I have used one with great success, it seem to make my system sound better than any of the other fine preamps I tried, like Hovland, CJ, and Musical Fidelity KW.
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I've been using one for over a year now. I was a die-hard straight-wire-with-gain guy for 28 yrs until the 2.2X came along. I've also been bi-amping for 26 yrs. My last dividing network consisted of a Dahlquist DQLP-1 for low pass/level control/balance, and a pair of polypropylene caps installed in my Placette Passive Linestage(at the OFC RCAs) for a high pass filter. Nothing else between the source and amps. Lots of room treatment, but- there will always be Sabine factors in ANY room. The Tact affords SO much flexibilty/control over time domain/frequency parameters, at SO little cost in transparency(virtually non-existent): I couldn't live without it now. The customer service they offer at TacT is second to none, by the way. Anthony H Cordesman wrote a review sometime back on my unit(the X), and then purchased one for his own system.( http://www.avguide.com/products/product-3039/?download=%2Ffile-download%3Freview%3D1594) Had The Absolute Sound writers(Robert Harley/Robert E Greene) not given it such favorable reviews: I'd have passed it up(having had no faith in digital manipulation for so long). What a paradigm shift!!
Previous responses, ditto
Any sacrifice in transparency is more than made up for by the time and node/standing wave elimination.
30 years in high end, straight wire guy, now proseletyzing for Tact digital and timing eq. Not just EQ, Rives does a great job with that, with a less intrusive method and no DACs required. Timing is also very important in EQing and Tact has that in spades.
This is my second TacT, first was 2.0, (2 years ago) now have full tilt MauiMod 2.2x (owned for a few months now) that is in place of an Emotive Sira and used with Esoteric 50s, VPH TNT and VDH Black Beauty, Ensemble Phono Brio, Sme V, Soundlabs, Wolcotts, Siltech... etc. Good stuff, I think, but never heard it so good until Tact took care of the room.
All rooms have issues and I used ASC, Slat foam and other conventional stuff, (Wife "gave me" a room in the house for audio)but never heard the system before, I heard mostly the room. The other treatments help, but if you can't use them, say, for cosmetic purposes, you really need the Tact, otherwise, you just simply need the Tact.
Most important purchase I've ever made in audio, and I've made a bunch. I'd never go back.
I used to have the theory of the "musicians in my room" would sound like this, (with superimposed sonics) but now it's like I can eliminate my room and listen to the venue they recorded in. I'd never go back.
The learning curve is painfully steep, but worth it. I think you need to get a laptop if you don't have one, unless you have a computer in the audio room, so you can change eq curves while you're in the room.
Umm, can you tell I like it? I swear, I don't work for these guys!
Hi Bob- I wouldn't add anything else to the audio chain personally. I can't really imagine a need. I still abhor overprocessing signals, and adding interconnects. The TacT does act as a pre-amp(adds SOME gain)and (as mentioned): is capable of more with the power supply upgrade(digital clipping is nasty). If you're thinking, "tone controls": The TacT has a bass/mid/high shelving control as well(even better if you need it). One of the niceties of using the Tact is moving the subs into the room corners, and being able to time align them with the mains. Having crossed mine at 300hz/60db per oct has increased the system's dynamic range greatly. Much more power available with the bass/low mid duties removed from the tube mains. My subs are transmission lines driven by a trans-nova 9505(high damping factor/slew rate), and agile enough to match the speed of my Maggies. That's important for a seamless bass/main transition.
I forgot to mention: Lyngdorf uses a 10" woofer that possesses extreme transient speed/efficiency. Available here: (http://www.audiosystems.com/NewComponents.html), as well as their complete corner-woofer system(You have to query him concerning the raw drivers). I believe the guy offers a kit form as well. With these 10's on the bottom: You don't need a monster amp, or have to worry about matching the transient response of your mains.
The XP has WAY more functionality than a 2.0s. I've owned the 2.0s, the 2.2X, and the 2.2XP. The XP has processors so fast that ALL corrections are done instantaneously.
You don't have to use a laptop, but with the XP connected to the laptop you can play with XO frequencies, slopes, target curves, and even the unprecedented dynamic room correction, which is basically a variable loudness control.
Boz told me recently they're working on a crosstalk elimination function that will keep signals from the left speaker from going into the right ear.
This also shows something cool about the XP - it's still under software development where I doubt the others are. As they release new functions, they become available by easy download. It's not future-proof, but it is still current and a kick-ass piece of gear.
I don't have any experience with mods to the units, but I've heard nothing but good. One thing - I don't like the stock DAC sound. Maybe it's primarily the power supply or the DACs need better parts, but overall I have enjoyed outboard DACs out of the digital outs much more than the stockers.
One thing that's steered me away from digital room correction is that it's only going to be correct for one spot. Isn't this more or less true?
