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First Impressions of my new Taboo MKIII (Read 4451 times)
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First Impressions of my new Taboo MKIII
04/19/13 at 04:11:49
Initial impressions, posted to HeadFi today:

Got My Taboo MKIII. I've only spent a few hours with it, so these impressions are very preliminary. Source is a CEntrance DACmini and a Thinkpad notebook running J-River Media Center.

LCD-2s using a 4-pin balanced Q-Audio cable. This amp really wakes the LCD-2s up versus the DACmini's headphone amp. The  Taboo is dead silent with neither lucid mode engaged. There's a very slight hum with "classic" lucid mode on; a bit louder hum with the "new" version engaged. I'm super sensitive to hum, but I don't consider the hum  on either setting problematic (its mostly noticeable between tracks). Listening to songs and toggling amongst the three options (off/classic/new) is pretty addictive, but on the LCD-2s I tend to favor off or using the classic mode. (I sometimes use JRiver's crossfeed option, too). The new Lucid mode does seem to boost the output and it makes for some interesting listening. Background sound elements are made quite audible, which can be pretty amusing on tracks from bands like the Beastie Boys who tend to have a lot going on at lower levels.

AKG K702 Anniversary Editions using a stock single-ended cable. The K701 was my first "legit" can, and I've owned and sold several pairs over the years. I bought a used set of the Anniversary Edition in anticipation of receiving the Taboo, as I know these cans shine when properly amplified. I only spent a few minutes with them using the classic Lucid mode (zero hum), but my first impression was very favorable. The bass on these cans is much improved from earlier versions, and the Taboo seems to drive them well. I'd forgotten just how comfortable these cans are, especially compared to the LCD-2s.

Blumenstein Orca single-driver speakers. Steve makes a point of saying the new Taboo is primarily geared toward headphone listening, and he doesn't like to put a headphone/speaker switch in (which means unplugging the speakers for silent headphone listening). Don't be fooled: this is a great speaker amp. I swapped the Taboo in for a Decware Super Zen amp and the improvement was not subtle. The Taboo has more power, and while I don't need much for my near field setup the Orcas seemed to really benefit from the extra muscle. I managed to sell the Super Zen (a really great little amp in its own right, BTW) just prior to the arrival of the Taboo, so I can't A/B them, but let's just say the Taboo is not a compromise. And there is zero hum from the speakers using the Taboo with the lucid modes off. Dead quite.

So, first impressions: I love it. This is the third Decware amp I've owned (I still regret parting with the original Mini Torii) and I have to say it's a majestic beast. Steampunk meets practical, reliable audio bliss. And best of all, with the Taboo you can share the love. I have four headphone jacks on this amp, so the next time my headphone pal Deadie is in town we can both listen at the same time instead of having to swap in and out. How cool is that?

More to come, once the fawning/giggling stage has passed and I can be a little more objective. Smiley

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Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 5507
Re: First Impressions of my new Taboo MKIII
Reply #1 - 04/24/13 at 04:28:40
Great stuff!  And you're right, it is a great speaker amp, better than it's ever been sans the lower power it still rocks my corner horns pretty well.

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