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Is 6 Watts Enough? (Read 817 times)
Ruleof72
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Is 6 Watts Enough?
06/13/20 at 01:44:55
 
I'm a brand new forum member who's looking to upgrade my listening experience by switching to tubes from solid state. In my research I came across Decware and after exploring the site and the products I'm very interested in how I might be able to make it work in my system. My budget is ideally <$2500. Based on that the Zen Triode Integrated (with some upgrades) is appealing.

The issue I'm struggling with is "how much power do I really need". My speakers are ~91db sensitivity and we sit about 9 feet from the speakers. The room is 14x17 and listening levels are typically 75-85db. Online power calculators say I should be fine with 4-5 watts for that level but what about the peaks? I hear that "tube watts are better than ss watts". How does that translate? I plan on reaching out to Steve to get his feedback but wanted to get a sense from the community as well.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Speakers: Tekton Enzo XL
Amp: NAD 326Bee Integrated
Turntable: Technics SL-1210GR
Phono pre: Lounge Audio LCR MKIII
DAC: Schiit Modi Multibit streaming Roon/Tidal
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4krow
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #1 - 06/13/20 at 13:14:53
 
I had the size of room that you do approximately, and I owned the same amp that you are referring to. I was using speakers that claimed 93db. I cannot say at what level that I listened, but it certainly wasn't background music. I found more of a problem with recording levels being too high or low, more than volume being inadequate. Having said that, there were too many times that I had the amp very near full volume to get where I wanted. I would suggest more in the order of 20 wpc which I am running right now, though it is a SS class A amp.
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/Audio Nirvana 8" bass drivers/Xiang Seng DAC/ LR Audio Computer/Rega Apollo R CDP/Emotiva ERC3 CDP/BPT 3.0 power cond.
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RJR
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #2 - 06/13/20 at 14:48:00
 
Ruleof72,

You state that your Speakers: Tekton Enzo XL are ~91db sensitivity, however Tekton states 96.5dB sensitivity 2.83V@1m.  ~5dB is considerable.  For example, 91dB at 1 watt, 94dB at 2 watts and 97dB at 4 watts (this is where your speakers are at with ~1 watt).

I have a Torii MK3 > Zu Audio Omen Def MK1b and couldn't be happier, though I am looking for bookshelves because I also have 2 JL Audio E110 Subs.

Best of luck!
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Ruleof72
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #3 - 06/13/20 at 15:17:46
 
Yes, the Enzo's seem to have some variability in the sensitivity specs. I'm going off of the measurements that Stereophile took as part of their review, which was 90.6db.

You're right, there is a large difference between that and the 96db Tekton claims. Unfortunately I have no way of verifying which one is correct so I'm going with the lower number, just to be safe.
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Speakers: Tekton Enzo XL
Amp: NAD 326Bee Integrated
Turntable: Technics SL-1210GR
Phono pre: Lounge Audio LCR MKIII
DAC: Schiit Modi Multibit streaming Roon/Tidal
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Brian
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #4 - 06/15/20 at 04:55:55
 
Hello,
For your $2500 budget, you could change both your amp and your speakers with the Caintuck Audio model Betsy speakers @ $500 (Alnico magnets $220 more) and either the model SE84UFO @ $1000, model SE84UFO2 @ $1300 or model SE34I.5 @ $1500.

Or for more efficiency and impact, the same speaker but with the Lii 15 inch driver for $850.

I don't know if these combinations would be an upgrade over a Decware amp with your existing speakers or not, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Brian
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #5 - 06/16/20 at 21:05:14
 
Hi Ruleof72,

Welcome on board!

Currently, I have two Decware amps.  The SE84UFO25 is driving 91-dB, 4-ohm B&W's (with complex crossovers) and the SE34I.2+ in my bedroom is driving Rega RS1's which are 90.5 dB and 8 ohms.  Please note that these are just the announced specs though.  Previously, I had the SE84UFO in place of the SE84UFO25, and actually I even tried it with my 88.5-dB, 8-ohm ProAc's which was quite fine.

Neither of my Decwares are kidney stone removers, given the relative inefficiencies of my speakers.  Yet, the sound from both amps are to die for, particularly the SE84UFO25.  I hear every detail and in such a balanced way that I seldom turn on my Copland push-pull tube amp, which is also another great piece of gear.  With classical piano and operatic vocals, there is occasional clipping in my systems, but again, I am willing to compromise.

My experience with most high-efficiency single-driver speakers has not been very good.  Using some Omega speakers as well as Zu Druids in the past, I always struggled with the bass, and in most such speakers, I hear a shout effect.  However, please note that I have not done any room treatment, etc., as I do not have a dedicated listening room.  Most other forum members here have much better experience than I do, so I would definitely listen to what they have to say as well.

If I were you, I would not rush things; i.e., one thing at a time I would change in my signal chain.  Personally, I would start with the SE84UFO with the upgraded caps, as well as some decent set of cables.  I would listen to it with your existing speakers for at least 3-4 months till the system settles in.   You might already fall in love with it; so rather than investing in speaker, you can look for upgrades in your front end, like a good DAC or a better phono stage, etc.

Of course, if you do not like the combination even after the break-in period, you can start looking for speakers which we have so many alternatives these days (it was not like this 10-15 years ago, to the best of my knowldge).

