The Decware TABOO MK 111 Thread
Feb 10, 2015 at 11:29 AM Post #1,906 of 2,099

ToTje

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If your listening includes analog sources (LPs, tape or FM radio), I feel the CSP3 is an invaluable addition because of the added weight and authority it adds to the music through the Taboo III. There is a synergistic interaction between the two pieces. Also, the CSP3 has an adjust-ability factor that most other pre-amps don't provide. Read more here: http://www.decware.com/newsite/CSP3.html  If you are so inclined, you can read more about my CSP2+/CSP3 impressions here: http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1377038564
 
On the other hand, if you are listening to all digital (PCM/DSD hi-rez downloads, SACD, CD, mp3) and using the ZBIT, I think you can safely skip the CSP3. I use both because I have a fairly large LP collection.

Ah, thanks! 
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 Well I only listen to digital sources. In fact, I only use the USB port of my DAC at the moment, but if I find out how to switch easilly between speakers and an 8 ohm resistor (when using the headphone), I also will connect my tv to it (optical).
 
Feb 10, 2015 at 11:45 AM Post #1,907 of 2,099

Rizlaw

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I've asked Steve, more than once, to make a high quality speaker switch box to solve the very problem you (and I) have with the Taboo III and a few of the other Decware amps. He didn't seem that interested although he said it would be easy to build. The ones I've found online are junk. I have been considering writing a post about it on the Decware forums to see if there is any support for a new ZSSB (Zen Speaker Switch Box).
 
Feb 10, 2015 at 11:49 AM Post #1,908 of 2,099

ToTje

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  I've asked Steve, more than once, to make a high quality speaker switch box to solve the very problem you (and I) have with the Taboo III and a few of the other Decware amps. He didn't seem that interested although he said it would be easy to build. The ones I've found online are junk. I have been considering writing a post about it on the Decware forums to see if there is any support for a new ZSSB (Zen Speaker Switch Box).

Yeah I realy would love to have a solution for this. Keeping the speakers turned on is not an option for me, especially since they're active speakers. Even at low volume levels, they produces quite a lot of bass and especially late at night that's really not a good thing here in my house.
 
Feb 10, 2015 at 12:11 PM Post #1,909 of 2,099

Rizlaw

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I just posted a poll on the Decware site: http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1423588237/0
 
You might be interested in voting. Perhaps we will get our wish.
 
Feb 10, 2015 at 4:06 PM Post #1,911 of 2,099

ToTje

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  Steven doesn't appear to be actively advertising the Zbit. I'm not sure why. I stumbled upon it from his post about why many of his smaller amps don't have balanced inputs.
 
If you read my posts on the Zbit, you will note I mentioned that I felt the sound of the Zbit directly into the Taboo III resulted in a slightly more detailed sound. So, yes, IMO, the Zbit is going to provide a slight improvement over using a CSP3 at about half the cost of the CSP3. When I spoke to Steve about it, he agreed with my assessment and said that he uses the Zbit the same way. That's not to say that the CSP3 doesn't offer other benefits, but it is one more device in the audio chain. Simpler is often better. If I hadn't already owned the CSP3 and didn't need a preamp, I would be very happy to go with the Zbit and Taboo III. Also, if you need more inputs/outputs you could always get Steve's ZSB (Zen Switching Box). I'm not familiar with the Parasound Zdac you have, but according to Steve, if the DAC has TRUE balanced circuitry (not all do), the Zbit should provide a sonic improvement.
 
About the resistors, all you need are two 8 ohm resistors ( I used two: Mills MRA12 8 ohm 1% M1324). Each resistor has a fairly long bendable metal wire coming out of each end. For the left channel speaker output: place the wire end of one resistor into the minus (-) output terminal and the other wire end of that resistor into the plus (+) output terminal. Repeat for the right channel. Don't worry about orientation of the resistor between the plus and minus terminals. You could also mount the resistors on a dual banana jack to make it easier to add and remove. Of course, if you keep the speakers connected, you don't need the resistors at all.  You don't have to do this, you can leave the resistors off and still enjoy the headphones.

I got the answer from the manufacturer of my DAC. The  analog outputs are balanced, but it does not have separate differential DAC chips. The balanced occurs in the analog audio output buffer ICs.
 
Does this mean that I wouldn't get optimal results from a Zbit if I would want to use one?
 
