Zen TABOO Review

Re: Zen Taboo Amplifier Beta Test Circle
Reply #92 on: 03/09/05 at 3:32pm

I have listened to the Taboo with 3 different speakers to date, several sources, and the addition of one bottlehead foreplay pre-amplifier.  My source is an inexpensive sony sacd/dvd player (as I sold my tjoeb 4000 recently).  And, if I get a chance, a rega turntable hopefully tomorrow before I send the Taboo on.
Hornshope horns - You can read my previous comments.  To my ears there was an improvement in bass, and fullness.  The music had a palpable quality that I really enjoyed - especially on more modern music such as radio head or coldplay (which sounded thin on the select/hornshoppe combination.)  It might be extra power as much as anything, but I really enjoyed this combination.  Also, my cd player seemed to drive the taboo well and the pre-amp wasn't needed.  
Rearloaded fostex 206e horns.  - I couldn't get this combination to sound half as good as the hornshoppe horns.  I tried with the pre-amplifier and without and either way the result was disappointing.  It might be my speakers or the drivers which are still breaking in.  This combination sounded better with the Select-ex.  But not as good as the hornshoppe horns.
Decware Radials 1.5 - These are Gary's speakers and we listened to the Select Ex first for about an hour.  As I had never heard the radials I was curious to what they were all about.  Gary used a modded dvd player as the source, and it drove the select EX fine.  The sound was, as has been described before, very transparent and with a sound stage that was so wide it took some time for me to adjust to it.  We listened mostly to Jazz cds for our comparasion.   After listening  for some time, we swapped out the C EX for the Taboo.  At first, without a preamp, the sound was very thin and it seemed obvious that his cd player didn't put out enough power to drive the amp.  The sound was okay, but for a minute there we were worried that the combination wasn't going to fly.  (And, I was hoping that we wouldn't have to judge our opinions on the Taboo with the foreplay preamplifier in the circuit.  Nothing against it, just that it was another factor to shuffle in)  Well, with the preamp in the mix, things came together nicely.  We listened for another hour and as it had with the hornshoppe horns before, the Taboo seemed to really impart a palpable quality to the music.  The difference between select and taboo wasn't as obvious as it was to me earlier on the horns, but both Gary and I agreed that the combination was very very good.  Gary can post his impressions but I safely say that he seemed very happy with what his new radials were doing.  Unfortunatly we ran out of time.  In hind sight we should have ran the C EX with the preamplifier in the mix for a better comparasion.





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