Decware SE84UFO25 vs. Unison Simply Italy => what can I expect?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by zeitlos, Feb 20, 2022.

  1. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    I currently own an Unison Simply Italy. I came a cross the Decware SE84UFO25. Of course, it looks AWESOME :) And of course, this is one reason for ordering it.

    However, I really like my Simply Italy in combination with the Unison Max 2 loudspeakers. The speakers were developed using the Simply Italy. So this is is a very respectable pair.

    The SE84UFO25 is famous for its 2,4 watts. I don‘t know how nor why, but one can read that this leads to a very unique listening experience which enables you to hear things you haven‘t heard before.

    Now I ask myself what this SE84UFO25 will offern that the Unison Simply Italy can‘t. I‘m not sure how well known the Simply Italy is in the States. In Europe, it‘s quite successful. Officially it offers 2x12 watts but it‘s actually 2x8 watts. So can we say that it is a similar concept? Of course between 2x2,4 and 2x8 watts, theres a noticeable difference, however, both a relatively reduced in power.

    I‘m still struggeling whether the SE84UFO25 makes sense. It‘s quite some money. I have to pay a lot of customs since I‘m in Germany. And it also requires some additional investment => Switchbox, maybe I need another preamp etc.

    Would you say that the main difference between those two amps is its design or would you expect also considerable differences in sound (in favor of the SE84UFO25)?

    Thanks for any comment. I‘m trying to come to a sensible conclusion but so far I‘m not in a position to achieve this ;)

    I think that coming from the Simply Italy the Decware SE84UFO25 might not really be a step ahead. Do you agree?

    P.S. I will also miss my remote control!!! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2022
  2. Vinylleroy

    Vinylleroy Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    No one that can tell Zeitlos something about this? :p
     
  3. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The Simpli is listed as a Ultralinear connection with EL34 tubes and the Decware is a SET amp using el84 tubes or equivalents.

    The difference you might hear would be more about topology and tubes than anything else.

    Considering the very long wait time for Decware (over a year, I know I'm on the list for the Zen Triode) and import fees I find it hard to believe that there is good value over the Simpli.

    Will it sound different? Probably. Will it be better? Maybe. Is it worth the cash and time outlay to get it? That's up to you to decide, but unless someone has does this already its going to be hard to tell. People in this hobby spend thousands on the smallest of improvements. Are you willing to do it?

    I can tell you this:
    I heard the 6W Decware EL34 based tube amp with their DM945 speakers and it sounded amazing.
     
    beowulf, Dignan2000 and zeitlos like this.
  4. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Apparently not. ;) Thanks for bringing it up again. Even if I have to say that I‘m not interested in the Decware anymore. For two reasons:

    1. My Simply Italy plays so incredibly well, especially in combination with my Unison Max 2 Speakers. I know the man who invented the Max 2 and he used a Simply Italy during the development process. The Unison Simply Italy is an incredible amp. I use Mullard NOS tubes in it (12AU7) => marvellous.
    2. I read on the internet that one can cancel a preorder as long as the status isn‘t „parts pulled“. Mine was scheduled to go into production in about two years. I cancelled shortly after ordering it (within the first month, almost 2 years before it was scheduled to be built). They keep about 100 Dollar as a „processing fee“. I know that they had every right to do so, but I still, I don‘t think it‘s decent. But I might simply differ in mentality here since I‘m German. Others might see no problem here.
     
  5. Vinylleroy

    Vinylleroy Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi Zeitlos,

    I can imagine the Unison speaker and amp to be a very nice combination, and an ultimate match!

    I had the Unison Research Unico Nuovo and now have the Unison S6 MKII, and was also reading about the Decware amps. I'm planning to go for horn speakers, which have a active section for the low end and only needs 1 or 2 watts to drive the mid and highs. I think that the Decware might be a good choice for me, but not sure either. Just as you, I live in western europe and we can't audition a Decware amp somewhere, that's a pretty big downside. On the other hand, what I've read about the Decware amps, they must have a pretty amazing sound to them!

    I heard the Simply Italy a few times and it sounds very good! Great amp and I have no idea how it would compare to the Decware amps, but I can imagine you just want to hold-on to the Simply Italy.

    With kind regards,

    Leroy
     
  6. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    I've had push pull EL84 and EL34 amps but never the one you possess. And I have had a total of TEN Decware amps since I started with the 27th amp that Steve Deckert built in '97. I still have the Taboo Mk IV with the 25th Anniversary mods, and what is most similar to the SE84UFO25: a pair of SE84UFO3 Monoblocks with the Anniversary mods, pretty darned close to the SE84UFO25 with just about .5 watt more power.

    Here is what I think will be the biggest difference between the two amps: yours will seem slightly more powerful, and slightly warmer and less detailed. There is something about the SET nature of the Decware amp that will give a more layered and nuanced sound, sort of combining a very good solid state nature into the tube characteristics of the signature, that's the best way I have come to understand it. Your amp will likely sound as if it had more headroom and may drive your speakers louder, and the signature of that sound will be more "classic tube amp" sounding, and have a slower, thicker nature to it.

    I got into Decware a long time ago, have three systems built around their components (two with their speakers and one a headphone only system using one of their preamps) and I just can't be objective--to me Decware's sound is what I crave and can't be without. But being in Europe and with the long waiting list (over a year. . . wow. . . I've waited as much as five months in the past but now it's likely three times that). . . perhaps that is not your best option.

    Also worth considering is that out of the blue, due to the war and Russian tube distribution and sales problems and a desire to "go American" Decware is designing what appears to be an AMAZING 300B amp targeted towards Western Electric 300B tube use which will not be cheap but I think is going to be a game changer. I'm getting onto the waiting list for one of those and will somehow afford it. . . .
     
