Amplifier Buying Guide
We do things a little different here at Decware...
We elected not to do a "Good, Better, Best" approach with our amplifiers. Instead they are all nearly equal in fidelity, just different in power and features.
This means that our least expensive 2 watt amplifier can impress with the same sound quality as our most expensive 60 watt amplifiers at 10 times the price!
All you have to do is simply choose the power and features that best fit your needs!
Remember, our 2 watt amplifiers paired with a 94 dB speaker will achieve the same loudness, bass and dynamics as an 83 dB speaker does with 32 watts.
In the bass region the 94 dB speaker will be almost 400% faster making the resolution and bass linearity more appealing than the 83 dB speaker. To understand this a bit better you can read the article: "Why the SET & Efficient Speaker Approach Works"
The biggest factor in choosing the best Decware amplifier is your speakers. If your speakers have a sensitivity that is less than 94dB then refer the the chart below:
A nice pairing should be RED or higher.
Common stumbling points:
Decware amplifiers are often referred to as "integrated amplifiers" because they come with volume controls. In fact most come with at least two sets of inputs so that you can have two sources.
This means that you can use your Decware amplifier without a preamp or with a preamp, either way is fine. If you listen to vinyl you will need a phono stage or a preamp that contains a phono stage.
2 watt amps
Decware makes several variations of their 2 watt amplifier. The first two models (SE84UFO and SE84UFO2.1) are the same amplifier, just different looks. The 2.1 has meters and room for balanced XLR inputs.
The last two models are the SE84UFO3 and SE84UFO25. The UFO3 are 2 watt mono blocks. The UFO25 is the 25th Anniversary version of a UFO2.1
The UFO, UFO2.1, UFO25 can all be bridged into mono for around 6 watts.
4 watt amps
Decware offers a very hi-end desktop amplifier called the Mini Torii. It is designed for reference grade fidelity in the smallest package available. It has the same footprint as a sheet of paper.
This is the only 4 watt amplifier Decware makes. The exception might be our headphone amplifier called the Taboo MK4 that can also drive loudspeakers. Both of these amplifiers are sleeper Decware single-ended pentode designs.
6 watt amps
Decware makes two 6 watt SET amplifiers. Models SE34I.6 and SEWE300B. These amplifiers have enough power to play with a wider variety of speaker sensitivities.
The SE34I.6 has enough room for up to 4 pair of inputs and can have a headphone jack as well as line level outputs for bi-amping or using subs.
The SEWE300B is our flagship 300B amplifier based on the USA made Western Electric output tube.
Both of these amplifiers have been designed in such a way that you can change the signatures with different tubes offering more flexibility for those who like to voice things to their own liking.
The 20 watt push-pull amplifiers
The Decware push pull amps are called TORII amplifiers and come in two models, the TORII JRv2 and the TORII MK5.
These 20 watt amps have enough power to drive most speakers to at least a usable listening level and high efficiency speakers to higher SPL. These are special amplifiers with the imaging and sound of our SET amplifiers. A rare thing with push-pull. This is why if you were attracted to Decware for our SET reputation, but need more power, no worries because these amps sound that good.
The 40 and 60 watt push-pull amplifiers
Possibly our most popular amp is the 40 watt Zen Mystery Amplifier model ZMA. This is because at 40 watts you can play around with a wider range of speakers including those with less efficiency.
Our 60 watt amplifier model TORII MONO are mono blocks based on the same circuit design as the ZMA but with higher voltages. There is not a big difference between 40 and 60 watts but it is there. More noticable is the signature difference between the two amplifiers. The ZMA is silkier and the TORII MONOs are cleaner and faster.
All of our amplifiers will work without a preamp because they have volume controls. We look at our preamps as more of a tool to make your source sound better, especially DACs.
Our most popular preamps are the models CSP3, CSP325 and the fully balanced ZTPRE. We also make a 6 channel preamp called the Zen ULTRA.
The magic black boxes
Possibly the coolest things we make, are these purist single-tube black boxes called the ZBOX, ZSTAGE and ZROCK2.
The ZBOX is a buffer with no gain and features a volume control. It can take the fatigue out of digital without masking things.
The ZSTAGE is a gain stage and features a volume control. It can add slamb and dynamics to any system.
The ZROCK2 is an EQ that uses only one knob and a switch. It remasters the recording with a gain structure that even set flat creates a midrange tone and dimensionality that make it our customers most cherished item.
Some of our amplifiers have the option for XLR balanced inputs and some don't. The ones that don't can still be run balanced using our magic black box called the ZBIT.
A ZBIT is an XLR balanced to RCA transformer with an adjustable output level control that can be used as a master volume. You have up to the full voltage of the balanced inputs at the RCA outputs so it is like having the gain of a preamp without a tube. It makes something like a DAC sound WAY better than the stock RCA outputs on the DAC because the transformers add magic.
We have your back
If you are in line to have an amplifier built and change your mind about options or even want to change to a different amplifier you can without losing your place in line. The exception is if we have already pulled parts to start your build.
If you get an amplifier and you find yourself wishing you would have ordered one with more power, contact us during the 30 day trial and we will build you a bigger amp without the long wait.
DECWARE / High Fidelity Engineering
75 S. Riverview Drive, East Peoria IL 61611
DECWARE ZEN TORII MK 5