Review: Tact Audio RCS-2.0 Equalizer

Category: Preamps

The Tact RCS 2.0 is for me a must have product. I have the digital in with digital and analog out (DD DA). My system is set up in a very small dedicated listening room (7.5x10x8). Before using the RCS, I was using a Bel Canto Dac 1 (very smooth, some have said too smooth). The DA section of the Tact lacks the smoothness of the Bel Canto yielding a bit more detail. I preferred the Bel Canto until I had my CAL Delta modified by Dan Wright at ModWright. The combination with associated tube equipment and VDH cables has resulted in no evidence of undesirable digital sound quality. It’s pure music at this point.

I purchased the RCS 2.0 used on Audiogon. As such, it came with the original version of the Windows software. Upon my first attempt at running the program, I encountered a serious bug that caused it to crash (running Win XP). I downloaded the v1.5 update from the Tact web page and have had no problems since. Using the provided template frequency curves is straight forward and results in instant gratification. The corrected response has no down side (as in analog eq) while correcting the response at the listening position for fine tonal quality and imaging.

My favorite music is cello and piano, as solo instruments and together. The corrected system provides wonderful tone and imaging for all my CDs. Differences in instruments and recording techniques are clearly revealed (with none of them to date being unacceptable).

The RCS software provides editing of template curves (or creation of new curves). Though the software is a bit difficult from a human factors point of view, the results are very rewarding. My personal preference for near field listening (I’m only 6’ from the drivers) is to use a room curve. Psychoacoustic experiments have indicated that (especially with near field microphone placement) that a negative 3dB/octave slope above 2kHz with near field speaker placement provides a natural response similar to that of far field in the audience at a concert hall. (Air absorption alone causes about a 6dB reduction of 15kHz at 50ft with average humidity.) I added the room curve to the A template of the RCS and am totally satisfied with the results.

Finally, I found the RCS 2.0 to work fine with a subwoofer. I have not tried the RCS 2.2 that has explicit control capabilities for subs. My approach was to set the sub up as I would normally with the RCS in bypass (Merlins full bandwidth without BAM; Janis sub room placement, volume & phase settings). After I had the system optimized in bypass, I then ran the room correction program. The result has been a seamless integration.

Associated gear
CAL Delta (ModWright mods)
Cardas AES/EBU
AES AE-3 Sig pre
AES SE-1 Sig amp (Sophia 300Bs)
Merlin VSM-M
VDH the Second ICs
VDH Revelation Spkr Cable (biwire)
Power Burst PCs
Ultimate Outlet (digital)
Ultimate Outlet (analog)
Janis W3 sub system

Similar products
Roland Digital EQ / RTA
I, too, recently purchased a 2.0 on Audiogon. It took a while to dial in and was not compatible with my Perpetual technologies P-1A (loud squelching sound from the speakers--awful)but what an improvement! I now have very natural bass--listening to acoustic bass on jazz recordings and other acoustic recordings really gives one a sense that you're there. It also firmed up the other frequencies--well recorded pianos sound more like pianos, while it's become much easier to distinguish a bass drum from a bass when both are playing together. I'd been listening to SACDs for a while but now I'm able to go back and listen to my CDs with a whole new level of performance. My only problem is that my wife and the cleaning ladies keep moving the sofas and I have to go back and re-dial thigs in! I'm saving up for the 2.0s upgrade. GET ONE OF THESE--You can't go wrong.