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Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap! (Read 2234 times)
AlexR
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Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
03/07/14 at 21:34:57
 
Hi all,
Those of you using a pre with your Decware amp will be able to relate to this...

I retired my CSP2+ last Spring when I got my Zen Select, which of course has built in volume control. I recently decided to sell the CSP2+ rather than let it sit and collect dust, and while I had it out to snap some pics, hooked it up to the Zen just for fun. Holy smokes! I can't believe how much the CSP2+ transformed the sound of the Zen for the better. Everything has improved--sound-stage is wider, imaging more focused, and most surprising (and welcome), the bass is tighter and goes much deeper than before, making the music  punchier and more dynamic. The music is also a lot more holographic now with the CSP2+ in the chain. I thought the Zen alone had great pin-point imaging, but now I know what people mean when they say it's like the musicians are in the room with with them. I finally feel like the system is using my speakers to their full potential.

I can't believe I had this major upgrade just rotting away in my closet for the past 10 months! I'm still using the stepped attenuator on the Zen Select as main volume control, with the CSP2+'s input and output pots wide open, and stepped attenuator set at 12 clicks.

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« Last Edit: 03/08/14 at 02:35:16 by AlexR »  
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JD
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #1 - 03/07/14 at 21:46:58
 
Awesome Alex,

I agree, without my CSP2+ to run my OPPO through a lot of pandora, spotify, etc and some disks wouldn't be as enjoyable.  My Magnum Dynalab tube tuner through the CSP2+ to the Torii is pure magic.

Listen well and often.

JD
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Lon
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #2 - 03/08/14 at 01:22:29
 
Glad you put the preamp in use and are enjoying such good results! Cheesy
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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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Dave1210
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #3 - 03/08/14 at 02:24:41
 
I don't know how I'm going to prevent myself from ordering a Decware pre-amp with all this positive chatter!  Glad your CSP is no longer collecting dust and is instead making holographs!  Cheers!
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Digger
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #4 - 03/08/14 at 02:38:17
 
 AlexR,
        Is your CSP2+ for sale? Now! All I can say is you are very lucky you plugged her in and gave her a listen or that gem may have gotten away. Whew close one. These preamps bring on the music like nothing else I've ever owned. Glad to hear you re-connected with it.

Enjoy



Cool
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AlexR
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #5 - 03/08/14 at 02:47:07
 
No way is it for sale now. I could never go back!
Thanks for the responses, all.
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jsm71
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #6 - 03/08/14 at 14:23:53
 
Have you tried managing volume the other way around?  I find most amps have a gain "sweet spot" where they are happiest and that is usually not full gain.  I have my Torii's gain maybe half way and I never touch it.  

I do all volume control with my preamp.  I have the combination where the preamp's range is about between 1/3 and 2/3 full gain.  Neither piece is at full gain.  I also take this approach because my preamp has a remote, but I would still use this approach even if it didn't.
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Lon
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #7 - 03/08/14 at 14:30:18
 
Definitely try different gain positons. But . . . part of the glory of the CSP series of preamps is those gobs of gain, and running the preamp into the amp with all that gain does wonders, especially for the small Zen amps.
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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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AlexR
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #8 - 03/08/14 at 15:44:07
 
I experimented using the pre's volume as main volume control, but it didn't seem to work as well. I actually don't have either one at full gain--I have the trim pots full open on the pre, but the volume knob is only a little more than half way open. The volume on the Zen stays about half-way as well, give or take.

Like Lon said, the gain from the pre is what's making the difference, so I find that fine tuning with the Zen's volume maintains the benefits of the high gain coming from the pre. I'll keep playing around, though.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #9 - 03/08/14 at 20:18:23
 
I use a Z STAGE with my Zen and it does the job fine.
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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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stone_of_tone
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #10 - 03/09/14 at 16:52:59
 
Cool Alex, I look forward to getting my Decware Pre... .
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Sony as Transport
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Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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AlexR
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #11 - 03/09/14 at 18:57:05
 
Thanks Stone--will you be using your preamp with the ZMA?

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AlexR
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #12 - 03/09/14 at 19:02:26
 
In an earlier post I stated that, with the CSP2+ in the chain,  I have the Zen's stepped attenuator at about half way for normal listening. I was mistaken though, because I realized I'm actually only running it at about 3-5 clicks from 0 before it's too loud, depending on source/recording. The pre is really adding a lot of juice, which hopefully isn't something that will negatively affect the Zen in the long run, considering it's probably designed to operate with line-level inputs.
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« Last Edit: 03/09/14 at 19:03:02 by AlexR »  
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Lin
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #13 - 03/09/14 at 21:44:35
 
If you don't hear system noise or distortion everything is fine.

The vast majority of "integrated amps" require 1 volt or (much) less for full output.
Decware amps are 2 volts or more (Mini Torii~1 volt), which is why many find a preamp/extra gain stage beneficial.

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« Last Edit: 03/09/14 at 21:45:34 by Lin »  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #14 - 03/10/14 at 20:41:17
 
Oh yeah Alex, I will be using it with the ZMA and then I will try it with my SE84CS that I rotate in. As great as the ZMA is.....the mighty Zen Select will always see time in the Listening Room. You have the Super Zen Select...you know. I have my Super Zen CKC in my bedroom setup. I just prefer my SE84CS all so slightly over the CKC in the Listening Room rotation with the ZMA. Of course, I am splitting hairs here.  Cheers, Stone
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Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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