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NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon. (Read 18189 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Steve Deckert
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Re: VIDEO TEASER ~ NEW LCD-2 HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER
Reply #15 - 01/14/13 at 00:28:15
 
Here is a picture of the prototype.  Of course you'll have to imagine what it would look like with the black typewriter finish that it will have in production.



The balanced outputs can be either two 3-pin XLR as shown, one for left one for right, or two 4 pin XLR jacks in which case left and right is in the same jack and you'll have two jacks.  Use either one.

-Steve   Smiley


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Re: VIDEO - Decware Soldering Skills
Reply #16 - 01/20/13 at 20:09:00
 
Steve -

Will the new Taboo MK III require a pre amp or CSP2 to realize its full potential with speakers like the current Taboo?

Mark
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Re: VIDEO - Decware Soldering Skills
Reply #17 - 01/20/13 at 20:10:41
 
Ditto to the previous question and also why are there 2 headphone jacks?
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Chris K
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Re: VIDEO - Decware Soldering Skills
Reply #18 - 01/21/13 at 22:07:49
 
A marriage made in heaven. CSP2+ TABOO II all in one chassis. Use the CSP2+ preamp as a preamp or as a headphone amp for certain types of headphones as needed. Or use the CSP2+ TABOO II outputs as a full blown integrated amp for speakers or the TABOO output as headphone amp for Audeze phones or other that sound better with that. Or use the integrated CSP2+ TABOO II as a killer hard driving preamp using the output of the TABOO to power another amp albeit with a an impedance selector that limit the voltage so you don't blast off you main speakers with to much input voltage to your high current amp that you might use for say ESL's or something like that. A choice of both preamp uses would suit me just fine. I'd like to see those two in one chassis.

Either way I sure would like to know what this NEW TABOO would sound like as a preamp in front of power amp to power my favorite set of speakers. I should have said if the sound was right I would like a one chassis solution. Gotta hear it through speakers too. Hmm....
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« Last Edit: 01/21/13 at 22:15:42 by Chris K »  

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Steve Deckert
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Re: VIDEO - Decware Soldering Skills
Reply #19 - 01/22/13 at 19:05:06
 

Quote:
Will the new Taboo MK III require a pre amp or CSP2 to realize its full potential with speakers like the current Taboo?

Mark


As a stand alone product, the fact that it worked better with a preamp or high output DAC was a deal killer for many people, so that's one of the main things I changed about it, giving it enough gain on it's own now, so that the CSP2+ preamp is no longer needed for best results.

As for using the TABOO as a preamp, that's not going to be an option unless you already have speakers or LCD2's hooked up to it, and run the other headphone jack as a preamp output.

There are TWO headphone jacks because we don't want the headphone cable to drape across the top of the amplifier near the hot tubes.  This way it can be plugged into to either side.   You can also plug two headphones in at the same time this way should you want to listen with someone.

Steve
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #20 - 01/22/13 at 21:00:24
 
I just spoke to Steve today regarding this amp. What a great guy to talk to. Down to earth and very likeable. Thanks Steve for filling me in on the new Taboo!
I do have a question about the new Taboo, what type of tubes will it use? I am going to put my name down for one of these and am interested in doing some tube hunting before I receive the amp!
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« Last Edit: 01/22/13 at 21:01:01 by Genpattonjames »  
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #21 - 01/23/13 at 16:59:01
 
Steve -

Will the balanced XLR outputs be an option?  My reason for asking is if you only use a single ended cable with your Planar headphones then you can connect to one of the headphone connections near the back on either side.   If the XLR outputs are options, then would you then move the meters up towards the front?
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« Last Edit: 01/23/13 at 17:15:40 by markv »  
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #22 - 01/28/13 at 19:06:02
 
Dibs, sign me up, whatever. I love my LCD-2s on my Taboo, fed by the Ultra. And I love them on the Cavalli Liquid Fire. This should best of/better than both. And I really love the prospect of two listeners at once. Don't need it often, but when you want it, it is very nice.

