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Decware SE84C Zen Triode?


JohnW
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On 4/18/2021 at 1:32 PM, oldred said:

I think I understand....But I have to say I think you are going to be disappointed with the Sunfire....I have one (TGA 7201) sitting on a shelf with my not in use gear. I was not impressed with the difference between the current / voltage. While it was a decent home theater amp. As a 2 channel amp for music it just seemed lifeless. I also had a problem with calibration on my SR 8015. I kind of went through it again using the Audioholics guys methods with a few changes. I also added a separate amp for the front channels. I feel that I am getting closer to perfection. I plan on looking to add the Decware to my 2 channel system in different room...again after I hear one. Like I said I think I understand where you are coming from.

 

George,

Which speakers are you running in your future Decware system?

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About the Sunfire: 

The guy actually brought it over and let me test in my system, so we were able to compare it with the Jolida (with new tubes that are just breaking in). 

The Sunfire was exceptional in every way. It had more detail, tighter bass, wide, wide soundstage, but...the highs were a bit grating for me. Perhaps it's an amp better paired with some silk dome tweeters. 

I decided not to buy it. I could probably eq the harshness out with MultEQ, but after replacing all the tubes in the Jolida, I now understand how "Klipsch love tubes." I've finally experienced the "holographic" depth of the soundstage, the detail, the smoothness, the fullness...it was really helpful to have a second set of seasoned ears to reduce subjectivity. 

The Sunfire is a phenomenal amp, and at $500, it was a steal. But at this point, it wasn't worth it to replace the Jolida. 

For the moment, I think I'm satisfied. After dropping $400 on a full compliment of Gold Lions and letting them break in, I'm really enjoying the lush sound. 

...but I do now find myself trolling the NOS Mullard and Tunsgram reviews on Upscale Audio's website at night... :D

 

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On 4/18/2021 at 7:01 AM, oldred said:

JohnW,

 

What kind of sound are you looking for? 

The reason I'm replying is because I too am looking at Decware lately. Been looking at reviews...and YouTube videos

You seem to be looking for some distinctive type of sound. Everything has a different type of sound.

My Mac system sounds different to my Marantz ....Which sounded different then my Yamaha MX

I haven't heard the Decware yet....but I will before I place an order.

I have always been a solid state guy...Then a buddy bought a Prima Luna....It blew me away as to the detail at low volume levels..

Like I asked  earlier....What are you looking for?

George

George--

I get it now. 

Previously, I simply thought the point was to get my system to a superlative level of sound quality--one where I was truly satisfied with what was coming out of my speakers. 

This was the motivation for buying the Cornwalls, then replacing my Onkyo receiver with the Marantz receiver. Had I understood how to properly set up and operate the Marantz at the time,  I would have been more than satisfied with that. I thought I had set it up correctly, but it seems I had a bit more to learn. But since I didn't know that, I thought the answer was to get a really good two-channel amp, which led me to the Jolida 3502P with new tubes. 

Everything happens for a reason. 

So here I am, with both, and enjoying both. I love the detail and the warmth of the "Marantz sound," and simultaneously, I love the completely different experience of the "tube sound,"--the depth, the smoothness, the fullness, yet still detailed (and the amp looks truly cool on top of my rack--let's be honest). I think I get it now. One isn't necessarily better than the other. Just different qualities. Like listening to two different guitars. 

This is a good place to stop for now. 

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  • 2 months later...

Update:

I started buying NOS tubes. 

Oh man. 

And I bought a tester--friend had his dad's old Conar 224 and four large boxes of tubes (yes, including some very very nice ones--RCA, GE, Sylvania, Amperex). He sold me the whole mess for $50. 

So, without going into ALL the details:

-Telefunken and Matsushita 12ax7s introduced me to "soundstage depth". 
-I'm a compulsive tube tester. I'll stand in the garage for hours testing tubes, and writing the triode values on the boxes.
-I created a spreadsheet to compare the sound of every combination of my 12at7s and 12ax7s based on things like: punch, airiness, harshness, soundstage depth and width, etc...
-Then I bought more tubes, so I have to start over with that. 

