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CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update (Read 10287 times)
Parker
Ex Member



CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
12/23/06 at 01:53:44
 
Yesterday I received a call that my CSP2 is on it's way. Sweet I can't wait. I'll try to have a few "non-audio" types listen to it vs my normal ss pre set up and try to report what they hear.

I find that many times the people (like myself) who make different boxes, exp. with speaker placement, room treatments, etc. Have a bit more critical ear than the average person but I think just a normal member of the public would also be good as a reference.

A friend of mine is a very talented musician and has been in music schools and training throughout his life. He usually just says it like it is without regard to cost, hype etc.

Of course my experience and subjective listening will be the most important to me.

Drum Roll for what speakers will be used>>> Or do you want to wait for pics? Here is a teaser, no mdf anywhere in the speakers, and one of the woods is named after an animal.
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« Last Edit: 02/04/07 at 20:34:10 by Parker »  
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Lon
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #1 - 12/23/06 at 10:53:37
 
Congrats!  Be sure to let us know what YOU think.  (You can let us know about the opinions of other hearers TOO!) Smiley
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Mike W
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #2 - 12/23/06 at 23:32:03
 
Quote:
Drum Roll for what speakers will be used>>> Or do you want to wait for pics? Here is a teaser, no mdf anywhere in the speakers, and one of the woods is named after an animal.


Come on dude the suspense is killing me
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #3 - 12/24/06 at 21:26:23
 
You didn't even guess the animal. I'll give you another hint, the animal normally lives in Africa.

As for the speakers I'll say this much: active 4 way.

Too bad my best source is a cheap 8 year old dvd player. I'm working on that...

I thought pics would be cool so I might wait until everything is set up.
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Rap
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #4 - 12/24/06 at 21:52:11
 
If your talking about a Dynacord "Cobra" then I think those mostely live in Asia Roll Eyes they have some in Africa but that is not a great hint.

Rap. Smiley
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morpheous85
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #5 - 12/25/06 at 05:33:16
 
Zebrawood?

Jason
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The Tish
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #6 - 12/25/06 at 16:39:34
 
    Von Schweikert?   I second the zebrawood guess.   Tish
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #7 - 12/26/06 at 18:44:51
 
Yes, you win the Xmas cookie. Zeebrawood it is.

Zeebrawood sides and Curly Maple Baffles.

Looks pretty sweet, should be here within a few days.

Pic of Zeebrawood.

http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=711
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #8 - 12/29/06 at 03:18:11
 
Okay, UPS man said January second then I get a call today that they missed me for the delivery. Long story short I have my CSP2 now.

1. So far I plugged in the power cord and let it run for about 5 mins.
2. Turned unit off, unpluged cord, moved it and turned unit back on with all connections made.
3. Getting crazy loud very low frequency from speakers, nothing like a 60hz buzz more like 2-5hz full excursion peaks on woofers. Makes the lights dim the amp is working so hard.
4. Didn't like the above so turned off the amp, kept the imput's hooked up, took the outputs off and listened to headphones.
5. Nothing impressive to report at low volumes, doesn't sound bad but doesn't best my ipod either (headphones are Senn HD650's). Not getting the super low frequencies now, but I can't see the drivers in the headphones.
6. I can go to 1/2 volume without any real problems in terms of clipping or poor sound but past that i get crazy loud crunchy sound. Still curious if the very low bass is present.
7. Have it hooked up now with no imput, yes output, no headphones just making the tubes glow a bit at half volume.

Any ideas, I could imagine a 60hz buzz (even though I've never heard one before in my house on any of my gear) but a super super low freqency at way way high volume. Any Help?

Do they test these things before they leave? Could a bad tube do what I have mentioned above.
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Lon
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #9 - 12/29/06 at 13:00:13
 
I would call Steve, rather than guessing or taking guesses from us.

Does NOT sound as if this is as it should be.

