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CSP2+ and Grado? (Read 6903 times)
gatornavy
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CSP2+ and Grado?
10/16/11 at 10:23:12
 
I am comptemplating the purchase of the CSP2+ to drive my Grado RS2i's. I know the specs say that the CSP2+ works with headphone impedances down to 32, but I've heard conflicting reports from people who are probably not experts, and may or may not have had actual expierience. I've been searching for months trying to find a nice tube amp that is capable of driving my headphones, and it has not been easy to find anything. Can someone with expierience let me know if the CSP2+ works well with Grado's?
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #1 - 10/16/11 at 17:05:55
 
Welcome gatornavy (condolences if you are a UF fan; tough season). I cannot speak to the CSP2+, because I do not have one, but I do have a Taboo. If you are looking for a preamp/headphone amp, well then, the CSP2+ is the choice. But if you are looking for a headphone amp, I strongly suggest the Taboo. It has driven everything my friends and I have thrown at it, including at least two Grados (friends', not mine). And.........it has Lucid Mode, which really is sweet.
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #2 - 10/16/11 at 20:49:45
 
Thanks! The Taboo sounds very cool. Do you have to use a preamp for it when using it as a headphone amp? I've tired downloading the manual with no success. I am in the Navy, and on deployment- our internet is not so great.  Anyway, I'd likely try to use my SS home theater receiver to feed the input of the Taboo until I can save up for the preamp. Is this possible? I've never dealt with seperate amps and preamps before, and have a lot to learn apparently. Thanks again!!
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #3 - 10/16/11 at 23:28:26
 
Taboo does not require a preamp. If your HT receiver has line out, and it probably does, you could feed the signal from that to the Taboo, though the Taboo does not require a preamp. It really blossoms with one, or with something like the ZSTAGE.

And, thanks for your service. It means everything to those of us enjoying the benefit of your vigilance on behalf of a free nation.
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #4 - 10/17/11 at 06:05:49
 
I really appreciate the help. My HT receiver does have a line out. If it sounds really nice without a preamp, then I may spring for the Taboo now, and a  preamp at a later time. It's a bit more expensive than I'd like, but I guess it's a deal compared to other equipment in the same catagory.

I just noticed the Mini Torii has an option for headphones too. Oh, this is killing me!!  

Thanks for being appreciative of my service. I've been in for 12 years now, and would not have made it this long if it wasn't for great people like you that appreciate and understand what we do.
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #5 - 10/17/11 at 16:49:50
 
Gatornavy, what will your primary source be?
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« Last Edit: 10/17/11 at 16:50:14 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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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #6 - 10/17/11 at 17:06:49
 
A computer and/or a logitech squeeze box with ripped CD's and downloaded hi-res files. Right now, I am running my computer at home via a toslink cable to my H/K solid state receiver (AVR 335). A nice DAC is probably in my future too at some point. I've also looked at turntables, but money doesn't grow on trees.

I bought a pair of pretty nice, efficient Energy RC-50 speakers a few months ago from a friend. He had about 3 pairs, and SO much tube gear it's not funny. He got me addicted. Something that could also drive these speakers has my interest peaked too. I think they're in the 93-94% efficency range.

Anyway, hope this provides some insight into what I've got going on so you can help steer me in the right direction. Thanks so much.
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Lon
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #7 - 10/17/11 at 17:48:03
 
Though I don't have personal experience with it, I would think the Taboo would be a great choice for the headphones and speaker use. Though it may be a bit "quiet" in a medium to large room with the speakers?  I see these to be abou 91 db and one reviewer says they like power. . . .

And if you're using a Toslink, is it fiber optic, or glass?  I have found this glass cable to be wonderful, better than any other Toslink I've used by big margins.

http://www.amazon.com/Toslink-Optical-Impact-Acoustic-Sonicwave/dp/B0009JR4H4/re...
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« Last Edit: 10/17/11 at 17:56:27 by Lon »  

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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #8 - 10/17/11 at 19:09:44
 
Lon beat me to the punch. I was going to say that, if your speakers are actually that efficient, they would likely sound excellent with the Taboo.

