Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1

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Brianportugal

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #60 on: 9 Aug 2015, 06:47 pm »
This is very helpful Rob, you are not rambling. Sop do you think the Zen SE84 UFO is better than the Rachel for the Omegas . The price is insignificant really. Once I have that confirmed what is your thought on a DAC? I'm in no rush, I have a Benchmark Dac1 PRE.

thanks for your thoughts everyone.
Brian

Brianportugal

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #61 on: 9 Aug 2015, 06:48 pm »
Thanks Dave. I like Rob would like to be blown away

Hi-Fi Obsession

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #62 on: 9 Aug 2015, 06:57 pm »
Brian,

I would choose the Zen SE84 for reasons previously mentioned, but SPLs have to be a consideration and the 6w Rachael can provide that extra 4-5db.  In your room, 10x11, it doesn't seem like you'd need it but only you can determine.  It's nice to have that transparency, but when you want to crank it you've gotta have the juice.  That's important!

The DAC market it hyper-competitive and so it would be helpful to know how much you're willing to spend.  Over on the Decware threads TEAC has gotten some love and I've also read good things about Marantz' new "budget" DAC.  If you help me with price I'm sure I could could provide a list of DACs that I personally find interesting.  I've only had Schiit in my system, so I'm not really a good source for first-hand information.

Rob

Canada Rob

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #63 on: 10 Aug 2015, 03:36 pm »
Brian,

When running a flea powered amp (10 watts/ch or less) I strongly recommend your DAC (or any source) to have at least 2 volts output.  One of the best DACs I've heard under a grand is the Resonessence Labs Concero HD.  It also has the bonus of having 2.4 volt output, can be USB, battery, or wall powered, and has coax input along with it's USB input. 

The Schiit Gungnir looks really good with it's upgradability, and XLR output with up to 4 volts.  Steve at Decware says the XLR input option on the Super Zen Select makes a big difference, and matched with the Gungnir might make a killer combo.  If you order a Zen Select, go for the V-Cap and stepped attenuator option, and the XLR option if you go for the Gungnir.

Hi-Fi Obsession

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #64 on: 10 Aug 2015, 03:55 pm »
I can back CR on his Gungnir comments.  I run balanced into the Zen (the transformer balanced inputs are +$650) and it has a nice and weighty presentation that makes you think you're listening to a more powerful amp.  The Gungnir also sounds better via XLR since there is no hardware summing like on the single-ended outputs.

The V-Cap recommendation.... I think that's a matter of taste.  There are some on the Decware forums that prefer the sound of the Jupiter Beeswax, including Steve Deckert.  He talked me out of spending V-Cap money when I ordered mine.

Rob

DaveC113

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #65 on: 10 Aug 2015, 04:42 pm »
I'd go with the Jupiter copper foil caps. Once you have tried a copper foil cap it's hard to go back, but the V-Cap CuTf are too expensive, about 3x the price of Jupiter.

On the XLR thing, there are some advantages but if your source does not have a true balanced output there's no reason for it. It also requires two of everything, greatly increasing the cost of equipment. One of my customers was told the XLR inputs on the Zen are much better, but now he wants to upgrade (within the Decware line) and the amp he wants does not have balanced inputs as an option so now he spent a bunch of cash for an amp with an XLR input and and spent more on an XLR cable only to go back to single ended.

If you'll be using a SET amp and own a source that is balanced then the only good way to go from balanced to single ended is with expensive trafos ($650 option from Decware). This makes very little sense to me, if I was using a balanced source I'd want it amplified by an amp that is truly balanced as well which would mean push pull without a phase splitter... and such an amp can only take balanced inputs. Very few manufacturers make tube amps like this, Lampizator is the only one I'm aware of off the top of my head, and this is basically two SET amps run in parallel, each with one phase of the signal, and rejoined at the OPT. Or a SS amp with similar topology which is more common.

