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post #226 of 1207
I know people who are happy with the Taboo + CSP2 + ERR combo. But it does depend on what you expect in terms of loudness. The MG944s with the Taboo and CSP2 are plenty loud enough for me in my small apartment. I very rarely play them anywhere near their full output. In terms of efficiency, the ERRs are 93 and the MG944s are 94, which doesn't seem like too much difference. But if you are looking to rock the house I'd be careful about either of them. For that you might be better off with something from Zu or Tekton, who build speakers with efficiencies up around 100.

I don't know but I doubt that the Taboo could drive both sets of speakers at the same time.

If you have questions and are serious, the best place to go for answers is of course the man himself, Steve Deckert owner of Decware. He is easy to talk to and readily available. I've had much better luck getting him on the phone than getting a response to email.
post #227 of 1207
The wood knob seems to be standard these days. That is what my Taboo came with. The headphone jack is in the back, left side, just in front of the left input jack.

One thing to know about the Taboo is Lucid Mode. Lucid Mode is Steve Deckert's invention for providing cross feed. It simulates the way that both ears hear sounds which come from different sides of the head. The way normal headphones have 100% separation between channels is not natural for the brain, and can cause fatigue in extended listening periods. Lucid mode doesn't completely remove channel separation, it is much more subtle than that, involving specific frequencies and percentages. Steve sais that it took a year to get it dialed in just right. The Taboo has a switch which turns Lucid Mode on/off for speakers, but for headphones use you can't really turn it off without compromising the sound quality - something about not being grounded affecting harmonics - you'd have to talk to Steve for details.

I doubt there is anything quite like lucid mode anywhere. The Taboo is the only amp in the world which has it. I am spoiled by it now.
post #228 of 1207

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donw View Post

I know people who are happy with the Taboo + CSP2 + ERR combo. But it does depend on what you expect in terms of loudness. The MG944s with the Taboo and CSP2 are plenty loud enough for me in my small apartment. I very rarely play them anywhere near their full output. In terms of efficiency, the ERRs are 93 and the MG944s are 94, which doesn't seem like too much difference. But if you are looking to rock the house I'd be careful about either of them. For that you might be better off with something from Zu or Tekton, who build speakers with efficiencies up around 100.
I don't know but I doubt that the Taboo could drive both sets of speakers at the same time.
If you have questions and are serious, the best place to go for answers is of course the man himself, Steve Deckert owner of Decware. He is easy to talk to and readily available. I've had much better luck getting him on the phone than getting a response to email.

 

Definitely not looking to rock the house at all... I don't mind listening at a fairly loud level, though. (Around the noise level of a crowded street or crowded room full of conversation.) I may look into the Zu's but I was considering the Taboo or Mini Torii with headphone jack anyways in case I decide to try out planar magnetic headphones.

 

Thanks for all the advice. I still have some time before I can afford to make a decision anyways. :P

post #229 of 1207

Lucid mode was the main decision for me in terms of me choosing to purchase my taboo.  I've only heard good things about it and how it's a preferred implementation to crossfeed to those that I've read who have tried both.  At least nobody has thrown their taboo out because of lucid mode :)

 

 I guess I'll see for myself when my taboo arrives.  I was thinking of picking up a csp buttt I'm not sure if it's worth the wait if I'm not going to be using it for headphones?  Might just pick up a different preamp like a WA22 or a WA3?  I my little dot has a preamp built in, but I'm worried it'll be a weak link in my chain and have a negative effect.  Thoughts?

post #230 of 1207
Since you have the CSP2+ coming already, it would only make sense to get the Taboo to go along with it. People who have Mini Torri say the CSP2 just gets in the way - not needed at all.
post #231 of 1207
CSP2 just makes the Taboo better, for both headphones and for speakers. And they look so good together :-) For my money I wouldn't go with anything else. Of course, if there is something you already have, it does no harm to try it out, but if you are going to put down real money for a pre-amp to go in front of the Taboo, I would definitely think it is worth waiting for the CSP2. Think about it like this, the wait would give you an opportunity to really get to know the Taboo without pre-amp, so that when the CSP2 arrives, you will be in better position to evaluate it. Frankly, when I got my CSP2, I was surprised at just how good the Taboo sounded WITHOUT it. It took a while for me to come to appreciate what the CSP2 brought to the table, especially with headphones. What I'm saying is that the difference is rather subtle, but like everything at this level of audio reproduction, subtle is where the value is at.... (I should add, that it doesn't hurt that I have a good source in the Mini-Max DAC plus. Can't say what your experience would be with your setup.)
post #232 of 1207

Personally not a fan of crossfeed.  So Steve said you can't run the Taboo as a straight head amp?  That seems odd.  I would think lucid would be harder to pull off than a straight path.

