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SE84ZS? (Read 1365 times)
oztayls
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SE84ZS?
07/03/20 at 00:44:31
 
Hi guys, newbie here. This is for sale on eBay near me and what looks to be an SE84ZS in good condition, but Iím not sure as there is not much information provided apart from what seems to be copied from an old ad on this website. The person selling it does not seem to know much about it so perhaps it is a deceased estate item. What questions do I need to ask before making an offer? Is AUD950 a good price? Are those Gold Lion EL84s installed perhaps?

Thanks, I will be grateful for any help!
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Decware-SE84-Tube-Amplifier-/333642094390?_trksid=p2...
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Lin
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #1 - 07/03/20 at 02:47:52
 
I don't know pricing in Australia, but I would say $660 USD is a good price (assuming no issues).
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #2 - 07/03/20 at 02:55:44
 
Thank you Lin! Decware amps are a rare occurrence here in Aus, which makes it very difficult to compare prices. Shipping costs from the USA are very high so finding one for sale locally is a bonus. The seller is getting back to me this evening with the date, serial and model. I told him those details will found under the amp. If he is not the owner, I may just take a punt on it.

Being an older model, are their any parts that may need replacing, like capacitors, or should they all still be OK?
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Donnie
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #3 - 07/03/20 at 03:13:56
 
Heck, that is the price of a pair of speaker cables and interconnects.
If I were in the market I would go for it. Assuming that it works properly.

For that money it would probably be worth a roll of the dice.
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #4 - 07/03/20 at 03:40:20
 
True Donnie. I guess as long as the transformer is OK, the rest is serviceable. I'll let you all know the outcome tomorrow. I really don't want to have to go to Sydney to fetch it either (nightmare traffic and tolls are costly) so I've asked if he can pack it for me and I'll organise the shipping.
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #5 - 07/03/20 at 04:13:41
 
If this is indeed an SE84ZS amp, I took the trouble to find the specs. I'm a little concerned with the power rating which looks strange to me. Is it really only 2.3w into 4 Ohm? If so, what power could I expect when connected to my Klipsch 8 ohm speakers in stereo mode?

This is what the manual says:
2.3 watts RMS into 4 ohms
5 watts RMS into 8 ohms when bridged

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roadglide
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #6 - 07/03/20 at 16:47:21
 
Greetings;
I have a Decware SE84 CKC and use it with my Klipsch Heresy IIIís...
Same 2.3 watts, and I like the combination very much !!
I also have a pair of Heresy IIís, in another room, slightly less sensitive, but very nice for those ď late night jazz groove ď sessions.
I recently picked up an IFI itube preamp/buffer ( version 1 ) and use it in buffer mode with the added gain, and the results are great...
The purity of the sound of the little SE84 and a higher sensitivity speaker is a special combination, for sure !!!  :)
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #7 - 07/03/20 at 22:37:28
 
Thanks Roadglide! I've been doing a lot of reading about the SE84 amps.

I'm excited to tell you all that we did a deal and the ZS will soon be on its way to me. He has good tubes too with not much use, ie.

Gold Lion EL84 gold Lions
6922 Gold Lion
Russian 6N1p
6N15p-EL84
6N14P

Seller is an Italian gentleman and he purchased it in 2009. I'm not sure about the spikes though. I think I'll put the rubber feet back on and use the spikes on something else.


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Lin
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #8 - 07/04/20 at 00:45:08
 
I think you made a good purchase. Smiley

A while back I had a pair of Heresy and a 1.8 watt EL84 amp in a 12 x 14 foot room and never lacked for power.
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #9 - 07/04/20 at 02:12:30
 
Yes, after talking with the seller, I am very confident that I have a good one, in great condition. He is fanatical and a proper enthusiast, but older gent who had forgotten the minor details of the exact model. He has some great tubes which come with the amp. All up, I paid just US$625, so it's a good deal I think.

I have two pairs of Klipsch Heresies. My original pair are 1.5s in which I have upgraded the cross-overs, added some foam material, damped the horns and upgraded the speaker connectors. These have the bigger boxes that were used in the II. A couple of the drivers in the 1.5s were used in the II, but don't ask me which they are, I can't remember!