Also, in short lengths, I would concur with Lon's recommendation of the SonicWave optical cable, unless you can run coax, which I think is still preferable to optical. Much longer than 6 feet, especially if you have any bends, twists, turns, etc., you are taking a bit of a chance with bundled glass. I have liked the plastic optical I have gotten from Blue Jeans, finding them satisfactory even in comparison to the much more expensive Van den Hul. See here. I use a 12-foot optical to feed from my AppleTv to a Dolby Digital decoder that then feeds to the Ultra preamp. Sounds quite good, but most of this is for casual listening or movie view off the ATV. But if I could use coax out of the ATV, I would still prefer that.

Gatornavy, just to put my money where my mouth is, I have an offer for you: if you buy a Taboo, I will gladly donate to you my ZSTAGE, which right now is sad and lonely in a cabinet. I loved it with the Taboo, but with the Ultra, have no need for it; it is all the preamp you will  ever need, unless you have some need for switching capabilities. Anyway, your twelve years seem to me to merit it.

Greg
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #9 - 10/18/11 at 03:30:44
 
Thanks for the recommendations! I am leaning towards the Taboo. It seems to fit the bill perfectly. With the RC-50's- I went to my friends place before I bought them from him, and he was driving them with some 300b SE monoblocks- they got really loud. I'm not sure what their wattage was, but it had to be pretty low. I looked up the specs for the speakers again, and they have two different sensitivity ratings for some reason: 91% and 94%.

My current toslink cable is the plastic type. A cheap no-name brand. I'll take your recommendations and try out those cables once I get back home (April). I'm always looking for improvements, and those are not a bad prices for good cables. I can't currently run coax, but I can always upgrade the sound card in my computer at some point.

It's going to be a couple of months before I have saved up the money for the Taboo. I'm not sure if I should risk getting it mailed out here either, or if I should just wait until I get home. Do you know if they are prebuilt, or built once ordered with a wait time?

Greg, thanks so very much for your offer. I'm not sure if I can accept, but WOW! That is awesome, I don't know if I can turn it down either. It lessens my worries about getting the Taboo too. Super cool! Again, thanks. You guys have been incredibly helpful.

Ron
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« Last Edit: 10/18/11 at 09:24:08 by gatornavy »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #10 - 10/18/11 at 12:24:18
 
Offer is good; no worries. Let me know. It's a great match with the Taboo.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #11 - 10/18/11 at 12:44:10
 
DUDE, you're gettin' a ZSTAGE! They are wonderful. I listened to one extensively at DECFEST. The advantage it has over a CSP2 is that the ZSTAGE is completely neutral. It will boost the signal but not color the sound at all.
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #12 - 10/18/11 at 14:08:02
 
That sly fellow Rivierranch wrote:

Quote:
DUDE, you're gettin' a ZSTAGE! They are wonderful. I listened to one extensively at DECFEST. The advantage it has over a CSP2 is that the ZSTAGE is completely neutral. It will boost the signal but not color the sound at all.


Unless you want it to, that is. Wink

I stuck an NOS Mullard into the ZSTAGE, and with what I had in the Taboo, it was like liquid goo. Lots of fun, but in the end, I switched back to the Genalex Gold Lion new production I had bought, which I preferred to the stock. I am pretty sure it is a 12AT7 or a 12AU7, but whichever, I will include that, too.
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #13 - 10/18/11 at 14:21:23
 
I have to take advantage. There's no other way I could afford both the Taboo and the ZSTAGE within the same year. So excited! Many, many thanks, Greg!  :)
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #14 - 10/18/11 at 14:42:46
 
My pleasure. Just PM how best to ship, and I will make sure it gets to you as soon as or before your Taboo.
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #15 - 10/18/11 at 16:24:45
 
PM sent. I really like the styling of the carved/molded base that is in so many of the pictures. Is this extra? I didn't see it on the list of options on the ordering page.
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #16 - 10/18/11 at 20:28:48
 
Got your PM. Will respond to that shortly.

