Decware Zen Mystery amplifierI was having an animated conversation with my wife and one of my audio buddies, Derek Kim, about the amplifiers I’ve reviewed. He was very impressed with the sound quality he has heard but he sure wasn’t happy about the prices. He said “Why do they have to be so expensive? Isn’t there an amplifier that sounds great but is easy on the pocket too?” He suggested that I try to find one that performs with reference quality but at a reasonable price.
. This Ad is Marked as SOLD by seller and cannot be responded to. Excellent condition Decware Torii Mk IV for sale. This is a beautifully 4-8 ohm stock Mk IV with black top. I am the second owner and purchased it February 2014; the unit has less than 50 hours of use pushing Zu Omen Definition Mk II’s. Selling due to baby on the way. The Decware Zen Torii Mk.3 is a damn good amplifier. While I hate to use the “b” word (best), the Torii is my favorite power amplifier based on the EL-34 tube, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve always had a major affection for such amplifiers, which possess many characteristics of great single-ended triode amplifiers and yet, have more.
Unfortunately, the majority of reference caliber amplifiers do cost a lot of money. So I started to do some research, hoping to find an amplifier that didn’t cost an arm and a leg but performed like a winner. Was there such a product?That’s when I came across the Zen Mystery Amplifier from Decware. I was thrilled to find out that this amplifier turned out to be a real gem. In fact, it may be one of the best-kept secrets in high-end audio. I was surprised that the ZMA costs only $5,695.00. Don’t get me wrong.
It’s clearly a lot of money but in today’s astronomically priced world of audio it’s a safe bet to call this affordable. I wondered why I didn’t know about Decware. Who are these people? So I contacted Steve Deckert and expressed my interest in reviewing one of his amplifiers and he told me that he’d send the ZMA for review but it would take a couple of months to have the review sample ready. He told me he would need to fulfill his commitment to his client’s orders first and then he would build a ZMA for me to review.Steve Deckert is the designer and founder of Decware.
He’s a self-taught designer. He said; “He learned with a Harmon Kardon tube receiver back in the 80’s when he completely took it apart. He made a new wooden chassis, changed the layout, and reassembled all the old parts onto the new chassis. When completed, it was visually stunning but a funny thing happened when he plugged it in: Smoke came out!' This started his long road to learning analog electronics. It took Deckert six to seven hours every night for a month before he actually got the amplifier to work, and some thirty years to actually feel really good about his work. Between him and his guys, they have now built over 6,000 amplifiers, all of them are still in service.
He started Decware in the early 90’s doing commercial sound systems and building custom speaker cabinets. He also had a speaker repair shop where he made custom re-cone kits for obsolete speakers. During this time, as an audiophile, he taught himself how to build tube amplifiers to support his own audiophile habit.Deckert is a perfectionist. For example, he spent over three years perfecting building and listening to almost four hundred variations of his favorite 2 watt SET amplifier.
His speaker repair business was booming but one terrible morning he went into his cabinet shop and it was empty. The unthinkable had happened. Someone had pulled a truck up to the loading dock and taken everything. Literally, everything was gone. He was so mad that he wasn’t able to go back into the building for over a year. It seems that everything does happen for a reason. Now that he was out of the cabinet business, he decided to see if he could sell his 2 watt SET amplifier online.
He made 25 SET amplifiers on the back porch and found himself back in the shop a year later manufacturing his 2 watt SET amplifiers. In essence, Decware was born. He outgrew his shop and moved the business to a larger building and changed the old shop into a small recording studio. Deckert hosted an open jam in his studio down by the Upper Peoria Lake every Thursday night for 11 years. He recorded many of these sessions and as a result has produced many audiophile recordings.
Since those early days of Decware, the amplifier line has evolved to push the “fidelity vs. Power curve” out to 40 watts with the ZMA.
Decware Zen Torii
This journey has taken almost 20 years but Decware tube amplifiers are still hand-built in USA and are sold direct from the manufacturer only! This allows for his products to be sold at wholesale prices. Decware’s first 2 watt amplifier was called The Zen Triode. This was in 1996. (Yes: twenty years in business and counting). Deckert tells me that he sells his amplifiers at a low margin and no one’s making five figure salaries. Each and every amplifier is hand made at Decware, using special steel work from Chicago.