  7. Vinylleroy

    Vinylleroy Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands

    I've seen the Youtube video's of the 300B amp and it does sound very very nice!
     
    Lonson likes this.
  8. seikosha

    seikosha Forum Resident

    The SE84UFO is a great amp, but it’s not a giant killer…at least in my system. It equals or beats most in its price range that I’ve heard but you have to have the right speakers to compliment it. Don’t get caught up too much in the hype.
     
    Oddiofyl likes this.
  9. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    I won't argue with you . . . but I will say the SE84UFO25 is a different beast, a clear improvement, and of course also fighting in a different price category, but really worth consideration if you have the money and the time.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  10. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    I think this is possibly an error of some sort. Two years ago I cancelled an order after being on the list for a month (back when the list was only 3 months long) and they gave me a 100% refund, including the deposit. There was no "processing fee" withheld. I suggest contacting Sarah in customer service and see what she can do, or at least explain why you lost $100.
     
  11. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks for getting back to me. Yes, I also thought it‘s a mistake after such a short time of preordering when the building and delivery is about two years away.
    This is what Sarah wrote: “Normally the full 10% deposit is non-refundable but we will sometimes reduce it as long as the order isn’t in production yet. I will refund all but $100 to cover processing fees.“

    I mean, probably I have to be grateful in the end and so be it, but still, in Germany a dealer who keeps 100 Dollar for putting you on/deleting you from a list would not be in the market for a long time. But okay, that‘s it. Not my kind of company in any case. As they are very successful, they probably can afford handling it like this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2022
    Rolltide likes this.
  12. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks for the replies concerning the two different amps. What I can say: My dealer is in the business for about 40 years an very respected in Germany. He constructed the Unison Max 1 and 2 (and probably also the Max mini?) for Unison Research. He has heard/had almost every amp you can think of in his life. Also the very expensive ones. He always says, if he could have only one, it‘s the Simply Italy. Not even their bigger/more expensive ones. So they have to be (at least) good :)
    I‘m will stick with it.
     
  13. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
  14. FuzzyNightmares

    FuzzyNightmares Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    Strange, I was also under the impression the deposit was refundable based on how my convo with I believe Sarah went. Can’t fail to meet demand and have a 2-3 year wait list, still accepting orders, then just keep the money if people get tired of waiting… feel the proper thing to do if you can’t meet demand is what Omega did, and shut down orders for a period of time until the backlog of orders are taken care of.
     
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  15. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I would contact my credit card company and have them reverse the charges for the $100 as well.
     
    shug4476, Oddiofyl and DancingSea like this.
  16. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Location:
    Washington DC
    I think you made the right decision you have a nice little amp and speakers that were designed with it, hard to beat that synergy. And you like the sound hard to argue with that, one possible upgrade route would be tube rolling. I'd very highly recommend the Genalex Gold Lion KT77 reproduction, it's a fantastic sounding EL34 variant.
     
    Tim 2, SandAndGlass, Oddiofyl and 2 others like this.
  17. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    Very strange, they must’ve recently changed their policy. The deposit was normally fully refundable as long as parts had not been pulled.

    With a 3 year wait, it seems unreasonable to change that policy, especially given that they aren’t fully transparent at the time of ordering about how very long the wait will be.

    Perhaps the $100 part had something to do with international orders?

    I’ve received 100% refunds from them in the past.
     
    FuzzyNightmares likes this.
  18. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    What do you mean by “had something to do with international orders“? It makes no big difference to put a foreign costumer on a list ;)

    My order was 3300 Dollars. So according to their policy they keep 330 Dollars deposit, if you cancel. As you said, it‘s basically a 3 years waiting time. I cancelled after 3 weeks. I was at the end of the list. This is a „clever“ way to make money.

    Anyway, I love my Unison Simply Two and they even have normal/decent business policies.

    @jonwoody: Currently I have two Mullard NOS CV4003 and two RFT NOS EL34 tubes in it and I love the sound. Have tried quite a lot of different tubes. But not the KT77. I have read about it and that people praise it a lot. However, there are controversial statements with regard to its compability in the Simply Italy. Some say, it will (might?) damage the amp :( Not sure, if it‘s really the case.
     
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  19. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    I like my combo now :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    (The Cambridge hast been replaced by the SPL Director Mk2)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2022
  20. DancingSea

    DancingSea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    Yes, it’s fairly standard practice in America to charge Germans an extra $100 :wave:
     
    Rolltide likes this.
  21. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Okay good to know! We want to go to America again soon. Then I dig up my treasure chest in the garden beforehand.
    Or I'll bring pretzels. Let's see what's better.
     
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  22. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    You made a good choice with the Unison. That is a nice looking set up.....
     
    Andy Saunders, jonwoody and zeitlos like this.
  23. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    I think you will have waited 3 years to be disappointed.... Your Unison amp is much higher quality than any of the Decware. Premium craftsmanship and better parts throughout the line
     
    zeitlos likes this.
  24. JonathanKasper

    JonathanKasper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Zeitlos - any chance you paid via PayPal? If so I wonder if that’s perhaps the reason as PayPal charges vendors a transaction fee so perhaps the $100 simply makes Decware whole? Or perhaps the same situation with an international credit card charge?

    As for premium craftsmanship... Decware is handmade, completely p2p and comes with a lifetime warranty... so not sure we can knock it for premium craftsmanship lol...
     
  25. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    No, I didn‘t pay via Paypal. Payed by Visa Card. And no, unfortunately it‘s not as you suspect. Check their policies. They keep the deposit if you cancel. As they wrote, sometimes they might just keep 100 Dollar instead of the 10% which they say they will keep. In my case this would have been 330 Dollar. For basically nothing ;)
     

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