got it. I'm good, .... can't go back to lower power.  Take care. ~ S

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/03/18 at 13:51:17

I can. I'm actually really enjoying lower power again. I'm going to get one of these new amps one of these days.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 02/03/18 at 14:57:20

I can as well.  I've lived with Rachael the last year or so.  Even thinking of selling my Torii which I never thought would happen.  If I can part with enough gear I may buy a 25th.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/03/18 at 15:28:30

You know I'm kidding!

Thanks Steve, for putting the EL34 VR in perspective and how the new Amps run.

Lon, as we discussed, I think either/or, will power your HR-1's @ their 92.5 @ 1watt/1 meter.

Me personally, I want UFO3/25 Mono's.  I read you Palomino, what can I sell..... . Not my ZMA.....just want Steve's Pentode's in triode again.....and of course his new cap topology going on here. Never should have sold my SE84CS!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Palomino on 02/03/18 at 15:42:21

Sorry Stone.  Tuned in late so I missed the humor.

I found Eric's amp plenty loud and nearly comparable to Rachael with my 94 db OBs.  My room is smaller though.

Just reading about the DNA II led to tossing the silver flutes back in last night.  With my adjustment rings I can quickly change drivers now.  Lots
to like about the silver flute sound.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by joralieu on 02/08/18 at 03:09:33

Will the 25 anniversary amp have an XLR input option?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/09/18 at 01:33:35

There will be no XLR input option on the amplifier itself because there is not enough internal space to accommodate the required transformers.  We will recommend the ZBIT for those running balanced sources or preamps.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by darrwood on 02/09/18 at 01:58:44

I'm excited to keep up with the 25th Anniversary will it be the same foot print as my UFO select and will there be a mod for it?    I also like the idea of a more affordable amp for entry level  
the Kids need a new toy too!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/09/18 at 02:32:02

It is the same footprint yes.  As far as mods for any of the other amplifiers it is way to early to know.  We will be exploring things over the next year or two to see what can be done.  It will never be possible to change any existing Zens into a full anniversary model except for the SE84UFO3's.

We will be in production with the new Anniversary amp sometime this summer and be able to price it then.

The budget zen is going to be an interesting project.  I'm working through several ideas and will be doing some prototypes this summer as well.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 02/09/18 at 05:53:22

Steve,

I assume you only have one 25th Anniversary Zen built.  I'm curious as to the sound of this amp bridged.  I have to believe others are equally curious.  

Do you foresee an opportunity to have a pair of these on hand to bridge and evaluate the sound product?

The big question for many will be ... anniversary upgraded Zen monoblocks? Or a bridged pair of 25th Anniversary amps for the extra output?  This is assuming high efficiency speakers as a constant.  

With my 97dB Omegas, I can do either.  But if the sound is comparable, I will bridge the stereo amps for the extra output and headroom.  


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Martindfletcher on 02/09/18 at 10:50:25

I am with Jeff on that one.  Unless there can be 16 ohm taps on the 25th monos or even single amp.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/09/18 at 16:03:40

Well, I was curious about a bridged pair too, but decided that the Monoblocks would suit my needs and ordered a pair today. What the heck. I was obsessing over the choices and decided to go with the SE84UFO3 . . . I'm hoping that a treble cut circuit can be added and I want Type II Jupiter caps.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 02/09/18 at 17:05:30

Awesome Lon!  Exciting stuff.  Ill definitely be anticipating their arrival and am eager to hear how they perform with your HR-1's.  I almost pulled the trigger on a set of those mono's a couple days ago, but with the "bridged" question still lingering, I decided to pull back the reins.  

I am in no real hurry and while the bridged stereo amps will set me back quite a bit more than the monoblocks, I am looking at these to be the end all.  ...at least until the next greatest thing comes along  ;)

There is no doubt that those monoblocks will sound amazing!  

 


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/09/18 at 17:14:40

Yeah Jeff, you know that I won't be quiet about it when it arrives months from now. I think they will work well with the HR-1s. . . they're not that much lower powered than my Taboo Mk IV which works very very well for music with headroom with the HR-1s.

And in the meantime maybe I'll sell a few amps and preamps . . . hope so.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/09/18 at 21:08:18

Very nice Lon. I too, look forward to your impressions come late summer or Fall most likely.

The UFO3's 25th juiced, are my choice as well. However, with two graduations this year and moving.....my budget does not include the Mono's in 2018.

......look out 2019, it's happening! ZMA & these Mono's will be a good problem to have for the rest of my days.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/12/18 at 16:17:02

".......bridged stereo amps will set me back quite a bit more than the monoblocks."

Jeff, ...but as you said above...if this is going to be your end all. Why not?


To steep for me.....however, the Juicy Mono's....and I deleted a post earlier....I am considering the entry level one too. Knowing, it would  drive me crazy....wanting to hear the Mono's....I might buy both and after 6 months to a year....I:

1) can't part with either
2) sell one or the other.

NOTE: ZMA not for sale....I would bury it some where out along the interstate in its Pelican Case/well wrapped further an preserved.......before I would part with it.       8-)

Like you said, no hurry and not in the cards for me in 2018.....alas till 2019....when I settle in to TX and my dedicated Electric Line too. Yeah, I will goofy ground it outside also...drinkin' the Kool-aid!   ::)

Anyway, ....look forward to more from Steve in due time...about your bridging the Stereo Pair/question....more comparisons of the Mono's and the Stereo unit/single......and of course the Entry Level killer diller.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/12/18 at 17:31:27

Let me rephrase my more comparison's.....thought.

Steve clearly states in reply #571:
"I'm also going to predict that the lower voltage stereo model is going to have a more dreamy sound while the higher voltage monos will have more headroom.

To try to figure out which is actually better is going to be a waste of time because we're into the subtleties of voicing.

My strong advise is to stick with the regular Zens on speakers less than 94dB 1w/1m (unless you listen near field)......."



I listen near field and always have with my Decware in an dedicated Room with Treatment (or as I call it/I'm-just outside near field).

I'm flat out buying the Mono's (UFO325)....and not looking back.
"....which is better, will be a waste of time as Steve mentioned."

Pick:

UFO325
or
SE84UFO25
or.....potentially bridged Stereo x 2 ($$)
or
Budget Zen
with some of the 25th magic.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by mark58 on 02/12/18 at 18:05:42

I'm looking forward to impressions on the new 25th Anniversary Amps but even more, I'll be watching for some UFO Monos on the used market... :)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/12/18 at 18:09:45

That makes sense to me. . . .You know how good the previous Monos (that you have) are and I know how good the UFO transformers are. . . worth going for.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/12/18 at 18:18:08

I always buy new to support Decware....then have sold.

Mark? You can buy my Mono's!   ;D

UFO325 purchased new by me, Jan/Feb/2019......you never know....late 2019 will come soon enough.... .

Yes, look forward to further words from Steve through this summer and reading others whom have purchased.  .......Lurkinnnnng........ .

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by mark58 on 02/12/18 at 18:35:25

Hey Stone, I don't care who's UFO Monos I buy as long as I get my Price... :)

All my Decware gear in the Cave...Torii MK IV, CSP3, ZP3 and HR Ones were purchased new...

All Decware gear in the second system was purchased used except the ZROCK... Zen Signature Monobocks (2008), ZP3 and CSP3.  I just added some used Trapeziums for a future desktop system.

PS...Oops...forgot the Taboo MK III purchased New

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/12/18 at 19:02:49

Good to read Mark. ....and you paid a fair price for the Tubes....or I would not have sold them to you.

Me too/New:
SE84CS, Torii III, SuperZen CKC, CSP3 with Jupiter Caps, Decware PAC-S(ilver) & Zen Styx.
.....and of course New, ZMA & Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder.

+, had in for audition EL34 Mono-blocks, ZR2 & one of Steve's earliest Buffers (and took the re-stock fee/shipping to and from hits). Also, purchased an nice wood case piece from Ziggi, for my SE84CS.
.....Monoliths....were the only used item, for me.





.......here is my order of Listening (keeping each scenario in one to two weeks at a time):


ZMA direct from ZDSD with Platinum Mullard pair (Cryo'd) 7308/E188CC ....as inputs/ZMA


ZMA direct from ZDSD with Platinum Ediswan pair (Cryo'd) CV2492/6922 ....as inputs/ZMA


Audio Research LS-2B/single Plat' Mullard 7308/E188CC (Cryo'd) to Plat' Tungsram pair PCC88/7DJ8 ...inputs/ZMA.




ZMA, updated with robust Western Electric Bias/Balance Meter's and new Resistor's ~ Feb/17




Listening Room:



Room Treatments from Michael Green & my Home Brew


Sony as Transport (DVP-NS57P)
Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC ~.5 meter


Shunyata Research Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord to ZDSD {Significant}


Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder
***************************************************************
W/Steve's Output Transformer's/kicking to the Curb quite a few superb DAC'S
***************************************************************
(@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/192)


WBT RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.5 meter


Audio Research Stereo Line Stage Amplifier w/remote volume & mute LS-2B MkII
NOS Platinum/Mullard 7308/E188CC / Cryogenic


WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.75 meter


Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~BIASED at *56* mA~
NOS/Platinum/Mullard E188CC/7308's in my A12 an B12 Input positions Cryogenic~NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Inverter Tubes~NOS RCA 0A3's & matched Quad/Tung-Sol KT66's & 6PS3-E's

ZMA adjusted at  60-80% Gain ~ when ARC Line Stage is in, running via Remote Control



***************************************************
Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades
***************************************************
Kimber 8TC new/white & clear jacket/to remind me of how fluid/timbre correct and good the KS6063 are
Also Read.....the lowest noise floor you will ever witness....that a $5180 pair of speaker cables should have....and they do.....(I was fortunate to get them for $2680/Demo pair/mint, from the CableCo....worth every penny/extraordinary realism.....)



Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified)
.....enjoying from 8 ohm ZMA Taps
...........purchased New/and throttled the Monoliths...and sent them away...


Caintuck Audio Eminence Alpha 15" OB BASS Unit
at 53Hz, with my Velodyne CHT 130 watt plate amp and 0 degree phase.....at 1/6 volume on plate
Plate Amp....regen'd clean ~ plugged into P3
Auralex Subdude (a must)
(NOTE: Only needed when the recording calls for...Open Baffle Bass has been the best integration I have witnessed when needed and called on)







Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)


XLO Pro Power Cord to ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ARC Line Stage and ZDSD, Regenerated/*120*~ Multiwave off...ZMA on High Current Output).


~NOS Platinum Tubes from Upscale Audio/Kevin:

(Great Britain) Mullard 7308/E188CC ~  2 pair (both pair Cryogenic)
(Germany) Telefunken 6922/E88CC ~ 1 pair (painfully expensive/worth it)
(US/Great Britain) Ediswan CV2492/6922 ~ 2 pair (one pair Cryogenic)
(Hungary) Tungsram 6922/E88CC ~ 1 pair
(Hungary) Tungsram PCC88/7DJ8 ~ 1 pair.

From Cryoset:
(Russia) 6N23N/P-EB ~ 2 pair

(Russia) 6N23P's ~ 2 pair/came with ZMA.    

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/12/18 at 21:47:46

UFO325/2019 or Bust!

.....till then.....hey, it is CARNIVAL'!!!!!!!!!!!

FAT TUESDAY TOMORROW.

Okay, my LYFT app is working...gooooood to go!  

CHEERS!  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/13/18 at 01:57:40


I've been reading various comments about 16 ohm speakers and thought I would mention that when we went to the UFO output transformers, we set them up with a switch to select between LO and HI impedance speakers.  LO = 2~6 ohms  HI = 6~16 ohms.

As for running the SE84UFO25 in mono, I will have a pair of working amps this summer if someone needs to hear them bridged.  

-Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/13/18 at 02:24:54

SE84UFO25 UPDATE

This is truly the hardest amplifier to quit listening to I have ever experienced. I am rotating between digital and analog and enjoying either with the same fascination. I actually wake up looking forward to hearing it. These are signs that everything I've stated about the amp are not only true but going to remain that way forever. This is not an amplifier you are going to get tired of unless you pair it with the wrong speakers.

So while we wait for the chassis to be completed here is what the layout and silk screen will look like:


 
It will be powder coated with this green patina and the silk screen will be white.  Jacks will be silver, meters will be backlit.




Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by AlexR on 02/13/18 at 02:30:56

Steve, thanks for the great blogging on the 25th anniversary Zens. It's been a fun read and is definitely wetting my appetite. Can you clarify if the 25th anniversary tech will make its way into some of the other models? I thought I read up-thread that it would only work in the little Zens, but then it looked like you mentioned you would experiment with it in the higher-tier models as well.

The reason I ask is, I'm close to pulling the trigger on an a Torii Jr., but wonder if I should wait for an upgraded model to come out, if that would happen in the next year or so. I'll also mention that I definitely plan on getting a 25th anniversary Zen regardless of whether I get the Torri Jr. now or wait for a potential upgraded model to be released.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 02/13/18 at 03:38:20

Why not black top plate instead of green and no silk screening as an option?

Any plans for revised top plate for SE84UFO325 instead of “hiding” the glow below the plate?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 02/13/18 at 03:44:20

Input is in the front between bias and 7DJ8? Stepped or smooth volume controls?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 02/13/18 at 16:47:48

Is there room to fit another diminutive silver switch above (or beside) the bias switch?  I would be ecstatic over the option to flip that "Stereo/Mono" switch to change the wiring of the to RCA inputs to MONO.  

The one thing that continues to irk me is the need to use Y adapter if running them mono.  I know, I know....  one will argue a quality Y-adapter won't diminish. But when you have made a significant investment in your 2 meter interconnects (4-figure price tag), like I certainly have, the idea of adding in 6"-12" of an inferior connection cable with a different design and different metallurgy (even if both silver, or both gold, or whatever else, it won't have the same properties), doesn't leave me feeling warm and fuzzy inside.  

Or, let me pay an option to have just the RCAs wired internally for MONO out of the factory - even if the amp still requires bridging.  The amp layout could remain the same for ease of manufacturing.  

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lonely Raven on 02/16/18 at 16:21:46


Steve, I'm sorry if this has been brought up already, as i've not had time to be on the forums much and only skimmed the last page.

Is it possible for the VR tubes to share the workload? Instead of one VR tube handling that 25ma, can you parallel them to get 50ma for an EL34 setup?

I know that would be a crapload of tubes on the plate, but if it would make this technology stretch into the EL34 range it might be used in the Rachels and maybe the bigger amps?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/16/18 at 18:45:45

Bingo....give this tech with 5.8 subjectively+/ch triode EL34........


Ohhhh, how sweet thy Rachael will be.

To get rid of the sag....more bypass caps in the fuel line/path?


PS ~ just chillin with a couple BAD WEATHER HOPCROMANCER IPA's. Listening to Dish Network SeriusXM Radio with Decware PAC-S in play....all so good in fleshing it out.....through my Polk SRS SDA 1.2's.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 02/16/18 at 23:10:31

So, I fired off a message to Mark Markel, owner of Analysis Plus.  After discussing my desire to bridge a pair of stereo amps into mono (25th Anniversary stereo), he came up with a solution I am happy with.  I use their Silver Oval-In interconnect cables throughout my system.  Not wanting to disturb their greatness in any way, he is going to custom build me two Silver Oval-In "Y-cables" to split the R & L interconnects to each pair of stereo input RCAs on the 25th Anniversary amps.  Same material, same construction, just split into two leads at the amp end of the cable.

This I can live with.  Ok, brring 'em on!    

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/17/18 at 00:20:09

There you go, that was a great solution!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/17/18 at 01:22:00


Sorry guys, it's way to early in the process to even attempt to accurately answer any of these questions beyond what I've already stated in previous posts.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/17/18 at 01:38:44

I will comment that the ZMA because of its giant caps already has a similar liquidity so I plan to re-examine the bypass caps in it and see if additional speed is desirable.

The TORII JR, is already faster than the ZMA and uses UFO transformers so I'm thinking it should be left alone or at least wait until last to be explored.

Even if they could be used in parallel, you have to realize these tubes are not even being made anywhere on the planet, and designing more amplifiers that use them beyond this would be foolish.  Perhaps along the journey I'll find similar tubes that can be used, but again, it's best to stay focused on the prize.  The prize is the speed of the high efficiency speaker coupled with a 2 watt amplifier.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JOMAN on 02/17/18 at 20:58:53

THANK YOU STEVE!!.. for staying focused and keeping an eye on the prize - high efficiency speakers with a 2 watt amp.

The hardest thing to do is to maintain objectivity when considering high efficiency/low power.  I couldn’t for the longest time.  Even when my system presented undeniable proof of the possibilities of such a system I had the hardest time accepting what I was hearing.  At times I would walk away... and try to reconcile what I was hearing against my established conclusions, I had lost OBJECTIVITY!

I could’nt take the grills off of my Omega S3HOXRS for that reason.  Now, finally, I can and do without giving it a second thought.  I’ve regained my objectivity.  Which means that I can understand and accept both sides of the matter... High efficiency/low power and low efficiency/high power.

The thing for me is that I have tried both and have had to spend time and effort with both to achieve my goals and I’ve gotten a lot closer to my goals with high efficiency/low power than with the other.  So I’m not pitting one against the other in an effort to prove anything, but very few have taken the time and effort to work with high efficiency/low power and have spent far more time with the other, why?,  Because they came to a conclusion regarding high efficiency/low power and lost objectivity.    

There’s room for both.  There are reasons for both.  It’s great that your spending time to bring the 2 watt ZEN to the next level.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/17/18 at 23:35:57

JOMAN - Nicely put.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Poor guy on 02/18/18 at 21:48:27

     Greetings All You music lovers this is my first post. I have been lurking in the background since I bought my zen select kit in 2002.
     I am the poor guy that Steve mentions in page 12 of post 580, well I was finally able to pry myself out of this black hole called a listener's seat and I am moved to speak up.
    Well just when you think things can't get any better Steve does it again! This time he hit this one out of the planet!! These amps are simply wonderful. I heartily agree with all his impressions of this amplifier. First thing I have a confession to make I am a polygamist I just cannot seem to be married to one amplifier they all have their different flavors. but these amps may change all that, my other amps in comparison are slow and unfocused although they may give a pleasant illusion. with the 325 Manos and good recording it is spooky real!! You're as close to real as I've ever heard it it's like your ears are hearing exactly what the microphones here you can easily hear if the balance is off either left or right with near field listening. Clarity  Focus  speed  it's all there! Hey they even make digital sound fantastic, and analog especially 50s and 60s tube recordings you know before transistor will take you to a higher level they can sound glorious. I can't imagine anything better!
  Okay you can change the flavor by playing with wires or tubes but right now I have no desire to, I am enjoying Steve recipe. I'd like to also mention like Steve that these amps sound more powerful than what they are in my room 10 and 1/2 by 19 ft set up on the diagonal. I get all the volume I need and M amazed at how they don't seem to clip I think my room overloads before these amp show any sign of distress amazing! And the base I get is all I need it is hard to believe all this is coming out of those tiny output Transformers. Thanks again Steve you are a Master Chef and I know you love your hobby as much as we do and want to share it with us and as a bonus you're able to make a good living doing it.
   Where else can you get this quality.! American-made point-to-point wiring and no circuit boards and a lifetime warranty Steve we all enjoy your Explorations and thinking outside the box going where no one has gone before.
 Well I got to go that black hole is starting to pull on me again.! ;D

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/18/18 at 22:17:54

Thanks for weighing in, I was hoping you would! This makes me feel really good as I have a pair of the Monoblocks on order and can't wait to hear them!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 02/18/18 at 22:31:05

Thanks Poor guy!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Poor guy on 02/18/18 at 23:52:46

With the right speakers there's no need to look any further if you don't need the power

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 02/19/18 at 00:48:28

Hi Steve,
I assume you will let us know when we can order the SE84UFO25. Timing still looks like Summer? What color do you use for backlit meters?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/19/18 at 17:24:35


The backlit meters are incandescent... I don't do LED's.



Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by beowulf on 02/21/18 at 22:48:58

How about this for a new chassis design Steve?  Just having fun and sketched these out.

I got the basic idea from a pair of old Siemens 6S ELA 2427 tube amps which were kind of a narrow shoe box shaped chassis and then removed the tubes from the inside and mounted them on the top of the chassis so everyone can bask in the Decware Zen tube glow.



New interpretation:


I think you could basically use this design for almost all of your amps just needing to adjust them for size.  I can picture a set of 25 Anni mono blocks and a ZP3 all in the same style chassis taking up only one shelf on a hi-fi rack. :D


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/23/18 at 03:20:09

Nice chassis designs!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/23/18 at 04:09:41

ANNIVERSARY UPDATE

Well, it has finally happened... I was forced to put a different amplifier in for the first time since building the anniversary prototype.

It is a moment I've been putting off for good reasons. One of which is that I've been enjoying it too much to want to change anything. But the real reason was fear.  

Once I actually do start comparing the amps I think I already know what would happen, but no matter what actually happens I'm screwed.

Scenario A: I put in another Decware amplifier which I have always loved and it fails to impress by comparison thus sounding bad to me for the first time ever.  That's of course going to be stressful.

Scenario B: I put in another Decware amplifier which I have always loved and it sounds better than the Anniversary amp. That's of course going to be even more stressful.

As predicted it was scenario A. It wasn't pretty. Then to add insult to injury later in the same evening I decided to put the corner horns on and similarly to the amp comparison, they now sounded broken compared to the DNA2's. I have never heard them sound bad before.

Sound Quality is a journey of context. The best thing you can do to ensure what you have sounds it's best is to be sure not to listen to anything better.

So it is a bittersweet experience that will no doubt repeat itself several more times before it's over.  

Also I have to say, that the DNA2's have been extraordinary on every level to the point where you believe they could never sound bad. When the amplifiers were changed, the speakers dropped from a 10+++ to about a 6.  As a speaker designer I have to tell you that this is a highly disturbing thing to witness.

I think this amplifier and speaker combination is so outrageous that to me it's in the same league for Decware as putting a car in space was to Elon Musks' Space Ex.  Hey, you don't see any other cars in space do you?  

For years I've been wanting to shoot a Zen Amp out of a cannon right through a concrete block wall and then re-tube it, plug it in and listen to it to demonstrate just one reason why an amplifier without circuit boards is better.

[smiley=tunes57.gif] Now I'm thinking we need a Zen Triode Amplifier, 25th edition in space.... Actually in orbit.  We already have amps in space thanks to the abductions over the years... see video:  https://decware.wistia.com/medias/roqnquwf13


Steve

P.S.  If you enjoyed the video, here is part II.  https://decware.wistia.com/medias/puv6rk8rue

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/23/18 at 10:22:20

I would have predicted that there would be a let down. But the earlier amps are still great, it's just Zen marches your designs forward and this is an age of progress in some wonderful things.

Better get that newly sized DNA Horn marching towards production!

Yes, a Zen Amp in Space. . for the "Year of the UFO." Seems appropriate! LOL

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by lazb on 02/23/18 at 14:30:26

I must concur with Steve! He seemed, even visually, a bit shaken at the amp switching scenario! "There is just not as much there!", was the comment.
And Lon, nice turn of phrase!!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by JOMAN on 02/23/18 at 17:22:38

OK, time for a little objectivity here...

Is the Anniversary Amp THE PERFECT AMP?  I’m going to say that as good as it promises to be... NO!  Does that mean that it should not be released until the PERFECT AMP is available for fear that it will be so bad in comparatison to THE PERFECT amp when it is available??

Do that and I will visit you with ill intent.

The not so perfect UFO2 has been a great experience and if it wasn’t do you think that I’d buy the Aniversary Amp?  It was perfect for what it was intended to do.

So don’t look back with regret, it will prevent you from keeping focus on the objective.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Poor guy on 02/23/18 at 22:39:07

UFO 325 versus Tori MK 3
Okay I had to do it my Mark 3 amp is running New Old Stock Golden Lion kt77 tubes unfortunately I do not have the UFO output Transformers yet but I had to do a comparison the Tori Push Pull amp has the hit that Steve talks about it also has more power of course I noticed that the instruments are in place in the sound field separated from themselves which sounds really good but with the Manos the soundstage is continuous there is more information between the instruments especially with recordings that are naturally miked mixed recordings may be less noticeable but still sound very good the Tories have a richest sound more harmonics more distortions but even order distortions can sound really good hey when you split the signal and put it back together it can't be as pure as single ended the Manos are simply seamless there is just more information and they show no signs of stress with the right speakers I'm running open baffles homemade with vintage drivers I would say approximately 95 + efficiency show my impressions are that the Tory 3 is very enjoyable maybe especially on rock music but the Manos blow them away I kind of like both of them they both have different flavors but with the mono's and good recordings you are just about there in the dark both amps look really cool especially when lit up together I don't want to part with either I guess I'm still a polygamist either amp can take you away from reality into a world of sound



Greado epoch  Sota star  audio quest  pt9  zmc1  zp3  cp2 audio quest quartz
Se84 UFO 325 Dnc1 Zstysg

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Poor guy on 02/23/18 at 22:49:49

PS these Manos are simply compelling they draw you into the music you really can't say enough about them thanks again Steve




Cd-200i   c-dac 1 Zbox Z stage cp2
 

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/24/18 at 00:17:51

Interesting comparisons Poor Guy. Yes, I too have a Torii Mk III and love it, but there is something about the Taboo Mk IV that for my needs now (and with the killer gain I can drop into it from ZTPRE, ZBOX and ZROCK2) is just more satisfying. Similar to the Monos you have there's more information in the soundstage and it's enveloping and the sound is great for jazz and classical and even rock and video material. I can't wait to hear the 25th Anniversary Monoblocks, I think I'll have the next pair after yours.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Poor guy on 02/24/18 at 00:52:11

Hello l o n just finished listening to a mono Lionel Hampton recording good mono can sound almost like stereo a good string quartet can sound really good either mono or stereo anyway now that I have my monoblocks I'm thinking about the ZT pre I'm thinking that it may be nice to run balanced to these amps whenever this poor guy gets some extra cash anyway you made a good decision you're really going to enjoy these monoblocks I favor them over the Tory 3 it's hard to take them out of the system looking forward to others impressions when they get theirs it should be really interesting

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Lon on 02/24/18 at 01:42:43

I love good mono as well. A lot of the music I love to listen to was recorded before stereo, what you gonna do? I find when I have the system tailored to mono--strong center image, frequency balance even across both channels, etc.--stereo sounds phenomenal.

I'll definitely share my impressions of the Monoblocks when I get them!

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 02/24/18 at 17:23:35

How do the anniversary amps do with average or bad recordings?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/24/18 at 17:34:06


Still trying to wrap my head around that one... it is handling that differently as well. Bad sounding recordings now have a complexity that would have Spock from StarTrek doing the one eyebrow thing.  

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/25/18 at 17:31:05

Steve, you mentioned earlier:

"I will comment that the ZMA because of its giant caps already has a similar liquidity so I plan to re-examine the bypass caps in it and see if additional speed is desirable.

The TORII JR, is already faster than the ZMA and uses UFO transformers......."

....can you give us a timeline of your re-examination with by-pass caps & approximate cost (x 2) both channels?
....I believe it was $680 per mono UFO3 upgrade.

I have no problem with $1360 + shipping to and from Decware for my ZMA enhancement. If, you deem this to be a damn good enhancement for my ZMA.



I find Jeff's experiment with the Power Caps alone first; very interesting and I commented so..... .

Jeff is experimenting with the ZMA Power Caps......alone/no by-pass initially.....
Exercise in SPEED (found in the ZMA Forum):

"There is an additional (identical) 47uF cap between the voltage regulator (OA3) and the two input tubes on each channel.  

So, I am going to replace this pair of electrolytic caps as well with the Mundorf TubeCaps.  So this will raise the TubeCap count to (6), plus the (2) huge MLytic HP+ caps (replacing the Mallory's).  The overall parts cost is now $680 (+labor)."

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/25/18 at 22:59:41


In keeping with the question about how the anniversary amp does with average or bad recordings I decided to listen to my dry Sansui FM tuner on today's syndicated classic MP3 rock music because that is truly the worst source/recordings I know.

The result is that I've lasted just past an hour and have only thought about putting it out of its misery a couple times a minute for the last 1/2 hour.  So for what it's worth, the anniversary amp will help with bad recordings on a good source, but not with MP3 recordings on a bad source.  

I have used this tuner in the past to test the ZROCK2 and I found that pretty much fixed it for what it's worth.

Steve

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/26/18 at 00:24:29



Quote:
...can you give us a timeline of your re-examination with by-pass caps & approximate cost (x 2) both channels?



I really can't. I haven't even compared the ZMA to the UFO25. Not sure when I will, and have no idea what the outcome would be or what I would be inclined to do as a result of that outcome, if anything.

As I alluded to earlier in this thread, I imagine this will motivate some updates elsewhere in the Decware line in the coming years and after having heard how it rates against a stock Zen amp I can pretty much bank on it. Rushing to get it done on the other hand would be assuming too much too soon and isn't my style anyway.  

Not to crush the spirit of this but using the ZMA as an example, if I do develop an anniversary mod for it and people send their amps in for the mod, anything that has been changed in the amp will be removed and returned to stock prior to the mod and added to the cost of the mod so you might want to keep that in mind.

While I'm sure the tube cap has some merit, I predict depending on the circuit location using them in place of our electrolytics would be a trade-off when compared to a high quality electrolytic with the proper bypassing. Good electrolytics have a desirable depth of tone and decay and are slower than film caps. It is the contrast between slow and fast that create the window of a good bypass. Speed is relative.  If you make it only fast, you loose the contrast by which you perceive the speed. However if the slower you make it at the same time you are making it faster the greater the sense of speed.

I ignored my own advise when developing one of the original Zen Triode Monoblock prototypes by building the entire power supply from polyurethane film and foil Teflon caps and it sounded worse than a stock Zen amp. While it was no doubt much faster, it didn't sound any faster and resulted in a somewhat flat, less animated, clinical signature.

Also there is a place in every circuit for a particular type of cap based on the current, voltage and speed demands put on it. There is no formula for bypass that works for everything despite what some people teach.

Steve


Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Archie on 02/26/18 at 01:29:13

Trust the Master!   8-)

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by stone_of_tone on 02/26/18 at 01:52:38

Well understood Steve. I appreciate your ZMA so very much for my enjoyment. I will wait for when and if you decide it receives an enhancement involving the depth of tone and decay and the contrast of speed as you can only do it.

Much respect to you Steve and thanks for your candid response.

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by busterfree on 02/28/18 at 10:52:26

RE: Anniversary amps

Will an even larger power transformer make a positive difference? Have you tried a boutique IEC fused inlet from Furutech or an upgraded fuse?

Any new news?

Title: Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 03/02/18 at 15:03:25

Steve,
What is the status of those model specific component platforms you had on display at Decfest last Fall?  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/17/18 at 02:54:47

Hi Jeff,

They are going to be vibration canceling platforms designed for specific Decware amplifiers which is to say each platform will be tuned to the mass of and size of amplifier.  My plan is to release the first model for the smaller amps (like the SE84UFO25 for example) this summer.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/17/18 at 04:16:37

 
Another UPDATE:

More signs from the Audio Gods of their influence over this project...  The steel plates arrived and the thickness has been increased to 1/8 inch even though I did not change the spec and no one seems to know what happened.  (I wish I would of thought of it because it's almost a 50% increase in mass further reducing the effects of vibration and micro phonics)



It makes sense when you think about it... the original Zen Triode Amplifier was an inspiration from the Audio Gods so this 25th anniversary edition is personal to them.  I mean it's obvious right? Because I didn't think of it or see it when the clues were given, they just took maters into their own hands ; )

Right now we're working out the sockets.  Apparently they liked my first choice because the alternates should have been here two weeks ago and haven't showed up.  Supplier shows the order waiting for payment, Paypal shows order was paid three weeks ago.  

I'll keep you updated.  Hope to have a ballpark on the price by May 2018.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 03/17/18 at 06:34:47

That looks nice, Steve!


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 03/17/18 at 08:01:59

Those sure look beefy and are certainly at the level of the ZTPRE ~ which (in IMO of course) the ZTPRE sets the standard that most other Decware pieces do not measure up to when it comes to style and looks.  I love the tube designations/markings as well very professional looking!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 03/17/18 at 14:12:42

I agree with you, L R! I can almost see that in my rack!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 03/17/18 at 14:58:06

I do like the Green patina. Happy St. Patrick's Day!  

I'm French Canadian Montreal thru Quebec & the wine region of France/Origins......Languedoc-Roussillon region....yeah, thus, I like the good stuff.....as I do in Decware AMPS! ....and front end/Source.

I do..................love green though!

Cool, on the 1/8 inch plate scene.......... .





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/17/18 at 15:00:39


lazb wrote on 03/17/18 at 14:12:42:
I agree with you, L R! I can almost see that in my rack!

One day you WILL see that in your rack!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 03/17/18 at 15:12:34

I know I will! Oh, wait [smiley=13.gif]

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by DB2 on 03/17/18 at 16:22:37

"I do like the Green patina."

I seem to remember a ZMA review that said if Decware were painted green (a la Shindo) there could easily be another zero in the price tag. I hope that's not the case here....

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/17/18 at 18:15:58

I'm glad to hear Steve is getting serious about vibration control.  The thicker plate may just change the frequency and not necessarily help any underlying problem though.  I've posted several times before that when I first played my ZMA, with it sitting directly on my very solid support, I got constructive feedback that would have made it impossible to play at more than half volume.  I built a "tuned" isolation platform for it to sit on that completely eliminated the problem.  I have them under every piece of equipment, including speakers.  I'm very interested to see what Steve comes up with along these lines.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/17/18 at 18:21:00

I too have isolation under everything, and what a difference it can make. Jeff, what did those look like when you were at Decfest? Will be interesting to see Decware's product in this field.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 03/17/18 at 20:41:49

I saw the new vibration isolation platforms at the 'Fest.
They appeared to be solid Maple and had, if I remember correctly, a ball in cup arrangement. Steve told me that it really works well. He said that most other types don't work, but his did.
Sorry, it has been 5 months, I forgot the details.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/17/18 at 21:18:39

Thanks for the report Donnie. I guess that the prototype SE84UFO25 that is pictured with the red tinted top may be sitting on one of the isolation pieces then. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/19/18 at 21:36:33

My 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks went onto the bench today! :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 03/20/18 at 00:12:11

The wait is going to be pretty tough I imagine! Are the monos going to have the same top plates as the stereo version or is he sticking with the same mono plates that he uses currently?

