Zen  TABOO Review


Re: Zen Taboo Amplifier Beta Test Circle
Reply #251 on: 04/13/05 at 3:30pm

Sorry Steve,
I had posted some of my impressions above and in another thread.  They clearly belong over here.  My impressions on the "fidelity knobs" are a few posts up.  I've pasted my other impressions below:
Here are my thoughts on the Taboo after spending a few days with it on different equipment.  Obviously, these are my observations and others may feel differently.  
1.  It is very quiet.  I measured less than a millivolt of hum, and you really notice a nice dark background to music played through it.  
2.  It runs cooler than my Select.  
3.  The front mounted volume control with a knob is much nicer than the rear mounted bare shaft on my Select.  
4.  The fidelity knobs are interesting, but in my system, I think I would "Set 'em and forget 'em".  The 12 o'clock position worked best for the majority of recordings I tried.  
5.  I think the Taboo is on its best behavior when a preamp is connected.  Since one of the major benefits in the design is more power, providing enough source voltage to get to there is critical.  
Here is my take on who may want a Taboo and why.  
If a prospective Decware customer wanted to get the Decware signature with enough power to drive a wider range of speakers, the Taboo would be a great choice.  It has enough power and low end response to satisfy.  To somebody who has never heard the Decware signature, the amp does an excellent job of demonstrating the sonic family resemblance for which Decware amps are known.  
Another likely buyer would be a Zen or Select owner with great speakers that are not a text book match for their amp.  The extra power and low end response of the Taboo seems like it would be easier to integrate into an existing system without many sacrifices.  
I don't think that current Zen or Select customers who have taken the time to properly match speakers to their amps would see a "hands down" improvement with the Taboo.  It is a demonstrated fact that the original Zen and Select amps are exceedingly difficult to beat.  With the right source and the right speakers, these amps have the ability to change the way you think about detail and soundstage.  With the introduction of the Taboo, this doesn't change.  In my opinion, the hardcore Zen-heads who have put together well matched systems can breath easy.    
The Taboo is an extremely competent addition to the Decware family of products.  It has a little extra muscle and flexibility and can stand on its own merit as an excellent choice.    


AE-25 SuperAmp DJH, Select EX, Sunfire Symphonic Reference Preamp, Fostex BK-16's, Energy 10.2 Subwoofer, CAL DX-2, Aragon D2A Mk. II, DSR-.5, Braided Cat-6 Wire

Eimac 250 TL Night Light


Decware is a trademark of High Fidelity Engineering Co.
Copyright 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004  2005 2006 2007 2008 by Steve Deckert