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REVIEW: Decware Select Zen CSP2 Tube Headphone Amp - Page 4

post #46 of 654
I am trying to win some 5U4G`s on ebay now. I put in a bid for 2 RCA Fat Bottle D Getter 5U4G, and I am watching some other auctions. I guess within the next 10 days i should have some old american quality tubes. I did buy two 1959!!!=SVETLANA=5U4G/5C3S BLACK PLATE TESTED, from xryn on ebay though. I read some positive comments on them on internet, and for the price, i just had too buy a pair. In my Darkvoice 336i, I used Svetlana retifiers and was satisfied with them. I may try Decwares cables later this year.
post #47 of 654
I won those Fat-Bottle 5U4, 47 dollars including shipping. I also won 2 JAN 6080WB Vacuum Tubes - Ruggedized Twin Triodes, 30 dollars including shipping. And I am still bidding for some.
post #48 of 654
Thread Starter 
Cool! What amp do you plan to use the 6080's in?
post #49 of 654
I wiil use them in the Singlepower Extreme. I am bidding on 2 Ken-Rad 1944 JAN 5U4G VT-244 also, but they are allready US $125.50, so i guess I give up these.
post #50 of 654
Thread Starter 
WOW - that is pretty pricey for a pair of 5U4G!
post #51 of 654

Is this amp right for me?


I have been driving myself crazy reading everything I can about headphone amps, tubed and solid state. I have never had a good headphone amp system or any tube component since I began listening to music with a "hi end" system almost thirty years ago. I am now ready to combine the two. I need your advise about whether I should order this particular amp or another such as the RSA Raptor.

My requirements and inclinations are as follows:

1) I do not want to get an amp which is only usable or even at its best with one or two manufacturer's hps or only with one or two kinds of hps. Therefore, I am looking for an amp which will get the best or almost the best out of most of the popular quality hps such as the Denon 2000s, unmodified, HD650s, and 702s all of which I am considering ordering after the amp. I have started with the Denon 1001s which are really good straight out of my ipod, but I know better is out there and I am very interested in hearing it.

2) I am not confident in my ability to maintain the bias of the tubes. Therefore, I am focused on self or auto biasing amps.

3) I do not upgrade very often. The only exception is with digital components which are constantly benefitting from technological developments like computers. I want to start out with almost the best available (I am aware of the law of diminishing returns in audio and do not pay a disproportionate premium for a small improvement) and keep it for many, many years. I also do not forsee myself buying more than one tube home headphone amp.

4) I want to buy from a manufacturer who has good quality control and long term reliability. I find it ridiculous for a manufacturer to ship a defective audio component.

5) I only buy components from North American companies or those who have had a long presence here. If I have questions or problems I want the manufacturer to speak English, and be helpful and available for consultation and repair. That is why I have purchased components from Bel Canto, Bryston, Paradigm, Linn and Naim.

6) I am looking for an amp which will be compatible with, have the right amount of gain, most mainstream solid state digital source components such as my Naim CD player and USB DACs such as the Benchmark.

7) From my reading, using different tubes for different sound is part of the benefit of tube amplification and I do want to explore this. Therefore, I can foresee getting a few different types of quality tubes. However, I do not want to get an amp which needs expensive or very expensive tubes to operate at its best. In other words, I do not want to buy an amp which costs a thousand dollars and needs a set of tubes which costs no less than $100.00 to be worthwhile. That would make it necessary to spend multiple of hundreds of dollars to enjoy the benefits of the amp. I do not want to go down that road.

8) In that regard, I listen to primarily rock, blues and folk, but also opera and orchestral works. I do not limit myself to audiophile recordings. The most important aspects of the reproduction of music to me is timing, pace, rhythm and tonality. Soundstaging and imaging is secondary. I am looking for an amp which maintains the timing of the music and the tonality of the instruments.

I wish to thank all of you who have taken the time to read this long post and offer your thoughts.
post #52 of 654
Thread Starter 
If you are truly wanting to be able to drive very low impedance headphones like the Denons and you want the amp to be at its best with such headphones, then to meet all of your criterea, I'd say your best bet is the transformer-coupled WooAudio 6SE. I have never heard it, but it has a great rep, and to really do justice to very low impedance headphones, a tube amp needs to be transformer-coupled, not OTL like the CSP-2, which is a truly excellent amp from a great manufacturer, but does better with higher impedance cans. It actually drives lower-impedance headphones quite well, but again if that is an important criterea, I'd go for a TC tube amp.
post #53 of 654
Skylab, thanks for the advise. If the CSP-2 satisfies my other criteria, them I can forgo low impedance headphones. I am not inflexible. Is there a list of recommended high impedance headphones including closed headphones, which I need because of the significant other or can you point me to some? I really appreciate the help.
post #54 of 654
Thread Starter 
I used the "medium impedance" JVC DX1000 and my 600 ohm Beyer DT770 both to very good effect with the CSP-2.
post #55 of 654
I know that many here believe that OTL tube amps can not be used to properly drive low impedance cans. Well I do not agree and for example I cite my Singlepower MPX3 driving a Grado RS-1, Ultrasone HFI-780 or PROline 2500, or a Denon D5000.

I feel the MPX3 can drive any of them quite well, you may want to explore different tube combinations to focus on a particular presentation but w/ adapters you can use 5687, 6SN7, or 6BL7 output tubes. As a driver you can use 2C51, 6CG7, 6SN7, 12AX7/7025/5751 or 6BL7.

Good luck.
post #56 of 654
Thread Starter 
Both my SP amps, the DV 337, and the CSP-2 can handle low impedance headphones reasonably well. But I still think OTL amps sound better with high, or at least medium impedance cans. I use the MPX3 regularly with the 70 ohm JVC DX1000 and love it, and I use the DV337 with 80 ohm Beyers. But I never felt the Denon D5000's were at their best with any of my OTL amps, though they still sounded good.
post #57 of 654

The Singlepower MPX3 exceeds the sum I am willing to pay for a headphone amp. Are you saying that the CSP-2 is capable of driving the Denon D5000s or more likely for me the Denon D2000s and will meet my other criteria, including my priorities of timing, dynamics and tonality over soundstaging and imaging? Thanks for the time all have spent in advising me.
post #58 of 654
I have had a Rudistor Sistema NX-02 for about 2 weeks and I have a bit over 250 hours of burn-in, the amp makes the D5000 sound beautiful as well as the Ultrasone PROline 2500 and the HFI-780.

The NX-02 can still be found on Amazon for about $610 plus S&H. On some occasions they have sold it for as low as $327.20 including S&H, that is how I got mine. I like it so much that I am an IC on my Singlepower to get the RPX-100 from Rudistor!!!

If I go that route I will put the NX-02 for sale at the same as I bought it for, except I will want to sell it w/ the Ultrasone PROline 2500 which was one of the cans the NX-02 was made for. The other can being the Ultrasone PROline 750. Anyways if I do put it up for sale it would be $525 for the amp/can pair. Time will tell what I will do (or not).
post #59 of 654
Nice review Skylab.........the 40's era VT244 Ken Rad is the creme de la creme of 5U4G ST types...I have the next best thing with an early 50's RCA and a Ken Rad JAN (from the 50's as well ) using those in a highly modified MeiXing MC-7R. The Decware stuff looks very very nice, thanks for the info on it.

post #60 of 654
Thread Starter 
Yeah I have some 50's RCA's - need to find a 40's Ken-Rad though

Thanks for the kind words.
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