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Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap! (Read 1411 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+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade: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+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade: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
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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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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AlexR
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #15 - 03/13/14 at 03:00:25
 
Enjoy the CSP3 when it comes, Stone. I'm seriously considering driving down to East Peoria for the next Zen Fest to hear the ZMA. I want to know what all the fuss is about!
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« Last Edit: 03/13/14 at 03:00:46 by AlexR »  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #16 - 03/14/14 at 17:53:58
 
You should Alex. Go for the whole Experience.  I have been twice and enjoyed it very much.
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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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DBC
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #17 - 04/04/14 at 23:34:25
 
I have my Super Zen connected directly to my Oppo BDP-83SE for a couple years now. I do have a CSP2 that I used with my old Zen Select. I tried this several times with the Super Zen but each time the CSP2 appeared to cast a thin vail over the music resulting in a tad less focus and transparency. So like AlexR my CSP2 was sitting in the closet.

So I read the rave review here by AlexR and think I must be missing something??? So I dust off my old CSP2 and about half way through a 2 hour listening session I insert it into my system. Hum, not impressed, same result as the last time I tried it. Now AlexR and everyone else can't be wrong.

Now I'm not one to have ever claimed to hear a big difference between quality interconnects. I was using a first generation Decware DSR 1/2  meter interconnect between the Oppo and CSP2 and Homegrown Audio pure silver lace 1 meter interconnect between the CSP2 and Super Zen. I purchased the Homegrown interconnects years ago when silver was a lot less expensive.

In any event I went and dug out a second 1 meter pair of Homegrown Audio pure silver interconnects. I installed these between the Oppo and CSP2 (replacing the DSR). Well, I could not believe the difference. I've been listening a lot over the past 2 weeks to this combination. Being skeptical that an interconnect could make the difference I swapped the DSR back in 3 times over the 2 week period and the difference is there.

With the correct interconnects the CSP2 has improved the overall Focus of the presentation. Individual instruments and voices are more distinct and occupy distinctly separate space within the soundstage. The output quality of my Mid Bass Module has improved a couple of notches also. Kick drum is the most realistic I've been able to achieve and Bass notes are so detailed.

I have many recordings where you can hear the space (studio) in which the material was recorded. Now with the CSP2 some of these recordings actually create the illusion that you are not just hearing the space but are actually in that space.

Biggest surprise was that my source and speakers are actually capable of this type of resolution.

Thanks AlexR
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Oppo BDP-83SE, SE84CKC amp, Klipsch RF-7 mains, HSU MBM-12 MK2 mid bass module, HSU ULS-15 sub
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Lon
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #18 - 04/05/14 at 00:07:46
 
Interconnects can be very important for getting the best out of your components. I used the Decware for a long time and then started on a journey of "improvement" yielding benefits just as you describe.

I love my CSP2+ preamps. . . everytime I think "I really don't need this, my PWD Mk II has a volume control and so does my Torii Mk III" and try to do without it, I always miss it, and it always brings a better sonic landscape to the listening experience. This is even more expecially so now that the one I use for my most often used sources has the Jupiter caps installed. Wow, with those caps in amp and preamp my sound just keeps astonishing me. (My new HR-1s also have come into their own and given me great imaging and frequency balance).

These preamps just don't get talked up enough!
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« Last Edit: 04/05/14 at 00:21:41 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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marky
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #19 - 04/05/14 at 10:44:17
 
My newly jupitered ZP3 & CSP2+ preamps will be delivered any day now, home from the mothership..  This will be my first upgrade from an already burgeoning experience. I have a small stash of i/c`s but all copper, not a patch on the DSR`s. You guys make it easier to push the boundaries further with your experimenting/suggestions. Getting your head round audiophile as a hobby isn`t obvious at first.
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Brian
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Re: Just Added CSP2+ to Zen Select...Holy Crap!
Reply #20 - 05/12/14 at 17:50:01
 
stone_of_tone said:
"As great as the ZMA is.....the mighty Zen Select will always see time in the Listening Room."

Polk Audio's web site says:
The LS90 features two sets of binding posts, so bi-amping and bi-wiring options are available for even higher performance levels.  

Have you considered a Bi-Amp arrangement with your Mystery amp together with your Select?
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