I've had an RCS 2.0 for about 9 months. I've also got
a Mark Levinson ML-1, and I've had a Spectral DMC-10,
Audio Research SP-6B and SP-14, and others.
I think the TacT can hold its own with any of the preamps
I've had in the past. It is typical of solid state, with
quick transients, solid bass, and an extended top end.
Soundstaging and imaging is excellent. I have no regrets
buying it, and have no plans to replace it. And the
digital room correction is terrific.
I think it depends on your frame of reference. When I picked up the TacT RCS 2.0 about a 8 months ago....I had every intention of using it as a preamp and selling off my Placette Dual Mono Preamp. I did extensive a-b comparisons between the TacT alone as a room correction device, preamp, and volume control vs. the TacT at fixed volume (0db) into the Placette. I found the sound to be more analogue when the TacT was fed into the Placette. I've kept the Placette (as well as the TacT) and have never looked back. Also, keep in mind that if you listen with marked attenuation from teh digital volume control, you will also be lossing significant amounts of signal clarity.
Hbrandt, it appears that you are also using the Tact as a DAC. Did you have the opportunity to try the Tact as a preamp using an outboard DAC?
Metaphysics: I am NOT using the TacT as a DAC. I am only using the TacT as a digital in - digital out room correction device. I am feeding the output from the TacT to a dCS Purcell and upsampling to 176k and delivering that to a dCS Delius DAC. I do have the DAC module in my TacT but am not using it.
Wow, then you can also use the Delius for volume control. Lots of possibilities.
Interesting that you prefer the sound with the Placette. I also have a Placette, which comes as close as I can imagine to having no sound of its own. So I wonder if the TacT's attenuation degrades the sound or if, perhaps, the Placette matches up better (impedence-wise) with amplifiers.
One thought: if you are upsampling after the TacT, I think you would not want to risk dropping any bits via digital attenuation prior to upsampling. Whihc argues for using the Placette or even the Delius, but not the TacT, to perform attenuation.
Thank for the clarification Hbrandt. Oh well, it looks like I may have to keep my BAT VK-50SE in place. Seems like overkill, but what isn't in this hobby.
Drubin and Metaphysics: I avoid using the volume control on the TacT and the Purcell/Delius. I believe (despite what the folks at dCS and Wadia say) that digital volume attenuation leads to reductions in clarity. For every 6 dB of digital volume attenuation there is loss of 1 bit. I'd rather feed the 2V digital signal from the Delius into the Placette dual mono and let the all Vishay resistor volume control boost that signal. I agree that the Placette is very transparent...but I do believe that Vishay resistors lead to a very fine sound. The sound is very realistic with superb imaging and an analog quality. I have extensively a-b compared the sound with and without the Placette and I much prefer with.
Interesting. However, the Placette and its Vishay resistors don't boost the volume, unless you ordered your Placette with gain (standard issue, which I have, has no gain). But your findings would apply anyway.
Does anyone know if the TacT has gain, or is it unity?
Drubin: I have the Placette dual mono active. The TacT...with the volume control set to 93.9 is at 0db. You can add up to 6db of gain from there...but as I described above...I run my TacT and my dCS gear at 0db and adjust volume with the placette.
I also have the dual mono active. When I get my new TacT, I will certainly try the configuration you describe
For what it's worth, my experience matches Hbrandt. I have the dCS 972/Elgar combo. I have a Vishay resistor shunt to ground volume control built into each of my Melos Monoblocks. The Elgar is directly connected to the Melos. For serious listening I set the dCS gear to Odb and adjust for peak levels on the monoblocks. My serious listening is confined mostly to classical so this isn't a big deal. I use the Sigtech but in my trial of the Tact I found a noticable loss of transparency from about -10 db.
Pls1: Since you've used both, I'd be interested in your comparison of the SigTech and the TacT. Please give us your honest, unbiased opinion! Also, I appreciate hearing that someone else has felt some synergy between the dCS gear and Vishays.
I've posted alot on this topic but the quick answer is the Sigtech is better. This doesn't mean the Tact doesn't work, it does. I own an MSB Gold, an MSB Platinum and a dCS 972/Elgar combo. They are all work as DACs but they are different. Greene in TAS summed it up. The Tact is a piece of consumer (NOT MIDFI) gear built to a price point while the Sigtech is a serious complex professional unit. I looked inside and my guess is that in terms of raw digital processing power the Sigtech is at least 4x i also believe that their algorithms are superior. In my opinion you can get good room correction from the Tact if you fiddle long enough, but you can get superb correction using the Sigtech setup methods in about four hours. If you listen to small Jazz ensembles you probably won't notice much difference once you get the Tact right. But if you have a really wacko room setup(perhaps due to WAF), or listen to large scale orchestral music, art techno, or percussion heavy music you will. For much more detailed comments see these threads:
TACT RCS 2.0 Users Group
42 followups, last on 07-17-01
Room correction in high-end system???