Edit : whoa wait ... that was actually pretty fast wasn't it?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/20/18 at 00:27:39

Well, I ordered them February 9, so . . .five and a half weeks or so to "On the Bench" is quick, not terribly fast. It's been an additional three weeks or so to shipping from this point my last two orders or so. . . so I expect about three weeks to go.

I honestly don't know what the top plate will be like on these! There will be two more tubes on it but I am not sure that there will be extra silk-screening or a different color top plate. . . I actually hope NOT, i love the simple black top plate look of the SE84UFO3.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Bottlehead on 03/20/18 at 06:24:51

Lon,

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO looking forward to your impressions of the new monoblocks. I could see those happily existing with my Linear Tube Audio OTL preamp. And I couldn't agree with you more about the black top plate. I like simple, understated, classic.

Keep us up to date, please.

Randy

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 03/20/18 at 07:14:18

I actually think the new top plate looks much better, the tube markings/designations give it a very industrial cool factor as well IMO.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/20/18 at 11:51:44

Yeah, we're all different. .. I'll take what he gives me and like it, but the more they look like a regular pair of SE84UFO3 the better for me. I just love that simple unlettered look.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/20/18 at 13:41:11


Bottlehead wrote on 03/20/18 at 06:24:51:
Lon,

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO looking forward to your impressions of the new monoblocks. I could see those happily existing with my Linear Tube Audio OTL preamp. And I couldn't agree with you more about the black top plate. I like simple, understated, classic.

Keep us up to date, please.

Randy

Hi Randy! Hope you are doing well. Of course, I'll be sharing with you likely both here and off the board.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Bottlehead on 03/21/18 at 07:08:26

Beo,

I will agree with you on one aspect of the new tops: the thickness. I love that beefy, substantial look.

Randy

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/22/18 at 01:31:32

And today they are in "Testing." My last two items were in "Testing" a long time, which is great, they get broken in that way, and I welcome Steve having more time with a pair to assess and evaluate.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 03:00:52


UPDATE:  Chassis hardware selection for the SE84UFO25...

I was originally intending on using silver wherever possible especially since that would theme it nicely being a 25th anniversary product.  After thinking about it for some time I realized this isn't a firkin wedding cake and the "theme crap" is getting in the way of what I'm being drawn to do which in this case is gold.

After dozens of combinations of different types of sockets and connectors this is where it's at so far.  The only thing left is the binding posts.  I have tested many boutique posts against our standard post shown in the picture and while several are prettier, none are actually better and several were not as good.  

I have another round of binding posts on the way to evaluate.  Stuff like the 245.00 a channel FURUTECH FT-806(G) High End Performance Carbon Fiber Binding Posts and all their other models as well.  Don't panic, I haven't lost my mind!  I went directly to the manufacture of the FT-806 post in China and have it made without the FURUTECH name for less than $30.00 a channel!

So with that, the binding posts in the picture are subject to change.  If I keep these, they will be 24K gold plated to match the rest of the hardware.

BTW, waiting for all these damn parts to arrive is getting suspenseful. The chassis itself is starting to create a vacuum because it wants to be built in the worst way!  If I wait much longer its just going to built itself!






-Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 03:29:06


INTERESTINGLY...

While looking at the picture here in the post (and listening to the amp at the same time) I had another serendipitous sign from the Audio Gods! I realized the placement of things on this amplifier chassis closely resembles the flower of life which might be why I've been having a hard time not staring at it the last couple nights!





Clearly, I'm having way too much fun.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 03:48:10


Here are more pics





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 03:48:31





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 03:48:56





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 03:53:24


 


Have a great night...

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 04:37:13



See... it needs parts... wires...  wisdom!  Can you feel the vacuum?.  

This is how it happens... Basically you have a schematic, a box of parts of various sizes and this.  All you have to do is figure out the best way to connect it all and lay it out with the least number of solder nodes, the shortest amounts of wire, and spread it all out in such a way as to have the least amount of field interaction and everything has to take repeated 100 G impacts in the order of hundreds of times so lead length vs. lead diameter vs. part mass will make it difficult to lay things out the way you want to.  

Build it like it needs to survive a war and it will.  (on that note, my soldering gurus wire wrap the entire amp together so that it will work perfectly well before it's even soldered.  It's an awesome approach until you want to change something or take it apart.

Thankfully I've already done it once, so now I will have the massive advantage of seeing how it did it and copying what I like and changing what I don't like.

This is my gold watch for 25 years of loyal service coming to fruition.  OMG it's another sign!  I spelled a word right!

Happy listening :)  

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 05:16:23


Tonight I'm listening to FRIEDEMANN / THE CONCERT which I consider a A+ recording on every level. The sound with this amp is just stunning.  Again when I hear myself saying "it sounds real..." it plays against how it feels which is real. Let me rephrase that... it sounds so real it feels real. You can actually feel it, at any volume from low to high.  

If we could just pass a law where the entire world had to use one of these amps to master all recordings it would push our ascension as a species to a higher consciousness.

Stick your IPODs and earbuds up your ass, we're taking our planet back!

-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 05:38:13


OK,

Once again I had no intension on posting anything more tonight but I made the mistake of listening to the amplifier.  It has me.  I'm sorry.  I am listening to Crash Dance, Yello, Oliver Lieb and it's just so damn sick I can't handle it!  I had to leap out of the room in amazement because about half way through the track there was a sound featured well behind my right shoulder, I would have had to twist my neck around to look at it.  It felt so real and how I can I express this...  Picture an IMAX theater with 360 degree Omnivision only unlike that visual spectacular, the sound bleeds over into the visual and you not only see it but feel it. If I had a guest here tonight and told them it was only two speakers they would have known I was full of crap and left.

Perhaps the amp is activating the 3rd eye...?  it just doesn't seem possible to have this experience with only two ears.  It just doesn't.

Also as incredible as the sound I'm hearing is, ever since Randy left with his Betsy baffles that have the dual drivers, I have been waiting for the rear of the sound stage to map out in a perfect square like it did that night when he was here and it hasn't yet.  I'm just saying.  There is a sick irony in the fact that a 3K$ 2W amplifier and a $500 or so pair of speakers would set such a benchmark, when 20 years ago it was a $500 amplifier and a 30K pair of speakers that nearly accomplished the same thing.   Hmmm.


-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 05:55:47


Try some Flash In The Pan, by Friedemann for a similar experience with just mind-bending imaging and density.  

This amplifier has turned my listening room into a swimming pool where you swim in the music. Before this amplifier I did not realize such a thing was possible.  It's a dimensional shift in fidelity which deserves the best execution possible. If a typical audiophile who had spent 50 grand on his stereo would have instead purchased this amp and speakers and another 10K on a building in the back yard or dedicated listening room in the basement, the end result would have been a space ship that can time travel... which is priceless.

If I could win the lotto (which I don't play), so that I no longer had to work, I would hire lots of people and disappear in the listening room for months on end... actually for eternity if possible.



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/22/18 at 06:25:29


Look at the time stamp of this message and the last message... 30 minutes have passed and only less than 2 minutes of the song I'm listening to have passed.  Explain this.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/22/18 at 11:47:49

Going to be a great looking amp! Thanks for keeping us posted. . . the pics are excellent.

Really looking forward to the Monoblocks!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by deucekazoo on 03/22/18 at 14:33:01

Steve, the amp is looking real nice. Looking at the color of the top plate I was trying to figure out what wooden base would look good with it. I am not a fan of painted wood but I am thinking Madagascar ebony might look real nice with that top plate. Can't wait to see it all together and some wiring pics.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by maddog07 on 03/22/18 at 18:25:14

Steve,

what speakers are you using - primarily - when listening to the 25th anniversary amp?

* forgive me if this is already noted somewhere and I missed it

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 03/22/18 at 22:03:09


maddog07 wrote on 03/22/18 at 18:25:14:
Steve,

what speakers are you using - primarily - when listening to the 25th anniversary amp?

* forgive me if this is already noted somewhere and I missed it


I believe he is/was primarily using a new version of the DNA Horns that are not available yet.  Also had great results with Randy's open baffles.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 03/22/18 at 22:44:56

Steve's current reference speakers are a pair of 1966 RCA speakers that came with a turntable.
3" driver with genuine pressed wood construction.


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by metropolis7 on 03/23/18 at 02:11:47


So the benefits of the 25th anniversary design will only be experienced in a properly treated dedicated listening room? Wife and 2 year old over here make that a no-go.....

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/23/18 at 12:18:35

I really doubt the benefits can only be heard in a treated room.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by akmike on 03/23/18 at 17:10:42

How would this amp work with Martin-Logan CLX's. I have been using a Sophia Baby with acceptable results.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/23/18 at 17:28:43

Don't have any experience with these but looking at the specs and the fact that ML recommends 20 amps per channel minimum I'd say the Zen would not drive them to loud levels. . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/23/18 at 18:37:21


Quote:
So the benefits of the 25th anniversary design will only be experienced in a properly treated dedicated listening room? Wife and 2 year old over here make that a no-go.....


I was wondering the same thing -- at least as far as a serious upgrade to other Decware amps.  In the "EGG" thread Steve seemed to indicate the same thing with respect to a treated room.  I don't doubt that the 25th anniversary amp will be special but I try to read between the lines and keep some perspective.  Steve's enthusiasm can outrun my aural discrimination and my listening environment.   :-/

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/23/18 at 19:02:21

Agree. . . but. . . we have Joe and Randy and Eric who have reported hearing them with great reports and Joe was "SHOCKED." I'm expecting great sound.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/24/18 at 01:05:51


In my world the sound of amplifiers are judged on two things:  How they sound and how they image.  

The later is largely overlooked by most audiophiles because they do not have the luxury of pulling their speakers out away from the walls and creating a room where the stereo is the focus of the room ~ not an accessory in the room.  

I blame this two things: Overtaxation and ignorance. The first is self explanatory, the second simply comes from not realizing what is truly possible with respect to imaging and sound stage. You have to experience it first to really know.  

I do not consider great left to right placement imaging. A TV set can do that. Imaging is the perception of sounds in a 3D space defined by it's width, height and depth.  

Now even against a wall a pair of speakers on a good amp will have a certain degree of imaging, but it's really no different than video in so much as it's mostly 2D.  

I have made certainly one of the world's very best 3D amplifiers and most people will experience it in 2D.  For this reason some of magic of this amp will never be appreciated or experienced which led me to conclude that because of the price increase over a SE84UFO2 it may not make a lot of sense for those who can't match it with appropriate speakers or a room where you can pull the speakers out away from the wall by several feet.

We have a solution for those of you who are bumming because your room doesn't "qualify".  It's called the Betsy Baffle and it can be pulled out and placed well into ANY room because they are small and light weight with handles.  THEY will create the sound stage and 3D experience I am talking about but sadly those who have never experienced them find it too big a leap of faith to try them, which is why they didn't bother to watch the video on that page.  I would however recommend Randy's new baffles with the dual drivers or have him set you up with a passive subwoofers that the Zen can also drive.

https://www.decware.com/newsite/Caintuck.html

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/24/18 at 01:24:58


Quote:
Overtaxation


Huh?   [smiley=huh.gif]

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/24/18 at 02:02:32

Overtaxation - if we all had more money we'd probably have more options in the way of a listening room or at least bigger rooms!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/24/18 at 04:25:47


By my last posts you can see I'm applying some pressure to optimize the room and speakers because I can promise you the amp deserves it and anyone who overcomes that obstacle will be greatly rewarded by experiencing the exact sound I described in my posts and find out those posts were not only enthusiastic but completely factual.

Hopefully this will nudge those who can.  For those who can't I am completely at peace with it if you want to purchase the amp because while imaging ability can distinguish the best from a group of great amplifiers, the actual sound of the amplifier is at least four times more important.  In this particular amplifier I suspect what separates it from the pack will be clearly heard in almost any space IF it's fed with a good recording from a good source component and interconnect cable.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/24/18 at 14:42:03

Steve: overtaxation, ignorance and a third thing: family/spousal concerns. I have had a rooms where the stereo was the focus, and then I got married. . . this happened to me twice. Sure, I guess if I could make more money or keep all my money and not pay taxes I could have a dedicated listening room again but to be honest music is a part of my life and not a separate thing--I love music in my living area and to live with music, a separate room was never quite right for me.

I know I'm not alone in being challenged this way. I do get some 3D effects from these amps . . . I know that I could get more with a better setup but I'm not likely ever to have a better set up and the SOUND of these amps and what imaging I get are so spectacular that I have to experience this new "version" . . . and I will.

I think we should get together a little fund to help Juan/busterfree get a pair of the 25th Anniversary Monoblocks as he has one of the last pair PRE the Anniversary option. He could then make a DIRECT comparison between the two. Steve can and he could. . . .

I don't personally think a treated dedicated room is a prerequisite to enjoy the wonderful nature of this 25th Anniversary series. I'll find out soon.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/24/18 at 18:01:45

Over taxation ... well yeah, I didn't think you were stating such an obvious!  But living in the world as I find it, including my living room, I'm down with everything Lon said in his last post.  However, should I scratch my itch for a Zen amp, I'd definitely get the anniversary model.  The future is never known and a dedicated listening space is always a possibility.  In the meantime, sound is King!  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/24/18 at 18:43:26


I am currently waiting for another round of binding posts to show up so I can make a final choice and I am waiting for another gold plating set up to arrive so I can make sure all the gold matches.

Will be doing the anniversary mod on four more SE84UFO3's next week so hopefully after that we can complete the build on the new Anniversary amp!



Today for my first official weekend of Spring I am enjoying a snow blizzard which has forced me to stay inside and listen to the amplifier all day. I know I've mentioned it in the past, but the sound I'm getting right now is 98% as good as what I get around midnight! It is so wonderful to be able to get this sound during the day. It teaches me two things. First that my theory that part of the problem was radiation from the sun and the other part is dirty power was wrong. Second, that the Zen's new power supply is getting superior results compared to a stock Zen plugged into a 5K power regenerator.  

As solely the result of this amplifier, my serious listening time will at least double and no longer at the expense of sleep. This drops the price of the ownership in half since I'll be listening to it twice as much. (Cost of Amp divided by hours used).  

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/24/18 at 18:48:18


While there was never any question that dirty power effects sound quality, I always thought that surely part of the magic must also be having the entire planet between you and the sun.  What I'm hearing now would suggest the sun's radiation has little or nothing to do with it.

Sun = Nature.   Dirty Power = Man.   Should have seen that one coming!

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/24/18 at 18:56:14


Quote:
This drops the price of the ownership in half since I'll be listening to it twice as much. (Cost of Amp divided by hours used).  


Remember to add back in the cost of the extra electricity and tubes to run the amp twice as long!  Also the loss of income!   ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Dave1210 on 03/24/18 at 19:26:53

I'm curious how the 25th plays with the ERRx's, which could help some if the room is < ideal.

I have a nice synergy with the SuperZen and ERRx speakers that I stumbled upon recently (older Oppo source w/Decware & Audience cables).  I'm actually afraid to change anything it sounds so good...


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/24/18 at 19:30:41

Dave, if the SuperZen and the ERRx are coupling well, I can imagine the SE84UFO2-25 would be as good a fit. . . . Don't see why they wouldn't be dissimilar in power output/speaker driving.


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Dave1210 on 03/24/18 at 20:58:33

Lon...the surprising thing, assuming my ears aren't deceiving me, is that the upside potential seems large.  For example, I have beautiful sound right now, in the middle of the day, using the stock power cord to the amp, and no PSA power regeneration.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/24/18 at 21:35:26

Cool. There are so many ways to skin an audio system. And so much is subjective. Enjoy.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by busterfree on 03/25/18 at 00:31:50


Quote:
I think we should get together a little fund to help Juan/busterfree get a pair of the 25th Anniversary Monoblocks as he has one of the last pair PRE the Anniversary option. He could then make a DIRECT comparison between the two. Steve can and he could. . .


My SE84UFO3 went back to their birthplace for an upgrade. I could not justify a second set of monos, but I thought about it. I only have one “music room”. The TV system does not count and is well served by the CSP3 & SE84UFO2.

I got over my fears of shipping the amps back in part by using the original shipping materials. If the carrier played kickball with my boxes, at least they would arrive at a place to get right.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/25/18 at 00:47:29



Quote:
Remember to add back in the cost of the extra electricity and tubes to run the amp twice as long!  Also the loss of income!   Grin


Should be easily offset by needing less pharmaceuticals : )


Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/25/18 at 02:37:42

Great Juan! Now we know where two of the four amps Steve was talking about are going! I'm eager to hear comparisons, though probably not quite as eager as you are!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/25/18 at 18:30:11


Quote:
Should be easily offset by needing less pharmaceuticals : )


Touche!   :D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 03/25/18 at 19:02:18

Lately, I have been thinking that pharmaceuticals might be a necessity rather than an option while anticipating the arrival of new Decware pieces!!!!!  8-)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 03/26/18 at 16:42:35

I sure don't remember if I asked this already or if I even read a response, but is there the option of an upgrade of SE84UFO to the 25th Year Anniversary model, or is the upgrade possible only for the monoblocks?  If the former, what would be the cost around?

Thanks,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/26/18 at 17:15:19

Alper, so far it appears that Steve is working on production models and the pricing of a 25th Anniversary edition of the SE84UFO2. . .and has completed and priced the SE84UFO3 Monoblocks which can be ordered and built now. But so far there is no news of a 25th Anniversary SE84UFO.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 03/26/18 at 17:22:06

Thanks Lon...

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by jorgen on 03/27/18 at 08:44:51

Only the Monoblocks can be upgraded. The one-chassis Zen can’t fit the upgrades.
I have the Monoblocks but I’m on the fence about upgrading. As an additional cost I have to pay for shipping from Norway.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 03/27/18 at 18:05:49

So, I've been busy with work, life, health issues...fun stuff.  But I never really got a chance to post about my visit to Decware a few weeks ago, and listening to the 25th Anniversary prototype.

First off, for those that don't know (long story short), I have an original Zen amp from 1998, I think I'm serial number 47 or something. I wasn't fully happy with it and brought it to Steve to "do whatever he wanted", since he knows me well enough what I like. It seemed a serendipitous nudge, as my early Zen Amp reminded Steve of how things started, and he was able to meld 25 years of knowledge into my old amp and bring it up to date.  After the sticker shock of the upgrade (I did tell him to do whatever) I settled down to listen to the amp and it is really something special.  I'm currently listening on a pair of 91db "El Camino" speakers, and I also have a pair of MG-944 speakers that I haven't used for a few months.

So I stopped into Decware to return the Tape Tour kit since the VHS deck died, and I said to Steve...so...can I hear it?? (nodding towards the listening room and the 25th Anniversary prototype).



Now, my past few visits to check something out Steve was working on...well, I didn't like what I heard and I said something. Steve's always told me to trust my gut, and if I hear something that sounds off, say something.

So Steve warmed up the amp, and I sat down for a listen. It immediately sounded like my amp...like *just* like my amp, but I wasn't as drawn in as I am with my little Zen. I thought it was the music so I hopped on his computer and dialed up a couple tunes. Nope still the same. It was driving me nuts, it was so close, but not quite right. So I spent like 5 minutes rambling in circles trying to describe what I was hearing and explain to Steve in hopes he would figure it out. As I'm rambling he casually in his slow and thoughtful way starts walking around the shop, moving stuff around picking up tubes, putting them down again and nodding on occasion. Finally he finds what he's looking for, walks over to the prototype and swaps a regulator tube.



I resume my position on the comfy couch, cuddling with the cat, and the music starts. Then holy hell, it was like my amp, plus, plus, plus. It was so fast/sharp that it felt like I went from a half-step removed from the music to pressed right up against the squeaky clean glass. By comparison it was maybe too much, to fast, too....I kind of likened it to when you have a transistor amp that measures .000001% perfect in everything - it's amazing, but sharp to the point of being lifeless.  

It was a weird experience - Steve explained it that when you change the regulator tube, it changes the voltage, and we went from dreamy soft/slow to max voltage hardness/speed. He seemed to like the really dreamy sound, but to me while it did make things comfey and smooth out rough edges, I felt it was not as engaging as my amp. Then the other end of the spectrum was like having the speaker wires connected directly to my brain...it was just a bit too much.  We kind of laughed at this and decided a regulator tube in the middle of the two would probably be perfect for my listening style.

So now, not only can we voice the amp with the tubes, but with the regulator tube we can voice the *speed* of the amp! This is just flat out amazing to me, and not subtle mind you.

Now, this is completely my speculation/opinion after spending many, many hours with my modded pre-prototype Zen, then spending maybe an hour with the prototype Anniversary Zen (I hear in my head calling it Anni); I believe that 90% of the sound is the voicing Steve has done with the UFO transformers and speed adjustment by reworking the power supply, as well as the kick ass caps in the amp. I felt that the prototype has the same sound-DNA as mine, which pleases me greatly as I truly believe it's the pinnacle of this amps voicing. That last 10% is what the regulator tubes bring in cleaning the power and making the amp sound more DC battery like vs 120v hash. Add to that you can dial in the speed of the Anniversary amp and maybe it's an 80%/20% thing - but still, I didn't feel like my amp was lacking and I needed to sell everything to get the 25th Zen. To me, that means he's got it right!

Thinking a little more about this as I'm typing it all out - it reminds me of when I first got the PS Audio P-10 Power plant. When I put my Mystery Amp on it, I was like...meh, maybe I hear a 2-3% improvement...maybe. But then I put my little Zen amp on it and I'm like damn! That's quite an improvement!  So maybe my P-10 is helping me bridge the gap between mine and the 25th and the regulator tubes. But you all don't have to spend an *Extra* $5500 and get even more filtering and versatility baked into the amp!!

So yeah, I'm very pleased with what I heard. It sounds like my amp and then some. If you are considering purchasing the 25th and it fits what you need - I wholeheartedly say go for it, you will be very pleased.

~Eric~
AKA
The Lonely Raven

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/27/18 at 18:28:26

Thanks for the report Eric. Don't you find that changing the rectifier tube in your revamped amp accomplishes the same thing? In my Taboo Mk IV (UFO transformers) I accomplish very similar "presentations" just rolling the rectifier. I'm probably more like Steve, into the dreamy sound, and am looking forward to hearing my 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3s that have been built. I'm being patient and getting ready. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/28/18 at 05:12:06


Another update in this ongoing diary of the Zen Triode amplifier...

I just finished the anniversary mod on a set of SE84UFO3 amplifiers and am listening to them as I write this.  All I can say is that tonight's realization is that the shock of what you hear is never going to wear off.  It's the first time you've heard the amp each time you listen to it. It's a clunky way of saying that you will never get used to it. Spoiled by it...yes... used to it no.  

With this being I think the 3rd set of these I've done and spent time with I have to say I'm getting inspired.  Maybe someday we can have a pair of 25th anniversary monos in a designed from scratch chassis like the SE84UFO25.

Waiting for damn parts is maddening.  Especially when they are a week late and then you find out the order was stalled out in cyberspace.  It's probably another signal.  The mass sampling of binding posts I'm accumulating just aren't bringing anything to the table that is making me want to change from what we've always used with the exception of the gold plating.  The nice thing about doing your own plating is that you can make the plating so thick that it would well surpass anything that is being mass produced.  The difference in a dipping time of 30 seconds and 33 seconds over the cost of a run to a large company is hugely significant. Getting equipment that can regulate the time tightly is essential for production.  In my shop, I can dip the damn part for 5 minutes if I feel like it. This way I can use 24K gold instead of alloys.  

Trying to type this post while the amps are playing is just about as difficult as standing upright in a hurricane. The depth is intoxicating. I keep getting sucked to the sweet spot. BTW, I am using a pair of 6N5P input tubes to test these mono's which I frequently do. Fact is, I think unless you go NOS 7DJ8, a good testing 6N5P is going to be hard to beat.  It sounds like a 6N1P with twice the resolution. ZERO edge or dryness or strain. Neutral texture. Dimensionality is probably better.  It's a great tube.

Tomorrow I will be taking Lon's freshly built SE84UFO3's and doing the same mod on them as was done on these I'm listening to tonight. On those I have to figure out a way to install a treble control without choking the chicken...  I've never put a treble control on one of our SET amplifiers before, only the pentode designs, so it will be an interesting journey through the hyper-belt while trying not to get smashed by a meteor. Don't worry I'm a skilled pilot but the ship may need paint work before we get to goal.

The music from these amplifiers is so compelling. I'm pretty sure that if you want to reproduce it exactly, the main ingredients are going to be A) a good DAC with balanced XLR outputs. B) a ZBIT balanced XLR to RCA transformer to go between the amplifier and DAC. This will insure the imaging and the animation which is so essential. C) a pair of 94dB or higher speakers that have a full sounding bass which is to say no active subwoofers. Passive subs are welcome because they are driven by the same amplifier.

That brings me to a point about this amplifier. There is nothing the amp would like better than to drive a pair of 15 or 18 inch low frequency drivers in parallel with a nice set of full range crossoverless speakers that don't have an abundance of base on their own. You would think .... OHHH GOD, the amp will die trying to drive a pair or even four 18 inch subs at the same time as the main speakers... it will be a disaster.  The reality is that because the 4 18 inch drivers cover the bottom octave from 20 Hz to 40 Hz that the full range speaker does not, the music (energy) has a place to go, and it does. Without those 18 inch base drivers that energy reflects back to the amplifier because it had now where to manifest. This blocks power.



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/28/18 at 13:14:48

Thanks for more information and impressions Steve. Hope my request for a Treble Cut Circuit doesn't create too much of a hassle for you! I love that Circuit and know it will be very useful for me. The only thing that my Taboo Mk IV lacks is this circuit, I am enjoying it without it but if it had it I would have another layer of "tailoring" to explore.

Due to your mention (and others' mentions) of the 6N5P tubes I bought 8 of them and for the first time today I have replaced the 6 6N1P in the ZTPRE with 6 6N5P. So far they sound quite nice, a lot like the Phillips ECC189 I used for a while but with a bit more lower punch. Which is a compliment! I think I'll enjoy these. (I'm using a GE 6DJ8 very successfully in the Taboo, one of these that has a black coating inside the glass).

Edit to add: I replaced the RCA coke bottle type Type 80 rectifier with the Arcturus (Sylvania?) Type 80 rectifier and wow more low-end heft. . . Nice!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 03/28/18 at 15:04:36


Funny you mentioned the Arcturus, Lon. As I was going through my photos of my Decware visit (above), I remembered Steve mentioned the Type 80 tube, and scanned eBay to see what was available, and ordered an Arcturus last night...along with the appropriate adapter of course.


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/28/18 at 15:26:48

Very cool Eric! I find the Type 80 a very nice fit for these amps, but then again I always liked the 5Y3 type that it became in these amps. The Arcturus has a nice warm signature and interesting 'texture."

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 03/28/18 at 16:36:58


I don't really hear big differences in rectifier tubes on my Zen amp. But then I haven't really played the tube swap game on the little Zen since getting the upgrade - it's just been so tasty since Steve worked on it that I don't want to muck with it!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/28/18 at 17:18:22

Interesting as I hear distinct differences rolling rectifiers in all my Decware components.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tripwr1964 on 03/28/18 at 21:01:30

lon, ditto.  usually the first tube i roll on my decware gear.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by jorgen on 03/29/18 at 12:07:41

So many opportunities, and so many questions... Steve’s last has a comment on adding a 15 or 18” base drivers connected in parallel to main speakers. Does this mean still no crossover? What would the result be if these were OB? My mains are HO Omega Alnico drivers. Now maybe down to the 40-45hz area, since close to no help from back wall, placement 120 cm out in the room. Is this a better solution than connecting active subs from the pass through out on the amp? And the third option would be passive subs in a closed box (or maybe even vented box) but the size of an box would maybe be dealkiller in my living room.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by TheTakeOut on 03/29/18 at 15:39:52

Help!

Noob follow up question to Steve’s recent post.  I have been a bit nervous about buying a low powered amp because I was a bit worried about a lack of bass when I am listening to 70’s rock etc.  Steve’s post seemed to address this.   Passive subs.    I have never set up a sub in a two channel system before.  How do you wire in the subs?  I was assuming these amps had two binding posts for the speakers.   Is there a way to wire a sub and a speaker to each binding post?  Please throw a noob a bone on this one.  It may help push me over the hump t actually dive in a get my first decware SET!

Love the forum.  Thanks all!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tripwr1964 on 03/29/18 at 17:12:45

here is one way to do it (pics of dougs settup at bottom)... full range wired in series.. no problem driving them with a 2 watter.

https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1484158418

i was there... it works very well!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by TheTakeOut on 03/29/18 at 19:08:25

Ok. Am I seeing it correctly.  Two sets of binding posts on the decware speakers.   One set of wires going from the sub to the decware speakers.  Another set of wires going from the decware speakers to the amp?

Am I seeing that correctly.  

Thanks for the link!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 03/29/18 at 21:54:19

Don't count on there being two sets of binding posts on anything. Plan on figuring out a way to connect two sets of speaker wires to whatever you have.

What Trips pictures illustrate, is simply that you can run the speaker wires from the amp to the speakers, then bounce off the speakers to your subs.

Don't overthink it - even using budget wire just to test it out and get your system dialed in...then figuring out a more "audiophile" solution if you really think you need it.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Ellsworth on 03/30/18 at 02:35:26

I have one active sub hooked up to my Zen amp.  The speaker wires to my main speakers are connected with spades and run full range.  The sub is connected to the same amp binding posts using banana plugs.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/30/18 at 03:32:49


As I finish up another pair of Anniversary Mods to the SE84UFO3's today I thought I would post a picture.  Since this mod is not on the web site this would be the only place for information about it.

Externally there are no changes made to the amplifier.  The mod is noted on the sticker otherwise the only way to tell is to look inside.  Here is a picture of the inside after mods.

You may remember in my earlier posts I first thought I wouldn't need an extra regulator tube but later realized it needed it, so we designed the circuit around the OC2 and placed it on the inside of the amp.  We can do this because it generates no heat and they don't wear out.  The only way it would fail is if an input tube shorted in which case the OC2 would become a fuse saving the amplifier from any damage.  We used a socket so that if it ever needs replaced there would be no soldering required.




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/30/18 at 04:17:02


As suspected, the posts we currently use are the winners now that they have been re-plated with 24K Gold. Same with the IEC and fuse holder.


 


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/30/18 at 04:19:33

 
Here's a picture of volume knobs installed on the amp.



We will be offering this amp with or without volume controls.  The beauty of this arrangement with the black base is that if you order the amp without volume controls it won't look like something is missing or has been left out because the black base remains.

Also for those who might be shocked that I would offer it without volume controls I have a simple way to do it without compromising your ability to "ride the gain" as many like to call it. That is when you turn the volume on the amp down a bit and the volume on the preamp up a bit to create more hit and overall density/weight in the music without playing it at a louder volume.  

Anyway if someone wanted the amp without volume controls, they have a preamp so we will simply wire the amp with an input sensitivity that matches having the volume control set at 75%.  This way you don't loose the advantage you would normally get from leaving the volume control in and adjusting it back from full.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by TheTakeOut on 03/30/18 at 04:19:36

see - i didn't know you could hook up more than one speaker to a post.  thanks for the tip.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/30/18 at 10:35:32


Steve Deckert wrote on 03/30/18 at 03:32:49:

As I finish up another pair of Anniversary Mods to the SE84UFO3's today I thought I would post a picture.

What a great set up Steve. And it will keep me from rolling the OC2! Which is probably a good thing! Thanks for sharing the photo, been eager to see one.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tripwr1964 on 03/30/18 at 16:36:27

thats looking yummy!

have we discussed target pricing and timing for this baby?

advance orders?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/30/18 at 20:23:09

In an earlier post Steve called this a "3K" amplifier. . . so I figure that's about the ballpark price.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 03/30/18 at 20:32:57

When I mentioned it as a $3500 amp, Steve didn't balk.  Compare the inside and outside with the various Decware amps and you can make a good estimate.  Parts and labor.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 03/31/18 at 01:49:28

Early on in the thread Steve alluded to the possibility of it costing as much as the Torii, i.e. $3500.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/01/18 at 04:14:36


Here's a few build photos of the SE84UFO25 production sample.  This is the amplifier that will be used to make copies.  I guess you could say it's the master tape.



This is where it all starts!




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/01/18 at 04:20:52


The transformers are now wired as are the heaters which not only power the tubes but also the lights on the meters.





The trick is how to make lots of parts and wires look like less parts and wires... it's really a never ending challenge with any layout.





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/01/18 at 04:29:31


Here is the completed audio section of the amplifier.



Next will come the grounds.



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/01/18 at 04:34:25


The grounds are being installed






Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 04/01/18 at 04:39:59

Wow Steve!  A force to be reckoned with for sure.  Such an array of top notch parts.  Coupled with your design, this amplifier looks to be playing out every bit as awesome as we have been reading/imagining.  Keep on keeping on!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 04/01/18 at 16:51:41

Steve,  you must have the hands of a child to get into those tight spots and put it all together. It's awesome seeing it built in stages like this!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 04/01/18 at 18:33:59

Does this get a pair of OC2s inside?  Where will they fit?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/01/18 at 19:00:46

I think the OC2s inside the chassis are only a feature of the 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/01/18 at 19:03:14

I think the OC2s inside the chassis are only a feature of the 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks. The Monoblocks seem to have an OA3 on the top and an OC2 inside. (But we have not yet really seen a top plate, I am guessing it resembles the SE84UFO3 "regular" version).

