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CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou (Read 10581 times)
Lon
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CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
04/08/07 at 18:19:46
 
Dear Folk,

My CSP2 is here and it's already in three plus days proven itself to be a nobrainer purchase for any Decware owner wishing to buy a preamp. . . . I followed every instruction in the booklet for initial installation and did the delicate installation into my system (with all the Triplepoint feet from Mapleshade, etc.) . . . Well. . . Either it came with a dead fuse, or it blew the fuse the instant I turned it on (I never saw even a flash!) but it was soon in place and running.  I'm going to need to get a new spare fuse.

It's in no way"bloomed" yet, but I can tell it's going to be a great preamp.  It's so nice to be able to watch the tv through the system.  And even my wife doesn't mind it (at least so far) and she would generally prefer to just listen to the compressed sound of the tv (she has a hard time with voices when the tv is coming through on most stereo systems).  So I'm able to use the tuner on my dvd recorder (a Sony with pretty decent sound) and also my TARA Labs cables, old friends for about eleven years that have been languishing in a second system til now) and the cables liven up the sound, sound from the tv is pretty darned nice.

And cds and dvds through the DEC685 sound pretty darned good.  I'm sure they will sound better.  They don't blow me away yet, and I seem to be in a "fuzzy" stage of breakin.  But I'm glad I have the darned thing at last.  Even if just for the tv thing.  With my wife I watch so much tv that I might as well get the benefit of using the system. . . and now I do.

I'm going to be hard pressed to tell anyone if this is a decided improvement over the CSP.  I just don't know, I've never heard the CSP!  I will say this:  my first impression is that it is sonically similar to the DSR II cables in that it doesn't seem to highlight any frequency range, it's very open and the highs are clear and not at all glaring.  Sound-staging is shifting a bit as I listen and tweak the system so I'm not sure what the final version will be.  I do too much tweaking and I'm mostly playing new music that has come in . . . I can't predict through the breakin stage as well as Randy can.  I haven't reached demigod status yet. Wink

I had thought to try to have one channel "ZBox free" and one with the ZBox in place, so I had the tv running from the dvd recorder straight into the CSP2, and the DEC685 going to the ZBox and then into the CSP2.  Sort of like having a two channel tube guitar amp with a "clean" channel and one with effects.  8-)  That was interesting.  I've today put the ZBox behind the CSP2 so that both channels of the CSP2 go to the ZBox then to the amps.  Honestly. . .I don't hear a tremendous difference.  The CSP2 is that good at making signals sound great.  There's a little more "fullness" with the ZBox I'd say.

So, in the interest of honesty and clear speaking. . .and eschewing hyperbole. . . Well, I certainly don't like it as much as Randy does yet. . . . But I do really like it.  I'm not getting quite the "bass transformation" that Randy seems to, and that disappoints me a little. My system has always just needed a little bit more bass, and from all the talk from Randy and Bob I was expecting some. Maybe it's the room or the house and maybe it's the set up.  I'm still tweaking a bit on how it's place in the system.  Lots of factors to play with.  And I'm beginning to think I need to continue playing with gain into the amps to find just the right compromise. I've been doing that this afternoon, and moving interconnects around.

It's definitely fun to listen to.  Just to be able to watch tv through the system is a joy.  And lets me use the system more.  And I think I'm getting a bit more dynamic response from the cds than ever before.  Though I've lost a "mellowness" that was so very endearing in the earlier pre-CSP2 setup.  I'm hoping very hard that when the breakin period is over that mellowness will be there.

More impressions as the days go by.

After this, at some point, I'm going to send my monoblocks in for a power supply upgrade.  Steve has a choked power supply he wants to incorporate into mine and I might as well let him.  But I hate the thought of boxing them up and being without them for weeks is chilling!  I could survive. . . a brief separation.  But more than a few weeks. . . !  I'd be a puddle on the floor!  :)
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Lon
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"Love without
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Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphon
Reply #1 - 04/08/07 at 18:41:04
 
One other thing:  I thought I would mention I am using a trio of cro'd military 6N1Ps that I have broken in over the last month in the EL34 Monoblocks.  These are exceptional tubes in my opinion and I know their sound.

Another thing I want to mention:  I've been using an unsung favorite cd as a measure/yardstick.  It's the "Verve Master Edition" cd release of "Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson." This cd is just wonderful all around.  The original earliesh stereo recording is oh so very well done. The playing. . .just masterful from everyone. Ben shows the wonderful skill he has of making the right note, at the very right instant, with just the right sound (tone and intensity). . . . It's just heartfelt and yet precise playing.  And Oscar Peterson plays as well as he ever has both in support of Ben and in solos.  Ray Brown has just the right tone and timing.  Ed Thigpen is subtle and swinging, doing things exactly right. The remastering captures the sound of the old K Zildjans, Ray's bass, Ben's tenor and the great piano just so.  The tunes are well chosen and give a nice mix of ballad and swinging textures.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for music and sound.



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rmt
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NIbbelin NFX

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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #2 - 04/10/07 at 04:09:38
 
Thanks for yor observations on the CSP2.  I had my CSP upgraded just recently and I think it is an improvment over the original even before it has finished breaking in.  It's nearing 35 hours of playing time and I will provide a more thourough evaluatin after more listening.

I have 2 Ben Webster CDs.  One is called "Confluence" which I cannot find anywhere for sale and other is Jazz "round midnight featuring Coleman Hawkins, Oscar Pederson, billy strayhorn and teddy Wilson.

Are you familiar with the Confluence CD?  It's a live recording in Paris.
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #3 - 04/10/07 at 12:01:50
 
No, not familiar with Confluence, I've seen the name but never a cd.  I'll be on the lookout.  Thanks for the heasup on it!

