top of page

Welcome to Decware


The Zen Taboo Amplifier

Ultimate headphone amplification


Model Taboo MK4


The Zen Taboo MK 4 is a boutique all tube point-to-point headphone amplifier that works with both Planar and Dynamic headphones. 

Planar headphones became popular in the mid-2010s due to their unique sound signature and high-fidelity audio reproduction. They are known for their flat frequency response and low distortion, making them a favorite among audiophiles music producers.


By 2011 we had been asked multiple times to put a headphone jack on our Taboo amplifier to be used with planar headphones and since then the Zen Taboo has become a popular topic of conversation among Head-Fi users from all over the world...  

The tremendous feedback was encouraging and a year later we re-designed the Taboo from the ground up as a planar headphone amplifier that could still be used to drive speakers (instead of a speaker amplifier that could still be used to drive headphones).

The resulting Taboo Mk III was so good it not only dominated the planar headphone market for those who appreciate the transparency of tubes, but developed a real following among dynamic headphone owners as well. Even one of the better headphone manufactures in the USA is using it as a reference to develop and test all their new headphones.

We are now in the final chapter of the evolution of this fine reference grade headphone amplifier, with the release of this final model, the Taboo Mk IV.

"Upon first hearing the Taboo with its factory supplied Russian input and output tubes and the rectifier supplied by Decware, I was wowed and never for a moment considered going back . Trying to make  my other popular tube headphone amp sound great with upgrades was like putting lipstick on a pig to make it pretty. It just did not work. The Decware sounded awesome to me right out of the box from the factory, though I eventually improved it further with a WE422A rectifier and Telefunken EL84. It is a masterful amp that I'll never sell.!"

What sets this amplifier apart?

  • The Sound - it's what we all chase.

  • Bass performance.

  • No circuit boards or solid state parts.

  • short signal path.

  • Decware's highly interleaved Ultra Fidelity Output transformers. 

  • Class A SEP operation that can drive difficult loads. 

  • 4 revisions spanning over 20 years. 

  • Direct feedback from our customers creates a highly evolved product.

  • Exotic internals.

  • Point-to-point wiring

  • Lucid Mode - Crosstalk

  • Designed by audio guru Steve Deckert.

  • Parts and Labor from the USA.

  • A Lifetime Warranty.


Crossfeed in headphone amplification can provide a more natural and realistic listening experience. By blending the left and right channels it can reduce the feeling of isolation and create a more spacious soundstage. This can lead to less listening fatigue and a more enjoyable listening experience overall.


In the Taboo design there was a unique is a feature called "Lucid Mode" which evolved into an esoteric form of crossfeed in 2013 with a switch specifically tuned for the 50 ohm Audeze LCD-2.  This made the Taboo a real force to reckon with if you had LCD-2, ZMF or similar impedance headphones. 


Now Lucid Mode is masterfully redesigned as a single variable control with a bypass switch. It makes it compatible with any impedance headphones and allows you to use as much or as little as you want.

Lucid mode is a fully analog effect that occurs naturally within the circuit. There are no chips, boards, or solid state parts anywhere inside a Taboo.



  • Two pair of RCA inputs.

  • Optional transformer-balanced XLR inputs with one pair of RCA inputs.

  • Dual Volume Controls for precision channel balance.

  • 4-Pin XLR headphone output - no other format is available.

  • Optional transformer-coupled XLR inputs for a balanced source.

  • Tube rectification.

  • EL84 / 6P15P-EV output tubes, one per channel.

  • A single 6922 or  6DJ8 / 6N1P / 6N5P input stage.

  • Adjustable crossfeed (Lucid Mode).

  • Compatible with a super wide range of headphones.


You can select these from within the shopping cart.

TOP to BOTTOM are:




Satin Black


Victorian Black

not shown is:

Victorian Oak

Victorian Maple

Victorian Cherry

Victorian Walnut

These are user swappable hardwood bases for the Taboo.



LEFT to RIGHT are:


Gold with Logo

Black Chickenhead

Cream Chickenhead


Not shown are:

Black with Logo

These are user swappable knobs for the Taboo.

Anniversary Mods


Anniversary mods are a way to pimp the amp out.  These mods enhance speed / resolution to its maximum potential.   They are ideal for hi-end sources.  For mid-fi sources it is better not have the mods.


There are both level 1 and level 2 anniversary mods.  The difference is the type of capacitors used in the mods.  Level 1 uses film caps while level 2 uses foil caps to match the foil caps in the signal path. 


This amplifier requires no adjustments or maintenance other than changing tubes every couple years. It is a self biasing design and self balancing meaning even unmatched tubes become matched when installed. The SV83 (6P15P-EV) or EL84 output tubes were chosen for their sound quality over all other pentodes - price was not a factor.

Weight -17 lbs. ea.

Dimensions - 8.5" H x 7.25" W x 14..75" D

Chassis - Steel/Wood

Finish - Black Powder Coat Typewriter Finish

Base - Solid hardwood / user interchangeable

Circuit type - Single ended Class  A Pentode

Input voltage - 2.1 volts for full output

Noise / Hum < 1 millivolt

Response 10 Hz ~ 80 kHz

Rectification 5Y3GT / 5U4 / 5AR4 tube rectification

Output tubes SV83 or EL84 / 6BQ5

Signal tube 6922 / 6N1P

Transformers - Proprietary US Made UFO Transformers

Biasing - Self-Biasing circuit - never needs adjustment

Resistors - All resistors are precision WW/MF by DALE, VISHAY

Signal Cap - Audiophile grade Foil caps

Filter Caps - Premium grade 500V electrolytic

AC cord Fused - IEC connector provided with removable power cord

Consumption - 75 watts at full power 

Input jacks - RCA type 24K Gold / Teflon or transformer coupled XLR

Output jacks - Gold 5-way binding posts accept 8 gauge wire

Warranty - Lifetime to original owner / 90 days on tubes

(speaker output into 4 ohms is 2.5 watts)

4 ohms - 500 mw

8 ohms - 1000 mw

16 ohms - 1200 mw

24 ohms - 1500 mw

32 ohms - 1600 mw

50 ohms - 1700 mw

75 ohms - 1700 mw

100 ohms - 1700 mw

150 ohms - 1700 mw

250 ohms - 1700 mw

300 ohms - 1700 mw

600 ohms - 1700 mw 



Since we don't have dealer's and we sell our amplifiers directly to the customer, our customers have a direct line to us.  As a result, Decware support is legendary for over 20 years.

Support is not only a phone call or email away at any time, but when you purchase this amplifier you join a huge family of customers who also own one and enjoy supporting each other on the:




Manual is in a .pdf format



Made by hand in the USA and sold wholesale to the public with a 
L i f e t i m e   W a r r a n t y  !

Screen Shot 2022-02-12 at 8.15.16 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-12 at 8.15.16 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-12 at 8.19.17 PM.png

Amps are hand-built to order.  There are presently lots of orders on our real time build sheet.   A 10% non-refundable deposit secures your place on the list with today's date and time stamp.  Balance is due when it's ready to ship. You will be sent a final invoice with the total price including actual shipping costs by our office during your wait.   


What does Point-to-point wiring in a Taboo look like vs. mass produced solid state?


Listen to one and find out how good your headphones can actually sound.

bottom of page