The figured base is standard on the amps, and I think is only in black. I opted for a cherry base on all my equipment, except for the ZSTAGE, which is small and only comes in its metal enclosure. I think same is true of ZBOX.
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Donnie
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #17 - 10/18/11 at 23:06:25
 
A different colored base is only a rattlecan away!
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #18 - 10/20/11 at 05:39:28
 
Thanks again! I saw the option for the black figured base. I think of figured as like birdseye or flame maple, so I guess that's why I got confused. And, I wouldn't have thought that sweet looking, fancy base was standard. That's pretty awesome. I can't wait to place my order. I wish the headphone option was standard, and I'm not sure that I like that lucid mode is selected at all times with the headphone option installed as I will use this to drive speakers as well. Oh well, guess you can't have it  all.

Greg: You said you've seen the Taboo drive Grado's, right? Did you listen, and if so, what was your impression? Do you remember what model Grado's they were? Thanks!!
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #19 - 10/20/11 at 22:09:07
 
Lucid Mode is defeatable, even with the headphone option installed.

I didn't listen to the Grados much, mostly because my friend was having too much fun, but also because I am not a big fan of the Grado sound. To each their own!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #20 - 10/20/11 at 22:53:39
 
I thought lucid was the only headphone mode with this modification whereas it can be switched off at the speaker connection.
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #21 - 10/20/11 at 23:46:54
 
Not sure where that is coming from. Lucid is switchable while listening to cans.
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #22 - 10/21/11 at 00:30:04
 
In the overview for the Taboo it states:

"It features a completely unique thing called "Lucid Mode" that can be switched in and out on the fly when configured for loudspeakers and is permanently engaged when configured for Phones. "

I guess that is why we assumed that if we opted for the headphone option it would be permanently engaged. It's nice to know that's not the case, and eases my mind about purchasing. I cannot wait to order. I've been reading all the articles on the page and am more impressed than ever with Steve and his products.

I don't know how anyone could not like the higher end Grado's, but some Planar Magnetic phones have got me curious. The Grado's are the best I've ever heard... but then I haven't had a chance to check out anything else in the mid to high end range.
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« Last Edit: 10/21/11 at 00:39:42 by gatornavy »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #23 - 10/21/11 at 06:43:22
 
Yeah, I went back and looked and saw that, too, but can assure you that my Taboo switches in and out of LM with ease! I would make sure to clarify that desire when ordering, especially if you plan to use it for both speakers and headphones.

Perhaps Steve can jump in here and clarify. If it is switchable, as is mine, and that is in fact the way it is supposed to be, seems to me the website should be clarified.

As for Grados, meh. I have listened to Grados, originally on the advice of Frank Van Alstyne, priced from $60 to $1100. Never did it for me.  
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agustinf
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #24 - 10/27/11 at 03:40:44
 
And in case you'd consider driving back to the CSP2+, I'd say it loves Grados. I've found it goes well with Grado's, Sennheiser, AudioTechnica, Precide, Beyers, AKG, less so with the AT and AKG in my opinion. Always better the higher the Ohm rating of the headphones? not really.
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #25 - 10/27/11 at 11:29:36
 
Grados have a signature sound, which you may or may not like. I liked them for use in an office setting simply because they were more like a speaker next to your ear. If you were being paged, you could hear the intercom with the Grados. Another type of phone with a closed ear might now allow you to hear the ambient sound.
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #26 - 10/27/11 at 13:13:14
 
I love my Grado's. They aren't the best for listening in my rack at night with 20 other people near by trying to get some sleep, but they are great for their level of detail and response. I am driving them now with the Grado RA-1 (AC version) amp. Sounds great, but I am dying to get into some higher end tube stuff. I just got reminded that Christmas is coming up, so I'll probably have to wait until the tax return comes in now. The wait is killing me.  :)
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Steve Deckert
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LUCID MODE
Reply #27 - 10/28/11 at 18:05:24
 
Lucid mode on the Taboo is switchable ON/OFF with loudspeakers.  With headphones, lucid mode must be left ON at all times.  When it is turned off, the headphones will see a ground from only one channel and the imaging will be compromised.

Steve
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gatornavy
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Re: CSP2+ and Grado?
Reply #28 - 11/17/11 at 11:03:34
 
Thanks, Steve!
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