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csp3 25yr anniversary mods (Read 6111 times)
Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #50 - 06/19/18 at 17:46:37
 
Well, 17 hours have passed and the CSP3 25th Anniversary Edition has been playing constantly feeding either the Audeze or the Oppo headphones.

With the Oppo the soundstage is a bit less wide but seems a tad taller and there's a bit more dynamic contrast. And excellent bass response, tight and deep.

Mine may be a bit different than others. I had asked Steve about implementing the glass resistors in the CSP3 with these mods and he said no, it's too early to mess with that, it would take a different value than he had and yet. . .just before it shipped Steve sent me a pic of the wiring of this CSP3 and it shows a pair of black glass resistors, he bypassed the input gain controls (they are there but do not operate) and wired the signal directly to the input tube incorporating the glass resistors.

There's a real sense of strength to this preamp, and like the Monoblocks I've had two months now detail spills out entwined in the stream of music, nothing highlighted, rather detail is organically presented. That's as close as I can come to explaining the difference between this and the original CSP preamps I have.

As Joe teased me about above it's going to be tempting to put this in front of the Monoblocks right away but I want to get at least another forty hours or so on the preamp before making that change. There's a lot of caps to "settle" and the good thing is that Jupiters sound good as they do so!

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HockessinKid
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #51 - 06/19/18 at 19:50:05
 
Lon,

It took my CSP3 about 70 hours to settle in fully after the 25th Anniversary mods.  In addition to the strength you noted, I found additional clarity and a "greater sense of realism" to the music.

As some have noted with the 25th Anniversary amp and mono's, the music sounds like your at the recording microphone.  The soundstage is more forward then un-modified.  It will deepen and widen as you get more hours on it.

I just added a set of Isoacoustic Orea isolation devices under the CSP3-25 today, replacing some Herbie Tenderfeet.  They made a noticable improvement.  If you hook the preamp up to your mono's be careful, your ears will never be the same. Smiley

Happy listening during the break in period.

HK  
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #52 - 06/19/18 at 19:55:54
 
Yes, I think it was I who said with the 25th Anniversary Monoblocks it's as if you are the microphone. Thanks, I suspect you are right that 70 hours or so is right, about the least amount of time. I'll either connect it to the Monoblocks on Friday (if I have time, my wife is having a procedure done Thursday and I think she'll be home on Friday) or next week.

This is a very good preamp. I do expect to be very pleased with it feeding the Monoblocks.

And yes, those Oreas are pretty darned good, certainly better than Tenderfeet. They haven't unseated my VooDoo Cable Iso-Pods under components, but they're close to as good and cheaper.
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #53 - 06/23/18 at 12:15:38
 
I am going to start a mantra for me and Decware: "You needn't worry."

My worries for the last purchases all vanished immediately upon receiving the units. The latest: I was worried that the ZTPRE to ZBIT to ZROCK2 to CSP3-25 to Monoblocks would be one or two components too many--needless worry; I was worried that the CSP3-25 wouldn't be good enough as a headphone amp to replace the Taboo Mk IV in my system--another needless worry.

As it's the weekend I've already switched over to headphone listening and I must say. . . wow, this is the best headphone amplifier I've ever owned or even imagined hearing. Before this was received my CSP2+ worked excellently for my Oppo PM-1 but the Taboo Mk IV was a better fit for the Audeze LCD-2. The CSP3-25 however is already a better fit for both headphones. There is a wider soundstage, and there is an increase in instrumental definition without in any way seeming "etched" . . . Dynamic contrast, volume level differences in instrument presentation, all these are the best I've heard. Pace is very present, but when mellowness is asked for, there it is.

I'd say that for a headphone system this preamp will not disappoint. It fits both of my headphones to a T!
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #54 - 06/23/18 at 12:19:24
 
I added more headphone listening impressions to the CSP3 25th Anniversary version here:

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1526212150/50#53
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #55 - 06/25/18 at 21:36:05
 
Well, I am back to using OD3, a pair of Westinghouse bottle-shaped, in the Monoblocks and so I rolled some tubes in the CSP3-25. I'm really getting great sound with an orange globe Amperex 6DJ8 and two black anode 6N5P . . . nice balance of clarity and tonal accuracy.
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #56 - 06/26/18 at 15:28:25
 
@jorgen, you asked about headphones with this modded preamp.