The wood comes from North Carolina. The transformers come from California and are built to their proprietary specs. Impressively, all their amplifiers are point to point wired which takes a lot of time. Deckert states that he “simply could have made the amplifier with a circuit board, which would double his profit but he refused because it did not sound as good and would make a lifetime warranty impossible.”The Zen Mystery Amp is a push pull tube amplifier based on an ultra-linear design. It’s a Class-A design, using two KT66s per side to produce a powerful 40 watts per channel with zero negative feedback.
It’s an amplifier with a 20 POS stepped attenuator. The ZMA is equipped with a pair of Russian military grade 10,000 hour 6N23P with gold grids. The 6N23P input tubes can be swapped for 6N1Ps or 6922s, but Deckert says the 6N23P is his favorites.
A pair of OA3 tubes is used for the voltage regulator and he chose to use a fast recovery solid-state rectifier instead of a tube rectifier. The ZMA came directly from their reference Zen TORII monoblocks.
Deckert says he wanted a ZMA with similar performance, but in a single chassis and at a reduced cost. He achieved this by building two mono amps in a single chassis, and eliminating fancy transformer covers, reducing power a bit, using smaller bias meters and making balanced XLR inputs optional. It was possible to maintain high quality and design using the internal parts used in the Zen TORII monoblocks. The ZMA is actually two mono amplifiers that are laid out symmetrically in a mirror image in a single chassis.Only the IEC connector, power switch, and the master volume control are common to both channels. The power supply is the heart and soul of the amplifier and Deckert is very serious about his power supply design.
The ZMA’s power supply is superbly designed with capacitors totaling a massive 4500 micro-farads. Yes, that’s about 50 times more than normal for a typical tube amplifier of this size. Having an enormous power supply with capacitors so large makes it possible to eliminate the dropping resistors that feed the input stage. This was Deckert’s personal goal. He wanted this the first tube amplifier power supply in the world that doesn’t use a choke or any current robbing resistors to supply both input and output stages of the amplifier.The Zen Mystery amplifier was delivered nicely packed in a military grade waterproof padded flight case with wheels.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I was impressed by their meticulous detail in packaging. The tubes were nicely marked corresponding to the amplifier for a quick set up. The ZMA design is an elegantly attractive with a rich finished. It can be ordered with different wood base finishes and also different choices of knobs. My review sample was beautifully finished in American cherry and was equipped with XLR Jensen 95 kHz transformer inputs available as a $600 option.
I placed the ZMA on the highly effective Langerton block 5 component feet, which improved the detail, transparency, and overall sound and dynamic precision. I couldn’t wait until I set up the amplifier in my system to give it a listen. It was a breeze to set up: actually, it only took me about twenty minutes. Setting up the bias was also easy. Unlike other tube amplifiers, brilliantly, the Zen Mystery Amplifier’s bias system makes sure tubes are matched perfectly. It features four independent bias supplies and four precision current meters, one for each output tube.
This eliminates any effect on the others when adjusting a single tube. Thoughtfully the tubes are carefully hand selected and matched and are tested and burned-in before finding a new owner.
Normally the ZMA will have about 72 hours of factory initial break-in for reliability and sound quality testing. It was really nice of Deckert to fully burn-in the ZMA so that I could evaluate it right away.
He told me to give it 24 hours to let it settle in. I used the Zen Mystery to drive my reference Conspiracy loudspeakers and the Thrax Lyra loudspeakers as well in place of my Thrax Teres mono amplifiers and Thrax Dinoysos preamplifier. The ZMA performed beautifully, with or without a preamplifier. I did my listening mostly as an integrated amplifier (unless you have a world-class preamplifier or want to listen to vinyl, you don’t need to use a preamplifier). Soon I was ready for some preliminary listening. After an hour of warm up, I began to listen. Right from the get-go I was impressed with the gorgeous midrange that one expects (especially from tube amplifiers); it was neither euphonic nor syrupy and produced the rich harmonic palette.
The sounds were musically convincing and the sounds of voices and instruments had a believable color, texture, and presence with weight and solidity that were remarkably natural. The transients were conveyed with liveliness and speed, but with no hardness or aggression.I really enjoy listening to chamber music so the first recording I cued up was one of my favorites, Rossini’s Sonate a Quattro performed by Ensemble Explorations (HMC 901776). The ZMA reproduced small ensembles very naturally with an organic sound without having to be too polite: meaning, each instrument displayed a rich and full harmonic structure with palpable strings that were captivating. Strings had a beautiful lushness and richness while the ZMA’s portrayal of individual images proved exceptional; revealing layers of small detail and nuance that usually are only produced by much more expensive amplifiers. I was having so much fun with the ZMA that and I couldn’t help myself and I listened to CD after CD, enjoying the music totally forgetting that I was reviewing the ZMA.The midrange was exemplary, revealing exquisite levels of accuracy on strings and voices. During my review I received some alternate tubes from Deckert for me to tube roll to see how different tubes would influence the sound and provide more insight. This is another thing that makes owning tube gear fun.
