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REVIEW: Decware Select Zen CSP2 Tube Headphone Amp - Page 8

post #106 of 654
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
IMHO, yes.
Thanks for a quick response.

Phoenix, while great at what it does, is not my type of amp. I found it to be little too edge and harsh(?) sometimes.

I am eying either this (after your great review) or NDA Sonnett. The price wise, Sonnett is a lot more expensive, but if I have to, I will add more fun and get Sonnett.

WA22 is also very tempting, but it's little over my budget after spending so much on can/source/amp (which I just lost nearly $400 for 1+ month use)

Have you had a chance to audition the Sonnett? If yes, how does it compare to this? Which amp would better suit me? I like more rounded and little warm sound (which is why I am leaning toward the tube amp).

post #107 of 654
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, no, I have never heard a Sonnett, although I would very much like to...
post #108 of 654

I see that you have used the SP 274B in the CSP2 for a few months now.
How has the 274B been working out?

Unfortunately I fried an EML 274B Mesh in mine, and according to George at tubesusa, that tube is incompatible with the CSP2 design (George and Steve discussed the situation, and determined that a choke is required for the EML - the CSP2 does not have one).

So, I'm trying to determine if the CSP2/274B compatibility issue is unique the the EML, or if all 274B tubes will suffer a reduced lifespan.
post #109 of 654
Thread Starter 
I have had no problem with the SP 274B. The Manual of the CSP-2 specifically lists the 274B as an acceptable rectifier tube. And I actually asked Decware if the SP 274B would work OK, and Steve Deckert replied that it would.

So I have to assume the SP is OK
post #110 of 654
Yeah, based on the CSP2 manual stating 274B compatibility, the great sonic performance of the SP 274B in my WA6, and the positive comments in this forum on the EML 274B in the WA6, I plopped one in the CSP2.

The end result was:

The tube died today.
It was installed in a Decware CSP2, and had less than 300 hours on it.

Hi John,
Thanks for your detailed image here. I can see the cap values on most of the caps, but I'm afraid that the 220uF caps are the caps coming off of the rectifier. . . From what I see, this tube has been "cooked" due to larger than recommended capacitor values for the EML rectifiers, or higher than usual line voltage. I have seen a few tubes with this greyish black deposit on the glass(all the result from either issue). You cannot use an EML 274B or A with a first cap value of over 4uF. . . .

George & Steve,
I thank both of you for your products and great support.
It looks like we may have an incompatible combination, but I do not have the technical information (or understanding) needed to support the troubleshooting effort.
Could you please contact George to help resolve the incompatibility?
Thank you all,

Hello John,
I spoke with Steve today, and we had a long conversation about the power supply. There is NO choke in your unit, and along with having to much capacitance towards the rectifier, the tube was doomed to failure from the beginning. Emission Labs shows the optimum power supply circuit to correspond with these tubes under the 274A/B icon on the tubesusa.com website, and you MUST use a choke when using their rectifier tubes. . . Steve says that he can do the mod for you, and I have instructed him, as well as directed him to the information on the tubesusa.com website to facilitate this. . . This has happened before to other's out there with different equipment. It's rare, but it happens. The greyish black appearance suggested to me that this was the issue. . . .
Best Regards,

1 - The SP 274B also sounds great in the WA6 [me and other Head-Fi'ers]
2 - Do NOT use the EML 274B in the CSP2 without mods [me (sigh)]
3 - Is this a great obsession/hobby/business, or what? When do you ever get the heads of different companies collaborating together to solve some end users problem? Thanks George and Steve!
4 - The SP 274B sounds great in the CSP2, and seems to be lasting ok, so far [Skylord].
5 - The EML 274B works well in the WA6 [George and other Head-Fi'ers]

The EML 5U4G may or may not be suitable in the CSP2 [I've asked George, but don't have confirmation, yet]

Side note: I don't know about the rest of the community, but I will benefit from a better understanding of the theory, designs, circuits, components and science behind our obsession. It's too easy to get forget that there are hard realities in our world of perception and subjectivities.

Any comments or corrections from anyone?
post #111 of 654
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jdmoorman View Post
Side note: I don't know about the rest of the community, but I will benefit from a better understanding of the theory, designs, circuits, components and science behind our obsession. It's too easy to get forget that there are hard realities in our world of perception and subjectivities.

