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CSP3 Connection Theory (Read 7921 times)
DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #50 - 10/09/21 at 04:41:20
 
So any who, time rolls on and various ideas pop in my head.  I currently have the Marantz SACD 30n (digital hub) --> ZBox --> Marantz Model 30 (essentially a reissue of the KI Ruby, NCore Class D integrated).  And the Magnepan LRS.

I've reached #174 on the waitlist for the ZRock 2, about 4 months out.

But since way back I've had the inkling to have a tube preamp to go with a solid state amp.  The idea being to have the airy, holographic, er, organic feeling of tubes with a SS amp that can drive the LRS (and therefore just about any speaker).  And I've read that the tube pre with SS amp is a desirable arrangement in many circles.  I don't "need" a CSP3, but I have a disease which makes me want lots of audio gear that I don't own, even though my current system sounds amazing, but apparently "amazing" isn't quite good enough  😇 .... I'm also curious like a cat.

The Marantz Model 30 can be set to be a power amp only.  In that mode, its preamp shuts down entirely along with all of its preamp functionality.  I've checked the impedance specs, and at least on paper, the CSP3 should connect with no problem.

What threw me off this track way back was the lack of a remote for the CSP3 without having to buy the Z switch box.

However, the Marantz SACD 30n has its own volume control and has the option to connect via variable output.  Meaning it can act as a line stage volume control.  Is there any reason why I couldn't set the CSP3 master volume to maximum and simply control volume through the SACD 30n?  I think this volume would function the same as using the DirectStream as a line stage volume control, right?

When I owned the DirectStream Junior, I used to run it directly into the PS Audio S300 power amp and use the DSJ for volume control.

Thoughts?  Does the CSP3 create a more holographic airy experience?

Thanks
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #51 - 10/09/21 at 04:42:28
 
And my other question is on the CSP3 webpage (quoted below), it talks about "Left and Right Line Level Output Controls".  Is this essentially a balance adjustment?  My wonky room benefits from the Model 30's balance knob.  I boost the right speaker to bring the image back into the center.  Does the CSP3 line level output controls allow the same?

Thanks

"C) Left and Right Line Level Output Controls.
These are used to dial in the gain of this preamp so that it is perfect with any amplifier.  You can adjust the outputs to between zero and six volts.  The trick to this is also simple.  Just turn them all the way down, turn on your amplifier, raise the master volume to around half-way up and then slowly adjust the output level controls to reach your normal listening level.  This guarantees a perfect match with any amplifier regardless of its input sensitivity and power.  These can also be used to adjust left/right balance between channels."
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #52 - 10/09/21 at 06:22:13
 
Short answer, yes.  The attenuators have 10 "steps" or clicks but they can be set at a partial step as well, offering fairly fine adjustment.

That looks like an artifact from before the CSP had 30 volts gain.  I ignore the manual and turn the master control and the rear pots to 100% and just use the front pots at a fixed level (maximizing voltage).  I use my Amp to "ride the gain."
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Lon
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #53 - 10/09/21 at 12:49:19
 
Dancing, the CSP3 will work the way you wish it will. I think it would add quite an element of depth and dimension to your system sound.

I myself have never been satisfied with a tubed pre and a solid state amp because I grew up with my Dad and grandfather's tube systems and I just know what is missing, but it is an improvement in important ways to many all solid state system.
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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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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #54 - 10/09/21 at 17:17:41
 
I see these Kevin Deal videos in which he laments that a tube buffer does almost nothing in regards to tube magic.  I realize Decware is not your average affair, but it makes me think the ZBox and ZRock2 aren’t providing me a true taste of that greener tube grass.

The LRS are simply too much for most tube amps, and certainly too much for Decware. My other idea is that I have a 20 year old pair of Meadowlark Audio Kestel Hotrods that are 89db.  I could let the Marantz/ LRS system be and buy a Willsenton R8 ($1290), or Cayin CS-55a ($2200) or Doge 10 MK3 ($2300) - I know, too much time on YouTube 🤪 - and have an all out tube secondary system.