Props Steve.
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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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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #23 - 02/01/13 at 11:04:59
 
Pale Rider how would you describe the difference in sounds between the Taboo & LF?
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #24 - 02/01/13 at 14:37:50
 
There's a brief squeal when you first turn on the LF, utterly absent from the Taboo. After fiddling with everything, you realize it was just your wallet. Wink

Seriously, I think I posted here or on Head-Fi some of my initial listening impressions, which are probably almost 2 years old now. I haven't done any side-by-side, because the LF stays at the office with the LCD-2, and the Taboo is at home with my modified Fostex [known as, I kid you not, Thunderpants; mine are made of Kingwood], and a pair of headphile Terminator v4. I enjoy all three headphones on both amps, but have kept the LCD-2s at the office with the LF, because they are ready to go on fairly short notice and generate less heat. At home, though, the Thunderpants are actually more comfortable to wear for longer periods, and I have the Taboo set up to be fed by my Ultra, so I can ride the gain. That combo right there is why the Taboo is at home, and the LF at the office. The longer listening time is why I opted for the Thunderpants and Terminators at home.

Without the benefit of a preamp into the Taboo, here is my recollection synopsis while playing LCD-2s:

1. LF faster, with very good cymbals, exceptional transients, very crisp decay; can almost sound zingy compared to Taboo's softer edges, but likely more accurate;

2. Excellent bass control on the LF, definitely a strong suit compared to Taboo which doesn't seem as definitive and, on the Terminators, can sound a bit tubby.

3. Midrange on Taboo fuller without being in your face. Female vocals fantastic, esp. someone like Fiona Apple. Nina Simone, oh man.

4. Detail favors the LF. Listen to something like a hi-res track, or even better, the SACD, from the Allman Brothers at Fillmore. Recording really not very good, and as someone who saw them live before Duane died, I am always trying to hear the extra layers of dual percussionists, and Duane and Dickie's guitars. The LF seems to let me peek into those obscured layers a bit more.

Now, when you pair the Taboo with a preamp, everything changes. The combo of the Ultra/Taboo is pretty effing extraordinary, though on the Terminators, that "tube liquidity" can become "lugubriousness" and can almost be overwhelming, and in conjunction with some of the Terminator's known characteristics, pretty dark. Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms is other-worldly. What I have yet to do with my Ultra is experiment on Taboo-specific tube pairings on the Ultra outputs that feed the Taboo. I think that could be nailed to be the headphone combo of all time, and even better, easily changeable depending on your choice of headphones.

It will be interesting to see whether the new input stage will simply make a preamp unnecessary or actually make it counterproductive. Right now, the synergy between the current Taboo and the Ultra is very impressive. It is overall, the most seductive combo I have ever heard. Maybe not the most accurate, but then, my most accurate wife was also not my most seductive.

I am jazzed about the prospect of a true headphone-oriented Taboo with the ability to play for two listeners at the same time, along with the planar-oriented updates Steve has described. This will be killer. And I think the guys at Head-Fi will go ape$hit.

Steve, seriously, put me on the list; i don't want to be in line once the word gets out over there.
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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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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #25 - 02/01/13 at 19:19:25
 
"[known as, I kid you not, Thunderpants; mine are made of Kingwood], "

Pale Rider,
Can you let me know how the Thunderpants compare to the LCD-2s?
I have a pair of Paduak Thunderpants and love them. I would really like to know how they compare to the LCD-2s.
Right now I run mine off a Zen Head with a Z-box inbetween.
Thanks,
John
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #26 - 02/01/13 at 19:40:44
 
Jon inquired:
Quote:
Pale Rider,
Can you let me know how the Thunderpants compare to the LCD-2s?
I have a pair of Paduak Thunderpants and love them. I would really like to know how they compare to the LCD-2s.
Right now I run mine off a Zen Head with a Z-box inbetween.
Thanks,
John

John, I like the Thunderpants very much. Gary did an amazing job on these cans. Out of the box, the Fostex is not bad, but it is not in the same league as the LCD-2. But following Gary's work, it is in that realm, though I think the LCD-2 is better. The LCD-2 is smoother, and I find the detail less fatiguing. Thus the Thunderpants benefit more from the Taboo's liquidity. My recollection is the LCD-2 has better bass control. I haven't done a side-by-side in a long, long time though.
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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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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #27 - 02/01/13 at 23:15:10
 
Quote:
Maybe not the most accurate, but then, my most accurate wife was also not my most seductive


hahahahahahaha!  ;D
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #28 - 02/02/13 at 03:02:57
 


Quote:
It will be interesting to see whether the new input stage will simply make a preamp unnecessary or actually make it counterproductive.