For the single amp SE84UFO2 version it seems all the tubes are on the top and it does not use an OC2. Seems the regulation tubes are two OA3 at the rear by the IEC inlet and an OD3 in front of the rectifier. To me that makes sense considering the amount of power tubes in each configuration.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Artem on 04/01/18 at 22:43:55

Just want to confirm Steve’s comment about 6n5p tube instead of 6n1p. I’ve tried it in my se84ckc amp and I am very glad I did it. Even my wife realized that something went completely different (in a positive way) even without entering the listening room. The bass is definitely better and naturalness of the sound also. But the main positive outcome is absense of listening fatigue now. With 6n1p I was very tired after the listening – something forced me to switch the tracks very fast because it was difficult to listen for a long time. I thought that the problem is in my speakers (Omega Super 3 XRS HO) but now I understand that it is not true.
I have tried the rare version of this tube (with black box anode) – this is an old design tube from fifties or sixties – more recent versions has very similar to 6n1p construction. There was a discussion in another threads about mislabeling but as far as I understood it is not mislabeling (i've searched the discussions on russian forums).
Pictures show how it looks like. Definitely it worth a try – it is inexpensive upgrade.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 04/02/18 at 00:11:12

Lon, I think you're right.  I see the OD3 on top.  I guess Steve is doing the monos without changing the top plate.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 01:55:56


Correct, the SE84UFO3 monos are being modified internally with the anniversary circuit as an option.

Depending on the success level of the SE84UFO25 soon to be released, we might design a new chassis for the SE84UFO3 to match the new SE84UFO25.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 02:20:18


Happy Easter and may it be filled with music!  Since it is also April 1st, it is most appropriate that it's snowing outside here at Decware, but no worries it makes for a nice relaxing evening of soldering!

Here are some more pictures of the SE84UFO25 being built.


 


Working on the power supply filter and bypass caps tonight... basically the back end of the amplifier.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 02:31:48


Same step, different angle...

 

The blue caps are F&T 500 VDC from Germany. Each one is being fed from a 150 ohm 6W wire wound DALE/VISHAY resistor (the ones marked MEXICO).

The two 33K DALE 2 watt emanating from this same central node feed the OD3 serving the input stage. So the high voltage DC from the rectifier tube (yellow wire) is spilt three-ways at this node to feed each of the three audio tubes.




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 04/02/18 at 02:36:41

Some great photos Steve! I get what you did with the monos, and it makes sense!

~Eric~

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 02:37:37

 


 


Wouldn't it be great if we could just quit here?  I mean we have 10 caps (the blue ones have two sections in each cap) already and the standard zen only has 2.




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 02:40:08




 








Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/02/18 at 02:58:51

Artem, the 6N5P is a really really nice tube. I've done a lot of tube0rolling lately and what works best for my system is 6 of the 6N5P in the ZTPRE, and a 6N1P in the Taboo Mk IV. That is the tube complement that is making it sing for me right now. We'll see what happens with the Monoblocks coming soon! I plan on leaving the ZTPRE as is and rolling tubes later in the Monoblocks' input spot.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/02/18 at 03:03:30


Steve Deckert wrote on 04/02/18 at 01:55:56:

Correct, the SE84UFO3 monos are being modified internally with the anniversary circuit as an option.


Steve

Thanks for clarifying/verifying that Steve. Makes me happy as I LOVE the looks of the SE84UFO3s, that simple elegantly assembled look is just what I want to see in my system!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 03:08:22




 


This is the complete amp now at this point. (I think)

The rest of the bypass caps are installed. The orange wires lead to a group of polyurethane bypass-caps.  The copper-foil beeswax cap and the 3.3uf film-cap under it are for the input tube's plate resistors.

Now here is an interesting paradox for you...  the "signal path" consists of the input jack, the resistor connecting that jack to the control grid of the input tube and the capacitor connecting the plate of the input tube to the output tube's control grid.

A control grid is like a window shutter.  When the shutter is open the electrons flow right through, just as light comes in your window.  When the shutter is closed, no electrons.  The electrons flowing through the shutter are actually those flowing between the cathode and plate of the tube. That means the electrons used to operate the shutter are not the electrons you "hear"... it is the electrons that flow from the cathode to the plate that you hear.  Well the cathode is connected to ground through a low value resistor, and the plate is supplied by high voltage.

This means the high voltage that supplies the plate is actually the electrons you "hear".  So what is more important, the coupling cap between stages, or the bypass caps in the high voltage supply?  Which ones are you actually listening to?



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/02/18 at 03:28:22




 



This is how Decware hand-builds amplifiers, and my advise is enjoy it while you can, because this two day project could have been completed in 1 hour had it been constructed on a circuit board.

I want you to ponder that for a minute...   this was about a 14 hour surgery.  So for the labor at $72 an hour you just watched a thousand dollars go by. That could have been $72 with a circuit board.

Just look at it. Do you think a circuit board could possibly sound like this ???

Happy listening!

Steve





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 04/02/18 at 15:50:51

Steve, that's a thing of beauty!  If not for the dust, I'd order one bottom side up!   :D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 04/02/18 at 18:23:17

I, for one, can scarcely wait to begin enjoying the listening!!
I can feel the "HAPPY FACE" forming as I think about it!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/02/18 at 18:32:23

Absolutely Joe! When your stuff is built and arrives you're going to be bounding around the place thirty years younger! ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by gnarlydad on 04/02/18 at 18:57:18

Hi Steve and all, I've been lurking for some time, and I've had a thought about what Steve is hearing from this new amp, particularly with regard to the sound of Randy's OB speakers, and I have a question: Is it possible that this new amp is acutally listening to the room and actively responding to the room's acoustic capacitance via the speakers themselves, which are, essentially, large microphones? A kind of synergistic, positive feedback. The OB speaker design would include more information, as both sides of the diaphragm are exposed to the room, thus seeing more clearly into the room without adding the filter of a resonant chamber. What do you think?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/03/18 at 04:38:04


This was and is a feature of the TORII MK4 and you're pretty spot on about what is happening. In the Zen Triodes however, there is no positive or negative feedback loops and the output transformer blocks the back EMF from the voice coil leaving the amp largely unaffected by the loudspeaker.

I think with amplifiers like this it's the musical honesty resulting from the layers of resolution that unlocks a higher dimension of listening, just as live music can.

BTW,  Today I tested the amp and it actually worked. I'm listening to it now. It's good. We'll know more in about 600 hours when we A/B against the prototype.

While it's burning in over the next 30 days, I'll be working on hardwood base designs. Because the depth of the chassis is 1/8 inch none of the existing bases in the Decware line will work.  We have to make a custom base for this amp, so we are exploring different woods and different profiles hoping to find something that looks so good everyone will like it.  At this point I am pretty sure the amp will be offered with only one base design made from one exotic wood and anything other than that will be a custom order item and non-refundable.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/03/18 at 04:44:50


Quote:
Posted by: Steve Deckert      Posted on: Yesterday at 01:55:56

Depending on the success level of the SE84UFO25 soon to be released, we might design a new chassis for the SE84UFO3 to match the new SE84UFO25.


I was considering the SE84UFO325 instead of the SE84UFO25 because of the black top. Feel like I need to jump on it now before they get the new color finish.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Stefan on 04/06/18 at 15:33:34

This looks and sounds like a really special amp! I enjoy all the detailed work and love that goes into one of these.

I think it has been asked in this thread before, but haven't seen an answer to it, will it also work its magic with the ERRx or HR-1 speakers in a 200 sft room not playing disco level output, but reasonable loud? Or does that require the SE84UFO325?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 04/06/18 at 17:05:13


My listening/theater room is about 12' x 25' and opens into other rooms, so some sound is lost.

I'm currently running the pre-prototype 25th, and sort of a prototype El Camino speakers which are about 91db and M-T-M design with a basic crossover.

I can run the little Zen amp out of steam if it's an usually quiet recording, or if I'm maybe rocking out a bit too much while cooking dinner in the other room, or showing off for friends. But 90% of the time I get perfectly enjoyable listening levels.  

You *will* run any flea watt amp out of steam at some point, it's just the nature of the beast and why I wish Steve could scale this design up to 15 watts. But for what I consider typical listening enjoyment, I find it does most everything I need. Hell, I have a ZMA and I haven't even plugged the damn thing in since before Xmas!  I do feel that 91db is on the edge of acceptable though. I'd feel better with 3db more efficiency in the speakers...or, you could supplement the low end with a subwoofer and probably wouldn't feel the need to push the amp so much.

I admit, I have had some fun playing some electronic music with the 2 watt zen through the El Camino, and backing it up with an 18" home theater sub with 2000 watts coursing through it! LOL And yeah, you can balance it all out and make it sound great!  


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tommy Freefall on 04/06/18 at 19:11:18

I probably overlooked this in one of the many previous posts on this thread, but what are the two RCA-looking connections - right above the toggle switch - for?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Stefan on 04/06/18 at 21:37:19

Thanks for the infos Lonely Raven!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/06/18 at 21:51:42

Pretty sure that is where you input the signal from your source!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by busterfree on 04/06/18 at 22:02:26


Quote:
I probably overlooked this in one of the many previous posts on this thread, but what are the two RCA-looking connections - right above the toggle switch - for?


It is the only input for the amp.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 04/06/18 at 22:16:05

Oh wow, I never noticed their placement before until Tommy brought it to my attention.  Why put them there did he run out of space trying to stuff it into the smallish Zen chassis plate or something?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by busterfree on 04/06/18 at 22:34:34

My guess is that there is no space at rear and next to input tube worked.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/07/18 at 00:17:29

My guess is that since this amp is about ULTIMATE sound quality, he put the input there so that only parts leads would be used for the input to the input tube. . . as is an optimal way to have the ZP3 set up for instance.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 04/07/18 at 00:54:40

I second Lon’s reasoning. I believe it has everything to do with sound quality by minimizing the distance between the most vulnerable connection points.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Crazy Bill the Eel Killer on 04/07/18 at 11:05:43

Hello Steve,
What make pot is that in the SE84UFO25 ?
Does the SE84UFO325 get the same pot ?

Thanks,                     Crazy Bill

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Crazy Bill the Eel Killer on 04/07/18 at 21:53:25

Never mind Steve. I found it.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/08/18 at 04:17:07


OK, Time for another update!

I'm actually listening to the new SE84UFO25 that I just built, now past the disturbing part of the VCAP burn-in with enough hours to already be indistinguishable from the red prototype!

Which leads me to my post:

Dammit!  This hobby... this addiction to the fidelity ladder!  Once we climb a couple rungs, going back down to where you were is simply not an option unless you're forced to by circumstance. Tonight I just took the 25th Anniversary amp experience about 3 more rungs on the ladder... a ladder I did not know was taller than the rung I was standing on, which is often the case...

You're never going to believe this... but I have to tell the story so bear with me.

I've been haunted by the sound of this amplifier since I made it and without any pressure leisurely and playfully contemplating how I could apply this technology to more stuff. The CSP3 preamp was one of the first things to come to mind.  So recently I developed the anniversary mod for the CSP3 preamp!  I had the perfect test bed to develop it.  Simply place it between the SE84UFO25 and it's source and hear what it did.

Let's talk about the source. The source is the ZDAC2 feeding the ZTPRE which feeds a ZBIT that feeds the amplifier. If I can place something between the ZBIT and the amplifier without ruining the spectacular focus I have, THAT WOULD BE IMPRESSIVE.

So I started with the stock CSP3.  I lost more than I gained. I preferred the sound without it. It felt like one preamp too many. This is my speedometer.  I take the CSP3 to the bench and begin surgery.  After I thought I was probably done I placed it back in the signal path and listened some more.  Still not there.  

Another three rounds of trials and additional stuff and then it happened. I put it into the signal path and knew immediately it was good.  A night to break in a little bit and then today...

Beautiful blue skies, no clouds anywhere as far as the eye can see all day. Just sun and music. I took the day to catch up on my digital music library maintenance so I was able to listen pretty much since this morning, 12 hours so far straight. I have no intension on stopping for at least several more hours.

What would motivate a man to listen non-stop for what will probably be 16 hours? Think about it.

Now, here's the rub... It has been sounding extra spectacular tonight, so I took the modified CSP3 back out of the signal path and damn it... I have to have it in there now. This is insane. That's another 2K to add to the puzzle but OMG I can't believe what it is doing to the sound of my reference signal path!  

This will be by far the hardest sound to describe, but it is firkin magic. When it plays, time slows down. You can feel the cheeks expand and the puff of air behind the words. I thought the density was good before, and the textures were complex before, but I just got taught another humbling lesson by my teachers.

I'm starting to realize that density is it's own form of power. The density counts as watts that you can't measure. Density is a watt multiplier.  

Sorry as usual I'm listening as I write, and it's so damn juicy and round with a subtle magnifying effect on the music that adds saturation to the colors and dimensionality to the shadows and focus. You don't see the hairs on the peach... you see the hairs and each hair's shadow on the peach. You can smell the peach.



Say hello to our new best friend!  The SG5B voltage regulator tube from Russia. This tube is rated for between 5 and 10 milliamps and has a voltage drop of 150Volts. It was selected especially for the CSP3 circuit where there will be one per channel. Each tube will see 7 milliamps.

How was this done to the CSP3 you ask? Visit the development thread here for more info:

https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1408725911/363#363

-Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/08/18 at 04:53:12


The color of the SE84UFO25 Anniversary amp will not be repeated on any other amplifiers.  It is this green color to make it stand out and look different because it is the 25th anniversary of the amplifier that started Decware. No other amplifier will look like it.

Will we come out with completely new anniversary editions where possible? Hopefully! If we do, the chassis will not be green like the SE84UFO25, but will in fact be black similar to what they are now. They will be an 1/8 inch thick and black textured like they are now with gold silk screening and the same sockets and hardware as you see on the SE84UFO25.


Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 04/08/18 at 19:48:05

Steve, Exciting, and expensive, stuff!!  What happens to the sound if you substitute the 25th anni. modified CSP3 for the ZTPRE rather than adding it to the chain which includes the ZTPRE?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/09/18 at 04:58:01


Tonight I'm at it again!  16 straight hours of listening yesterday and I hated to quit. Tonight it's even better because I decided to change from the studio reference to the silver reference cables and the difference was not subtle. The sound is so tangible that it's alarming... for lack of a better word! The thought tonight was - can it get too real? I didn't used to think so, but this is so real it takes you well outside your comfort zone.

The preamp does the same thing it's always done which is compliment the Zen. In my system, the ZTPRE really only serves to send the signal into the listening room to a ZBIT located next to the amplifier - the idea to get the signal there without any losses. The ZTPRE you really can't hear any effect on tonal balance or transparency... it's like a ghost component in that way. So when I put the DAC next to the CSP3 and bypass the ZTPRE and ZBIT I really don't hear a change once I adjust the controls on the CSP3 to sound the same as what I had.

It has the magical ability to keep the amp from clipping while at the same time making it louder. The tone that I'm hearing now is just ear candy. Literally it's like when you decide to eat the whole bag of snacks, you can't stop until it's gone.

My advise with this anniversary stuff is that you might want to wait until retirement to try it out otherwise using it might get you retired early. I had plenty to do this weekend, but I feel like nothing was more important than the sound I've been hearing so it's all good. Again, you never thought what you are hearing was possible, it's bending your reality about as far as your sanity will allow it, and you don't know for sure if it will ever sound this good again so you have no option but to listen.  

And listen we will : )


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 04/09/18 at 14:39:19

Great!, Steve. it seems a shame to be forced to listen alone. There are those who are anxiously waiting to be able to join in the fun and pleasure!!  If you get my drift  ;) ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 04/10/18 at 00:21:33

Steve, sorry if I missed this somewhere, but can the same mod be applied to the ZTPRE as you did with the CSP3?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 04/14/18 at 18:06:50

Steve, have you tried the UFO25 or UFO325 with the S3HOXRS speakers?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by maddog07 on 04/16/18 at 22:52:17

did I miss it somewhere, or has the approximate price point of the 25th Anniversary Zen been mentioned somewhere?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 04/16/18 at 23:21:13

Nothing official has been handed down - only estimates and assumptions have been tossed around here. May still be a bit premature for Steve to commit as technically the amp is still in development.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 04/17/18 at 00:53:25

I remember reading a Steve comment about the Zen at the Torii price.  that's why I got the impression it would be well over $3K but it's all speculation at this point.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 04/17/18 at 00:55:26

Yes, all speculation at this point.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/19/18 at 02:00:42


The estimated price is currently $2800.00 subject to change.

Soon I will have a few different hardwood base designs to play with for the Anniversary amp and once I've chosen one I can take the photographs so we can all see what the final amp will look like and start construction of the web page for it.  

: )


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/19/18 at 02:04:57

That's great news Steve! I know there's more than "a few" eager to know the final details and possibly place an order.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by HockessinKid on 04/19/18 at 02:24:03

Steve,  that's really good news.  Best of luck with the different bases.  I think this is going to be a "no brainer" for folks with high sensitivity speakers.  Yowsa!

HK

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/19/18 at 02:27:41


Tonight I'm A/B testing the SE84UFO25 Anniversary amp against a 25 watt OTL amp that I built!  It's a $20K tube amplifier with anywhere from 20 to 50 watts depending on the speaker and bias settings with 0.03% THD and an output impedance of .5 ohms... meaning death grip on the woofers.



The OTL is an exhilarating amp to listen to because of its combination of power and transparency... a true reference amplifier with only two output tubes per channel!  Gotta love those low impedance 6C33C triodes!  They were used in Russian ICBMs so rugged is an understatement!

I have to say that SE84UFO25 is holding it's own handsomely despite being only 1/10th the power it is hard to notice any difference in size, weight, scale or volume at my normal listening levels. The OTL is male with great absoluteness. The UFO25 is female with surreal magic spells that cast themselves upon you.

It's hard as hell to say which is actually better.  One has no output transformers but uses feedback, the other has no feedback but uses output transformers. I actually think the bigger difference is the even order vs. odd order harmonics each amp has.  Some will prefer one some will prefer the other some will enjoy both. The point is that after 25 years we've taken a Zen Triode Amplifier to this level and it's for real!  

Can't wait to start shipping these baby's and start hearing everyones reports!

Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/19/18 at 07:21:01

So hear I find myself once again at 1:10 in the morning with no chance in hell of being able to stop listening right away....  it's just so good.  Tonight as you know I am listening to my OTL amplifier... still, and since I could I have been pressing the volume a little bit here and there and have come to the conclusion that the DNA2 speakers are or should be my 25th anniversary speaker, because it is equally as elevated as the amplifier.  I am convinced that these speakers are the best I've ever heard in any of my rooms over the years.  When you pair these with the SE84UFO25 haunting things happen.  When you pair them with bigger power you find yourself saying "holy crap!" an awful lot...

In all honestly I never thought I would ever hear music sound this good in my lifetime and certainly never from my own stereo : )

The beauty of this is it can be replicated.  

-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 04/19/18 at 21:34:39


Wow, that's exciting news!

Now I want to try a pair!


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 04/19/18 at 21:53:10

just so you know, the line forms behind me!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Costas on 04/20/18 at 05:40:38

lol..

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/23/18 at 04:37:24

ANNIVERSARY AMP UPDATE:

I'm in the home stretch now, all the big things are done. I've been logging the hours on the production sample and it should be nearing a full burn-in by now. So now is the time to start some A/B comparisons with the prototype. The differences between the two amps are as follows: thickness of chassis, tube sockets, attenuators, and some of the bypass caps.  In general the production sample is using better parts... well, more expensive parts. If they are better it remains to be seen.

In the first comparison I found the prototype to be better.  Granted it has more hours on it, but I was still not expecting it. The Attenuators I am trying in the production sample do not have the same taper and I am really picky about the taper... it's almost everything. Also the resistors are carbon film which I thought I might like, but I may not. So, the taper, some of the bypass caps, the resistors in the attenuator, and the burn-in are the suspects ... now it just a matter of finding which one.  

I suspect the attenuators so I will likely give it a few more days and then change back to the original Decware attenuators used in the prototype. If by chance that by itself was the culprit I'll hear it in the first minute and then I'll know we're done and we can start production. If it doesn't fix what I'm hearing then we'll explore the rest as it continues to burn in.

I'll say this, after spending some time with big power last week (the OTL amp) and then switching back to these, I am stunned at how well they hold their own.  With these speakers anyway, there is no way you would know you were listening to a two watt amp.  

Also I forgot to mention that during the last month or so I've had a nagging whisper in the back of my mind to literally move one wire in the amp, and have been ignoring it because doing so "should" make it sound worse...  

Well once again it becomes apparent that even the audio Gods after listening to it for months had a tweak of their own, and holy crap it wasn't a small one. Yes, I had to try it, and the performance of the driver stage has almost doubled. This came as a complete fascination since the power supply ripple should have gone up but instead went down, and the dynamics should have gotten soggier and instead got tighter. I admit this experience toasted my head pretty good, and may have thrown me off just enough to be over critical of the newer of the two amps...  But we've covered that, the news here is that another 15% improvement in sound quality. I suspect this is going to make it sound very close to the monos if not almost indistinguishable.

This is why you can't rush product development. Around here we don't model circuits on Spice programs, but rather channel a higher intelligence.

Happy Listening!

Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/27/18 at 02:20:17


Still waiting for the "change" with the production sample, and despite a few more days and another 70 hours, no change.  I'm convinced it's the attenuators, so this weekend I will remove and replace them with the Decware Attenuators. I guess I've grown spoiled over the years with our attenuator.  

In our attenuator we use ultra low-noise thin-film nichrome surface-mount resistors rated nearly 10 times the resolution as 1% metal film leaded resistors used in most attenuators. These resistors are so good by comparison that you can stack dozens of them in series and hear no difference between the series string and the single resistor.  Up until these resistors became available the only type of attenuator worth using was a Ladder type which has only one resistor in the signal path at any one time.

Since we could no longer hear the difference between the ladder and series attenuator using these resistors some realized (and we recognized) it was possible to take it even one step further by almost eliminating all the circuit board traces. This was done by positioning 20 of these Nichrome SM Resistors in a circle as small as possible so that the end-caps of each resistor touched each other. The circle is soldered together and the gold wiper is then swept across gold pads at the end-caps of the resistors. This puts the wiper within a few thousandths of an inch away from the end caps of the resistors. It is the simplest most pure attenuator design God will allow. And it sounds like nothing is there, which is what you want.

Neither DACT or GoldPoint or anyone else do it this way, and it's because it doesn't LOOK impressive and is fragile. Well you know me, I don't give a blank about any of that IF it sounds better, and it does.

I have our attenuators custom made for me in Japan. Of course there are dozens of Chinese clones on ebay.com. My guess is that if you got three of the fakes to ensure at least one of them worked properly, even without the premium resistors it would probably still sound respectable.

Shown below is one of our attenuators I've disassembled so you can see the simplicity (zen) of it's design.




In the "real world" where most of our amplifiers live I usually recommend the standard carbon volume pot over the attenuators. The reason for this is that the amps are so transparent the warmth of the carbon pot is kind to mid-fi digital. The SE84UFO25 is not a real world amplifier. In fact it is an out of this world amplifier that is magnifying the differences in attenuators to the point of ruining the entire amplifier.

Anyway, I'll report the results once these attenuators are installed in the production sample.

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 04/27/18 at 17:15:12


I'm guessing my Mystery amp isn't using this type of attenuator? Since my sources are so high quality and I'm trying to get closer to the music, would replacing my attenuator in the Mystery Amp with one of these help get me closer?

I do like the click pot you put on my little Zen, quite a bit. So it's been in the back of my mind to have a better pot installed in my Mystery.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/27/18 at 17:22:53


LR - this is the only attenuator we have used since about 2005 so if you your amp has an attenuator, it is this.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 04/27/18 at 18:59:12

Ahh, OK, I misunderstood your last section above. I thought you were saying that you use the carbon film pots instead of these nice ones, with the exception of an exceptional amp like the SE84UFO25.

I'm still hoping you can coax out some more detail from the Mystery Amp like you have with the 25th. I know you said you can't do the same mod, but I'm wondering if there is some tweaking that can be done never the less.  

Maybe if I dump my Mystery amp in your lap like I did the Zen amp, some inspiration would happen! LOL

Edit to add: the same way my gut told me there was something more left to do with the Zen amp, my gut is telling me there is something more to do with the Mystery amp. I won't say more than that so as to not influence inspiration.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/28/18 at 05:01:40


Well I removed and replaced the attenuators and can confirm that was the entire problem! The incredible sound is BACK!  

The high-end machined attenuators I hoped would work looked like a million dollars, most fitting for such a special amplifier. Sadly they turned out to be series type and used conventional leaded low-grade resistors and circuit boards as I probably mentioned earlier.

It's amazing how large the difference is. Now the production sample sounds exactly like the prototype and I mean exactly. Nothing can proceed until that type of consistency happens, because consistency is the oak tree of success.

You know you have a great design when you can exactly replicate it. Remembering back when I was just another D.I.Y. amp builder, I can say it's pretty easy to be proud of yourself when your amp project is finally completed and sounding the way you wanted it to but it is damn humbling when you try to build more just like it and they all sound different. I've always said you know you're good when you can build the same amp five times in a row with identical results. You know you're really good when you can build it 25 times in a row with each and every one sounding identical. Even then, your amps don't become great until they stay in service for 25 years without unforeseen failures which is why this 25th Anniversary amp is so dear to my heart.

I'm listening to it now.

It's ear candy. Like a sweet new chocolate that the world has never tasted. Each note momentarily hangs time so you can enjoy it's full decay.  It's like hearing music in slow motion and live at virtually the same time supporting the sense that there's a multidimensional element to it.

I've been listening to this amplifier for weeks and until this KEY of a new attenuator unlocked the lock placed on it by the old attenuator, there was absolutely no multidimensional element to the sound. This is what separates this amplifier from virtually everything I've ever heard. See how fragile this is? And Lon is right, your room is not going to stop this element from dominating your listening experience.

Time to do some levitation...  and marvel at how much information is actually captured in a good recording. Not even the engineers had any idea in many cases.

Listening to the same garden of music during this development process helps to hear what changes when it changes.  Between last night with the the old attenuators and tonight with the new, the sound can not be contained in the listening room.  It comes out into the surrounding space with a seductive quality that was never there.  It's so much better it's just ridiculous.

To maintain context, this is an amplifier with 1 capacitor and two resistors in the signal path. The inferior sounding attenuator just added between 1 and 24 more low quality resistors to the signal path and the additional solder nodes was equally devastating. Perform the same test in a solid-state receiver where each of 8 op-amps have 27 transistors and heavy feedback loops with large value electrolytic coupling capacitors between the many stages and you will hear no difference between the two attenuators.  This should give those who have never heard such a good tube amp a basic scale of just how much better sounding it really is.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/28/18 at 05:33:36


Still listening...

It is just stunning how deep the music is. See, after being away from it only for a short time, I'm just blown away by its magic. This amp is so good you can listen to the same recordings over and over and not realize that you're listening to the same recordings. Literally. I'm serious.  

Boy, I'm already starting to have visions of DECFEST2018... speaking of which, and I shit you not, I saw a UFO today in a dream during my 5:00 o'clock nap! It was a rounded-rectangle shape that I have never seen before, clear as a bell too... I walked around the corner and there is was so obvious all you could do is just say "holy-shit" and then turn around and walk the other way hoping it didn't see you.

Hehe, you can absolutely be certain the UFO video series of Zen-Amp abductions are not over yet... that was a sign.


BTW, with respect to high-end digital files from Blue Cost Music, I found it easy to hear a difference between DSD 11.2MHz and 5.2MHz with this amp virtually every time I try it... something to ponder.



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/28/18 at 05:37:50


Yea, LR, I know it too, as evidence by what Jeff has already accomplished with his...  it will be a fun journey and I look forward to it. I already know what it's going to sound like, because I can hear it in my head as I write this. The word that comes to mind now as I listen to that... is... "exhilarating"... hard to turn off.

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/28/18 at 06:31:25


So back to tonight...  I was listening to a song that was overwhelmingly good sounding in every category and started a post about it. Then I deleted it thinking people are tired of hearing me blab on about it.  The song was "Liberty" by Anette Askvik. Moving on, I went back to researching the latest and greatest in signal path resistors.  Something that is on my mind as I listen tonight. (I updated those also when I changed the attenuators). The next thing I know there is this incredible music that once again makes me go to the listening chair and I was just dumbstruck by how good it sounded. It was insane.

So when it was over I came back and looked to see what it was... the same song: Liberty by Anette Askvik. I was stunned that it was the same song because what are the odds of that song coming up again on random play in less than an hour I thought!  Of course it was the same track, only 5:45 in length that was so good I thought a lot more time had passed, and thought I was listening to a different song. I attribute this to the mind frantically trying to wire new networks to process the super high resolution it's never heard before.

Nevertheless, this track on this amplifier in my room and on these speakers is just sick. The sound quality aspect of it is hard to believe.

Don't worry, it's not a magic track... the very next track that is playing now is equally stunning, and I mean just stunning!  "Chompy's Paradise" by Babbadnotgood  

I can already see where this will end up as it has many times in the past, every song that plays from now until I stop, will be too good to be believed. This I think is because it's not the tracks, it's the music that the amplifier is letting express itself without the typical western science straight-jacket.

Yup, now it's "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" by Hanne Boel, and it sounds and feels completely real to the point of being almost awkward as it bends the brains ability to deal with the illusion.  

It leaves me humbled as a secret digital hater for so many years how I blamed most of the sound I didn't like on the format or the recording, usually both, instead of the amplifier, but now I'm hearing the sound I wanted from recordings and formats that I didn't think were capable of it, and rather than doing it by clever filtering as is the mid-fi way to stomach it, I'm doing it by extreme resolution... it's just so ironic that it's going to take this tired head about a year to fully absorb the reality of it.  

Equally disturbing with this amplifier is that the gaps that have always existed between digital and LP and the MASTER TAPE have always been large.  They are getting uncomfortably close together now, and it's hard to accept what my ears are telling me.  Very hard.  



Happy listening!

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by jorgen on 04/28/18 at 13:00:17

I like your listening tips. For once I know these artists from earlier. Both Askvik and Boel are norwegian. An additional tip would be Radja Toneff with the album Fairytales, a very popular jazz album around here

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 04/28/18 at 14:27:38

Good news (Reply #474), for the ZMA!

If anyone is interested and owns a Zen Mystery Amplifier, we have been talking about this mod, for over a couple months:
https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1519064780

But, first things first. I look forward to the launch of the benchmark Anniversary 25th Triode.

Then, Steve, for us ZMA push/pull junkies...Steve wrote (#474):
"it will be a fun journey and I look forward to it. I already know what it's going to sound like, because I can hear it in my head as I write this."

Cool. Can I live without it (the mod)? Yes, I'm 3 months into my 5th year with my ZMA of bliss. However, why not! Other than the shipping Nazi's..... .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 04/30/18 at 02:19:24

stone_of_tone said: "into my 5th year with my ZMA"

Already five years of the Mystery amp! If asked I would have said it was 7 or 8 months ago that we were reading the forum page introducing this new model.  It does not seem possible that much time has got away.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/30/18 at 04:37:50


Amen.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/30/18 at 04:59:34


Ordered all the custom parts for about 30 UFO25's this weekend! That should get the ball rolling.

Also completed the CNC work on the tube caddy this evening...



Just threw in some random tubes to check the fit. This case will be included with each amp.

I should be able to start contacting people on the list by no later than Memorial day!

Literally the only thing left is the photographs and to lock in the introductory price on the web site - both to be determined once I get the hardwood bases and the cost of those bases.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Stefan on 04/30/18 at 05:52:21

Looks amazing! I really enjoy the love for all the details Steve. :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 04/30/18 at 08:24:23

Wow, very cool case! This amp is really going to be something!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 05/01/18 at 17:22:44

Looks like there will be a Decware "tube straightener" in that box.
Is that correct?
If yes I will hold off buying one and wait for the SE84-UFO25 I plan to purchase.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by metropolis7 on 05/03/18 at 00:25:01


Any chance of dual outputs on the se84-25? Add-on option?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/03/18 at 05:10:20



Quote:
Any chance of dual outputs on the se84-25? Add-on option?


Dual output would just be a matter of connecting two speakers to each binding post.  If you mean dual inputs, there is zero chance of that.  The work-around is a ZSB switch box outfitted with the better jacks.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/03/18 at 05:34:38

I am pleased to announce that the SE84UFO25 bases have been here for well over a week!   [smiley=rolleyes.gif]

I have chosen Peruvian Walnut for the Anniversary amps standard base. This is an exotic wood for an exotic amp. This wood is to standard walnut what the anniversary amp is to the standard zen amps. This weekend I'll try to get some photos.  

Here is what the wood and natural finish look like:



So now we're really close. To expedite things I have estimated the labor cost to build when I came up with the target price of $2800.00 so the final step is to have Dennis build serial 001 to be sold and make sure my estimate wasn't way off. I hope to have him start the build next week. This means we are still on track for contacting people on the list by May 30th.

Pretty exciting stuff! Listening to the amp just brings me joy!

Also Bob's starting the build on the DNA2 speakers to make sure we can replicate it. Normally that wouldn't be a real concern, as you build it the same way with the same tolerances and parts and it sounds the same. These particular speakers sound so good I'm going to have to hear at least 3 pair between me and Bob to believe it's actually happening - if you know what I mean.

So that's where we at, sailing down wind at about 5 knots in clear weather with land in sight!

Happy listening!

Steve


NOTE:  Shortly thereafter (Days) I changed the wood to African Padauk which you will see in later photos.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/03/18 at 06:39:02


Sadly I'm still listening to this amplifier despite being well after midnight...   it's been a detox process. The more you listen to it, the better you feel : )

Anyway, I was going to make the comment about the two voltage regulator tubes on the rear of the amplifier.