That’s the fork in the road.  Try the CSP3 with the Marantz/ LRS to create a hybrid, or have a tube integrated second system with the Kestrels.  A Decware amp would require buying another pair of speakers which is a bridge too far given I’m not sure about tube amps. My only experience was a PrimaLuna Prologue power amp that I got from Upscale for $1200.  I thought the PS Audio S300 that I had at the time stomped it in nearly every way except glow.  And the subsequent Hegel beat the S300, and the Marantz beat the Hegel.  Which puts me several clicks past Primaluna.  Or so my rationale goes.

From what I gather, Primaluna is designed to have a more solid state sound than a Decware type traditional tube sound.  Which makes me think that I’ve yet to actually experience genuine tube gear.

I could get the UFO2 with some efficient Zu Dirty Weekend speakers.  But that would be so difficult to coordinate a trial window between the two as neither is off the shelf.

Which all leads me back to the CSP3.  Especially if it has essentially a balance control.  Tube preamps with balance control are rare. Best I can tell, Rogue and McIntosh are about it.  But for decent models (Rogue RP-5 or Mac C8) start at $3500.  The CSP3 at $1450 is almost Chinese pricing in comparison for what is arguably a much better actually tube sounding piece that looks stunning, like a bespoke piece of art.

Does my thinking make sense?
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #55 - 10/09/21 at 17:34:47
 
Price check on a CSP3, please.

If you get all the goodies you'll be closer to $2600.  That's where I eventually ended up -- but by sending it back for upgrades.   Undecided
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #56 - 10/09/21 at 17:51:38
 
Haha.  I'm content with simple things.  I'd get the base CSP3 with the added RCA outputs ($50).

To clarify, am I correct that the attenuators on the CSP3 behave like a balance knob in terms of boosting the volume in one speaker?  I'd like to boost the right speaker by 1 - 2db.

Just want to make sure I have that part correct.  If so, I'm going to order one today which should have it arriving by Christmas.... 2022!

I assume that they wouldn't add the CSP3 to my position #174 for the ZR2.
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #57 - 10/09/21 at 18:23:03
 
I'm not sure how it does it or if it's any different from how regular volume or balance pots work on an amp but I think the CSP3 knobs regulate voltage out and thereby regulate the volume.  You can "turn off" either channel completely if you want.  So, yes, you can balance the channels as you need.

Steve is the one who told me this when I had slight channel imbalance.  Imbalance can be caused by tubes, recordings, rooms, all sorts of things.  Generally I don't need to tweak mine though.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #58 - 10/09/21 at 18:45:31
 
Thanks Archie, I’ll order one today 👍
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #59 - 10/09/21 at 18:49:09
 
Can't wait to hear how it works for you ... in a year+!   Sad    Maybe a used one will come around?  I think you'll love the sound and flexibility one offers.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Lin
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #60 - 10/09/21 at 18:56:12
 
DS,
Can you help me understand why you don't think a Decware amp will work with your LRS?
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #61 - 10/09/21 at 19:05:22
 
Lin, the LRS are super power hungry with a sensitivity of lower than 84db.  The UFO’s, the Rachel, even the lesser Torrii don’t have the juice.  The Mystery or Torrii monos might be able to do it, but that’s way beyond my budget.

Stereophile measured the LRS sensitivity at 80db..
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #62 - 10/09/21 at 22:00:59
 
Bada bing, just ordered the CSP3.  Base model with the extra stereo output.  Thanks for all the valuable guidance, you guys are great.

The inexpensive, highly thought of and heavy Chinese integrated tube amps have their appeal.  But I think the CSP3 will mesh far better with my existing system.  And I really don't need a second system.  And being able to return, or quickly sell the CSP3 if for some reason I don't like it, along with the venerable Decware warranty and support, all make this the right move.

And the price is phenomenal.

On Maui, literally Wally Underwood and me are the only audiophiles, and selling a 70lb amp locally would be impossible.  And shipping it to the mainland might cost more than the amp!

Being #172 on the waitlist, and now dead last, gives me the unique opportunity of being jealous of myself 😛

Given how long the waitlist might now be, I'll add to my will that the CSP3 be given to this forum community as a charitable raffle should I die before it ever shows up 😍
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Lon
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #63 - 10/10/21 at 01:01:52
 
DancingSea wrote on 10/09/21 at 17:17:41:
From what I gather, Primaluna is designed to have a more solid state sound than a Decware type traditional tube sound.  Which makes me think that I’ve yet to actually experience genuine tube gear.