A very delicate surgery that was...  it was important to me... to NOT make a great preamp counterproductive... I just wanted to bump it a bit so that it would be more than dandy by itself, and it is.   I also like my decision to change the input tube from the 12AU7 to the 6N1P / 6922.  6N1P being warmer and smoother and the 6922 being more focused and articulate.  Giving you a wider range of sound within that ideal mu.

Parts are starting to come in, the chassis are done and beautiful.  I hope to start building them in March.

Steve
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #29 - 02/02/13 at 08:49:23
 
LOL @ the squeal and accuracy comments PR
Thanks for the info too.

I already ordered the Taboo a few weeks ago, then read about the mkiii and promptly cancelled.
Cant wait Steve. As soon as that "BUY" button appears I'll be clickin!
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« Last Edit: 02/02/13 at 10:09:30 by polys »  
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #30 - 02/02/13 at 11:10:02
 
Steve explained:
Quote:
A very delicate surgery that was...  it was important to me... to NOT make a great preamp counterproductive... I just wanted to bump it a bit so that it would be more than dandy by itself, and it is.   I also like my decision to change the input tube from the 12AU7 to the 6N1P / 6922.  6N1P being warmer and smoother and the 6922 being more focused and articulate.  Giving you a wider range of sound within that ideal mu.

That sounds great Steve. Can't wait to hear it. And since I have a snootfull of nice input tubes of both types, it will be great to do a small amount of rolling.
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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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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #31 - 02/02/13 at 11:57:24
 
Hmmm.  Just so I understand....  I have a CSP2+ and a Taboo II.  Will the Taboo III sound better than this combination with the LCD2?  By extension, would the CSP2+ and Taboo III combination surpass (with the LCD2 only) the Taboo III alone?  




A very delicate surgery that was...  it was important to me... to NOT make a great preamp counterproductive... I just wanted to bump it a bit so that it would be more than dandy by itself, and it is.   I also like my decision to change the input tube from the 12AU7 to the 6N1P / 6922.  6N1P being warmer and smoother and the 6922 being more focused and articulate.  Giving you a wider range of sound within that ideal mu.
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« Last Edit: 02/02/13 at 16:10:51 by setamp »  
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #32 - 02/06/13 at 15:07:46
 
Hard to say. Steve's comment could be implicitly read as saying that a good preamp could take the new Taboo one notch further. Might be the kind of thing where the difference gets less critical than tube selection, though riding the gain is a pretty impressive capability. Over at PS Audio, there is a lot of discussion going on around Paul McGowan's philosophy that the best preamp is no preamp. And I don't think there is any question that generally, simplicity is a desired goal, that fewer layers between the listener and the music are better. I am looking forward to getting my Ultra back from the shop to perhaps spend some real quality time comparing the various options of my DAC and disc player straight into Torii, or through the Ultra. The Torii is such an amazing amp, that I would not be surprised if I am sufficiently pleased with its capabilities without preamp. And both sources have sufficient resolution in their digital gain controls on paper to make them reasonable front ends without additional preamp.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #33 - 02/08/13 at 14:52:34
 
Will the balanced XLRs put out more power? or is just better noise reduction you'll get from using them?
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #34 - 02/08/13 at 19:58:56
 

Quote:
Hmmm.  Just so I understand....  I have a CSP2+ and a Taboo II.  Will the Taboo III sound better than this combination with the LCD2?  By extension, would the CSP2+ and Taboo III combination surpass (with the LCD2 only) the Taboo III alone?  


The biggest difference between the Taboo II and the new III in this context is going to be the new LUCID mode, giving you an optionally wider soundstage with about 10 times the detail.  IF you find yourself drawn to this listening mode, there will be no comparison.  IF not, then it will be the same basic amplifier but with more resolution from the Cryo'd Beeswax caps.

Steve
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #35 - 02/08/13 at 20:05:27
 

Quote:
Will the balanced XLRs put out more power? or is just better noise reduction you'll get from using them?


The balanced XLR's will put out the same power as the 1/4 inch TRS jacks.  The noise is identical on both.  The difference will be in that you can listen to the raw stereo signal without using lucid mode as an option.  On the 1/4 inch TRS jacks, lucid mode is required to get a ground from both channels to the headphones.  Without lucid mode turned on, there will be only a ground from the right channel.  This still works but has mixed results depending on the recording.  The same is true for the Taboo II.  XLR jacks make it possible to have the reference stereo output into the headphones.  Basically the same output that you could get from the speaker binding posts, but with attenuation for headphones.

