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Taboo Mk IV has arrived (Read 1776 times)
Lon
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Taboo Mk IV has arrived
07/12/17 at 02:06:10
 
My Taboo Mk IV arrived today and I got about four hours of listening in.

I didn't bother with the tubes sent, I put in the tube complement that I have been using lately in my Taboo Mk III: '50s RCA 5Y3 bottle-shaped rectifier, SV83 output tubes, Sylvania 7308 input tube.

Right off the bat I was impressed. I ordered mine with the Beeswax Type 2 caps, which I had not heard before, and was a bit worried that these might have a "clinical" or "analytical" sound. Well certainly not so far. I also have never heard UFO transformers in any other amplifier. In comparison to the Taboo Mk III there is a clarity and openness that is unmistakeable. A bit of warm congestion is gone. . . the bit of warmth aspect is a bit missed but I know I can tube roll and find that again, the bit of congestion was not missed. Tonal balance was just a tad on the light side but I know there is breakin to go through and there will be a bit of a difference in a week or so.

As I was mostly listening to the audio of Blu-ray (Game of Thrones. Season 6) I didn't play much with the Lucid and Extraction mode, but I can tell these are much more useful with the adjustability on this new model and may even get some use.

Overall fit and finish was truly excellent, this one was nicely built indeed. An interesting walnut burl finish is on the wood, which I have not seen before on a Decware component. Looks gorgeous and doesn't distract much from the grain of the walnut finish on my CSP2+ and Torii Mk iII.

I know I'm going to enjoy this unit!

On a less positive note I had high expectations for the Taboo Mk III driving the PeachTree Audio small bookshelf speakers I am using in an upstairs system when used with the ZBIT that I lately removed from my main system. Well. . . not the type of results I wished for, the modded Zen C amp put out much more power to these speakers with the ZBIT and sounded better to boot . . . .I'll try another CSP2+ with the Taboo Mk III soon to see if that sort of gain is an improvement.
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« Last Edit: 07/12/17 at 02:37:10 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
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Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #1 - 07/12/17 at 13:50:10
 
Wow. A couple more hours of listening and I'm deep into the music and sound and loving every minute.

I did not expect this big an improvement between the III and IV nor did I expect this "seasoned" a sound so soon. (Perhaps this unit had a goodly amount of testing . . . I did delay the shipping a few days).

I have two sources connected to the Mk IV via the CSP2+, my DirectStream DAC and my CXU. I can easily hear the differences between these two sources in comparison via the Mk IV, and the Mk IV makes each shine their finest.

I'm back to Wow. This is an amazing headphone amp. And for the record: dead quiet.
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« Last Edit: 07/12/17 at 14:37:58 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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JD
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Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #2 - 07/12/17 at 15:24:21
 
Congrats Lon,

I was nervous updating my amps to the beeswax type 2 caps as well but they have turned out to be a great upgrade.
Enjoy the tunes with the new amp.

Justin

off to the beach for a couple hours 95 percent humidity blows
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
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Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #3 - 07/12/17 at 16:29:44
 
Thanks Justin. Yes, everything is sounding good now. Even got the Taboo Mk III to sound very good upstairs by finding another position for the ZBIT. But. .  it's right at the point of just loud enough. With more efficient speakers this would not be a problem.

The Taboo Mk IV is calling me back to listen. If you're on the fence let me say this model is really something enjoyable to listen to.

Enjoy the beach!
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« Last Edit: 07/12/17 at 16:38:35 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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deucekazoo
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Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #4 - 07/12/17 at 17:23:45
 
Lon, just wanted to mention that on the MKIII make sure you have the new lucid mode switched off. It mentions that in the manual when running speakers. The new lucid mode was design for headphones and the maximum power is reduced into speakers.
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Lon
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Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #5 - 07/12/17 at 17:37:32
 
Yes, thanks. I did have it off. These bookshelf speakers are very inefficient. Sigh. But they sound surprisingly good, and they are small enough that I'm "allowed to use them". . . Wink

Really, it's loud enough, and the system upstairs is most likely to be used as a headphone system, and the Mk III really does that job very well!
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« Last Edit: 07/12/17 at 17:38:32 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #6 - 07/14/17 at 21:09:11
 
Okay after more experimentation using the Taboo Mk III upstairs with the ZBIT, a CSP2 and a CSP2+ . . . I've decided to use the source directly into the Mk III. Not loud, but sounding very good with these speakers and uncomplicated, so that I can use my best tubes and cabling etc. . . which ultimately pays off. Glad I settled that (for now!)

