Decware Appreciation Thread (MT review up on first page 2-10-12)
Jul 7, 2014 at 12:03 AM Post #1,201 of 1,237

Argo Duck

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Sounds good.

Steve's notes for the mk II indicated it needed 3-4V - which the mk III does not - but I was never sure whether he meant rms or peak.

Certainly the Taboo sounded better with the Eastern Electric MiniMax's 2.5V rms in tube mode, but best of all (fed direct) is from my BMC PureDAC at full output (have no idea what the Vout is but it's certainly more than 2V rms). Of course the PureDAC's abilities compared to my other dacs have a part in this.

Regardless, the Taboo in any form is a heck of an amp with my LCD2 and (recently) LCD3F, also great with my 92dB/1W/1m speakers. Equally good is the CSP2 (now CSP3 as Eric noted above) with Beyer T1. Very dynamic, transparent amps with lots of tube-rolling possibilities.
 
Jul 7, 2014 at 12:15 AM Post #1,202 of 1,237

SP Wild

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I'm having a bit of an issue with this sounds good with 3 to 4 volts thing.  Why would this be the case, when this is not within spec of output standards.  Unless it was made explicitly to use with a preamp, in which case an opportunity is missed when all that was needed was to design the thing to play well out of industry standard outputs?
 
Aidee, what's your whole opinion on the fazor vs non fazor issue WRT to bass on the Audeze cans?
 
Jul 7, 2014 at 1:08 AM Post #1,203 of 1,237

Argo Duck

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I think the Taboo was originally designed to pair with a preamp (with Decware, this meant the CSP series). As well, it was made to drive speakers and only added an hp capability when Frank I asked if it was a possibility.

The latest mk III addressed the 3-4V thing by making it stand-alone. It now - I understand - can definitely be driven to full power from a standard 2Vrms source. As well, I must say I didn't notice any lack of dynamics at first driving the mk II from standard DAC outputs. It was only later I "discovered" what others said was in fact true - with some material. And with DACs that produce high quality (detailed) bass.

The fazor/bass issue - ugh! Let me state up front I've never heard the LCD3 'classic'. However, I still have my LCD2r1.

Comparing the 2r1 and 3F's FR charts one would think the 2r1 has a lot more bass. It doesn't; quite the reverse in fact! The bass from the 3F is stunning: deep, detailed, sustained. It may be as simple as "the LCD3 - regardless of version - has more and higher quality bass information" and that I hear this "information" as "more bass". I have no idea, but the FR charts are not accurate guides in this case.

Of course if I had the chance to compare a 3C and 3F I might understand what the "fazor/bass issue" is, but I haven't and don't!
 
Jul 7, 2014 at 11:20 AM Post #1,204 of 1,237

Rizlaw

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  Well my dac outputs 2.5v single ended and if that isn't enough I can easily bring in the matching preamp which extends the output of the dac in all current domain from dac to amp.
 
I'm having a bit of an issue with this sounds good with 3 to 4 volts thing.  Why would this be the case, when this is not within spec of output standards.  Unless it was made explicitly to use with a preamp, in which case an opportunity is missed when all that was needed was to design the thing to play well out of industry standard outputs?

 
My W4S DAC-2 outputs 2.6 volts single ended and is more than sufficient to drive the Taboo III which needs 2.1 volts input for maximum output. Notwithstanding that Steve D. designed the CSP3 to provide a factory 4 volt output for his amps (see quote below), I'm not sure why you are concerned the Taboo III needs 3 or 4 volts to sound good. It doesn't. So, your DAC, which has similar output to mine, should work fine and sound good. If you didn't know about the synergistic improvement the CSP3 preamp brings to the Taboo III, you probably would be very happy with the sound of the Taboo III without the CSP3. Many are.
 
As to why this combination (CSP3/Taboo III) sounds better to most who have it, I think Steve's design notes for the CSP2 (and applicable to the CSP3) provide part of the answer (the rest lies in tubes and the new parts, caps and wiring):
 
Quote:
  The CSP2 circuit consists of a gain stage with higher plate voltages driving a SRPP stage similar to the original MLB design. The stages are direct coupled. The SRPP stage drives the output capacitors. The line level is taken directly off the outputs via a 100K precision trim pot. The output impedance is about 10 times lower than the CSP so using line level outputs has no audible effect on the sound of the headphones.
The output level is adjustable and the trim pots are accessible from the outside, one per channel. With a 2 volt input, the line level output can be adjusted smoothly between 0 and 36 volts with virtually no distortion on the scope. Factory setting will be a 4 volt output giving it plenty of authority with our amps. High power amplifiers and or amplifiers with input sensitivities of 1 volt or less will benefit from adjusting the voltage to around 1 volt. Lower power tube gear that sometimes requires 5 volts or more to drive it because it lacks enough gain stages, will be best served by settings between 5 and 8 volts. This insures complete synergy and compatibility with virtually all amplifiers. Having adjustable gain allows the serious audiophiles to run the volume control wherever they feel it sounds best while maintaining the desired level of output at all times. Independent adjustment on each channel also allows for channel balancing.

 
 
My observations.
bigsmile_face.gif
 
 
Jul 7, 2014 at 6:33 PM Post #1,205 of 1,237

Argo Duck

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^ I think SP Wild was only concerned about the "3 or 4 volts" in relation to the earlier mk II I mentioned (in case one could be got second hand), not the III.