Any comments or corrections from anyone?
I highly recommend buying and reading this: Amazon.com: Beginner's Guide to Tube Audio Design (9781882580132): Bruce Rozenblit: Books
post #112 of 654
Thanks - it's on order.
post #113 of 654

CSP2 with Beyerdynamic DT880/600

I've had the headphones for a couple of weeks but just got the amp today. The phones have 20-30 hours on them running strait off my ASUS STX sound card (set at 600 Ohm gain) so they have settled in quite nicely (they actually sound better than they should in this set-up).

The Amp now has about 4 hours on it tonight and will need some more time but I really like what I'm hearing! I used the stock tubes to make sure everything was working. Listening to some familar tracks and I noticed much more depth in the music. Instruments seem to have more space between them. On Boz - Loan me a dime (one of my favorite test tracks) I could hear all the instruments break out against the others. However Mr. Allman's guitar seemed a bit harsh.

I rolled in an old GE rectifier and three of my prized CV2493 Mullard gold pins and replayed Boz. Yes I am going to like this amp, more dynamics, superb noise floor, same seperation but instruments were all much smoother.

My daughter came in and listened to some Cold Play. Her eyes opened up in amazement. Now she wants one...
post #114 of 654
Left it playing all day while I was at work (yes a little scary with tubes). Tonight I am playing the Allman Brothers live at Fillmore East and I gotta say this baby is really starting to open up! Duane's guitar sounds simply awesome!
post #115 of 654
After several weeks of burning in both my CSP2 and Beyerdynamic headphones I can say this combo is quite sweet. I installed it on my system #2 today. As a preamplifier it does a respectable job but not in the same league as my First Sound. As a HP amplifier connected to the music hall DAC combined with the Beyers it is simply awesome! Great noise floor, great sound stage, SQ is natural and balanced. Respectable lows, calm and accurate highs, mid range is a little aft but full. Now I'm listening to a SACD thorugh the Maverick...:music:

Current tubes are Mullard CV2493 with an old GE rectifier.

post #116 of 654
Have the Decware back in my office system #3 and just installed an NOS Sylvania 5Z3 rectifier with an adapter. My God! I thought this baby sounded great before but now the Beyers are making a sound so sweet they bring tears to my eyes. Extension, full body, and very, very smooth come to mind. Midrange has come way forward. Background instruments seem to appear with more presence than with the GE.

Listening to Dizzy and Monk, Europe 71 tracks and I'm in awe. This Mullard CV2493 & Sylvania 5Z3 combo is great!
post #117 of 654
Originally Posted by arirug View Post
The noise came back. But it is just the 5 first seconds. Then everything is allright. I changed the tubes for what i thought was 3 Sylvania 6DJ8. Now the noise was totally gone. After a while I took a closer look at the tubes and see that I have received 2 Sylvania 6922 and one 6DJ8. So now the CSP2 was playing with one 6DJ8 in the front and two 6922 in the back. This combination worked great, but I still wanted to have three tubes of the same type in the amplifier. I took out the 6DJ8 and put in one of my Philips 6922 and then I had noise again. Tried a new one , noise again. then I tried the third of my Philips and this worked 100%. No noice at start-up. As a rectifier I use a Sylvania 5U4GB. I wonder if it is a big risk for making some damage to the tubes during tuberolling? But anyway now it works great and I am very satisfied! I have ordered some 6N1P NOVOSIBIRSK 1960~1966 Years military equipment , and some 6N1P-EV Made in Kaluga "VOSHOD" 1973 and 1975.
Those damnable 1980's Phillips production 6922's have a high failure rate and short life. Best to look for pre-1976 Sylvania production in either the 6922 or 7308 type.
post #118 of 654
Originally Posted by haroT3k View Post
recently I picked up a DX1000 and the Decware MLB (which several have claimed it was fairly similar to the newer CPS2) from the FS forum. First thing I noticed was that the MLB was extremely bright. I'm currently using 3 russian 6N1P-EV's up front and a RCA 5U4G at the back to offset the lack of bass. Are there other tube combo's I can use to add some punch to the bass?
That was once my MLB. It was very well taken care of and was updated by DECWARE. It is cute as a button. On its last trip to DECWARE, Steve placed an internal OC2 tube to regulate the input I believe.
post #119 of 654
Skylab, I see you are using the CV2492s now in your CSP2? How do you like them compared to the BBs? I like the BBs but find myself keeping the CV2493s installed most the time. Awesome tubes that leave nothing behind...
post #120 of 654
Thread Starter 
The CV2492's are my favorite 6922/6DJ8. Funny that up until 3-4 months ago I had never even heard of this variety - but they sound great. The BB's are great too of course. Given that I have never really liked the colder Siemens or Telefunken sound, the CV2492 and the BB are the best of this tube type, for me.
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