I use both Audeze LCD-2 and Oppo PM-1 'phones. Before this CSP3 the Oppos sounded best in the CSP2+ (with Jupiter beeswax Type 1 caps) and the Audeze sounded better in the Taboo Mk IV, (with Jupiter beeswax Type 2 caps) but both sounded pretty good in either amp.

With this modded CSP3 with Type 2 caps I was eager to hear what the Audeze would sound like so used those first. . . and boy, they sound fantastic! Best headphone sound I've ever heard. I also have tried the Oppo and they too sound fantastic, each 'phone has a different character and that character is clearly delineated with the preamp. I was hoping the CSP3 would serve as the headphone amp in my main system in place of the Taboo Mk IV, and it is doing so admirably.
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #57 - 06/27/18 at 14:23:31
 
I'm coming up on ten full days with the CSP3 with the Anniversary mods. . .and once warmed up this morning the sound is incredible! I'm sure I've hit the "first fully broken in" plateau with the preamp and the tube-rolling I've done (including the use of OD3 in the Monoblocks) has really born fruit--there is a dynamic openness to the sound along with copious detail that has given me a clearer window into the sound than I have ever enjoyed. In my system there are so many possible adjustments and I seem to have settled on gain settings and mode settings that have "nailed" the mojo--I'm going to try my best to not alter any of the factors!

Really the CSP3 and the Monoblocks are "one" and should be talked of that way. The Monoblocks are also so responsive to tube rolling and gain settings that you have to consider every element of the amplifiers in tandem with the preamp. I have to thank Juan (busterfree) for his experimentation with the OD3 that inspired me to try that tube type for the first time--wow, the Westinghouse brand I'm using now in particular gives just the right amount of dynamic punch and a hint of warm winds to the presentation. The treble control circuit is an absolute necessity at least with the ribbon tweeters in the HR-1s; they allow me to dial in just the right balance in concert with the ZROCK2.

I haven't set my system up for sound staging and what many call imaging (I think of imaging as the realistic presentation of instruments in their recorded space) BUT I'm getting the best examples of both of these playback aspects with the 25th Anniversary duo of amp and preamp. And I'm getting mesmerizing headphone listening as well with detail but such a natural and smooth character, and layers displayed.

Every time I get to a benchmark pinnacle of music reproduction like this I wish I had been able to get there from the start, and wish it would never end. (Though it does end, for some reason Steve and other audiophiles and builders manage to make it BETTER!). I'm just going to continue to be grateful for all the efforts that went into the gear I have and for the journey that has gotten me here, and I'm hoping to listen (and watch) as much as I can.
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Acetone
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #58 - 06/27/18 at 15:34:19
 
Damn Lon,  It all sounds awesome. But, your making me Jones more for the arrival of my UFO25. Still, Love reading your impressions...keep it coming when, and if, you can tear yourself away from the stereo!
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #59 - 06/27/18 at 15:42:01
 
Ace, you're going to be very happy when your amp arrives. It will be well worth the wait. Joe Lazenby picked his up last week . . . and we haven't heard a peep from him on the forum yet! (I heard from him via email though, he's lost in the excellent sound!)

Won't be much longer now I bet. . . ever day brings you closer. And you have great sound now too. . . .
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doukhobar
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #60 - 06/28/18 at 13:46:52
 
Hi Lon, would you be willing to post a picture of your amp? I would love to see one. I think the only picture of this amp in the thread is of the internals...there is the one from Trpwr posted, but is that a CSP-3, or a CSP35? I dont see any OC3 tubes in that one, so I think it's his old CSP3?
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #61 - 06/28/18 at 13:51:34
 
I'm sorry, I don't own a camera and I'm not a photographer. Even my phone does not have an out that I can remove a picture from to a PC.

