A true Descarte amp is by definition unknowable. Go with the Cogito.
11 responses Add your response
This thread is long dead, but I stumbled upon it while searching for Descartes amps.
I was wandering the streets of Taipei, Taiwan this week when I walked into an audio shop I hadn't noticed before. It turns out they sell lots of speakers (B&W, ATC, Dynaudio, Castle, Wharfedale, etc., Cambridge Audio gear, modded Philips CD players, and Descartes amp, Preamps, and DACs. The Descartes brand is their own because they are manufactured in that shop. They've been in business since 1973 or '74.
Most of their business is in Taiwan and other Asian countries.
I listened to the following system in the speaker room (approx. 15'W x 22'L x : 9'H).
Dynaudio X12 monitors
Descartes DP-200 amp 200w solid state
Descartes D-7 preamp tube pre
Philips CD880 modded
I don't recall which cables were used.
As I had never heard of Descartes amps before, but I had heard the X12 speakers before (and didn't much care for their sound), I was not expecting to be thrilled with the demonstration. I didn't have any of my music, so I was forced to go with whatever was on hand (mostly classical and Jazz).
The speakers were about seven feet apart and 8 or 9 feet in front of me which put the close to the middle of the room. Within seconds I was shocked to hear incredible music filling the large room. The music was not coming from the speakers as they had completely disappeared. The soundstage was much larger than the walls of this room suggested. There was plenty of bass (no, not deep bass, but mid-bass a plenty), highs were clear and midrange wonderful sounding.
If I had been looking to buy speakers (and didn't understand what powerful clean sounding amps/preamps can produce), I would have bought the speakers on the spot. Of course, I would have been disappointed once I got home and discovered the speakers no longer performed the way they had in the demo!
The amps use some of the best German made caps, resistors, power supplies, etc. All wiring is high quality, special solder is used. The amps are very powerful, clean, and robust. I could not compare, but I had to wonder if the amp in the demo wasn't on par with a Modwright amp or a Pass Labs amp.
Apparently, a lot of their sales come from 'word of mouth' referrals - and I can understand why.