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NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon. (Read 12637 times)
Steve Deckert
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NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
12/31/12 at 17:35:25
 
Here's a nice look of what point to point soldering skills are all about...

http://youtu.be/rLfL2Vz9SdI

Also this video is a bit of a teaser for the new TABOO amp coming just around the corner.  It was re-designed to be the best sounding amplifier for the LCD-2's and similar headphones.


Steve  :)
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« Last Edit: 01/22/13 at 19:07:06 by Steve Deckert »  
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Video of the inside of a Decware amplifier!
Reply #1 - 01/01/13 at 01:05:44
 
Would it be TABOO to reveal more?
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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ZYGI
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Re: Video of the inside of a Decware amplifier!
Reply #2 - 01/01/13 at 02:36:11
 
Amp Porn is Taboo....

What is the music Steve?
Zygi
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marky
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Re: Video of the inside of a Decware amplifier!
Reply #3 - 01/03/13 at 15:56:38
 
Hey, I cant be the only one that thinks
he`s spotted a nice pair of meters.
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Mark
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Re: Video of the inside of a Decware amplifier!
Reply #4 - 01/03/13 at 18:34:44
 
Congrats to the sub-miniature cameraman walking around inside that unit...
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Video of the inside of a Decware amplifier!
Reply #5 - 01/04/13 at 06:03:49
 
Yea Mark, that was one of the trolls that sneak around on the bench moving tools so you can't find them.... I busted one, and this was his payback.

Steve
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Steve Deckert
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #6 - 01/10/13 at 05:04:22
 
This year our sales to headphone customers was at an all time high. The majority of these customers are using planar headphones like the popular Audez LCD-2's.  All used either our Mini Torii or the more popular Taboo with the planar headphone option,  many considering it an upgrade from their present top ten list headphone amplifiers.   We can appreciate that, after all, Audez LCD-2's if properly driven could arguably be considered the best $1000 headphones in the world so it makes sense to want to hear them with the best amplifier.   When you hear what is possible with such a combo you will understand why so many have given up on floor standing speakers and room treatments and gotten so enthusiastically into headphones!

So with that said, I couldn't help but get a pair of the LCD-2's myself, with the intension of developing an amplifier specifically for them.  The Taboo and MiniTorii sound good with them, But they were both designed as conventional speaker amplifiers.  I wanted something that was designed specifically as a planar headphone amplifier from the ground up.  I needed to know what the best ones out there were so I would know what we have to try to best.  Ironically, after spending about 3 days researching the best LCD2 headphone amps and new circuits along with possible new chassis designs - I found out that the top ten list of headphones amplifiers for the LCD-2's had already been beaten for at least 7 owners by the Zen Taboo... People who owned one of the top 3 and sold it for a Decware.  So apparently the Taboo is one of the amps to beat...

Being somewhat familiar with the Taboo, but a new owner of LCD's  I was anxious to spend some real time with the combination.  I ran the amp by itself without a gain stage in front of it, which I know is a handicap, but this is how at least half the Taboo owner's I found actually used it.  The sound was good, but I failed to see what all the fuss was about regarding the LCD2's.  I then thought, boy if this combination is considered better than the top three competing amps, they must be pretty ordinary. Bottom line, I was rather let down.  Then I realized, like many of my own speakers, good speakers and probably good ear speakers are often not the problem but the messenger.

I couldn't help but wonder how good these cans really were and how a purpose built amp just for the LCD's would sound, so I took what was already working and loved by many (the Taboo) and focused on how to remake it specifically for the LCD2's.  It was originally designed for loudspeakers, now lets see what taboo's await if it were designed for planar ear speakers!

I closed Decware for a week after christmas and spent the quite time in my shop in a highly focused and creative state (called heaven) and designed a new product. It's going to be a real ass kicker.   A lot of things were discovered about lucid mode and it's potentials for both speakers and headphones, and how lucid mode changes with different loads.  On an 8 ohm speaker it's pretty spectacular, but on 60 ohm planar headphones it's too reserved and sounds like it's almost in mono compared to what it could be doing…  of course lucid mode must be ON to use headphones on a Taboo if you use the 1/4" headphone jack... so there you go.

