you will find 106 threads mentioning "tact" by searching on that term using audiogon's search engine. -cfb
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This genre of compnent poses an interesting dilemma for those using hi res formats such as DVD-A or SACD, or analog. One must subject these signals to a round of A/D and D/A conversion (there is no digital interconnect standard for SACD or DVD/A formats).
I wonder what the effect of this is on the sound?
I agree with Ghostrider. I was thinking that, for products that are available now or have been announced, dCS's Verdi transport and Grieg upsampler/phono ADC would allow things to be kept in the digital domain as much as possible. But for this to work (Verdi -> Grieg -> Tact), the Grieg would have to convert DSD to 24/96. I emailed dCS and they said this conversion is not in the works because of fears (recording industry?) of allowing low-res copies to be created from high resolution formats... The promise is there but it seems like it's still a little ways off.
How about these scenarios?
1) dCS gets into room correction. DSD can travel down a dCS chain - Verdi->Grieg->RCS->DAC.
2) More manufacturers bite and provide DSD (firewire?) interfaces. Tact can follow with a DSD update.
If the DSD interface is bogged down, I'd like to see Tact come out with an SACD transport even if the interface is proprietary, and updated their RCS.
Many TacT users feel that the benefits of room correction outweigh the compromise of digitizing your analog sources. And many (myself included) continue to use an analog pre-amp, which gives you the option of bypassing the TacT with your analog or hi-res digital sources.
TacT has just announced a new model of RCS with 24/192 AD and DA, among other enhancements.
To answer the question in the original post "Is this an easy unit to use or do you need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out?" (which so far nobody else seems to have done):-
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to use it, but you may well need the patience of Job to figure out how to get it to sound acceptable (and that's the real crunch), as the user manual offers no guidance at all in this regard (basically, it sucks). I've had my 2.2 for six years and I'm still making fine adjustments, having come very close to selling it no less than three times over that period. It wasn't until I downloaded the user manual for the Behringer DEQ-1024 last year (http://www.retrevo.com/support/Behringer-DEQ1024-manual/id/23281bh433/t/2/) that I finally started to make real progress. The chart on page 11 is invaluable and the omission of something similar from the TacT manual is shameful.
The latest versions of the 2.2 incorporate what TacT call an Auto Target Curve Adjustment facility which makes the process a great deal easier, even though the incremental adjustments available at a selection of fixed frequency points are relatively crude at +/- 0.5Db. But they can get you a good deal of the way there, with finer adjustments implemented by way of the 12 band parametric equalizer.
My advice is to set the frequency points on the parametric equalizer exactly the same as on the ATC adjustment facility, in a strictly one octave spread ~ no wider, otherwise what you do at one frequency will overlap and thus interfere with its neighbour. Should your generation of RCS not incorporate the ATC Adjustment facility, the frequency points in question are 16Hz, 32Hz, 64Hz, 125Hz, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, 8,000, 16,000 and 20,000. (16Kz, for example, is exactly one octave higher than 8Kz, whilst 20KHz is the upper limit of the unit's frequency range).
In my experience, the critical frequencies are 32, 64 and 125 for the bass and, for the upper registers, 4, 8 and 16KHz. I recommend leaving well alone anything in between ~ the crucial midrange. Attenuation at 20KHz tends to damp air and sparkle, even though your hearing may not be able to detect in isolation frequencies as high as 20KHz. A bit more lift at 64Hz (than either 32 or 125Hz) adds a bit of (perceived) warmth and body to the midrange, but don't get carried away, otherwise the sound overall can become pushy and oppressive.
In short, the 2.2 can be an interminable exercise in maddening frustration to get sounding just right ~ and be realistic in your expectations, it'll never sound like a pure analog device. If the rose-tinted warmth, romance and lushness of tubes is what you crave, then look elsewhere ~ maybe to the Rives Audio PARC which is a (not inexpensive) pure analog device that does what it does at just three frequency points below 350Hz (but has no crossover, so it can't be used with subwoofers).
But with proper guidance (as I've tried to provide here), you can get sufficiently far along the road to be able to forgive the TacT 2.2 its shortcomings set against the things it can do so very well, not least cleaning up your bass like nothing else. With TacT's own (passive) subwoofers (which are excellent), it's pretty well indispensable.