My IIIs are raw ash "One Button" versions which Klipsch made for the Chipotle restaurant chain and were leftovers from their speaker upgrades. They came without risers and covers. I actually bought 2 pairs, imported them into Australia, made nice covers and risers for them and then sold the second pair for double what I paid, so in effect, my pair of IIIs were free! I have left them in the raw ash finish as they are unique like that and look great. They sound different, but each has qualities that we like and are both equally engaging. We really can't separate and say which one we prefer. Currently, I'm driving the IIIs with the SoundArtist SA34A 6wpc SET and the 1.5s are powered by the Yaqin MC13S. If everything works out with the ZS, I will sell the Yaqin. The SoundArtist really woke me up to low powered tube amps, and I can't wait to hear the ZS which has just a third of its power! A shootout will be on the cards for sure!

I have attached a pic of the SA's internals. As you can see, the build quality is very good and the chassis is made from thick, highly polished stainless steel. The transformers are all potted, and it's quite a heavy little beastie.



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8053B599-D7BB-4A5E-8614-018DF4D636DB_1_201_a.jpeg

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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #10 - 07/08/20 at 23:06:25
 
The SE84ZS arrived yesterday with its box of tubes and I spent quite a few most enjoyable hours listening. It really seemed to open up after about an hour and wow, this is one awesome little amp! It is clearly well at home driving my 99dB Klipsch Heresy IIIs. There is gobs of headroom. All the various tubes in the box look to be Russian so I have some fun times ahead of me playing with those!

One minor thing to do is attend to the volume pot which is a little scratchy. Is it serviceable or should I buy a new one?
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #11 - 07/08/20 at 23:56:15
 
Exciting oztayls!

I use a Torii MKIV, and when my stock carbon potentiometer started being a little scratchy, first I cleaned it up, but it got noisy again after a while, so I decided to try a higher grade potentiometer. The TDK 2511 got some good reviews, so I gave it a try. It was a notable upgrade to me in terms of solidity, transparency, completeness, smoothness, etc. Not exciting per se, but relatively flawless to me with no complaints.

Then I stumbled onto a Valab 23 Step Attenuator 100K Log Stereo, and it looked really good, using nice materials including surface mount resistors...also inexpensive. But it was pretty big, and would not fit where I wanted it, so I decided to use the TDK in the component I was working on, and try the Valab in the Torii. Can't recall what seller I used, but on the back the sticker says "TeraDak 100Ka-2."

Another notable upgrade to me, I can't recall exactly all the details, but I liked it right off, solid and smooth sounding, with more refined fine detail and space if I am recalling correctly... more musical seeming. I will get this again if I need one and have space for it.

Have fun with your new amp!

Will
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #12 - 07/09/20 at 00:04:52
 
If interesting, I found an ebay link to one that looks like mine as best as I can tell.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Valab-23-Step-Attenuator-Potentiometer-100K-Log-Stereo/...
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #13 - 07/09/20 at 00:22:48
 
Thanks for that Will. I donít know what type it would be until I take it out of its box. Iíve replaced these in my Chinese amps and they made a noticeable difference as well. From memory I went with log 10 Alps which are excellent quality.
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Archie
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #14 - 07/09/20 at 01:01:26
 
Will, is this obvious when replacing?  Which wires where?  My CSP3 is scratchy.  This looks like a very affordable upgrade.
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #15 - 07/09/20 at 01:24:57
 
oztayls,

I would think this might sound better than the Alps since some people I found way back when who moved to the TDK 2511, preferred it over Alps. And that with the TDK being are lot more expensive seemed telling. I think this is partially because it sounds really good, but also, the tech tends to last if I remember correctly. And I found the Valab an upgrade over the TDK, my tastes anyway. I am still happily using two TDKs in other pieces though.

But you never know, like you, many folks seem to have respect for the Alps potentiometers. If you like the Alps before, seems a good bet, and smaller than the Valab if that is an issue once you look inside.

I don't know what value Steve uses in the 84s, but my Toriis and CSP3 are 100K.

