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CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update (Read 10742 times)
Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review by Parker
Reply #15 - 01/04/07 at 15:54:30
 
Nope the super low freq noise was only a problem when I tried to use the CSP2 in front of my anologue signal processor for the Linkwitz Lab Orion speaker system (active 4 way). When I tried the csp2 in front of a normal two channel amp and typical bookshelf (passive XO) speakers I didn't have the problems with the weird super low freq sounds.

In all situations regarding the headphone set up with cd player I get hum. CD player on but no interconnects, cd player off w interconnect, cd playyer on with interconnects, on pause, on play, etc. In the room I have the headphone set up in there are only a few things on that circuit. One lightbulb (normal cheapy) and an electric built-in-wall heater. When either of these are on I don't really notice a change but when the heater first kicks on I can hear it through the headphones in the csp2.  

Anyone have any tricks or tips. Maybe a power conditioner? Maybe more shielded interconnects. Maybe stop being a pansy and just listen to the freaking music?
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magicsound
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Re: CSP2 Review by Parker
Reply #16 - 01/05/07 at 23:42:30
 
[quote author=Parker  link=1166842424/15#15 date=1167926070]

Maybe stop being a pansy and just listen to the freaking music? [/quote]

LOL. You gotta address the "nuisance" to enjoy the freaking music. I agree with the above post to call Steve. Maybe there's incompatibility with your powered speakers.

M GrinN
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Groucho
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Re: CSP2 Review by Parker
Reply #17 - 01/07/07 at 19:42:37
 
Is it tiger woods?

Simon (Happily running behind Smiley)

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« Last Edit: 01/07/07 at 19:44:11 by Groucho »  
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #18 - 01/10/07 at 17:00:37
 
Update on CSP2

Hello All,

I thought I would update my hodge-podge review of the CSP2. I havenít been keeping track of the amount of time on the unit but I have put at least 5-8 hours on it since last writing, most of this time I am not in my home or listening to the unit. Overall I donít really know if I can comment on how significant the break-in is since Iím not A/Bing the comparison but I am very confident that no part of the sound has become worse or anything like that.

Iíve tried to do all my critical listening with a very low noise floor (e.g. turning of my refrigerator, satellite DVR, florescent lights etc off) overall I think I have a ridiculously sensitive ear to high pitch sounds, I can hear electronics that are plugged in when they arenít even on (CRT tvís come to mind as does my new DLP) I essentially live in a house without any exterior noise coming inside. Anyway for whatever its worth thatís my attempt to at least control as many variables as I can when evaluating things.

The 60hz hum has not changed in volume or in any way, nor have I tried any remedies other than the 3 to 2 prog adapter which makes 0 difference. If you have any tips please feel free to share them.

Had a forum conversation with the creator of the Linkwitz Lab Orion loudspeaker re why this preamp doesnít seem to work well with the Orion. Since most people here are more interested in the CSP2 Iíll make this as brief and accurate as I can. If the design of the CSP2 is truly a zero feedback design then the active eq/xo will not be compatible. I donít really need to look into it further unless I find an alternative.
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #19 - 01/10/07 at 17:18:57
 
As I have mentioned much of my CSP2 evaluation has been on headphones, just for reference nothing has changed here in terms of how the unit performs. The clipping is still blindingly apparent whenever you pass straight up vertical on the volume knob. As a side note this is still a fairly loud level to listen to so itís not much of a problem. Funny thing is I donít see much change in volume between headphones of 64ohm impedance and 300ohm in terms of where clipping occurs or relative volume.

When using the CSP2 as a preamp in with cd player, two channel amp and passive bookshelf speakers here are some of my findings. The 60hz hum is far more audible at what I would call a similar listening volume as to that on my headphones. I donít really think this is just the speakers since they play pretty flat, perhaps the fact that I had the speakers on the floor increased the resonance at this frequency but I doubt it had much effect. So I wanted to try to a/b comp the CSP2 and my normal SSpre so here is what I did. The left channel of cd player out to CSP2 then to amp then to left speaker (you can guess what I did with the right channel) cd player to solid state preamp then to amp then to right speaker. Both of the Preamps were within arms reach and both speakers were as close together as possible sitting in the center of the room in front of me about 4-5ft away. Iíd play a cd that I knew well and would alternate the volume knob on each pre as a way of a/bing the two preamps. The 60hz hum from the CSP2 does not change with volume knob position and it is not localizable at that distance so the same level of hum was present the entire time. In a way I guess the hum was controlled for...
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #20 - 01/10/07 at 17:30:16
 