Bummer!
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #10 - 12/30/06 at 17:56:06
 
after some trouble shooting here is where it's at. the super low freq problem isn't the csp, it some incompatibility w the analog signal processor in my system. linkwitz lab orions. tried th csp w a 'normal set up' pair of passive bookshelfs and amp, worked fine can't comment on sound bc just briefly hooked gear up to test didn't position them in the room etc. Not happy w the quite apparent 60hz hum that i'm getting. doesn't change w volume, only really noticable on low volume and betewwn songs, nonetheless still want to get rid of it. more comments on headphone sound later.
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Mike W
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #11 - 12/31/06 at 00:33:58
 
[quote author=Lon  link=1166842424/0#9 date=1167397213]I would call Steve, rather than guessing or taking guesses from us.

Does NOT sound as if this is as it should be.

Bummer! [/quote]

Good advice
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morpheous85
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Re: CSP2 in the Mail, Can't Wait
Reply #12 - 01/02/07 at 20:50:08
 
Perhaps there's a ground loop problem? Decware products, if nothing else, are always very quiet as far as noise goes. Maybe another incompatibility.

Jason
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Parker
Ex Member



Re: CSP2 Review by Parker
Reply #13 - 01/04/07 at 01:00:19
 
CSP2 Review By Parker

Well Iíve put a few hours on the CSP2 so I thought I would include a few of my initial impressions. Note that the problems I mentioned earlier were of no fault of the CSP2. I would guess that I have had the unit on with a signal going to it for about 5 hours total of which I have listened to it on headphones for at least one hour the other 4 hours I didnít listen to the unit at all. Listening to bookshelf speaks and normal 2-channel set up was not done for more than 1 minute bc I only used to this to determine that the CSP2 was not the culprit of the previous problem.  

Input signal is coming from normal low-mid grade cd/dvd player (about 1 year old sony unit) only used original cds so far. RCA cables are very low-mid grade monster etc. Home has no power bumps or otherwise oddities in the electricity. Using the normal tubes that shipped with the unit.

Iíll start with the negative or so far the least desirable things I have noticed (these may be fixable but at this point I do not know). Prominent 60hz hum is clearly audible on quite passages and in between songs or when I hit pause. A general consumer would be unlikely to hear this but I believe I am a bit more trained on picking those types of things out. Note that Iíve never heard a hum this loud from any mid-high quality headphone amp or my current preamp (adcom 450) and I really doubt it is the power in my house making the hum since no other gear hums this loud when plugged into the same sockets. Tried using a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter to see if that changed anything but it yielded no help. Note the only other item pluged into this circuit was the cd player (note hum still there if cd player is turned off). If the hum could be eliminated this would be the cleanest pre amp with the lowest amount of hiss (note that for me hiss and hum are two different things) I have ever heard. The 60hz hum does not change with the volume and there is no audible hiss and it doesnít change with volume either (Iím very very impressed by this).

Another issue that I would like to isolate is the CSP2 clipping at fairy low levels. I believe my cdplayer has a two-volt output, when I get past half volume the unit clips very hard. I wouldnít normally listen to headphones this loud but if you compare the clipping point of the CSP2 and my Adcom unit I would say that the adcom is subjectively 4 times louder before clipping at the same level. I guess the clipping really isnít a problem if it is out of the normal range I use but I read this thing can do over 30volts without distortion, I thought that meant it could do 30 volts without clipping (yet I donít know where 30 volts would be on the factory trim pots and volume knob). Perhaps something is wrong with the unit, but other than that and the 60hz hum nothing is seems wrong.

The main negative for me so far is that the CSP2 is not compatible with my Linkwitz Lab Orion speakers, very big disappointment but there might be a remedy somewhere.

