Hi everyone! I've just enjoyed reading this entire thread, the reason being that I've been looking to find a tube amp with both headphone/speaker outs to rationalize my desktop. I currently have a Little Dot mkvi+ which I'm happy with for my HE-500's and having recently bought speakers I'm shifting more away from cans for main listening. I also bought a Miniwatt N3 temporarily, but the idea is to go for a Decware unit eventually, when the wallet recovers. (It is currently undergoing rescusitation). After hearing of Decware I found out about their integrated amp, the SE34I which brings me on to the reason for this post. I've heard brief mentions of the integrated amp in this thread but then nothing more comes of it, interesting though the Taboo is. So I would like to know if anyone has the integrated amp and what it's like compared to the Taboo. Looks like my options would be either of these as the MiniTorii no longer appears to have the headphone option. Thanks for any help you might be able to provide. Keep up the good work!
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Decware Appreciation Thread (MT review up on first page 2-10-12) - Page 77post #1141 of 123311/15/13 at 10:20am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #1142 of 123311/15/13 at 2:23pm
I have never heard the Rachel. it does offer slightly more power than the Taboo.I have never heard a Decware amp that did not provide great quality for the price.post #1143 of 123311/17/13 at 10:08amQuote:
Keep your fingers crossed...My CSP3 I got awhile back was done surprisingly quickly, and shipped within a week of testing. You might get it by thanksgiving!post #1144 of 123311/17/13 at 10:23amQuote:Keep your fingers crossed...My CSP3 I got awhile back was done surprisingly quickly, and shipped within a week of testing. You might get it by thanksgiving!
They are, but it would have to ship and be picked up by UPS by Friday of this week to make it. However, fingers crossed, but at this point it's still gonna be sooner than I had originally expected.post #1145 of 123311/23/13 at 3:54pm
I posted this over on the Decware forums, but for anyone who doesn't frequent that...here's some dummy plugs for your Decware gear. Especially useful with the vertical jacks that could catch a lot of dust over time. They are made by Neutrik, available at Mouser and I'm sure many other electronics sellers. # "NDF" fits the XLR jack, "NDP" fits the phono (RCA) jacks, "NDJ" fits the 1/4" Jacks.post #1146 of 123311/24/13 at 7:31am
Ah, well, didn't ship by Friday, though it moved to shipping department on Tuesday. It's possible the tornados that devastated the area around them and left them w/o phone or internet for a couple days is the cause of the delay. If it should ship Monday I'll be able to get it by Friday I think. If not the following week. I think waiting for it to ship, is perhaps the most difficult part of the wait. I also just realized my order fell into the free Pelican case group, so MK IV, at MK III price plus Pelican case total savings of $800.post #1147 of 123311/24/13 at 11:44amQuote:Originally Posted by thegrobe
I posted this over on the Decware forums, but for anyone who doesn't frequent that...here's some dummy plugs for your Decware gear. Especially useful with the vertical jacks that could catch a lot of dust over time. They are made by Neutrik, available at Mouser and I'm sure many other electronics sellers. # "NDF" fits the XLR jack, "NDP" fits the phono (RCA) jacks, "NDJ" fits the 1/4" Jacks.
Brilliant! Thanks, Craig.post #1148 of 123312/5/13 at 4:53pm
Folks I am going to start this post and it will be a long one. It's been promised for a while and it is the result of months of good old rollin'. Pictures first and I am sure you will know where I am going with this.
Brimar 5R4GY, Double D Getter, sometime 1950s, England
Osram 5U4G (early milspec GEC U52 and arguably better), inverted cup, 1950s, England
Sylvania 274B, 1942, D Getter, Milspec
RCA 5Y3GT, double D Getter, 1952, black base
USAF-596, US Air Force version etc
Decware Taboo MK3 (we all know this one) w. Amperex "Pinched Waist" 6922, Amperex EL84s or 6P15P-ER milspec
Ariand FV34-A (Single ended speakers amplifier), 2x12W, Psvane EL34
Woo Wee (electrostatic headphones converter)
Stax SR-009, Stax SR-007 MKI
Custom made 96dB Front Loaded Horn Speakers (Fostex Full range)
Stockfisch Reference Recordings (various genres: vocals, classical)
For several reasons the rectifiers have always been to me a fantastic and de-facto way to tweak the sound to my preference or system changes. Firstly these coincidently or not work with both my amplifiers (and soon to be 3) and also for this reason I found them a very worthwhile investement. It's an easy swap too. No need for gloves as there's a good base and a lot of the time there's only one. This is a comparison where I tried to be completely unbiased by the price. Some of the above are extremely rare and expensive, some less so and some are incredibly overlooked. But we all know everything is fair in audio. :)
Why these? I have a lot of rectifiers of this type and I feel the below represent the BEST of the best in my collection. They are all well burnt-in samples and sometimes I compared multiple samples of one. There are variations, but roughly within the same decade you'd probably be in the same ball park. The fact that I already selected these out of many different models, they are ALL already SO very good. This makes it sometimes super difficult to rate them, and obviously preferences play a signficant role. To try to hit an average I used two very different sounding amplifiers (Taboo MK3 - quite neutral, Ariand FV34A - classic tube sound), different coloration headphones, SR009s extremely neutral and the SR007 MKI warmer. The speakers are in between the headphones in tonal balance.
Sylvania 274b > GEC/Osram U52 > RCA 5Y3GT > USAF-596 > Brimar
Bass Control & Tightness:
USFA-596 > Brimar > RCA 5Y3GT = Sylvania > Osram
This was very difficult to assess because all of these are close. The bass quantity is plenty with all of them.
I don't like bass weak tubes, and none of these is that. Also none of them really have flabby bass either.
