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Fsarc; i am not currently using battery mode. i did previous ... Mikelavigne
Ob- the owner's manual is referring to the fact that the amp ... Fsarc
Oneobgyn: you might be confusing an amp that is broken in an ... Jtinn
Fsarc "also- what if jeff fritz had written a review o ... Oneobgyn
Ob, "meitner releases there alleged big upgrade for th ... Rmaurin
As i said "alleged" i spoke to andreas koch (who ... Oneobgyn
Wow. thanks for the information. as far as the 2x dsd, the ... Rmaurin
Jafox, thanks for the comments. i agree that obvious 'raves' ... Mikelavigne
Rmaurin as best as i am aware the dac6e with the discrete d ... Oneobgyn
I lied. i just verified with philip o'hanlon and it is the n ... Oneobgyn
Rich- great post and info. i didn't even know my cdsd had th ... Fsarc
Fyi, i have it on very good information that even the origin ... Hooper
an update on the darTZeel preamp.
a week ago i retrieved the darTZeel (pre-production) preamp from the distributor. i am still breaking in my 2 darTZeel NHB-108 amps (another 10 days to go) so this last week i've been investigating the internal phono stage of the dart pre; trying to put a few hours on it and wanting to compare it to my Lamm LP2 phone stage. when i previously had the dart pre i only listened briefly to the phono stage and my comparisons were were quite limited.
there were a few challenges i had to get my answers. first, some deep background.
my long-term reference cartridge has been the vdH Colibri XCP 8.5mv output. i have always loved the clarity, naturalness and explosiveness of this cartridge. over the last couple of years as my room and system changed; i found that the balance of the Colibri XCP had made many of my favorite recordings too edgy for my tastes. i had gone from my Tenor OTL's to the Tenor Hybrid amps; from my old very damped room to my new very live room, from my old forgiving Kharma Exquisites to the VR9's.......my system was much more alive and told me more but was unforgiving of the Colibri's vividness. so after playing around with the Colibri and trying different setup approaches i tried the Dynavector XV-1s. the XV-1s had a much lower gain (.24mv) but was much more forgiving.....i gave up some of the excitement of the Colibri but more of my music was enjoyable than with the Colibri.
during this same time i had been using the darTZeel amps on and off. one significant issue was that the darTZeel was not an ideal match for my Placette passive and Jena Labs switchbox. i did not get the gain with that combo that i had got with the Tenor Hybrids and the Placette. the darTZeel design without global negative feedback and lower overall gain still worked with the .85mv output of the Colibri but was quite marginal with the XV-1s at .24mv output. there were not only gain issues but also impedence issues when using my Placette.
in any case i had been enjoying the XV-1s thru the Tenors and Placette and also thru the darTZeel amps and Placette (although with less dynamics and gain).
then at RMAF, a friend offered to allow me to try his ZYX Universe cartridge (also .24mv output) as a change of pace to the Dynavector XV-1's. To properly audition the .24mv output ZYX i did re-install my Tenor's 10 days ago so would have enough gain to properly hear it. compared to the Dynavector i found the Universe to be less lush but more energetic, similar in some ways to the Colibri but more buttoned down.
fortunately, last Saturday i found out i could again try the dart pre so i drove to Portland and picked it up. i then removed the Tenors and reinstalled the dart amps and installed the dart pre. the dart pre only has the proprietary 'zeel' outputs active so i had no choice of amps. the ZYX Universe remained and during the last week i listened to the Universe thru the dart pre and dart phono stage. the Dart phono stage had plenty of gain for the Universe.
sorry for the long explaination; but without that background; the following wouldn't make much sense (it may still not).
this brings me to last night; the challenge......how to compare the Lamm LP2 phono stage and the dart pre internal phono stage. i friend came over yesterday about 4pm to lend his ears and moral support.
i found that when using the internal dart phono stage (which is listed at 62db of gain) i had plenty of gain for both the ZYX Universe and the Dynavector XV-1s. OTOH when playing the Lamm LP2 thru the dart pre and dart amps; there was not enough gain to properly judge the performance of the ZYX or Dynavector.
so.....if i wanted to compare the two phono stages; i would have to install my trusty Colibri with it's .85mv output; this would allow the Lamm to have plenty of gain thru the dart combo (when using the dart pre as strictly a line stage).
i actually removed the ZYX and installed another of my cartridges (a Colibri XGW .65mv output) first...but had some sort of hum issue; then i did install my Colibri XCP and did a rough (5 minute) setup.
first, into the Lamm. very nice; with plenty of gain the Lamm and Colibri made a beautiful combination......probably the best overall vinyl performance i had yet heard.
Buena Vista Social Club, 'Candela' Classic 45 version.
For Duke, 'Take the A Train', M&K DTD.
It Might As Well Be Swing, Sinatra/Basie, 'Fly Me To The Moon', Reprise original pressing.
Hasten Down The Wind, Linda Ronstad, 'Crazy', Asylum
Cantate Domino, 'Julsang', Proprius.