But most of all, I've discovered that in this amp, NOS GE 5751s beat the rest of my 12ax7s, and NOS GE 6201s beat all of my 12at7s. 

That is, until the Sylvanias, RCAs, and Mullards I've ordered arrive. 

And now I'm eyeballing Shuguang Treasure KT88s. You know, for down the road. 

And of course, I've chatted with Jared at Jolida about shipping my amp to them for capacitor and resistor upgrades. 

I'm just chasing fractional improvements at this point. 

But all in all, I'm having fun, I haven't regretted anything yet, and my system does sound truly sublime.

Now I have to cull the tube herd on Ebay. 

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1 hour ago, JohnW said:

Update:

I started buying NOS tubes. 

Oh man. 

And I bought a tester--friend had his dad's old Conar 224 and four large boxes of tubes (yes, including some very very nice ones--RCA, GE, Sylvania, Amperex). He sold me the whole mess for $50. 

So, without going into ALL the details:

-Telefunken and Matsushita 12ax7s introduced me to "soundstage depth". 
-I'm a compulsive tube tester. I'll stand in the garage for hours testing tubes, and writing the triode values on the boxes.
-I created a spreadsheet to compare the sound of every combination of my 12at7s and 12ax7s based on things like: punch, airiness, harshness, soundstage depth and width, etc...
-Then I bought more tubes, so I have to start over with that. 

But most of all, I've discovered that in this amp, NOS GE 5751s beat the rest of my 12ax7s, and NOS GE 6201s beat all of my 12at7s. 

That is, until the Sylvanias, RCAs, and Mullards I've ordered arrive. 

And now I'm eyeballing Shuguang Treasure KT88s. You know, for down the road. 

And of course, I've chatted with Jared at Jolida about shipping my amp to them for capacitor and resistor upgrades. 

I'm just chasing fractional improvements at this point. 

But all in all, I'm having fun, I haven't regretted anything yet, and my system does sound truly sublime.

Now I have to cull the tube herd on Ebay. 

 

Happy that you are experiencing some great listening time.  I'm sure you know that there is a definite point of diminishing return with tubes, (well, and just about with anything else for that matter.......)  Fractional improvements is exactly right.

 

5751's are interesting and worthwhile to try for sure, but you really have to be careful about placement.  Phono stage =NO, but V1 in most amps is the place to be......  I really should be using more of them that are just sitting on a shelf.

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On 4/20/2021 at 2:00 AM, JohnW said:

I’ve never heard if a Doge 10.

Their amps used to be made for and sold by a German company ( forgot the name)  for triple the price. Now they sell directly to the public. We are beyond happy with our Doge 10! It’s like it was made specifically for our RF63s. Imaging is phenomenal!  
dave

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On 7/20/2021 at 5:36 PM, jimjimbo said:

 

Happy that you are experiencing some great listening time.  I'm sure you know that there is a definite point of diminishing return with tubes, (well, and just about with anything else for that matter.......)  Fractional improvements is exactly right.

 

5751's are interesting and worthwhile to try for sure, but you really have to be careful about placement.  Phono stage =NO, but V1 in most amps is the place to be......  I really should be using more of them that are just sitting on a shelf.

Using them in V1 and V2, and paired with the right 12at7 in V3 and V4, if I can find a combo that gives me a wide, deep soundstage, my search is complete. 

Allegedly. :D

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  • 8 months later...

Just a brief update:

Since I've last posted, I have:

Discovered Mullard Blackburn 12AX7s.
Replaced the Cornwalls with a pair of '85 La Scalas.
Picked up a thrashed Harman Kardon 430 which I'm feeding a multitude of digital sources via a Topping D10s and into the Cornwalls our home office.
Ordered modified AA crossovers for the La Scalas from DeanG (as one does).
Taken delivery of a Dennis Had Inspire SEP amp (anyone want to buy a Jolida?).
Taken out a small loan from my 401k to pay off all of this over the next five years.