-Steve
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #36 - 02/08/13 at 21:00:20
 
Excellent info Steve. So, if we opt for 4-pin XLR—that's an option, right?—we can have two headphone jacks. And then the next question, will Lucid be switchable for both sets of cans at the same time, or individually?

Can't wait to hear this puppy. Did I say I wanted to be on the order list?
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #37 - 02/09/13 at 02:03:30
 
The lucid mode, volume level, balance adjustments, etc., will always effect both sets of phones equally.  To get fully independent control with two sets of phones there is the "get two mod" where you simply buy two Taboos!
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #38 - 02/09/13 at 15:18:18
 
Steve wrote:
Quote:
The lucid mode, volume level, balance adjustments, etc., will always effect both sets of phones equally.  To get fully independent control with two sets of phones there is the "get two mod" where you simply buy two Taboos!

Heh, but of course! Grin Love it!
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #39 - 02/09/13 at 21:43:57
 
Hi everybody!

I’m new to the forum Smiley

I bought the CSP2+ and Taboo combo this fall mainly to drive the LCD-2 headphones and was really enjoying the combo till I read that the new Taboo would be much better (you know how it is  :P). Thankfully, I understand that Steve can perform modifications to the current white taboo to make it sound pretty close to the new model.

Steve, since I already have the CSP2+ and VCAPS in the taboo, apart for the second lucid mode circuit or «dual lucid mode» modification, would you recommend any other mod that would improve the sound substantially? Also, how long can I expect to wait before getting the amp back? I know I’m going to have to prepare myself mentally to live without my Taboo for at least a month because of the shipping alone since I live in Montreal.

Cant wait to ear that new Lucid Mode! Smiley
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #40 - 02/09/13 at 22:31:11
 
Welcome! On the website, on the page with the Return Authorization Form, it says that repairs/modifications are given priority. I think a month is likely the general time frame.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #41 - 02/13/13 at 02:48:51
 

Quote:
Steve, since I already have the CSP2+ and VCAPS in the taboo, apart for the second lucid mode circuit or «dual lucid mode» modification, would you recommend any other mod that would improve the sound substantially? Also, how long can I expect to wait before getting the amp back? I know I’m going to have to prepare myself mentally to live without my Taboo for at least a month because of the shipping alone since I live in Montreal.


With the VCAPS and CSP2+ I think the dual lucid mode is going to be the main thing.  We usually turn upgrades and or repairs in 10 working days plus shipping both ways.

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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #42 - 02/13/13 at 02:52:26
 
Say hello to the new ZEN TABOO MK III



http://www.decware.com/newsite/TABOO.htm

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« Last Edit: 02/13/13 at 02:53:34 by Steve Deckert »  
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #43 - 02/13/13 at 10:02:01
 
Button Clicked!!!
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #44 - 02/13/13 at 11:52:41
 
Out of curiosity, Steve are you planning to do the same upgrade to CSP2+? or not?  :)
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #45 - 02/13/13 at 13:29:05
 
Quote:
I know that customers like me can be a real PITA sometimes, but I want to write and thank you for my new Taboo. It is obviously not even remotely broken in yet, but it is extraordinary.

With my Audez’e LCD-2 headphones, it is providing me a new level of emotional engagement with the music to which I listen. I am slack-jawed.

Thank you.
I remember writing those words on April 4, 2011. My current Taboo was an ear and soul-opener. I cannot wait to hear the new one, and for that reason, I just put my order in, too.

Props Steve & Decware!
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #46 - 02/13/13 at 14:35:01
 
So, polys, what did you order. Here is my bill [yeah, I am pretty mundane about that repetitive cherry finish I order, but it is beautiful and ages in a lovely, warm manner]:
Quote:
Zen Taboo Mk III  Planar Headphone Amplifier                          
Voltage: 110/120 Volts
Wood Base: Contemporary Cherry
Signal Capacitors: Teflon VCAPS
Knob: Gold Knob
Balanced Headphone Cable Type: 4 pin Balanced XLR output jacks

Also, I love the video peek and soundtrack. If Michael Mann ever filmed the innards of a Zen amp, it would look and sound like that. At least a bit. Wink

P.S. Steve, as I think you always do, thanks for rewarding your early adopters with the introductory coupon code. It's just one more way Decware treats its customers delightfully.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #47 - 02/13/13 at 15:23:06
 
Yeh, the coupon was a nice touch, plus that made it much easier to convince my gf to allow me to spend money I should be saving Grin.