Reports on the Lyngdorf RP-1 (which is designed to go between an analog pre and power amp) seem to be almost universally favourable. It incorporates an electronic crossover (so you can use it with the TacT/Lyngdorf subwoofers), though it offers only six factory pre-set "voicings" (albeit substitutes can be downloaded, apparently) and none of the fine tuneability of the TacT RCS. Some have said that may not necessarily be a bad thing, as the almost infinite range of adjustments available with the TacT can give rise to acute audiophilia nervosa.
So you pays your money and you takes your choice. Room correction isn't an easy walk in the park to audiophile bliss and the TacT 2.2 route may well be the most tricky of them all. But, for all that, it's a device that packs a possibly unrivalled degree of user adjustability. You just have to learn how to get the best out of it ~ and before you get to that stage, you have to do a lot of tuning out the worst of it.
I've been using a TacT RCS 2.2Xaaa for the past six years. My present listening room(a result of an expensive divorce) is an acoustic nightmare. My systems have been actively bi-amped(SS on bottom) since 1980, and(until this room) always provided fast, extended and accurate bass. I've found the TacT an indispensable tool for taming the low freq anomalies my present acoustic presents. They also correct any channel or time domain imbalances that may exist in your system/room interface(vastly improved imaging). Of course: the better your system is set up(without the TacT), the less the TacT has to correct. Mine has to be used with a computer, and that does take some computer literacy. The newer models are much easier to manipulate, unless you're somewhat technically challenged(which some have trouble admitting). HOWEVER- There is no problem that you can encounter, that Boz(TacT's owner/designer) will not gladly walk you through on the phone(excellent accessibilty and very patient customer support). The only flaw that I found in the presentation of the TacT system was that of dynamics. TacT units become an entirely new breed of music reproducer when their power supplies are modded. If you don't feel comfortable modding your own(high speed epitaxial diodes, either Black Gate or Sanyo OS-CON caps, etc); the first thing to obtain, after the RCS, is an Aberdeen power supply and IEC module. You WILL be delighted with the illusion of 'LIVE' that the mods provide, especially if you actually get to listen to live music much. (http://www.aberdeencomponents.com/TacTUpgrades.htm)
After seven years of frustration and interminable fiddling about, I finally sold my 2.2XP to the same guy who bought my S2150. Using it in pure digital mode, he's delighted with it but, for me, although there were spells when I felt I was getting close to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there were an awful lot of other times when I hated the thing.
When I bought the S2150 three years ago, I installed it and undertook a fresh RC calibration. Initially, it sounded wonderful, but then a horrible digital-sounding distortion started to creep in and got steadily worse. I phoned TacT to try to find out if they knew what the problem could be but Boz couldn't explain it. Eventually, he suggested that the only thing to do would be to return it to him (from the UK) for investigation. The results were that whilst it was functioning perfectly and, at the factory, creating RC files without distortion, with the file created in my room, the distortion was readily apparent. The conclusion was that the software in my 2.2 just couldn't cope with the degree of RC required in my particular room ~ which needs it but it isn't what you'd call an acoustic nightmare. So Boz downloaded their very latest software and returned the unit, but to no avail. The distortion was still there with any newly created RC file. So I had a (digital input only) S2150 that I couldn't use with my 2.2 (in my room), no offer from TacT of a refund and they didn't even refund the cost I'd incurred to ship my 2.2 back to the factory for investigation. This was on top of an earlier return for the replacement of a failed CPU. Given that TacT no longer has any representation in the UK, I was very fortunate to find a buyer for my S2150 (which, when it's working right, is an astoundingly good amp for the money), someone who lives not far from me as well.
Then a pair of virtually new PMC IB2 speakers came up at a once-in-a-lifetime price, so I bought them and, eventually, a pair of Bryston 7B-SST power amp's (nothing less, really, will do). The pairing is, as you'd expect, excellent but with the drawback of revealing the TacT 2.2's tendency to sound nastily digital in the midrange. No matter what I did, I just couldn't quite eliminate it.