I tried the NOS 6L6G tubes in place of the KT66 tubes and this was the best combination with the 6N23P input tubes which came installed from the factory. The 6L6G’s rendered music with touch more openness, transparency, and a warmer presentation. Listening to Jacinta’s “Here’s to Ben,” In the Wee Small Hours Of Morning (FIM XRCD 020) proved mesmerizing. Her voice was conveyed beautifully with an improved sense of clarity and intonation that hinted at times when I listened to legendary SET amplifiers, such as the Ongaku and Wall Audio M50.The ZMA’s effect on my system’s spatial performance was also noteworthy. Listening to the great Jacqueline Du Pre’s Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op.85, (maestro Sir John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra (EMI CDC 7 47329 2) was moving and very emotional. The soundstage was as stunningly lifelike as it was big, wide and deep, stretching well beyond my loudspeakers which mysteriously made my listening space appear bigger than it actually is. The ZMA drove both the Conspiracy and Lyra loudspeakers with power and authority without losing any of the integrity of the music and was able to scale the dramatics of the full orchestral crescendos with ease.
The bass was rendered with plenty of detail and pitch definition. However, I noticed the Teres did handle the loudspeakers with a touch better bass, precision and control (at 250 watts per side) but the ZMA performed most impressively for a tubed amplifier with 40 wattsThe ZMA is a super quiet amplifier. There is no hum or any tube noise to speak of and it is super reliable. I had it for about 5 months without a single glitch.
The biasing of the amplifier remained constant after I biased it in the beginning. I said to myself, scratching my head, “How does Deckert offer all this performance for asking price of only $5,695 with life-time warranty?” He certainly stands behind his products.
Rarely will you see any of his components on the second hand market and after an extended listen, I now understand why. As I have said, the Zen Mystery amplifier is one of the best-kept secrets in high-end audio. If you’re in a market for an amplifier that doesn’t require high power, you must give a listen to this splendid gem.
I have a ZMA and I love it. It is very transparent, the sound stage and clarity are amazing, the bass is strong and the highs clear. I am pushing Focal 1028 Be Front speakers (91.5 db sensitivity) and the amp has no problem playing beyond comfortable listening levels. I don’t use a preamp for stereo listening, instead playing my DAC and phono amp directly into the amp with a XLR switch. I use a pre/pro into the ZMA for home theater, using the same XLR switch. I replaced a 2x350W solid state amp and I glad I did.
MODEL TORII MK425 watts x 2Handmade in the USA and sold Factory Direct with aL i f e t i m e W a r r a n t y!FACTORY DIRECT PRICE'I'm not sure if thisis a time machine, a spaceship, or something that you plug in like aglowing gate to a higher plane of consciousness but every time I listento it I disappear!' The TORII is one ofthose rare amplifiers that can liberateeventhemostfanaticalaudiophilesfromthebuyandsellmarry-go-round.It does this by gettingeverything down to the last detail. The kind of 'right'that goes WAY beyond it's impressive specs or appearance. It wascreated BY human ears FOR human ears.
With the Zen TORII, you cansee better with your eyes closed. One of the reasons itcan do this is because like a Stradivarius violin, each amp is handvoiced d own to the finestdetails.For the same reason a Stradivarius sounds superior to mass producedviolins,the Zen is simply untouchable by mass produced amplifiers - regardlessof price, unless of course you're into being pummeled by loud obnoxiousand uninteresting amps with huge power figures.
The Zen is forpeople who want more than to just hear the music, they want to float init. It's a goose bump machine if you know where I'm coming from.This amplifierabsolutelycaptures themagic of single-ended triodes,yetitisn'tone.Overtwentyyearsinthemaking,it'sout-of-the-boxdesigntheoryandtedious( handbuilt ) execution give it asound that simplyembarrasses many hi-end amplifiers and is to date our best work.I should also mention that thisamplifier is made in the USA with our own hands. It's using proprietaryUS made transformers ( real good ones)andeventhe 1/8 inch thickpowdercoatedchassisandsolid hardwoodbasesareUSbuilt.Steve Deckert - owner DECWARE HighFidelity Engineering. Thisis a pretty ballsy25 watt per channel amplifier that features 2 pair of inputs with aninput selector switch and a volume control. It works perfectlywell WITH or WITHOUT a preamp. It's at home with most hi-fi speakersand equally poised with high efficiency speakers due in part to it'scomplete lack of noise or hum. There is also a control outside thesignal path that lets you make fine adjustments to the highfrequencies.
