So, I got carried away and tried some Speltz Anti-Cable RCA interconnects between the TDS202 sound enhancer and the iCAN. Turns out they are kind of bright detailed ICs and suddenly there was too much of a good thing. A truly incredible level of details is there, but sometimes there is too much echo or the tone gets too breathy and airy, especially on female vocals. Fortunately, I can just switch off either the TDS or the 3D effect on the iCAN and things come back into balance. While it is sometimes fun to listen to an over the top spacious, and almost spacey sound effect of the TDS and the 3D iCAN effect together with the Anti-Cable interconnects, it is tiring after just a little while.
And since I am finding I like the added detail and widened soundstage of the TDS202 a little better than the same effects of the 3D on the iCAN, I generally switch off the 3D and leave the TDS turned on when I want to smooth out the sound. The TDS is a great option for someone who does not want to go out and buy a new amp like the iCAN with its soundstage enhancement, but who wants some more detail and soundstage in their system. Trying it out seems like a no-brainer at only $30 on Amazon. Overall, the combination of added detail along with the added bass of the X-Bass boost of the iCAN is a real treat. And it also seems the whole combination works because of the beautiful analog sound of the Tera Player which can take some added detail without losing any of its warm full bodied presence. I have tried the TDS in some other headphone setups and often found the sound too bright, or if there was any noise or hiss in the source, the TDS would boost those sounds also. But the Tera has a very black background, and the treble rolls off a bit, so it is more of a match with the effect of the TDS, or alternatively, the 3D on the iCAN.
Edit added: With more listening with the Anti-Cables ICs, I am finding that I can pretty much tell as a song starts playing if I will like the full on TDS and 3D space enhancing effects, or if it will be too much (in which case I just switch off the 3D). However, when the song can take the full on boost in details, it can be quite amazing and sound incredibly live. It seems to work best with neutral and simply recorded music like chamber music, live jazz or just any music that has not had a lot of processing or effects added in the recording process. Then the sound is nicely spread out and out of my head with amazing detail and clarity.
And in contrast, it is the music that already has a lot of reverb, echo, added brightness (like a lot of pop music) or other sound enhancements already in the mix that has me reaching over to turn off the 3D and just listen with the TDS engaged. I am back again to really appreciating how I can shape the sound out of the iCAN depending on the particular song I am listening to. It is like having three or four amps in one! I do not have to swap equipment to match the music I am listening to. Instead I just flick a switch. And since I listen to all of my music in shuffle play, there is often a wide range of music that I listen to in any one session. So this setup with the iCAN is ideal for me.
Edited by Nirmalanow - 3/27/13 at 1:30pm