22 followups, last on 05-28-01
Is TACT RCS 2.0 truly transparent
7 followups, last on 05-16-01
For any specific questions after reading these just post here
...seems like a lot of us are thinking alike. I too have the Placette active and find it transparent but also am looking at the Tact as my next step. (real bad WAF, square room). You've all but answered the preamp questions, but what about the DAC and D to A converter in the "loaded" model Tact?
Is it worth it to buy the TACT with DAC/D to A, or better to use an outboard DAC. My source is a Sony SCD-1. Also, what happens to an SACD analogue signal when fed into the TACT? My thinking is: SCD-1 to Tact to Placette to tube amps. Both the digital (Redbook) and SACD analogue would feed the TACT. Is this logical.
It depends on your level of fanaticism and your budget. The DAC’s in the SigTech and Tact are not as good as the best stand alone DAC’s. From your perspective they, MAY be good enough depending on your overall system. I personally think the MSB Platinum is a superb unit that is close to my dCS combo. I don’t use a preamp, not because of budget but because of sound. We are talking differences that may seem small to some folks and not to others. One more comment on rooms. The algorithms in the Sigtech do have the flexibility to improve some really awful rooms. The Tact is more limited in the assumptions about room correction. Again that may or may not make a difference. It depends on your level of fanaticism and your budget. The DAC’s in the SigTech and Tact are not as good as the best standalone DAC’s. They MAY be good enough depending on your overall system. I personally think the MSB Platinum is a superb unit that is close to my dCS combo. I don’t use a preamp, not because of budget but because of sound. We are talking differences that may seem small to some folks and not to others. One more comment on rooms. The algorithms in the Sigtech do have the flexibility to improve some really terrible rooms. The Tact is more limited in the assumptions about room correction. Again that may or may not make a differenceto you. You can get an in home trial from both.
Pls1 and Lornecherry: I'd like to weigh in on the issue of the DAC in the TacT (wow...that rhymes!!) and the SigTech vs. the TacT in terms of room correction. I have extensively compared the 24/96 DA converter in the TacT with the following converters:
1. Bel Canto DAC 1.1 (24/96)
2. Monarchy 22C with piggyback conversion (20/44.1)
3. dCS Purcell/Delius at (24/96) to allow fair comparison
4. dCS Purcell/Delius at 24/176 and at 24/192.
I set up the comparisons using the placette preamp such that I could a-b two at a time with my wife hitting the button. In this regard, the test was blind.
I found the TacT to have an adequate DAC, but I actually slighly preferred the sound of the Monarchy even though it wasn't upsampling!!! The dCS gear clearly has a lower noise floor and greater clarity when upsampling to 172 or 196, but the comparison with the TacT at 24/96 is very, very close. The bottom line is....unless you have a really fine, upscale DAC like a Wadia 27ix, dCS Elgar or Delius with the Purcell, or Burmester or MBL or Goldmund etc.....you should get the TacT DAC. I was less impressed initially, but am now facing that I spent thousands on the dCS gear for very slight improvement.
In terms of the TacT vs. SigTech, I researched this issue for months. Cost was not the deciding factor for me. I did some analysis of my room and found that overall it was not that bad. Frequency was relatively flat above 500k. The main problem was boomy bass. The TacT cleaned this up very well. I enjoy the simplicity of the software and the sonic improvement in imaging and clarity. If your room is really bad...you probably should consider the SigTech.
Hbrandt. Thanks for the update. Your DAC comparison was much more careful than mine. Again, above a certain level of perfomance all of this stuff is very close to one another. That's why it is important to listen and decide if it is worth it to you.
Pls1: Sounds like we have very similar electronics!! What is your source and the rest of your system like?
Lornecherry, with your SCD-1, you will feed the digital out for Redbook to the TacT for RCS and then either use its DAC or go to an outboard unit. But for SACD output, you don't have that option. You either need the A-D module in the TacT or you need to bypass the TacT altogether and go straight to your preamp. Same with any other analog sources you have.
My digital system is a Theta III (waiting to hear the new dCS unit),DMX Digital Music Express unit isolated via a ThetaLinque and an ATT connection to the Sigtech. Sigtech, dCS 972/elgar combo (z-Systems RDP and MSB Platinum alternative) Elgar direct into Melos customized monoblocks with Vishay shunt to ground switched volume. ASC room treatment, Dunlavy SC-V and PSAudio powerplants.
Hbrant and Pls1, and Drubin thanks for the informative threads. I shall probably give the Tact a try.
Do you notice any quantization effects when using the A/D process with the TACT?
I have been fiddling with the Behringer Ultracurve to see if something like the TACT will suit. The result is an improvement, but I have noticed that when feeding it an anlog signal, if that analog signal is low in level there is distinct quantization distortion.
I need to have the volume right up on my prepro to feed it a very high level signal. The BFD is placed between my prepro and my amps, which is where I would be placing the TACT.