OTOH, some would say that the better CMRR of a XLR cable is worth it even if the amp is single ended but the truth is you are spending a lot of extra cash to solve a problem that doesn't exist in short IC runs in home environments 99.9% of the time. XLR was designed for long runs where interference is likely to be a problem, i.e. pro audio.

tl/dr... I think for most people it makes more sense to buy a DAC that is built with single ended outputs and use a single ended cable to connect the DAC to their single ended preamp/amp.  :green:


Brianportugal

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #66 on: 10 Aug 2015, 04:55 pm »
I think balanced inputs/outputs would make the amp far too expensive. I'm thinking the Zen 84UFO not the Mystery amp. My budget wont allow that. I'm looking to spend around $800 when the new group of Dacs are released. A DAC is the only item I don't think pays to buy used, does that make sense?
Brian

Canada Rob

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #67 on: 10 Aug 2015, 05:11 pm »
I can back CR on his Gungnir comments.  I run balanced into the Zen (the transformer balanced inputs are +$650) and it has a nice and weighty presentation that makes you think you're listening to a more powerful amp.  The Gungnir also sounds better via XLR since there is no hardware summing like on the single-ended outputs.

The V-Cap recommendation.... I think that's a matter of taste.  There are some on the Decware forums that prefer the sound of the Jupiter Beeswax, including Steve Deckert.  He talked me out of spending V-Cap money when I ordered mine.

Rob
It would be nice if someone would come on here that has heard both V-Caps and Jupiter on the same (ZEN) amp and system that can comment on or describe the sound differences.  What are the strengths of each.  Steve recommended to me the V-Cap if I run digital and Jupiter if I run a turntable - in the context of running Omega speakers.  The V-Cap has been my "go to" cap for the Zen amp for over five years.  For the Rachel, however, Steve recommends the $200 Jupiter Beeswax II upgrade.

My first Decware was the basic SE84C+ which was my reference amp until I got my first Select in 2010 with V-Caps and CCE mod.  No contest - the Select immediately became my reference.  Everything improved, so I won't go into all the audiophile superlatives.  To this day, that's the combo I use, V-Caps and stepped attenuator.  Next time I order from Steve I'll get to hear the UFO, but other than that likely stay with what has worked for me and my customers.

Hi-Fi Obsession

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #68 on: 10 Aug 2015, 05:18 pm »
If you'll be using a SET amp and own a source that is balanced then the only good way to go from balanced to single ended is with expensive trafos ($650 option from Decware). This makes very little sense to me, if I was using a balanced source I'd want it amplified by an amp that is truly balanced as well which would mean push pull without a phase splitter... and such an amp can only take balanced inputs. Very few manufacturers make tube amps like this, Lampizator is the only one I'm aware of off the top of my head, and this is basically two SET amps run in parallel, each with one phase of the signal, and rejoined at the OPT. Or a SS amp with similar topology which is more common.

OTOH, some would say that the better CMRR of a XLR cable is worth it even if the amp is single ended but the truth is you are spending a lot of extra cash to solve a problem that doesn't exist in short IC runs in home environments 99.9% of the time. XLR was designed for long runs where interference is likely to be a problem, i.e. pro audio.

tl/dr... I think for most people it makes more sense to buy a DAC that is built with single ended outputs and use a single ended cable to connect the DAC to their single ended preamp/amp.  :green:

I actually agree with you, Dave.  It's hard to make sense of it.  As they say, however, "you can't choose who you love", and if you end up owning and loving a DAC that runs balanced, well, you want to be prepared to run it that way, or at least have the option.  For me, it really was a decision that boiled down to two things: a) you don't know what's best unless you hear it, and b) it's nice to keep options open for future equipment.  I realize not everyone will spend $650 for what amounts to curiosity and contingency, but I did...

I still feel like I made the right choice.  What happens if the next DAC-du-jour is balanced, but the single-ended output implementation sucks and I've only got a single ended amp?  Doesn't matter to me, I'm prepared!  Or what if I had a balanced amp with crappy RCA input conversion, but the hot DAC was single ended?  I'm not in that boat either.  This way, I've left all these scenarios in the hands of Steve Deckert to solve, and I'm ok with that ;-)

Canada Rob

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #69 on: 10 Aug 2015, 05:27 pm »
I think balanced inputs/outputs would make the amp far too expensive. I'm thinking the Zen 84UFO not the Mystery amp. My budget wont allow that. I'm looking to spend around $800 when the new group of Dacs are released. A DAC is the only item I don't think pays to buy used, does that make sense?
Brian
Brian

I am referring to the Super Zen Select when I make my recommendation, not the Mystery Amp. 

If you listen primarily to 16/44 then a used DAC would make a lot of sense.  The Audio Sector NOS DAC is no longer made, but if you can find a used one, you will score big time.  For CD quality, I've never heard a better digital front end, regardless of price.  Bear in mind it has no XLR out, but it's synergy with the Zen amp is nonetheless amazing.