So now I have to decide if I will justify the cost of the CSP2 as a headphone amp or a future second room set up pre amp. The Orionís are so amazing I have no thoughts at all about replacing them,

Okay so back to the CSP2. Build quality looks first rate, although this is my first piece of tube gear. Super smooth volume pot. Donít like how the power cord sticks up out of the back, I wish it went out the back like a normal unit but I can see the reason it was built this way. Anyway the most important thing is how it soundsÖ

Headphones are Senn HD650ís w about 50hs on them (these are 300ohm). The first thing that I noticed about the sound is that it seemed less fatiguing than a normal headphone amp. I donít necessarily mean this in terms of peaks in frequency response but it almost sounds like the csp2 has a cross feed. Normally when I listen to headphones I get this hyper isolated two channel that I find kind of obnoxious and distracting. Overall I like the sound of nice headphones but without a cross feed I find them fatiguing. The CSP2 makes the sounds seem like they are coming from directly inside my head rather than from the headphones placed outside of my head. For a moment I thought that the CSP2 might sound so good on headphones bc it didnít have good channel separation (thus acted like a cross feed) I checked the unit isolating each output and this is certainty not the case. I donít have measurement tools but I would estimate that the CSP2 has the highest degree of channel separation I have ever heard from a preamp or headphone amp. As far as imaging it usually takes a good 5 minutes for my brain to become used to listening to headphones; the vast majority of my listening is on a home two channel system. With headphones I just donít get the front to back depth and front stage image as well as I do on a good two channel in a room. I donít think this is a criticism of the CSP2 itís just how headphones are compared to speakers in a room.  To itís the credit the CSP2 created the most enjoyable headphone reproduction I have heard. To me headphones seem to have a great ability to sweep from side to side yet they have a bit of trouble making a center image. The CSP2 has a far better than average center image (perhaps it is not the CSP2 but itís the headphones and my brain but for argument sake lets leave it at that). Typically this sweeping from side to side can sound a bit forced at times since each ear is so isolated, the CSP2 was less pronounced in this way but I didnít sound rolled off or anything like that. One of the biggest things I noticed about the unit was that I seemed to hear not only the music sweeping from side to side but also up and down. Normally I donít hear this on headphones but I do hear it on good recordings in a normal two channel home set up. This sliding up and down isnít like a fader or anything like that, it just sounds like the instruments are separated by more space and they are on a different vertical plane. I am curious to try the CSP2 with an input from a Dolby headphone source. Iíve played around with dolby headphone a bit and I find it sounds far more like a real room than straight two channel playback, Iíll report back on this if I give it a try.

Iím also thinking about using the mono out to run a sub near my listening position to add a little physical bass, might prove interesting.
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morpheous85
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Re: CSP2 Review by Parker
Reply #14 - 01/04/07 at 04:58:10
 
Your CSP2 might still have some issues with it. You initially mentioned super low bass noise. I wonder if that is still there, and causing the clipping. The spec sheet says it can take up to a 5v input and put out up to 36v.

The 60hz hum, is it still present when the cd player is unplugged from the power? Or when the cd player is unplugged from the CSP2? I've dealt with groundloops before in pro-audio situations and it's suprising where they turn up. I had one amp that hummed whenever a VCR (power on or off) was connected to the soundboard. Neither caused problems by themselves, only when used at the same time. Muting it didn't help. Fortunatly, the cables were balanced and cutting the shield at one end killed the hum.

I'm glad the rest of it is enjoyable! Good luck!

Jason
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Parker
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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
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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
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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: 2381
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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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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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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Re: CSP2 Review 1-10-07 Update
Reply #30 - 01/11/07 at 23:14:59
 
Parker,

I didn't catch it the first time, that you have a 6N2P (6H2N) in the preamp.  That tube looks exactly like the 6N1P and apparently one found its way into your preamp when we packed it.  I would guess this would aggravate the noise and hum issue quite a bit.

I look forward to getting the unit back so we can quickly fix the problems and send it back out.  Of course your 30 day trial will be reset once you have it back.

Thanks,

Steve
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #31 - 02/04/07 at 20:42:31
 
Okay sent the CSP2 back to Steve and it came back fixed. The hum is gone with headphones and on speakers it is far less noticable, it's barely audible when more than 3 feet way.