These two OA3/VR75 regulator tubes supply the two output tubes with ultra-filtered high voltage (like a DC battery) and are perfectly sinked to the current meters on each channel. By that I mean when you turn the amp up as loud as it can go without distortion, that point is indicated by the sudden movement of the otherwise steady meter readings. At the point of clipping, the meters start to dance. At that exact same moment the OA3 tubes begin to flicker and in the same linear proportion to the meters. This makes it possible to see from clear across the room if the amp is nearing clipping, or is clipping or is not clipping whatsoever.

This is one of my favorite things about this amp because of it's ability to throw out dynamics and weight like something 20 times it's size at times, you find yourself always wondering if it clipped. You wonder because the sound was louder than should be possible with 2 watts, and you didn't hear any distortion. Well now you know... and just tonight I notched the volume for each channel up about 3 clicks and the music exploded out of the speakers with a volume and density that I was certain simply had to cause the amp the clip, but this time I was sitting there looking at the amp when it happened, and the glow inside those rear OA3 tubes didn't even flinch. That means 1000% there was ZERO clipping.  I find myself looking at these tubes all the time from my listening chair, just as Lon mentioned he did with his monos.

It will be a great help during demos as well, because you typically demo the amp near it's power limit and during the demo there are several times when you wonder if it clipped. With this you know if it did or didn't if if it did, you know exactly how much. This arms you with the ability to tell the difference between distortions in the recording and distortions in the amplifier. (possibly one of the most enlightening things that could ever happen to an audiophile)

As the resolution of an amplifier increases, you hear ten-fold the distortions in the recordings and the natural tendency is to blame the amplifier or in some cases speakers.

So to have a low-power amp that gives you a real-time visual distortion display for each channel is kind of the ultimate because you can see when it's getting ready to clip before it actually does so if a super compressed modern day junk recording blows into your stream you can adjust the amp before any actual clipping is ever heard - again a nice tool when showing your friends what 2 watts can really do.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/03/18 at 13:58:50

This "visualizing the distortion" thing is really cool. Unfortunately I find that in my system I like the bottle-shaped OB3 tube best. . . and there's less "visible" area on these and it's not as easy to tell distortion. But my experience with the OA3 has let me know where the power boundaries are with the HR-1s and I never need to go into distortion land to get the output that I need.

That said I've ordered a pair of short, straight OB3s and I think these will allow me to see flashing if it occurs, and I hope they sound as great as the Sylvania bottle-type I'm using.


I love the sound of the Monoblocks. With the ZTPRE and ZBIT and ZROCK2 I get the lower end heft and presence that the Torii Mk III brought to the system for the first time, and I get that organic "I've never been split" sound of the SET amps and that atmospheric detail and drama of the Anniversary mods. Man it's a great sounding pair of amps.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/08/18 at 03:53:32

[smiley=tunes57.gif]Glass Vacuum Tube Resistors for a vacuum tube amplifier...




As those who are familiar with the Zen Triode already know, the amplifier has only two resistors and one capacitor in the signal path.

With the immense resolution of the new Anniversary model I have been exploring the sound of a number of boutique resistors to see how much the audible differences are between them. This I have done several times in the past throughout the lifecycle of the Zen Triode amplifiers and each time have chosen the very best ones that were at that point of diminishing returns price wise. I remember the differences or gaps between them and suspect a larger gap now so it will be interesting to see what prevails.  

As you know these four resistors (two per channel) are the last things to explore now that we've resolved the attenuator issue.  

Tonight I am listening to the resistors shown in the amp pictured above. These seem nearly impossible to get in any quantity unless you want to have them made for you, nevertheless they are my current favorites. The average price is $72.00 for a single 3/4 watt resistor, and that's not with the audio-fool multiplier as you can only imagine what certain audiophile companies would try to get for one!


Quote:
DESCRIPTION: For the highest degree of reliability, stability and uniformity of construction, Vishay Angstrohm hermetically-sealed metal film resistors are unquestionably the first choice. The true glass-to-metal hermetic enclosure seals the resistor element in an inert gas atmosphere and protects it from virtually all adverse environmental influences. The glass enclosure will withstand in excess of 3000 psi external pressure without leakage. The reliability and stability of Vishay Angstrohm hermetically-sealed resistors have been established by their use in nearly every military, missile, aerospace and oceanography program having the most demanding applications and the most hostile environments.


The part I love, is that this resistor has no coating on it, and while they say the best insulator is air, I'd bet money an inert gas is even better. This is how you would design a true cost-no-object audiophile resistor with absolute neutrality... at least it's how I would do it. Sadly this is almost what you have to go through to get a resistor as good as the SMR's used in the attenuator. Keep in mind however that if you use the ultra low-noise high-precision SMR on a classic circuit board, the board traces become the resistor leads and undue the most of the sonic glory of the naked SMR making this a far better solution.  

Anyway, never a wasted moment around here... we'll keep you updated in these final weeks!

Steve





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/08/18 at 05:21:44


Well, just had a holy crap moment during the intro to After Midnight by Hanne Boel Outtakes album... honestly wasn't expecting that one!  These resistors are better than I knew.  You won't be hearing from me for the rest of the night as I'll be preoccupied.

-Steve :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/08/18 at 05:44:21


I know this much... you're going to have to have a license to listen to this amplifier.  We can't have newbies to out of body experiences bouncing off the walls and getting hurt.  Holy Crap!


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 05/08/18 at 14:18:55


Quote:
Yea, LR, I know it too, as evidence by what Jeff has already accomplished with his...  it will be a fun journey and I look forward to it. I already know what it's going to sound like, because I can hear it in my head as I write this. The word that comes to mind now as I listen to that... is... "exhilarating"... hard to turn off.

Steve


I know you're busy with 25th Anniversary stuff, but I'm not listening to my ZMA since I've had my Pre-Prototype Zen in place since December. I can drop it off anytime if you want to tinker with it.


Quote:
DESCRIPTION: For the highest degree of reliability, stability and uniformity of construction, Vishay Angstrohm hermetically-sealed metal film resistors are unquestionably the first choice. The true glass-to-metal hermetic enclosure seals the resistor element in an inert gas atmosphere and protects it from virtually all adverse environmental influences. The glass enclosure will withstand in excess of 3000 psi external pressure without leakage. The reliability and stability of Vishay Angstrohm hermetically-sealed resistors have been established by their use in nearly every military, missile, aerospace and oceanography program having the most demanding applications and the most hostile environments.


That sounds seriously amazing! I may have to pick up some for my little Zen! Would it be worth it in the ZMA as well? Or are there too many components in the path, comparatively?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/08/18 at 14:29:49

I like it LR!  Push the ZMA agenda ~ has my vote!   [smiley=69.gif]


Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Reply #477 - 04/28/18 at 14:27:38    

Good news (Reply #474), for the ZMA!

If anyone is interested and owns a Zen Mystery Amplifier, we have been talking about this mod, for over a couple months:
https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1519064780

But, first things first. I look forward to the launch of the benchmark Anniversary 25th Triode.

Then, Steve, for us ZMA push/pull junkies...Steve wrote (#474):
"it will be a fun journey and I look forward to it. I already know what it's going to sound like, because I can hear it in my head as I write this."

Cool. Can I live without it (the mod)? Yes, I'm 3 months into my 5th year with my ZMA of bliss. However, why not! Other than the shipping Nazi's..... .



However, running my Gold Lion Cryogenic KT88 Quad, from Ron @ Cryoset...my bliss meter is even higher now/ZMA!

Of course, I will have the mod done. Why live without it...as I said above. Bringing the ZMA even closer to perfection....... .

Sorry Steve, not out to hijack the Thread. I am just so enthusiastic about this great Amp/ZMA. I look forward to when you get to it. I know it will be worth the wait.

It will fit my budget better too; 6 to 9 months from now~fully developed for the ZMA.....as only your thoroughness will do. As evidenced by the development of the 25th.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/08/18 at 15:30:22


Quote:
That sounds seriously amazing! I may have to pick up some for my little Zen! Would it be worth it in the ZMA as well? Or are there too many components in the path, comparatively?


LR, I was wondering the same thing when I read Steve's post last night.  Looks like there are a couple 1/2 Watt resistors coming off pins 2 ad 7 (Grid) of the input tubes and a couple 2 Watt resistors coming off pins 3 and 8 (Cathode).  I assume the two 1/2W resistors would be the ones to target.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/08/18 at 15:51:11

These seem nearly impossible to get in any quantity unless you want to have them made for you..........

.....this lends to an alternative to those guys....that Steve might decide on when doing the power cap/bypass enhancement.

I look forward to the journey (Steve's posts/replies).

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 05/08/18 at 17:02:22


Quote:
LR, I was wondering the same thing when I read Steve's post last night.  Looks like there are a couple 1/2 Watt resistors coming off pins 2 ad 7 (Grid) of the input tubes and a couple 2 Watt resistors coming off pins 3 and 8 (Cathode).  I assume the two 1/2W resistors would be the ones to target.



Yes, the grid is the input.

Since the DirectStream DAC has it's own volume that doesn't drop bits, I'd be tempted to bypass the attenuator pot and try these resistors on the ZMA input tubes. Sounds like an expensive experiment...so I'll leave it to you, Jeff.    ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/09/18 at 03:36:56

Haha!  Well, you know if I can get my hand on them, Im going to do it.  

Not a bad idea about bypassing the attenuator altogether.  Is the DS DAC your only source?  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 05/09/18 at 06:10:29


Quote:
Not a bad idea about bypassing the attenuator altogether.  Is the DS DAC your only source?


I have the DS and the TEAC NT-503

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/09/18 at 06:22:02

Roger that.  Well, for signal purity, the best attenuator is no attenuator.  

I reached out to Vishay about these resistors and their availability.  Ill let you know what I hear.  If I can get them, Ill have then installed.  Why not?  Ive already come this far, why let a few resistors get in my way of even greater sonic reward - even $72 a piece resistors!   :o   Regardless, they are pretty bitchin' in looks and concept.  

At the end of the day, unless one auditioned my ZMA2, they would not appreciate the money I have sunk into it ($2700 money well spent!) above and beyond the purchase price.  So, even if I ever wanted to sell it, which I wouldn't, getting my ROI is unlikely - outside of someone witnessing its magic.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 05/09/18 at 15:33:30

Jeff, have you read the posts of the ZMA owner in Vietnam?  I can never remember his exact name (something like Vyghong).  Stone might recall it.  He practically rebuilt his ZMA's insides.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/10/18 at 03:22:13


For those reading along who might not know: With or without an attenuator, you will still need a 100K loading resistor to ground, it's essential. Also when the attenuator is all the way up, there is no resistor in the signal path, only the needed 100K resistor to ground, so turning the attenuator all the way up is the same thing as removing it.  You're only trading a gold contact against a solder joint which is really splitting hairs.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/10/18 at 03:54:42


Well, after a week of staring at the new Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier in a wide variety of base designs and woods, I have finally finished and will be taking photographs next. Here's a cell-phone shot before it goes upstairs for pictures.



Notice the Wood Guru Bob Zieglers touch on this one : )  This unique profile will be used on all anniversary amp(s) and will be able to be custom ordered in different exotic hardwoods.

See now if any one bitches about the price I'll just blame it all on Bob.   [smiley=80.gif]

Steve





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/10/18 at 05:53:20


Quote:
For those reading along who might not know: With or without an attenuator, you will still need a 100K loading resistor to ground, it's essential.


Thanks for chiming in Steve.  I do remember you posting such in a thread a while back about still needing the 100k resistor, even if the attenuator is removed.  Good to know about the volume max emulating the absence of one.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/10/18 at 06:06:41


Quote:
Jeff, have you read the posts of the ZMA owner in Vietnam?  I can never remember his exact name (something like Vyghong).  Stone might recall it.  He practically rebuilt his ZMA's insides.


I do remember his journey Archie.   Most of what he replaced, with the exception of a few key capacitors, was rather superficial and he very much kept the innards of the ZMA intact.  He did add the Obbligato bypass power caps, which I did install, and later removed.  He also replaced the .022 uF signal caps and a few other 0.1 uF coupling caps with very nice (and very expensive Duelund caps).  Additional upgrades/mods included speaker binding posts, RCA input jacks, IEC connector, audiophile fuse and the removal of the attenuator.   With regard to the ZMA, he left the majority of capacitors, and all of the resistors original.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/10/18 at 11:35:24

Wow, that's a beautiful amp Steve!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/10/18 at 14:52:36

Arch, yes, if you go to the ZMA Forum and read the Speed Thread, you will read our talk of Vyokyong's work.

Steve! Absolutely stunning/beautiful man!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 05/10/18 at 14:56:51


Beautiful amp!  I do wish I had one in my stable of amps.  ;)


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 05/10/18 at 17:53:29

Lovely! In the home stretch. I can't wait to get my ears on one!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/11/18 at 04:43:54

I started taking photos...  here are my three favorites from tonight starting with this one.  




-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/11/18 at 04:45:38







-Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/11/18 at 04:46:06






-Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/11/18 at 04:52:14


BTW, To pry the amp in the pictures out of the listening room so I could take some photos, I actually had to fire up the original prototype so I wouldn't melt.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tal on 05/11/18 at 06:13:16

Stunning!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/11/18 at 08:31:46


Steve Deckert wrote on 05/11/18 at 04:52:14:

BTW, To pry the amp in the pictures out of the listening room so I could take some photos, I actually had to fire up the original prototype so I wouldn't melt.

Steve

THAT I totally understand!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 05/11/18 at 16:21:03

Looks great!  At the same time, I was kind of hoping to see a metal base to this amp, like lab gear back from 1950s!  Any such possible option, Steve?  Or, am I asking for too much?  :)

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/11/18 at 16:29:39

I bet a metal base would not sound as good as the wood. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tripwr1964 on 05/11/18 at 17:57:42

is that a type 80 rectifier in that baby?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/11/18 at 18:08:20

Yup.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Showme on 05/11/18 at 22:47:03

Is this amp going to be a regular offering or a limited/special edition?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/12/18 at 00:38:01


The SE84UFO25 is planned to be a standard skew in our product line.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by ZYGI on 05/12/18 at 02:21:32

I see, blame it on Bob has made it all the way to Peoria....Sorry Steve, did I forget to mention that was the last piece of that wood left on earth?

My Bad!!!

It does look brilliant!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/12/18 at 02:28:06

What! What? Bob, please elaborate. Last piece of what wood?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by ZYGI on 05/12/18 at 04:52:01

Hi Jeff...That wood!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by litefootdan on 05/12/18 at 06:59:11

Sounds crazy to say but.....  I want that wood!!!!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by beowulf on 05/12/18 at 07:11:59

Who has wood for that wood? ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/12/18 at 08:37:57

Oh, I’ve got wood for that wood!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 05/12/18 at 11:08:40

I am currently contracted to grow the tree that will be used as the wood for the 50th Anniversary amps.
It will be a stunning curly maple. I go outside every day and tickle the tree so that it will be even more curly.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/12/18 at 13:41:22

I knew you "wood" come through Donnie!  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by waveydavey on 05/12/18 at 14:03:03

Looks good except I'm not a fan of the input or output rca jacks up in the front myself. Whatever sonics are achieved by having them right between the volume pots and next to hot tubes I'm sure most people will not be able to hear. Be nice to have them at the back and out of the way, less clutter and potential for issues imo and works better for most. Dave.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/12/18 at 14:08:04


Donnie wrote on 05/12/18 at 11:08:40:
I am currently contracted to grow the tree that will be used as the wood for the 50th Anniversary amps.
It will be a stunning curly maple. I go outside every day and tickle the tree so that it will be even more curly.

LOL

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 05/12/18 at 19:50:43

Once in a lifetime chance to pick out the very hunk of wood that you want for your 50th anniversary bases right here!
Limited time offer, don't miss out!


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/13/18 at 07:49:51

Donnie,
Ill take dibs on the first left offshoot branch from the base trunk, 23.2456" start to 40.9013" end.  That should provide just the right amount of material to work with.  

Just to clarify, you can confirm this tree is purely Grass Fed, right?  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Tripwr1964 on 05/13/18 at 12:45:05

antibiotic free too??  ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 05/13/18 at 13:45:34

Totally free range.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Showme on 05/13/18 at 18:11:31

What are the RCA jacks at the from of the amp?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/13/18 at 18:28:32

They're the RCA jacks. :) They are the input from the source component.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by NormD on 05/13/18 at 22:48:08

As close to the input tubes as possible!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/14/18 at 01:39:02


Just a reminder that this amplifier is a sonic celebration of what is possible with the Zen Triode design.  It was not designed to be popular, affordable, or ergonomic and was designed with no regard to sales. It is what separates the ultra serious from the norm. We have 3 versions of this amplifier that are affordable, and have rear mounted jacks for the exact reasons that have been pointed out.  SE84UFO, SE84UFO2, SE84UFO3.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/14/18 at 01:44:28

A good reminder Steve. My 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks certainly are SERIOUS. They make me think I'm a recording microphone. Worth the price!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/14/18 at 01:50:05


Here is another picture showing the rear of the amp.



Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Showme on 05/14/18 at 21:26:45

So would a switch box to allow more sources defeat the objective of this amp. I guess I would have a minimum of two sources.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/14/18 at 21:56:15

Showme,
Absolutely not.  The fact of the matter is, you have multiple sources, like many of us.  No matter what amp you purchase, you will have to deal with a switch of some type,  whether it be internal or external.  I have a Decware ZSB in front of my Ultra and ZMA.  The way Steve designs these ZSB switches is minimalistic.  The goal, in a “World of No Constraints,” is obviously to reduce the number of connections and the lengths of runs.  But then reality crushes all of our hopes and dreams.  Most of us have multiple sources, and most of us need more than 6 inches of interconnects between components.  This 25th Anniversary still improves the conditions for the signal by taking away an otherwise additional lengthy run internally from the RCA inputs to the input tube sockets.  

As Steve mentioned in his last post, this is an amp of no compromises, regardless of how marginal of an improvement each design element offers.  If I am reading his mind correctly, he created an amp that when he goes to sleep at night (sometimes very late due to listening to this very amp) he can rest comfortably knowing that there was nothing more worth doing do it.  Once he hands us this amp, all we can do is attempt to feed it with nothing but greatness in source material, allied components, interconnects, proximity, room treatments, power and everything else.  But those elements have nothing to do with Steve or the design of this 25th Anniversary amplifier, and everything to do with us doing our part once the amp is in our hands.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Showme on 05/15/18 at 18:38:53

Well put Jeff. I guess I'm going to have to buy one of these.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Ellsworth on 05/16/18 at 00:45:54

I am a current Zen UFO owner and am looking forward to placing an order..  My rack has  about 3.5 inches of clearance space on top of the UFO rectifier tube and is open on the sides so I am a bit concerned about the heat.

With the extra tubes, will  this amp produce significantly more heat than the standard Zen amp?  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 05/16/18 at 01:09:16

Ellsworth,  the 0D3 and 0A3 tubes don't get hot. So, with balance of tubes used the amp should run as warm as the UFO does.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Ellsworth on 05/16/18 at 02:07:44

Acetone,  thanks for the note.  That is good to know.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/16/18 at 04:22:22


ANNIVERSARY AMP UPDATE:

As a follow-up to the post about the glass resistors, I have managed to find another version of it and purchased 100 sight-unseen. When I discovered these, I thought if they were readily available it might be worth making them standard in the amp and raising the price accordingly but at this point I think the best we can hope for is an option on the amplifier due to limited availability. So that is my plan, just to make them an option on the amp while supplies last.

The new batch I found are white glass instead of clear, but otherwise the same design and by the same manufacture. So far both types come individually packaged in a foil-lined sealed paper packet. I thought you would enjoy seeing what that looks like as well as the new resistors.  I will be comparing these with the previous ones and both against the standard ones I use to see what the discernible differences are. In the event that these sound like crap, (unlikely) I'll certainly let you know.









I'll put these in the original prototype and see what I hear... or is it hear what I see?

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 05/16/18 at 23:10:29

Hi Steve,
Is 9/66 on the packet a date? Are these from an old stock from the 1960s?

Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/17/18 at 01:25:16


Yes, that's the date code!

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/17/18 at 04:09:42


25th Anniversary Amp UPDATE:

A new picture of the SE84UFO25 in a custom natural Cherry base and black knobs.



The PSVANE 5U4 is the chosen rectifier that will be shipping with this amplifier.  Additionally an 8 pin socket saver will also be supplied so that you can raise the height of the tube as shown in the pictures If you're going to be rolling rectifier tubes the socket saver will protect the main socket from wear.  

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/17/18 at 04:36:38

Sure is beautiful!!  And I like the rectifier choice.  Same one I settled on in my Ultra :)  Speaking of which, I need to get sent back to you for the capacitor upgrade and topology re-work to elevate its 2-channel performance.  

Having not opened it up, I wonder if it would lend itself to any or all he 25th Anniv mod?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/19/18 at 05:50:35


Today was interesting...  I was forced to listen to the ZMA for the first time since creating the SE84UFO25. As those who've been following this thread know I've been putting it off until after the release of the UFO25...  and if that wasn't enough I also for the first time am listening to a pair of UFO25's bridged mono.

A friend from out of state came by today to listen to the new Anniversary amp and the ZMA both paired with the HR-1's.  On the more power hungry HR-1 a single UFO25 did a respectable job but was on the edge of what it could do much of the time in my larger, deader room.  This is what lead to running a pair in mono which we did.

The results were as expected quite good.  So now that we have enough power for the HR-1 in a larger room it became a choice between a pair of UFO25s bridged into mono at 6 watts a channel vs. the Zen Mystery Amp dual mono amplifier at 40 watts a channel.

Took a respectable 10 minutes to choose the UFO25s over the ZMA as the amplifiers to drive the HR-1's !!!  After he left, I had to listen for myself and the difference is definitely there.  As my friend described it, with the UFO25 amps in mono the sound was easy to listen to and you could hear the sounds coming... vs. the ZMA where you didn't hear the sounds coming until they were right there on you making the listening experience more startling. Really one of the best analogies I've heard in a while and totally true.

So again a bitter sweet moment as the UFO25's dust even the ZMA, which is on record at Tone Audio as sounding better than Shindo and Wavac!  This really brings a perspective to the resolution of these Anniversary Zen Triode amplifiers.

Don't worry ZMA owner's it won't take a whole lot to shrink the gap between the two amps, and even a slight narrowing of the gap when leveraged against the 40 watts would be huge.  I will (when it's the right time) do a Zen weekend on it and see how far it can be taken.

This might be a good time to remind all of us that the Zen Triode Amplifier uses a 9800 ohm primary impedance transformer with a 6 ohm secondary and relies on reflected impedance from the loudspeaker to determine what the plate of the output tube actually sees.  The output tube in the Zen would happily operate at maximum efficiency with an impedance of 3300 ohms but instead it sees 9800 which dramatically drops the power but equally dramatically increases the headroom.  This way when an 8 ohm speaker has a dip in the impedance of 2 ohms which is not uncommon, the amplifier's power doubles instead of halves.  This is why a Zen Triode Amp has such excellent bass control and why it can happily drive a nearly dead short.  

Why is this high primary impedance important beyond performance as just described?  Because the higher the impedance the better the high frequency response and that means not only extension but how high frequencies are handled.  The difference between hearing the same output tube with 3300 ohms vs. 9800 ohms is a beautifully long shimmering decay in the top end that hangs notes in space for all to see and digest while the  3300 focuses your attention on the mid bass with dumbed down top end magic.

All of the bigger amps / tubes use much lower impedances.  For example the EL34 uses 3300 , the KT66 in the ZMA uses  4000 and the TORII JR and MK4 uses 6000.  All of these are a long ways away from 9800.  Also the smaller output tube in the UFO25 is faster than all of the above.  The combination of the high impedance and faster tube is always going to have a musical advantage when speaker efficiency isn't choking the chicken.

Still shaking my head that a pair of UFO25's was easily chosen over the ZMA...Shindo...Wavac... and we noticed no difference in power.  In fact my observation during the comparisons was that the UFO25's were louder.  Let me explain...

When we switched to the ZMA I tried to set the volume the same which I think I did.  But from my location it sounded about 3dB quieter than the UFO25's.  But then when the music became more energized the volume jumped up and I knew the levels were exactly matched.

This would suggest that the low level detail with the UFO25 amps is 3dB louder than anything we make including the holy grail ZMA so when you listen to it, as my friend stated, you "hear it coming" before it gets here!

Great stuff!

Time to go float around in the listening room with a pair of Anniversary Amps in Mono driving the HR-1's !  

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/19/18 at 11:24:56

Really interesting Steve. The "you can hear it coming" is understandable to me. I had thought before of it in this way and noted it in the forum: to me it's as if "You ARE the microphone." It feels as if you are doing the recording, the event is transpiring with you, it's so different from what we are accustomed to hearing reproduced. A control booth experience more than a listening room experience. I hate the old warhorse audio comment "You are there." I know full well when listening I am not there. But I do feel closer to the recording process and as if I'm integrated within that process in a way I never have before with even Decware amplification.

I've fallen in love with the SET design and the little tubes again (and in my case I prefer the SV83/non-military version). ZMA owners will be very happy when you can narrow or eliminate the gap between these two amps, but I'm very glad to have moved to the single-ended amps again with those little dynamo tubes.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 05/19/18 at 16:19:10

Steve,

This has been asked a zillion times at different Forums...  But for the UFO25 specifically, does bridging them into monos bring any sonic difference?  Or is it just a gain in volume?

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/19/18 at 17:42:17

Here is what Steve has posted on the SE84UFO product page:

Worried about 2 huger than life SET watts not being enough power?

The SE84UFO employs a unique floating output transformer scheme where the negative speaker wire is not tied to chassis ground. That means when the amp is bridged, both channels may either be series or parallel wired. In series, both channels work as one and transparency is preserved.

So with no sonic drawbacks to running the amps in mono, you can expect 6 dB of additional power rather then the expected 3dB. This is thanks to the power increase the amp has when it sees half the speaker load from being series bridged.


https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84CKC.html

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by NormD on 05/19/18 at 17:49:17

I'm confused.  I only see two input input jacks (left and right, presumably).  Is the amp mono or stereo?  Are the four output jacks for left and right or for 4 and 8 ohm?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/19/18 at 17:56:52

The pictures are of a single input stereo amp. The inputs in the front are for left and right RCA terminated interconnects. The four binding posts on the rear are for left and right + and - speaker cabling.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Stefan on 05/19/18 at 20:00:45

Hi Steve,
don't forget the Torii and schedule a Zen weekend for this beauty to further improve it  :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/19/18 at 23:24:07

Steve, here's hoping that you will provide commentary at some point that compares the sound of the SE84UFO25's with the HR-1's vs. the DNA2's! Maybe the fairest comparison would power each pair of speakers with the amps bridged in mono (although I would be interested, as well, in your thoughts on how the DNA2's sound with just one of the amps vs. both).

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 05/20/18 at 00:21:44

Steve said: "For example the EL84 uses 3300,"

Was this a typing error for EL34?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/20/18 at 03:33:39

Not a typo.  The 25th Anniversary uses the EL84 power tube in the output stage.  My Taboo MKIII also uses this tube type.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/20/18 at 03:44:28

I think it's a typo and I think he was referring to an EL34 in the Rachel. Though the Anniversary amp could use EL84 (Steve tends not to) I don't think that would be "the number."

I could be wrong.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 05/20/18 at 03:53:14

I was assuming the question centered around what was used on the 25th Anniv amp and after going back to read Steve’s post, I see what Brian was actually referring to.  The EL34 has much lower output impedance than an EL84 so the 3300 can’t pertain to the EL84.  So I believe you are both correct.  Sorry if I added to the confusion.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/20/18 at 06:41:53


It was a typo... and I have corrected it. : )

Some commentary on the HR-1 vs DNA both driven with a bridged mono pair of SE84UFO25's.

I spent last night listening to the HR-1's and tonight listening to the DNA2's.

At my normal listening level I don't hear a substantial difference between one amp or two when I'm listening to the DNA2's. The HR-1's are greateful for the extra power in my larger/deader room and it comes across in their sound.

Sonically the HR-1's image better in challenged rooms and in my less challenged room have a more relaxed presentation aka omni magic. The DNA2's have more presence making them a bit more forward. The bass is a bit heavier/warmer. Both speaks were pulled out into the room several feet from the walls.  HR-1's would likely perform better up agaist the front or side walls unless you happen to have the DNA2's near the side walls and not the front wall so that they are toed in around 45 degrees.  This way the bass from the rear horn doesn't reflect back into the horn mouth. Due to the 3dB difference in efficiency the DNA2 are always going to slam harder and although we haven't measured them yet, the really low end on the speakers is likely greater than 3dB more efficient.  It will be a fun project to do some measuring and see what a gated in room response is like.

I'm presently testing them with "low bass" music on TIDAL, basically CLUB / HOUSE mixes that excersise the bass capabilities of your speakers... always fun when you don't have family in the building.  Turned up to just before clipping which can be seen by looking at the VR tubes... let me just say you would be STUNNED at how loud it gets and the control!!!  If I blind-folded Bob Ziegler (as I've done several times) and sent him in the room right now he would just assume he is listening to a ZMA or TORII cranked up about as loud as they will go.  I'm not kidding.  

Now after hearing this, I can see a definite recreational use for a pair of UFO25's on the DNA's!  I guess it's like a car.  If you go the speed limit the differences between high performance and normal performance are very small.  If however you're a little naughty...

Keep in mind that DECWARE started out in the pro-audio business back in the early 90's and I've done a few night-clubs and completely enjoyed making them "hit" like never before, using Imperial horns and good high current amplifiers...  I know what all bass intensive music sounds like at a chest thumbing level that you have to raise your voice to talk over that hits lower than crap and has zero distortion... and standing in the sweet spot tonight I just heard a pair of Zens that sounded just like it. No one would ever believe it was a pair of Zen Triode amplifiers doing this, let alone a pair of 8 inch drivers.

This would be a great demo to do at one of the audio shows just to completely short out the minds of the solid state high power masses, and it would too!

So I guess to answer your question now after hearing this during the midnight hour, I would have to say that a pair of the amps is definitely
more than doubling the fun so in actuality the price per watt drops and you get thee times as many.

I've measured the stock Zens to have as much current as voltage and with an instantanious peak power > 14 watts per channel.  A bridged amp at 6 watts RMS may well be doing instantanious peaks over 30  watts... which somewhat helps to explain what I'm hearing... It's frankly a little mind-bending.  I can wind the preamp up another 1/4 turn higher than with just one amp and that's a rather BIG difference in volume.  

I can safely say tonight's combo is hitting below 30Hz with a lot of energy.  The Car Bass music designed to blow up your stuff sounds on this system just like your standing outside of a car playing "how low can it go".  Nice room shudder, again from a pair of 8 inch drivers I can tell you that it would be hard as hell to get only a pair of 8 inch drivers to do anything in a car that's playing this kind of ridiculous crap, yet it is easily doing it in my large room with  6 watts.  

God, it's a gag! These's things are going so low they'll squeeze your eyeballs out of your head just like it does in the car audio shows which I also have quite a bit of experience in.   Now the speakers are really begining to make their point.  2 watts won't wake the beast, but 6 anniversary watts has not only woke the beast, but the speed is making the experience surreal.  There is more bass in my listening room than I get from the corner horns, and about the same or more than I get from the Imperial Horns!  

Great, now everyone thinks I'm crazy. Someone is going to have to drive over hear and witness this!  I'm serious...



Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 05/20/18 at 15:50:52

Thanks Lon.  Thanks Steve.

A.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 05/20/18 at 16:13:06

Tell me I can bring a ZEN25 and DNA2 home with me and I will be happy to drive up and listen! My ears would love it!!

Joe

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/20/18 at 17:17:28

I know that hearing will always trump measurements, but I can't wait to see the graphs and spectral analyses of the DNA2's!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/20/18 at 18:58:34

Sweet, Steve! Look forward to your Zen weekend for the ZMA. Leveraged with its power as you mentioned... .

When it is the right time, as you stated. No hurry, my budget constraints will not allow me to send my ZMA until the new year (most likely). So, take your time and knock it out of the park.

Whatever, bypass caps and/or power caps that ensue...you're the only one that is going under the hood of my #1 ZMA.   8-)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 05/21/18 at 21:41:56


Quote:
Don't worry ZMA owner's it won't take a whole lot to shrink the gap between the two amps, and even a slight narrowing of the gap when leveraged against the 40 watts would be huge.  I will (when it's the right time) do a Zen weekend on it and see how far it can be taken.


That's good to hear!

And yes, like I said, I've been listening to my Zen amp since Xmas and haven't really given the ZMA much play time.  I do have some lightly used 7027A on the way to try out though.   ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/21/18 at 23:44:57

?

::)

;D


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/22/18 at 02:54:11


As a followup to the last post which I can only frame as "the bass test" still has me shaking my head...  I'm going to have to make a video of that because no-one would believe it.

It gets interesting... because I have only heard these DNA2 speakers on a TORII JR, and then the Anniversary amp which they have been paired with since.  That means I only heard the bass potential once, with Bob Ziegler after the DECFEST last October.  It was memorable so I knew the 2 watts wouldn't turn them on the same way but at the same time, I have no other speaker that gives bass performance this good to the 2 watt amp!  

Anyway, when my friend Dean was here from out of state I bridged a pair of the Anniversary amps, specifically the production sample and the original prototype, for the first time. Anyway, I kept hearing distortions the entire time we were demoing the DNA2's with the pair of amps bridged.  No distortions on the HR-1's.  This is in fact what lead to the bass test the other night.  I wanted to hear what if anything went wrong with the speakers from the listening chair so I pulled up the low bass demo disks for car audio and started working the speakers out which immediately revealed an issue with the left speaker.