The good news about this though is that the CSP3 with the 25th Anniversary mods looks EXACTLY like the CSP3 without the mods. All the modifications are inside. The voltage regulation tube, which is not an OC2 or any "O" series but a much smaller Russian tube, is in the underside, along with the Jupiter caps etc. that are the other modifications. (The voltage regulation tube is visible in the picture of the underside.)
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doukhobar
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #62 - 06/28/18 at 13:55:31
 
Wow, okay - thanks for the info. That's crazy the only extra tube is internal to the component. Quite an unusual set up. So, you got Jupiter beeswax, or Jupiter Cu foil caps? Same caps in your monoblocks? I am possibly considering this preamp with Jupiter CuF, but am curious about the Vcap option as well. They are supposed to take forever to break in, but once they are settled, are supposed to be as liquid and organic as the Jupiters, but with even more detail (without being "bright" or harsh).
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #63 - 06/28/18 at 14:02:59
 
I have the Jupiter Type II, copper foil caps, which I also have in the ZTPRE, ZROCK2, and SE84UFO3-25 Monoblocks and Taboo Mk IV. I like these! I have never tried V-Caps. . . in the past I read that they were brighter than I'd like, that may not have been accurate. Anyway I used the Type I beeswax caps in my CSP2+s and my Taboo Mk IIIs before, and liked them, tried the Type II in the Taboo Mk IV and ZTPRE and love them, so have them in all my Decware components (except the passive ZBIT) now.

PS: That is also the case with the Monoblocks in the 25th Anniversary version: the voltage regulator tube, an OC2, is in the underside. These tubes generate no heat really so it's not an issue in that sense and they seem to last forever. In the Monoblocks it is mounted in a socket so it can be replaced.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #64 - 06/30/18 at 17:55:23
 
well i estimate i have about 30hrs on mine now and, starting last night, things are really starting to settle down.  i noticed last night that from the min i turn the unit on, the sound is awesome (don't have to wait 25-30mins like my stock csp3).  now it gets better as it warms up the the delta change is smaller (just my observations).

also the sound stage has gone to about 180 deg and about 20feet deep!  the placement of performers and instruments are hypnotic when you close your eyes!  this is the biggest noticeable change from 0 to 30 hrs.

its to the point now every time you sit down, you can't turn it off!
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #65 - 06/30/18 at 17:58:31
 
Awesome! I agree that it sounds better cold than the CSP2+s I have do. It's a joy to listen to. Yours is going to sound better still!
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #66 - 07/07/18 at 12:00:23
 
Trip, I bet yours is sounding even better now!

I'm listening to my Audeze LCD-2 with this preamplifier and just marveling at how great the sound is. I didn't think the Taboo Mk IV could be bested driving these headphones but this CSP3-25 may have done the job. Or is at least its equal in most "power" ways and including a bit more "dimensional detail" elements. Even if just for headphones, this is an amazing preamp. But it's so much more, what it does for the amplifiers is revelatory.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #67 - 07/07/18 at 19:49:23
 
Lon, yes continues to amaze!  Cant wait to stuff it into my buddys million dollar system and watch his eyes!  Lol.
He doesnt believe me.
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #68 - 07/07/18 at 20:36:21
 
Ha! You'll make him a believer!
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #69 - 08/22/18 at 01:05:43
 
Upstream in this thread doukhobar asked me: "Lon - have you thought of getting a pair of dynamic cans, like the affordable HD650 for the CSP25? Dynamic hp are supposed to be a much, much better pairing with the CSP family."

I didn't plan on getting any dynamic headphones but as the CSP3-25 broke in I found that the Audeze LCD-3 that I love using seemed to be "veiled" with my favorite tube complement. The Oppo PM-1 sound very very good, but are not as comfortable to wear for long periods as the Audeze, and I have been using them upstairs in my second system driven by the Taboo Mk IV where I don't listen for long periods of time.