Good Luck,

Will

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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #16 - 07/09/20 at 02:08:25
 
Thanks Will. For now, I've sprayed and cleaned the pot with board cleaner and then another type for electricals that has a lube in it. It's perfect now, so will see if it's permanent or not. I've cleaned lots of pots in my time and never had an issue come back. I think a lot of people just use a cleaner that completely dries out and then it corrodes again quickly so the problem returns.

The pot in this thing is pretty small and it's a tight fit, so will look at options.

Archie, if you change pots, there is some soldering to do and the pins are very close together. It will be a challenge, but I have an iron with some fine tips, so it's a matter of being patient and drinking lots of cups of tea during the process. Taking pictures of what goes where sorts out the issue of you not being able to get the connections right. And hey, if you don't feel up to it, a tech won't charge much for a little job like this.
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #17 - 07/09/20 at 02:46:19
 
Sounds good oztayls.

Archie,

Wiring was not bad to me with images showing where the wires go for support, but as said, it is a little delicate. I did not have any questions when I put it in. The solder points may have even been marked on the unit.

Trouble is, I am pretty sure I tried it in the CSP3. Though it has been a long time ago, I am thinking it was a little too big. I am using a TDK 2511 in mine, and it is tight but fits. Found this in my modification notes:

"CSP3:

TDK 2511 potentiometer. Amazing! Quiet, smoother (in hand and sound), more detailed, faster, more signal density without feeling overly dense...still open."

I tried an Audio Note in my ZBIT, and was non-plussed, neither here nor there to me, a little overtly dark/warm if I recall. Putting in the TDK I had pulled from the Torii, the sound got way better to me. It is still in there, though I have thought of seeing if I can fit a Valab in that box space. Don't know, but not pressing, as it sounds great to me and I had the TDK on hand. They are not cheap though.

I tried one of those small Chinese Attenuators with surface mount resistors thinking it might be better than the TDK in the CSP3. The one I got looks quite similar to the ones Steve is using in some pieces now, but he may have found nicer ones....not sure. I used it enough to burn in and preferred the TDK...for my tastes anyway, notably more complete, smoother, and natural sounding. But it might be a nice step up over the carbon ones??? This one has a pretty good pics for checking it out: https://www.ebay.com/itm/21-step-Volume-Control-100K-Potentiometer-HIFI-DACT-Typ...

I did like these little attenuators in the CSP3 adjustment pots positions. Not much room there, I decided to put a nice resistor in the place of the output pots, for more transparency, and so I could fit the attenuators in for the input pots. I realized I had been keeping the output pots at 8 most of the time, and making minor adjustments to the inputs, so I chose to lose the output adjusters. Both changes contributed to a nice sound upgrade. Pretty sure I had to open the holes a little oblong to get the attenuators to fit in the input pot position.

Build seems pretty good, and inexpensive, while being small enough to fit for the main CSP3 volume if you wanted to check them out. I thought I remembered making a choice for audio log rather than linear, but did not see that choice on the ones I saw on ebay today...Lots say HiFi though, so maybe that means the same thing.
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #18 - 07/09/20 at 23:33:56
 
Cool Good question. Man, I had almost forgotten about cassette tapes. You have helped me remember absolutely loving it when we could record four tracks to a cassette! Seems a lifetime ago!
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Archie
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #19 - 07/10/20 at 01:43:03
 
Thanks guys.  I have a good soldering kit now so knowing where the wires go is my main concern.  Of course, the fit is super important!  I'll have to take a look and measure the available space.
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oztayls
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #20 - 07/11/20 at 08:18:27
 
Iím a little confused regarding two of the inputs which according to the manual are supposed to be variable, ie. connected to the volume control. However, all I get is a super sensitive and loud volume control. The direct input works fine with volume control. What are the uses for that super sensitive input?
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #21 - 07/11/20 at 14:34:41
 
It sounds like one input is acting as expected, where the potentiometer takes it from no sound to full volume. I am not clear on what you mean by "super sensitive, loud volume control" from the other pair. Is there any volume control on this input? Or does it run full volume with no effect from the potentiometer?

If the latter, I am guessing someone may have modified the amp to bypass the potentiometer for one input pair so the amp alone is wide open without a pot in the signal path on that input. Then likely using a pre stage for volume?

