Message started by Pale Rider on 05/03/13 at 00:26:32

Title: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by Pale Rider on 05/03/13 at 00:26:32

Some of you know that I have donated my Taboo MkII to a worthy vet, so I can't A/B the II and the III. But I can compare the new Taboo with a righteous competitor, the Cavalli Liquid Fire. The LF is an excellent amp, likewise designed for and voiced with the LCD-2. I have owned it for a couple of years and use it in my office rig, the Taboo doing double duty at home as a backup to one of my Toriis and as a headphone amp. I had always missed Lucid Mode when listening to the Cavalli, but tonally and for dynamics, it is stellar. At its price point, and as a pure headphone hybrid amp, it should be.

Twenty-four hours in with the Taboo, one of these lovely amps is going to be finding a new home, and it is not the Taboo. With stock tubes, this amp is simply amazing, and I know from significant Decware experience, it has not even begun to break in yet. At the office, the rig is optimized Mac mini [2012 w/ 16gb RAM], external USB 7200rpm 2tb hard drive, Audirvana+, Mytek 192 DSD DAC and the Taboo. Redbook sounds great with both amps, but cue up some of the Blue Coast and Channel DSD recordings, and the combo of the Taboo and the LCd-2 is simply sublime. I am hearing things on Emily Palen's Creation and Live at Grace Cathedral I just have not heard before. The DSD files off the Allman Brothers Fillmore East SACD-SHM actually suggest there is a good recording there of a fabulous concert [or two].And the Dire Straits Brothers in Arms SACD is killer. Can't wait to try some of my reference Verdi recordings. The separation of instruments, the levels of detail without etchiness, the sheer realism, is just amazing

Kudos Steve. The Taboo sets a new reference level not just for headphones, but I believe for realistic audio reproduction. I haven't listened to everything, and I am not interested in $70k speakers or Ferrari-priced amps, because I have children who demand some level of subsistence, but this is genuinely "it." To borrow a Deerhunter metaphor, "this is this." Nothing else is this, and this is nothing else, and neither more nor less than what it is.

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by JAG on 05/03/13 at 16:25:57

I second that emotion.  I doubt my ears are, or ever will be, as refined as yours, but my Mk III, ZP3, turntable and SUT combo has quickly become my go-to rig.  The only way I can explain it is it is extremely "real".  Kudos to Steve!

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by HPDJ on 05/10/13 at 11:16:22

What a ringing endorcement Pale Rider, very happy your enjoying the new Taboo so much! And the fact that it's surpassed the LF in your eyes (or ears) is truly impressive based on the price difference of the two...

My Taboo should be coming in today :)

I don't have a balanced cable yet, and it looks like your using the Audeze balanced cable. Some other folks are reporting their preference for the balanced inputs...are you feeling the same? Have things improved with the amp since your last post?

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by Pale Rider on 05/10/13 at 14:08:48

HPDJ, I am in fact using the Audez'e balanced cable. I have not done an extended comparison between the SE cable [a Moon Audio Silver Dragon] and the balanced yet. I decided not to invest in a higher end balanced cable just yet.

I have been away from the Taboo for three days, but should be able to get some listening time today. I also want to listen with my JH 13-Pro IEMs. They have amazing detail, require quite a bit less power, and because they are IEMs, present a different soundstage. Should be interesting.

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by HPDJ on 05/10/13 at 14:46:25

Will be interesting to read your impressions of the Taboo with an IEM...I've alway been curious about the JH13's...have read almost nothing negative about them ever!

I will probably end up getting the balaned cable from Audeze as well so I can compare it with the unbalanced section of the amp. :)

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by Pale Rider on 05/10/13 at 18:46:42

The 13s are an amazing IEM. I have owned, and still do, a bunch of very good IEMs, including two others that were custom fitted. But nothing ever came close to the 13s. I did some long term comparisons a couple of years ago between the 13s and my Senn HD800s. In almost all respects. I preferred the 13s.

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by HPDJ on 05/11/13 at 02:12:24

Are your JH13's the freqphase ones? That would help put your comments in context for me...

I did A LOT of back and forth thinking for literally years before I decided that I was going to get a full sized can as my first high-end headphone and I don't regret that decision...but IEM's are supposed to have their own characteristics (and advantages) which are appealing to's just another viewpoint into the music as I see it and it would be fun to have another option...just as I enjoy my desktop speakers presentation over my LCD 2's sometimes...and sometimes vice-versa...when I get some loudspeakers one day (with more space/time/and $$) that will be another great alternative to what I've been used to, sound wise..m

IEM's are of course great for travel and when I start to do some more traveling I will be able to warrant their purchase a little more (at least that's what I'm telling myself). Plus mating an IEM with a great portable digital player would be great and there are a growing number of high end portable players that could fit the bill. The highly received Astell and Kern player just upgraded to a higher end model (higher price too). Sometimes I like to wait for JUST the right thing so I've been keeping an eye on the progress of the portable high end market. Pretty interesting :)

Title: Re: 24 Hours of New Taboo
Post by Pale Rider on 05/11/13 at 16:51:25

HPDJ, no my JH13s are about 4 years old and due for replacement. Ears change shape with age and weight loss, and I need to get a new mold fitting. I knew that JH was working on the new FP version, and ever since the latest reviews, I have been thinking about ordering a new set.  I travel enough to make it worthwhile. I use an iPod Classic with an Algorhythm Solo and Pico Slim for DAC and amp. It's a bit clumsy, but the sound quality is worth it.  The A&K is interesting to me as well, but new IEMs first.

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