The Audio Zone DAC 1 is essentially the same DAC as the Audio Sector (the two companies are connected) and they are still available at $995.  Those come up used from time to time.  The USB input is the way to go with either.

Brianportugal

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #70 on: 10 Aug 2015, 06:40 pm »
Thanks Rob. What is the difference between the SE84CKCS and the SE84CKC? Which one is everyone raving about? what is sonically gained or is it just the meters?
thx
Brian

Canada Rob

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #71 on: 10 Aug 2015, 08:09 pm »
Thanks Rob. What is the difference between the SE84CKCS and the SE84CKC? Which one is everyone raving about? what is sonically gained or is it just the meters?
thx
Brian

CKCS is the Select (hence the "S") and CKC is the basic.  The Select has more options available for it plus the nicer chassis and the meters.  If the ability for certain options, chassis, and meters aren't important, then I'd go for the basic and save about $300.  The (stock) Zen Select at $1295 will sound the same as the basic Zen at $995.  The Select starts opening the gap when certain options are added.

TEH725

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #72 on: 11 Aug 2015, 02:42 pm »
I own a Rachael and Rob speaks the truth.  Zen is better.  Not by a lot but it just has the best transparency I have heard out of the Decware line.  With balanced inputs, I believe it to be even better.  I am interested in hearing the UFO transformers.

That said, I felt I needed the additional watts so I went with the Rachael.  I have been playing around with tubes and cables and at times felt I was getting close to what I have heard in the Zen, but just not quite there.

I do feel that both the Rachael and Zen run out of gas on some bass heavy music.  The Torii or the Mystery amp have more in this regard.  The Mystery amp is tops in nearly every category, but is also 5 times the cost of the Zen.

I would love to hear Omega speakers with Decware amps.

HiFiJeff

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #73 on: 12 Aug 2015, 06:52 pm »
I own a Rachael and Rob speaks the truth.  Zen is better.  Not by a lot but it just has the best transparency I have heard out of the Decware line.  With balanced inputs, I believe it to be even better.  I am interested in hearing the UFO transformers.

That said, I felt I needed the additional watts so I went with the Rachael.  I have been playing around with tubes and cables and at times felt I was getting close to what I have heard in the Zen, but just not quite there.

I do feel that both the Rachael and Zen run out of gas on some bass heavy music.  The Torii or the Mystery amp have more in this regard.  The Mystery amp is tops in nearly every category, but is also 5 times the cost of the Zen.

I would love to hear Omega speakers with Decware amps.

In the VERY near future, I will get to be one of the lucky ones with this pairing. I have some Omega Super 3XRS's on order and hope to have them soon. I will be getting a Decware SE-84UFO to go with them. Cannot wait! Gotta save the money though so in the meantime, I am going to pair the Omega's with a TPA 3116 from FleaWatt. Heard great things about them.

kevtn8

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #74 on: 25 Aug 2015, 12:47 am »
It would be nice if someone would come on here that has heard both V-Caps and Jupiter on the same (ZEN) amp and system that can comment on or describe the sound differences.  What are the strengths of each.  Steve recommended to me the V-Cap if I run digital and Jupiter if I run a turntable - in the context of running Omega speakers.  The V-Cap has been my "go to" cap for the Zen amp for over five years.  For the Rachel, however, Steve recommends the $200 Jupiter Beeswax II upgrade.

My first Decware was the basic SE84C+ which was my reference amp until I got my first Select in 2010 with V-Caps and CCE mod.  No contest - the Select immediately became my reference.  Everything improved, so I won't go into all the audiophile superlatives.  To this day, that's the combo I use, V-Caps and stepped attenuator.  Next time I order from Steve I'll get to hear the UFO, but other than that likely stay with what has worked for me and my customers.


Well I have a bit of experience with this that I'd like to share. A few months ago, I had my SE84CKCS upgraded to Jupiter Copper Foils. Previously my amp had the Jupiter Beeswax which are aluminum based. Even if everything was equal or the same, the Jupiter Copper caps should be superior to the aluminum beeswax just based on copper being a better conductor. But Jupiter invested over 3 years in the development of the Jupiter Copper Foils to make sure they were just right. It is their top of the line and its worth every penny imo. It is also the cap that Steve uses on his ZenMystery amp and Torii Monos. My friend who's also an audiophile has the Torii MK3 with the V-Caps and we both agree that the new Jupiter Copper Foils are the real deal. To my ears, it is just a more refined cap on all levels when compared to the Beeswax. The regular beeswax was already on a similar level to the V-Caps ( beeswax might actually be more detailed) and even Steve prefers Beeswax on the Super Zen over the V-Caps.

