Dartzeel CTH 8550 experience

FWIW I foolishly sold the first one I purchased a few years ago always thinking more expensive separates would exceed the performance of this unit. After spending the ensuing few years trying to recapture and exceed the Dartzeel sound I have purchased another and am back to the magic. I have no idea how he does it but the designer truly achieves a sound that is uniquely detailed, smooth and immently musical. The components I tried to get beyond this level are some of the most praised gear in the audio world with a list price exceeding 28k for pre and amp. The owner and designer of this gear is a true prince of audio so I don't want to cite his name. His gear is famous for warmth and musicality at the top of the solid state heap but I never could get it right and it was simply too bright.
I know this is boring and of no interest to most people but my pleasure of turning on my system everyday now makes me want to share this experience. I have zero motive other than to perhaps remind audiophiles that although expensive(but not the most) Dartzeel is formidable.
I have been meaning to audition this component. Your post has inspired me!

"OP: I have no idea how he does it but the designer truly achieves a sound that is uniquely detailed, smooth and imminently musical"

I believe it may use the same "Pleasure Control" (volume control) as their flagship NHB-18NS $25k preamp below, which is an LED/LDR series shunt volume control which has no switches or contacts in the signal path, as all normal volume controls have.

"DartZeel NHB-18NS: A whole new volume control module, which completely avoids the use of any potentiometer, stepped attenuator or analog switch array in the signal path. The sound signal is attenuated in a fully passive way, using special analog optical couplers"

Cheers George
4425-Not boring at all. Passion is what drives the true audiophile NOT status!
Hmmm. I have one I was thinking of selling, maybe I need to hook it back up again and rethink things...
I'm a big fan of the CTH as well. While expensive, I have not felt a need to upgrade in a year of ownership! I preferred it to many tube alternatives as well.
I can say that the units that I thought(know)it exceeded were very highly rated at TAS being editor's choices and cited to be among the top of the heap. I personally can't imagine what more one could ask for sonically. Then there are the ergonomics and superb build quality. I love turning the damn thing on everyday. I will not say any more about it so as to not give the impression that I have some motive at play.
it's no accident how the darTZeel sounds so organic and musical. if you read the owners manuals for the darTZeel products there is a consistent theme of low parts count in the signal path, very non-intrusive volume control designs, and a fundamental focus on eliminating the right sort of distortion leaving the musical message complete. the sound is never 'choked to death' yet the noise floor is very low and the darts exceed at microdynamic life and tonal richness.

I've spent time at a number of audio shows with the CTH-8550 integrated and it's a remarkable product. 'real world speaker' powerful, with an excellent preamp amp and phono stage. it can be the centerpiece of a very high end system.

another product that might also be one to consider is the new LHC-208 'danalog' streaming DAC with integrated amplifier. it's amplifier circuit is more similar to my NHB-458's and I absolutely loved the performance last year at the Newport Show. it's dac performance was breathtaking.

What is the power rating on the CTH 8550 and the LHC 208?

Thanks in advance.
hi Gordon,

as I recall, the CTH-8550 has 250 watts into 8 ohms, the LHC 208 has 200 watts into 8 ohms.

both integrateds have that 'live-ness' and micro dynamic energy which allow the music to come alive.

best regards,