As is usual my mind started moving towards new horizons and I started thinking about dynamic headphones and doing some research. I thought about ZMF but reading a lot of reviews I found myself thinking that the Sennheiser HD800S would be a good match for the CSP3-25 especially as I am using a ZROCK2 in front of it. Review after review kept making me think this would be a good match and so I ordered a pair to try.

I have to say, these are excellent headphones and work well with the CSP3-35 and the Taboo Mk IV. Contrary to what some think I find the two planar magnetic headphones that I have to be just as compatible with the CSP3-25 as the Sennheiser. The Sennheiser though have a clear and dynamic sound, less warm and thick as the Audeze, and on top of that are the most comfortable headphones I've ever owned. I really like their sound. . . . Three pairs of headphones is too much. I'll likely sell the Audeze LCD-2, perhaps in a package with the Taboo Mk III that I am not using, as this is a fantastic pairing of amp and headphones.

So I can now say that the CSP3-25 is an excellent amplifier for both dynamic and planar magnetic headphones, and will reveal the character of the headphones and as Steve says act as a microscope on the recording.
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #70 - 08/24/18 at 00:58:10
 
Coming from the headphone side of the planet, I can confirm that the CSP works wonderfully with the Senn's. It works with most dynamic, high impedance 'phones, whereas the planars work better with transformer coupled higher powered amps like the Taboo.

I had a CSP2+ for my HD800's, and also used it to drive a Taboo II that I used with my LCD3's. Only my HD's remain which are driven by a CSP3.

I would love to pair a UFO25 with a pair of these: https://abyss-headphones.com/pages/abyss-ab-1266-phi-reference-headphone
I think that would be a killer pairing, but not in the budget right now.

Actually, if I can't get the rattle in my right ear straightened out, it will
all be gone anyway.
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Lon
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #71 - 08/24/18 at 02:07:02
 
I'm really falling for these HD800S phones. They sound fantastic with both the CSP3-25 AND the Taboo Mk IV. Warmer sound with the CSP, bigger bolder, clearer sound with the Taboo. Awesome headphones.
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #72 - 08/31/18 at 19:02:53
 
I just swapped my new csp3-25 in for my csp3 in line with the ufo25 amp. This is a worthwhile upgrade. The ufo25 w csp3 was amazing, but the csp3-25 takes it up a full notch in pretty much all domains. I wasn't expecting this much of an impact. I did also swap in a Telefunken input tube for an amperex. I think the Telefunken honors the improved power supply.

Re dynamic headphones w csp3-25. I have an arsenal of Sennheiser and beyerdynamic cans, all very happy with the otl amp. However, I find myself listening to my focal elears and zmf auteurs the most on the csp3 and taboo iv.... The zmfs are worth a listen if you can hear them...
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #73 - 08/31/18 at 19:10:37
 
I suspect one day I'll try one of the ZMFs. I'm curious about them. Loving these Sennheiser HD-800S with the CSP3-25 though.

The CSP3-25 is an excellent companion to the SE84UFO3-25 monoblocks that I have, I agree that this preamp takes everything up another notch. .
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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Re: csp3 25yr anniversary mods
Reply #74 - 09/14/18 at 22:43:16
 
In the Taboo Mk IV forum I have noted that I am now using the CSP3-25 to drive my Taboo Mk IV amp, allowing me to "ride the gain" and to pump quite a bit of gain into the Taboo Mk IV. (My CSP3-25 has dual stereo outputs so it is also used with the Monoblocks). When using any of my three pairs of headphones with the CSP3-25 as my input controls have been bypassed by Steve I really can't turn the CSP3-25 up much at all, and I've been curious what more gain from this preamp would sound like. Well, pushing a lot of the power from the preamp into the Taboo yields a great sound. . . dynamic and detailed, a lot of the Anniversary "mojo" present with the dual volume control and lucid mode aspects of the Taboo in play as well. Win win!
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10, PowerBases,XStream Statemt spk cb,AC-12 power cds;Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3;Oppo UDP-205;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;Aurios;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: Oppo PM-1,Sennheiser HD800
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