It is difficult to call a winner though. The bass driver control and added tightness can result in aparent reduced bass weight. This is why I wanted to separate the two sections. Overall when I wanted to choose one tube for the overall combination bass presence and quality it was either the RCA or Sylvania. If I want top control it is the USAF-596. All of them did a great job here.
Male vocals (Tonality, Texture, Extension):
Sylvania 274B (WOW. To die for.) > GEC/OSRAM U52 (WOW Reloaded) = RCA 5Y3GT (WOW Incredible) > Brimar (Still WOW) > USAF596 ("Only" Excellent)
All of these tubes are very special and excellent with mids. Was it not, any of them would have otherwise been excluded from this round-up. In this select company it is the Sylvania that comes first due to the most fantastic mids texture I have heard. I do not know how they were doing things back in 1942, but while retaining exceptional clarity the mids are smooth and with formidable texture and tone. This said it's almost unreal there is something better than the Osram (which is the milspec version of the famous GEC U52). This one is also extremely impresive. What I said regarding the Sylvania applies here as well.
Female vocals (Tonality, Texture, Extension)
Osram > Sylvania 274B > RCA = USAF-596 > Brimar
While I already had the ranking done from before, I wanted to try a few more songs and start from scratch last night. This time I started comparing the tubes in the reverse order of how I classed them with male vocals. The Brimar was very good but it turned out as the least impressive in this great company. It has excellent tonality, but the texture did the least for me. Again this is only compared to the others. Moving next to the USAF-596 - it was an immediate added sign of goose bumps on the test track: Pink Martini - Taya Tan. The texture and extension were both a step up. I long deliberated back and forth between the Sylvania and Osram with female vocals. They are exceptional and exceptionally close to each other, but a bit different: while Sylvania digs in deeper vocal detail with a bit better extension, I give a slight preference to Osram's texture and refinement.
Sylvania > USAF-596 > Osram > RCA > Brimar
Sylvania > USAF-596 > Osram = RCA > USAF-596 > Brimar
None of these is a bright sharp sounding tube. Yet there a differences. The only one that I feel coming a bit short in the treble department is the Brimar
I really like the air and treble extension of the Sylvania and USAF-596. It makes these two tubes sound just a bit clearer than the others. However in the case of the USAF-596 there is something with the texture of the upper treble that does not sound as natural as the RCA, Sylvania or Osram.
When it comes to overall treble quality with super air, extension and tone, it's the Sylvania that takes the prize.
The Brimar was not going to win any prizes here. The treble has a slight rolloff, but not a deal breaker. Definetely nothing compared to some chinese production tubes.
USAF-596 -> Sylvania -> Osram = RCA -> Brimar
USAF-596 > Sylvania > RCA = Osram > Brimar
Sylvania 274b = USAF 596 > GEC/Osram U52 = RCA 5Y3GT > Brimar
Sylvania 274B > USAF-596 > GEC/OSRAM U52 > RCA GY3GT > Brimar
The USAF-596 produces a very wide spacios soundstage. The Sylvania while still very wide in presentation, has additional height and depth. These two are the rectifiers for large scale orchestras and classical musical.
The others are respectively more upfront with a gradually more intimate presentation that caters many modern genres and smaller ensembles even more.
Best overall you're saying? Firstly the obvious caveat is: This is a tube out of many in a component (or two) part of your system. I obviously can't provide the right answer for something I do not know. Second of all, preferences are anyone's. I always look for synergy and good balance, as no system is perfect or perfectly balanced. This is a reason I favour having some tube gear, as it facilitates fine tuning through tube rolling. For my almost neutral sounding Taboo MK3 I had most of them for an extended period of time in combination with diverse output and input tubes, but a good 60% of time the RCA tube was running the show. For my warmer speaker amp I prefer the Sylvania, USAF or Osram.
I also want to add this should not be read by just looking as what came "first" and "last". These I repeat are what I consider my top 5 tubes. I personally think highly of each one of them.
Value wise if I only had a small budget to spend on a rectifier, it has got to be the RCA. It's a no brainer. I paid 30-40$ for each of mine, including shipping to far away.
Moving up the cost next is Brimar. Unless I find my system a bit too bright, I would actually probably stretch to the USAF-596. They go for 100-150$ if you can find one that is. But if you ask and look around there are still a few. The first was difficult for me to aquire and then I found two more NOS. They are not going anywhere, that's for sure.
The Osram was a very lucky find through a British army person. The base was loose and the guiding leg is missing. I don't have high hopes I will find another one for a non astronomical price, and yes it's a very special tube. The equivalent, the GEC U52, is avaible here and there, but expensive.
Now the Sylvania 274B is the oldest made and most expensive of them all ... it's everyone's decision whether it's worth it. But if you decide it's not or you cannot find one, worry not. The USAF-596 or RCA are in the same tier.
Notes: I also have more recent editions of some of these tubes. Moving into the 1960s and later... it wasn't quite the same quality with many times a drop in SQ.
Edited by negura - 12/8/13 at 6:14ampost #1149 of 123312/5/13 at 5:27pmpost #1150 of 123312/5/13 at 5:47pmpost #1151 of 123312/5/13 at 6:53pmpost #1152 of 123312/5/13 at 10:10pmIf tink97 (thread starter) still watches this thread...might be good to link to negura's post from post 1?
Looks likely to be valuable and would be nice to make it easy(ish) to find.post #1153 of 123312/6/13 at 4:41ampost #1154 of 123312/6/13 at 4:59amQuote:
I have not seen tink97 around here for awhile....post #1155 of 123312/6/13 at 6:42am
tink97 also is jumping on the toriii IV band wagon. Mine will finally arrive on Monday. Next time I think I'll go for 2 day shipping. Was so hoping for Friday, but shipped and picked up were a day apart. :(
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