When I did this test it was very very obvious to me that the preamps make the sound different. From what I have read most people seem to describe tube gear as sounding ďwarm, open, spacious, more music between the notes etcĒ I found the exact opposite to be true in my case. I thought the tube pre made the speaker sound a bit muffled and less clear. I did my best to keep in mind I was switching volumes at each change and I donít think that volume really came into play; each side could get way louder than I never needed for that situation. Anyway going back to the sound it was quickly apparent that the highs were rolled off with the tube set up, the bass didnít seem much different but overall I just didnít like the sound of the tube pre it sounded far more colored, almost as if the recording was at a slower bit rate on the cd or a poor job mastering.

Please note that Iím not trying to pick a fight about tube gear or anything like that Iím just stating what my subjective impressions are. Perhaps the unit is not sounding as good as it will later after extensive use, I donít know but that seems to be a likely answer among other people who use tube gear.

One interesting thing to point out is that I couldnít get the tube pre to clip at all when listening to speakers, even my 60wpc amp would overdrive the speaker before the pre would clip. I also used my 200wpc amp and couldnít get close to clipping the pre (or the amp for that matter). I thought that since the headphones clipped so easily that the speaker set up would meet the same fate this is far from the case.
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #21 - 01/10/07 at 17:35:25
 
Now here is where things get really weird. Overall I consider headphones to be very revealing and my best source for critical listening if I am trying to judge the difference between certain things like: high bit rate cdr or lower bit rate cds, processors, time delay, etc. On headphones these distinction are fairly easy for me but less so on speakers. With that said it would reason that the ďsweatshirt muffling the speaker soundĒ I heard in the bookshelf speaker set up would be all the more apparent when I listen to the CSP2 and solid state pre with my Senn HD650 (not like Iím listening on the disposable airline headphones my friend still uses). Oddly enough this is not the case, I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between the two at moderate volumes.

For reference here is how I set up this half a$$ experiment. Out of cd player rca into y cable right and left go into each pre so all I have to do to a/b the preamp is to pull the headphone plug and switch it. I know this isnít the best setup scenario but itís all I can do with the gear I have. I put on a test tone cd and played around with tones until I got the volume levels matched as well as I could. Then put in a cd I know very well. Both units are very nice to listen to, I didnít listen nearly long enough to evaluate fatigue but nothing was objectionable at moderate volume with either (meaning I didnít clip the CSP2). Now if I could get a friend of mine to switch the cord and not tell me what I was listening to I doubt I could get the answer right more than 60% of the time at moderate volume. If at anytime during the evaluation there is a quite passage or switch between tracks Iíll know immediately which unit Iím listening to because of the 60hz hum from the CSP2. That is why Iím always saying ďat moderate volumeĒ bc it covers the hum enough I canít really distinguish.
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #22 - 01/10/07 at 17:39:57
 
So while playing around with this I hear a high pitch squeal distortion type sound out of the right channel of the CSP2. I thought I heard this the other day and I just assumed it was because my heater kicked on in my room. While typing this I went into my room to check for the high pitch squeal again and it was there with the heater off. The very objectionable sound is only in the right channel (unless Iím deaf at that freq with my left ear, I should have switched the phones around maybe Iíll try that later). So I go back into the room after a short phone call and with the heater off the high pitch squeal is completely gone. Of course the ever-present 60hz hum is still there antagonizing me but the squeal is hard to predict. My guess is that it could be in the cd player (although Iíve never heard this on my solid state pre via headphones or any other set up). If I were a betting man I would say the CSP2 is a bit more sensitive to inaccuracies and could exacerbate problems in cd players that are of fairly low quality.  

So all in all itís gone like this for me so far. Minus the obvious problems with the 60hz hum the CSP2 is very enjoyable on headphones. With a normal bookshelf speaker I do not like the sound, it is colored and far less clear than my normal solid state preamp. If I didnít have the solid state pre to A/B in this situation the CSP2 I would have had more positive things to say about the CSP2 (assuming you could control for the 60hz hum) in this configuration but since the changes were so obvious; in my mind and ear detrimental to the sound I had to vote in favor of the solid state pre.