Along this same theme, it has a bassswitch that lets you adjust the bass character of yourloudspeakers to eliminate room boom automatically and add or removeweight.This pure class A tubeamplifier with no circuit boards also features a dual mono design withfully independent vacuum tube regulated power supplies. It'susing tube rectification on each channel feeding a mirror imaged pushpull layout with no negative feedback and is fully self biasing.It's an easyamplifiertoown because there is no maintenance and no bias pots toadjust. The tubes are not run hard and consequently last abouttwice as long, are easy to find and their not overpriced.You will simply turn it on and enjoy themusic, every time.The TORII MK IV can be used with a variety of the great sounding classicaudio tubes which are affordable and easy to find both in currentproduction and new old stock.
This makes finding replacement tubesas easy as any amplifier ever made.The amplifier can runspeakers between 4 and 16 ohms. Therearealsosomeknobchoices.FromlefttorightareEbony,Gold,Black, Cream, Walnut. You can configure your Torii with the knobsyou want from within the shoppingcart.Thisampisshippedwithyour choice of hand selected and testedpremiumquality EL34 or KT66outputtubes by Tungsol.In addition it will come with N.O.S. Voltageregulationtubes,OA3andOC2, New Selected 6922 inputtubesandnew 5U4rectifiersforeachchannel.Thisfactorytubecomplimentisidealforyourevaluationandeventhoughyoucan'roll'differenttubesthroughit,youcertainlywon'tfeellikeyouneedto!
You will be able to select which tubes you want from within the shopping cart. It's nosecret the in the world of exotic tube amplification that S.E.T. Ampsrulein transparency and liquidity. We've all heard statements like.' Female vocals to die for'or' insane imaging' whendescribing these jewels, but in the same breath you'll also hear thingslike ' needs an easy to drive speaker'or' while the bass is good, it lacksthe absolute control and dynamics of the bigger amps.'
Soright away you're left with a compromise. Performance vs. Musicalityand grace.S.E.T.amplifiersarewhatmotivatedthedesignoftheZenTORII.because any time youhave between 2 and 10 gloriously transparentwattsthe only thing that could be better is more. Designing ahigh power S.E.T.amplifier requires adding another gain stage(tube) or paralleled output tubes (or both). Either onecauses a loss oftransparency when compared to a single output tube per channel.In theZen design, even though you have two tubes per channel, they are not inparallel but rather transformer coupled in series so that only one tubeis really in the signal path at any one time.Having such a simple signalpathgives the Zen TORII the same transparency as our SET amps where only 2resistors and 1 or 2 capacitor are seen by the signal.
And to completethepicture, we use no negative feedback, which is easy to do if you'rebuilding a Triode based amplifier, but the Zen TORII is a Pentode design thatforgoes the 'ultra-linear' approach in favor of tube regulated grids on the output tubes to help with linearity. 'Afterhundreds of hours of initial listening, the Decware Zen Torii continuesto improve, as designer Steve Deckert said it would. While thefull review will be in issue 41, suffice to say that this is one of themost musically engaging amplifiers I’ve had the pleasure toexperience. If you’ve ever spent time with a great SET and thought“If this only had 2-3 times the power, I could live with it,” your shiphas arrived.
After owning a number of the world’s finest SETamplifiers, I can easily support Deckert’s claim that the Zen Torii iscertainly the equal of any SET I’ve owned.' - TONEAudio Blog / JULY 26 2011How do you get an amplifier tosound like it does at 2:30 A.M.
(when the power is cleanest) during theday and virtually every time you listen to it? Tube voltage regulation designed tofilter instead of regulate.First of all, the vast majority oftube amplifiers for sale do not even have tube regulation. N ot to mention the obvious.
Butjust because an amplifier has tube regulation doesn't mean it's goingto sound better. Tighter and more control, yes.
Better?not often. The classic shunt regulation sooften seen in tube amplifiers that do offer it, often poisons thetransparency with injected noisethat must be further filtered.