I have a room that is essentially completely open (open-concept house) with a high, sloping ceiling. No room modes at all, really. NOW, I know this doesn't mean I don't have freq. response abberations from room reflections. However, over all, it's a very nice sounding room - untreated.
Are there those who feel that these devices are still a major boon in such a situation?
The buzz around Tact has always sounded a little too much to me as hype, furthermore. If it were so revolutionary wouldn't you see more manufacturers using them at shows and recommending them? Or is that a naive question?
Actually I suppose you could program the TacT's various curves for different seating positions. I would imagine that if other manufacturers used TacT, it might steer them towards TacT's other products, which packaged or seperately, includes line level pre's, DAC's, ADC's, EQ's, HT processors, amplifiers, as well as TacT's parent companies speakers.
You can also program the system to correct for an average of several seating locations.
The better your present speaker/room interaction, the less effect the TacT will have.
I think some speaker manufacturers could benefit greatly by using TacT systems in their show demo rooms. But you can see why an amp manufacurer might not want to do it.
If I were a manufacturer showing my wares, I don't think I'd use a TacT. The main reason is that you'd be showing a "corrected" sound which wouldn't be duplicated in a listener's home, unless they also used a TacT.
Some might say that the room is a giant equalizer and if ever there was a room needing equalization, that would be a show-room. This is true. However, sound shows are sales jobs and the showgoers, i.e. clientele should be suspicious of a "black box" processing the sound they hear.
The TacT does correct room response at one listening position. This does not mean it sounds bad at other locations, quite the contrary. I am very happy to listen to my system at all locations in the listening room. Is it "locked in" like at the prime spot? No, but neither is any system. To my ears, the sound everywhere in the room is better than uncorrected.
There are some systems out there that attempt to correct at multiple positions, I believe the Lyngdorf model does this. This is appealing at first, but my hesitation is that if frequency response is tailored to multiple positions, doesn't that mean response at the prime listening position is compromised? I can't see it any other way.
According to Boz, the idea of crosstalk cancellation is not new but the execution has never been satisfactory. They're working on perfecting it now. I had the same question about the sweet spot, he said the sound will definitely suffer outside the sweetspot and one probably would not engage the feature for social listening sessions.
If one's room is perfect, there may be no need for a TacT. Controlling bass modes is one of its primary features, but it does a lot of other stuff too. Digititis? Try dropping the treble response a few db. If you're using high efficiency speakers that can get shouty in the presence band, use the parametric EQ to tame that band. Sub/mains integration issues? ANY combination can be optimized. Too soft on top, bump it up there. The point is that even if your room is "perfect", you may prefer a little assistance here and there to satisfy your own personal preferences.
Remember, the goal isn't "flat" response. You can do that, but within 30 seconds, you'll be looking to one of the optimized curves, all of which can be tweaked and saved.
Cable junkies would be wise to try one of these. Most of them would probably stop cable swapping after trying one.
The downsides are primarily a steepish learning curve, a pervasive doubt that you have Completely Optimized the system, and the DACs. Lots of people like them but I don't. It is possible some 16-bit DACs may not like the XP, my Altmann didn't and an Ack! 2.0 I tried also did not.
I bought my unit directly through TacT. They've always been prompt and courteous with service and seem like a really good company.
I purchase TacT new from Aberdeen Components.
As Mike pointed out, even though TacT is targetd for a primary listening point, the entire room benefits. Arguements that it makes the rest of the room worse are not true and generally misconceptions from those who have never used TacT.
I was an early adopter of TacT and even though I have never upgraded to the more recent models I feel comforted to know that my equipment is not really dated for three reasons.
First, it does what I need it to do. Tri-amping with no analog crossovers or low-level DACs in my system (2-way + two subs). Two, new gear and what I have are based on the same physical layout. I can replace boards or any other part I need to keep going for many years. This is important since I can't think of anything I would rather own. Three, Aberdeen Components has modded my TacT gear to a level I would not have thought possible. That is a big part of why point number two is so important.
I just bought a 2.2xp and two 2150 from tact directly and found Boz really helpfull. Great service. Agree that its another ballpark and a steep learning curve,especially for an analog audiophile and none too good w/ computer.However its well worth the hassle as nothing else will give you as much performance and flexibility for the price. Plus you can modifiy the equipement if you want even more liquidity and fluidity.
I had a read ( or tried to) of the manual and various updartes of the 2.2XP.
Is it just me or is this unit incredibly complex to operate and make your own eq settings?? I am an analog guy.
I just used the Lyngdorf roomperfect P1 and it is very good, however you can't make your own eq settings. To be honest the 6 pre set's are good, but the treble is flat and it needs to be rolled off on most settings - hence looking at the Tact 2.2XP.