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New Taboo III Owner (Read 6618 times)
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New Taboo III Owner
03/22/14 at 17:25:58
So, just received a Taboo III - lucked out and someone cancelled their order thus cutting wait time to < 2 weeks. Better than retail and better service too  :)

A little backstory - a few years back was on the road constantly repairing equipment for my office and made a pretty good chunk of cash. Bought a set of Sennheiser HD-800's and plugged them into the receiver. First impression was "wow, lots of detail, impressive." We all know what happened next - they didn't get used much; after a while, they just fatigued me  :(

So I have been sort of shopping on the backburner for a tube amp as the folks on Head-Fi strongly recommended one for these cans.  I also come from a more traditional audio background than most of you probably do - High Powered HQ Solid State amp, Scan Speak Revelator/AirCirc tweeter towers, and a lot of speaker building on the way - some of it good, most not so good  ::) The Scan's are good, but you need a can of whoop-a** to drive them at 85dB sens. The speaker was designed by another DIY'er and it is the best LR4 XO I've had in the house.

Using a tube amp with the HD-800's seemed like a good way to try out bottles, take care of a fairly expensive piece of problem gear, and the amp wasn't all that expensive either.

Initial Impressions:

1.) Tubes do quiet/spacing/pacing better - not sure how to describe this, but they do it and it is totally noticeable.
2.) The TIII improves the HD800's massively but only through the low gain output - the high gain side (for LCD's) exacerbates their issues.
3.) Tubes are more musical than the solid state amp's I have heard and/or could afford!
4.) The final steps are to 4-pin XLR the HD-800's and do the damping mod on the earpieces to tame the 6K peak a bit, which seems to be a lot of the problem. Expecting Greatness here, and also have the ability to get more cans without taking up any floor space.
5.) I just like bottles - as a young fire control/missile radar tech in the early 80's Navy, I worked on a lot of equipment with black crinkle finish and glowing glass. Sight and smell is strangely nostalgic  ;D

My Scan-Speaks are 85-86dB sens so there really isn't any point in hooking up to the TIII, but I may look at cranking something out Hi-Eff in the future.

Recommendations for additions/changes are welcome but they need to be max bang for the buck. I will say I like the character of the TIII as is and do not plan on rolling tubes or changing caps. Cable recommendations are welcome but again, max bang please!

Cheers / Robert
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Cheers / Robert
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Seasoned Member

"Love without
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Posts: 18519
Re: New Taboo III Owner
Reply #1 - 03/22/14 at 19:29:45

Congrats on great synergy! Enjoy the sound!
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th x2, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV; Rega RP3 w all GrooveTracer mods PS Audio: DMP+DSD,P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Reference spkr cbls;Mapleshade:Samson V3;;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati intrcncts, Iso-Pods;headphones:PM1,HD800S,ZMF Ori
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Posts: 25
Re: New Taboo III Owner
Reply #2 - 03/25/14 at 18:36:13
Hi Robert,
Congrats on a great pairing! I have the HD800/ Taboo3 and on the 4 pin XLR out it's just fantastic. Also have the CSP3 in the chain, I use it about 50% of the time for headphone use, other times just straight into the Taboo. Either way is great, neither is "better" than the other, just a different feel. Tube rolling is fun too, what are you using?

I'm a bit confused by your one comment though?, "The TIII improves the HD800's massively but only through the low gain output - the high gain side (for LCD's) exacerbates their issues" ....Low gain /high gain? My taboo has no gain adjustment just wondering if yours is built different or...?


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Jriver MC > Audiophilleo 2+PurePower > Audio-GD SA-2 DAC > Decware Zen Triode CSP3 > Decware Zen Taboo mkIII > Norse Audio Skuld 8 > HD800 (also: DH Labs Silver Revelation / SoundSilver Interconnects...And a few fistfulls of tubes!)
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Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 5186
Re: New Taboo III Owner
Reply #3 - 03/25/14 at 23:18:55
Since it is popular to use the Taboo with a wider range of headphones than was ever intended, we are now offering the Taboo MK III with high and low outputs.  The low outputs have about 3dB less output when compared to the high (or standard) outputs.  This makes it possible to use the more efficient LCDx phones as well as some of the more efficient dynamic headphones without hearing hum.

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