Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register
Decware Audio Forums
11/23/14 at 11:13:47


Pages: 1 2 
Send Topic Print
Which amp for Audeze headphones? (Read 4171 times)
Don W
Senior Member
***




Posts: 58
Which amp for Audeze headphones?
09/20/11 at 16:36:14
 
Hi there, I'm new to Decware and new to tube amps. Am thinking about upgrading headphone amp which is used mainly for Audeze LCD-2. (I will work on speakers later, so having full amp makes sense.) I'm mainly interested in which would be better amp for Audeze - the Mini Torii or Taboo. Web pages for each claim to be excellent amp for LCD-2, but which is better? One thing I am particuclarly interested in is bringing out the base that is inherently available with the LCD-2's.

Also, I guess if it is a draw for sound quality relative to the LCD-2's the next question would be which is the better amp for sound quality through speakers.
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Taboo, CSP2+, Mini-Torii, MG944, ERR, Zen Styx, DSR-II interconnects, DHC-1 power cables. Other: Audeze LCD-3 w/ Q cables, EE Mini-Max DAC Plus, Audio-gd SA-1 DAC, Audio-gd DI-DSP USB to Coaxial converter. Homemade PC with JRiver Media Center.
  IP Logged
Lon
Seasoned Member
****


"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7803
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #1 - 09/20/11 at 17:04:26
 
You could also consider the CSP2, which would give you a fantastic preamp as well.
Back to top
 
 

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
  IP Logged
Don W
Senior Member
***




Posts: 58
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #2 - 09/20/11 at 17:46:57
 
The web site for the Taboo implies that it is better for Planer Magnetic phones (aka the Audeze) than the CSPD:

Quote:
Using the CSP2 to drive your TABOO makes it possible to listen to virtually every headphone in the world.  Normal headphones between 30 and 600 ohms will sound sublime on the CSP2 and low efficiency, low impedance phones like Planar Magnetics or even AKG-1000 are driven without effort by the Taboo, so the two pieces together make a nice combination that covers all the bases.


Plus, I will need a speaker amp in the near future too...
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Taboo, CSP2+, Mini-Torii, MG944, ERR, Zen Styx, DSR-II interconnects, DHC-1 power cables. Other: Audeze LCD-3 w/ Q cables, EE Mini-Max DAC Plus, Audio-gd SA-1 DAC, Audio-gd DI-DSP USB to Coaxial converter. Homemade PC with JRiver Media Center.
  IP Logged
Lon
Seasoned Member
****


"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7803
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #3 - 09/20/11 at 18:31:04
 
Okay. Sorry, I only know the CSP2 personally as a preamp because I'm not a fan of headphone use, and by reputation as a great driver of headphones. I haven't read the web page in a long time as I've had the CSP2 for a long time.
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 09/20/11 at 18:31:41 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
  IP Logged
Pale Rider
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1272
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #4 - 09/20/11 at 19:01:55
 
As between the Mini and the Taboo, for me, it is a hands down no-brainer, even though I have never heard the Mini (though I know the Torii sound well). The differentiator is Lucid Mode, only available on the Taboo.

I can also attest the Taboo can drive my LCD-2s just fine on its own, but with something in front of itóe.g., a ZSTAGE or an Ultra, both of which I haveóthe Taboo steps up several levels, especially in dynamics (read Steve's article on "Riding the Gain").

Note also that LM is defeatable, making the Taboo also perfectly suitable for driving efficient speakers. In fact, remember that the headphone jack is an extra-cost option, so the Taboo should not necessarily be thought of as a headphone amp first. It is an amp, with a gain control, and with a headphone jack option.
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
  IP Logged
Don W
Senior Member
***




Posts: 58
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #5 - 09/20/11 at 21:48:06
 
Lucid Mode is that good, wow... Can you describe it? I know that is not easy...

As for pre-amp, right now I have a Burson HD 160D. I know, my original post said I am looking at upgrading. The truth is that I find the Burson a bit harsh on the highs and am really curious what a difference a tube amp might bring. From what I have been able to determine from internet research, Decware might be just about the best esp. within my price range.

What I'm thinking about doing is comparing the Burson amp with a Decware amp. Source for both would be the Burson DAC/pre-amp...

Also, to be fair to the Burson, the harshness I experience might just be because it needs longer break-in. I can't say for sure. They do seem to be mellowing out some. Or maybe it is the phones that are mellowing out....

Actually, this whole thing started because I am going to be adding some speakers to my system and need an amp. That was when I discovered tube amps and Decware.
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Taboo, CSP2+, Mini-Torii, MG944, ERR, Zen Styx, DSR-II interconnects, DHC-1 power cables. Other: Audeze LCD-3 w/ Q cables, EE Mini-Max DAC Plus, Audio-gd SA-1 DAC, Audio-gd DI-DSP USB to Coaxial converter. Homemade PC with JRiver Media Center.
  IP Logged
Pale Rider
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1272
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #6 - 09/21/11 at 07:00:03
 
Don, Burson stuff is pretty good, though I am not as enthusiastic about it as others. Always seemed a bit thin to me. Anyway, Lucid Mode is a very effective form of cross-feed. I think Steve has a discussion about it on the amp page. There are several good cross-feed headphone amps out there (Meier, I think?), but none that sound like this. Lucid Mode seems to completely separate the soundstage from the headphones in all three dimensions. Only other headphone amp I have heard that approaches it without cross-feed is the Cavalli LF. My previous Apache couldn't touch it. The Zana Deux has a nice soundstage as well, but again, not as effective to my ears. I have heard good things about the Leben, but have not heard any of them. The LF has a bit more speed in the lower registers, but it is not a speaker smp, and it does cost 3 times as much.
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
  IP Logged
Don W
Senior Member
***