I have never heard a Primaluna. I do want to say that I don't think the Decware sound is a "traditional tube sound." To me every Decware amp I have heard veers from a traditional classic tube type sound and seems instead to exhibit both the best characteristics of solid state as far as clarity and transparency and of tube as far as dimensionality and solidity of imaging. Not a traditional tube sound at all.
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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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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #64 - 10/10/21 at 02:24:48
 
Thanks for the insight.  I based my comment on Steve Guttenberg who thought Decware had oodles of traditional tube sound compared to a PrimaLuna preamp he reviewed (Evo 100).  The other YouTube reviewers of Decware, as a way of praise, made similar comments.  It seems the new wave of tube amps, like PrimaLuna, are very similar to solid state.

Of course such definitions are fuzzy at best and depend upon an interpretive frame of reference.
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lazb
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #65 - 10/10/21 at 05:13:16
 
Cannot agree with you more, Lon!
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #66 - 10/10/21 at 05:44:29
 
It’s worth noting my comments were focused on PrimaLuna.  In comparison to PrimaLuna, Decware has a more authentic tube sound. That in no way contradicts Lon’s characterization of Decware, but rather illustrates how much further down the modernization line, for better or worse, PrimaLuna has gone than Decware.
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Tony
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #67 - 10/10/21 at 15:23:50
 
In reply #56 above, DancingSea stated:

I assume that they wouldn't add the CSP3 to my position #174 for the ZR2.

DS, when I added to my order, I called Sarah, and she added it to my current order.  If you ordered online, perhaps the system picks up that you are #174, adds it automatically to your current order, but maybe not.  If not, call Sarah and she can make an adjustment so that your CSP3 order is simply added to your current one.  That way you don't have to start over at the back of the line for your CSP3.  BTW, congrats on that decision.

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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #68 - 10/10/21 at 17:40:15
 
Tony, thanks for the tip!  I’ll call her first thing Monday.  I mentioned I had a current order in the comments of the online order form.  But given your experience, I’ll make sure she sees it.  Waiting 4 months is way better than who knows how long.  Depending on how many techs Steve hires this winter, it could easily be 18 months or more for a new order at the current pace of 40 per month. I assume that pace will accelerate though.

I’m so excited to try the CSP3! Archie’s advice that the balance can be adjusted saved me lots of money.  I was staring down the barrel of $3500 for Rogue or McIntosh, which I believe to be not as good as the CSP3.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #69 - 10/10/21 at 17:42:42
 
Btw, Tony & Lon, how do you quote parts of a post?

I wish Decware would spend their new fortunes on a different Forum software, like what Steve Hoffman, Roon, and PS Audio uses.
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #70 - 10/10/21 at 17:58:02
 
Quote:
... how do you quote parts of a post?


I cut and past using the "Insert Quote" icon above in the tools.  It's pretty easy.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #71 - 10/10/21 at 18:40:43
 
Quote:
I cut and past using the "Insert Quote" icon above in the tools.  It's pretty easy.


Thanks Archie.  It's a bit retro, but works.
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #72 - 10/10/21 at 18:45:56
 
I like when things stay the same.  I'm reminded of how every few years my local supermarket mixes up the shelves.  I assume they do it so we have to look at things we normally wouldn't in the hopes that we'll buy more but really it just pisses off regular customers!
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #73 - 10/10/21 at 19:46:40
 
I suggest you avoid Costco!  They mix things up daily  [smiley=peanuts05.gif]

Next question, how to make smilies work?
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #74 - 10/10/21 at 23:07:31
 
I find that the emojis sometimes don't display.  When I think of it I "Preview" the post to make sure everything is copesetic.  The real issue though is the animated icons!   Cheesy
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #75 - 10/11/21 at 00:53:20
 
Archie, you are clearly a forum Jedi Master   Cool
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #76 - 10/11/21 at 02:17:05
 
No, just too much time on my hands!   Grin
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Michal71
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #77 - 10/11/21 at 03:53:57
 
