Reviewed by: Neil, Audio
Enthusiast from Delaware
Price Paid: $695 at Decware
Product Model Year:
Just a little background. I have been into home audio for about 20
years (including DIY modifications). My systems have consisted of mid level
solid state gear (due to a lack of deep pockets). However friends and mentors
have high priced tube gear such as Audio Research and Nestorovic which I always
referenced to my systems (as well as a lot of live music).
admired the sound of good tube gear. Don't get me wrong, there is some
astounding SS gear which I thought was the cat's pajamas such as Spectral. But
of course that is way out of the price bracket.
Fast forward to a few
months ago. My system consists of a Bryston amp (250W/ch), PSB Gold i speakers
(3-way, mid, tweeter, woofer, 90 dB effc, 4 ohms), ZTPRE (had for 4 years),
Marantz player used as a transport, and a MSB Gold DAC. The system has been
giving me half decent sound for a few years, but every time I go listen to my
friend's system, I realize I'm still way off. There is just a lack of
holographic, quick, involving musical qualities. Another friend let me borrow
his Classe amp and preamp. As soon as the Classe went in, there was an immediate
difference. Mids and vocal were great and there was an excellent degree of
quickness. However, there was a loss of sound stage width and depth . In
addition, my ears were fatiguing in 15 minutes. ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH I was tired of
chasing my tail. I was going to pursue a different tack.
I called Steve
and he gave me options including what I should do if I wanted to start from
scratch. My SE84CS came in this past Tuesday.
The Bryston came out and
the Select went in its place. I let the amp run a few hours before I seriously
listened. Popping in some Windham Guitar sampling music, I noticed great
placement of the instruments with lots of air. The background also seemed very
quiet (black). The music came off extremely smooth (no grain). The speakers by
the way play very loud in my 21 x 13 x 8 room. However, I felt the amp was
holding back by casting a veil. I was expecting more detail such as textures and
transient decay as fingers stroke across guitar strings. With all the things the
Select could do over my Bryston, I still felt that the music could be more
involving. I assumed that the amp was not broken in yet and that to get the
detail I wanted would also include a more efficient speaker.
talked to a friend who has had a Zen B for quite a few years. After hearing the
bittersweet story, he told me to pop in a 6922 for the 6N1P that was sitting at
Well "Knock me over with a feather" (as Opus would say). With
that simple suggestion, my sound stage got deeper and wider. The placement of
instrument materialized into rock solid images. There were many layers to the
The textures are evolving as well, but still not there.
But hey what I am getting now, I've never had before in my life.
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