The Zen TORII doesn't need tuberegulation toimprove power supply performance. It features a dual mono design withoversizepower supplies, one for each channel. It's a brute force approach thatdelivers over 300 ma. Of current when only half of that isactually used by the circuit.Inthis special amplifier the Voltage Regulation tubes are wired in series withthe load.
In that configuration they become a filtering device insteadof a regulating device. The VR tubes place a measurable vacuum gap between the loadand thepower supply. This creates Ultra Clean Power because all ofthe the noise is filtered off. ( Noise from pollution in your localpower grid that includes theharmonics thatultimately end up at your wall outlet and in your amplifier.)This poisons virtually everyone's power outlets but it is eliminated in theZen TORII.
It literally doesn't makethe jump across this vacuum gap between the cathode and anode of theVR tubes. This works by simply playing a single tone at 1kHz and measuring theecho! You can see that the first harmonic (A) is at 3kHz - an ODDnumber. The next (B) is at 5kHz and the third (C) is at7kHz. This is what an ODD Order Harmonic signature lookslike. Notice there is no even order content whatsoever.Also of interest is the average noise floor seen between the testsignal at 1KHz and 20kHz is about -110dB. (larger numbers arebetter).
'DecWarefounder Steve Deckert proudly proclaims the Zen Torii is “the last ampyou’ll ever want.” And if you agree with Nelson Pass’ theory that thereis a best amplifier for each type of speaker, the Zen Torii could bejust “the best” if you have the right speakers. TONEAudio publisher JeffDorgay was smitten enough to purchase the Torii for his reference fleetof amplifiers. For an EL- 34-based amplifier, the bass grip is nothingshort of breathtaking, and the Torii renders musical detail likeKodachrome 25.Indeed, there’s never been a better example of specs not telling thewhole story. The Torii plays louder and interfaces with a much widerrange of speakers than suggested by its modest 26-watt- per-channelrating.
Showcasing old-school style, the Torii is hand-wired in Illinoisby the DecWare staff and guaranteed for life. American craftsmanship atits finest.' ISSUE 41 TONE AUDIO MAGAZINE -FULL ZEN TORIIThe Tube Compliment that we supply is premium grade, handselected and carefully matched and tested in youramplifier! We expect you to listen to them during your 30 daytrial while you make the decision to keep or return the amp.
(Yes thetubes are that good). Original replacement tubes for this amplifier willalways be available from Decware.Tube Rolling is a way for neurotic audiophiles to re-voice the amplifierto their own liking based on different tubes that possibly better complimenttheir speakers, room, or even source. Tube Rolling with this amp isaffordable.
It is also empowering when you realize that YOU canMAKE the amplifier sound the way YOU want it to. Especially when the tubes are affordable and there are so many cool brands of each type to choose from.Your TORII is 100% compatible with the following tubes.These are the different output tubes that you can use in your TORIIwithout adjustments. They are simply plug-in compatible. The chart belowshows how you can taylor the sound with these different tubes. The meters in the chart show how each tube will sound in a TORII MK IV amplifier.EL34KT666L6350BKT77TUBETONEPOWERBASSHIGHSEL34KT666L6350BKT77NOTE: Imaging is not a factor of output tube selection. Your Zen TORII has equally holographic imaging with any of the tubes above. Voltage: We will automatically ship your amp with the correct power cord for your country based on the shipping address you supply.Wood: Only the 'Black Figured' base is of the Victorianstyle, all other hardwood bases are of a contemporary styling.
Woodbases are user interchangeable so if decide at some point to change theway your amplifier looks with a different wood base, you will not haveto ship the amp back to have it done, you can do it yourself with asingle screwdriver.Volume Control: A smooth action volume control is astandard ALPA control with carbon wiper. It is infinitely adjustable andoffers a slightly warmer sound. The Stepped attenuator is actually a 20position switch that features 1% metal film resistors. With it, you canadjust the volume in 20 steps. There is no infinitely fine or smalladjustment like the standard volume control, however channel balance isusually better (with 1%) and overall transparency is also slightlyimproved.Knobs: Gold knobs are the most popular andconsequently, kind of the standard knob for a Torii, however if youselected a black wood base, the Ebony knobs match the base, just as theDark Walnut knobs nicely match the wood bases made of walnut. Chickenhead knobs give the amplifier a more vintage look and are available inblack or cream colors.Capacitors: We use cryo treated beeswax caps as thestandard cap in the TORII MK4 which is all a person needs to experience aboutique cap in a boutique amplifier! The sound is fantastic.Since the release of the amp, our cap supplier has also developed analternate cap using copper foil that many people like so we offer thisas our Type II beeswax cap and consider it an upgrade of the alreadykiller stock caps in the amp.