But between the La Scalas and the Had...I am there. I've found satisfaction. Everything they say about Single-Ended amps, it seems, is true. I can't imagine how much better they'll sound after I drop in the new crossovers.

It's a common tale, but this one seems to have found a happy ending.

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5 hours ago, JohnW said:

Just a brief update:

Since I've last posted, I have:
Ordered modified AA crossovers for the La Scalas from DeanG (as one does).
 

 

if you ordered the new V-caps from Dean your in for a big treat

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20 hours ago, Budman said:

 

if you ordered the new V-caps from Dean your in for a big treat

If only my bank account was infinite. 

I had to "settle" for Audyns and Thetas. ;)

But they're DeanG modified AA crossovers replacing my 37 year old AL crossovers, so I'm in for a treat either way. 

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11 minutes ago, Budman said:

Decware has a 52 week wait time to build your amp

i'm in line for my 1st tube amp

 

1 year wait time seems absurd to me but I did just wait a couple months for my RSL Speedwoofer 10 and it was well worth it. Still, 1 year? I wonder what their service times are like if the need were to ever arise? I also wonder with a backlog at 1 year at what point does it makes sense to hire some help or modify production methods to better meet demand?

 

Had these amps been a little more available I'd have bought one already and I'm sure I'm not alone they have to be missing a lot of sales opportunities with waits time like that.

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From their Facebook page:

 

Here is an email we sent out less than 2 years ago. We've doubled our production then and despite this are now at over 1400 amps on order!
On Sunday, December 13, 2020, 6:46:35 PM CST, Steve Deckert <steve@zenamps.com> wrote:
 
 
Dear Customer,
When this Covid19 crisis first started we had to make some quick decisions which meant trying to guess what was going to happen. So we broke our own policy about sending out review samples and for the first time in 25 years agreed to a few reviews. Up until now all the amplifiers that have been reviewed were actually purchased prior to being reviewed.
 
Fast forward to today and we now know that people have been stuck indoors with little to do but listen to the stereo! As a result we are now at 600% of our normal production for this time of year. For that we would like to sincerely thank you and even though our real-time build sheet is now at 20+ weeks with 300 amplifier orders... we promise to make it well worth the wait!
 

decware.jpg

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Apparently, they aren't missing many sales opportunities if hundreds of people are willing to wait a year.  Scroll though the real time build sheets and see that folks from all over the world are ordering.  I have no problem waiting for a unit that is a very high quality build, has a lifetime warranty, has excellent options to customize for whatever a customer would like, and where the owner of the company will actually take the time to speak with you on the phone, or via email.  I spoke with Steve for over a half hour before I ordered where I described my room acoustics, my speakers, music choices, etc, etc. and he was more than willing to listen and make a recommendation.

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While I've reached my personal gear mountain top at age 65 by being able to presently own McIntosh MC30's, MC225 and MC240 and want for nothing more(well, ok, maybe a second 225), I've owned several Decware's in the past, both amps and preamp/headphone amps, and I was never disappointed with either the products or service. Both top notch. I can heartily agree with everything stated here about the company. When I was buying from them the wait time was only about a month, and I'm not sure I'd want to wait 5-6 months for an amp at this point, but I have no doubt that those that do won't be disappointed.

2 hours ago, jimjimbo said:

 

Apparently, they aren't missing many sales opportunities if hundreds of people are willing to wait a year.  Scroll though the real time build sheets and see that folks from all over the world are ordering.  I have no problem waiting for a unit that is a very high quality build, has a lifetime warranty, has excellent options to customize for whatever a customer would like, and where the owner of the company will actually take the time to speak with you on the phone, or via email.  I spoke with Steve for over a half hour before I ordered where I described my room acoustics, my speakers, music choices, etc, etc. and he was more than willing to listen and make a recommendation.

 

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