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Which amp for Audeze headphones? (Read 4353 times)
Don W
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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.
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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.
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Lon
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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.
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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
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Don W
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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...
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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.
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Lon
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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.
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« 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
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Pale Rider
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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.
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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
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Don W
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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.
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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.
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Pale Rider
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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.
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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
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Don W
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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.
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« 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.
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Pale Rider
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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.
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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
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Don W
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #9 - 09/22/11 at 16:13:36
 
I suspected as much.
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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.
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Roy_jacobs
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #10 - 09/24/11 at 15:48:10
 
I think CSP2 would be the best option.. Smiley
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Juan Antonio
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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
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« Last Edit: 09/24/11 at 16:19:00 by Juan Antonio »  
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Pale Rider
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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.
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« 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
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Juan Antonio
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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.

???
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« Last Edit: 09/24/11 at 21:36:47 by Juan Antonio »  
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Steve Deckert
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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
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Don W
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #15 - 09/25/11 at 02:42:34
 
Hi Steve,

Since it is what I have now, what about using the Burson HA-160D Dac/Pre to drive the Taboo. (Solid State. Output impedance is 60 ohms) I understand it wouldn't be ideal, but would the flavor of the Taboo come through if I were to audition one (using Auzeze headphones)?

Thanks, Don.
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« Last Edit: 09/25/11 at 02:44:10 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.
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jorgen
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #16 - 09/05/14 at 11:11:25
 
hi guys
This question might have been asked and aswered in other threads but couldt find any clear answers. The mini torii (2014 build) should do pretty good with LCD-2s right? of course there might be better option available (thinking new taboo) but even if on my wishlist im not in a postion to buy one at the moment. so i guess I am hoping for more than just good, but im not expecting the combo to be the ultimate
Q: 2  
Should speakers be connected aswell, as in all the time? Asking because i have heard those cans can leak a little sound, and I might want to pick the amp up and go to another room  sometimes, but my speakers isnt exactly just a pick up and move object. will the amp be damaged if not hooked up to a set of speakers?

Q.3; in your experience is a upgraded cable (for the cans) close to necessary? if so, any recommondations?
Have a nice day all of you
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Don W
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #17 - 09/07/14 at 20:38:22
 
Hi Jorgen,

The Mini Torii does great with the LCD-2's. The only real difference quality-wise between it and the Taboo is the Taboo has Lucid Mode. And if your source is digital and you use music server software such as JRiver Media Center that supports VST plug-ins, then it is possible to have the cross-feed added in the digital domain. Tone Boosters makes a really good plug-in for just that. Look for their TB_Isone module if you are interested.

It doesn't matter if speakers are connected when listening to headphones. It works just as well either way.

Upgraded cable is not really necessary. But it is nice. I got a q-cable for my LCDs several years ago and still think it is great. Q cables are unlike any other in the way they get out of the way, physically, when in use. Here is a link to the website: http://theaudioguild.com/the-collection/#/q-cables/

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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.
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jorgen
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #18 - 09/08/14 at 13:11:53
 
Hi Dom and thanks a lot for your answers.
Yes I'm using digital source and will check out JRiverJRiver and VST. I'm currently on the lookout for a pair of used LCD2 cans, will get a pair this or the next week. They are pretty expensive  here in Europe so I need to be sure they will be a good fit with the MT
Any alternative to match quality of sound?
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Don W
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #19 - 09/08/14 at 20:32:01
 
I've haven't heard any headphones that would be considered to be in the same class as the LCDs. There are some out there, just never heard them so can't compare. Check out Head-Fi.org as resource for everything you ever wanted to know about headphones  :)
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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.
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jorgen
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #20 - 09/10/14 at 21:42:13
 
Hi all
Got me a pair of LCD 2 today and first of all; wow!!!  Not to the cans but to my wife who bought them to me! Then wow again for the sound even just out of the box. Just wow. Then third; the MT with omega speakers  is really good. Even though a totally experience with speakers vs cans, I just know and feel how much I enjoy my music when reproduced with gear like this!

But of a question, and I feel kind of stupid right now.. I thought that when connecting headphones there would not be any sound from the speakers.. so if this is correct, I feel stupid for not knowing this, or if there is something I need to do I feel stupid for not knowing this.... In case speakers and cans works at the same time what can I do, do you guys just disconnect speaker wires if you just want to listen to headphones? Just to be certain, that would be completely safe?
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Lord Soth
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #21 - 09/11/14 at 09:53:34
 
Decware tube amps are very tough.

However, for any tube amp, the general rule is that it is preferable to leave your speakers connected all the time.

Otherwise, the output transformers will be unduly stressed out.
On lesser tube amps, the output transformers will be damaged.
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Don W
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #22 - 09/11/14 at 18:17:24
 
It is normal for the speakers to play at the same time as the headphones. That is a design feature! Just unhook the speakers. That is what Steve told me to do.
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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.
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jorgen
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Re: Which amp for Audeze headphones?
Reply #23 - 09/11/14 at 23:01:36
 
Hey
Actually I called Steve earlier today, and he told me the same, just unhook the speakers, shouldn't be any problem. I just needed to be sure.
So cool of Steve to take the time and be available also for his customers. Thanks to you guys as well for being helpful

Have a nice night and enjoy your Decware
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