Feb 10, 2015 at 6:35 PM Post #1,912 of 2,099

Rizlaw

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  I got the answer from the manufacturer of my DAC. The  analog outputs are balanced, but it does not have separate differential DAC chips. The balanced occurs in the analog audio output buffer ICs.
 
Does this mean that I wouldn't get optimal results from a Zbit if I would want to use one?

ToTje,
 
I don't believe I am qualified to provide a good answer to your question. I can recommend you read this paper on balanced and unbalanced circuits: http://www.rane.com/note110.html It goes through the the three ways a balanced to unbalanced circuit can be made.
 
If that doesn't help, a call to Steve will get you the best answer. From what I recollect Steve telling me over the phone, the best result will be from a DAC that has a true balanced circuit. From what you were told by Parasound, your DAC has a balanced circuit at the analog output. This may or may not be all that is required; I don't know for sure. According to the Parasound Zdac specs it provides 4.4v fixed on the XLR analog outputs.  It seems it should work with the ZBIT. Steve says not every DAC will sound better with the Zbit.  Sometimes you just have to try it out to see if it works in your system. The main point of the ZBIT is to carry the same balanced output voltage (4.4 volts in your case) to the unbalanced input of the Taboo III. This increased voltage, coupled with the high quality transformers in the ZBIT (Jensen JT-11P-1   http://www.jensen-transformers.com/transformers/line-input/), are what improve the digital sound. http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1406321627
 
Sorry I can't be more help on this point.
 
Feb 10, 2015 at 7:27 PM Post #1,913 of 2,099

ToTje

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  ToTje,
 
I don't believe I am qualified to provide a good answer to your question. I can recommend you read this paper on balanced and unbalanced circuits: http://www.rane.com/note110.html It goes through the the three ways a balanced to unbalanced circuit can be made.
 
If that doesn't help, a call to Steve will get you the best answer. From what I recollect Steve telling me over the phone, the best result will be from a DAC that has a true balanced circuit. From what you were told by Parasound, your DAC has a balanced circuit at the analog output. This may or may not be all that is required; I don't know for sure. According to the Parasound Zdac specs it provides 4.4v fixed on the XLR analog outputs.  It seems it should work with the ZBIT. Steve says not every DAC will sound better with the Zbit.  Sometimes you just have to try it out to see if it works in your system. The main point of the ZBIT is to carry the same balanced output voltage (4.4 volts in your case) to the unbalanced input of the Taboo III. This increased voltage, coupled with the high quality transformers in the ZBIT (Jensen JT-11P-1   http://www.jensen-transformers.com/transformers/line-input/), are what improve the digital sound. http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1406321627
 
Sorry I can't be more help on this point.

No prob! It's already fantastic that you put so much effort in explaining things! 
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Feb 13, 2015 at 12:48 PM Post #1,914 of 2,099

maricius

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Any experience with the Woo WA6SE, Decware Taboo MkIII, Dragon Inspire IHA-1, or something else? All these are Class A Output Transformer coupled tube amps (correct me if I'm wrong) that have sufficient power for majority of the planar magnetic headphones. I'm rather uneducated on tube types but if one could assume that the tubes that will be used in these amps are similar or the same, what are the characteristics of the amplifiers relative to each other? Price ranges are somewhat similar at $1190, $1695, and $1599 respectively. My budget for the amp is under $2000 with my iFi Micro iDSD as the DAC. The amp will be mainly driving the MrSpeakers Alpha Dog but comparisons on any headphones will be greatly appreciated. If there are other tube amps that compete at this price point, feel free to recommend. Thank you. I'm in no rush.
 
Feb 14, 2015 at 1:56 PM Post #1,915 of 2,099

jhljhl

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  Any experience with the Woo WA6SE, Decware Taboo MkIII, Dragon Inspire IHA-1, or something else? All these are Class A Output Transformer coupled tube amps (correct me if I'm wrong) that have sufficient power for majority of the planar magnetic headphones. I'm rather uneducated on tube types but if one could assume that the tubes that will be used in these amps are similar or the same, what are the characteristics of the amplifiers relative to each other? Price ranges are somewhat similar at $1190, $1695, and $1599 respectively. My budget for the amp is under $2000 with my iFi Micro iDSD as the DAC. The amp will be mainly driving the MrSpeakers Alpha Dog but comparisons on any headphones will be greatly appreciated. If there are other tube amps that compete at this price point, feel free to recommend. Thank you. I'm in no rush.