Then the 2.2 started playing up. It seemed to drift off-colour for no apparent reason. It'd be okay one day but awful the next. And, on top of that, every time I created a new RC file, the resulting frequency balance would be severely tilted up either in the bass or in the treble. By way of a great deal of pretty gross adjustments to the parametric equaliser, I was able to get it vaguely near to neutral, but it never sounded right.
Buying a PurePower 2000i mains regenerator (eliminating the effects of varying mains quality) helped to an extent, but the system still lacked freshness, transparency and, above all else, musicality. By now, after more than six years I was beginning to grow seriously tired of it and began laying my plans to replace it, starting with the acquisition of an old but still very good Trichord Pulsar D:AC (with its optional outboard PSU for the analogue stages) for just £220 ~ for a unit of such quality, a steal.
Then, a virtually new Bryston BP26 pre-amp came up on eBay at less than half RRP. Okay, I would have preferred it in black (to match my 7B's) rather than silver, but for that kind of saving, I wasn't going to get too hung up about it.
Convinced that my PMC IB2's would need RC at least as much as any other speakers I'd ever owned, all that remained now was to save up for a Lyngdorf RP-1 RC unit. The Lyngdorf may not offer anything like the same degree of user adjustability as the TacT 2.2, though it does offer a choice of six factory preset voicings, it includes a crossover so I'd still be able to use my TacT/Lyngdorf subwoofers (driven by a Lyngdorf SDA-2175) and everyone says its sound is mellower than that of the TacT.
Anyway, once the Bryston pre-amp arrived, I decided to hook it up just to make sure it was fully functioning, expecting then to be putting it back in its box for however long it might take to get the money together for the Lyngdorf. But, to my great surprise, the bass was amazingly good, right from the word go. Most unexpected.
Some system tuning was still required, though, by way of a new digital lead between the CD transport and the D:AC (after experiments with various budget cables, I eventually ended up with one kindly supplied FOC by PMC) and new pre to power interconnects, for which the logical choice was a very inexpensive balanced Van Damme pair, as recommended by PMC (who import Bryston into the UK). After nearly 20 years, I shall probably sell my venerable Kimber KCAG's. The only interconnects I've ever had here that sounded better were the Abbey Road silver ones, but they're £500 for a metre pair and I'm just not into spending that kind of money on wires any more. The Van Dammes are virtually as good at just 4.5% of the price of a pair of Abbey Roads.
So now, to my very great surprise, it's turned out that with the right system for my room (and I never expected a pair of speakers such as PMC IB2's, with their exceptional bass, to constitute a part of such a system) I don't actually need RC after all.
All the fiddling and fretting and general neurosis that the TacT engenders are behind me. The guy in Bath who bought my (100% digital) S2150 also bought my 2.2XP and tells me he's delighted with it. Now, I just put on any CD at any time of the day or night, any day of the week and, whilst not every single one sounds magical, none sounds horrible. Those that don't sound magical I simply ascribe to them being less than stellar recordings instead of reaching for the remote control and effecting yet more tweaks to the parametric equaliser.
Over the seven years I lived with the TacT 2.2 I had some good times with it, to be sure. But I had an awful lot more bad times and, now it's gone to a good home, I'm enjoying the full spectrum of my CD collection without forever fretting about the way the system sounds. The pot of gold at the end of the TacT rainbow is what you're always after with the 2.2. Heaven knows I tried long enough and hard enough to get to it, but ultimately I couldn't. Maybe if I'd changed my digital and analogue interconnects instead of staying slavishly loyal to my Kimber KCAG's and thinking that all my system's shortcomings could be fixed by way of the TacT's parametric equaliser, I'd have got better results. But that's all history now.
So there you have it ~ the story of my seven years (or, at least, the last few of them) of living with and finally giving up on the TacT 2.2XP. Then again, other users may have had different experiences. The Aberdeen Components upgrades to its power supply (the standard one is a low cost switch-mode supply) and D:AC are reportedly beneficial but not cheap and for me, living as I do in the UK, not a viable proposition. Live long and prosper brothers.
Still own, and still lovin' mine! Can't imagine going back to life without one. Like I said, the Aberdeen mods make the unit a totally different instrument, if you are not into modded things yourself. Tubed amps and sources also add much in the way of musical realism. This from one that eschewed all things digital, and was a diehard straight-wire-with-gain freak, for decades. Happy listening, and(as always)- to each his own!