Hi all,  I'm sorry to jump in.  I'd like to run my CSP3 as a preamp paired with a solid state headphone amp.  Right now, I use my CSP3 with a ZMF Atticus and a Verite Closed headphones but I'm going to order one of a low impedance planar magnetic headphones.  That's why I need a different amp.  I was thinking about a Taboo IV but I've decided to buy a ss amp and run the whole setup as a hybrid.  My chain would be Chord 2Qute—> CSP3 as a pre-amp —> ss amp.  I was thinking about ordering a Headamp GS-X mini or Benchmark HPA 4 but honestly, I'm not sure if it is a problem with pairing them with the CSP3.  I'm looking at theirs specs but I can see only GS-X mini input impedance (10kOhm).  I can't find any input specs of the HPA 4. I would appreciate any input you could give me. Thanks.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #78 - 10/11/21 at 04:09:03
 

There is very little solid state gear out there with a less than 10K input impedance so I think you're pretty safe.  The reason the CSP3 has an adjustable and very large output voltage is so that it can afford to loose a bunch into lower impedance loads and still have the proper amount of gain for whatever it's driving.

Steve



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Michal71
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #79 - 10/11/21 at 04:12:47
 
Thank you Steve!  :)
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #80 - 10/11/21 at 17:44:17
 
How warm do the CSP3 tubes get?  Can it be in a rack with a shelf close above?
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #81 - 10/11/21 at 18:23:12
 
It's going to depend on your exact configuration but I have various cramped components without issue.  However, given where my ZMA sits and the heat it produces I installed an extremely quiet fan behind it.  It really knocks the heat down.  In the picture, the box above my CSP3 holds my ZROCK2.  It was the only way to mount it in the space.  No issues after several years.

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1011011116.jpg

ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Tony
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #82 - 10/11/21 at 19:34:29
 
Hi Archie,

Your DYI Isolation Platform caught my eye, can I assume you are happy with it?  Is it a combination of springs and foam? Very creative.

Tony
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #83 - 10/12/21 at 01:03:10
 
The platforms have been very effective.  I used the foam as an afterthought to "mop up" and dampen anything that travels through the spring steel.  The are fantastic under my Technics 1200G which already has very good isolation footers.  I went all in when I got my ZMA in 2014.  Despite being on a very solid base, I got horrendous reconstructive feedback when playing at moderate to loud volume.  I still don't know what in the amp would cause this.  The platform completely eliminated it, even at rock concert volume with my F15s.  The platforms are cheap and easy to make.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Tony
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #84 - 10/12/21 at 01:29:15
 
Thanks for the info.  Unless there is something out of sight, the platform parts look straight forward.  I think I could use your picture as a model.  I looked on Amazon for springs, which was an overload as they have many springs of all sizes.  Can you describe the size of the springs you chose, e.g., 1 inch long 1/2 inch wide - something like that?
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Archie
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #85 - 10/12/21 at 01:50:48
 
Your best bet is to go to a hardware store that has a spring bin.  The ZMA springs are quite a bit heavier than the other component springs.  As I recall, the springs were 3/4" or so in diameter and I cut them in half as they were maybe 2" long.  You need to place them so as to carry the uneven weight -- more under the transformers.  You want the loaded platform to oscillate at a few Hertz which is far outside of the frequency spectrum of music.  I can pound my fist next to my TT and hear nothing through the stylus.

If you have scraps of MDF it's easy to play around with the spring locations but start with one at each corner and add more under the transformers.  You can kind of estimate the spring stiffness and number of springs since you know the weight of the component.  Once at the HW store I was putting boxes of nails on springs to see the compression vs weight.  It's not an exact science but it will get you close.  I use a bradpoint drill bit to cut the pockets for the springs.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Tony
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #86 - 10/12/21 at 04:45:31
 
Brilliant. Thanks so much.
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DancingSea
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Re: CSP3 Connection Theory
Reply #87 - 10/12/21 at 17:25:42
 
Quote:
DS, when I added to my order, I called Sarah, and she added it to my current order.  If you ordered online, perhaps the system picks up that you are #174, adds it automatically to your current order, but maybe not.


Just confirming this is true.  I called Sarah and she said if you have a current existing order, any new order will be automatically added to your original order.  The advantage of calling is my CSP3 order was processed immediately as she’s yet to process any orders from September. So if your original order is near the top of the list, best to call as order processing is at least one month behind.

Thus my CSP3 is now also #174 instead of likely #900.  

Moral of the story, if you’re on the list, it’s worth making sure you’re ordering all the Decware goodness you desire before it hits the bench to avoid a very lengthy additional wait for the next piece.
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