Just for referece I am still using the same gear to evaluate: Headphones are Senn HD650's (with easily 300hrs now). SS pre amp is Adcom, SS amp is Adcom, Bookshelf reference speaks play flat above 60hz and I know them very well (mental memory).

So when I first got the unit back I took it out of the 15 deg F' weather outside and immediately unpacked it and hooked it up. Within the first 30 seconds of turning on it sounded better then than it ever did when I had it before. Clearly something was wrong with it previously, likely a bad ground and the incorrect input tubes x3.

Noise level is now rediculously low and the power is very much there. As some of you might remember I reported that the CSP2 would clip really hard at anything over half volume and that it just didn't seem able to drive the 300ohm Senn's very well. That is NOT the case now, at 1/3 volume it is now louder than I would ever listen to. (so new 1/3 is like old 5/8's without clipping or hum or high pitch sqeal out of right channel).

I'm still using my cheap DVD player as a source and incredibly cheap interconnects because I didn't have the motivation to pull my nice new Rega Apollo out of its new custom AV unit I made. On my 2 channel system (Linkwitz Lab Orions and Thor) it is easy to hear that the Rega sounds better and more accurate than the cheap $15 pawn shop DVD player. I expect this will become apparent as well with the CSP2 and great headphones.

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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #32 - 02/04/07 at 20:55:19
 
I am currently breaking in the CSP2 with cycles of 22hrs on 2 hrs off with a different cd every day. I'll try this for a week or so and see if the sound changes.

I tried the same experiment again with the adcom ss pre running the left channel in to adcom SS amp and the CSP2 pre into adcom SS amp. I've used the mono out on the CSP2 and the mono on the adcom SS pre which I did not do before (because I didn't think of it). This makes the A/Bing much easier and more predicable in volume and content.

So far the above has revealed much of the same that I reported before. The CSP2 sounds a bit muffled and the highs sound kinda crunchy and the midbass is too pronouced. I noticed all these things before but the sound is less drastic now since the CSP2 was fixed. Overally it sounds okay but it doesn't sound as natural as the adcom ss pre. If the sound does not change with break in then the biggest problem will be the mid range bloating and the slight 60hz hum.

every member I've heard from can attest the sound will change with break in and all for the better. I'm leaving all the gear hooked up in my testing mode so I can evaluate it quickly and see if any changes happen as 100's of hours get put on the unit.

I haven't tried the CSP2 with the Linkwitz Lab Orion set up. I'll report back on that when I have time to play around with it.
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #33 - 02/06/07 at 02:02:32
 
The CSP2 works just fine now with the Linkwitz Lab system. Sounds fine, didn't really listen long enough to comment. The most noticible change is that the bass to too exaggerated, I would say to the tune of 6db easily.
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #34 - 02/06/07 at 10:53:22
 
According to what I remember of Steve's breakin recommendations, I think you should power it up for about five hours, then leave it off for at least five hours, then repeat four or five times. . . .I believe the powering down (longer than two hours) is an important component.
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #35 - 02/06/07 at 23:44:14
 
Yep I recall that too in the instructions, but I was instructed that I could also just leave it on for a straight week and it wouldn't hurt anything.
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #36 - 02/08/07 at 00:06:03
 
Parker,

Glad to hear things are improved now that you've got the CSP2 back in action.  Give it time...

Couple comments...  The CSP2 itself has ZERO hum and ZERO noise  at any volume level and at any distance from the speakers.  I can assure you of that.  If you're getting a tiny 60 Hz hum it is a ground loop or induced hum via your crappy cables that is at fault.

Also, I have found that 6N2P's actually work rather well in the CSP2, and ironically IN THAT circuit they have about 1/2 the gain of the 6N1P's.  The sound is also quite good.  

As far as bass bloat, I can also assure you that the CSP2 is DEAD FLAT and very extended in it's frequency response.  The Adcom gear by comparison is typically a bit lean (I know, I've owned several Adcom pieces including yours for use in my studio)  So the bloat you are hearing is what you really have in real life.  That simply means that your room/speakers are suffering from the typical room boom that everyone has to battle.  