In a Taboo MKIII - I would say the Brimar 5z4 can be perceived as transparent dynamic quick attack and decay with strong generally defined bass.  This is in comparison to the Mullard gz37 skinny bottle.  However one might instead prefer the Mullard over the Brimar and consider it more balanced and refined.  For the price, I am glad to have bought one from Langrex.  It has still not been burned in yet so still may improve further. 
 
I would choose the Taboo over the WA6se for LCD3f.  The WA6se sounds like it has more power - dynamic attack but it does not feel as euphoric as the Taboo.  I would choose the WA22 over the Taboo.  I think it is a middle ground between dynamics and euphoric sound and does well with dynamic headphones as well.  All are good amps but depends on your preferred signature.  The Cavalli LAu does dynamic and euphoric very well.
 
Feb 14, 2015 at 2:56 PM Post #1,916 of 2,099

maricius

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In a Taboo MKIII - I would say the Brimar 5z4 can be perceived as transparent dynamic quick attack and decay with strong generally defined bass.  This is in comparison to the Mullard gz37 skinny bottle.  However one might instead prefer the Mullard over the Brimar and consider it more balanced and refined.  For the price, I am glad to have bought one from Langrex.  It has still not been burned in yet so still may improve further. 
 
I would choose the Taboo over the WA6se for LCD3f.  The WA6se sounds like it has more power - dynamic attack but it does not feel as euphoric as the Taboo.  I would choose the WA22 over the Taboo.  I think it is a middle ground between dynamics and euphoric sound and does well with dynamic headphones as well.  All are good amps but depends on your preferred signature.  The Cavalli LAu does dynamic and euphoric very well.


Thank you very much for your thoughts. I will read more on the WA22 although tube upgrades would push it past my budget. 
 
Feb 14, 2015 at 5:51 PM Post #1,917 of 2,099

Argo Duck

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I have not heard any of the Woo amps but I can say it is possible to tune the Taboo's sound to a large degree without having to buy expensive tubes. What might get expensive is having to try many tubes before you find the right ones! I was lucky...
 
Feb 14, 2015 at 6:02 PM Post #1,918 of 2,099

jhljhl

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You'd have to upgrade the rectifier on all those amps anyway.  The 6sn7 drivers are more a little more expensive than the Woo6se 6dr7s
 
As far as the WA22 - The tube upgrade that will cost you are the tung sol 5998 power tubes. 
 
You can always upgrade the tubes later.  I would say the stock tubes on WA22 are polite sounding: not too shabby.
 
Feb 15, 2015 at 12:49 PM Post #1,919 of 2,099

jhljhl

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The Sophia Princess 274b mesh plate that is offered as an upgrade for Woo amps is really good in the Decware Taboo MKIII.  However, I understand that using the Sophia in the Taboo may shorten tube life more quickly.  Nevertheless, I'd consider it one of the best rectifiers for the Taboo.  It is transparent dynamic with tight somewhat punchy bass without losing too much top sparkle and euphoric - well balanced.  There is less of a warm veil with this rectifier for some reason as well. It kind of reminds me of when I first heard an HD650 through a bottlehead amp.  I highly recommend it with the caution about the tube life.  
(In addition, I was using mullard el-84 and ecc88.)
 
Feb 18, 2015 at 11:36 AM Post #1,920 of 2,099

ToTje

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WOOOOOOOW!!!! 
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I got my Taboo MK III earlier today and I finally got the time to listen to it with my Audeze LCD-X.
 
The sound is far less muddy than with the Little Dot + Voshkhod combo, the sound is far more in balance now (no extreme emphasis on certain frequencies, making it less "shouty") and I never thought this was possible, but I hear details I've never heard before!!!
 
At some moments I did like the emphasis on the certain frequencies with the Little Dot, but that did hurt my ears sometimes and listening sessions get very tiring after a few hours because of that.
 
I'm experimenting a bit with the lucid modes, and I think at the moment I think I prefer the original one, but for now I mostly listen without those on. I first want to discover the sound of the Taboo in normal mode.
With high female vocals and low rumbling guitars I prefer the Taboo in normal mode so far, but I do notice that Lucid mode certainly adds something VERY special to the music! Low male vocals absolutely can benefit from it.
 
Getting goosebumps all over!
Very spacious sound, very 3D, much more refined, more realistic, 
 

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