Decware Zen Taboo MKIV Reference Headphone Amplifier

This is the place to discuss the Decware Zen Taboo headphone amplifier.



I placed my order this morning for a Zen Taboo. I’m really looking forward to listening to it, though there is a current 7-month wait time (500+ orders in the queue).

Thanks to @Nick_Mimi and @Torq for their help and suggestions.


I didn’t know they were selling through drop. ducks

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500+ in queue? Damn.



Wow. I emailed him probably 3 weeks ago and the list was 375 @ “20+ weeks”


That’s a lot of volume. I guess they’re mostly members of other forums, or silent contributors here.


Luxury and hobby stuff seems to be flying off the shelves after the recent stimmy checks. I’ve gotten rid of a bunch of stuff on Ebay at ridiculously good prices. A headphone amp like this sells to people who likely have plenty of money and see $2K items as “a free government gift.”

Odds are the government generosity will decline and some people will sell their new purchases before too long. There may be more on the market.

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According to Sarah they were at roughly a 4 month lead time until Steve Guttenberg did a review on a couple of their amps which put them at the current 7-months.

Steve Guttenberg has a lot of followers, and Steve Deckert has designed some highly regarded amplifiers.

I was pointed towards Decware by @Nick_Mimi whom owns a couple of their amps. I’m really looking forward to my build, as I opted for all of the “bells and whistles”.


That thing looks beautiful, like a show piece… :yum:

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What kind of upgrades did you do with the taboo? :slight_smile:

All of them, haha.

Balanced inputs, Silver RCA’s, and All Copper capacitors. And a custom wood base.

All the “bells and whistles”.


That’s amazing! I chatted with Steve a couple of weeks back, he had suggested to get the ZBit box instead of getting the balanced input options. He was saying with that the voltage into the amp could be adjusted better when connected to various sources with an external box with a transformer in it. Apparently that’s how the balanced to single ended conversion happens internally as well.


Favorable Steve + Andrew YT reviews in the last year = growing wait list.


Yeah, they do that internally with the ZEPRE amp (that ones on my wishlist).

So far they’ve been very helpful and have provided excellent customer service. :+1:t4:


What headphones are you planning to use with this? I would love to know what you think of the lucid mode when you get the amp! :slight_smile:


I bought it for my Focal Clear MG, and using the speaker taps ( at 3.4 watts) for my HifiMan HE6se.

I’m also eyeing an Audeze LCD-4.

It should pair nicely with those.


Awesome! I would imagine the speaker taps would be the way to go for something like Susvara as well.

The other thing Steve had mentioned to me was that the rectifier tube makes a big difference to this amp as well, would be interested to hear from other Decware owners if they have made any changes to the default tubes(which work really well based on what I read on the Decware forums).


Yes, I’ve been told the stock tubes do work well. That being said, I’ve been eying some rectifiers, like the Sophia Electric (I have their 6SN7 in my preamp) and Elrog ER274b.

I’ll have plenty of time to look into tubes with my seven month wait.


Rectifier rolling should be fun. I was shocked at the difference between a 5AR4 and a 5U4G on my Nautilus, and much preferred the extra drive and rhythm that the 5AR4 gave me - based on my musical taste obviously, and other people will prefer the 5U4G.

BTW, that blue Sophia 274b looks gorgeous.


It can be fun (and expensive :laughing:).

Yeah, there’s something about that blue glass.