Cheers,

Alper
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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25, Decware SE34I.2+ & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28, B&W DM630 & Rega RS1; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #6 - 06/16/20 at 21:14:59
 
By the way, the SE84UFO25 is only 2.3 watts per channel but it is louder than my 6-watt per channel SE34I.2+.
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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25, Decware SE34I.2+ & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28, B&W DM630 & Rega RS1; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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Lin
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #7 - 06/17/20 at 04:33:41
 
SE84 louder than a SE34i? Huh
Must have been an error in the testing procedure.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #8 - 06/17/20 at 08:21:25
 
Interestingly, it is...  I have not used any device to come up with test figures, but when I use the same speakers and the same inputs to both amps, I hear the EL84-based amp louder.
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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25, Decware SE34I.2+ & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28, B&W DM630 & Rega RS1; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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4krow
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #9 - 06/17/20 at 20:26:34
 
Maybe a way to test in that case is to hook up one channel to one amp and the other channel to the other. Of course, it would be unlikely that you could match volume of the two amps, and might have to go for max volume with each amp.
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/Audio Nirvana 8" bass drivers/Xiang Seng DAC/ LR Audio Computer/Rega Apollo R CDP/Emotiva ERC3 CDP/BPT 3.0 power cond.
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Lin
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #10 - 06/18/20 at 03:59:11
 
"I have not used any device to come up with test figures, but when I use the same speakers and the same inputs to both amps, I hear the EL84-based amp louder."

SE84 -1.5 volts for full output
SE34I - 2.5 volts for full output

Huh? was the emoticon that I used.
Not interesting, 2 watts are not louder than 6 watts.
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Lin
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #11 - 06/18/20 at 04:11:18
 
"I had the size of room that you do approximately, and I owned the same amp that you are referring to. I was using speakers that claimed 93db. I cannot say at what level that I listened, but it certainly wasn't background music. I found more of a problem with recording levels being too high or low, more than volume being inadequate. Having said that, there were too many times that I had the amp very near full volume to get where I wanted. "

4krow, did you ever try a preamp with the SE34I?
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #12 - 06/20/20 at 12:57:34
 
Exactly, mostly it is about the input sensitivity-related, I guess.
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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25, Decware SE34I.2+ & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28, B&W DM630 & Rega RS1; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #13 - 06/20/20 at 12:58:58
 
By the way, I use both of the amps with preamps in front.  When I try the same preamp in front of both with the same sources, speakers, cables, etc. I still hear the smaller amp louder.  It might be the UFO output transformers, maybe?  I do not know...  :)
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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25, Decware SE34I.2+ & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28, B&W DM630 & Rega RS1; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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4krow
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #14 - 06/20/20 at 21:30:13
 
Lin,

Good point about the input sensitivity of the amps. As a guess, a CD player usually has an output of  2 volts. In some cases, not enough for the integrated to put out all that it has to give. Of course, there were CD's that were recorded too damned hot to begin with, so that was a good reason for a volume control...HA! Accounting for variables between the two amps, it is only rational that 6 is more than 2, agreed? Not a hell of a lot of difference in some ways, but math is math. The perceived difference in the two as far as loudness would be a bit more than 3-4db.

I had wished to try a pre-amp with the integrated, but only did so with lesser equipment, and though the experience was improved in some ways, using the Racheal by herself came to be the preferred method.
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/Audio Nirvana 8" bass drivers/Xiang Seng DAC/ LR Audio Computer/Rega Apollo R CDP/Emotiva ERC3 CDP/BPT 3.0 power cond.
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Lin
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #15 - 06/21/20 at 00:45:43
 
a_y,

Maybe you didn't notice the distortion as much with the smaller tubes. Undecided
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Lin
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #16 - 06/21/20 at 00:59:26
 
4krow,

2 to 6 watts wouldn't mean much in a lot of systems, in some it would make a significant difference.
How much difference would there be between 102 and 106? Smiley

I was at Decfest several years ago and was talking off to one side, all of a sudden I realized the amp had been pushed past what it could give. It was a Rachael and the listeners turned the music up a bit too much (it was pretty loud); Steve came in and swapped it for a Torii IV, problem solved. Cool

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Lon
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #17 - 06/21/20 at 03:08:27
 
It's the magic of that bypass mod. Density!
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV; Rega RP3 w/25th mods PS Audio: DMP+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Statement spkr cbls; Mapleshade:Samson V3; Oppo UDP-205; VooDoo:Cremona+Amati intrcncts, Iso-Pods; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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4krow
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #18 - 06/21/20 at 23:42:33
 
Lin,

 In hindsight, I would have been happier with a Torii Jr. at 20 watts for my system. The Rachael was just a tiny bit short (without a preamp).
 I agree that a few watts will matter in systems, or maybe rooms, where the speakers are high sensitivity, hardly being pushed with one watt to attain high volume. That was certainly my experience with Khorns.
I really raise an eyebrow when I see low sensitivity speakers that would require some serious power to begin with. Pushing a boulder uphill I'd say.
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/Audio Nirvana 8" bass drivers/Xiang Seng DAC/ LR Audio Computer/Rega Apollo R CDP/Emotiva ERC3 CDP/BPT 3.0 power cond.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #19 - 06/22/20 at 07:38:23
 
Hi Lin,

Re: distrotion, yes, that might be the case as well.  I do not think I hear any clipping or overdriven signal, but tube saturation is so smooth at times, it is difficult to tell by just listening.

Actually, in a lot of recordings, mixing engineers add a bit of overdrive to the bass tracks to make them sit better in the mix!  :)

Alper
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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25, Decware SE34I.2+ & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28, B&W DM630 & Rega RS1; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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Lin
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Re: Is 6 Watts Enough?
Reply #20 - 07/09/20 at 22:53:06
 
I have 15 watts now and it is too much (90 dB speakers). Smiley
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