Decware Zen Triode Amplifier Amplifiers

4.43/5 (7 Reviews) MSRP : $499.00


Product Description

Stereo single-ended triode amplifier with input level control. Uses SV83 output tubes.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dc007 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I became intrigued by tubes a few years ago and bought a Jolida SJ202. While that was okay and as good in many ways as my Classe 70 I thought what the heck and sold everthing to plunge into the SET world. I wandered across the Decware site and was impressed by the forum members thoughts and the price so I bought my first of 3 of the SE84C's.(one being the EX modded). I also built some speakers using Fostex 206E drivers because these little flea powered guys need high effeciency speakers. One will be amazed at the sound these little amps can make. Huge soundstage with precise imaging although with single driver speakers one is menaced by the small sweetspot. There is usable bass. No gangsta rap for these but the bass is presented very accurately. They absolutely float female vocals out in the air with no irritating sibilance at all. These are a very good value given their limitations and will make anyone who loves music very happy.
Having mentioned limitations it is fair to say that since we are dealing with 1.8 watts there are some things they will not do.
If your musical preference is HipHop, hard rock or full orchestra classical they will run out gas. They do clip gracefully but can become congested with complex passages.
If you like jazz, soft rock, etc. then don't be afraid on the Zen. Even with the recent price hikes they are still a solid value.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by cbboyle a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 10, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Wow! This amp comes far closer to the hype than I would have expected. I prefer it to much more expensive equipment I have owned, including Counterpoint, Classe, McIntosh, Nikko, etc. For better or worse, I snagged a base Zen, not the Select, off Ebay for a very decent price as an experiment. Now I wish I had gotten the Select, because this amp is really, really good...but there are some noticable rough edges. I may try tube rolling, or selective parts upgrades. But, even as it came, it blows away anything I've tried irrespective of cost. No, it's not perfect. But what a bargain, and what a terrific value for an audio nut on a budget. Better be sure the rest of your rig lives up to this very transparent, very revealing, and somewhat critical amp; they're not kidding about that. Support is phenomenal, and there's a great and active user community that has already been helpful to me. This thing trounces the pants off my previous Classe CA-300/CP-50, and is utterly no contest to the Counterpoint gear I had for a brief time. Imaging is terrific; that was not previously my primary concern, but it does it soooo well! Wow. It is less tube-like, and more neutral, than I expected. Oh, and on my not outrageously efficient Von Schweikert VR-4/5's (which go against every recommendation for this amp) it sounds fabulous. I had no idea the VR's could image like this, and it is more than powerful enough for reasonable listening (it is capable of levels that would seriously annoy the neighbors, but I never play that loud). My rec to you; find a used one, preferablly a Select, and try it at little risk. You can always resell it! You may, like me, find it the best audio gamble in a while.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $355.00

Purchased At:   ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by abajaj11 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 11, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Still my reference Tube amplifier. I use very high efficiency speakers (i pair over 96 db) and one at 104 db.
The zen se84C is sonically neutral and
awesome. Very very fast.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $499.00

Purchased At:   manufacturer



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Terry Gesualdo a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This little amp never ceases to amaze me. Just when i think I have it figured out it then surprises me. For instance I thought because of it wattage rating that it bass was a bit shy. Then I matched up against a 2A3 amp, and found it had much stronger bass, with incredible texture comparatively. I am finding it hard to find another amplifier that is totally better. My only complaint, if I could have one is, it would be nice to have more wattage, but I would not sacrfice one ounce of what it gives me no matter what the wattage gain. When you get to this level of fidelity, it is the very small differences that make a big difference. The largest thing anyone has to worry about is impedence matching this amp to speakers, it like lower impedences with no crossovers. It is better to match it with a higher impedence and a less complicated crossover, than the opposite. I have been using this amplifier for over four years, and have not been able to find anything that I would replace it with. The speakers I am using it with are 105dbs 1w/1m, and have an impedence of less than six ohms. I plan on getting a Select version of this amp, and bi-amping with the two amps, the Select for the mids and highs, and my SE84C for the bass region. This amp clearly show it is not quanity that counts but clarity.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $499.00

Purchased At:   Manufacture



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kpatterson a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 14, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I love this little amp.

For best results use sensitive, quality speakers of at least 90db and a powered sub woofer. I use the Triangle Titus (stereophile class B rated) at 91db with Analysis Plus, Clear Oval speaker cables, feeding the amp with a Parasound P/HP-850 preamp in direct mode with Analysis Plus, Oval One interconnects. The powered sub woofer is driven by the preamp in a bi-amped configuration using MIT Terminator II interconnects. My NAD C541 CD uses Kimber Hero interconnects to the preamp.

I am not an audiophile reviewer so I'll do my best to describe the sound. The lower midrange to upper highs are crisp without being grainy, harsh, edgy, or bright. The soundstage has noticeable depth and the images are focused. The upper lows are precise while bottom end lacks the slam of solid state amps which is easily overcome with a powered sub woofer. After initial burn in and an hour of warm-up the speakers disappear with rising detail, image in a natural soundstage. On the re-mastered Rolling Stones hybrid SACD Mick Jagger’s voice is amazing. Sonny Rollins, Art Pepper, John Lee Hooker have me up for hours of late night listening. At 5 watts, this amp is perfect for low level listening and still manages to provide plenty of sound in my listening room.

I have used this amp for 3 years and you will not find a better tube SE for the price or sound quality. If you are one of those who are ready to take the step from solid state to tube, this is the amp. Check out the site: www.decware.com and read some of the reviews as well as the design documents.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $499.00

Purchased At:   Decware




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