I later found that the felt I had put on the speaker frame of the 8 inch driver had come loose and was hitting the cone.  2 watts wasn't enough power to move the cone into the felt.  6 watts was.  So now that the speakers are fixed they make a head-shaking low bass demo with a pair of these amps bridged.  I would say it's the cleanest low bass I've heard.  I can't wait to measure the speakers because I think the lower the bass goes, the louder the speaker gets.... just the opposite of normal. If not it is again another incredible illusion of these amps. One thing my room does do well is ultra-low bass because I designed it from the ground up like a giant diode to take the bass directly outside.  Remember this room is built in a pole barn, so the walls are giant diaphragms 5 x 10 feet, 1 inch thick panels. with a 2 inch air space followed by 1 inch high density foam and then steel.  Bass moves through the wall and there is no reflection back into the room.  It really is quite an experience to listen to aggressive electronic bass in the 20~30 cycle zone because the whole room moves.  It is the same 2 watts that makes this happen as makes a delicate note happen from a flute.  It is all the same to amp, it has no bias.

Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/22/18 at 05:34:18



I now have the web page completly written waiting on a single picture that I will add in later.  I decided that if I was going to go to the trouble to create a laser-cut tube case for the amp with a tube pin straightener and all of the tubes I may as well just finish the job.  Finishing the job means getting a larger case, and including two additional tubes and one 8 pin socket saver.

The 2 additional tubes are alternates for the OD3 that supplies power to the input tube. They are OC3 and OA3. The OC3 is a VR105 and the OA3 is a VR75 like those used to feed the output tubes. I did this because it is important to have all three.  By having all three you can run the input tube with 3 different plate voltages. Combine this with the bias switch and you have 6 differnt voltage/current combinations for a single input tube.

Actually there is one more tube, an OB3/VR90 that can also be used but I didn't include it because the difference between it and the VR105 was not enough to justify the extra tube and between the two the VR105 sounds better.

Every input you buy that you hope is special probably IS special in certain components. It is safe to say that any special tube you might buy will sound exceptional in some gear and less than impressive on other gear. The reason for this is that each component has different voltages and currents.  

Literally you can now listen to an input tube in a simulated matrix representing 6 different components and pick the best one.  Some would approach the problem by stating only one way is best, some would approach it by simply having you buy 6 different exotic input tubes. The Zen way is to have you buy only 1 tube and hear it 6 differnt ways... or buy 2 differnt tubes and hear 12 different amplifiers... or buy 3 different tubes and hear 18 different amps.  How could you possibly spend your money more effectively than this?  

So that's that... these NOS tubes will also be included in the tube compliment. Also an 8-pin socket saver will be included that can be used to not only preserve your rectifier tube socket when rolling rectifiers, but set the rectifier up in height like you see in the pictures which looks better and keeps infrared heat from building up on the power transformer which still runs cool btw!

All of these tubes will be tested in the actual amplifier and matched for gain, transconductance and harmonics! Something you will never be able to get from any tube supplier at any price.

This is the right tube compliment to experience a SE84UFO25l amplifier, so we hope most will opt for it when purchasing the amplifier. We decided to make the amplifier available with or without this complete tube compliment, the difference in price around $400.00.

The final price of the amplifier came out to be $2895.00 without tubes and 3295.00 with the complete tube compliment and accessories.  

Glass resistors. So far I have found and purchased 100 of these hard to find NOS glass tube resistors in the white glass. Since each amp takes 4 of these, I am going to put these in the first 25 amplifiers that are sold for free. IF I can get more after that I will add them to shopping cart as an option.  

I'll definately be contacting everyone on the list by this weekend at the latest.



Whoo-hoo !!!  it's finally happening!  This is really going to blow some minds!  

In 1990 we used to give a Zen Drool towel away with each amplifier which in fairness was more than appropriate.  

With this amplifier a drool towel would be the least of your worries. We would have to include a seat belt for your listening chair to keep you from hitting your head on the ceiling when you start floating.

What a great day I finally get to share something that is truely wonderful! 25 years in the making!

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/22/18 at 06:17:35



Quote:
This has been asked a zillion times at different Forums...  But for the UFO25 specifically, does bridging them into monos bring any sonic difference?  Or is it just a gain in volume?


So far my impressions are good. The regular zens, since the beginning only had at most a 5% hit in transparency compared to a regular stereo amp that is parallel bridged and suffers a 25% hit in transparency rendering it usless. Now with this hyper detail embedding in hyper smoothness the hit is down to 1% or maybe zero.  

The sound difference between one vs. two is subtle unless you play loud or pair with less than 94/95dB efficient speakers. What I hear is a bit more rounded edges with larger diameters and seemingly bottomless power. When I was playing the bass music last night after midnight I actually became aware that I'm probably pissing off the neighbores, so I for the first time in 12 years or so of being here, turned it down. That should tell you something.

This amplifier is exploiting everything we have learned together over more than 20 years and has exceeded what we all thought was possible by a fair degree to be sure.  

Now comes the long wait while we build the first orders and then they ship, break-in, reveal weaknesses in the system, push the owners to do better and then the euphoria begins!  If you thought the UFO transformers was big, and it was, this is 4X that.  It's so serious. So we will begin the long wait for first reviews to push those who need proof over the cliff : )

Cheers,

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 05/22/18 at 06:43:36

Thanks Steve!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/22/18 at 12:35:09


Quote:
By having all three you can run the input tube with 3 different plate voltages. Combine this with the bias switch and you have 6 differnt voltage/current combinations for a single input tube.


Steve, is it reasonable to expect that applying some of these different plate voltages could shorten the lives of some input tubes? I base this remark only on speculations that I have read in various places that a 7DJ8 run at 6 volts stands to last longer than 6DJ8 run at the same voltage.


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 05/22/18 at 16:37:11

Steve,  all sounds awesome!
I'm glad I held off on UFO upgrade of my zen amp. Guess I will put her in a 2nd system.
Can't wait to get my hands on the UFO25.  I have xtra OD3a Mullards and Jan-Sylvania's. Also, 0A3 Philips, RCA's and Sylvania's as well as 7DJ8's and Pcc189's that should keep me going for years & years to come. Also, some good NOSl 6n1p, 6922 variants. I look forward to hearing the UFO25 with your hand picked tubes! I am ready...Bring it on!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/22/18 at 17:08:22


The OA3 VR tube supplies the input tube with a normal voltage while the other VR tubes lower it.  

A 7DJ8 has a 7 volt heater while a 6DJ8 has a 6.3 volt heater.  In equipement where the heater voltage runs high (like 6.8 for example) the 7DJ8 will last longer.  

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Stefan on 05/23/18 at 03:10:11

Great to see that this ultimate version is making it across the finish line!

Steve, does the tube set also include the new tube pin tool? That would be nice to have in the custom made box  :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/23/18 at 13:22:27


Quote:
The OA3 VR tube supplies the input tube with a normal voltage while the other VR tubes lower it.
Thanks, Steve. What is the "normal voltage" for the input tube here?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/24/18 at 05:34:18


Tonight I heard the best sounding fake cymbal I've ever heard.

Let that sink in for a minute...




Before I was always pleased to hear that a cymbal is fake instead of real...kind of a badge of honor for the hi-fi systems.  Now I am at a level that underpins that by at least 4 times.  Tonight I heard the most detail and clarity of an electronic cymbal I've ever heard and it changed the experience from a disappointing... ahhh that's a fake cymbal, bummer... to  wow, that's a fake cymbal and it's so interestingly bad I find it spellbinding!  This is resolution on an unpresidented scale.

Tonight a friend from across town with a brother from across the country who has been here before, came to visit so see if he should order a SE84UFO25 and I always want demos to be really good if someone is going to drive clear over here... well I knew it was good from the first song because he set his stuff on the couch in the sweet spot and then sat next to it way off center if you get my drift.  As soon as I pressed play he froze until the 4:58 minute track was over and I pressed pause.  It didn't matter that he wasn't in the sweet spot.

Two hours later, he wanted to hear the UFO25's in mono so we could go from 2 watts a channel to 6 watts...  this time I chose a song that was simply magical on the single amp. In fact it lacked nothing, and was probably about 2 dB louder than I wanted to listen to it on a single amp, so if ever there was an example of not needing more power this was it. I paused the track mid-way through and mono'd a pair of UFO25's and without changing the volume or anything else, let it warm up for 5 minutes and un-paused the track. It was a devistating experience for the wallet.

The music got bigger, more relaxed and even more musical. We continued to listen at the same volume we had with a single amp... the volume didn't change. The scale doubled. This should be extremely encouraging to anyone with a single UF025, because for years you will be certain nothing could possibly sound better, and then you get a second one, and the sound remains idential to what you had but the scale doubles. This is a pretty serious and obvious change and makes everything better instead of the typical trade-offs we usually put up with.

Now that he has left, the two amps are still in play and I am facinating myself with electronic bass music, the very stuff I hate next to rap... and the system is so clean and so deep it's like hearing music the same way the eyes see through binaculars... just mind-blowing resolution.  It's like seeing the moon for the first time in a serious reflector telescope.  

If people in today's world, especially our children, realized this type of ecstatic music density was possible they would complely shit their pants.  Please don't let this die.  Make your kids listen and appreiciate.  Raise their reference.

I have placed all my grand children in my listening room with this music quality wrapped around them from such a young age that they will always know music sounds like shit unless you're in Papa's listening room! Then when they reach Papa's age they will have an ahha moment!

As you can tell I'm listening to the mono amps as I bable on here...  and in all honesty on great recordings the sound is hallucinogenic. The Depth of bass and the power and scale is so uncanny... so big.  You would never know we didn't have the Zen Mystery Amp playing, or the Zen TORII because the accellaration of the notes surpassed the actuall voltage and watts of the notes.  I have it cranked right now with 20% more on the dial before clipping and I have to admit a pair of these 25th Anniversary amps at 6 hyper-fast thermo-nuclear watts just makes your whole face rattle like dust just hit your face from the violin bow itself...  It's not like hearing the energy of sound but morel like feeling it.  Hearing it is a secondary part of the experience.

If I can make the TORII and ZMA this good with so much more power it would be scary.  Please be patient because I have always figured out a way to make everything sound the way I want it to, which is based on the best sound I've heard that I am trying to replicate.  My reference for reproduced sound has just been doubled.  Like I said before it will change everything because ignorance is bliss in audio.  Now that I know it can sound like this, when I listen to anything less I will be humiliated and then 1000% wholey motivated to save face by making it as good... it is an ego thing... somthing we all suffer from.

Getting back on track (sorry about that) my friend is going to return next week and we are going to try to repeat the experience on the Zen Open Baffle with the FRX2 drivers.  That should be extremely interesting and you can be sure I won't have any problem bashing my own gear if I'm even less than 100% pleased with it, so stay tuned for an accurate and true account as always of what we hear.

Cranberry (Oleska & Ruca Remix) to finish the evening on a pair of UFO25's mono'd into the DNA2 horns...  where did the speakers go?

-Steve







Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/24/18 at 16:24:10

"Make your kids listen and appreiciate.  Raise their reference."

I am certainly working on this.


"Please be patient because I have always figured out a way to make everything sound the way I want it to, which is based on the best sound I've heard that I am trying to replicate."

Steve, if it takes you over a year from now to get the ZMA where you want it. Then, it will be then I come hear it and the:

UFO25th single
UFO25th Mono'd

UFO3/25th Mono's

ZMA Enhanced

DNA2's.


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 05/25/18 at 03:43:04

I am so glad to hear the Zen Open Baffle is about to be tried with the new Anniversary amp.  The Zen Open Baffles have always been for me one of the most interesting speakers. It will be fascinating to learn if they accomplish the same magic as the DNA2.  

Steve, Do you have a pair of NFX you could try with the Anniversary amp?  It's higher efficiency to mate with the 2 Watt stereo model is interesting to me; and I am always intrigued by it's description of having an "open" sound.  Like an open baffle speaker, but with bass!

Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 05/27/18 at 18:29:03

First post.

Being in Europe, Steven's "shop" is not exactly around the corner from me. However, having read multiple rave reviews of the little Zen over the years, I decided to trust his expertise and placed an order for a SE84UFO2 - unseen and unheard, that is. This was a couple of years ago, and it's certainly one of the best audiophile investments I've done to date. So, for those of you who may hesitate because you are unable to listen to the gear before you buy it, have faith. Steven obviously knows his stuff.

Now I'm considering adding the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier. I've read somewhere here that those interested in placing an order for this latest model have been added to a list.      

Where do I sign up and confirm my customer preferences?

/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by busterfree on 05/27/18 at 20:07:37


Quote:
Where do I sign up and confirm my customer preferences?


You should call Decware and talk to someone about placing an order on Tuesday since Monday is a holiday in the US. This is the fastest response.

There is also a link at the bottom of each forum page to get on the customer list for special deals.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/27/18 at 20:13:09


Welcome Havtorn!

Since we're only a few days away from putting the links up on the site, I will go ahead and post the page link here in this post.  You can order the amplifier directly from that page.

https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84UFO25.html

Thanks,

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/27/18 at 23:01:43

Steve, very happy to see the order page debut! And what a generous offer to pay for my lodging if I end-up visiting for an audition and it results in a purchase of the new amp!

A couple of questions. In my recent acquaintance with a 19-year-old SE84C, I discovered an unfortunate mismatch with my prized preamplifier. With the speakers I am using (which I have mentioned before are less than ideal), that Zen amp too easily clips. A different preamp in the collection, however, has helped save the day.

But it is not even remotely in the same league as the first one. A forum member explained privately to me afterward that the Zen amps need preamps with high-gain outputs ("2 volts minimum", he claimed).

Will the new amp require similar output to achieve its best?

I had to look it up; my "prized" preamp outputs 1V. And nothing has been spared over the years in upgrades for this thing. I know the glories it is capable of when everything else is copesthetic with it. In short, I would hate to have to replace it.

You have made clear that you have found a special synergy between the new amp and the 25th-anniversary-modded CSP3. Meanwhile I am watching the bottom line for a move to your new amp (which in all likelihood would mean a pair) and everything else that would need to fall into place to help make the best of them.

Do you have an opinion on whether that 1V output of this favorite preamp of mine is likely to impede my chances of that?  

 

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 05/27/18 at 23:03:26

It took me a while but now I think this is one gorgeous amp!   8-)

I want one but I can't justify new speakers or the two it'd take to run my HR1s.  I'll just have to wait for the ZMA25.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/27/18 at 23:08:31

Rob, I'm pretty sure Steve would say two things, and let's see if he does:

1: The new amps are going to need 2V or more to come alive. You'll have the same problem with your preferred preamp.

2:  The Decware ZSTAGE would probably solve that problem as likely would the ZROCK2. The additional gain these add would complement your preamp and energize the amp.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/27/18 at 23:56:34

Lon, I have just finished reading the link Steve provided for ordering the new amp. Here's the specification: "Input voltage: 1.5 volts for full output".

Steve, I also see that "Peruvian walnut" has been replaced by "African Padauk, Vermilion".

As for those glass resistors, you are still offering to provide those for free on the first 25 units?  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/27/18 at 23:59:45

Okay. My experience remains these amps will sound better with 2V or more. My Monoblocks do. It's imo not a matter of coming to full power but of useable power. And the ZSTAGE or ZROCK2 after your preamp or in its place will get that voltage in there. . . that's the "density" part of "speed and density."

Just how I hear it.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/28/18 at 00:19:39

Archie, I'm going to never say never to a possible road trip and getting the SE84UFO3-25th Mono-blocks. But, the ZMA25 is what I'm leaning towards too.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 05/28/18 at 00:28:44


Quote:
I had to look it up; my "prized" preamp outputs 1V.


The CSP3 puts out up to 30 volts.  I'm sure the ZTPRE is similar or the same.  I second Lon's comments about higher voltage.  I don't understand the physics of why higher voltage, than what the amp needs for max power, sounds denser but I doubt your pre will be optimal with Decware amps.  That said, get a ZROCK2 and I'll bet you'll be fine.  To my ears, it adds even more than the CSP3 in the way of sound satisfaction.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/28/18 at 00:49:03

No doubt, to get pure density and timbre=Steve's output transformer's high voltage coming out the ZDSD (direct no pre).

My 6922 tube variant ARC LS-2B MkII = the voltage output needed.

My old Classic Audio Alchemy, I hook up from time to time, has voltage output adjustment 25 years running via remote!

I should have kept my CSP3 too.

A must with DECWARE.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by busterfree on 05/28/18 at 01:52:07


Quote:
Do you have an opinion on whether that 1V output of this favorite preamp of mine is likely to impede my chances of that?


Hi RLB,
I do not think your preamp is a problem. With inefficient speakers, you need power. If you are not willing to change speakers, I would suggest a different amp or spend double for mono blocks.

I would suggest opening a new thread to tell us about your system, room size, etc. I, for one, enjoy hearing about and seeing other systems.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 05/28/18 at 06:51:45

Thank you, Steve!

Looking at the link you provided, I notice the following comment:

"If you choose option 2 or 3, you can also choose the knobs to go with it.
We recommend the black or cream chicken-head knobs for best performance."
.

Now, if I want to opt for the 20-position stepped attenuators, the order form tells me that the gold knob is the only choice with the stepped attenuator.

Am I misreading something here?

I would have liked to have the stepped attenuators with black chicken-head knobs.

As to the woodbase, is the African Padauk Hardwood replacing its Peruvian equivalent as the standard base and will Zebrawood be available as an option?

Best,
/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/28/18 at 12:04:10

Wow! At least 20 SE84UFO25 already on the build list!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/28/18 at 15:02:33

.....and Dean & Steve are both float strapping a pair of these puppies! Look forward to hopefully 10 of the current 20 to chime in with impressions. Especially, Dean & Steve.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 05/28/18 at 15:12:14

My UFO25 is #022.
Sarah felt build time should be less than 8 weeks.
I cannot wait!!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Showme on 05/28/18 at 16:15:09

I'd pull the trigger on one of these if I was sure a set of glass resistor's was still available. If not I'll just wait until the rush eases up.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/28/18 at 16:53:47



Quote:
"If you choose option 2 or 3, you can also choose the knobs to go with it.
We recommend the black or cream chicken-head knobs for best performance.".

Now, if I want to opt for the 20-position stepped attenuators, the order form tells me that the gold knob is the only choice with the stepped attenuator.


That is no longer true, you can choose any knob.  The order form has been updated.  Thanks for pointing this out!!!

-Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/29/18 at 00:18:44


UPDATE:

Here is the updated tube compliment for the SE84UFO25. Since my last rambling about this I have decided to add even more tubes and enlarge the case.  My first effort was pretty good but I knew I could do better, so here it is!






Contents of the case:

2) OA3/VR75
1) OA3/VR75R
1) OC3/VR105
1) OD3/VR150
1) 5U4
4) 6P15P-EV
1) 7DJ8
1) 6N5P
1) TUBE PIN STRAIGHTENER
1) SOCKET SAVER

Also as you can see there are six empty places for additional input tubes. The amp comes with a select grade NOS 7DJ8 and a 6N5P. Additionally it is compatible with 6N1P, 6N11, 6DJ8, 6922, 7308 and CV2492 so it makes sense to put some place to put extra input tubes that you might accumulate.

Also you can see a tube-pin straightener for the audio tubes and an 8-pin socket saver for the rectifier tube to elevate it.

This is the tube compliment I feel the amplifier should have to be fully appreciated and it is what will be sent with the amplifier when "include tubes" is selected in the shopping cart.

-Steve  :)


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/29/18 at 00:49:58

A beautiful case, and a good, useful idea for the owners!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Stefan on 05/29/18 at 02:55:44

Amazing, thanks for all the love to the details Steve! Looking forward to holding mine in hands  :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/29/18 at 03:20:18


Thanks Lon and Stefan!

With all the work that goes into the compliment it's comforting to know it will arrive undamaged.  

You and I both know that if the amplifier shipped without this expanded tube compliment, there would be people who would never roll tubes.  It's a common reaction when you hear something better than you've heard before. Nevertheless, everyone who owns this particular amplifier needs to listen to EVERY input tube change paired with all three VR tubes.  IF all three, tested and hand selected VR tubes are setting there next to the amplifier, those same people will undoubtably try all three.

I want people to have the same experience that I have written about during my listening sessions, so we need to get as many variables the same as possible.

To all who might own one of these I plea -

Do not handicap this amplifier with Monster Cable or similar speaker cables.  Get DECWARE ZSTYX and see if they are better than what you have.  If they are not, return them and know your cables pass the Steve test.

Same is true with interconnects.  We can't play around anymore.  This is a serious amplifier and only the best interconnects are acceptable.  Again, if you don't have a collection of 4 figure cables to play with, get the DECWARE DSRII's, our one-meter interconnect.  If it's not better than what you have, send it back on the 30 day trial and know that your interconnects have passed my test.

Power Cords are also noticeable with this amplifier.  If you want to explore good sounding power cables and don't have any, get ours.  The DECWARE DHC power cord.

Vibration Control... the amp is designed to drain vibration away from the tubes and into the high density hardwood base where it can then be transferred into a plyth designed to absorb energy and transferr it to heat.

It is important to understand that when we hear something better than we've heard before we pause and marvel at it.  That's OK, but keep your eye on the prize and keep focused on eliminating weak links in the audio chain, each time you find one, you will hear your amplifier for the first time.  

Precision is important... I have placed my speakers in the room several times and have a general idea where they sound best. Sadly when I get them in the magic spot where everything changes... I loose it from having to demo other speakers. No worries I can hear when they sound right, and I found it once I can put them back easily (without tape marks on the floor).  False.  I have only had the speakers in the right place for two demos since I got them.  By right place, I also mean position, i.e. toe-in and in some cases rake.  The solution to this problem and it's a serious problem, was to spend an entire evening getting them perfect again and then putting a dot on the center of the speaker top with a line through it parallel to the front wall.  The line will always let me get the toe in perfect and the dot is used to measure from the dot to the front wall and from the dot to the side wall using a laser tape measure.  The measurements are written on the tape.

Note to self: toe-in that is right for the room and toe in that is right for the listening position must overlap.  There are two.

I regret not having done this before, so I can easily see even the most scientific amoung you become human and sabotage yourself.  The difference between having these three positions perfect and symmetrical (when blessed with a symmetrical listening room) is not small.  It is exactly like focusing a camera lens where everything goes from glassy and in your face to a deep rich and focused expanse of sound that no longer understands where it came from (speakers) or that there are walls.  You can hear it happen.  Admittably this tedium is greatly lessened with radial speakers, but that's a different disscussion.

Tonight's rambling is really just "how many ways can we shoot ourselves in the foot" before we finally hear how good this (or any) amplifier really is? It wants to be heard, I'm warning you. If unlocked with a good source it channels musical consciousness that will bend the handicaps into submission but if you want it to sound that good all the time, you need to address the above mentioned issues.

Happy Memorial Day!

Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 05/29/18 at 15:34:50


Quote:
Vibration Control... the amp is designed to drain vibration away from the tubes and into the high density hardwood base ...


I realize this doesn't have a lot to do with this thread but can someone please explain the physics of this to me?  I've seen this kind of statement many times in the audio world and "draining vibration" isn't something I've ever encountered in Engineering.  Damping (which is mentioned as "...absorb energy and transfer it to heat.") and avoidance through tuning are both real concepts.  All "draining" means to me is that vibrations travel through the audio chain until something damps it.  Far from ideal.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 05/29/18 at 17:53:29

You know the way i think of it when I hear "Draining" in isolation talk is absorption and damping as you mention. But if there's real draining going on . . . I'm not an engineer nor a "an explanation must be grounded in engineering" kind of guy--I'd love to be educated about draining.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/29/18 at 19:09:16


The way I see it is there are 3 sources of vibration:

1) Sound in air
2) Vibration from the ground
3) Vibration from the amplifier itself, specfically the power transformer.

Of the three I think #3 is by far the biggest contributor.

So we have enegy being generated at the power transformer that is coupled to a steel plate that has higher mass than the transformer.  The energy moves into the steel plate which is connected on it's boarder to an even higher mass hardwood base.  The energy moves into the base which is then coupled to a special amplifier base (plinth) which is higher mass still.  The progression of mass keeps the energy moving in one direction.

Now we also have the energy from the floor moving into the audio rack or table your amplifier is on trying to get into the amplifier but the high-mass plinth is constrained-layer dampened so that energy that comes into it is turned into heat.  The design of this layering must also have a nucleus of mass that is higher than all of the above mentioned items to be an effective vibrational sink.

I've been working on these plinth designs since last summer and the resolution of the UFO25 is making it easier to hear the effect.  When they're ready I'll have them on the site for sale.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by 4krow on 05/29/18 at 19:36:58

It's pretty cool that so much thought is involved during design. I must however, ask why would it not be possible to mount the transformer onto another chassis, then have it placed 'out of reach' for the troubling vibrations to cause the problem in the first place?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 05/29/18 at 21:22:51

The natural damping of materials is called hysteresis. It is when the molicules rub together and create friction.
The natural vibration harmonics of materials are different, then you get into the actual mass of the materials plus the unsupported areas of the materials.
Thicker is normally better, more support is usually better. Varying the density of the material is better.
There is a reason that bells are made of bronze and not of lead or wood.
Vibrations are damped  by varying degrees by the material that it is transferring through. I don’t recall ever being taught anything about draining vibration, just damping it or changing my perimeters to change the harmonics.
I work on eleminating vibrations in my profession every day.
Of course my education is from MIT (Mississippi institute of truckin’) so I might have made it all up.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 05/29/18 at 23:39:58

Steve, you specify the following for the new amp: "Input voltage: 1.5 volts for full output". Others have weighed-in here, speculating even more output-voltage as to what should ideally feed the amp. Any thoughts?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 05/29/18 at 23:41:06

Donnie and Steve,

That's the way I've always seen it.  I don't doubt that vibration moves through the system but it goes in all directions, not just from low to high mass.  Once the transformers get the plate moving the vibration also goes into anything attached to the plate.  The damping needs to be local.

With all due respect, I would differ in Steve's order of concern with the induced vibrations.  While the transformer is important, it has a limited spectrum.  The vibrations that come from the equipment supports are potentially much worse since the spectrum can be so much wider (potentially 0 to whatever the top end of the speakers).

I've no doubt that this amp is a step in the right direction with respect to vibration control/mitigation but I still maintain that the "gold standard" is magically suspended in a vacuum.  The closer we can get to that, the better.  In the real world, I think this means good design and a better than good isolation platform.

One of my first projects when I was a "rocket scientist" in the 80s was to come up with a launch lock that would keep a delicate piece of equipment from coming loose during a shuttle launch.  Given the ridiculously wide vibration spectrum involved, I gave up on tuning the resonance and went for spring isolation that put things completely outside the vibration window.  That experience prejudiced me towards isolation.  Now I just remodel kitchens and bathrooms so, take the former for whatever it's worth!   ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 05/30/18 at 02:04:23

Ok, I have a idea!
What if under the transformer one was to put a support connecting the mounting plate to the base?
Is there room for a piece of 1/4-20 allthread and a couple of nuts?
That would support the transformers and cut down the vibration of the mounting plate.
Thinking a little more, maybe plastic all thread with a nut epoxied to the plate would work better, maybe.
I’m sitting on a island right now so my brain is relaxed and super sharp now. Lol.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/30/18 at 03:44:02



Quote:
It's pretty cool that so much thought is involved during design. I must however, ask why would it not be possible to mount the transformer onto another chassis, then have it placed 'out of reach' for the troubling vibrations to cause the problem in the first place?


My experience with remote power supplies comes from making the same amp with a remote power supply and without and comparing the sound. The difference is the B+ wire length goes from 4 or 5 inches to several feet. In my tests, the long B+ wire ruined the sound. By the time I got a cable that was well shielded from RF and thick enough to carry the current that far, and used the best conductors to try to make it seem like they weren't there... I had created a cable that was more expensive than the power supply itself and it still didn't sound right. Perhaps this isn't noticeable on less transparent amplifiers but it gave me enough to understand it's a bad idea for my own amplifiers.

The best way would be to isolate the power transformer with grommets, sadly it is impossible to ship an amplifier that way.  In fact I have had more amplifiers come in for mods that were poorly packed and poorly handled by the shipper who's power transformers were actually ripped part way off the amp due to high G-forces.  

Back in the 1980's I got an opportunity to see what Polk Audio was doing in the laser refractomotry lab at John Hopkins University with model resonance studies of speaker cone materials and gained some real insights.  When energy is introduced into a material and that material isn't touching anything stiff, the energy becomes trapped and immediately sets up a pattern in the material.  This is called modal resonance.  If you touch the material while energy is introduced into the material, some of the energy goes into your finger.  That amount of energy that's now in your finger/hand is that much less energy trapped in the material reflecting back on itself.  This changes the modal resonance pattern in the material and lowers it's amplitude.

Some might call that damping it, but since the energy does in fact transfer from one material to another, I think of it as draining, or moving from one place to the next.

If you want to find out how effective any type of vibration control is, gain up a tube and listen to it with a solid state headphone amplifier with 90dB of gain!  You can hear the air move across the tube and tiny vibrations among the elements inside the tube sound like giant bridge trusses coming apart in an earthquake.  Whether one frequency or music or both, it does not help the clarity of the sound.

Anyway, this is the reason why I choose the African Padauk hardwood, because I'm trying to get the vibrations minimized.  Peruvian Walnut turned out to be only half as hard (Janka hardness around 1K).  Of course it's not going to make any real difference if you just set the amp on a rack with it's rubber feet.  However, pin it to a plinth with 4 cones and then float the right kind of plinth and set that on properly selected sobothane pucks floating on teflon sheets and it begins to work.

Steve





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/30/18 at 03:53:20



Quote:
Steve, you specify the following for the new amp: "Input voltage: 1.5 volts for full output". Others have weighed-in here, speculating even more output-voltage as to what should ideally feed the amp. Any thoughts?


When we went to the black chassis and the beeswax caps as standard in all of our amplifiers, the input sensitivity of the Zen Triode amplifiers was increased from 2 volts to 1.5 volts.  That means if the input level control is wide open, the amp will clip with 1.5 volts.

The more you feed the amp, the more you have to trim the input level control to compensate. This process adds weight to the sound and animates the music better with certain cables.  Usually anywhere from 3 volts to 10 volts is nice to create the effect.  If you want more effect you use higher voltage.  The amplifier never actually sees any of this higher voltage because the input level control is turned down an equal amount.  What changes the sound is what happens between the source and the input level control, mainly the interconnects reaction to the higher pressure/voltage.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by 4krow on 05/30/18 at 04:16:05

Steve,

 A smile starts to form as I read your reply. I know exactly what you mean. When I built my headphone amp, I too was concerned with the transformer causing more than it's share of the sound. It was a bitch, but I made an isolation attempt with Sorbothane T washers, and then Sorbothane washers on the other side of them, so that the tranny was truly floated from one side to the other. So may people just use rubber washers to isolate, and no, because of the bolt contacting the chassis when it is tightened it is instant failure right there and then. Point is, if you can get damned thing disconnected mechanically from the chassis, at least to some degree, it is undoubtedly better. I have never been so pleased with the performance of a product.
I suspected, as you mentioned about the umbilical power cord that there is no free lunch. With such voltages and lengths, more has to be considered. I can just see a power cord with armored sheathing ;).

 Good explanation of the reasoning along about where the experience came from as well. How many of us out there will ever see the inside of such a lab?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/30/18 at 04:41:39


actually you can see that lab on videos if you look for it.  The closest think I can show you, and it's damn similar... is the sound drop videos.  In those I inject sound into a single drop of water and then look at the modal patterns created throughout the drop.  There is a world of insight from these videos if you really study them because you are actually seeing sound and how it behaves in a medium with boundries.  Not that different from a room.  Not that different from a steel plate.



This is what a single frequency looks like at a fairly high amplitude.


Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 05/30/18 at 16:04:12


Quote:
If you touch the material while energy is introduced into the material, some of the energy goes into your finger.  That amount of energy that's now in your finger/hand is that much less energy trapped in the material reflecting back on itself.  This changes the modal resonance pattern in the material and lowers it's amplitude.

Some might call that damping it, but since the energy does in fact transfer from one material to another, I think of it as draining, or moving from one place to the next.


Thanks, I understand where and how the term "draining" is being used now.  It's the difference of resonance of a component and resonance of a system.  

I have the newest Technics 1200G turntable and the platter is a work of art and will not ring no matter what you hit it with.  It's heavy and made up of a composite of aluminum, rubber and brass.  If the top plate of the amps is the biggest issue (and it makes sense that it could be) how about laminating heavy rubber to the underside?  Another thought is to laser cut the tops.  I use Freud saw blades and they now laser cut squiggles in the blades that make them go "thunk" instead of "ding" when you tap them.  Lot's of ways to skin a cat!  (Please no politically correct outrage at my anti-feline expresion.   :D)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 05/30/18 at 17:51:34

SE84UFO25 (incl. tube case) ordered.

It seems your new-born baby will be going all the way to Europe to grow up, Steve... :)

Best,
/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/31/18 at 03:24:35


Yes, it should be very happy there! : )

Thank-you,

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 05/31/18 at 21:31:36

Steve, in the new video ~ Wireless electricity?!!   8-)

Cool Video.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by glineus on 06/03/18 at 12:05:19

Hi Leon,

Can you post a picture of your Monoblocks and the price for same. Are they six watts each? Do they have the meters? As I would like to order the Monoblocks but the shopping cart does not indicate.

Regards

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/03/18 at 15:23:31

Hi, I think you're asking me questions. I'm not Leon. ;)

I am very challenged with photos, and I don't own a camera, I'm just not interested in photography. So I don't have any photos of my Monoblocks. But my Monoblocks look exactly like standard SE84UFO3 monoblocks with one exception: I ordered a treble cut circuit installed on each and there is a little black knob and a toggle switch in the front corner area of each amp that are not on the stock photo attached to this post. Mine have the walnut case and an ebony knob.