If this seems like it is the case, if you follow each input wire set from the RCAs to the input switch, and beyond, you can probably figure out how it is wired differently from each input RCA pair to the input tube section.
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Lin
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #22 - 07/11/20 at 17:07:53
 
I think the inside inputs are variable (goes through the v/c) and the outside are direct, which would require a preamp.
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Archie
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #23 - 07/18/20 at 19:47:18
 
Will, I had a moment to look up the TDK 2511 pot for my CSP3. †Is this what you used? †TDK 2P-2511

http://www.acoustic-dimension.com/tkd/2P2511.pdf

Problem is, I'm not finding them for sale.

I haven't opened my CSP3 but I'm hoping the wires just switch over in a one to one correspondence.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
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ZLC
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Silver Cabling
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #24 - 07/18/20 at 23:50:59
 
Hey Archie. These look the ones I have.

https://www.hificollective.co.uk/potentiometers/tkd-potentiometer.html

https://www.partsconnexion.com/TKD-64187.html

Not sure who else might carry it, but I like to use these two companies among others.

Even though partsconnexion has good sales going a lot, sometimes pound/dollar changes cause HiFi to be a good value. They have a really good collection of "curated" stuff, and some things I can't find elsewhere. Likely to have everything else I might want at the time, and liking to make up orders with more parts to spread the shipping, I buy from them pretty often. Pretty fast shipping times too considering the distance (pre covid anyway).

Finding clear wiring diagrams for the TDK in English was difficult for me. So I looked inside mine and this is how it goes.

A Caution: When I first started working in there, years ago, forgetting one time to double check by manually draining caps once the pre was opened, the front headphone-out caps were still charged...that was a nasty learning experience. So if you haven't already, I would check out how to drain the caps safely to be sure you don't get an unexpected zap! And if you ever go into the ZMA, you may not be working directly on caps, but you can still become the connector between power and ground...gives me shivers thinking what that power supply charged could do.

With the pre open, parts facing up for access, the bottom of the volume pot is then close to you, and the top, with the adjuster, is away, going through the amp plate. From this perspective, there are two pairs of three solder tabs, top and bottom.

Not sure this is the best, but I chose to install it putting those tabs to my right as I look from the CSP3 front and bottom. This orientation made it pretty close between the channel switch and input pots, just enough room for small spaces. Probably not necessary, but for good measure, I decided to wrap some teflon tape around the sides toward the amp plate to be sure there could be no connection or vibration between adjacent parts.

The three solder tabs closest to the pot bottom (top from this view) are the left channel, and the ones closer to the amp plate are the right.

The ground is marked "C" and you can easily connect channel grounds (top and bottom) with a wire soldering them together, while soldering the ground wires proper to the easier to access "top" connector. Steve may have his set up so that one ground wire is stripped longer, and strung through the top connector, long enough to solder to the top and bottom with one wire. Everywhere I make sure I have a good mechanical connection as I solder.

Next to C, in the middle, is 2. These are the pot outputs going to the tubes, mine via the input pots.

Then "1" are the pot inputs, wired to the channel switch.

Hope this helps.

Will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #25 - 07/19/20 at 00:47:47
 
So NOT the stepped? †The continuous are readily available and much less money.

I'll have to save this thread to reference if/when I get a new pot.  As I mentioned before, my CSP3 master pot is scratchy.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
ZLC
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #26 - 07/23/20 at 23:23:17
 
From Archie: "The continuous are readily available and much less money."

Hey Archie,

That is true, but TKD is not a high-end audio company, and though costly, I don't think this is "boutique" pricing. More, it is one of the best †continuous potentiometers you can get and that costs more. These are supposed to last also.

The few I tried 35 and under, were less money, but sounded like less money to me, including some small stepped attenuators. This TKD is quite a bit better to me, on a par with the Valab stepped attenuator I mentioned earlier, but cleaner and more solid, more "no sound" than the Valab. I like both, but this will also fit the CSP3. For less cost than a quad of most new power tubes that will wear out, not too bad a buy to me.