Best Speakers For Decware Zen Mini Torii 2
Same goes for VCAP's which are alsoconsidered an upgrade. Between the two upgrade caps the beeswax are abit more organic sounding while the VCAP's will develop slightly moreresolution over time. The stocks caps are also organic sounding but themost forgiving of the three choices. Capacitors can be changed at anypoint in the amplifier's life.Output transformers: The TORII MK4 has a switch to go between hi and low speaker impedance's.This was done so you can adjust the switch while listening to music anddetermine which sounds best with a particular speakers. Oftenrunning 8 ohms on a 4 ohm speaker sounds great, so it's recommended youlet how the speakers sound determine which setting is best.
Thecart choice simply lets you specify 48 ohms or 816 ohms.Output tubes: This simply means the amp will ship with the tubes you have selected.Shipping case: This case is a guarantee that youramplifier will not arrive damaged from shipping. It also haswheels and a handle making it easy to transport your amplifier to andfrom shows or audio events.Once you have configured your amp, hit the UPDATE button to see thetotal price of your configuration. Also, after your order isplaced, you will have two weeks or more to change any of the optionswhile your amp is in the Que waiting to be built, so don't loose anysleep over what options to choose. Frequencyresponse of both channels overlapped.
Tone control at 1/2 waypoint.Theminus-3dBpointatlowfrequencyis6Hz.OUTPUT TRANSFORMER COUPLINGThe Zen is a very stableamplifier capable of driving all but the most power hungry loudspeakersbecause of it's transformer-coupled output stage. This creates ahand-shake between the amplifier and the loudspeaker and protects thespeaker from DC voltages should a tube ever fail. Of course mosttubeamplifiers use output transformers, which tend to be the most expensivesingle components in the amp. This is where most amplifiers fallshortby trying to impress you with big heavy transformers of average or lowquality. The more power the amp has, the more likely it is to usemoderate quality transformers - at best.Decware transformers weredesigned and are built specifically and only for THIS amplifier.Theyuse the highest quality grain-oriented silicon steel laminated coreswith exhaustive interleaving to produce the most phase coherent widebandwidth soundpossible.
Our transformers have always been proprietary and are abigpart of the secret behind the Decware sound.VOLTAGESThis amplifier comes standard with our WorldVoltage Compatible Transformer. 'I will send you afully thought out review with some more hours on the Torii but justwanted to drop you a note to say how amazed I am at the amp and how ithas transformed my system. You could charge 3 times the amountand be right in line with market value. But that is not the casehere, this amp is better that the products I have owned from Pass,Krell, Rowland and even blows away my Atma-Sphere amps.
And thisis with just a day and a half break in. There is something justplain right about what I am hearing. Bless youfor bringing music alive!' Gardners,Pennsylvania USA.
'As thecenterpiece of one of my company’s flagship systems, the Decware ZenTorii has pretty much killed the audiophile in me. I am now a simple amusic lover.
Its presence marks the first time in over twenty years ofserious listening that a particular thought has crossed my mind: I have no reason, no itch, nodesire whatsoever to upgrade this system. I am baffled that this levelof immersion and enjoyment can be had for so little.
But evenmore telling is that it has made me want to explore musical genres Ihad never given any consideration to. And that’s an even greatertestament of its virtues.' EarHead Audio, LLC Winchester,Virginia. 'Well, I reallydon't know what to say except that this is one amazing amplifier. Ifhad it on most all of the daytime since it came in and while the soundis still changing as the amp breaks-in it seems to be settling innicely. This amp already sounds miles ahead of anything I've had in mysystem.
It sounds much 'bigger' than my current 200 wpc amps. How youget a 25 watt amp to sound like this is what I'd like to know.This amp (comparedto my current 200 wpc, class D amps) has MUCH better weight, tonality,pitch definition, better extension and clarity in the treble.Grain/glare are non-existent with the most natural detail that I'veheard. Dynamic contrasts are much better than my current amp -classical music is exciting to listen now. And as your web page statesthe detail is there in the music from an extremely low level withoutturning it up. I seem to have plenty of gain and I've yet to clip theamp even listening at (to me) pretty decent levels with my Merlin VSMs.I've owned the VSM's for about 10 years and now I know that I reallyhad not heard what they can do.I've had quite a fewpieces over the past 25 years: Audio Research, Music Reference, VTL,Atma-Sphere and most recently my only venture into solid state: aChannel Island D200 Class D amp. Your amp is far and away the best Ihave ever heard in my system (I had the Atma-Sphere amps for 10 yearsand know very well what they sound like) and I will certainly not besending it back.