You may be misunderstanding the nature of these Monoblocks: they are not two bridged SE84UFO25, they are each one half of an SE84UFO25, one channel per amplifier. So they do NOT have six watts per channel, but 2.7 watts per channel, a bit more powerful than one SE84UFO25 due to the power supply nature I think, but not the same power as two bridged SE84UFO25. Like the standard SE84UFO3 they do not have meters. The mods that make them a 25th anniversary edition are under the top plate, there are bypass caps for the power supplies there and there is an OC2 tube mounted in a socket below to offer voltage regulation for the input tube. I paid about 3800 dollars for the pair.

At the moment if you want to order these you can order a pair of the SE84UFO3 Monoblocks and either include in the "Notes" section that you want the 25th Anniversary Mod version, or if you call Sarah let her know. They will then adjust the pricing and send you an invoice.

I love mine. The 2.7 watts is just enough for my HR-1 speakers in my listening area. I also love the way they look with their black top plate and no meters or silk-screening.

https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84UFO3.html

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/04/18 at 04:25:27



Quote:
Steve, in the new video ~ Wireless electricity?!!   Cool

Cool Video.


Yes, it is a miniature tesla coil. As you can see it is effected by the presence of my hands, in fact I can overcome it with my own energy field which is why it completely vanishes at the start of the video.  At the point where my energy field resonates with it, that point being the correct distance away, the spark is much larger.  When I come towards it with the bulb in hand, it is once again my enegry field that that begins to resonate with the spark and you can see it grow just before the bulb lights.  Also if you have the sound turned up you can hear the spark.  Nothing is fake in the video.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 06/04/18 at 17:35:24

Steve,

Your short video teaser is indeed imost nteresting and also sounds promising.

With such innovation, maybe we can expect the SE84UFO30 to work completely off the grid simply tapping into the energy that surrounds us and with no need for IC/speaker cables....

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/06/18 at 01:47:36


Indeed!  And... welcome to the forums!

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 06/06/18 at 18:29:09

Thank you for the friendly welcome, Steve.

I have followed this site for years with great interest and enthusiasm, but have only now found the moment (or courage?) to register. The information and experiences shared here are a true source of inspiration. Hopefully I can contribute over time.

Having said this, I would like to turn to your comment in this thread the other day where you said that your friend would return to your place and you would repeat the experience of the bridged SE84UFO25 on the Zen Open Baffle speakers. Have you already heard this combination and, if so, perhaps you could share your initial impressions with us?

Best,
/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/07/18 at 00:39:00


Ironically, he will be here in 20 minutes.  I have the combo warming up now.  My first take-away was that the ZOB's have a lot more bass than I remember.  Stunning really, I thought the demo might involve passive subwoofers which is a great way to turn these speakers into monsters, but what I am hearing right now would not indicate any reason to hook up the subs.  Very interesting for sure.

I'll keep you posted.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by ScottNC on 06/07/18 at 03:29:04

Be interesting to hear about this, looking forward to it also.
Scott

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/07/18 at 03:38:09


Actually the demo is on Thursday and today is only Wednesday, I figured this out shortly after my post.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 06/07/18 at 10:57:09

Well damn, I was in East Peoria yesterday, I should have stopped by!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/07/18 at 13:36:45

Courtesy of our host,  posted on the Facebook page.

https://www.decware.com/newsite/UFO25designlog.pdf

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 06/07/18 at 20:56:18

Donnie,  didn't you have some free range wood to drop off for the UFO25's?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 06/08/18 at 01:12:28

No, that wood is for the UFO 50’s. The tree has a few more years of growing in it.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 06/08/18 at 15:56:25

I will inform my children and grand-children.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/09/18 at 04:32:29

UPDATE:  UFO25's bridged mono driving the Zen Open Baffles



Now having had 3 days (and a demo) under my belt with the Zen Open Baffle speakers I think I can make some comments.

I placed the speakers in a wide arc about 3 feet from the front wall.  The toe-in was such that the intersecting X lands just in front of the listening chair.   This is pretty much where I placed them at last years DECFEST for my “2-watt demo” that i like to do every year.  

The 2-watt demo uses the Zen Open Baffle speakers in parallel with a 15 inch low-frequency driver passively crossed at 90Hz and at a 12dB per octave slope.  Doing this adds an octave of low frequency information that extends to 22 Hz and a substantial amount of it making the resulting sound seem impossible to be generated by a 2 watt amplifier.

So that’s the back story and for the demo I set things up a bit differently.  I used a pair of UFO25’s bridged mono into the Zen Open Baffles with no bass support.  When I first tested the combo I was shocked at how much bass there was. It was more than I remember the speakers having during the 2 watt demo.  The added power and weight of the bridged amps was definitely ensuring good bass performance which was my concern.  The FRX2 drivers used in these speakers have detail and presence beyond all of our other speakers including the DFR8 drivers, so to balance such amazing hyper detail, good bass performance is needed.

My plan was to demo the speakers like this and see if the subject of bass augmentation comes up at any time during the demo.

So at this point it is still Wednesday night, and I am enjoying a nice test run and getting great sound.  That’s when I remembered the bass on the Zen Open Baffles is determined by how loud they are turned up.  The louder you play the speaker the fuller the bass response becomes.   If you play the speakers quiet at a background level, the bass diminishes.

To drive the amplifiers, I used a ZCD240 hooked directly to the inputs of each amp with a pair of DSRII silver interconnects.  The ZCD240’s output level was adjusted to max (7.75 volts)   During the demo we mostly played CD’s, with a touch of memory stick tracks and some streaming from Linn Radio.

I set the level to comfortable, but full.. I would say around 1 or 2 dB louder than I do with a single 2 watt amp.  The bass was good.

What does the ZOB bass sound like?  It’s strong at 40 - 50 Hz and then rolls off a bit by the time it hits 80 Hz.  This means that the speaker has a dryer sounding mid-bass than most speakers.  If you hate bass bloat or boomy mid-bass, or you have a square room with 60Hz room-boom issues, you might love this speaker because no matter what the bass is ultra clean.  The down side is that it will be more apparent when you come across a thin sounding recording.

What did it sound like?  It sounded more real from 50 Hz on up than the DNA2’s.  The presence is the same as electrostatic speakers but with more subjective velocity.  There were several levels to this presence that we explored during the evening.  There were as follows:

1) FRX2 drivers have a HI and NORM presence control switch on the back of each driver... or you could say they have  NORM and LO switch depending on your perspective. We started with it in the lower setting.

2) The UFO25’s have a bias switch for the input tube that does exactly the same thing to the sound as the switch on the FRX2 drivers. We started in the lower setting.

3) The speaker impedance switch on the amplifiers also creates a very similar sounding effect between the two settings, and either setting runs the speakers without effort.  We started in the lower setting.

You can amuse yourself with different combinations of these three settings, but I have found they are pretty cumulative. Start out with all the settings on the most laid-back mode and then as the night progresses add more presence until you're at maximum potential.

After several hours of listening the topic of subs did come up since the speakers don’t do ultra-low bass it eventually lead to conversations on how to properly augment the low bass and get it right the first time.  Adding a powered subwoofer is not the answer, which is what most if not all people would tend to do.  It was the gentelman's plan so I saved it with some education about integrating correct bass augmentation.

Rather than kill it with a powered solid-state subwoofer, adding a pair of pro-audio 15-inch drivers that have the same 96 dB of efficiency and putting them into a large tuned cabinet, one per side, is the best way to get the bottom octave correctly integrated without phasing issues and lagging issues caused from the low-efficiency high-mass home subwoofers.

To drive the subs nothing is needed, we just parallel them with the Zen Open Baffles and put a simple 12dB passive crossover set at 90 hz between the speaker and sub.  The advantage of this is that the same amplifier is driving both speakers so the harmonics and signature and phase angle are absolutely perfectly integrated.

I ended up demonstrating this using a pair of 15 inch woofers in a pair of Imperial Folded Horn cabinets (SO version) and that set the stage for another several hours of listening.  With this gigantic scale in the bottom end and effortless, deep, and fast not to mention 1000% seamlessly-integrated bass there was many head-shaking moment and from the adjacent spaces around the listening room the music felt and sounded real.  The combo of non-compressed ultra-fast subterranean bass with the hyper detail of the FRX2 drivers in the ZOB is pretty hard to argue with.

The imaging on this setup has always been good, but with the UFO25’s it is so well focused you just couldn’t ask for better.

Since the demo ended on Thursday late night ( or maybe Friday morning I didn’t check) I have been hearing what the amps are truly capable of in the extreme low end, and all the way through the spectrum.  With all the levels of presence I discussed earlier, we quickly migrated to everything all the way up for maximum presence because the amplifiers are so good, you just can’t over do it.  Until hearing these amps on this combo, I have always ran the presence at less than full for what I felt was the best sound… so that is very telling on multiple levels.

When it comes to REAL bass, like this, where you can't see the woofer move, the cabinet is the size of a double door refrigerator and horn-loaded and there are two... my feelings are this:

If the music paints a mountain i would like to feel the mountain.  I do not want to be restricted to music that only paints trees and bushes because that is the only thing I can reproduce.

And this brings me to a flash-back about these very horn-loaded bass cabinets I am using for the demo.  Clearly the bass from these UFO25's bridged IS the best I have every heard from these cabinets. Simply stunningly perfect. Then suddenly I remembered hooking these same exact cabinets up to a 800 or 1200 watt solid state subwoofer amplifier from Parts Express and it was the most complete sonic disaster that you could have scripted. I couldn't get any rich deep bass out of the damn things without the woofers trying to flop out of the cabinets as they try to rip the surrounds of the cones.  It was so obscene it gave me a migraine headache trying to adjust it to at least try to work right! After 2 hours of trying everything I could think of, I had to give up and send the amplifier away.

The following week after that hellish experience I built a 60 watt tube amp to drive both subs in mono and it worked gloriously and still does!  In fact it sounded so good on music also, that I built two more as speaker amps and those are today our Zen TORII Mono's.

The point to all of this is even a single 2 watt Zen Triode Amplifier will absolutely embarrass the 1200 watt solid-state sub amp I tried.  Not only sound quality, but bass output.  They make the speakers just roll out this wonderful deep bass that is full and rich, and the solid state amp couldn't make it happen.   A testament to output transformers on zero-feedback amplifiers vs. some feedback-laden solid-state output stages.  

NOTE:  Horn-loaded woofers are hard for some solid-state amplifiers to drive which is why the results were in this case as indicated.

NOTE:  When you listen to similar speakers like Lowther and all the rest with lessor electronics (which could the norm by comparison) it becomes obvious that this is the sound they were hoping for.  The detail is extreme.  The textures in the low frequencies are just to die for. The liquidity and the overall balance makes for endless fatigue-free listening.

It's going to be hard to un-hook this setup and go back, but happily the DNA2's are as close to having both sounds in a single box as you're going to get, without the extreme presence, just real good presence.

The imperial horn itself has a spell that it casts upon you once you hear what the bass sounds like coming out of one... especially with the UFO25's!  Look what it did to the cat!



-Steve  









Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 06/09/18 at 05:22:05

Beautiful!

I am glad it turned out as well as I thought it would.

Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 06/09/18 at 09:55:36

Thank you for this detailed and highly interesting review of the ZOB/bridged UFO25 combination, which I have been looking forward to, Steve.

As always, well written.

I somehow suspected that this combo would prove to be quite a memorable experience, and even with " only" a single SE84UFO25 I am certain it will be quite a capable set-up in a smaller to mid-size listening environment.

Currently running a single SE84UFO2 with a pair of Tonian Labs M2 and am quite satisfied with what I am hearing from this combo.  Can't wait though to hear what the SE84UFO25 will bring to the table, and I have always had a weak spot for the ZOB, so who knows what comes next.... :)    

/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 06/09/18 at 14:10:28

Steve, any thoughts on augmentation of the ZOB's with active H-frame-style, open-baffle, low-frequency woofers in their own enclosures (for those of us unable to accommodate refrigerator-sized alternatives)? I realize that ideal integration of such a design is notoriously dependent on the choices of both amplifier and drivers. Have you ever heard it done well and in ways that you believe would work well with the ZOB's?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/11/18 at 04:29:21

RLB,

I have no doubt that a pair of open baffle subwoofers that went down to no less than 40Hz and wired the same way could be a viable alternative.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 06/11/18 at 05:53:32

Steve,
I’ve been meaning to ask, what was the results of the resistor comparison?  I know you had the Vishay glass hermetically sealed, the similar concept NOS batch, and of course the Decware stock resistors.  I don’t recall reading what your thoughts were relative to these various resistors.  I, along with others I’m sure, are incredibly curious as to what you think.  :)

Cheers,
Jeff

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/11/18 at 21:55:49

Oh yeah.....for ZMA enhancement too. When Steve said, he knows how it is going to sound already in his head.....I hope it includes those guys/resistor's (Vishay glass)...or not?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 06/12/18 at 01:48:07

"I have no doubt that a pair of open baffle subwoofers that went down to no less than 40Hz and wired the same way could be a viable alternative."

Steve, just curious, why the recommendation for subwoofers here that won't go lower than 40Hz?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 06/12/18 at 03:08:18

The way I read it, Steve is recommending drivers that will go down at least 40Hz. In other words, they can go lower but if they don’t at least go as low as 40Hz, look elsewhere.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/12/18 at 04:19:32



Quote:
Steve,
I’ve been meaning to ask, what was the results of the resistor comparison?  I know you had the Vishay glass hermetically sealed, the similar concept NOS batch, and of course the Decware stock resistors.  I don’t recall reading what your thoughts were relative to these various resistors.  I, along with others I’m sure, are incredibly curious as to what you think.  :)

Cheers,
Jeff


Jeff,

So far I have been comparing the original clear glass ones with our standard Vishay metal Film resistors that we typically use for the control grid of both the input and output stage.  What I am hearing as far as I can tell is an absence of signature.  It's a bit weird but I can't hear the glass resistor.  Once a resistor gets to a certain point where its colorations fall below perceptions it becomes hard to make comparisons. I don't see this is a good or bad thing.  In a Zen Amp where there are only 2 resistors, a touch of coloration isn't a bad thing, and by the same token zero coloration deserves equal billing so what does one choose?

Next I'm going to see what I can hear between the clear glass and the white glass.  I also found a juicy black glass resistor that I've yet to hear.  I'm sure they'll all be in the same league being so similarly built, but we have to be sure.

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/12/18 at 04:31:33


So tonight I am listening to ZMA with some very fast output tubes and 7DJ8's on the input stage paired with the HR-1's since I demo'd that combo today to a gentleman from Canada.

I noticed something when comparing it to the SE84UFO25, and that is that I found myself turning it up louder searching for the same sound.  That lead me to realize that I was right about the speed of the UFO25 being basically equal to power.  As I got the ZMA louder and louder there was more excitement similar to what the UFO25 gives you at 1/3rd the volume.  Very interesting.

I also have great confidence in my ability to push the ZMA to a similar place.  I've thought about how to change the OA3 circuit and a bypass strategy so I'll update you with the results when I've done it and had plenty of time to evaluate the results.

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 06/12/18 at 07:00:21

Steve,
Thanks for the feedback on your resistor comparison thus far.  It’s one of those things I assume will likely amount to splitting hairs, but then again, the potential of something profound can’t ever be discounted.  

I got my hands on some Shinkoh tantalum resistors in 330Kohm that I want to swamp into the signal path to see what happens.  These coveted Shinkoh’s are no longer in production but they can still be had, albeit in limited quantity and resistance options. Many consider these some of the best ever made with regard to sound quality.  

I am also thinking of doing the plate resistors with tantalum film to see what affect it has on the noise floor.  What do you think?  

I can completely relate to your most recent experience with the ZMA as I had the opposite effect happen once I speed up the power supply chain.  I was no longer having to crank it up to get the aural pleasure I was seeking.  I do a lot of late night listening and it is simply more exciting now that I am getting better dynamics and the greater audible detail in what I can only describe as the “shadows” in the music.  

And you weren’t kidding on those 7027 tubes!  That matched quad of NOS Phillips I picked up are greased lightning!  I have over 100 hours on them now and boy are they delivering.  The KT88’s are brute force excitement where these 7027’s are a combination of athleticism and theatrical performance.  The side benefit is they bias lower and my transformers are about 10 degrees cooler.   :)

Cheers,
Jeff

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/12/18 at 11:15:50

Yes, I remember well how you could always hear it coming from my SE84CS/lower volume too. Great news Steve about the ZMA. Look forward to the development!

Need to get the 7027A's. I love the 6P's. Jeff, good info of your experience/ZMA. I want Steve's enhancement for mine and down the road get the SE84UFO3/25th Mono-blocks. They have that touch more of power to drive my modified Adagio's over the the single 25th. Though strapping a pair of those puppies would be nice.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/12/18 at 15:17:38


Steve Deckert wrote on 06/12/18 at 04:31:33:


I noticed something when comparing it to the SE84UFO25, and that is that I found myself turning it up louder searching for the same sound.  That lead me to realize that I was right about the speed of the UFO25 being basically equal to power.

That "speed being basically equal to power" has me so delighted in the Monoblocks with the 25th Anniversary mods. All the power that I used to climb to the level of in the Torii Mk II and Mk III . . . in 2.7 watts. And that "organic" SET fidelity. Amazing and so satisfying.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by RLB on 06/12/18 at 23:13:49

"The way I read it, Steve is recommending drivers that will go down at least 40Hz. In other words, they can go lower but if they don’t at least go as low as 40Hz, look elsewhere."

I say, let's let The Man speak for himself here. If Steve meant what you say, Jeff of Arabica, then he clearly misstated it. "Down to no less than 40Hz" is a bit different from saying at least 40 Hz or below.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/12/18 at 23:24:00

Lon, I'm waffling between doing the ZMA mod second (next year) and get the SE84UFO3/25th Mono-blocks this Fall?!

Decisions ~ decisions!   :D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 06/13/18 at 00:59:06

Come on Stone, stop messing around and just order a pair of 25s!   :D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 06/13/18 at 01:22:19

Ok RLB, let me try to simplify things here for you.  The statement of concern can clearly be interpreted two ways and it has nothing to do with a misstatement on Steve's part.  It is merely language semantics.  

Two Ways of Interpretation:
1) It was stated to be interpreted as you have.
2) Or, it was stated to mean that the driver must go down to NO LESS than 40Hz but it can go DOWN MORE than 40Hz which could be 30Hz, 25Hz, 22Hz, etc. and be fine. The point I am trying to make is DOWN can mean two things in this statement, and both can be CORRECT.  First off DOWN can refer to the overall amount of drop in frequency rather than the frequency value itself.  In other words the driver has to have the ability to drop low in frequency, where it is dropping to no less than 40Hz but can drop lower (more) to 30Hz, etc.  

It is the English language and it is quite common for statements to have multiple interpretations.  How do you think lawyers rack up billable hours?   All matters of interpretation.  

If you were offended by my statement, that is on you.  There was no disrespect intended.  Please remember, this is a public forum.  If feedback is not desired, there is a feature called a PM ("Private Message") which means you can ask questions privately, directly to "The Man" and not be bothered by anyone offering feedback.  As long as you post publicly, you will have to accept the fact that other people may, and often do, reply.  And for the most part, users get that, and are perfectly OK with it - as they should be.  


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 06/13/18 at 01:37:50

Since Steve's "statement" doesn't make sense (to me anyway) I just figured he typed it wrong.  

As for me, I like the peanut gallery!   ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/13/18 at 02:41:51


A poorly phrased statement for sure... plus I actually was thinking 30 Hz when I wrote 40. My concern is that it would be all too easy to have an open baffle speaker that only went down to 80Hz and have an open baffle subwoofer that barely hits 50Hz and hear a full sound, but the bottom octave would still be missing.  Remember the context of this was to supplement the ZOB with an open baffle style sub, and this came just after my description of how the speakers sounded with subs that go down to 22 Hz.

The reason I was musing about the bass in the first place is because it is rare for most people to get to hear a Zen Triode Amplifier on speakers that go down to 22 Hz and in a room that is designed to handle those low frequencies.  This is when you really can appreciate the bass performance of these 2 watt amplifiers.  I have enjoyed it for years, but now after hearing it on the new Anniversary amps it took things to a new level, a level I would love for the rest of you to hear.  You won't hear it if the sub only goes down to 40Hz.


Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 06/13/18 at 03:34:16

Well, in all fairness Steve, not everyone was confused by your statement.     ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/13/18 at 14:10:05

Hear, hear Jeff.

Archie, I wish, .....my budget is gummed up till the Fall. I will need to muddle through with my Shunyata/ZDSD, ZMA, Kimber Select & Adagio's.   8-)

I might wait and visit Decware in January or February (in between a snow storm window, colds no bother).

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/13/18 at 14:37:42

....and to Steve's mention of fast output tubes (reply #645). The midrange and speed of the 6P's got me thinking. Glad I got the KT88 Gold Lions Cryo antithesis of the 6P's. However, I'm going the route of 7027A's and these others for the summer.
https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1414696035/382#382
reply #378 on down.
Tung-Sol 5881 & T-Sol 7581A, too.

Yes, new production ~ but should be pretty damn good. My budget will allow this indulgence for the summer.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/14/18 at 05:56:46


UPDATE:  In the ongoing saga of the Anniversary amp I am making an effort to document pertinent things and tonight I am listening to the Anniversary amp by not listening to it.  That means I am listening to something else and comparing that to my new reference which has become the UFO25's.  Hearing what is missing in one amp is a great way to hear what is not missing in another.  I have ruined myself!  Haha... I've always said ignorance is bliss in this hobby and the UFO25 raised the bar farther even than I realized.  I am discovering just how far by comparing it with other amplifiers in my circle.

There is a disturbing aspect to it, but boy are good things going to come out of it, you can be sure of that!

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/14/18 at 16:45:08

I can only imagine Steve. . .when I listen to my other system now I don't freak out too much because it's so different (a Torii Mk II driving a pair of Traps) as it's so different in sound and feel (Torii driving Traps is very different from Monoblocks driving HR-1s) and I enjoy the sound and don't listen critically as I do with the main system. If I were to really listen critically and for a length of time. . . I know I would be very disappointed! And it's odd to be disappointed with that sound, the Traps driven by the Torii Mk II is a very good combination. . . .

You really have set yourself a new standard to reach for with the other amps. Best of luck! Thank you for all the hard work you have put in so far that have resulted with my wonderful pair of amps and the CSP3-25 on the way that I know will be wonderful!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/14/18 at 18:17:37

Road trip to the mother ship!

...by appointment.
(When Steve has the enhancement done to his satisfaction/ZMA).

UFO25th     Single
UFO25th     Strapped Pair
UFO3/25th  Mono's
ZMA           Enhanced
CSP3/25th
DNA2's!

........bring Credit Card    8-)


Pack and carry:

(Modified) Acoustic Zen Adagio's
ZMA (in Pelican case~leaving Amp with Steve if I'm doing the enhancement/ship back)
Kimber KS6063 Speaker Cable
Kimber KS1030 IC
My additional KS1030 IC (for CSP3/25th audition)
Sony transport
Illuminati D-60
Shunyata digital p-cord for his ZDSD on tap
XLO p-cord I use to ZMA
My favorite full tube compliment(s).

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 06/15/18 at 04:00:57

I remember that Mini Torii uses VR tubes, but I don't remember in what way. Is the Mini Torii already fitted with the Anniversary features from it's beginning?  

Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/15/18 at 11:01:30

Like the Torii Mk III and Mk IV the Mini-Torii uses OA3 and OC2 voltage regulation tubes to clean the power of the output and input tubes, but it does not have the further power supply upgrades/bypasses that are incorporated in the 25th Anniversary changes made to models so far.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Vooraphile on 06/15/18 at 11:31:11

As Steve said; I placed the speakers in a wide arc about 3 feet from the front wall.  The toe-in was such that the intersecting X lands just in front of the listening chair.   This is pretty much where I placed them at last years DECFEST for my “2-watt demo” that i like to do every year.  

I had mine placed exactly as this., and my sound stage is wider, deeper and sharper.., without the speakers..! 😅😊


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/20/18 at 03:10:26


Today I let go of the prototype Anniversary amp (the red one) to my friend Joe from Arkansa who will probably post some pics of it when he gets it all set up.

The reason I mention this, is because he brought his own interconnects and speaker wires so he could see how they stack up against the DSR interconnects and the ZSTYX speaker cables. What it taught him and reminded me is that if you're going to own an Anniversary amp, you may as well plan on owning the cables too, because anything less is going to be a travesty.  

It was actually scary how bad one of the pair of interconnects tanked the sound.  Resolution gone.  Bass bloated and overly heavy.  No idea how it imaged, ran out of the room ; )

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/24/18 at 01:10:28


Now that we're in production of the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier I have had to give up my build sample so it can be copied. The prototype I have sold, so I am now listening to other amps -- one at a time and seeing what develops in the way of mods. The first one I am starting with is the ZMA since it likely has the highest potential to sound like a UFO25.

Keep in mind I have listened to the UFO25 exclusively now since November which is more than enough time to rewire your brain to properly process all the nuances the amp has to offer.

For the first week I have been listening to the ZMA stock and now that my brain has been rewired, I simply lost the love affair I had with it. It's close, and maybe that's the problem. It's close enough that you want it to be the same and it's not. If it were completely different it would probably be a different story.  

I am making good progress with the ZMA modsso far.  Right now I feel like I've got it pinned down to the mat waiting for it so say "uncle"... and it's a stubborn bastard so this is going to take some time.  I presently have it more than half way from where it was to where it needs to go.

So this is a warning to all of you with one on the build sheet...  you will be ruined. Nothing else no matter what it is will likely sound as good ever again.

-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 06/24/18 at 12:54:15

Already there and I haven’t got my UFO25, yet!  Here’s why...

Sold and delivered my SE84UFO2, which by the way I absolutely loved, to a gent who stated “you’re spending that much per watt on the A-Amp???” Why?  Reply “I’m ruined!”  

Now after your last comment and his I got to thinking (and yes it did hurt).  What if all one had to do was throw money at the A-Amp to give it more watts to get the exact same sound?

Say one wanted 20 watts, simply throw $1,650.00 x 20 = $33,000.00 and you have a 20 watt amp that sounds exactly like the UFO25. So let’s take this a step further and say one wanted 40 watts, once again throw $1,650.00 x 40 = $66,000.00, OR, if one went the distance and wanted 100 watts that sounded exactly like the UFO25, once again... $1,650.00 x 100 = $165,000.00

Now I realize that things don’t work that way, BUT it does put an interesting perspective on on low power high efficiency and the applicable term, RUINED (add “Abslutely” to that).


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/27/18 at 16:20:33

Wow, I counted 27 SE84UFO 25th Anniversary amps on the Build List!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Scott in mich on 06/27/18 at 17:25:04

Even more impressive, if I'm reading the list correctly, there are 30. It seems some folks wanted two.

Guess I waited too long to order my regular UFO.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/27/18 at 17:38:58

It's good news for Decware. The Anniversary series are going to be a success.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 06/27/18 at 23:14:07

Hey Scott in mich....not too late. I'd say wait time approx 8 weeks. Now as good a time as any! Or, wait for a used to come up on the forums? Either works.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/27/18 at 23:39:27



Quote:
Say one wanted 20 watts, simply throw $1,650.00 x 20 = $33,000.00 and you have a 20 watt amp that sounds exactly like the UFO25. So let’s take this a step further and say one wanted 40 watts, once again throw $1,650.00 x 40 = $66,000.00, OR, if one went the distance and wanted 100 watts that sounded exactly like the UFO25, once again... $1,650.00 x 100 = $165,000.00


At $1650 a watt you'll have the satisfaction of having the last word with any audiophile who goes on about how much his stereo cost and how many watts it is.  I can hear it now... The braggadocios audiophile; "Yea, my amp is 500 watts a channel and cost $100,000 so lets see you top that!"  You; "OK, that means your amp is $200 a watt.  My amp is $1650 a watt and sounds about 8 times better too." : )  The braggadocios audiophile; "Well, I have a lot more watts so that doesn't matter"...  You; "Yes, but if the first watt sucks, why continue?"

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Scott in mich on 06/28/18 at 00:30:06

Hi Acetone,

Eight weeks would be great. I was thinking three to four months. I pulled the trigger on it Sunday.


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/28/18 at 01:15:38

..."and it's a stubborn bastard so this is going to take some time."

ZMA
ZMA
ZMA!

It will be worth the wait.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/28/18 at 03:49:48


UPDATE: 1st production model to ship out the door is presently built, QC'd and in the final listening evaluation.  

Currently it is playing some Donald Fagen, one of my all time favorites.  The sound is so correct.  It's really weird how easy it is to listen to.  Only a couple hours old and it already sounds better than all of its brothers and sisters...  these amps really are worth $1650 a watt.

I was going to post some pictures, but the bureaucratic nature of present day technology can't seem to get out of it's own way as if time grew on trees and none of us have anything else to firkin do...  when I can get my phone to talk to the computer at a usable speed I'll let you know.

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Vooraphile on 06/28/18 at 09:48:07

the 25th watts are out..!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 06/28/18 at 10:31:45

"Next I'm going to see what I can hear between the clear glass and the white glass.  I also found a juicy black glass resistor that I've yet to hear.  I'm sure they'll all be in the same league being so similarly built, but we have to be sure."

Any feedback on the juicy black glass resistor yet, Steve?

/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 06/28/18 at 15:11:43

Actually Steve, my response to the high power/high dollar baragadacois audiophile is a little different than what you envisioned, it goes something like this:

“You bought that and think it’s good??? What’s WRONG WITH YOU!!!  You seem intelligent enough, perhaps your not well.  Might want to visit your doctor.”

Being of the temperament that I am I have to work hard at being... tactful, even then I have a hard time being... socially sensitive.  The $1,650.00 per watt makes it next to impossible.  So when I’m criticized for my insensitivity to bragadacios audiophiles my reason for it is... It’s all Steve’s fault. (And I’m sticking to that!)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 06/28/18 at 20:04:01

I've never been too impressed by people who keep bragging about their precious little things, knowing that such behaviour is often triggered by a chronic need to get confirmation/recognition.

I guess my reply to such comment would simply be "Power is nothing without control", and then perhaps add (as appropriate) "I like you. You remind me when I was young and stupid....."

On a more serious note, I think it would be opportune to explain to such a person that the Decware product line is more than an interesting alternative to the audiophile brands you find when going mainstream. It shows what you can actually find if you are just prepared to step out of your comfort zone, think out of the box and not let you be easily impressed and misled by fancy marketing/sales jargons and exclusive branding so often typical of the mainstream products with their seemingly unlimited financial resources. The Decware signature is a wake-up call for the more conservative ones among us who so far have blindly accepted to act as guinea pigs for the corporate giants… and often at great cost.....

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by stone_of_tone on 06/28/18 at 21:30:35

Listening to Donald Fagen ~ The Nightfly right now, Steve. With a tasty beverage ~ SURLY XTRA-CITRA PALE ALE.
https://surlybrewing.com/
....missed Fagen....he was here on the 15th! Lars here, was in Cali...I took a nice picture of Sue my girl, with Rob Lowe...he's a nice guy. His son graduated too. Like Rob said on Jimmy Fallen: "he gets his brains from his mother." I concur too/my son, from his brilliant mother.

...If you can make my ZMA sound better than this?! I can't wait to send it to ya! OR, come down for a visit...AND challenge your Cables & Speaker's against mine. Different flavor's? ....or big difference/mine?

Cheers all!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lonely Raven on 06/28/18 at 21:54:49


Popping in to check up on the forums - yep, they are still here.  :)

Nice to see the 25th is shipping! I finally unplugged my Zen for the first time since November and put my ZMA in with 7027a. It sounds good, but man, even my watered down 25th is just so much more.

I'm still looking forward to the ZMA Enhanced - I can drop mine off anytime you want to play around with ideas.  :)


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 07/02/18 at 05:09:49


https://decware.wistia.com/medias/v3enudv2zx





Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 07/02/18 at 13:23:42

Congrats on your 25th!! Beautiful...

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 07/02/18 at 19:35:49

Until you actually listen to it you have no idea how beautiful!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by will on 07/02/18 at 19:55:04

I can imagine... the video sounds amazing! Nice.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 07/02/18 at 20:41:46

lazb, mine is in ‘quality control’ as we type... later this month, I think, or early July I’ll know first hand.

Based on initial feedback and my experience with Decware in the last 5 years I’m quite confident that this will be it for me after 43 years in this ‘hobby’.  I don’t look at this as the end of a journey but, finally, the start.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 07/02/18 at 20:59:16

You may not have noticed, but it's already early July! Hope it ships soon. Been my experience that from this point on you won't have much longer to wait!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 07/02/18 at 22:03:27

WHAT THE H HAPPENED TO JUNE!!!!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 07/03/18 at 00:57:31

LOL

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 07/10/18 at 02:53:02

ALRIGHT! I was just contacted by UPS and the UFO25 should be at my door in the next day or two.  Now the day to day wait, which makes it feel like July is going to be a lot longer than June in duration.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 07/10/18 at 06:17:10

Congrats! Can't wait to hear what you think of the amp with the super 3 ho xrs.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 07/10/18 at 14:30:32

Great news!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 07/11/18 at 18:24:42


The SE84UFO25 owner's manual is ready:

https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84UFO25manual.pdf



-Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 07/11/18 at 18:52:11

That's a heckuva manual Steve! And the first picture I have seen of the DNA2.

I predicted before and I still believe that this amp will be a big success. I know how great it sounds because I have the Monoblock version and I struggle every evening to turn them off. . . . Theyy are nearly hypnotic and a tube-rolling platform par excellence.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by mark58 on 07/11/18 at 19:23:38

Oh my, I just took a peek at the manual...no time to read it now but lots of useful info for all decware Amp owners.  I'll read it after I get back from work. Mark.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by busterfree on 07/12/18 at 01:09:58

From the new manual,

Quote:
If a subwoofer is used, you must have two, and they must have a passive 12dB low-pass crossover and be driven in parallel with the main loudspeakers by the SE84UFO25.