Now with Lucid mode and the entire amplifier designed specifically for LCD headphones and with fully upgraded parts , you'll swear there is a DSP chip inside this thing when you hear it! Instead you'll only find 19 resistors and 4 capacitors creating the most perfect soundstage and textures you've ever heard.

My goal was to make it sound twice as good as a stock Taboo.  I didn't expect to make it ten times as good, nor am I probably smart enough to anyway… but thanks to a happy mistake hooking up lucid mode for my wife, who helped in the final voicing, we discovered a happy little miracle that had me doing another complete re-design.  The results (dual lucid mode) are so off the charts that I can't honestly see how this wouldn't be the best sounding headphones/amp combination in the world.  

So I look forward to writing the design notes on this new product and getting it on the site.  It will replace the current TABOO and there will be a $500 price increase... but when you find out what we've done, not to mention hear what we've done, you'll be still be looking for a tip jar!  No kidding.

-Steve


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dminches
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #7 - 01/10/13 at 19:42:24
 
Steve, can one upgrade their current Taboo to the new version?
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setamp
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #8 - 01/11/13 at 16:26:36
 
Another request for upgrade!  I just purchased my Taboo this year with upgraded caps and would hate to have to sell it to buy a new one and go through the burn-in process again.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #9 - 01/12/13 at 03:09:37
 
Some of the revisions of the new Taboo MK III that can be applied to existing white Taboo's are:

New Input Stage to increase the amplifiers gain to be closer to other Decware amplifiers eliminating the need for a preamp.

Mod - $100

Changed the input tube from a 12AU7 to a 6922

Mod - $50

Employed a voltage divider in series with the headphone output to increase the usable range of the volume control and further reduce noise.

Mod - $70

Added a second lucid mode circuit (and switch) designed for Planar Headphones that can be used with or without existing lucid mode.

Mod - $150

Modified the power supply and eliminated the choke for a more relaxed sound and more graceful clipping.

Mod - $150

Installed Cryo Treated Beeswax coupling capacitors in place of standard poly film caps for increased resolution, (even higher than VCAPs) and a more organic sound.

Mod - $150

And that's about it.  




Mods that will also be found on the new amp that can not be applied are as follows:

Thicker Steel Top Plate for lower vibration / micro phonics making use of NOS tubes a more enjoyable experience on headphones.

Black 1930's typewriter finish.

Bias meters for each output tube so that you can see the condition of the tubes, how well they match, and when the amp clips.

Fully Balanced XLR outputs for headphones in addition to the dual 1/4 headphone jacks, one on each side for convenience.

Dual inputs for two sources - switch located in the front for ease access.

Stepped Attenuator standard for perfect channel to channel tracking at low volumes on headphones

Input level controls for each RCA input jack.  That means a total of 4 controls for the 2 sources.  This was done to improve the internal layout, and make it possible to balance the channels independently for each source.  Example, I have a great sounding tuner but it's a touch weak on the right channel.  I make the correction on the back of the new Taboo and never touch it again.  My other source, a DAC, remains unaffected.

BTW - the amplifier will also drive loudspeakers just as it always has, just sound better doing it.

I'll post a picture of the prototype in this thread when I get me camera working next week.

Steve Smiley








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« Last Edit: 01/12/13 at 03:11:59 by Steve Deckert »  
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Chris K
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #10 - 01/12/13 at 04:26:02
 
If the headphone jack is used as a preamp to another amplifier (other than the power section of TABOO) in a system how will this effect sound on a set of speakers? Is this "NEW Lucid" effect part of the signature of this new TABOO amplifier even on the speakers? IOW is the Lucid effect ubiquitous across all outputs (headphone and power tube) on this amp?
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Rivieraranch
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #11 - 01/12/13 at 12:30:32
 
This is what happens when Steve finds himself with too much time on his hands.  . . .
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Chris K
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #12 - 01/12/13 at 13:12:05
 
Famous quote?
Time becomes meaningless in the face of creativity.
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #13 - 01/12/13 at 14:33:41
 
I feel a Torii MK IV coming on.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #14 - 01/13/13 at 23:37:13
 
Quote:
Is this "NEW Lucid" effect part of the signature of this new TABOO amplifier even on the speakers? IOW is the Lucid effect ubiquitous across all outputs (headphone and power tube) on this amp?


Chris,

YES.

The effect increases with impedance so it is more dramatic on headphones and more subtle on loudspeakers.
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