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  1. #1
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    SV83/EL84 and 274B

    Chaps, I have just bought a new amp, a Decware Zen SE84CW (older 2003 model of the version below).
    http://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84C.htm
    It has a pair of EL84 tubes in the output stage, instead of the original SV83. I gather (and on the Decware site) that they are interchangeable, and require no bias change as its auto-bias.
    To return it to original spec, where is best to find some SV83 tubes? There are a few places, they seem very cheap.

    Also the Rectifier tube can be changed for a number of different models, including the 274B which is a common modification apparently over the original 5U4G.

    Are these changes likely to make a massive change?

    This is my first proper tube amp, I had the Consonance Cyber 10SE USB a good while back (a single ended KT88 amp) but I did not really have it long enough to play with other valves.

    Ta, Rob
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  2. #2
    Super Dooper Wammer Cable Monkey's Avatar
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    The indications are this is a particularly sensitive amp to its environment so I would expect tube rolling and cable changes to have an impact on performance. I would just get it in and have a listen. You have to know it before you can properly assess changes.
    Let me get this straight. You take a perfectly good CD and put it in a DVD player??!!

  3. #3
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    Cheers Henry and Paul, will do some reading over the next week and hopefully have a good session tomorrow when it arrives!
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  4. #4
    Super Dooper Wammer
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    I use the russian version of tubes in all manner of setups and have never been less than impressed.

    I currently run russian 6P14s in my Leak stereo 20 in place of the EL84s. There is some suggestion on the web that the SV83 is a 6P15 type tube and does not exactly share the same pinout as EL84 so proceed with caution if you are swapping http://www.boiaudioworks.com/TubeDat...lletin_29.html

    I would agree with soderator and for the small cost of 2 tubes buy a few different EL84 types or russian direct equiv.

  5. #5
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    You are welcome over anytime, as you are only just down the road (in the grand scale of things)
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  6. #6
    piss artist moggy58's Avatar
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    I can recommend trying a pair of Mullard EL84s NOS, beg borrow or steal a pair they are the dogs dangly bits. I have them in my John Wood amp sonic perfection.
    Also like sodders said try the Russian ones, at a fiver you cant go wrong.

  7. #7
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    It arrived today, nice and weighty little beast, EL84 tubes are a lot smaller than I imagined!
    It comes with 3 EL84 tubes, and a SV83, I guess the previous owner bought a few replacements. It has a variety of spare input tubes as well.
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  8. #8
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    Decware Zen SE84CW by hoopsontoast, on Flickr


    Zen3 by hoopsontoast, on Flickr
    Last edited by HoopsOnToast; 25-04-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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  9. #9
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    Well I have had a whole evening of music, got in early from work at 4:30 and been listening since.

    Just as a size comparison, its around the same as the Kolts, I am not sure if that says more about them or the amp!


    Decware Zen System by hoopsontoast, on Flickr

    Well the first think I noticed that it did not sound much different to start off with, bit underwhelmed (after a good 30 min to warm up).
    I started to play some albums that I know very well and as it went on a bit, actually found myself turning it down. This is because I was listening louder than I would normally without realising.

    It has two bias settings, not labled, one sounds a little bit more airy and the other (which I prefer a lot) has a lot better punch in the bass, and speed, and no real difference in the rest of the presentation.

    I have found, over this evening, that its more the little things that I am noticing, like bass guitar and piano seem to really have texture, its a bit of a cliche I know.
    The seperation and layers of the music really stand out as well.

    I got into a certain mood with some Folk music, and three albums in particular, Seth Lakeman-Freedom Fields, Kila-Luna Park and Pressgang-Fire. I actually had a Wow moment with one of the songs on the Seth Lakeman album. They are good references, as I have seen all of them live. Listening to them now does not feel like a live performance in front of me, but makes me think back to that specific gig (if that makes sense)
    This is playing at very low level now, around 40dB average acording to my phone, with peaks of 50dB. It sounds really really really good at this low volume, which is what I was looking for, I dont feel I am missing much of the performance, that you usually get from low level stuff.

    Just got John Martyn-Solid Air on and its lovely, everything is just right.

    I really did not think the 80dB Kolts would work at the lower levels with just the 2wpc of the Zen but they work really well. Both the Sony integrated amps, the Bantam Gold, TA2020 and AVR200 never sounded this good late night listening. It does remind me a bit of a scaled down system I heard at Scalford, Chris's T+A/Oto combo, although its a lot quieter and completley different, it has the bass speed and punch with the great seperation and imaging!

    I do seem to be gushing over this amp (I have never felt the need to write so much about the other equipment other than the Kolts) but I never go this with the Consonance Cyber 10 SE KT88 Single Ended amp I had for a while. Only bad thing is I am really looking forward to tomorrow evening now in anticipation.
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  10. #10
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    Yeah it 'drives' them really well, I have not really tried it at high volumes at all though. The Zen are said to be stable down to 2 Ohms acording to the website, the new version down to 1 Ohm aparently

    Another downside is thinking that the AVR200 as pre (and Rotel RQ-970BX) should be replaced with a Croft Micro 25 Basic!
    Last edited by HoopsOnToast; 25-04-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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  11. #11
    Toblerob freefallrob's Avatar
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    Interesting amp Rob, nice one, i'm a bit jealous! I've always hankered after another valve amp, I still miss my WAD KEL84, lovely sound especially with a valve phono stage too.

    I also had a cheapo (90) ebay valve amp, that was fun for a bit to.

    I used some new old stock Russian ruggedised 'EL84's' too, they were smooth, open with solid bass, nice.

  12. #12
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    I am quite smitten with it, even after a nights sleep after the over enthusiastic review above
    Really looking forward to the next couple of nights, got nothing planned, Sky box is recording so will be 3 music nights (with a short interval for dinner) in a row!

    Yesterday was Folk/Vocal stuff, so I think it may be Electronic/Rock night tonight!
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  13. #13
    Super Wammer AlanB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoopsOnToast View Post
    Yeah it 'drives' them really well, I have not really tried it at high volumes at all though. The Zen are said to be stable down to 2 Ohms acording to the website, the new version down to 1 Ohm aparently

    Another downside is thinking that the AVR200 as pre (and Rotel RQ-970BX) should be replaced with a Croft Micro 25 Basic!
    Had the little Croft pre about 25 years ago. You won't go wrong. Smashing thing and (by today's recession standard) reasonably priced.
    Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons. They are vexations to the spirit.
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  14. #14
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    I think it may be a good move in the future, a Tube/Hybrid Pre including a phono stage for 350 seems good value to me.

    One thing I did not say is that the Zen is silent, no hum as far as I can hear

    Also, anyone recommend somewhere to get a nice knob?
    Found this @ 9, which looks nice.

    http://www.hificollective.co.uk/cata...6r2hf4v1o0vlp3
    Last edited by HoopsOnToast; 26-04-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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  15. #15
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    Yeah its 6mm, I checked last night
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  16. #16
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    hmmmm, its even better without the AVR200. Damn did not realise quite how lazy I got having got used to using a remote

    Got some Chase and Status on, working well!
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  18. #18
    Wammer Setting Son's Avatar
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    Any chance of an internal photo or two, Rob?

    The amp, that is.......

  19. #19
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    When I get a minute when its turned off

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  20. #20
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