No: Zen TORII Mk II
Impressions: June 2009
I realize that I haven't had this amp for long, and
that it may be a bit atypical in that it's almost a
prototype that has been reconfigured to current production
I know that with Decware products, revealing reproducers,
break-in is a REAL process and can take surprising turns.
. .and a big but. . . the sound of this amp demands
that I comment on it right now. . . and later!
my comments will be very favorable.
off, the very first notes that flow through this amp
will let a seasoned Decware user know, definitively,
that this amp is a DECWARE AMP, and all that entails
in superior sound and big bad bang for buck. It's
right there, it's the big brother of the Select, it's
the twin of the Integrated that grew up in a different
family, it's one of Steve's amps, it has his signature
sound and exhibits his perennial attention to detail
and his unique thinking and techniques.
as much as it has that house sound that none of the
company's fans would like to be without, it has its
own personality. It has an easy breathing power
within its core, ready to be put to use just like that.
It has a precision that is remarkable and attention-grabbing.
And yet it can delicately cradle the gentlest
most sensitive hint of sound or texture and place it
protectively just where it should be.
you read the design notes to this amp you see a brilliance
of thinking and a care of implementation that appears
remarkable to be behind an amplifier anywhere near this
price point. And on top of that a cohesive vision
of what an amplifier such as this could and SHOULD do.
When you see and heft it you can only marvel at
the quality of construction and parts. When you spend
an hour with it you realize this is one of those special
components that lived up to the designer's intentions
and can take on your present and future needs.
hard to describe the sound. I've run my RL2s with
four amps now over the years (three Decware amps, one,
my old Proton, temporarily while the Monoblocks were
being updated) and this is the amp that controls them
with authority and finesse, this is the one to keep
connected, the speakers breathe, sing, and if you want
them to, shout out a firm amen chorus. In comparison
to the other amps it has the magic they do too. I
think Steve summed up the difference quite succinctly
in the designer's notes:
boils down to the slightly romantic interpretation known
to Single ended amps vs. the more realistic (live) and
honest presentation of this new amp."
there's a bit of misty bloom that lives in the single-ended
amps that this amp simply doesn't allow. And that may
well be the deciding factor for someone, but as one
who lived with the bloom for so long this is REALITY,
this is the heartbeat and foundation, this is the amp
that brings out everything in my system that I want
icing on the cake for me is the treble cut adjustment
pots, a little known secret available for Decware amps.
. . I think I'll start another thread about those. Their
inclusion on this and my Integrated has allowed me to
tailor the sound to recordings and made silk purses
out of pigs' ears. For anyone with a large collection
of recordings and who doesn't only listen to the really
good ones, this is a great feature, almost indispensable
to me now.
I say to anyone who is, to quote the title of this thread,
"Considering Torii Mark II", "Consider
hard, save up, take the chance, I sincerely doubt you'll
ever send it back for a refund." Kudos to Steve,
this certainly IS a reference amp.