Glad you feel the CSP2 is an improvement.  I'm enjoying mine. . .waiting for the "blooming"!
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphon
Reply #4 - 04/10/07 at 13:44:36
 
Hi Lon,

Are you running the stock tubes in your CSP2 ..... ?

If you stated which tubes are being used, I missed it.

Thanks,

Randy
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #5 - 04/10/07 at 14:03:50
 
Randy, I"m running cryo'd versions of what appear to be the stock input tubes supplied by Steve. . . which I broke in beforehand (these are my input tubes of choice for over a year now, maybe two) . . .I mention that later in the thread.  I'm using the stock rectifier.

I'm getting a little more bloom in the sound today; after doing about five of the five hours on/off I've been letting the CSP2 run continuously for about 24 hours now and then will shut it off for a while.  I'm getting a bit more of the "mellowness" I had been missing.
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« Last Edit: 04/10/07 at 14:23:58 by Lon »  

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ZYGI
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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphon
Reply #6 - 04/10/07 at 19:24:28
 
Lon,

  I'm glad things are starting to settle in.  I was thinking about your first post.....I don't know how much from the original CSP is left in the CSP2 but I would have to think the caps and all are the same, with that said, I would think someone with the upgraded CSP to CSP2  wouldn't have as much to break in. Or maybe better said, some of mine and Randy's CSP2 already had time on it. I know mine had  a few thousand hours on it before sending it in.

  I was thinking over the weekend mine wasn't impressing me as much as it did the first day or two, Friday night when I shut it down I took the CSP2 out of the system, Saturday night was enjoyable, but later that night I put the CSP2 back in the loop, yeah its  better with it in, the magic was back!!!!

  Just a thought,
Bob Z
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« Last Edit: 04/10/07 at 19:25:48 by ZYGI »  

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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #7 - 04/10/07 at 20:31:00
 
Hi Bob,

Yes, lots to breakin on mine.  I really find that the patience pays off.  I'm sure I'm going to be more delighted with this than I already am!
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rmt
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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #8 - 04/10/07 at 22:08:19
 
My CSP2 is an upgrade version.  There were a few moments during my break-in time when I thought the CSP2 was going solid state on me.   Shocked   Then after a short time the bloom returned and things continue to get better and better.  Same with my Select awhile back when it was brand new.  Just have to let those little caps flex their muscles.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #9 - 04/10/07 at 22:37:44
 
Yes, Sunday I listened a bit too loudly to a clarinet solo that sounded as if it were coming from a large solid state amplifier being driven through metal tweeters!  I shut it down and when I listened later that day it sounded . .. better.  Breakin and the seating of caps can be very interesting!
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphon
Reply #10 - 04/13/07 at 14:00:33
 
Okay, little update:

A bit more mellowness returning.  (Not where it was before systemwide though!) A bit more bass.  Not enough though that I can go back to listening with the lower speakers in the Radials "active" though . . . which would be my hopeful final situation.  (I love the sound of the highs and mids and they dynamics of this setup, but with these speakers active there is a diminishment of the bass in my room).

Anyway, I've ordered another set of DSRIIs to use in the system that I think will help bring a bit more of the mellowness back; these are excellent cables.
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphon
Reply #11 - 04/15/07 at 16:52:01
 
I've been letting the CSP2 run all weekend and I'm really enjoying my listening and watching.

I would say that right now things are very good:  bass is appropriate/accurate with the lower drivers "passive" on the Radials, tonal balance is very good.

For music there is a slight bit of forwardness still that I think honestly are the signature of the DSRIs in the system.  Right now I have reconfigured cables and components to what seems best of what I have available:  DSRIs from DEC685 to ZBox, DSRIIs from ZBox to CSP2, PS Audio Statements to the Decware EL34 Monoblocks.  Replacing the DSRIs with DSRIIs should give me that little bit of mellowness I seem to have lost by introducing the CSP2.

This is a fascinating machine in terms of what it does.  Man oh man I can't imagine anyone needing more gain than this will deliver; my brief foray oustide of the stock settings made me marvel.  The lack of output transformers must be responsible for the open and uncolored nature of the sound. I can use two sources and I'm enjoying that.  Kudoes to Steve for a superior product.
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« Last Edit: 04/15/07 at 16:52:41 by Lon »  

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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #12 - 04/15/07 at 17:22:10
 
Great review's Lon, you and Randy have been making my mouth water with all the good reports on the CSP2. Recent auto repair costs and tax time will keep me away from one for a spell or two..

 Have you tried putting your most beloved type tube in the DEC685 and pull the Zbox out of the chain?   I was thinking DEC685 via DSRII's to CSP2 and CSP2 via DSRII's out to the monoblocks with no ZBox in the mix..   Dave Smiley
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Lon
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Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphon
Reply #13 - 04/15/07 at 19:02:02
 
I did try briefly the system without the ZBox. . .I found the ZBox made a positive difference. . . .

I always run the same (favorite? I like it a lot and there's another I think I like as much) tube in the ZBox and the DEC685; I find that keeping the same tube type and make in each is a good thing.

I may try removing the ZBox again weeks from now.  I don't think I'm getting the completely accurate impression of what the CSP2 will then be yet.  It would be interesting, and surprising, if I didn't need the ZBox when the CSP2 was fully broken in.
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« Last Edit: 04/15/07 at 19:04:03 by Lon »  

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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7696
Re: CSP2 Review:  in old chassis, no headphone ou
Reply #14 - 04/19/07 at 12:10:59
 
Well, the good things are coming to he who waits.  Exactly two weeks from receipt, and this machine is starting to bloom.  A nice rich carpet of sound.  I have to go to Houston for today, tomorrow and most of Saturday, and I'm going to miss my system!
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