Any recommendations?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 07/12/18 at 03:15:33


Typically a pair of 12 or 15 inch drivers that are of an efficiency that is equal to or greater than your main speaker and are of an impedance that is equal to or higher than your main speaker.  Placed into an open baffle, a sealed or ported box or in some cases a folded horn depending on which would be the best match for the room and existing speakers.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 07/27/18 at 02:09:34

I have created a support board for the new 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier in the EQUIPMENT area of these forums.  

And in it I have started a thread about IMPRESSIONS of the new amplifier and moved some of the more recent posts that were here into that new thread.  

You can find them here:

https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1531362294


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 08/03/18 at 04:05:43


UPDATE 8/2/2018

I have been taking these amps into the listening room and spending some time with them after I've finished the QC process, and still can't tell you for sure if the Copper Foil VCAPs or the Copper Foil Jupiter caps are actually better.

So far I have Quality Controlled 16 of these anniversary amps (with many more to go) and am thrilled at the consistency.  It's rock solid. Just like all of our stuff, but you know in the back of my mind, since this is SO good there is always that thought what if it's a fluke and not every amp sounds that way!!! For example, when I did the original blue Zen TORII by series-wiring two single-ended air-gapped transformers together to create a high-loss push-pull transformer... Man that sounded good. Problem was only 1 in 3 or 4 amps actually even worked, so we would have to build the amplifiers and then play musical transformers for in some cases weeks until we found a match that would not become unstable at high frequencies.

Anyway when crap like that happens you gain an understanding that just because something works or sounds incredible once or even four times in a row it's no guarantee it will sound that way a hundred times in a row. I have however every confidence with this amp in particular That each one will sound identical.  With it's 25 year history of perfect stability into everything from no connection to a dead short and even it's ability to drive electrostatic interfaces which simply torment most amplifiers, even with this unreal resolution, if anything it is making it easy to hear how identical each amp is... more so than normal.

Anyway back to the caps, I do see that after 8 hours of playing, the Copper Foil beeswax caps sound completely burned-in and always strike me a lot sooner than the VCAPS. That said, when the cool back to room temperature they will go back to their normal un burned-in sound until they actually do burn-in. The beauty of the Jupiter Copper Foils used in the Decware amps is that even during the burn-in process of several hundred hours, you can hear the caps as if they were burned-in by simply giving the amplifier about a 4 or 5 hour head start playing music before you start your listening session.

The Copper VCAPS in their defense once they do burn-in sound more present, a touch more forward even perhaps more intimate. Also the dynamics are even more impressive and the overall gain of the amp is slightly higher.

So after listening to 16 of these 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifiers I realize another thing about them that I have not mentioned before. It is called Logarithmic Fidelity. This is when good recordings explode into the room as if you had ten times the power you actually do.  So when going from a recording that is molested from the start to a great recording on a normal amplifier, there is a noticeable difference.  On a good amplifier, there is an appreciable difference.  On a great amplifier there is a large difference.  On an incredible amplifier there is a giant difference.  It's a logarithmic amount of difference.

Also important to note is that this is all digital recordings I'm making this observation on.  The power of the amplifier seems to literally follow the logarithmic quality of the recording.  I could pick dozens of songs that sound like the amp is distorting badly and broken, making you certain there is only about a watt or two at most and making you feel like you need way more.  THEN the good recordings come in and suddenly it sounds like you have literally 10 or 15 watts, more than you need for sure, and wow is it powerful sounding.  

Logarithmic Fidelity, driven by speed, transparency, simplicity and quality.




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 08/03/18 at 04:25:15


What I love about any amplifier, especially this one, is that when I'm setting at my desk  just through the doorway to the listening room and something sounds so unreal that I have no choice but to get up and walk in there to see if what I heard was really happening!

Tonight, on this same amplifier the track on Tidal came up and about 5 minutes into it, I could no longer ignore it and had to walk in there.  Another holy-crap moment where you just can't even believe what you're hearing!  It just sounds so real you can never get used to it.

https://tidal.com/track/4585633

On an SE84UFO25 driven by a ZBIT connected to your favorite balance XLR DAC the track above is JUST SICK in how real it sounds.  Speakers are the DNA2 however I am certain it will do this on EVERY speaker we make.  It's this amplifiers ability to rise above the speaker limitations and get inside your brain that makes it such a memorable experience.

- Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 08/05/18 at 05:25:54


Again listening to another SE84UFO25 with around 8 hours on it, and... there it is -- BLISS.  

This amplifier has reinforced what we always knew... the recording process far surpasses the playback process.  We blame the recordings because there are those recordings that suck, but no doubt there are many times we blame the recordings when in actuality the playback system is the problem.

When I listen to this amplifier, I hear the recordings in a way that not even headphones get, which is saying a lot.

The complexity of timbre and texture is beyond reproach. It takes recordings that were not quite there... and pops them into 3D space for your review like a Genie in a bottle.

It reminds me of drumming. I can't tell you how many evenings during our ten years of Thursday night recording sessions, that I was doing complex things on the high hat and snare that I could of course hear perfectly but no-one else could. For them, the drumming sounding lame because they couldn't hear 80% of what I was doing.  

I have noticed a similar experience with this amp. It's like so many of those lame recordings were actually amazing, you just couldn't hear or couldn't reproduce or resolve the softer complex textures between the notes that were there and were in reality setting the time for what you did hear.

Each time I listen to this amplifier it is like the first time.  Music has become squared as a result of this amplifier's resolution.

Usually an amplifier takes 200 hours to sound great, not 8 hours.  And even when an amplifier peaks with years on it, and just the right tubes etc., it is only 75% as good as this amplifier is after only  8 hours. That's how seriously evolved this amplifier sounds. I can absolutely promise you there is no mass-produced audio gear at any price that can do what this does. I know this because there is no mass-produced audio gear in 25 years that has sounded better than Decware's hand-made amplifier, and this is easily twice as good as anything we've ever done.  

It's like we put it out there for 25 years and no one ever beat it for the price... even with all today's technology and brilliance it just never happened. Now we have just doubled the gap between the Decware sound and everything else.

The biggest thrill of it, is that it will drive the high-efficiency speaker market to new levels of refinement and people will be abandoning their high power amplifiers and power hungry filters (speakers) for some raw-wide open highly present incredibly fast crossoverless drivers so they can actually appreciate how good their amplifiers are.

It's a new age for music...

I saw on facebook tonight a post with a pair of sealed cabinets containing 4-18 inch drivers set up as subwoofers with like 10,000 solid state high efficiency watts handling all 8 drivers. It made me cringe. A single 18 inch driver in the same cabinet that originally housed all 4 would have sounded about 4 times better, and passively crossed with a simple 12dB network would have been easily driven by a Zen Triode 2 watt amplifier and had lower, more textured bass and frankly in every category simply spanked it's ass. The only category it would have lost in is pressure. You can get similar pressure from sticking the exhaust pipe from your car where the sun doesn't shine and letting the pressure pop your ears and ironically get the same giant fake-bass sound without the expense.


Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by P K on 08/08/18 at 13:18:12

Steve,

What is your favorite speaker for  the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier. ;D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 08/11/18 at 04:44:13


That's a tough call because they all sound like different speakers on this amp... but the DNA2 strikes a very natural balance between laid-,back and detailed, that should sound good in most rooms without getting over the top. Plus the bass is subwoofer proof.  That makes it a great recommendation plus the price is only slightly higher than a single UFO25 at $3800 for the pair.  I think they will be a huge hit at this years DECFEST and with a solid year of testing there is worries about their performance with any Decware amplifier. They sound very much like the DM947 aka Monoliths, but with more midrange presence and more slam.  

With respect to the other speakers, they all sound better on this amp than they ever have, it simply multiplies what is possible and pretty much has its way with the speaker, be it a perfect match or not.

For example, the HDT has never sounded better, the ZOB has never sounded better, the DM945's and 946's have never sounded better, the Betsy Open Baffles have never sounded better, and even the less efficient ERRx and HR-1 have never sounded better at the lower playback levels possible with 2 watts.  

Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 08/11/18 at 16:02:43

I’ve commented in some of my other posts about my penchant for detail and speed.  For me it’s primarily about being able to hear what the musicians are doing, as you commented... on the snare or the high hat or for that matter on any other instrument.

This can be a very difficult balancing act because going after detail is like being on a sliding scale where one can quickly slide into shrillness or hardness.  The UFO25 has taken me off that delicate balancing act.

I can hear what the musicians are doing easily, readily, without thinking about it and I’ve yet to feel that at any moment things could become hard or shrill.  I don’t even know how many hours I have on it because I loose track of time when I listen.

About a week ago my wife had another of her get-to-gethers.  And as usual came the request (demand) to play music.  The listeners were the type that frequent live events.  The comment that stood out that was often repeated... “this is just beautiful”.  This at a high volume in an untreated room.  (Don’t get me wrong, I do intend on treating the room.)  

Comments that were coming from people who engage in live events speak volumes about the UFO25 and the sysytem as a whole.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 09/01/18 at 05:20:13


Quote:
I saw on facebook tonight a post with a pair of sealed cabinets containing 4-18 inch drivers set up as subwoofers with like 10,000 solid state high efficiency watts handling all 8 drivers. It made me cringe. A single 18 inch driver in the same cabinet that originally housed all 4 would have sounded about 4 times better, and passively crossed with a simple 12dB network would have been easily driven by a Zen Triode 2 watt amplifier and had lower, more textured bass and frankly in every category simply spanked it's ass. The only category it would have lost in is pressure. You can get similar pressure from sticking the exhaust pipe from your car where the sun doesn't shine and letting the pressure pop your ears and ironically get the same giant fake-bass sound without the expense.


Boy, that was a bit over the top...  the truth is that was the day when I scanned my facebook newsfeed in the morning and saw the new $20,000.00 power cord from if I read it right, Synergistic Research.  It literally put me in a foul mood all day, and see what happens?

At least we all understand that more is often less and less is often more. That doesn't however make it any less frustrating to watch someone walk out in front of an oncoming car.  

Anyway, to keep things on topic, the reason for tonights post is to report that this evening is being spent with the first SE84CS from late 1999.  Bone stock just the way it went out the door.  Still works btw... huh.  The sound is glorious.  The difference is the resolution is nicely subdued compared to the new 25th Anniversary Model, or even the current model SE84UFO.  What it does so well, is get the tone and timbre absolutely perfect.  It's striking because that's it's main trick.  

Listening to the new 25th Anniversary Model adds dozens of layers with hard to believe dynamics and speed to that same beautiful tone and timbre.  

Tonight I am listening to the Best hits of Steve Miller Band on tape and using the DNA2's as the speakers and it's certainly not the first time I've heard an older Zen amp on tape, but is the first time I've heard one this old on the new DNA2 loudspeakers.... holy crap I wish I had these speakers back then!!!  The combo is just so good, with ANY Zen Triode amplifier of only 2 watts you will have a full and encompassing sound without volume issues even in 400 sq feet listening spaces.

I also have the very first original Zen Amp ever built, so before this trek is over I'll visit it as well.  That way all the Zen Triode amplifiers can have a chance to meet each other and compare notes.

Steve




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/02/18 at 15:48:01

Steve,   Sounds like your having an enlightening time with your babies/creations.
I love my SE84-CKC, but the new (week old) UFO25 is already showing itself to be a monster amp in comparison. Sooner or later I may have to move the monoliths to the second system and spring for those DNA2's. They sound enticing!!! Hope to hear many more good things about them  from the Decfest crowd.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 09/03/18 at 06:14:11

 
UPDATE 9/2/18

So I have been spending the weekend listening to the original Zen Triode Select Amplifier.  The Select was identical to the standard version except for the WIMA FKP1 coupling caps.  Today, the difference is better (UFO) output transformers and cryo-treated beeswax caps.

As I commented, the tone and imaging is fantastic on a good source... and I've been getting lost in the amplifiers musicality all weekend.  No comparisons against the UFO25, just letting it do it's thing to me.  It's been great!  Several times I have caught myself wondering why I ever tried to change it : )

But tonight, while floating in a magical tape, I kept thinking about how great it would be to have really big speakers.  Something taller, bigger, more visceral...  the same thought I now realize I've been having for the last few days.  Wanting better speakers!!!  Then it hit me... these are the DNA2 speakers and they have performed well beyond my best hopes on the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifiers.  

So the listening level is exactly the same between the original Zen and the 25th Anniversary Zen, and the difference is the speakers sound twice as big and twice as everything on the better amplifier.  It's really amazing when you let that sink in for a minute.  Same two watts, but someone traded your 8 inch speakers for 8 inch speakers centered between dual 15's on each channel!

Just more proof that wattage and power are not the same thing.

Steve



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/04/18 at 20:58:50

Holy Crap!!  UFO25 floored me last night. Spun Radiohead "moon shaped pool LP" and it absolutely had me riveted to my chair. Big, big 3D wide/deep/tall sound engulfed me. It was damn near scary good.
Thinking about it now make me shake my head, what was that? I need to que it up again tonight and try to wrap/warp my head/ears around it...if possible!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 09/04/18 at 21:52:06


Quote:
Thinking about it now make me shake my head, what was that?


Speed, Accuracy, Resolution, Power   ....Decware   ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/04/18 at 22:34:31

These amps (I have the Monoblock version, so the plural in my case) really do seem like impostors. They dish out big, powerful sound that are confusing from their looks.

As Steve has pointed out upstream in this thread: speed and density equals power. That became apparent to me when I got them (and is also apparent with the ZROCK2 and CSP3-25--part of the density being fed these mono blocks.)

It will be interesting to hear the impressions from Decfest.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/05/18 at 04:16:19

Just spent an evening trying out the NOS Raytheon OC3W.  Picked a couple up after Lon’s comments about the OD3W that he had tried, at $2.00 ea why not???  In the UFO25 I seem to gravitate to the OC3 along with GE OA3’s that Lon also commented on and now are a permanent fixture, and do not find that the bass suffers as was so evident tonight.

This is not about tube rolling in the “typical” sense because I’ve liked every combination so far.  It’s not about improving the UFO25 because it is THE end game amp.  I’d liken this to my ability to enjoy various spirits depending on my mood at the time.  One time I might reach for a very nice 130 proof Bourbon, another time it might be a nice 100 proof Scotch and if I’m particularly spirited I’ll probably reach for the 110 proof Islay, heavily peated, with the smokiness filling the room like a bon fire.

I do end up gravitating to one of the above more often than to some of the others but all have a place.

I’d agree with Lon’s comments about the “meaty” aspect of the Raytheon’s.  As I was listening I thought about what a treble reduction circuit might be like.  Took a little off the attack but not to the detriment of the over all prsentation and it was very smooth indeed.  So another keeper (damn).

In my UFO2 the signal tube was a Seimens E88CC.  In the UFO25 I use a Valvo/Hamburg PCC88 D getter.  After putting on who knows how many hours I though I’d try the Seimens E88CC again, just for fun.  I had the Sylvania JAN CHS OC3 Navy in with it along with the 6P15P-EV power tubes.

You ever see the ad, I think it was from NAIM, with the guy sitting in an arm chair holding on for dear life, hair straight back leaning forward?  Well that was me tonight.  What an experience! Here’s the kicker - no listening fatigue!  Talk about power and bass with all the rest of it.  I don’t think I’ll be doing this every night but once in a while, for sure!

So it looks like I’ll be putting together tube sets to enjoy from time to time with one that will be my go to.  To bad I can’t add 3 or 4 more listening rooms.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 09/05/18 at 05:41:29


After listening to the original Zen Triodes over the weekend tonight I turned to the UFO25 and ran some of the same tracks I've been listening to...  All I can say is that if you don't want to find yourself AT the concert or studio be careful about getting this amp.  It's absolutely hard to believe that it is 2~3 watts.  I've always been one to go along with the view that a push-pull pentode class A/B amplifier done right is the last word in bass quality.  So fast and powerful.  The UFO25 I admit after listening to it tonight has better bass.  It seems impossible, I know, but it actually does.

Usually when an amplifier is really great, it's really great at one or two things. If there were going to be a weakness you would expect it to be in the bass with only 2 watts, but standing in the doorway tonight I heard that power and deliverance and conviction of a TORII or ZMA coming from a two watt amp, with a little extra something that even they couldn't duplicate.

I am pretty sure this years DECFEST is going to blow some minds.  Tonight I finished the quality control and final listening tests on #30 and it's weird but each listening evaluation is like listening to my original amp. The consistency is benchmark.  My only complaint is that the same thing that is happening to Acetone is happening to me every time I listen.  I suspect as I've always said, it only takes a couple weeks to a couple months for the brain to rewire itself to process the resolution and performance of this amp.  Process, not understand.  You will never understand how it does it because even I have a very difficult time dealing with what I'm hearing.

I have to honestly say, no amplifier has ever gotten me off harder than the UFO25.  The closest contender was my 6C33 OTL amplifier, something I thought I would never hear anything best in my lifetime.  So close was it, that some would argue it was the better amp.  It does some things that the UFO25 can't do, but the opposite is also true.  In the end the fact that we're comparing a 2 watt amplifier and a 20 watt amplifier on equal ground says a lot.

Another thing that occurred to me is this:  I have noticed how good EVERYTHING has started to sound this past year, while at the same time the UFO25 makes everything else sound broken, it also has increased my audio processor from 4G to 16G in less than a year.  Now I hear beauty in things where previously it was masked by less neurons.  This became obvious this past weekend listening to the original Zen triode amps.  One 20 years old, and the other 25 years old.  I never heard either of them sound so good.  Never.  So what has changed... the amps?  nope, the ears, yes, the source, yes.

Listening to this amplifier is not the typical mainstream audiophile experience.  You can't play it without becoming engaged with it.  That means that despite your best efforts, background music is just a fantasy.  In fact this is where it begins it's witchcraft.  You try to play it in the background while you work or relax and like it or not you become captivated.  It controls you, not the other way around.  This is the Yin and Yang of Zen.  We have crossed the neutral zone with this amplifier and for those of you who chase the holy audio grail, be careful what you wish for.   While it is effectively a drug, the only side effect is obsession.  I believe sound like this has healing properties and spending a little too much time with it would only have the consequence of living longer.

Happy Listening!

Steve







Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 09/05/18 at 05:59:31


I just realized...  more neurons...  now everything sounds better... the amplifier has increased my consciousness.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that why we're all here?  

I can only imagine how hyperbole this must come off to an outsider just stumbling in for the first time...  but the hyperbole is quickly melting away as the first owners of these amplifiers are confirming my reports.

Happy listening it's for real!


Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/05/18 at 17:02:16

Joman - I agree on the tube rolling...different flavors..variety the spice of life!
Steve - The Bass...OMG, just wonderful..hearing Bass so tight and commanding along with the great attack of the drums. All so well blended with all other instruments, no one getting in each others way. Sometimes that 15-20min LP side just swishes past so fast I ask myself..."How the hell did that LP side go by so quickly?"  "It feels like I just put it on a few minutes ago?"  Running my sources thru Zrock2 and Zstage so I should attribute them to some of this magic! Not going to remove them...why mess with it if it ain't broke!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/05/18 at 17:40:52

Glad that my liking the OD3W translated to you liking the OC3W!

These re amazing amps! I agree with Steve that the mind needs some "re-wiring" to get a grip on the nature of the fundamental change they represent in playback. I have and in a way I now both expect sound reproduction that is off the hook, and am able to enjoy sound reproduction that is not quite there, knowing only the 25th anniversary tech can get it there and I have that to listen to as well.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Havtorn on 09/05/18 at 20:08:28

"Tonight I finished the quality control and final listening tests on #30 and it's weird but each listening evaluation is like listening to my original amp. The consistency is benchmark.  My only complaint is that the same thing that is happening to Acetone is happening to me every time I listen."

Thanks for the nice write-up, Steve. This indeed sounds promising.

I really do look forward to receiving the #30 soon... :)

Best

/M.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Archie on 09/06/18 at 00:29:26

Just curious, those of you buying this amp, are you getting the tubes with the amp or opting to supply your own?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 09/06/18 at 02:41:42


So far only two people have not gotten the amp with the tube compliment.

Today I was doing a UFO25 and setting up the tube complement.  I had a fresh pair of output tubes, both tested perfect, and the same.  Put them in the amplifier and both biased exactly the same.  Measured the channels and the power was exactly matched. Even at full power, the distortion % on each channel matched (THD).  The problem is that THD is only looking at the highest harmonic relative to the fundamental so far as I can tell on this analyzer I use, and I saw that the right channel tube had a rich band of harmonics that were probably 20 dB higher than the the left channel.  Granted, below the audible noise floor, but here's my theory on that:

Just because you can't hear it, or it is being filtered out so that you can't hear it, if it is there, it occupies space.  Its presence has an effect on the music.  

Probably spent an extra 30 minutes finding two pair of output tubes that had identical harmonics at clipping, as I do for every UFO25 tube compliment.  Why?  Because we can.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 09/06/18 at 03:44:31


Quote:
Just because you can't hear it, or it is being filtered out so that you can't hear it, if it is there, it occupies space.  Its presence has an effect on the music.  


I recently added a pair of supertweeters to my Omega SAHO’s.  Starting at 18KHz, they are outside of the audible range but taking them out, putting them back in, and doing it several times over revealed to me that they do in fact have a detectable presence and energy. Improved detail, decay, realism and cohesion were my assessment of their impact in my system.  

Despite my chronic skepticism, my curiosity got the best of my and I ended up purchasing a pair with the assumption they would be returned.  Six months later they have gone nowhere.  

I couldn’t agree more.  The energy influence is real and it DOES affect our aural experiences.  

I sure wish I could make it up to Decfest again this year to hear first hand the magic of this amp I have been following since day 1.   Ill be in Scottland on a biz trip touring a bunch of distilleries from Sept. 25th to Oct. 3rd.  As much as I would love to..  there would be hell to pay with the fam  :)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/06/18 at 04:50:22

I bought mine without the tube complement only because I have a rather large inventory of tubes among which were a pair of 6P15P-EV Red Tipped from Decware as well as a 6N1P Red Tipped.

The 6N1P Red tip is now in the driver position of my CSP3 and the pair of 6P15P-EV Red Tiped are in the UFO25.  I like to keep spares and so will be acquiring more of these.  

For the rectifier I am using the Sophia 274B Aqua, again, I had a pair, one as a spare and at the cost of these and how they performed in my UFO2 I had to give them a try.  No disappointment here and these will stay.  IMO they are superb.  

For me this was not about saving money as the tubes that I use actually cost more than those that Steve supplies.  If one was buying an F1 Racing car what tires would one put on it?

This is no audiophile amp! It’s a very serious music machine! Some may think that using the analogy of the F1 is going over the top, well, it isn’t, Last week we had company over and a couple got up and started dancing.  
It’s that engaging and compelling.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/06/18 at 16:23:05

I also did not get the tube option as I also have a nice assortment to roll.
I may opt to buy a pair of red tip 6P15P-EB from Steve just to see.
The pair I have in are gold grid - military 1983' and the meters are both even at approx 33. I can hear the sweetness of this amp growing day to day. So, will remain patient thru a good 200+ hours of break in before I have a little fun with tube rolling!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 09/06/18 at 18:32:37

Quote:
Just because you can't hear it, or it is being filtered out so that you can't hear it, if it is there, it occupies space.  Its presence has an effect on the music.  

This is a verbal expression of a "feeling/thought" I have had for some time now. Looking at audiology graphs of my hearing "tests" I should be almost deaf to reproduced music in any detail at all. I discovered, with the 25th Anniversary ZEN Amp and the DNA2 speakers that "hearing and appreciating" reproduced music involves far more than "frequency analysis reports". Thank you DECWARE for showing and allowing me to continue enjoying "HI FI" music reproduction!   :D ;D :D

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 09/08/18 at 03:24:00

Steve said:  "Probably spent an extra 30 minutes finding two pair of output tubes that had identical harmonics at clipping, as I do for every UFO25 tube compliment."

One of the best advertisements I have heard for Decware amps.  

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/13/18 at 13:33:09

Another unbelievable evening with the UFO25.  I’m going through my tube inventory with the intent of selling some of it and came across a couple of Tesla PCC88 White Print factory code 37 (Trinec or Trencin factory).  I was about to put these in the “sell group” because, supposedly, the yellow label are the ones to get and these are supposed to be just OK.  Then I thought “should give these a try just to see”.

I did, and... WOW!  Especially the vocals, the best yet.  Lost a little more than I would have liked on the bass extension but the highs and mids were incredible right off.  Talk about hearing what all the musicians were doing, every little detail, it was all there.

The down side was the bass and refinement that I am used to.  I then recalled that I had 6N5P’s that were going in the sell pile.  So I put one of these in the CSP3 driver position and it all came together - truly the you have to hear it to believe it situation.

Some may think this an exaggeration but, I will put my system up against any non Decware 100 watt amp at any price!!!

This is not about tube rolling.  Any combination of tubes that I’ve put in has been very good to excellent.  This is about being able to get exactly what one wants because of what the UFO25 is and does, IMO.   (And yes I picked up more of the Tesla PCC88 37, at $8.00 ea I couldn’t resist, and now, tube inventory reduction is a must  ;))

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/13/18 at 14:28:25

Awesome. You're right in that these amps can make multiple tube complements sound amazing and you can tailor to get just the sound you want.

Rectifier and regulator tubes really are influential as well as input and output tubes. I did a flurry of rolling the first month and have slowed it down since. Settling on the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B and finding the effects of the OD3 really helped me zero in on what works best for me, and going to Amperex 7308 dialed it in for me. All signal tubes in my chain are Amperex (ZTPRE, ZROCK2, CSP3-25 and SE84UFO3-25s) and I'm really enjoying that consistent signature. Until I feel brave enough to unscrew the top plates on the Monoblocks and roll in my favorite regulator tubes for the input tubes. . . I'm done rolling. I really want to not jeopardize the synergy booming right now.

What really helped me cement this was experimenting with isolation components; I tried different footers and what has really been helpful is placement of Herbie's Audio Lab "Sonic Stabilizers."

I have finally really settled into the sound and my next project is to find just the right jaw support of jaw cushion to minimize the damage of my jaw hitting the floor as I spin discs! Hi-res from DVR and Blu-ray are especially gob-smacking. This is the best audio I've ever heard. . . and I don't want to minimize the impact the HR-1s have on this system. Tomorrow my Dad and his brother (my uncle Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy, visiting from Seattle) are stopping by and the system is very different from when they were both here last year. . . I am eager to see their reaction.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/13/18 at 14:38:39

Jaw Support, hmmmm, I think you just hit on the next must have for Decware aficionados.  Steve is obviously too busy to develop this so how about you and I develop it.  It’s going to be a very limited market so were going to have to give some thought to projected sales and price, and of course a catchy Brand Name.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/13/18 at 15:02:32

Nah, I'm retired and my household and family responsibilities are about all I can handle right now and maintain enough listening and watching time. I'm going to rig up a sling support that will drop from the ceiling and secure me at the sweet spot. Should work well for a while. . . .

I'll leave the entire enterprise to you for a marketable product!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/13/18 at 15:29:53

Joman & Lon,
60+ hours on my UFO25 now and decided to listen to a few CD's last night, rather than LP's!
Wow!  The "blow you away" "jaw dropping" sound on this amp is becoming more and more consistent as it burns in. If this consistency holds I may start doing some tube rolling sooner than expected. Hard to describe the heft and weight it throws at you. The sound in commanding, yet warm and detailed.
I can't find words to do it justice, or I could just use a bunch of audiophile jargon till it began to bore everyone....It's just so damn good!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/13/18 at 16:36:41

Lon, Oh well, OK, I would need a partner in this venture but I got you.  Send photos of your AntiJawDrop mechanism when completed.  

Ace, I had to turn on the system this am to see if last night would repeat itself.  It did and the weight, heft, as you said, was such that I had to walk away to process what I heard because in comparison to the higher power amps that I have had or have heard, some very pricey ones at that, what I am getting just doesn't.... “add” up?  (Where’s Einstein when you need him???)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/13/18 at 17:37:28


JOMAN wrote on 09/13/18 at 16:36:41:
Lon, Oh well, OK, I would need a partner in this venture but I got you.  Send photos of your AntiJawDrop mechanism when completed.  

Here's my working prototype. I may not need the harness to anchor it to the ceiling. . . .


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 09/13/18 at 17:53:15

HAHA!  Nice Lon.  Just add the Decware logo to the chin area and you are good to do.  

Steve, you should include one of these in every 25th Anniversary pelican case.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/13/18 at 18:04:10

Jeff,  Adding one of these is a must.  (PSSST... may prevent litigation due to injury and consequential damages)

Lon, you’re retired???? Look a lot younger than I pictured you.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/13/18 at 18:22:50

Yes I'm retired. I'm 63 now. I retired at 52 from Texas state government, they had a "rule of 80" that after ten years if your age and service added up to 80 (mine was 52 and 28 years of service) you could retire with full benefits (or continue working until 65).  I took the retirement because my wife had just died and I was exhausted after helping her fight her cancer for two years. It isn't a big pension but it was enough that I gave up working again after an abortive attempt in Austin at the beginning of this decade. And I was able to add to my income by taking my early social security payments last year.

Because I was retired I was able to relocate to Ohio early 2013 and spend two plus years care-giving my parents until my Mom died and I got my Dad situated in a great assisted living community. And I found my wonderful second wife along the way. . . so I'm here to stay.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/14/18 at 00:16:46

Hey Lon,  That had to be rough.  Never like to here about this sort of things.  But you’ve hung in and that’s no small feat.  Glad that things are working out now.

Best Regards
JOMAN

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/14/18 at 00:32:18

Hey Lon,  may I suggest a drool cup attachment on the antijawdrop device!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/14/18 at 00:37:27

That's probably a good idea, though really the Decware Drool Towel should do that job. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 09/14/18 at 00:38:32

That's probably a good idea, though really the Decware Drool Towel should do that job. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/14/18 at 01:29:28

Not funny guys!!!  I happen to be listening now and had this fleeting thought... wonder what two would do?  No I have to go change.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 09/14/18 at 14:28:03

OK, CD's again last night and UFO25 did it's magic again! If this keeps up I might as well start some tube rolling and see if I can't enhance this more than beautiful sound! O.K. Joman, get a hold of yourself.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/14/18 at 15:32:03

I can’t!!! The damn UFO25 has it’s grip on me.  Working from my home office and decided to take a break and throw on some tunes... WHAT A MISTAKE.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 09/14/18 at 20:06:39

Joman, I understand and appreciate all the excitement as I am listening to the prototype UFO25 and the prototype DNA2 speakers! Steve was a tiny bit skeptical regarding the volume level and whether I would be happy with it. Totally unnecessary concern. The volume is all and more than I could ever want or need. Still, your previous comment wondering what 2 of the amps would do, has coincided with the same thought I have had. Is number 2 necessary? Absolutely not. But still......   You know how it is!!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/14/18 at 21:18:04

Thanks for the affirmation lazb.  As Ace put it  using “audiophile jargon” is boring and I would add irrelevant, then how does one describe the experience without sounding like one is loosing it?  

You’re absolutely right about not needing #2 especially in my case with 97dB efficient speakers.  I often find myself lowering the volume not turning it up without any loss to density and weight, actually sounding better at the lower volume.

Now doesn’t that sound crackers?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/28/18 at 23:11:30

In a recent post I stated that “I tend to be heavy handed with my gain structure as afforded by the ZDSD, ZR2 and CSP3 and as a result on the rare occasion I can push the UFO25 with my 97dB speakers”.  

I decided to have some fun and try another tube setup in my CSP3 and check the gain structure on the system.  Heavy handed was an understatement.  So I made a couple of adjustments and decided to test the limits of the UFO25.

What can UFO25 2.3 watts do with 97dB efficient speakers in a room that is 14’ x 25’ x 9’?  I had the volume set so that on my Sound Meter app the readings were between 70dB to peaks of 90dB averaging between 82dB-83dB.  Now this was not just shrieking volume, there was density in spades and no compression that I could detect.  NO evident distress on the UFO25!

There was however very evident distress on my wife and I’d rather not publish the dB readings of the expressions of her displeasure, which surprisingly, she couldn’t mange to get dB peaks that were much higher.

What kind of 2.3 watts is this???    


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 09/28/18 at 23:19:05

Forgot one critical piece of info... I was sitting 11’ From the speakers holding the phone/sound meter app.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 10/15/18 at 06:20:51

Hi Joman,

What is your favorite tube combination for the UFO25?  I am planning to order one within the next few days, but I am not sure if I should order it with the tube complements or not.

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 10/16/18 at 11:40:36

Hi Alper,

I did not order mine with the tubes only because I have so many good ones to work with and some of these are pricey.  I knew that I wanted to stick with the Sophia Electric 274B Aqua and once that was a given I made the decision not to order the tubes.

Here’s what I ended up with...
VR Tubes:
Pair of CEI OA3 GT (these are probably GE or Raytheon with the top getter flashing, a little difficult to find but cheap when you do).  Sylvania OD3W (Right now there’s an Ebayer that has them on for $12.+, a little more than I like but worth it, after I got the first pair I ordered a second - spares, probably overkill).
 
Power: 6P15P-EV, It’s worth getting these from Steve and having them matched to the amp.  If you don’t like them I’ll by them from you!

Driver/Input: Telefunken PCC189 (Managed to score a couple NOS for $75.00, and yes, at that price, I got a couple more for spares.  These are killer!!!  I have to dial the volume up a notch with these.  The one that come with the amp is a Matsushita/National PCC88.  Nice tube, tried one, similar to Mullard but not my cup o tea.

Keep in mind that I can further “tweak” the effect with the tubes that are in my CSP3.   So when I put the Tele’s in I changed the driver in the CSP3 to a Valvo-Hamburg PCC88 D getter (59) hard to find.

The whole thing is still burning in, so it’s not really conclusive at this point but... I do think it will be and even now the end result is so good that at times it just staggering.  I know that sounds over the top but it’s true.