I really wish I had a way to communicate to otherMerlin owners how well this amp seem to work with these speakers. Thankyou for an outstanding product at a very reasonable price.'
Kingwood, Texas USA. Underhill, Vermont USA'Thisamphasanalmosteeriesenseofmusicalrealism!Ithastheclarity,sweetnessandholographicimagingofgreatSingleEndedTriodeampsbutwithcommandingweightandpower.Ifyouthoughtbasswasdifficultwithtubes,forgetit.The TORII resolves bass as brilliantly as it coaxesits lifelike mid-range and natural, airy highs from recordings.' Santa Fa, New Mexico USAAn Active Thread On AUDIOGO NMight Mean More. Withsuch a nice and extensively detailed website, I've long been curiousabout Decware. But with little in the way of genuine reviews, and notmuch in the way of discussion here, I always wonder if they are nothingmore than that, a great website. They clearly have a dedicated fan base,but my problem with the fan base is this: most of them (not all ofcourse) seem to have limited experience with products besides Decware,as if they stumbled upon Decware and never bothered with other brands.Maybe this is positive, that once experienced they don't have thetypical audiophile itch to try other amps.
I'm specifically struck bythe new Torii MKIII push-pull amp, which in description and looks isjust beautiful. So does it interest anyone here? Has anyone actuallyheard it, or it's previous incarnations?
If so how does it rate amongstthe other quality tube amps, whether Blue Circle, Cary, Vac, Almarro,Atma-Sphere, etc.?( )09-03-10. It bums me out also.
I just checked to seeif he'll be at RMAF and no, again this year he isn't on the exhibitorlist.Inhis defense, he does have his own 'fest', and I'm sure his argumentwould be that this way you (we) aren't limited to one or two systems tolisten to; but IMHO it is more valuable in the course of pinning downwhat floats your proverbial to be able to hear a Decware system, andthen listen to several other ideas of what $5K should sound likeimmediately after.( )I own a couple ofDecware amps and they are great, and the people behind the product aregreat. It's one of the few tube products I've owned, and the only tubeamp I have kept. I'm not saying it's the best because I haven't heard alot of tube gear, but I think that because it's a small company thathas good people behind it, makes the difference.As for RMAF andreviews? All of that takes money, and when I see companies displayingand advertising, I know that their customers are paying for it. Thereis nothing wrong with that, it's just business, but I have a lot ofrespect for companies that can create great products and stay inbusiness because they invest in their customers.
There are not many,but they deserve special attention. I feel that Decware is such acompany.( )I own the DAC and itis terrific. It runs the Cirrus Logic CS 4398 DAC chip which is theflagship chip. You will find this chip in very very expensive DACs. Ihave friends far tweekier than me who love this DAC and other DECWAREproducts.They've spent the time and resources way beyond theaverage audiophile and simply profess the advantages of a smallmanufacturer such as DECWARE who had no advertising budget and canproduce product beyond the large companies with a different businessmodel.( )Dollar for dollarthe Decware line must be classified as top shelf value.
I have ownedthe select mono's, Taboo, original 'blue Torii',and the Torii mkII.Theseamps are all fast,they have a big sound stage,image very well and aremusically pleasing. They are hand made (all point to point wiring) inthe USAWhat's not to like? They are all low powered,the chassis is of a lightweight and are not dead quiet.I have also owned Cary, McIntosh, Airtight, VTL, Art Audio and others.Decware will hold its own with the more costly group.The 30 day trial period makes it hard to go wrong.( )What's not to like? They areall low powered, the chassis is of a light weight and are not deadquiet.Not dead quiet? A typo, yes?( )They ARE deadquiet.
No spitting, sparks, smoke or humming. No glue or cheap Chineseparts inside and no gaudy exteriors. Their value far exceeds theirprice, which galls some audio consumers who buy in part based upon alarge price tag.The designer will make himself available forpersonal one-on-one conversations about the equipment and its use.