The Taboo Mk IV is sounding wonderful again today. I have been playing about with the adjustable lucid and extraction mode control. I think I like the sound on most recordings I tried just entering the extraction zone, just after the halfway point of the knob's travel.

The standout feature of this amp is the clarity. On most recordings an instrument or voice is presented so clearly that it has a clearly imaged space of its own. And with this clarity comes an involving sense of dynamics from slight to heavy.

I'm expecting a new headphone cable this afternoon which should prove another little step up or closer. This Mk IV is really delivering the sound.
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« Last Edit: 07/14/17 at 21:11:39 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #7 - 07/15/17 at 00:15:05
 
Last comment for the night. . . . The Moon Audio Silver Dragon cable for the Audeeze arrived and I got a few hours of listening in with this cable. Very good cable and the length is perfect so that I don't have to use the headphone extension cable and compromise the sound.

I'm so all set. . . I know it's not but the Mk IV seems already broken in and seasoned it's sounding so good. I have a few tubes coming from auctions that I will roll in but that's going to be it for a while. The CSP2+ down here really is making the Torii and the Taboo sing and I've great listening upstairs and downstairs. Life is so good!
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #8 - 07/19/17 at 13:21:17
 
Well, it's been a week now with the Taboo Mk IV in the house, on and receiving signal about fifteen hours a day, off nine hours over night on average. Certainly past the initial break in and starting on seasoning with use.

It sounded great out of the box and even better now. I've rolled some tubes over the week and right now I have three Amperex for RCA ECC189 tubes in the CSP3 with a bottle-shaped RCA 5Y3 rectifier feeding the Taboo, the same rectifier and input tube now in the Taboo Mk IV and Svetlana SV83 power tubes in the Taboo.  This has been the best complements so far. (I am mainly feeding the CSP2+ from the PS Audio DirectStream DAC with VooDoo Cable Stradivarius Cremona interconnects before and after the CSP2+, all power cabling is PS Audio PerfectWave AC-12 and all the components sit on PS Audio PowerBases and on VooDoo Cable IsoPods.)

I love my Taboo Mk III and it is the heartbeat of a second system I have so far been able to keep upstairs to use with a Denon universal player, a ZBIT and small bookshelf speakers from Peachtree Audio, though I'll most likely be listening to headphones up there most often. But this Taboo Mk IV IS the better amp. I'm very impressed with the copper-foil Type 2 Jupiter caps and the UFO transformers. There's a clarity and vividness to the sound that is a step up from the MK iii as well as a deeper and wider level of dynamic changes. And yet I would not call the sound clinical or etched ever unless the recording itself has those characteristics. Most of the time what I am listening to or watching envelopes my thoughts and I forget I have headphones on, don't think of audio matters at all--a VERY GOOD THING.

I can hear every change I make in the signal path with this amp: different sources and cabling, different settings on my P10, different isolation set-ups. . . .

This one is not going to be returned, this Taboo is going to be in my system from now forward. I can recommend this amp heartily for planar magnetic headphones (I don't have any dynamic headphones here to sample).
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« Last Edit: 07/19/17 at 13:24:52 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #9 - 07/28/17 at 17:31:24
 
Two and a half weeks in of use now.

Wow is the word that keeps being appropriate. Just great sound. If I had to give up the Torii and the HR-1s. . . this amp and Audeze and Oppo headphones would keep me from sobbing uncontrollably. Smiley I really should NOT have spent the money BUT I really am loving this amp
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #10 - 08/01/17 at 15:05:24
 
I am using the Taboo Mk IV amp as THE amp in my system for the first time this morning and I'm very surprised at how wonderful it sounds. REALLY surprised at how REALLY good it sounds. The UFO transformers and the Type II beeswax caps in this thing impressed the hell out of me on headphones, and now . . . they are impressing the hell out of me amplifying my speakers. One really surprising element is that the sound is LOUD enough. I was thinking I would be clipping as I had been clipping with the other 2 watt amplifier that I had used in this system and room. . .but no. Not even with my lowest source (DVR into DAC). Color me very surprised and happy. VERY.