All black, beeswax caps, 3 pin XLRs and a gold knob.
I wasnt sure on the Teflon VCAPS. Just because of what Steve said earlier
Quote:
Cryo Treated Beeswax coupling capacitors in place of standard poly film caps for increased resolution, (even higher than VCAPs) and a more organic sound.

If they're regarded as better I'll ask if i can upgrade the order to Teflons.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #48 - 02/13/13 at 17:09:34
 
Polys, thanks for reminding me, because I saw that note again after ordering. I reflexively ordered the VCaps, but if in Steve's view, the cryo-beeswax is actually more resolving, I would probably downgrade that part of my order.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #49 - 02/14/13 at 05:34:02
 
I dropped Steve a note seeking to get some additional color around this statement:
Quote:
Cryo Treated Beeswax coupling capacitors in place of standard poly film caps for increased resolution, (even higher than VCAPs) and a more organic sound.

If that's the reality, seems like a no-brainer.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #50 - 02/15/13 at 03:49:22
 
I wonder how GRADO PS1000 will sound with this beautiful machine, haven't listened to LCD2 for a long time since I got my PS1000.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #51 - 02/15/13 at 10:17:59
 
From reports the Taboo is an excellent match for Grado's.
Good news for me, because I'll be using the SR325i + LCD-2r2.
Do the PS1000's respond to amping the same as the other Grado's though?

Here's some quotes from Headfi

Quote:
SemiAudiophile
I take back what I said earlier, it sounds fantastic with my Magnum Grado's as well; super detailed, spacious, tight, and dynamic. I think I just had a gain/sensitivity issue earlier.


Quote:
Nick Dangerous
The Decware Taboo pumps out some really nice bass. It must be due to the fully tube-rectified circuit. It's very nice. In fact, it's just the ticket for Grados. They really kick on the Taboo. Another difference is the aptly-named "Lucid Mode", a kind of natural tube crossfeed which expands the soundstage. It's noticeable, it's interesting, I like the effect, and again... it's just the ticket for Grados which typically have a soundstage about the size of a frozen pea. It could very well be that the Taboo ends up being my new favorite Grado amp.

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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #52 - 02/18/13 at 04:42:01
 
Checked with Steve, and he is a big fan of the cryo beeswax caps. So, I am foregoing the VCAPS.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #53 - 02/18/13 at 06:08:26
 
Would a switch that lets you move between headphone and speaker outputs be possible? I seem to remember reading about that option on previous amps, but also seem to remember Steve not liking its sonic impact. Would be nice to not have to unplug speaker cables...
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #54 - 02/19/13 at 17:49:29
 
Steve described the speaker/phones switch as a mistake IIRC. That said, my late 2011 taboo was delivered with the switch. It sounds terrific.

Pale Rider, good to know Steve highly rates the beeswax caps. Thanks for following up.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #55 - 02/20/13 at 02:26:15
 
polys/mmlogic: Just tried my Grado RS1. Changing between CSP2+ and Taboo is very noticeable.

CSP2 very smooth; Taboo very dimensional and holographic. Lucid mode makes a large difference. Rather seductive.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #56 - 02/20/13 at 02:30:11
 
[font=Times New Roman]I asked for a speaker cutoff switch on mine when it was up there having the headphone modification put in. It works fine. I, too, notice a lot of added weight and dimensionality when using the TABOO as opposed to the CSP2+ with my Sennheiser HD580's. [/font]
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« Last Edit: 02/20/13 at 02:30:40 by Rivieraranch »  

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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #57 - 02/23/13 at 01:02:21
 
Folks,

I have been craving the Taboo sound, and apparently, like others who seem to have found it too low volume for their particular speakers or room never went there. Now that Steve has addressed this, I ordered one as an alternate amp to my Torii MkIII (with my Zstage in mind in front), as a Decware backup amp in case of the dreaded event when the Torii has to go back to IL, a chance to hear these famously transparent tubes and lucid mode, and finally, I realize I will probably like the headphone experience too and this could be a great thing.....

I have never been a headphone guy except recording, and have to admit, now that I made the decision on the Taboo, I am excited about the possibility of headphone listening...never gave it much thought before this.

So first question...why 4 pin or three pin on ordering the balanced plugs. Is four compatible with three, or are they mutually exclusive. Thoughts on what I should order???

Also, for those of you with headphone listening experience, which phones should I be window shopping as I wait for the Taboo?