post #233 of 1207
The story is that he made Lucid Mode for speakers at first. Making the Taboo a headphone amp was an afterthought. So the circuit was in place. I don't know the reasons why he doesn't make it so the headphones can be run without lucid mode. I do wish that you could, it would make the amp that much more versitile. Also, just to be clear, headphone output works when you switch lucid mode off, but it ALWAYS sounds better with it on. Steve has said in the Decware forum that headphones with the switch off is not recommended, because the "harmonics" will be compromised (due to something about grounding.)
post #234 of 1207

Then I guess its a good thing its subtle and not a mono switch ;)

post #235 of 1207

Yeah, the wood knobs are standard now. Zu Audio is doing a promo right now for Omens B-stock. They were on sale on Ebay for about 50% off. Might have to call in now to get the promo. It ends this week. Too tempting! biggrin.gif

post #236 of 1207

interest checking my mint CSP2+ if anyone is interested, pm me.  walnut base, wooden knob, late 2011 made. 

post #237 of 1207

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SemiAudiophile View Post

Yeah, the wood knobs are standard now. Zu Audio is doing a promo right now for Omens B-stock. They were on sale on Ebay for about 50% off. Might have to call in now to get the promo. It ends this week. Too tempting! biggrin.gif

 

Waaayyy too tempting! Thanks for the tip.

post #238 of 1207

Apologies if I'm going over old ground, but earlier posts indicate that there might be a little confusion as to why Steve recommends a preamp with the Taboo when he actually seems to try to dissuade customers from using one with his other amps (at least thats my reading of the advice on his site). This is from Steve's design notes on the Taboo from back in 2005:

 

 

Completing the output design, switch A ties both semi-floating secondaries together with a series resistance between each coil of 9.4 ohms (4.7 x 2).  This modifies the ground reference further and allows both channels to become actively aware of each other.  The resulting channel to channel synergy is something impressively special that only the Taboo can accomplish when in "Lucid" mode.

 

Because of the semi-floating output design the input sensitivity is around 2.5 to 3 volts if a 12AX7 is used and that is the stock factory tube shipped with the amps.  This means unlike the Triode amps that can all be run to clipping with no preamp, the Taboo can not be clipped with the standard 2 volts of most CD players.  If you have speakers that are 94 dB or higher it is likely that you would still have plenty of volume even without using all of the available power from the amp.  Of course many modified CD players and DACs have higher than 2 volt output levels so if you have one you would not need a preamp regardless of speaker efficiency.

 

Having said that, the Taboo was designed in harmony with out latest preamp called the SE84CSP and the two together are very synergistic and flexible.  They also match in appearance so they look like they belong together.  Adding the CSP to your Taboo will bring out the best in the amplifier.  Increased weight, dynamics, tone and image are just some of the benefits of using a great tube preamp with the Taboo.

 

Given that my HRT MSII has an output level of 2.25V, I would expect that many here have DACs with that sort of oomph - I guess contacting Steve is the only way to really be sure. I also recall reading something about the CSP+ being ideal for planar magnetics while the Taboo is a better choice for easier to drive headphones (hope I got that the right way around ...) - I guess all up its a 'best of both worlds' deal. I also found it interesting that the only home amps he makes for headphones are the only two he seems to see as natural partners for one another, although I suspect that his caution re preamps with his other amplifiers simply makes his life a lot simpler when it comes to emails about 'will my Acme Corp preamp work with your XYZ amp ?'.  

 

 

post #239 of 1207
Here's another quote relating to the input sensitivity of the Taboo and need for a pre-amp, this one taken from the Taboo product page at decware.com: "The Taboo has intentionally low input sensitivity so it likes a source with a high output (3 to 4 volts) or a good preamp such as our CSP2 to really flush out it's full potential."

My Eastern Electric Mini-Max DAC has output level of aprox. 2.5V and the Taboo with nothing but it in front sounds REALLY good. But add the CSP2 and the result is "increased weight, dynamics, tone and image." (Quoting from the previous post.) In other words, it isn't that it needs the pre-amp, it just sounds even better with it. The other reason for using the CSP2 with the Taboo that Steve talks about is that it somehow fixes or cleans up a less-than perfect signal. He sais the same thing about the Torri. For example, he told me that in his own system when playing records with his $10,000 tone arm he doesn't use the pre-amp. But when playing internet radio he does use it. Interestingly, the consensus seems to be that the same is not true with the Mini-Torri, but I don't know what makes it different.

Just to clarify, the Taboo is good for planar magnetics while the CSP2 is meant for OTL headphones. The CSP2 will drive my LCD-3s but the result lacks weight and authority when compared with the Taboo.

A headphone jack is available as an option with the Mini-Torri. Like the Taboo, it is meant for planar magnetics. Both were designed first as speaker amps and turned into headphone amps later.
Edited by donw - 4/27/12 at 7:07am
post #240 of 1207

Have been thinking about building a bottlehead foreplay as a pre rather than ordering a CSP2+ .  Seems like a good choice to me.  I've always liked bottlehead stuff and I imagine if I didn't like it, well no biggie :)

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