Not sure what is in your CSP3, but if like mine, if you want something really low cost, and to keep the sound as it has been, you could probably get a direct replacement for the one that came in your amp quite cheap. The ones in my Torii and CSP3 look like Alphas to me...100K for $3-5 before shipping.
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #27 - 07/24/20 at 01:10:38
 
I don't have a problem with the price but I just wanted to confirm that we were talking about the continuous and NOT the stepped.  I can't find the stepped but the continuous are readily available (and much cheaper than the stepped).
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
ZLC
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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will
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #28 - 07/24/20 at 02:02:39
 
Sorry. Misunderstood.

China is where I look for attenuators. Try searching "DACT Type SMD Stepped Attenuator 21 Step Volume Control 100k" on eBay for the small ones.

Also forgot to mention, but if you are not familiar with partsconnexion, they run 25% off sales quite often, and usually on most things. So with some patience, I have gotten a lot of parts there over years and rarely at retail. Now and then they throw in free fast shipping too...worth keeping in mind if checking around for parts.
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #29 - 07/24/20 at 03:14:20
 
Will, I think we are cross communicating.  I want to get what you used.  Are they the TDK continuous or the TDK stepped?  Since we started out talking about the stepped, I assumed you had stepped in your CSP3.  I'm not committed to a stepped but I do want a high quality attenuator.  Steve actually discouraged me from putting a stepped in my ZMA.
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #30 - 07/24/20 at 03:26:50
 
OK I get it now. I wonder why Steve was discouraging you from going with a stepped attenuator in your ZMA.

I think stepped can a be great thing, or not so, and the same for continuous potentiometers. Seems to depend on the individual design.

Yes the TKD 2511 is continuous.
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #31 - 07/24/20 at 15:53:22
 
Thanks Will. †Yeah, IDK or remember why. †It may have been his preference or lack of a real difference.
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #32 - 07/25/20 at 00:17:51
 
So sorry for the confusion, dyslexia is a challenge. I often see and write TKD as TDK! The correct one is TKD Potentiometer 100K 2CP-2511 Series Stereo.

Lips Sealed
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #33 - 07/25/20 at 00:49:22
 
Got it!  I signed up for the Part's Connection newsletter to track sales.
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ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
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ZMA (25th A mods)
ZLC
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #34 - 08/07/20 at 23:18:24
 
I recently added an MC step up transformer between my turntable and phono stage/SE84ZS. Iím loving the difference that has made. This has got me thinking. My only other source is a Yamaha WXAD10 streamer DAC (Tidal) which I have directly connected to the amp. It sounds amazing, but Iím wondering if IĎm missing out on even more performance by not having some sort of preamp or transformer in between? Or is this not necessary and adding something more to the signal path will be disadvantageous?
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #35 - 08/08/20 at 00:24:14
 
The CSP3 preamp would work nicely for you to that end.

Another cheaper option, if your DAC has balanced connections, would be the ZBIT balanced to RCA converter.

Either of these options would make a big difference.
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #36 - 08/08/20 at 00:51:04
 
To pre or not to pre seems so individual and system dependent. But as Geno pointed to, luckily, Decware has a lot of variations on the theme.

This thread might be worth a look. https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1595024853

There have been quite a few other conversations on pre-stages versus not, and if yes, which...this is just pretty recent.

A possible challenge, with many conversations here things can wander, so it may not necessarily be easy to find some of the good pre related discussions. Guessing it might be worth some searches though. I like searching the little search button in the top-of-these-pages button row myself....it being all Decware forum, and you can get specific with options for how many posts, who, etc in a search.

Also, looking at the ZBIT, ZRock, Zstage, Zbox, CSP3, Ultra, and ZTPRE forums here, all Decware pre-stages, these might be good places to check out.

Good luck!

Will
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Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender+>RevolutionMacMini/Audirvana>Kitsune Singxer>Gustard x20pro DAC modified; Cables: Pi Audio PC, DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, Speaker; Decware- CSP3, Torii IV, HR1-all modified; DIY ZBIT; feet- Archie's, alum/ball bearing, and more
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Re: SE84ZS?
Reply #37 - 08/08/20 at 01:07:57
 
Thanks guys, I'll start reading!
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