Thanks.

Will


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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #58 - 02/23/13 at 19:17:03
 
Will, 3-pin mini-XLR will require two plugs/jacks. 4-pin is a single plug/jack, and so, if you have two sockets, you can have two listeners. Whether OEM or aftermarket, the headphone market is flooded with reasonably priced and preposterously priced versions of both. Check out this thread, and millions of others, on Head-Fi.

With my New Taboo [has a nice ring] on the way, I am getting my Audez'e set up for 4-pin, and swapping the Thunderpants over to the Liquid Fire.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #59 - 02/24/13 at 02:45:24
 
Thanks Greg
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #60 - 02/24/13 at 16:01:29
 
You bet Will. As for headphone models, well,you didn't mention budget but I am a big fan of the Audez'e. There are lots of good cans out there. Spend some time at Head-Fi.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #61 - 02/24/13 at 17:11:02
 
Yes...what a labyrinth....1600 and some pages on the thread of recommended headphones....Sounds like skipping right to the Audez'e is logical, but costly...is it pretty much the place most will end up given the budget?
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #62 - 02/25/13 at 17:24:39
 
Well, it's such a matter of personal taste. And of course, comfort is a factor in a way unlike any other aspect of hifi. There are times when I much prefer my IEMs, for example, and the IEM aural experience is not at all like Audez'e, or my Senn 800s, etc. Some folks swear by the HiFiMan planars , but in the one time I tried a set at a HeadFi meet, I was meh. All I can say is that I am happier with the LCD-2 than any other can I have owned. They were as eye-opening and engaging as my very first Senn HD414 when I was a kid.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #63 - 02/25/13 at 18:27:36
 
Hey thanks for the further explanations and pointers.... Yes the personal thing is sure real, but from my point of near total ignorance of what is around these days, especially from the point of view of died in the wool, audio head, headphone listeners, this helps!
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #64 - 02/26/13 at 21:14:58
 
will, your headphone choices are simplified by choosing the Taboo, which really is optimized for Magne-planar headphones (although some report good experiences with other low-impedance hps like Grado).

Magne-planar largely restricts you to Audez'e (LCD2, LCD3) or HiFiMan (but not the HE-6, which is a beast to drive and needs a speaker amp of 40W or more, reportedly).

Like many, many others I can vouch for the LCD2 as a terrific hp and a great match with the 'old' Taboo. It excels at communicating timbre and hence sounds outstandingly 'natural'. It plumbs the low-mids and bass regions with a depth, resolution and presence few other phones achieve. It's also sometimes described as an hp for speaker-lovers. Certainly, it was the first hp that got close to speakers for me.

However, there are other factors, like those Pale Rider mentioned. It is all about comfort and personal preference in the end.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #65 - 03/04/13 at 18:50:12
 
AiDee,

Good points all around.

I appreciate it.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #66 - 03/06/13 at 05:26:14
 
Steve, on the phone you mentioned a budget Tascam DAC that would work well with the Taboo.  Could you please share the model of that one so I can get it on order soon?  

Thanks,
Matt
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #67 - 03/10/13 at 00:39:00
 
Matt, among budget DACs the Beresford Bushmaster is extremely good - better than Schiit's budget offering the Bifrost imho. Take a look on head-fi for impressions from the few brave enough to try it.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #68 - 03/10/13 at 17:35:35
 
Thanks AiDee!  You are a trusted Head-fi'er and one of the reasons I ended up here at Decware. I did see a lot of flaming regarding the Beresford online.  Strangely, no where did I see ANYONE that heard it say anything other than praise for its sound for the money.  It is funny how people will write off something they have NEVER heard just because of a personality difference or because the price is too low.  It seems Decware gets a lot of those same audio snobs in uproars because it's "too cheap" or "underpowered" to even be considered.  I guess I always go my own direction, but I am pleased with my Decware decision.

I am going to get my Beresford on order here pretty soon.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #69 - 03/10/13 at 22:18:12
 
@Landmantx: a DAC for what purpose and what budget? For laptop, desktop, or what? Dollar limit? I am not a Beresford fan, but not a flamer either. For a portable, musical solution good with laptops, the Meridian is quite nice. But a lot depends on your application.
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #70 - 03/11/13 at 00:41:44
 
My initial plan is to just play tunes off iTunes from my iMac over LCD 2 headphones. Over time, I plan to buy some speakers (Probably the ERR replacement if it ever comes).  I really just want a neutral, yet musical DAC that will get me by. I really don't know that I could reliably pick a $2000 DAC from a $250 DAC in a blind test.


