Message started by drD on 05/08/19 at 05:34:42

Title: SE84UFO Review
Post by drD on 05/08/19 at 05:34:42

I'd like to thank James "Rivieraranch" here in the forums. He was extremely kind in answering all my questions and did an absolutely wonderful job packing this used SE84UFO with several tubes and everything arrived in wonderful shape. I'd also like to thank Steve at Decware. Such a wonderful man and so kind to answer various questions. I am very happy and grateful, thank you all. Something about me, just so you guys know. My real area of expertise is in telescopes. Audio OTOH has brought such great peace, relaxation and fun into my life during those cloudy frustrating nights. I have spent the past two years comparing all kinds of amps, preamps etc. I'm a big believer in just sitting down and comparing components and I don't get much into the technical aspects of this. That's way out of my area of expertise and I still consider myself a rank beginner compared to you guys. As such, I am merely expressing my own personal opinion regarding my experience along with this wonderful little Decware amp. I'd also like to thank Kevin for the link below. When I saw this forum, I acquired several tubes from eBay.

My current setup...

Thorens TD165 turntable with Nagaoka MP200 cartridge.
Erhard Audio Aretha Preamp with 6922/6DJ8 phono preamp.
Dynaco VTA-ST70 Bob Latino amp with KT88 tubes.
Dynaco PAS2 restored preamp.
Decware SE84UFO amp.
Klipsch Heresy 2 speakers 99db.
Listening room is shaped like an "A" frame so all walls are angled.

I wanted an amp I could play at lower volume levels that sounded nice and pleasant and I plugged in the 274B rectifier tube along with the standard included tubes. I put on a Bill Evans LP called Waltz for Debby. When I first listened to this UFO, I literally dropped my jaw in disbelief. The sound coming from this thing made me emotional and speechless. Out came this rich, beautiful, warm, organic, airy, open piano sound. I said to myself... OMG, this is simply breathtaking. I just could not believe the sound coming out of this little amp. I have already listened to many amps, but this little SE84UFO was beyond reproach in such a small package. I then played the theatrical play Westside Story on LP. I said OMG again. I was literally speechless at the three dimensional presentation of this incredible recording. Fingers snapping sounded insanely real. Simply amazing! This little UFO just wouldn't quit. My wife was wondering what the hell was going on with me and I was lost in an audio abyss. I then played Duke Ellington's Jazz Party on LP. At this point I was at a loss for words to describe how emotional this sound quality was making me feel. Then I played Porgy and Bess Miles Davis on LP, Dexter Gordon's Blows Hot and Cool and I was out of orbit. I wish I had someone to share this with so they could understand what I was going through. When I listed to the saxophone coming out from these horn speakers with this little amp, it did not even sound like a reproduction, it was that real. The sound was just so open and crystal clear.

I decided to gather myself back to unreality and switch out rectifier tubes. The rectifier tubes I got are as follows from left to right.

274B included
Tung-Sol 5Z3
Radiotron 80 Globe
Mullard GZ34

I am only sharing how each tube "appeared to sound". I don't understand this stuff at all like you guys. After first spending time with the 274B I then plugged in the Mullard GZ34 and right off, the soundstage just didn't sound as big and the bass didn't seem quite as extended. I was wondering if the smaller "size" of the tube might have something to do with that? Not sure if that even makes any sense.

I then plugged in the Tung-Sol 5Z3. Immediately, I got the impression that this tube took on a more lifeless and flat sound from a "relative" point of view and the bass just didn't seem to present itself as well as the 274B. I began to wonder if the tube might just be warn out? I don't have a gauge to measure tube life but it was purchased from a reputable seller on eBay that had several thousand excellent ratings. I then tried the Radiotron Globe 80. At first, I was not sure if I liked it better than the 274B and the reason specifically is because the bass just seemed a tad more pronounced or extended in the 274B. As I listened more, I determined that the highs and mids appeared to sound slightly tighter and dynamic after hearing some drum symbols with the Globe 80. It was as if the drum symbols seemed to sound a bit more front and center in the Globe 80 while the symbols in the 274B sounded a bit more in the background for lack of a better word. In the 274B, I noticed just a bit more of a resonance in sound but bass extended out a bit more compared to the Globe 80. Now that I knew what to listen for, I think I could pass a blind test but I'm not completely sure. I'm not even sure any of this even makes sense or is even possible. Overall I give the highs and mids to the Globe 80 and a tad bit more bass to the 274B. I love both these tubes and I think anyone would have to sit down and take it all in. My apologies in advance for possible misunderstandings I may have here on my part. Thank you all!

Title: Re: SE84UFO Review
Post by drD on 05/08/19 at 05:36:25

more pics.

Title: Re: SE84UFO Review
Post by drD on 05/08/19 at 05:38:12


Title: Re: SE84UFO Review
Post by Rivieraranch on 05/08/19 at 20:43:21

Thanks for the nice mention.

I'm glad you are enjoying this little amp. The amp that started it all.

The 274B shipped with these amps was chosen because it sounds really nice. Your experience bears that out.

Title: Re: SE84UFO Review
Post by drD on 05/09/19 at 01:44:13

Thanks again James. Really enjoying this fine amp! :)

Title: Re: SE84UFO Review
Post by Alex on 11/24/19 at 16:19:48

Awesome review on this amp. Did you have any mods added when you ordered or did you buy the basic model?

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