The Royal Ballet, all of side 1, Classic 33rpm reissue.
we eventually played many more but these were played initially on the ZYX, then the Colibri with the Lamm, and then the Colibri thru the internal dart phono stage.
i had not played the Colibri thru the dart pre before; i now heard the magic of the Colibri that had captivated me for three years. the naturalness of the dart pre, combined with the dart amps and Lamm was all there, similar in dynamics to the Tenor/Placette but less edgy and with more body and transparency. the Colibri was doing things i had not heard from the Universe in terms of overall naturalness and clarity; it sounded effortless....alive.
we now switched to the internal dart phono stage; things were the same but better somehow; much more microdynamic, lower noise floor, more expanded soundstage. overall, the complete picture was better.....not night and day...but better. even though the Lamm has tubes and the dart does not; you would have a hard time choosing which phono stage had tubes. the Lamm may have been slightly 'darker'......but tonality asnd textures were at least as good with the dart phono stage. the Colibri thru the dart phono stage was just a little more 'compelling' and involving.
remember, the dart phono stage had maybe 15 hours on it at this point, was a pre-production version, and had loading at 100 ohms (the Colibri likes 400-500 ohms ideally....the Lamm is loaded at 400 ohms)......and we were listening to the in AC mode.
at this point my friend turns to me and says...."ok Mike, you can sell the Lamm with no regrets"......which had been the question of the night. the Lamm sounded great.....but the Dart was a little better.
it was now about 6:30pm last night and my friend needed to get home. i suggested that we try battery mode on the dart pre. i cautioned that i had only tried it a couple of times but there was some sort of 'gremlin' in this unit that was not sorted out and in battery mode it was somehow outputting DC and would likely blow fuses in the amps within 5 minutes.....but it would be a spectacular 5 minutes and it was not that big an deal to change the fuses.
i had only tried the battery mode briefly on digital but i guessed that it might actually make more difference on the phono stage.
so i carefully turned the pre volume down, turned off the amps, turned off the pre, unplugged the pre, turned the pre back on, waited 90 seconds, and turned the amps back on....so far, so good. i would avoid using the remote control or switching anything so as to avoid anything that might send out DC.
i put 'Fly Me To The Moon' on the Rockport, dropped the needle, turned up the volume and turned down the lights.
from the first note there was something very different; in fact before the first note you could tell.....the 'air' was different between and before the note.....it was more there. Frank's voice was more than a voice, he was there. i was not thinking in 'sonic checklist' terms.....more in human terms. dis-belief was suspended......for about 4 more hours it was suspended. my friend didn't need to leave after all.
i assumed the fuses would blow after about 5 minutes; i kept cringing whenever i would turn the volume up or down. we played another cut, then another. there was never any problem. i would just turn the volume down when cueing and there was no noise, hum or ANYTHING. dead silence.
the listening was simply one 'Oh My God' after another. in battery mode the dart pre phono easily stomps anything i have personally heard in many ways. first, it is soo quiet that everything is just soo effortless. there is no strain. music just flows. dynamics, both micro and macro surpass anything i have heard. microdynamic action makes things so alive and vivid. the tonality and textural nuance can only be described as like 'life' or lifelike.
we played 'Nojima Plays List'...the Mephisto Waltz. playing this music on a system with full frequency capability and thru this gear brought the piano fully to life in front of us. i don't have the words to describe it. if you have heard a concert grand piano then you know how it sounds....that is how it sounded.
we played The Royal Ballet, side 1. i can only say WOW and double WOW. the orchestra came completely to life in the room. i get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Blues (Muddy Water's Folk Singer), Rock (Neil Youngs Greatest Hits), Folk (Lorna Hunt, All in One Day)......everything was just really silly good.
after 4 hours of battery mode my friend did go home; i then listened to digital in battery mode for another 2 hours; then this morning listened to digital in battery mode for a couple more hours. same basic things......although not quite to the same degree as the phono stage is more significant to the vinyl perfromance.
battery mode dramatically lowers the noise floor, dramatically increases dynamics, and really brings an effortlessness to music that has to be heard before you could appreciate what it does.
i expect healthy skepticism to this post; until a few people are able to hear what this does for themselves in battery mode that is reasonable.
i still need to re-install both the Dynavector and ZYX to see how they compare in battery mode; hopefully i'll ge to that in the next few days. my new dart pre should be here by late November hopefully.
i type slow and i've already lost too much of my Sunday to this.....but i wanted to share my enjoyment.
Mikelavigne (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Great read mike! thanks for the update. you just made the wa ... Fsarc
Mike,thanks for a really interesting,and thought provoking r ... sirspeedy70680@
Thanks fsarc and sirspeedy, at the moment i am again listeni ... Mikelavigne
I guess the key to the 50 ohm cables, just as with video and ... Fsarc
Mike,please don't forget to post comparisons of the zyx univ ... sirspeedy70680@
Mike writes: that's somewhat a moot point, as you are not he ... Metralla
Metralla :) Jtinn
Fyi, i am now listening to the pre exclusivly thru battery m ... Mikelavigne
Mike, in your latest thread, were you listening to analog ... Husk01
Husk; after a quick review of my recent posts (specifically ... Mikelavigne
Ah, mike. . . . analog vs. digital. it begins anew. well, yo ... Hooper
Herve deletraz (mr. dartzeel) sent me an explaination of why ... Mikelavigne
Mike,great stuff,as the dart combo looks like a very "l ... sirspeedy70680@
With the glowing reviews of asr from hp (though of course, j ... Henryhk
I have been fortunate enough to have the nhb-18ns preamp in ... Fsarc
Like fsarc, i just got my nhb-18ns pre-amp over this past we ... Earflappin
The preamp continues to amaze me. i'm rediscovering recordin ... Fsarc
Ditto that fsarc. i've now had my dart pre for 3 months and ... Earflappin
I just read the soundstage report on dartzeel. i just read ... Egidius