The other thing that is surprising me is that even though I have no tonal controls at all on this machine the frequency balance is just about right where I would want it to be. I miss a touch of dynamics in comparison to the Torii Mk III and a bit of "heft and weight" but there are other ways to skin both these cats. I'm impressed. The Torii Mk III has been THE amp to unseat in my system and though I'm not ready to take it out completely today, I would not be surprised to discover I'm liking using the Taboo in this way more and more.
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« Last Edit: 08/01/17 at 15:08:32 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
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Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #11 - 08/05/17 at 21:16:40
 
Okay after a few days of using the Taboo Mk IV as an amp I'm very impressed with this amp as both a headphone and speaker amplifier. I did a number of little changes and tweaks and got the Taboo closer to what I want, a little more bass and a little less treble. I can't wait to hear what the ZROCK2 will do for the Taboo.

That said I put the Torii Mk III  back into action. . . and immediately relaxed into that familiar sound. And the changes I made to improve the Taboo sonics were just as effective on the Torii and I'm gob-smacked at the great changes in the sound. There is just such an inherent weight and heft to the Torii that you don't have to work to get and which I missed. I will probably listen to the Torii with speakers most of the time til the ZROCK2 arrives. And listen to the Taboo happily with headphones. Boy does it make the headphones sing!
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
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Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #12 - 08/18/17 at 22:32:09
 
Wow. I bought a tube in anticipation of the ZROCK2. . . had to do something to prepare! I bought two actually, both are Amperex "SQ" 6085, one with the rare "pinched waist." I haven't gotten that one yet, but I got the first one I ordered and tried it in the Taboo Mk IV (although now fitted with a 6922 type, I find it plays very well with 12AT7, 12AU7 and 12AX7.)

Wow! This  is a very sweet tube. It is as tall as the EL84/SV83, maybe even a fraction taller! Lots of oomph but sweet tonality at least so far. I bet it will be great in the ZROCK2 as well!

The Taboo Mk IV makes headphone music come alive in a way it never has before for me. I'm so glad I have it!

Not MY tubes but this what mine look like. Monsters!

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« Last Edit: 08/18/17 at 22:32:57 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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SonicSeeker
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Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #13 - 08/19/17 at 18:48:40
 
Lon
Where are you on the list?
Those look really nice you will have to let me know how they compare to the 12au7 in the Zrock I may have to give them a try.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/17 at 19:46:00 by SonicSeeker »  

Torii Jr
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Lon
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"Love without
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Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #14 - 08/19/17 at 18:52:55
 
I placed an order on August 1. I'm probably two to two and a half months away is my guess based on the three months (and in one case plus) waiting time I had for the last orders from Decware.

This tube is really nice in the Taboo Mk IV! Lively but also very controlled, no distortions or smearing, full clarity.  I'll have to try it out upstairs in the Taboo Mk III soon but I bet is shines there as well.
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« Last Edit: 08/19/17 at 18:53:20 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #15 - 08/20/17 at 11:49:13
 
I love slipping the headphones on and listening to the Taboo early in the morning when my wife and dog are asleep. Total immersion in sound!
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #16 - 09/26/17 at 21:00:19
 
Hi Lon,

On your message from 08/05 , you mentioned that you "did a number of little changes and tweaks and got the Taboo closer to what" you "want, a little more bass and a little less treble."  What tweaks did you do for that exactly?  With my TABOO mkIII, I am trying to have more bass and less treble as well.  I ordered a ZBIT to use the balanced outputs of my Hegel HD30 DAC, so it should contribute to the frequency balance to some extent.  

But also, after hearing my SE84UFO with the Type II Beeswax caps, I am itching for upgrading my TABOO from mkIII to mkIV for the output transformers.  I know it is quite a personal thing, but if you could keep only one of the TABOO's, would you get rid of your mkIII and buy the mkIV for the price difference?

Enjoy...

Alper
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
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Posts: 12910
Re: Taboo Mk IV has arrived
Reply #17 - 09/26/17 at 21:41:29
 
Alper, I would guess that the biggest change was using SV83 output tubes, these are a little less bright in my system in the Mk IV, and get the sound closer to where I want it I also positioned my VooDoo Cable Iso-Pods more to the very edges of the chassis, another adjustment that brings a bassier balance to the sound. And I know I rolled a lot of input tubes and settled on an Amperex for RCA ECC189, this one got the sound right where I wanted it.

Indeed I would keep the Mk IV and sell the MK III. Right now I'm probably keeping the Mk III in my second system . . . that system has less resolving of a front end and the Mk III sounds really nice there. But the UFO transformers in the MK IV definitely impressed me.
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« Last Edit: 09/26/17 at 22:28:33 by Lon »  

HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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