Hansen Prince: Dartzeel, Soulution or Boulder

Hi all,

I've recently bought a second hand pair of Hansen Prince to build a new system around. There are 3 pre-power amp combo's I'm considering to drive my Hansen. I'm only buying used equipment since new is completely out of my league so trying the equipment at home is a no go.

- Soulution 721/710
- Dartzeel NHB-108/NHB-18NS
- Boulder 2060/2010

All 3 combo's are very expensive. I've heard a few of the components (owned 1) but never with Hansen. Reason why I choose these 3 is that they have a proven record and also good resale value.

Which of the 3 do you think is the best match for the Hansen Prince V2 and why? I'm not interested in other brands or suggestions since opening the box again will lead to more indecisiveness from my side on what route to follow.

I listen to all sorts of music mainly classical (I love piano) and jazz, but occasionally to pop music.

Many thanks for your input.
The Hansen's are truly a transparent speaker, so they will take on the character of whatever amp you go with. The bass does need some control so I suggest SS, but then you will probably need tubes somewhere in the chain so the top end can shione, like the pre.

Why don't you call Wes Bender directly. He's heard these paired with many different amps and could give you a perspective. His number is on his web page (Wes Bender Studios).

Thanks for your input, much appreciated. Wonder if for instance the Dartzeel pre would be a good match which Soulution power amp. I'm expect the Dartzeel pre-amp will be more warmish sounding than the Soulution pre (at least if Dartzeel pre has a similar sound as the power amp). I've owned the Dartzeel amp in the past and liked it a lot. I only would have preferred if the Dartzeel had a bit more power in the bass.
At our HIFI club, Boulder and Wilson shared a demo with reps of the companies setting them up. I don't know if it was Boulder, or the very high priced Wilsons, or the cables, but the results were abismal. Be sure to listen to these components together at a stereo store or get disappointed
Hififreak, I'm a big fan of the Hansens and all the electronics you mention, albeit only recently with the Soulutions.
I concur that the darTZeels are the warmest, the Soulutions the most neutral and that the Boulders split the difference.

I think your idea of the darTZeel pre with the Soulution amp could be a winner if the output and input impedances match (not sure there).

I'd be interested in what you ultimately choose.
Ayre and Audio Research make the best amps for MY ears
Hi Khrys,

What a stunning room you have, a very very nice clean setup with superb equipment. And with a Steinway as reference it's really nice to compare your equipment. I love listening to piano music on my system. But indeed, there is nothing like the real thing :).

When you purchased your Boulder equipment, did you compare them with Dartzeel and Soulution or was the Boulder just right when hearing them and you didn't have any need to look elsewhere?

It's hard to decide as I'm planning to buy used (new out of my league) so there is some risk involved. There are some people I often communicate with that own Soulution or Boulder with their Hansen speakers but taste is always a bit subjective.

I probably don't go wrong with any of these 3 brands, but from past experience the Dartzeel is probably not as fast as Boulder/Soulution with complex classical plays. But the voices on Dartzeel are absolutely superb.

Maybe I should just base my decision on what's available on the used market. If I can get it for a good price I can try it and sell it again if it's not that much to my liking.

I'm planning to make a choice in the next few weeks
Stringreen, the marvel of YOUR ears is truly inestimable. Thanks for sharing.

Hififreak, thanks for your comments. The Steinway humbles many components, my own included. I did compare the darTZeel combo with the Boulder in my system before committing but did not have an opportunity to put the Soulutions into my rig before buying.

The darTZeels were exceptional but just a bit too polite.
The Boulders had a bit more immediacy, dynamics and edge that proved compelling.

I recently upgraded my preamp from the 1012 to the 2010 and the resulting improvement has been unprecedented in my experience. I am lucky enough to have the means of acquisition and accessibility to virtually every SOTA preamp and by comparison the 2010 is transformative.

You cannot go far wrong with any of your choices but audition a Boulder 2010 if you are able.
just bought a 1060 myself (coming in 3 weeks). while i'm all wiped out on the audio budget, preamp change will be in order. can you comment on what you liked (or didn't) w/ the 1060? (perhaps take back to your system thread, very curious your thoughts and advice). mahalo

I had exactly the same with my Dartzeel. Loved the sound, voices are just incredible, but I also thought there were a little too polite. Missed a bit of pose sometimes, all music sounded nice even though sometimes it wasn't. I could easily live with the Dartzeel again but would be nice to have a Dartzeel which is a bit more dynamic. Maybe their mono blocks but they are way out of my budget.

The Vitus Audio equipment is incredible as well. Ever heard them and compared them with your Boulder equipment??
Have you consider Aesthetix Callisto sgn/ eclipse pre they are very good,
I owned the Callisto sgn and Io sgn, with Emperor.
Using krell fpb600.
Yes, the piano is a pleasure to listen they are real especially on low key.
I am hoping to upgrade to mono block. I like tight and solid bass therefore is hard to get a tube amps. Again tubes replacement on amps are expensive.
I heard Callisto eclipse with burmester phono , Bryston 28, with maxx 2
Very beautiful.
Again one day I might buy a high power tube amps,
Hi Hififreakk,
What was your amplifiers outcome eventually?
It will be most interesting to hear your conclusion.
Sorry, been silence or a long time. Below the answer :)

Actually bought the Soulution 710/721 combo. Didn't try Boulder so I can't compare. All I can say is that I'm extremely happy.

Stunning sound. Have to say that in all the forums people find the Soulution cold / neutral sounding.
Perhaps I like a neutral sound, but with my Hansen Prince I find the sound spectacular. Not finding it cold at all. Perhaps people have heard them at sub optimal show conditions or perhaps for a very short time, or maybe my ears are different :) not sure, but Soulution matches very well with Hansen

Still need to buy some better cables as that's my weak point in my set. Pretty cheap power cords and speaker cables. Somehow find it mentally harder to spend money on cables then electronics/speakers.

If that can bring it system to a even higher level I would be even more happy.

You got to change your thinking of IC and Cable, I know everyone have the same thought me too about spending crazy money on cables, i have change almost all my cables to Nordost Valhalla including PC. Spending over ten thousand $,
However, if someone can lend you one cable either speaker or IC to try probably you cannot resist to let it go. believe me. Your weak link might be just your cables, if there is any weak link at all. by changing my Harmonic to Valhalla i notice my krell is sounding better than before, bass is so natural and woody.