Decware

Does anyone have any experience with the Zen 2 watt amp? I’m considering one, but I’m worried about running out of headroom.
Harbeth Super HL5 plus
McIntosh MC275 x2
Esoteric K-07

Comments

  • TEAforONETEAforONE Posts: 69
    What speakers will you be running with this amp?? How big is your room?? I think these are pretty important questions so folks can point you in the right direction.
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Promitheus Audio,Pro-Ject,Hornshoppe,Nola,HSU,Onkyo.
  • TSWislaTSWisla Posts: 430
    Sorry. I just ordered some Zu DWs. 12 ohm, 97 dB. Room is 16x11.
    Harbeth Super HL5 plus
    McIntosh MC275 x2
    Esoteric K-07
  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 5,054
    Nice job on the DW! Love my Omens but have not tried them with low powered amps.
    Zu Audio Omen MK-1B's, Peachtree Decco65, Bryston BDA-2, Cheap TT, PS Audio UPC200, PS Audio AC3's, Zu Mission SC's, HTPC, One, Bottlehead Crack w/Speedball, Senn's MD HD600
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,400
    edited July 11
    I don't think you're going to have a problem....sounds sweet

    @mhardy6647 ???


    Please keep us updated. I have a 12watt SET Unison Simply Italy that I have been wanting to pair with some Zu's or as likes. So I am really interested in your your review.
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • TSWislaTSWisla Posts: 430
    I think that for the most part they will sound great, but for very dynamic works I think that I will have problems. I am also considering the Coincident Dynamo. If anyone can steer me in the right direction, I would really appreciate it.
    Harbeth Super HL5 plus
    McIntosh MC275 x2
    Esoteric K-07
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,758
    edited July 11
    Yup, there's (still) an SE-84B here. First SET (well, kinda "T") amp in the household, way back when.

    Cute
    Cheap
    Simple
    Sounds very good
    Very quiet (in terms of hum/noise -- quietest SET in the house)

    but severely underpowered (audibly strained playing "little girl with guitar" music at moderate levels on 1974 Klipsch Cornwalls in our old living room - ca. 12 x 18 feet).

    It would make a great treble amp in a biamped system.

    9835310886_91c5aa0e29_b.jpgDSC_9988 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,400
    Call Zu, they should be able to dial you in...especially since you're already a customer
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,758
    edited July 11
    oh, speaking of which -- I don't know about Decware's current SE 6BQ5/SV83 (a/k/a 6p15p-ev) product, but the older ones had 6 ohm secondaries on the OPT's to split the difference for 4 or 8 ohm speakers. The SE-84B was not a good match for higher-impedance loudspeakers (e.g., 15 ohm Lowthers, or 16 ohm classic Altecs, for that matter).


    EDIT: ah, no longer an issue, apparently!
    AS OF JUNE / 2015

    The SE84UFO now features a switch on each channel of the amplifier to go inbetween LO (2~6 ohms) and HI (6~16 ohms) speakers. This is a result of the UFO high-bandwidth output transformer upgrade that now comes standard in every Zen Triode Amplifier. The switch can be operated while listening to music and it is recommended to do so as both settings will work on almost every speaker. The correct setting is the one that sounds the best to you.
    http://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84CKC.html
  • TSWislaTSWisla Posts: 430
    I called Steve at Decware, he said that 2w would drive them NP with any type of music. He said 12 ohm, NP! I called Zu and Sean said I should have more watts, but conceded that he had very limited experience with Decware. In the Decware forum, people are claiming to run Zu Omens with NP. I spoke to one person who claimed that the Zen did not have enough power. So I am totally lost!
    Harbeth Super HL5 plus
    McIntosh MC275 x2
    Esoteric K-07
  • TSWislaTSWisla Posts: 430
    edited July 11
    It’s going to really suck to wait 4 months to discover that my amp is underpowered. Not even considering the money!!!!
    Harbeth Super HL5 plus
    McIntosh MC275 x2
    Esoteric K-07
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,400
    4 Months?

    What do you have now? Will it take 4months to get your Zu's?
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • TSWislaTSWisla Posts: 430
    Oh no, the Zus are being built, but won't take 4 months. Decware is 4 months out!
    Harbeth Super HL5 plus
    McIntosh MC275 x2
    Esoteric K-07
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,539
    edited July 11
    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800,
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra
    Speaker Cables: Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Analysis Plus Copper Oval-In Micro, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • TEAforONETEAforONE Posts: 69
    On the up side,I've noticed that Decware amps don't seem to last long on the used market. However I feel your pain having to wait 4 months for an amp,just to find out it doesn't do what you want it to do,and then start all over again.
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Promitheus Audio,Pro-Ject,Hornshoppe,Nola,HSU,Onkyo.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,758
    edited July 12
    Deckert's products do sound pretty good -- and Steve Deckert certainly has a very high opinion of himself ;)

    I lost patience with his over-the-top prose long ago, and unfortunately, his stuff isn't inexpensive any more... but it is not bad stuff.

    I don't think you're likely to be happy with the SE 6BQ5 amp (ca. 2 wpc, but really probably closer to 1 watt at "hifi" levels of harmonic distortion*) and those loudspeakers -- but it does depend on your room, your taste in music, and your expectations.

    As a point of reference, the Cornies I used with an SE-84B are ca. 98 dB per watt at 1 meter in terms of sensitivity and are an easy (benign) load for a low damping factor (high output impedance) amplifier like Decware's "Zen" amps to drive. It sounded good (well, as good as Cornies are gonna sound ;) ) but only within pretty strict limitations -- and I am not much of a head-banger when it comes to listening levels.

    Where do you live @TSWisla ? If you're in the Northeast, you're more than welcome to try out my SE-84B if'n you want. I could ship it, but there's always some risk of stuff jostlin' loose when shipped, and I'd hate to have a demo ruined by a trivial failure due to bumpin' and bangin' the amp in transit. :/

    FWIW (and not that you asked) but my SWAG is that you'll be much happier with a single ended 2A3 amplifier. I certainly was (am).

    EDIT: PS, if you "are" within driving range of northern NH, you are also welcome to try my Bottlehead Paramours (SE 2A3 "monoblocks"). Us SET-pushers are always lookin' for fresh meat I mean, opportunities to share the joy of SE DHT amps with other audiophiles ;)

    _______________
    * There was a big brouhaha back in the late 1990s/early 2000s about Deckert's power claims for the "Zen" amp. He originally claimed (and stood by that claim) that they were "5 watts" per channel. A minor firestorm of criticism and some third party measurements eventually led him to back down. My own experience suggests the SE-84A/B/C amps were good for about 1 wpc -- but I don't know about his current offerings using the 6BQ5/6p15p-ev output tubes in triode mode.

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,758
    SE-84B

    9835336824_27116cde07_b.jpgDSCN5766 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
    (to the left of the ReVox A77)

    Bottlehead Paramours

    35012452392_ae479f19ec_h.jpgDSC_8376 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    These are very much entry-level 2A3 amplifiers, with extremely cheap line matching transformers employed backwards as OPTs, with a parellel-feed topology to keep the plate DC voltage away from them -- but they do sound quite nice, and their ca. 3.5 watt (per channel) output is much better suited, IMO, IME (etc.) for "full range" use with high-sensitivity loudspeakers.

    Current loudspeakers here are Frankenaltecs :p, nominally 16 ohm at ca. 102 dB/watt @ 1 meter sensitivity (give or take).

    If I get up the gumption, I should try the SE-84B with the current incarnation of my speakers, come to think of it :)

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