Useful quote - I don't recall seeing that part about setting the 2 (or 3) "between 5 and 8 volts" for some lower power tube amps.
 
Jul 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM Post #1,206 of 1,237

SP Wild

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I think the Taboo was originally designed to pair with a preamp (with Decware, this meant the CSP series). As well, it was made to drive speakers and only added an hp capability when Frank I asked if it was a possibility.

The latest mk III addressed the 3-4V thing by making it stand-alone. It now - I understand - can definitely be driven to full power from a standard 2Vrms source. As well, I must say I didn't notice any lack of dynamics at first driving the mk II from standard DAC outputs. It was only later I "discovered" what others said was in fact true - with some material. And with DACs that produce high quality (detailed) bass.

The fazor/bass issue - ugh! Let me state up front I've never heard the LCD3 'classic'. However, I still have my LCD2r1.

Comparing the 2r1 and 3F's FR charts one would think the 2r1 has a lot more bass. It doesn't; quite the reverse in fact! The bass from the 3F is stunning: deep, detailed, sustained. It may be as simple as "the LCD3 - regardless of version - has more and higher quality bass information" and that I hear this "information" as "more bass". I have no idea, but the FR charts are not accurate guides in this case.

Of course if I had the chance to compare a 3C and 3F I might understand what the "fazor/bass issue" is, but I haven't and don't!

 
Oh OK.  Thanks for the clarification.  This makes better sense to me, I was under the impression, the latest Taboo might still require a high input voltage.  It makes a lot of sense that the original Taboo was a power amp for speakers....now evolved to drive headphones equally as well.  Man, I think its awesome that audio manufacturers no longer put a head out as an afterthought...but engineer them to perform well with todays headphones.  Thanks for your impressions between the LCD2 and LCD3 fazor.  I guess for me, the LCD2 was always a luxurious bonus....as I always considered the HD650 as a fortunate luxury for me to have owned...in that sense, I have never felt the need to climb further than what my LCD2s can provide.  Would be different if I had more money though.
 
Jul 8, 2014 at 12:11 AM Post #1,207 of 1,237

Argo Duck

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Cheers, glad to help.

I posted a comparison of the LCD2r1 and 3F in one of the LCD3 threads which might interest you. I found the differences subtle. Interestingly, the differences sounded much bigger until I A/B'd. But you know how it is in this hobby: sometimes "subtle" becomes "essential" :wink:

As well, it's true - the 3 is more picky of what's in front of it :eek:

Btw, it took me years to decide to get the 3. I felt as you, the LCD2 (even r1) were ample.

And by the time I decided, it wasn't the (classic) 3 anymore...
 
Oct 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM Post #1,208 of 1,237

RingingEars

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Ordered the CSP3 last week. It's really classy how Decware sends you play-by-play updates of the build process. Mine is in the "parts pulled" stage 
cool.gif

Can't wait to get it here and do some listening 
o2smile.gif
 
 
Edit: Just got another email that it's in the "testing" phase. Getting closer. 
biggrin.gif

 
Oct 15, 2014 at 5:10 PM Post #1,209 of 1,237

longbowbbs

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Congrats! You are going to be happy with this new toy....
 
beerchug.gif

 
Oct 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM Post #1,210 of 1,237

RingingEars

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Thank Longbow. Looks like it's going to be delivered on Fri. Decware seems to have very fast turnaround times. I wasn't expecting it until mid-late Nov. That's ok though. I'll take it now :D
 
Oct 21, 2014 at 9:25 PM Post #1,211 of 1,237

longbowbbs

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  Thank Longbow. Looks like it's going to be delivered on Fri. Decware seems to have very fast turnaround times. I wasn't expecting it until mid-late Nov. That's ok though. I'll take it now :D

We need reports and pics when you can!
 
beerchug.gif

 
Nov 26, 2014 at 4:42 PM Post #1,213 of 1,237

RingingEars

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I'm loving this amplifier with the HD800. Seems like it's a match made in heaven. I need a good dac to give you guys a proper review of it though. I had a Teac UD-501 and it sounded incredible. The synergy between the CSP3, Teac, and HD800 was amazing. Unfortunately the Teac had an issue so I sent it back and bought in on the Geek Pulse deal so I'll be waiting on that...
 
Can you guys tell me the proper "headphone plugging in" procedure? Do you start the amp, let it warm up and then plug your phones in or do leave them in all the time. I'm worried that there might be a lot of stray voltage like the Bottlehead Crack on startup that can burn out drivers. I usually plug them in after I start the amp, but I notice there is a good POP sound when I do that...
 
Nov 26, 2014 at 4:46 PM Post #1,214 of 1,237

longbowbbs

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I always left the hd800's plugged in. I had the Taboo as well so sometimes I would go to just the CSP2+. It was fun to go back and forth. Either way, they were plugged in before I would turn either unit on.
 
Nov 26, 2014 at 4:51 PM Post #1,215 of 1,237

RingingEars

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  I always left the hd800's plugged in. I had the Taboo as well so sometimes I would go to just the CSP2+. It was fun to go back and forth. Either way, they were plugged in before I would turn either unit on.

Thanks longbow. I couldn't find the info in the manual. So there must be a soft-start circuit in the Decware...
 

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