I did like the idea of a wireless DAC, but it adds so much to the cost that you might as well buy a Mac Mini for the bedside rig.

Who knows, I jumped on this amp before I had it all planned out and now I am working to get it all purchased prior to May when the Taboo gets here.

I considered the Meridian for it's size, but hesitated due to lack of inputs and outputs. I am sure it would work fine though.  

By the way, I loved seeing your 6 ERRs!  Overkill?  Naaahhhhh Smiley
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Taboo MK3
CSP2+
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LeFrancoy
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #71 - 03/11/13 at 04:19:10
 
Quick (or stupid) question here...

About the input tube upgrade between the MKII and MKIII, is it a new socket or simply a new tube in the same tube socket as the MKII?

Thanks!
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AiDee
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #72 - 03/16/13 at 18:27:09
 
LeFrancoy if I understand your question - it is a different tube, same socket. That is, the driver tube is now from a different tube family. Total tubes are the same (4).
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Longbowbbs
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Life is a journey,
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Posts: 51
Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #73 - 03/19/13 at 01:31:53
 
Well, Frank I has sold his CSP2+ and will be using the Taboo MK III alone!

http://www.head-fi.org/t/655788/the-decware-taboo-mk-111-appreciation-thread
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Upgradeus Interruptus
MacMini,W4S DAC-2 DSDse,Denon DVD-5900, Decware CSP2+, Taboo MK III, Sennheiser HD800's, DM945's, DefTech Supercube 3
http://www.head-fi.org/t/654644/a-visit-to-decware
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Pale Rider
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Posts: 1272
Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #74 - 03/19/13 at 02:19:29
 
Quote:
Well, Frank I has sold his CSP2+ and will be using the Taboo MK III alone!

Interesting, inasmuch as he still says the combo together is superior. Can't wait to hear mine. I plan to try it with and without the Ultra, though long term, I am likely to use it standalone.
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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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Landmantx
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Posts: 8
Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #75 - 03/19/13 at 17:53:33
 
I have yet to hear the Taboo MK3 with the CSP2+, but I can say that the Taboo 2 has far more authority and command with the pre-amp at the expense of a large amount of added warmth. Now, I only heard the combo at a meet, so I haven't explored it in that much detail.  To my untrained ears it made the HD800 sound almost exactly like the LCD3 sounds over a quality SS amp. Depending on your preferrences, that could be good or bad. Nick Dangerous preferred the CSP2+ alone with his HD800's even after hearing them together.  I preferred them together as I like a more warm "tubey" sound and enjoyed the raw horsepower of the combo at the expense of finesse. I went ahead and bought Franks Taboo to keep it in the Decware, Head-fi family and to give me maximum flexiblity. I will not speak for Frank, as I don't want to spoil his coming review, but I believe he is not of the opinion that the Taboo 3 is the "one amp to rule them all" that we all hope to someday find at a price we could afford of course.  Go figure, that is why this hobby is so frustrating.  I think once again it is all going to be about pairings, and with the right ones this amp is going to sing.  That said, he did imply that he is planning to add one to his collection though  :)
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Taboo MK3
CSP2+
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will
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Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #76 - 03/19/13 at 19:38:21
 
Don't know how you feel about rolling tubes, but you can make pretty powerful changes in the quality and quantity of "warmth" with Decware's revealing, clean and simple designs.

I have no CSP2+ but understand that it is shipped "warm" since most prefer it that way, and even exploring only the front tube can make a big difference in the feeling of the pre and whatever follows.

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« Last Edit: 03/19/13 at 19:39:13 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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MoNelly
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Posts: 24
Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #77 - 03/20/13 at 06:35:36
 
Hey Steve,

What's the headphone output impedance on the new Taboo?

Thanks!
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Longbowbbs
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Life is a journey,
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Posts: 51
Re: NEW LCD2 Headphone amplifier coming soon.
Reply #78 - 04/14/13 at 05:04:00
 
Couple of Taboo MK III pics...

[/URL]



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Upgradeus Interruptus
MacMini,W4S DAC-2 DSDse,Denon DVD-5900, Decware CSP2+, Taboo MK III, Sennheiser HD800's, DM945's, DefTech Supercube 3
http://www.head-fi.org/t/654644/a-visit-to-decware
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