Other note, when I have the cd on pause or not spinning at all and I touch the volume control with my hand I can hear it in the headphones (not that Iím increasing the volume or distortion or anything like that). I mean like a stethoscope or microphone. Like cheap in ear canal headphones and touching the cord. So tapping the volume knob with my fingers is doing something to the pot or ground, hmm any ideas does anyone elseís unit do this?
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #23 - 01/10/07 at 17:53:58
 
I am very curious to find out if there is a poor ground or something otherwise wrong with my CSP2 if anything my bet is that shipping was the culprit. Furthermore I am exited to hear any and all of my gear on my new cd player which is coming in a few days (Rega Apollo). So far Iíve only owned very mediocre cd players (nothing more than 125 retail).

To keep this ridiculously long post long I have another question. Are the numbers and letters of the input tube markings supposed to match the numbers and markings in the CSP2 manual. For instance all of my input tubes say 6H2 the next marking is an upside down U. but the manual says the normal shipped input tube is 6N1P. The markings on my input tubes are very clear but perhaps I just donít know how to read them or translate them. The rectifier tube matches exactly to the 5Y3GT. Wouldnít it be funny if all these problems were just bc of the wrong input tube shipped with the unit.

Thatís all for now sorry to tire out your eyes.  
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 2425
Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #24 - 01/10/07 at 19:27:06
 
Parker,

There should be no detectable 60 Hz hum on either headphones or line level outputs.  There should also be no noise when touching the volume control.  My guess is there is a grounding problem that may have resulted from abusive shipping.  Either of these things are counter productive to the fidelity of the unit.

The muffled sound is typical during burn-in.  Put your CD player on repeat, and leave the unit on for the next week. You can be assured that during the break-in imaging and stage will also be all over the place ie., good, bad, somewhere in the middle.

I would like to see the unit come back so we can correct anything that's not to spec, like the hum issue your having.
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Parker
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Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #25 - 01/10/07 at 20:03:51
 
Thanks for the response Steve. So for all the people out there reading  this as a review please consider that there is something wrong with the unit. After I get it worked on I'll write back.

Should put it in the mail in the next few days.

Thanks,
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Eli Duttman
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Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #26 - 01/10/07 at 22:27:20
 
[quote author=Parker  link=1166842424/15#23 date=1168451638]I am very curious to find out if there is a poor ground or something otherwise wrong with my CSP2 if anything my bet is that shipping was the culprit. Furthermore I am exited to hear any and all of my gear on my new cd player which is coming in a few days (Rega Apollo). So far Iíve only owned very mediocre cd players (nothing more than 125 retail).

To keep this ridiculously long post long I have another question. Are the numbers and letters of the input tube markings supposed to match the numbers and markings in the CSP2 manual. For instance all of my input tubes say 6H2 the next marking is an upside down U. but the manual says the normal shipped input tube is 6N1P. The markings on my input tubes are very clear but perhaps I just donít know how to read them or translate them. The rectifier tube matches exactly to the 5Y3GT. Wouldnít it be funny if all these problems were just bc of the wrong input tube shipped with the unit.

Thatís all for now sorry to tire out your eyes. †
[/quote]


Parker,

You are dealing with Cyrillic characters.  That "upside down 'U'" is the Greek letter pi.  "H" in Cyrillic sounds like the Latin "N".  That tube is a 6n2p, which has 3X the gain of the 6n1p.

Your hunch about an incorrect I/P tube seems to be correct.

Steve and DeVon will get you squared away.   Grin

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RFZ_Quest
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Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #27 - 01/11/07 at 01:45:18
 
Hello Parker,

When I first got my CSP2, it was very evident that this unit needed a good break-in period before it was to loosen up and start showing it's potential. I had a brand new set of Beyer Dynamics Pro headphones (same as Steve's) and they too needed to 'break-in' through the adjustment period. Between the two items, the freshness out of the box was totally unbearable and definitely not listen worthy. As I am very familiar with audio in general and especially with Decware products, I learned a long time ago that these components will always sound completely different for the better after about 200 playing hours. At this point, the units will usually hit their prime sound character and finally reveal what the true capabilities hold in store.

