Decware Zen Triode Integrated Amplifiers

4.67/5 (3 Reviews) MSRP : $1495.00


Product Description

The SE34-I is two separate EL34 based Zen mono amplifiers and a single tube version of the ZTPRE preamplifier. Basically an incarnation of the Signature system combined into one chassis!


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: November 3, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I now onwed this particular model for about 6 months now and I swear, based on my hearing, that this Amp really performs to it's claims. yes, it is flexible and has a bit more power than the select version (SV83)tubes, but most importantly, they really sound much more different versus a equivalent ASL or Consonance. this is just me, but personally, I find it on par with Cary Audio 300SEI, on certain music, but lacks the power and grunt of the 300B tubes. The speakers I am using are Omega systems Super3. previously, I had it connected with a NHT but did not cut the job. you need a high efficient speaker to work with this (93db or greater). As fas as sound is concerend, it stages very well, you can close your eyes and actually position the players on stage, there is space between the instruments, i.e. you can hear the body of the instrument and the vocals are great. Dianna Krall, Norah Jones, Patricia Barber, even male tenors, Pavaroti, Domingo sounded very full, dynamic and their timber is very relialistic. and if you playing Orchestra or and opera, there is very big chance it will do a holographic trick on you. This means you will think that they players are actually infront, beside or behind you. wow. when I first expeirece it, I ask the wife if she notices it too. she is not an enthusiat herself, but she drop her jaws when she heard it herself, saying that this was a different expierence from what I used to have with my current audio setup.(solid state). The instruments have a lot of air between them and the high's are extended sweet. althought this is one part that can change IF you roll tubes. Also, the Single tube configuration allows you to have a ZEN single triode configuration OR a Pure Triode config. The difference between the 2 can be summarized as the ZEN has more punch/power to it making ideal for Bands or Rock/Roll music while the Pure Triode is better off with Vocals.
I also noticed that there are nuasances in the music I did not hear before. As I compared this system with other Tube systems OR Solid State, I kept 1 thing constant, and that is my music source. I use a tube buffered SACD player running either redbook CD's or single layer SACD. I rolled the Amps and the speakers to get the most optimum sound. Is this the Ultimate system, heck no, BUT for the price you pay versus the sound, Heck YES. The sound I get (or at least I hear) can only be equalled or bettered by a Cary Audio 300B driving Quad ESL,(and if you know what I am referring to, then you know it's price). I do not know how the Martin Logans stack up, but they are Electrostatics.

Setup:
Tube SACD, Decware SE34I, Omega Super 3, DIY CAT5 speaker cables, Nordost Valhalla interconnect.
Old system:
NHT 2.5i, Dunlavy SC3, Rotel RB1090, Bryston 3BST, Musical Fidelity A3Pre,
Tube SACD

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $1499.00

Purchased At:   Decware



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:2
Submitted by nathanm a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 25, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This will now be my 3rd foray into the world of tube amps. The SE34i caught my eye for one main reason; adjustability. You get three switches (well, two actually) and a few different hookup\tube configurations that allow for different sounds. At least that is what they say. The difference between marketing blather and what my ears hear has been consistently huge. With this amp most of what Steve wrote about on the site is true. The switches really do offer a truly noticeable difference and not just to nerds who hear differences in the plating on binding posts. I would describe the effects as more akin to the ones you might hear on a guitar amp. The center switch gives a bass boost and alters the character of the midrange. Throw the sucker back and forth during some heavy guitar music and you can really choose what you prefer. I didn't notice as big of a change with single or dual tube configs, but it's still there. The amps seems to have good midrange detail and soundstaging, but to be honest I was never able to get a 3D image with my current speakers\room.

It is rather expensive, but it does things no other amp does. I really think the preamp output should be a standard feature, though. Decware is a pretty cool company. I like the idea of enthusiastic guys tinkering in their basement and coming up with stuff that working class listeners can actually afford. Well, sorta.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   Decware website



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

Date Reviewed: March 2, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This is a great integrated amplifier! It has enough power, 7 wpc, to drive most 90dB and above speakers with ease but has a clean and precise sound similar to Decware's other Zen amps. Its single-ended triode sound is wonderful! It has 4 inputs with a single volume control.

But it is more than that. It is uniquely flexible in its configuration. It is a parallel SET amp that uses two EL34s per channel. But the really unsusual thing about its design is that it has four output transformers, one for each tube. It can easily be set up to run one tube per channel for only 3.5 wpc. One tube on each side is wired for 'true-triode' mode, the other for 'pseudo-triode' mode. They each sound different. The 'true' sounds a lot like a 2A3, and the 'pseudo' sounds more like a Decware Zen.

In addition to the four different wiring schemes (2-tubes, true and pseudo triode; and 4-tube, series and parallel), there are two switches that alter the voltage between the preamp and input stages, which changes the sound, and one switch that alters the bias. Given all these adjustments, if the SE34-I doesn't sound the way you want it to, it can be changed until it does.

And, unlike the Zen Triode SE84 amps, you don't have to have super-efficient speakers for the SE34. 90dB works very well, as long as you don't listen at live concert levels.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $975.00

Purchased At:   Used




Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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