I am confident as time goes on you will find it is by FAR the superior component in your system and as you systematically remove the handicaps you should no doubt come to the same conclusion as RFZQuest.

Your play by play reviews are excellent REAL WORLD feedback and should prove most helpful to anyone considering following in your footsteps!

Keep it coming!
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #37 - 02/08/07 at 03:59:36
 
First off. Thank You Steve!

There aren't many people turning out the kind of gear you do with anywhere near the same price or business philosophy.

I hope my intermittent reports do help other people with their descisions bc who knows. At first I was convinced that the CSP2 wouldn't work at all with a digital anologue processor, yet it does so I think people should know that incase they want to give it a go.

Since the unit has been fixed I didn't mean to say that the 60hz hum is a result of the CSP2 (although it might have read like that) it very well could be my amp, ground, cheap wires etc.

And my god if you could see how bad these cables are; they're like the one's that came with the first VCR you ever bought.

So if the "breaking in" of the CSP2 is the capacitors would that also mean that other SS products are likely to have a noticble burn in as well? Any exp with this in relation to the adcom gear we both have?
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-3-07 Update
Reply #38 - 02/09/07 at 18:42:05
 
Spent about two hours straight of critical listening with system as follows: out of Rega Apollo CD, into CSP2, out to Anologue Signal Processor, then to ATI 12 channel SS amp, then to 4 way Orion/Thor Linkwitz Lab speaks.

The CSP2 now has about 120hrs on it since the unit came back working perfectly (my guess is that the quarterback for UPS didn't warm up his throwing arm before launching the CSP2 into the collection bin).

Anyway... I put on the same music that I tried the other day when I briefly hooked up the CSP2 to test it again and see if it worked with the anolgoue signal processor (remember it didn't before the unit was fixed). My initial sense was that the bloated bass was less apparent. I don't know if that has to do with break in, but it seems to follow many of the things other people have said about break in.

So the highs sound better now, there is NO hum, the bass is cleaned up etc. As it stands right now I don't think the CSP2 is besting the Adcom 715 pre in terms of clarity but it is catching up.

Perhaps this belongs in the music forum but I keep coming back to Bjork being the best test material I can find which gives incredibly complex passages with a rediculous amount of range. Her album "Vespertine" is truly a treat on any good system; as is "Medulla" With Bjork it's like I can hear every little change they mastered in the recording, sometime it sounds like someone 2 ft away from you singing in your ear and on other tracks it sounds like she's singing in a church hall or something a bit echo-ish.

Anyone have similar rec's
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Re: CSP2 Review NEW 2-14-07 Update
Reply #39 - 02/14/07 at 19:35:25
 
So I found a fairly large error with the way I set up my a/b listening between my normal ss pre and the CSP2. Although I had both pre's running mono to one speaker using the same ss amp I didn't have the signal mono out of the cdplayer. When the system was set up this way the sound out of the CSP2 was not as desirable (bloated bass, rolled off treb, a bit muffled) but when i set up the auditioning system properly (mono all the way through from cd to amp) the CSP2 sounded cleaner than the SS pre.

Now that I have the thing set up right I can't really comment on burn in or any of that stuff bc I don't have a reference for how it used to sound. Anyway the jist of it is that the CSP2 does sound perfectly flat, it has a lower noise floor than any other preamp I've used, and it is clearer than any pre amp I've used. By clear I mean that if you have music with multiple vocals at the same time it is easier to differentiate each vocal with the CSP2 than it is with the SS pre.

Remember that this is my first tube component. I wouldn't describe the sound as "tubey" in the traditional sense, but rather just a cleaner more pure sound.

My discovery of my previous error explains why reported the headphones sounding flat yet I couldn't get the bookshelf speak audition to sound flat.

Getting the bug and hating that I owe too much money in tax to not get more stuff.

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