Theymake products for the love of good sound, not just to achieve a per-determined profit margin.' Genuine' reviews? There areplenty of them; some are linked or posted on the DECWARE site. A 6Moonsreview of the original TABOO comes to mind. In addition to that, thereare a plethora of detailed posts regarding use and enjoyment of DECWAREequipment.I have owned several pieces of DECWARE equipment andhave been happy and satisfied with each one. The products go throughupdating and revisions in the quest for continual improvement.Notgoing to RMAF?
Decware Zen Triode Preamp
The don't need to. They are quiet company thatmaintains a low key profile; they do not engage in specious selfpromotion either.'
.that once experienced they don't havethe typical audiophile itch to try other amps. I'm specifically struckby the new Torii MKIII push-pull amp, which in description and looks isjust beautiful.' If somebody likes the DECWARE equipment it is logical not to lookelsewhere.( )I used to own a Decwarephono stage. Never had any problem with it. In fact it was better thana certain solid state phono stage at the time that was garnering ravereviews and cost 3 times as much as the Decware unit.I'd loveto try a set of their speakers some day. Steve knows what he is doingand his business model is quite refreshing.
Great sound does not haveto cost a lot. Looks and price seldom equate to better sound. A welldesigned circuit using good parts with outstanding build quality andthorough testing should be good enough enough for anyone.I had to learn that the hard ($$$$) way.( )I own the CSP2 Pre-amp, and it is aworkhorse in my systemCSP2-20ft DH Labs BL-1 RCA-Wyred4sound SX-500 mono ampsinto Magnepan MMG'sI have to put my ears to the MMG's to hear any noise,hiss, or humand the headphone output (Sennheiser HD-650) gets a lot of useand they are nice looking pieces of equipment, well madegreat product, at a fair price( )I have a ZenSelect. I wish I had more Decware gear. I wish I boughtDecware first.
I would have saved thousands of dollars.( )The four Decwareamps I mentioned in my first post are not the only Decware products Ihave purchased. I also have the phono stage, ZT preamp, HDT's and theRL3 speakers.All of Decware's offerings are bargains in today's audiophile pricingstructure. I still own all of them except the 'blue torii'.My'not dead quiet' comment needs more description.
I am using the TorrimkII to amplify the mid range (560hz-3350hz) into a 118 db efficientcompression driver.Any tube amp will hiss a little when used this way.Power from the Decware amps is low. What do you expect from SET amps.Even the push pull Torrii can not be considered hi power.Havingowned many powerful amps, which were not really musical, I have becomefond of the saying ' if the first watt s.uks why continue?' So if youhave an exciting musical amp and it happens to be lo power- go get somemore efficient speakers if it won't play loud enough.I have voted with my pocket book, DECWARE is a winner!( )I'm new here, only because the Decwaresite is pretty quiet these days, so I started looking around and foundAudiogon.I just had to voice my opinion. I own two Decware amps at the moment,Steve's new DAC and the CSP2 pre-amp.
Plus two pairs of his speakers. Ihave no desire to go looking for anything else. They just plainsatisfy.
I lusted for years over the high priced gear out there, untilI realized they just plain looked better than they sounded.Ifirst meet Steve at a VASC show in the Seattle area in 2001, afterseeing all the rest of the gear at that show, I made my first Decwarepurchase, and haven't looked back. I've been to his Zenfest a few yearsand it is simple, laid back, and a lot of fun. I have plans to attendthis years fest in just a few weeks.What I like the most is,you can get Steve Deckert on the phone and talk to the man that builtyour amp, thats something you can't do with the big boys.( )I built the Decwaresingle ended amp kit (EL84s$350). I also built an Elekit SE kit($600) that uses 6L6s and a scratch build 2A3 single ended amp($800).The quality pretty much goes exactly as the cost goes, inmy system to my ears. I will say that all sounded very good though.Keep in mind that the Decware kit's sound may be compromised comparedwith a factory built unit (PCB vs. Point to point, etc.).That's pretty much my experience with Decware and with low power SEamps.TheOP made the point that he felt many Decware owners don't have a lot ofexperience with other equipment so it's hard to get a good read onwhere the Decware stuff falls.
Aside from 1 or 2 posters, in thisthread it seems that this may be the case.( )Hi.my name is Frank and Steve Deckert is imho one the most talentedengineersI have come across.let me explain why.although just reading hisexcellentwhite papers are a must to understand his philosophy.I am in my 60's have been involved in music since the late 50's.my living room is currently modwright transporter, emerald physic'sCS2'sthe pre amp is a pre production Decware statement piece feeding a quadof Eastern Electric M156 monoblocks.