With all this said, the new UFO transformers is what has me really excited. Most tube audiophiles knows that the ouput transformers are the most important component on the amp with the signal caps and power supply next. After analyzing over the details on his forum and reading some early testimonial from Seikosha, I've just sent my amp  to Decware to have them installed. So once I get them back I'll be in a unique position to give some feedback since my SE84CKCS will have both the Jupiter Copper Foils and UFO transformers inside.

Kevin

kevtn8

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #75 on: 25 Aug 2015, 01:17 am »
CKCS is the Select (hence the "S") and CKC is the basic.  The Select has more options available for it plus the nicer chassis and the meters.  If the ability for certain options, chassis, and meters aren't important, then I'd go for the basic and save about $300.  The (stock) Zen Select at $1295 will sound the same as the basic Zen at $995.  The Select starts opening the gap when certain options are added.


I agree with everything you said CR except I'll add that even the stock Zen Select might be bit more refined soundwise compared to the basic Zen. This was one of the major questions for me over 2 years ago when I was debating between the basica Zen and Select. After reading over the forums and talking to Steve this was what I gathered because the basic Zen used a bias switch in front of the amp which adds some flexibility to the amp. However this added flexibility does add an extra variable to the signal path/sound. It is not as pure and simple as the Zen Select. Steve voiced his Zen Select in between the 2 bias settings of the basic Zen. There is also a toggle switch in front of the Zen Select but its used for toggling between RCA 1 and 2 inputs or in my case RCA and XLR inputs.

Kevin

Canada Rob

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #76 on: 25 Aug 2015, 06:58 am »
Thanks Kevin, I forgot about the bias switch. 

My Select was in the build queue when Steve came out with the Super Zen (the basic came first), so he made mine a Super Zen Select, but with the white top without meters (the Select with black top and meters came later).  Mine also doesn't have the dual inputs in the true sense of the word, or a switch, but the second set of inputs is for running it as a straight power amp.  Possibly the simplest Zen Steve ever built.  I believe the Zens with the UFO OPT have a switch to choose between 4 and 8 ohm, so between the input selector and impedance switch there's 2 switches where there was none before.  The Basic black Zen has 3 switches: bias, impedance, and inputs.
« Last Edit: 25 Aug 2015, 03:12 pm by Canada Rob »

ozoid

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #77 on: 25 Aug 2015, 07:23 am »
Yes, the SE84UFO does have switches just forward of the speaker outputs to select 4 or 8 ohms. I am embarrassed to say, however, that I cannot hear any difference through the Omega Alnico monitors. For what it's worth I have them set in the back position.

I know the idea is to set the Ohm switch by ear, but if I can't hear a difference, which setting "should" work best with the Alnicos?

On the other hand, not at all difficult to hear the difference between the two bias settings.

Nailbunny7

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #78 on: 25 Aug 2015, 07:03 pm »
Yes, the SE84UFO does have switches just forward of the speaker outputs to select 4 or 8 ohms. I am embarrassed to say, however, that I cannot hear any difference through the Omega Alnico monitors. For what it's worth I have them set in the back position.

I know the idea is to set the Ohm switch by ear, but if I can't hear a difference, which setting "should" work best with the Alnicos?

On the other hand, not at all difficult to hear the difference between the two bias settings.
When switching the output impedance with the transformer, the lower impedance option will present a higher impedance load to the output tube, and should give you better bass response (because of more damping from the transformer) and lower power output. Steve uses a pretty high primary impedance on his output transformers already, so that may be why you don't really notice a difference between the settings.

Canada Rob

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Re: Decware Rachel or Coincident Dynamo SE34.1
« Reply #79 on: 25 Aug 2015, 08:32 pm »

On the other hand, not at all difficult to hear the difference between the two bias settings.

Ditto here.  Six years ago when I had my SE84C+ the one bias setting had a more dynamic, lively sound, and the other setting more 3D and ethereal.  I always gravitated to the latter because I value 3D soundstage and tone above all. :D