The other thing is that no matter what combo of tubes I tried they all sounded good.  It’s just that I was able to “dial” in exactly what I wanted, what I was striving to achieve for a long time.  I recently talked with Steve about the CSP3-25 and he said that no matter what tubes I put in it the CSP3-25 will make them sound better than what my CSP-3 does.  That’s the point, that’s what I found to be the case with the UFO25.

These Anniversary Edition components, regardless of which you get, are going to make the difference.  Tube rolling becomes fun, it’s not to “improve” the component per say.  Simply to get what one wants.  Tube rolling from a different perspective than that of what I was doing before.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 10/16/18 at 16:39:17

Alper,
  I completely agree with Joman that tube rolling is more revealing in the UFO25. I've rolled 3 or 4 different tubes that all sound great, but with different strengths and weaknesses to my ears. I just put in a Telefunken PCC189 (smooth - short gray plates 1968') and would say it's the best tube so far, the others being Lorenz PCC88, Valvo PCC88 (thanks to Joman), Amperex 60's usa Jan-6922, Mullard PCC189, Philips-miniwatt PCC189. The Valvo is probably #2 for me. Also running: Mullard 60's GZ32, RCA 50's 0A3's, RCA 60's 0C3a, 6P15P-EV's 83'. Gonna also try a Tesla PCC88 (thanks again to Joman). I am very, very happy that I purchased the UFO25. It has given me many "holy crap" moments in the short time I've had it. Plus, I know it's going to improve...I have about 130 hours on it so far!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 10/16/18 at 16:51:31

I've been noting the same on my SE84UFO3-25 Monoblocks, any tube complement really sounds good, and it's a matter of finding the one that works best for your system. These amps are very revealing and very musical, a combination that does not always occur.

Totally enjoying the organic field of sound these present, a tapestry of detail and finesse gracefully filling the room. I'm spoiled now, there's no going back for serious listening, and if I can choose, casual listening. And excellent with video material as well--immersive.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 10/17/18 at 23:27:10

Agreed, Lon. I have been noticing sound tracks on movies and other TV programs more since I became a Decware "denizen". The music often makes me wake up and pay attention!! I never cease to be amazed.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 10/19/18 at 06:24:32

Thanks All...  This really helps...

Best,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 10/19/18 at 19:41:43

So, I just put the order for the SE84UFO25!  Now the wait starts!  Am I supposed not to sleep till I receive it?  :)

Upon the tube comments I received here, I asked for the amp to be shipped without the tube complement.  I can always get them at a later stage anyway.  Also, no volume controls for me...  I try to keep it as simple as possible, and I will be driving it with a high-gain preamp anyway, and would like to control the volume from there.

Please keep an eye on the stuff I will be putting on sale on the Classifieds section to finance this.  I will have a TABOO mkIII and a ZBIT on sale.  Also, as time to receive the amp gets closer, my SE84UFO will be available.  Just FYI...

Cheers,

Alper


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 10/20/18 at 05:28:45

Alper,

As hard as it may be try to get some sleep now, because you may not be able to after you get it!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 10/20/18 at 18:44:16

Alper, pm'd on the ZBIT.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 10/20/18 at 20:14:06

PM'ed back Jim.  Thanks...

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 10/23/18 at 15:24:26

Closing in on 200 hrs on the UFO25.
And... this thing is doing some magic on some LP's that I love but, felt a bit disappointed in the LP's engineering. I expected a bigger badder sound stage that in the past just didn't happen to the degree I expected!
So, last night I spin Genesis "the lamb lies down on broadway" and presto change-o & wahlahhhh a detailed big ballsy presentation with awesome bass with details and depth like I've never heard, but always dreamed of....at last!! Also putting a smile on my face were: WAR "eric burdon declares war" &  Savoy Brown "raw sienna". A smile from ear to ear is a pale description of my enjoyment.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 10/23/18 at 15:54:32

Yes, the amps keep getting better and better. All those caps burn in, settle, and BOOM! These amps are an adventure . . . they engage you the way few other components can or will. Each tube, cable, footer . . . that's all like a kaleidoscope. And recordings you thought you knew are no longer the same.

Now there is just not enough hours in the day.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 10/27/18 at 11:19:57

By the way, we can use the 6N1P, 6N2P, 6N5P and any 6922 variety on this as an input tube, right?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 10/27/18 at 15:15:18

Yes! I'm using 7308 in my 25th Anniversary Monoblocks.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Rivieraranch on 10/29/18 at 14:53:40

You can also use a 6BQ7.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Palomino on 10/31/18 at 03:17:37

Here is a TIDAL playlist of the songs Steve references in this thread:

https://tidal.com/playlist/7a15fde2-6fbd-4cf9-8741-dbb400361dd5

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by MrDerrick on 11/03/18 at 23:55:36

Finally made up my mind and ordered a SE84UFO25 along with a ZBIT to mate with my ZTPRE.
I can't wait to see how well they power my 107dB 18 ohm horns.
The horns only respond down to 170 Hz, the bottom end is handled by self amplified SUB225 bass units.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 11/04/18 at 00:02:39

Congrats Derrick!  I would love to hear those Avantgarde Omega horns powered by the ZTPRE, ZBIT, and Anniversary Zen.  I can't imagine it being anything other than stunning with the system you are piecing together.  

Those are gorgeous horns and I have always been intrigued by their products, but have not had an opportunity to hear them live.  


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 11/10/18 at 22:49:44

UFO25 closing in on 300 hours and has settled down to giving day in, and day out, consistent beautiful music. I had asked Steve about upgrading my Monoliths and he said they are fine. He said the ZP3, Zrock2 & Zstage are now the weak links in the chain. Glad he posted the upgrade list.
So, I will start with the ZP3 upgrade first. Then the Zrock2. Zstage will be left as is since system sounds fine without it in the loop. Zrock2 is still needed on those recordings with wimpy bass!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 11/10/18 at 23:04:03

Ace, yes, this new listing has me wondering how to afford a few upgrades! I think I'll order a new ZROCK2 with all the mods and then use the one I have in my second system. I am thinking of getting my Torii Mk II modded, and then use that in my second system and then sell the Torii Mk III that I have as well and alternate in that system. They both safe fantastic amps but the Mk III should be easier to sell.

And then there's the conditioner. . . . I would like to try one on my analog components, which just happen to total six, matching the outlets. Hmmm. This will spur me to sell guitars and basses and instrument amps. . . I could sell a dozen. . . and still have a dozen! Anyone looking or something in that category. . . ;)

Exciting time for Decware fans! But not for our wallets. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 11/11/18 at 00:12:32

Hey Lon,

   I hear you on selling instruments to fund audio equip. Since starting my Decware journey nearly 5 years ago I've sold a few of my old classics (guitars - acoustics & electrics) that I never took out of the house anymore. Once the band broke up it was time to get some cash for the Man Cave/ rehearsal room / recording room....now, just an audio man cave/ Decware room.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 11/11/18 at 12:54:01


Ace-Tone wrote on 11/11/18 at 00:12:32:
Hey Lon,

   I hear you on selling instruments to fund audio equip. Since starting my Decware journey nearly 5 years ago I've sold a few of my old classics (guitars - acoustics & electrics) that I never took out of the house anymore. Once the band broke up it was time to get some cash for the Man Cave/ rehearsal room / recording room....now, just an audio man cave/ Decware room.

Yes Ace. . . I'm finally readying myself to sell some of my instruments. It's hard! I don't like to part with things and get attached to them. But arthritis is setting in, especially in my left hand, and I just can't/don't play as much as I did before. I have some instruments I'll never sell, but about half of what I have could go away and fund mods for my audio systems. We'll see. I may put a few up for consignment in Cleveland which would save me from advertising and shipping etc. Wish me luck, I've "meant" to do this many times and haven't!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 11/30/18 at 03:12:12


Looking forward to spending some consecutive time with my 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier...  Every time we build one I have to give up my amp for the bench sample to be meticulously duplicated.  Obviously I am going to build myself one so they can just keep it for a bench sample like most of the other amps.  Problem is we've been too busy and after this recent surge of orders I can see the only way I'll get one any time soon is to build it myself during the late evening hours... Just like I did the first one.

I QC'd #38 today.  

So now you know the reason for "Final Listening Room Evaluation" on the build sheet... I have been listening to all of your amps instead of my own, each one for a day or two and then on to the next.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 12/03/18 at 18:38:20

Went in for a knee replacement a couple of weeks ago and for the first time in about three weeks listened to my system.  The shine hasn’t worn off and the UFO25 still stops me dead in my tracks.  I did make one change that I thought would be worthwhile posting about...

My renovation is now complete and in a couple of weeks the system is going int it’s new home.  My Digital Cable wasn’t going to be long enough so I would have to get another.  The cable that I have was made by Take Five Audio with Neotech silver 75 ohm cable and WBT silver 75 ohm RCA’s.  In my opinion it is a good to very good cable but before buying another I thought I would check around and came across the following review: Best Digital Coaxial Cables - Audio Bacon.

Among the cables reviewed a couple caught my attention one of which was Snake River Audio, Boomslang.  A little more than I wanted to spend but it was risk free so I sprung for one and tried it today.  (It did cook for 200 hours before I got it and still needs some burn in)

The reviewer pretty much nailed it in his review so I won’t get into the details other than to say it is replacing my TFA cable.  A couple of noteworthy observations:  In comparison the TFA had a certain treble glare that I didn’t notice until now.  The Boomslang produces beautifully balanced results giving enough of everything with voices and separation that are the best yet in my system.

If your looking at getting a very good digital cable this one is worth putting on a short list and an amp like the UFO25 deserves something like this IMO.




Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 12/03/18 at 20:03:49

Hope you are recuperating well from your surgery John, and congrats on the Boomslang! Glad it worked out so very well!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 12/03/18 at 22:01:39

Hey Lon,

Yes I am, mutch better than expected.  I’m fortunate enough to live close enough to a world class Orthapedic & Arthritic Hospital.  From start to finish the team was outsdanding.  I went in on the 19th and was home on the 21st.  Now I’m walking only using a cane on stairs and to get in and out of the car.

The recuperation involves exercise and a healthy dose of music from my system.  Got the UFO25 just in time!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 12/03/18 at 22:41:15

Great news! And yeah, these 25th Anniversary amps. . .wow they sound so good!

Was your Take Five Audio the Deluxe version? I think so as I think that's the silver one. I have it and it works really well for me. I'm going to pretend I never heard of your new one. ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 12/03/18 at 23:25:31

Yes, it was the Deluxe version.  I have had it for some time and liked it a lot as well.  If I didn’t need a longer cable I probably would not have looked around.  In fact I could have saved a few $$$ because Gene was willing to use the existing WBT RCA’s and put a longer length on.

The “glare” only became evident in direct comparison (damn!) and the fuller or weightier presentation was also evident.  There are still things that in someways I prefer with the TFA, the attack for example is one.

Some things are more obvious with the TFA which made me think that something was missing with the Boomslang.  Then I realized that nothing was missing in fact there was more but presented in a better over all balance.

The difference with the vocals were very obvious favouring the Boomslang.  

I think that the TFA did a slightly better job with soundstage depth and as important as that is to me the balance of the Boomslang won out.  Now I still have to put a few more hours on the Boomslang so we’ll see.

I need to spend more time with the Boomslang but you know when you get this gut feeling and you just know it’s going to stay, and yes I tried to ignore it as well :'(

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by JOMAN on 12/03/18 at 23:28:22

Lon, did I read somewhere that you were setting up a second system??  Ahem....

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 12/03/18 at 23:31:14

Yes, I know what you mean, sounds like it's a great cable.

I'd be inclined to move from the TFA if I didn't use the DirectStream Memory Player so much and its HDMI/I2S connection. I use the TFA for my Oppo UDP-205 into the DirectStream DAC and it's always hi-res content and it sounds really good, so good that I won't spend the money now to try to improve it. Later on, if money's there. . . it's possible!

Keep recuperating and enjoy the listening!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 12/03/18 at 23:36:17

Ha ha. I've been playing around with a bunch of components in the second system for over three years now, and before that I had two systems in my place, a system at my parents' and a system here which was then my girlfriend's home, now ours.

Don't use a digital output in my second system, go right from a Denon universal player into either the preamp or the amp.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Crazy Bill the Eel Killer on 02/19/19 at 01:38:45

Hello all,
just ordered the SE84UFO25. Can't wait. Will be using it to drive my HDTs and my Fostex TH900MKll Sapphire blue cans. MOST excited to get it here.

Question for Steve. What mono pot are you using for the vc/gain function ?

Thanks,          Crazy Bill

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Palomino on 02/21/19 at 18:18:52

Sounds like a killer combo CB.  

I had some anxiety buying even though I got to listen to the amp by myself (and maybe one other guy) for several hours at Decfest.  Would it be that much better than my Rachael?

Well, over time listening to mine that answer has gone from I think so, to yeah, to oh wow.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/05/19 at 04:02:07

oh, wow! :-?   I was waiting for that  ;)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 03/05/19 at 04:20:55

I can tell you it never gets old... that is its undeniable magic trick.  Every time you listen to one of these amps the experience is new, and to say the very least - pleasant.

I love mine!  In a bug-out situation I would take my amp, my gun to defend it and rations to survive long enough to keep listening to it ; )

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 03/05/19 at 23:19:00

Yeah, after all those lost years and dollars messing with "audiophile" equipment and finally discovering, too late in life, DECWARE, I am lamenting not having enough years left to "listen" to it and enjoy the music while I am at it! So my heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to Steve and his family and crew!   [smiley=2vrolijk_08.gif]

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Palomino on 03/05/19 at 23:21:54

That post is a little old now.  Things have only gotten better!  Very addicting.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 03/07/19 at 23:44:59

UFO25 really broke thru (consistency) around 300 hrs. But, it is still getting more better, more better. Absolutely astounding last night. Can't wait to fire up more vinyl this eve. For awhile it seemed CD's weren't too far behind vinly. Now...forget it..vinyl is stomping CD playback. I may need to seriously consider a good DAC to even the playing field a bit.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/08/19 at 00:09:44

These amps do keep getting better and better, that's been the case with any of the Decware components.

I have been enjoying vinyl again recently and my 25th Anniversary Monoblocks really make the sound awesome.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Palomino on 03/08/19 at 00:31:44

You’ve got me thinking I should break out the turntable again.  

I listened to a group of favorites last night.  It was like I was listening to a remastered mix of each song.  Like every 10 days I get a different mix.

Tonight I am listening to all live tracks.  Monstrous sound stage.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by HuskerDu on 03/11/19 at 22:35:34

Hello Steve. This thread is very instructive. Please keep it up. In particular, your post just below the top (included below) that helps me think of cost/benefit a new way. ;-)

"It comes at a price, adding the OA3 regulation for each output tube that is...  Rather than the two capacitors used in the power supplies of the SE84UFO and SE84UFO2, this uses a few more. The first cap comes off the rectifier tube just like the other amps but then the power supply is split into three separate filters, one for each tube.  This adds 7 additional caps and nine additional poly film bypass caps. There was no option other than to spit it into three separate supplies due to the 30mA limit of the OA3 tube. And because the large gap beautifully slows things down, all of the caps have to be carefully bypassed to speed things back up. This stretch between speeds expands the transient playground to a very large window giving a more immersive sense of depth and complexity. The slow side of its personality creates unbelievable liquidity. The fast side of it's personality reveals stuff you had no idea was there, and that Zen duality creates an infinitely variable speed power supply that fills in the middle.  

It's not real practical, but it is something you do when you're trying to not be practical, and voyage well beyond that point of diminishing returns, through the neutral zone and into heavy waves of total realism... something I think the little Zen deserves after being such a trooper for so many years!!

Who would have thought 25 years ago when Eric Barbor of Svetlana contacted me to see if I had any interest in an EL84 substitute called the SV83, such incredible effort would have ended up going into the amps for it.  25 Years ago it was a $4.00 tube.  Who would have thought a $4.00 tube would justify a $2500 wholesale price pair of amps (and counting). The bizarreness of it from this perspective just makes it even more desirable to do, just to see how much further can we push the resolution of this amazing output tube, which is actually a Russian 6P15P-EB.

We've always known that EL84's are faster than virtually all 8 pin output tubes, be it pentode or triode wired, but the 6P15P-EB was nearly twice the bandwidth and subsequent speed and as a result nearly perfectly neutral.  So there is no reason not to see how fast the tube actually is... just know it's expensive aka painful, but worth it. I predict it's going to hurt fairly bad until the moment it arrives. Most of the pain will go away in the first hour. I would say 90% of it. By the third week you will begin to understand that the amp is easily worth twice what you paid for it, and it's limited production ensures that it will always hold it's value and you will then become forever pain free."

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Palomino on 03/19/19 at 19:16:00

I seem to have hit new level yet again.  More 3D front to back in the soundstage.  I'm at about the 200 hour mark.

Interesting.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/19/19 at 19:21:36

Great! Doesn't really surprise me. Mine kept slowly improving over the months. In part I think the amps were improving with use, and in part I was learning better how to listen to them, that is wrapping my brain around the sound field's differences, and still more in part because of small tweaks to gain stages, speaker positioning, etc.

These amps are I think lifetime partners! (So far no one I know of has died with one in their possession. . . .)

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by alper_yilmaz on 03/19/19 at 22:27:00

I am not keeping track of how many hours any more, but I should be around 130 hours or so.  The amp keeps on getting better!  There is so much detail in the music that I seldom turn my preamp above 11 o'clock (it has a max output of 8.5 V and there is no volume control on my Decware).  

I still have not started tube-rolling.  As soon as I hit the 250-300 hours threshold, I will try some of my favorite rectifiers (Sophia Electric Aqua 274B, NOS Mullard GZ32 and NOS RCA 5Y3GT) as well as some input tubes. What are your favorites, by the way?

Let's see...  :)

Cheers,

Alper

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by MrDerrick on 03/20/19 at 21:21:32

I only have about 30 hours on my 25th. ( #50 )
It arrived last Tuesday, on my birthday no less, I ordered it on November 3rd, as my birthday gift to myself. ( along with a ZBIT, silver ref cables and a red ZTPRE face plate )
Only having 30 hours the sound is very impressive, I am also burning in cables and a ZBIT, keeping listening too 4 hours at a shot.
One thing that I have to say is that pictures do not do this amp justice, you have to see it in your hands.
Being my first Decware amp, I am working through the gain path adjustment learning curve.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 03/20/19 at 21:25:48

MrDerrick, Lots going on and lots of seasoning to go through, but I bet you have a lot of enjoyment ahead of you!

Thanks for weighing in and keep us posted as you experience the evolving sound.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/20/19 at 04:35:14


Tonight is another new listening experience with the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier!

Since I first heard this amplifier with it's stunning dynamics and speed, I've had visions of moving on from 94dB 8-inch drivers to something much larger so I could fully experience the dynamic potential of this magic amplifier.  My thoughts were more along 15 inch drivers at well over 100dB so I can recreate the visceral experience of the TORII MONO's or the ZMA turned up as loud as they will go on the 94dB speakers, which btw, really HIT hard at those power levels.

So tonight I have achieved this goal and for the first time I think ever, I'm hearing a 2 watt Zen Triode amplifier simply smash it as though I was listening to the ZMA on the DNA2's or the HR-1's as loud as it will go.  The only thing is... that this is a lot better.

It's a lot better because it's a crossover-less full-range 15 inch driver over 100dB efficient with insane bass and attack.  It's tight, it sounds real, it sounds live, just like I've said about the amp on the 94dB speakers, but only a lot more so if you can even imagine that.

It is shorting out my head to hear this tonight as I play heavy electronic music through it to loosen up these ultra tight new drivers, because the bass and the hit is well outperforming the big amps and at a nightclub volumes and from a 2 watt amplifier which when you hear this you know it's impossible but it's happening and frankly the amp is no where near clipping, which again, to not see the VR tubes blink with the bass hits at this sound pressure level just seems impossible.  I guess it's been a long time since I heard such efficient and hard hitting speakers... the only thing that comes even close to what I'm hearing right now is the Imperial horns in the DIY section of this web site.

It can be so frustrating to try and find the words to communicate the experience of this amplifier and now that I'm hearing it almost twice as loud I'm just dumfounded.  This years DECFEST is going to be the brain smoker of all time because of this.  Every year is a little more impressive than the one before and now this is going to just be insanely good.  This would totally blow everyones mind had I showed it at Axpona or really any of the shows this year.  You hear and feel what you know is 400 watts and you find out it's only 2.  Something you'll never forget as long as you live.

God bless this amplifier and the matching preamp which is near release.  I'm not rushing it because it's so good, like the amplifier, that it has to be perfect in every possible way and the only way to know if it is, is to evaluate it over time in multiple setups.  So far I couldn't be more pleased.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/20/19 at 05:17:12

Things are cookin' now!  Hearing so many "firsts" it's almost mental overload.

Intervals - Boris Blank from the Album Electrified in 24bit, 88.2kHz on this system has just set a new peak for the best sound I ever heard from a system -- ever.  

The projection of these currently secret speakers is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Even my Acoustats don't do this.  The Dynamics, the Energy just comes out of you instead of the speaker and it's so frikin REAL sounding that we've gone well past the usual face palms until my forehead gets sore to joyous profanity and walking around in the disbelief circle next to the listening chair.  That's serious folks.

And so far almost every track is doing this, so it's totally not a fluke!

I feel like the long range goal with this amp was to get to the Moon, and now we've just completely blown past that and landed on Mars.  This is just un-real.



Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/20/19 at 16:54:49


It's morning now, and the sound is exactly the same as it was when I went to bed... a true reality test.  

There were several times last night when I heard music get louder without distortion or compression than ever before, and wondered how it was possible! Still having a hard time with that even  just thinking about it. I have never gotten anything this loud before in this room. The closest was my OTL amplifier on the corner horns several years ago. That was a 20 watt amp into 8 ohms.  So the great irony here is that all this has happened and is happening with 2 watts (well lets call it 3 watts).  

I'll be honest with you, the sound is making me want to run back to the tube safe here at Decware and wrap every 6P15P-EV in felt and lock them away. Prior to this experience they were worth the asking price X 2. Now that I hear for the first time what they can really do, their value to me has just increased ten fold.

This experience with these secret speakers has completely reinforced my plea to all SE84UFO25 owners to get high efficient speakers with good bass response. It's just such a rush to experience this kind of scale and meat from any system, let alone one that is "low power", yes I had to put that in quotes since low power has now become a misleading term.

As you can tell, I wasn't prepared for what happened last night and through to the present. Have never owned speakers this good or this efficient.  I'll get into the speakers in other posts when I'm ready to reveal what they are.  Meanwhile, I can promise that all 56 SE84UFO25 owner's have not heard what the amp can really do! And I would bet that virtually all of them if they were here to witness this, would be as stunned as I am!

BTW, the speakers had exactly 1 hour of break-in before last nights listening session began. When have you ever heard speakers that sounded good in the first hour?  If they actually get better I'm going be trying out my first pair of "Depends undergarments".

-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 06/20/19 at 18:57:27

WOW, Steve! Now the 25th Anniversary amp owners are going to have to save money for the new 25th Anni. pre amp AND new speakers! It's getting expensive. Can a person be sad and happy at the same time? DECFEST is 4, 5, 6 of October this year?

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Lon on 06/20/19 at 19:13:47


lazb wrote on 06/20/19 at 18:57:27:
WOW, Steve! Now the 25th Anniversary amp owners are going to have to save money for the new 25th Anni. pre amp AND new speakers! It's getting expensive. Can a person be sad and happy at the same time? DECFEST is 4, 5, 6 of October this year?

Just jump off the merry-go-round Joe! I did. I'm so happy and I don't want to make any equipment changes. Of course that means you can't go to Decfest. . . .

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by lazb on 06/21/19 at 03:42:49

GOING!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Showme on 06/21/19 at 15:25:44

I'm going too and I already want the speakers!!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Geno on 06/21/19 at 21:34:14

Steve,

Please give us a sneak peak at the speakers.  My guess is that they must be some kind of open baffle design. Maybe an idea you came up with while listening to the Betsy's...

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/22/19 at 03:22:48



Quote:
WOW, Steve! Now the 25th Anniversary amp owners are going to have to save money for the new 25th Anni. pre amp AND new speakers! It's getting expensive. Can a person be sad and happy at the same time? DECFEST is 4, 5, 6 of October this year?



I'm on a mission to go where no man has gone before, to explore the unknown...  It's my Hippocratic oath, I have no choice. How would it have been if the Star Trek Enterprise landed on a planet and the captain decided we've seen enough so we're just going to sit here and get old?

If I have my way, before it's over we'll be able to illuminate the air with recorded sound without audio gear. And since it's never actually over, you can look for that just in a time that will be just around the corner.

Happy listening!

Steve


Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/22/19 at 03:27:54


Geno -  it's actually been a variation of two speaker systems that are closely related.  My post in the ANALOGUE TAPE FORUM was system A, and my post here was on system B.  The two are similar and closely related but completely different... vastly different.  

I'll post more about them once I've had more time with them, because the consequences of posting these particular speaker designs are far reaching.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/22/19 at 04:43:41


UPDATE:  Listening to the Anniversary amp/preamp with the mystery speakers on old tried and true reference material from GRP, and this speaker design has completely re-arranged my head about the importance of projection.  All my ideas about skinny little towers that imaged like they weren't even there are getting shaken to the core right now.  It's a double whammy, because the they are letting me hear how good the Anniversary gear actually is, which I thought I knew but turns out I didn't.

I can see absolutely nothing will get done this weekend!!!  It's so insane to hear music like this on anything, let alone two watts...  unbelievable.  Since it's probably going to be awhile before I can say anything specific about the speakers anyone who wants to book a listening appointment would get forced into a situation where they would have to hear them and then be sworn to secrecy possibly all summer.

This is also my introduction to a new hi-end speaker manufacture, small like ourselves, who I have no idea at this point what kind of stability is there.  So far all the right signs are in place for a solid company with good ethics and great products, so I am having conversations with them to see what kind of availability might be had for this driver in the future.

-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/22/19 at 05:34:00


As I listen tonight these speakers and amplifier make crystal clear the observation I've had in the studio when listening to 16 bit vs. 24 bit.  The 24 bit is smoother more correct.  The 16 bit has more slam and is sharper.  God bless 24 bit.

So as the evening continues... listening to "City of Stars" by Ryan Gosling.  At the ending I heard the female vocal lay down on the floor, stage right, and sing up to the male vocal who possibly had her in his arms.   This is pretty hardcore imaging when you see and feel that happen right in front of you as though you were setting in front of a 200 inch movie screen.


Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/22/19 at 06:11:35


For those who stream...  I don't know about you, but I save my favorite tracks and then I create playlists of those tracks, usually always the first one being a demo playlist designed to wow the listener.  The process is simple, you listen to all of your favorited tracks and then pick the ones that are just too good to be true, stuff that is simply over the top.  That way when you want to blow someones socks off in a short amount of time you get the secret playlist out and let it rip.

Well I found myself making a new playlist tonight for the secret speakers, version 2, and after several hours have realized that almost everything I listened to I added to the playlist.  Normally with all other speakers, the items added to a demo list are about 1 in 4 or 5.  That should tell you something... that I'm not getting much sleep.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 06/22/19 at 20:10:59

Steve, these updates are really fun to follow. You keep it very exciting. I can't wait to read and learn more.

Have you or would you consider comparing the ZTPRE with anniversary mods to the new CSP3 anniversary edition? I'm really curious as to the differences between them and it sounds like these mystery speakers and the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier are up to the task.

Thanks,
Jim

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 06/23/19 at 21:53:45

So much fun!
I love when you get a new speaker design.

And this anniversary amp must be the best!

Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 06/27/19 at 20:37:34

25th Amp is beautiful. 10 months in and I have stopped rolling tubes and tweaking...no need! My 4 yr old Ortofon 2m black needed replacing. So, instead of a retip I decided to go with something better...Soundsmith Zephyr MKIIIes.
Wow, only 10 hours on it and it is worth the price of admission. Plus I know it has not quite settled in yet.
I truly believe that, no matter the cost of the source, the 25th will keep up with anything I throw at it.  From what I am reading of Steve's posts above this more than holds true. It was a bit nerve wracking making the 25th purchase $$, but it was the right choice.
I need to get to Decfest one of these years just to A / B against my room. Wondering...."Can it get better" ....I'm sure the answer is yes!

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 06/28/19 at 01:30:59

Hey Ace, I'm curious about your new cartridge. What would you say is different compared to the 2m black? Is the output roughly the same? Or do you need a step up? I mainly ask because I love the 2m black and wonder what the "upgrade" would get me?

Sorry I know this isn't directly 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier content.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/28/19 at 01:37:44



Quote:
Steve, these updates are really fun to follow. You keep it very exciting. I can't wait to read and learn more.

Have you or would you consider comparing the ZTPRE with anniversary mods to the new CSP3 anniversary edition? I'm really curious as to the differences between them and it sounds like these mystery speakers and the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier are up to the task.

Thanks,
Jim



Jim,

Comparing the ZTPRE to the CSP3 is difficult because one is balanced and one is not. That means to do a direct A/B the ZTPRE has to be fitted with transformer-coupled RCA inputs and then it's output has to be run into a ZBIT. That means a transformer, the preamp circuit, and a transformer being compared to just a preamp circuit with no transformers.

So let's talk about the preamp circuit itself. The ZTPRE is exactly two CSP3 circuits instead of one, and it has solid state regulation instead of tube.  That's going to make the fundamental signatures between the ZTPRE and CSP3 the same. The solid state rectification, large caps, and torroidal power supplies in the ZTPRE make it more neutral than the CSP3 with probably most tube compliments.  

I can tell you that I use the ZTPRE fitted with the transformer-coupled RCA inputs just to make my RCA output sources sound better, and it does big time. I could probably spend 3 times as much on a source component and it wouldn't sound better. Transformers like these add dimensionality and a nice organic shimmer to the top end. My advise is don't listen to them unless you can afford to buy them because once you hear them you are wrecked. For example, when I remove the ZTPRE and run my balanced sources directly to the ZBIT it is seldom as good. Same is true if I run the RCA sources directly into the amplifier.  My ZTPRE has just become part of my digital front end, as well as the front end for two of my tape machines.  

As for the CSP325, it does the same thing as the CSP3, in that it makes music more juicy and beautiful to listen to with greatly improved dynamics, imaging and tone. All without getting syrupy or veiled in any way. The Anniversary mods and or the CSP325 does the same thing but with greater resolution so that it doesn't detract from the resolution of the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode amplifier.  Of course I'm sure it would sound wonderful with any amplifier be it have the same resolution or not.

Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by pursuitofnow on 06/28/19 at 01:55:15

Thanks Steve. I have a ZTPRE on order with the transformer-coupled RCA inputs, and anniversary mods. I wondered for a half a second if I should change my order to the CSP3 anniversary, but after your response I'm sticking with it. Sounds like it will be glorious.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 06/28/19 at 03:54:43

Steve said: "Transformers like these add dimensionality and a nice organic shimmer to the top end."

Steve, this makes me wonder if one of your power amps might benefit from Transformer coupling instead of RC coupling of it's driver stage to the output stage.  Have you an interest in trying Transformer coupling?

Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Acetone on 06/28/19 at 16:36:22

Pursuit...sent you PM.  Will post in ZP3 forum when I've had more time with the Zep. So far I am very happy with it.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/28/19 at 19:00:44



Quote:
Steve said: "Transformers like these add dimensionality and a nice organic shimmer to the top end."

Steve, this makes me wonder if one of your power amps might benefit from Transformer coupling instead of RC coupling of it's driver stage to the output stage.  Have you an interest in trying Transformer coupling?


Certainly I have, yes.  It only adds $700 per stage and would require a redesigned chassis, power supply, and overall voicing to make it right if you used it in place of standard capacitive coupling.  By comparison a type II beeswax cap cost ten times less and are 90% as good.  Simply an issue of diminishing returns.  And that said, it would have little effect on the voicing of the amplifier's input signal since it is part of the amp itself.  We use the transformers to balance impedances between components and manipulate gain which is where the big boost to sound quality comes from.  This is what the ZBIT is for and why we use it.

-Steve

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Donnie on 06/28/19 at 21:37:42

I'm wondering if such an amplifier would be a success?
Everytime that Decware ups the ante on amps, (25th anniversary ect.) it seems that they sell pretty well.
How much would customers be willing to spend? I'm thinking maybe $5K??
It seems that there is a whole industry focused on chasing that last 10%, it might be worth a little thought.

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Brian on 06/29/19 at 03:31:47

I thank you Steve for the reply.

"We use the transformers to balance impedances between components and manipulate gain which is where the big boost to sound quality comes from."

Not doing those things, it does seem that an interstage transformer would be of less value to the sound.  
It is always good to get education from you.
Thanks, Brian

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by thethanimal on 06/09/20 at 14:09:25

I’m still wading through this topic trying to understand the 25th anniversary mods that will be done on the base model Zen I’ve ordered. I’m only reading Steve’s posts so I have a chance to finish by the time my amp arrives, and after checking out some of his music suggestions I have a humble suggestion of my own: “Chocolate Chip Trip” off TOOL’s Fear Inoculum album. Just analog synths and drums, performed by Danny Carey in one take. That might have to be my first test track when I finally get my amp.

Than

Title: Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier
Post by Steve Deckert on 06/09/20 at 17:45:28


Originally my thought was not to add anniversary mods to the shopping cart on the SE84UFO because it was the base model and many people who are not on a tight budget and would be in a position to add the mods, get the SE84UFO2.  In hindsight this was pretty stupid, so the anniversary mod was added to the shopping cart about a month ago.

The anniversary mod for the SE84UFO is called the 'beeswax bypass cap mod'.  It consists of adding beeswax caps (that match the signal caps) to the plates of the audio tubes. This in turn speeds up the power supply at higher frequencies which translates to better resolution at all frequencies.

Steve


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