Posts: 58
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #7 - 09/21/11 at 13:26:16
 
My music player software, J. River Media Center, has an option to simulate cross feed for headphones. I'm still deciding whether I like it enough to use it all the time. It is definitely better with some music than others. I suppose it is the same concept? A hardware based implementation is probably much different and better than a software based one, though.
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 09/21/11 at 13:28:33 by Don W »  

Decware: Taboo, CSP2+, Mini-Torii, MG944, ERR, Zen Styx, DSR-II interconnects, DHC-1 power cables. Other: Audeze LCD-3 w/ Q cables, EE Mini-Max DAC Plus, Audio-gd SA-1 DAC, Audio-gd DI-DSP USB to Coaxial converter. Homemade PC with JRiver Media Center.
  IP Logged
Pale Rider
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1272
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #8 - 09/22/11 at 15:51:43
 
Speaking only from my experience with other cross-feed software, you aren't hearing Lucid Mode with those simulations. I have several plug-ins with a variety of cross-feed implementations, and they border on the intolerable. Part of the problem may be that I generally find digital procesing unappealing, but trust me, you need to hear the real thing.
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
  IP Logged
Don W
Senior Member
***




Posts: 58
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #9 - 09/22/11 at 16:13:36
 
I suspected as much.
Back to top
 
 

Decware: Taboo, CSP2+, Mini-Torii, MG944, ERR, Zen Styx, DSR-II interconnects, DHC-1 power cables. Other: Audeze LCD-3 w/ Q cables, EE Mini-Max DAC Plus, Audio-gd SA-1 DAC, Audio-gd DI-DSP USB to Coaxial converter. Homemade PC with JRiver Media Center.
  IP Logged
Roy_jacobs
Verified Member
**




Posts: 1
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #10 - 09/24/11 at 15:48:10
 
I think CSP2 would be the best option.. Smiley
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Juan Antonio
Senior Member
***




Posts: 77
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #11 - 09/24/11 at 16:10:20
 
"I think CSP2 would be the best option.. Smiley"

Damn it, I can't stand this kind of comments for free, my god..

To my knowledge obviously the Taboo should be the best option according to the design, and according to the designer, Steve Deckert.


Greg, if you read this, at last I have the Leben CS300X at home. And yes, the hype around its headphone out is very well deserved. It drives the HD800's amazingly well. It's a keeper. On the other hand the good thing about the Leben CS660P is that it has more bottom and weight.

Damn, I'd like the Leben to have Lucid Mode. † Angry
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 09/24/11 at 16:19:00 by Juan Antonio »  
  IP Logged
Pale Rider
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1272
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #12 - 09/24/11 at 17:34:05
 
Great news about he Leben JA.

Before I comment †on the CSP2 reference, I should make it clear that I have never heard the CSP2. However, I have used my LCD-2s with both my Taboo, the Taboo with the ZSTAGE, Taboo with Ultra, the Cavalli Liquid Fire, and the RSA Apache. Just considering the specs of the CSP2, I cannot imagine how it could drive the LCD-2s satisfactorily. It certainly isn't billed that way by Decware. And considering that, while the Taboo is quite good with the planar cans, it is significantly better with the ZSTAGE, and even better with the Ultra, I think it wolud be a mistake to expect the CSP2 to fill the bill. Obviously, the CSP2 plus Taboo would be a great combo.

Right now, I am loving the LCD-2s with the Ultra/Taboo combo. They are also quite impressive on the LF. In fact, I have to confess I have never heard better mid-to-low speed, control and dynamics than the LF. And its soundstage is extremely close to Lucid Mode. I have had many great discussions with the designer, and Alex confirms there is no cross-feed in the circuitry, so it is easily the best non-cross-feed headphone soundstage I have heard. But it is not Lucid Mode. So, when all I want to do is listen, the overall presentation of the Taboo is my hands down choice.
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 09/24/11 at 18:01:09 by Pale Rider »  

Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
  IP Logged
Juan Antonio
Senior Member
***




Posts: 77
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #13 - 09/24/11 at 21:35:22
 
Greg,

But is the Lucid Mode a real crossfeed then? There is no crossfeed in the LF's circuitry, so there's no mix of the stereo signal, channels completely isolated from each other. So I guess you mean to say that Lucid Mode comes close to that in the LF's soundstage in addition to the crossfeed arrangement.

???
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 09/24/11 at 21:36:47 by Juan Antonio »  
  IP Logged
Steve Deckert
Administrator
*****


If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 2439
Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #14 - 09/24/11 at 23:31:04
 
Hi Don,

Taboo - should ideally have the CSP2 as a preamp driving it.  The two together combine to be the ultimate headphone amp platform with the CSP2 driving  32 ~ 600 ohm headphones and the Taboo driving 10~250 ohms phones.  Basically ALL headphones including planar are covered with this combination as as you can see there is a substantial overlap where a given set of phones can be plugged into either piece.

The Mini Torii - has tons of gain, no preamp is recommended, will drive phones between 10 and 250 ohms, has tube voltage regulation/filtering which fixes dirty power - similar effect to using the Taboo with a PS Audio Power Generator.  The Mini also has nearly infinite tube rolling combinations allowing you to create the signature you're looking for on any given set of phones.

Steve
Back to top
 
 
WWW   IP Logged
Pages: 1 2 
Send Topic Print