Reviewed by: Luand, Audio Enthusiast from the United States

Price Paid: $used from original owner

Product Model Year:
2001

Summary:

I recently bought a used pair of SV83M with the dual coil transformer and have the following comments:

Before I begin, my set up is a pair of SV83 monoblock (the amp), Cary SLP-50B preamp, McIntosh 7007 CD player, Conrad Johnson SD-22 CD player, isolation transformer, DH Labs Silver Sonic bl-1 II interconnect, and inexpensive 12 gauge Vampire copper speaker cable, and a pair of KEF 107 reference speaker (90db sensitivity).  Prior to purchasing the Decware, I was using a Assemblage 300B SET amp in the set up.

My first impression of the look of the amp was not so great, considering the regular price of the amp was about $2,500 new.  I found the  screws on the top "stainless" cover appear to be zinc plated and not stainless.  Hence, they don't seem to match the tone and shininess of the top plate of the amp.  The tube sockets are not gold plated.  The black bottom cover of each monoblock is screwed on using shiny zinc plated screws, and the outer edges of the bottom cover and the contrasting shiny screws are not at all hidden from view.  These are many small details of the amp that I did not expect to see.  Unfortunately, there were no decently clear and large photos of the amp available to me prior to purchasing the amp.  Therefore, as I read that this is the top of the line amp from Decware and it is a cost-is-no-object in quality..., I was in for a little surprise.

Turning now to the quality of the sound, initially there was a defective a rectifier tube that emitted a mechanical vibration that was so loud that it could be heard 8 feet away - it seriously interfered with the music.  I had to live with the noise while trying to burn in the rest of the tubes.  Luckily, as the set of tubes for the amp was new, I was able to get a replacement tube quickly from Decware.  I later learned from the manual that, the Ruby rect. tubes have the habit of making noise.  

After getting a replacement rectifier tube, I was able to fully appreciate the niceness of the sound.  My KEFs have no problem being driven by the amp.  The sound is  very neutral compared to my 300B and my Zen 84B.  I think all the good things said by others about its sound are true, and so I'm not repeating anything here.  By the way, my 84B does not have enough juice to drive the KEFs so it's being used to drive my home theatre center channel in a bi-wire mode.  I noticed that the 300B amp has more of a warm bottom end,  and my wife also immediately noticed that too.  She prefers the warm bottom end of the 300B over the monoblocks.  I don't.  I prefer a more balanced sound of the monoblocks.  

I can't say anything negative about the monoblocks with respect to its sound quality.  I think I finally understand what being fast means with respect to the amp sound.  Piano notes sound more lively, and there is no annoying pronounced s sounds in words.

I used the amp with the bias switch thrown toward the back of the amp.  I don't have an idea what mode that it's in but I prefer the sound in that mode.  My wife thinks the amp sounds not as pleasing in the other mode where the switch is thrown toward the front.  I agree.  I should consult with the manual to see the effect of the switch with the dual-coil transformer option.

There is absolutely no noise or hum coming from the speakers when the Mac CD player, which has variable volume output, is hooked up directly to the amp.  Also, there is no noise at all when either CD player is hooked up to the preamp and the amp.  It's impressively quiet.


Overall, I'm impressed with the sound quality - so much that I'm willing to ignore the cosmetic shortcomings that I see.  I like the monoblocks so much that the 300B is now moved to my home office in the basement.  It is not a banishment of the 300B.  It is just means that I will spend less quality time with the 300B than with the monoblocks.

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, others probably wouldn't agree with my opinion on the amp unimpressive cosmetic details.  I just want to make it clear that  I don't think it's ugly by any means, though.  Now, I don't look at the amp and I only listen to it.   So the looks don't matter much.

I recently heard a $25,000 solid-state amp and ribbon speaker system at a high-end audio shop.  I must say that my amp, coupled to the rest of my audio system, sounds so much more open, clear. and balanced, and  I am so happy.  My conclusion is that more money spent does not mean one could buy a better sounding system.


  

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