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Inadequate midbass/bass (Read 1749 times)
ProgRockin
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Inadequate midbass/bass
02/18/18 at 02:45:02
 
Hi there, new to the forum!

About 5 years ago I bought a used csp2+ which was sent to Decware for a checkup to transfer the warranty.  I've used it mostly as a headphone amp with HD650s and AKG K7XXs and its always been a little light on bass imo but acceptable with headphones.  Clarity and soundstage are amazing and never fatiguing with the HD650s.  I have also used it on and off as a preamp but always go back to my old Ampex pre due to lack of bass and midbass.   I have a Knight KB-85 poweramp and old EV Royal 400 speakers as well as some Klipsch knockoff corner horns.  The Decware basically does everything better than the Ampex except for the lower frequencies, soundstage and imaging are much better, the noise floor is lower, highs are cleaner etc.  Now maybe its just me as I was raised with tone controls on everything but the csp2+ is just lacking bass.  Its there but has very little impact and just sounds out of proportion.  It doesn't matter if I'm listening to rock or classical, it just doesn't sound right to me.  I've tried numerous tubes and rectifiers, the best combination imo being a Bugle Boy 6dj8 in the center and 6h1ns in the other two slots with a Webber copper cap solid state rectifier.  

Am I the only one who finds this amp lacks bass?  I love everything else about it but I just need more on the low end.  Help!
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #1 - 02/18/18 at 06:18:18
 
Sounds like a job for the ZROCK2.
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busterfree
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #2 - 02/18/18 at 12:49:29
 
Welcome to the forum!
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Lon
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #3 - 02/18/18 at 13:21:19
 
Yes, welcome. I have to say. . . I've had adequate bass out of the two CSP2+ and the CSP2 that I have had, but all of this is so system dependent and even cabling and power conditioning can be factors.

Jeff makes a good point: a ZROCK2 would really give you EQ choices that will please.
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will
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #4 - 02/18/18 at 20:08:22
 
My CSP3 is not lacking in bass either. If this is your only Decware piece, it could be in part the Decware sound you are noticing. Especially with the OTL character, clarity, space and punch can be powerful. Also, could be the Ampex is compensating for other system parts being a little lean??? Whatever the cause, being pretty clear and transparent, everything you do with your CSP2+, into it, in it, and out of it will be heard in a revealing system/room, so you can likely tune it more to your liking.

I do not use it strictly for gain, preferring setting it up to mix nicely with my amp gain. My amp is more neutral across the spectrum, where the CSP3 sounds more intense, punchy, and bassy with its volume turned up more, and less so with the volume lower. So I set its sound to be pretty neutral with the master volume set about 1-2 o'clock, giving room to ride its gain with the Torii, more CSP in the balance for a given volume adding weight, clarity and density, and less CSP in the balance makes an overly thick recording leaner.

In setting it up to sound good in this master volume range, depending on tubes used, I run mine pretty high on tube adjustment pots, usually 8-10 on the front pots, and 8 on the back ones. The balance of the front pots with back pots effects the balance of the two tube's signature influence. More up on the pots will not only increase volume, but also the feeling of power and density from the pre tubes being pushed harder.

I am not familiar with your rectifier, but the CSP is such that you really will hear rectifier changes, sometimes quite markedly changing the whole. With the setup I have now, I can easily make it overly bassy, or overly lean with rectifiers. What rectifiers have you tried? Might be able to point you to bassier ones.

6DJ8 types generally create a more open and textured signal that has less solidity and bass than 6922 types, the Bugle boy especially open and textured. And 6N1Ps give a pleasent sense of bass and mid bass in the balance, but do not go as low (or high) as a lot of 6922/E88CCs. Could be good to try a different output tube, keeping the open texture of the Bugle Boy, and punching up the power of the signal some with the right E88CC/6922s in the middle.

Bigger gauge ICs of the same type will make the signal more intense across the spectrum, increasing signal intensity (showing clearly in the low end) and even moreso with the return wire gauge larger than the signal wire. Also different power cords are worth playing with, again, bigger gauge causing more intense signal (and bass).

Bottom line is that this pre is so simple, about anything you do to it can alter its sound.

Good Luck!

Will





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ProgRockin
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #5 - 02/18/18 at 23:08:15
 
Thanks for the replies.  I did not know about the ZROCK, it looks awesome but unfortunately thats out of my budget right now.  I have tried several 5Y3GT, 5Y3, 5AR4 and 5R4GY rectifiers, some are better than others but I've found the solid state rectifier to offer the most punch without losing any tonality. I also run them in my Knight  KB-85.

I will try lowering the gain on my power amp in order to let the CSP to be turned up louder, as it sits I have to turn down both input and output pots quite a bit to get the volume knob up to 12 o'clock.  I will also try some different output tubes again.  Thanks for the suggestions.
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Acetone
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #6 - 02/19/18 at 17:10:39
 
Hey Prog,  Perhaps give the Schiit - 4 band EQ (Loki) a try. At $150 it might be just what you need on a budget!
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will
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Re: Inadequate midbass/bass
Reply #7 - 02/19/18 at 17:43:46
 
ProgRockin,

I suspect just the adjustments may really change things for the better, allowing the CSP2+ to "wake up" more, increasing its tube qualities and the pre's sonic influence in every way.

To test this, if you have stock caps, I would start by adjusting the amp so the CSP input works in the 8-10 range, and the output 5-6, with master volume at 1 o'clock or so.

If the caps are Jupiters, when I had them put in mine, I needed to run the outputs higher to get the balance I liked. Later, after I started modding the CSP3, I noticed the Jupiters are lower value caps than the stock, verifying in part why I liked to push the outputs harder. With Jupiters, I would go to 7-8 on the outputs at first, 8-10 on the inputs, and about 1 o'clock on the master for average recording volumes.

Then experiment. You may like a little different settings, but I think this will put you into an area you can hear more of the CSP2+ usefulness.

Optimizing the CSP for its best sound, and keeping it in that best sound range, while using the amp volume for the more pronounced volume shifts, is an opposite approach from much historical pre usage....but I find the optimizing gain range of the CSP very important here for the best sound. It brings the CSP far enough into its qualities to do what it does best, while allowing gain riding within that optimized CSP sound range.

Then, if you are not accustomed to gain riding, it is pretty cool. Maintaining the same audible volume you want to listen at, if a recording is lean, turning up the CSP3 a little as you turn the amp down a little, will empower more CSP influence, more spacious dynamics and OTl punch, body, and clarity. If the recording is thick/too big, upping the amp while turning down the CSP master will likely open things up with less signal power/density in the balance....

If this is new, it takes a little reorganization of how we think about pres, but if it works for you like it does for me, you will get increased musical enjoyment across your collection of different recordings, and gain riding adjustments become sort of second nature.

In my system, once the CSP3 input and output pots are right for the tubes I have in, and with the master about 1 o'clock, then my range is most often between 12:30 and 2:30, this relatively minor range enough to dial in most recordings while keeping the CSP in an optimal sound range....



If this works for you, once you find the right balance in your system/room, the same tools can be used for fine-tuning the system in general with the CSP2+. Change some cables, feet, tubes, speakers, power........then check back in and re-optimize the CSP.

If the system change is good in most ways, but makes the signal a little too intense/potent or dense/thick, try turning down one or the other pot set a notch on the CSP. Or if a bit lean, but otherwise compelling, try turning one or the other up a notch....



Also, once tuned to taste, your tubes might be just right without changes, but each will likely be presented more completely, making it easier to discern what each tube does and how it balances. Then, after optimizing the pots and balance, it could be well worth re-investigating the rectifiers and outputs you have.
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