My initial impressions of the stone fresh CSP2 were of some of the worst that I ever experienced during the first twenty hours. Keep in mind that the tubes were also fresh and they too require a certain degree of playing time before they start to hit their peak as well.

As you described, the initial sound was muffled, undetailed, and seemingly restrained. Listening to this through the headphones was even worse. One thing that I NEVER experienced, was any sort of hum or noise, whether it was through the headphones or the loudspeakers.

As Steve suggested, operate your CSP2 with your CD player on constant loop for at least a week straight with a cool down period for a few hours each day. Do this through your headphones without using any external amplification or loudspeakers. This way, you will not have to listen to it while it is going through the adjustment period. After about fifty hours, you will really begin to notice a huge transformation and it gets much better as time goes on. By the time that I accumulated the first 100 hours on my unit and headphones, it was as though I was listening to something totally different and what a change it made by this process.

I use a premium quality RCA ST style (large shoulder) 5U4 rectifier (or a Mullard 'Blackburn code' 5Y3GT as the alternative) and NOS high quality tubes throughout. This does take the sound quality up a considerable degree in my experience and this unit is indeed worthy of the premium tube complement.

I use the CSP2 to drive my SV83 mono-blocks, which also have the same quality tube arrangements. All that I can tell you is that by using the CSP2 with the mono-blocks, I have reached a whole new level of musical enjoyment that never seemed possible considering what was being used prior to the CSP2. I was driving the extraordinarily detailed NFX speakers with the DFR-8 drivers installed for maximum clarity and definition.

I had never experienced such a solid 'WOW' factor with audio in the past with as much musical integrity as what was being presented here. The combination of the SET mono-blocks, a high quality turntable, the CSP2, and the ultra high sensitivity NFX speakers produced a level of sound quality that was truly in a league of it's own. It was clear to me that this combination would be hard pressed to beat by any standard put up against it. The NFX speakers will absolutely reveal nuances of detail that most likely will surprise the listener to learn that this even existed in the music. In order for the speakers to convey this pristine detail, it is of an absolute nature that the signal must also be of that purity being fed to them. As it is well said, the system is only as good as it's weakest link! I can assure you that there are no weak links residing in this system and it shows.

With well over 200 hours on the CSP2, I have found this unit to be nothing short of awe-inspiring and second to none! When they talk about music being heard "naked", that very much sums it up as EVERYTHING is revealed for it's absolute value.

This went from being the most horrific sounding thing that I could have subjected myself to in the beginning, on to being the most accurate, articulate, and natural sounding component that I've heard to date next to my TORIIMK2.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. Do take Steve's advice and return the unit to him for analysis just to insure that everything is operating correctly. Then get on with the break-in period and start listening to it once achieved. I would be very surprised if you are not singing the praise once this is established.

I hope that my experience has shed some light on your situation.

Take care and good luck.

Paul.
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Yoda
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #28 - 01/11/07 at 03:58:57
 
My CSP2 shipped with (3) 6H1(upside down U) tubes and the 5Y3GT.  In other discussions on the forum, the 6H2(upside down U) is supposed to be a great input tube on the C and CS power amps, but it was indicated that it was not necessarily appropriate for the CSP or CSP2 preamps.

I'll have to say that it took a while for my CSP2 to work out some of its demons, but I have not had any hum as Parker does. For a little while, it did seem as if things were headed towards mono and softer, but then it opened up, and dynamics have really gotten better.  I run two 2 mono bridged CS amps.  I have felt for some time that there is more crosstalk between L-R than I'm used to (perhaps the mono sub out circuit contributes?), and did an experiment where I plugged in one channel from my source and checked for output from each of my mono amps confirming more than my previous pre, but not so much that I cared a whole lot, other than thinking having a third input would be more useful than the mono out that I'm not using.  What I have experienced recently is a better soundstage and more impact as the pre breaks in.

I also tried it with my Hafler DH200 and had a positive 'no added hum' experience (that amp has to be taken with a grain of salt)...

Matt
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chrisby
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Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #29 - 01/11/07 at 18:42:08
 
Matt - that'd be grains of "sand"  :'(
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