A Home Trial of The NHB 468

dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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A few weeks ago, Ana Mighty Sound who is a darTZeel agent, organised an event with Hervé Delétraz. Sadly, I could not travel to Paris, and I missed the chance to meet Hervé.

François, the owner of Ana Mighty Sound, is a close friend. He had to come to my place to set up a new tonearm and do some comparative testing of loudspeaker cables for my secondary system. He proposed bringing along the darTZeel mono blocks NHB 468 and, icing on the cake, Hervé Delétraz would join us for the whole day. This is a proposal I could not refuse though I am not looking for a new amplification. I am very happy with my passive bi-amplification setup with Krell Evolution One mono blocks and a Tenor Audio 175 S stereo power amp driven by a Thrax Libra preamp.

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François also brought his associate, Baptiste, who is a recording engineer by trade.

We spent the whole morning improving the setup of my two systems. Whilst François and I were busy with the secondary system, Hervé and Baptiste took the initiative to tame the loudspeakers in the main system. I have always had an excess of bass around 50 Hz which could not be cured with acoustic treatment. Hervé suggested placing highly dense foam in the bass reflex vents (there are two vents by loudspeaker). Luckily, I had a big stash of foam, so Hervé and Baptiste had plenty of material for experimenting. Eventually, they obtained a flatter response with deeper bass.

After lunch, the mono blocks were set up. Though François and Hervé had brought the darTZeel preamp as well, we decided to keep the Thrax Libra which was an excellent match. We had a 4-hour intensive listening session. We only listened to vinyl and tapes.

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The NHB 468’s are transparent, fast, dynamic and were driving my loudspeakers with ease. The max output I saw on the digital meters was 275 watts. They are superior to my current bi-amp setup. The build quality is second to none.

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I have listened to many high-end power amps. The NHB 468’s are by far the best I have heard so far.

I was privileged having these big boys in my system. Sadly, I had to let them go at the end of the day. Should I be looking for new power amps in the future, I know which ones will be on the top of my list.
 
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Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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A few weeks ago, Ana Mighty Sound who is a darTZeel’s agent, organised an event with Hervé Delétraz. Sadly, I could not travel to Paris, and I missed the chance to meet Hervé.


François, the owner of Ana Mighty Sound, is a close friend. He had to come to my place to set up a new tonearm and do some comparative testing of loudspeaker cables for my secondary system. He proposed bringing along the darTZeel mono blocks NHB 468 and, icing on the cake, Hervé Delétraz would join us for the whole day. This is a proposal I could not refuse though I am not looking for a new amplification. I am very happy with my passive bi-amplification setup with Krell Evolution One mono blocks and a Tenor Audio 175 S stereo power amp driven by a Thrax Libra preamp.

View attachment 84572

View attachment 84573
François also brought his associate, Baptiste, who is a recording engineer by trade.

We spent the whole morning improving the setup of my two systems. Whilst François and I were busy with the secondary system, Hervé and Baptiste took the initiative to tame the loudspeakers in the main system. I have always had an excess of bass around 50 Hz which could not be cured with acoustic treatment. Hervé suggested placing highly dense foam in the bass reflex vents (there are two vents by loudspeaker). Luckily, I had a big stash of foam, so Hervé and Baptiste had plenty of material for experimenting. Eventually, they obtained a flatter response with deeper bass.

After lunch, the mono blocks were set up. Though François and Hervé had brought the darTZeel preamp as well, we decided to keep the Thrax Libra which was an excellent match. We had a 4-hour intensive listening session. We only listened to vinyl and tapes.

View attachment 84574

View attachment 84575

The NHB 468 are transparent, fast, dynamic and were driving my loudspeakers with ease. The max output I saw on the digital meters was 275 watts. They are superior to my current bi-amp setup. The build quality is second to none.


View attachment 84576

View attachment 84577

I have listened to many high-end power amps. The NHB 468 are by far the best I have heard so far.

I was privileged having these big boys in my system. Sadly, I had to let them go at the end of the day. Should I be looking for new power amps in the future, I know which ones will be on the top of my list.
wow! fantastic report. thank you. and thank you for the pictures. you have a beautiful room and formidable system. congrats! if you have more thoughts about your session i would love to read them. any particular tracks or music that stood out?

btw; the 468's look amazing and 'at home' in your system.;)

also; i owned the very early first version of Tenor Hybrid 300 watt mono blocks back in 2003-2004. they were really excellent sounding back then. this was just before i got the early version of the 108 "A" darTZeel stereo. the Tenor's were not yet a mature product (boom and smoke), so i moved on, but they are still a very positive memory. i still consider myself a 'Tenor' guy. the 108 was the closest i could find to what i liked about the Tenor's and then took that and went further. still do.

i've owned the 458's, and now the 468's for 10 years. this is the very first time i've ever heard of an in home demo (maybe in Europe or Asia not so rare, but never heard of it myself.....it's a big commitment by a dealer). and having Herve there to boot. this is a big deal. :)
 
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dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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Hi Mike,

Many thanks fort the kind comments.

I reckon the listening session lasted about 4 hours so the playlist was rather large.

The highlights were (in no particular order):

Vinyl on Brinkmann Balance/SAT LM09 tonearm and Transfiguration Proteus :

- Pictures at an Exhibition by Reiner which Hervé used to check the outcome of the taming of my loudspeakers
- John Martyn – Church With One Bell
- Steely Dan – Northeast Corridor
- Para One – Spectre (very impressive percussion) – Side A – Track 2
- The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore (side B)
- Alva Noto & Blixa Bargeld – Mimikry
- R.E.M. – New Adventures In Hi-Fi (25th Anniversary Edition – Pallas pressing)

Tapes on the Nagra IVS/QGB as the Studer A80RC is currently at my tech for its periodic maintenance :

- Friday Night In San Francisco
- The Who – Tommy
- Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

But the best was when François pulled out his boxset of the Who – Live at Leeds. I could not resist so I pulled out mine which was a different version. We listened to Magic Bus on vinyl. At the end, I decided we needed a game changer so I brought the 4 tapes of Live at Leeds and we listened again to Magic Bus on the Nagra. We had a blast. The little barn was litterally shaking.

Hervé is a classic rock guy so the Who and Pink Floyd were certainly the best moments for him. He closes his eyes when listening.

IMG_8270.JPG
 
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dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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With regard to home demo with Hervé, François of Ana Mighty Sound does it regularly for the flagship items. Last year, Rumen Artarski, the founder of Thrax came along with François for a home demo of their top of the line preamplifier that I subsequently ordered.
 

Lagonda

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Feb 4, 2014
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I really like your room and system, almost every component is something i have or would consider myself, you definitely own my favorite Krell amps :) Part of the excellent result with the Dartz could be that you where not bi-amping with 2 different topology amps at the time. Have you tried bi-amping with identical amps ? Two sets of Dartz have a nice ring to it, i am sure your dealer would agree !;)
 

dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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I initially bi-amped the loudspeakers with two Krell stereo power amps but the Krell Evolution One were way better. When I acquired the Tenor stereo amp, I was swapping between both according to my mood. Some of my audiophile friends preferred the Krell amps whereas some others found the Tenor Audio better. The Thrax Libra preamp allows to adjust the output gains in order to have a perfect match and therefore ensure that I have the best of both worlds: the sheer grunt of the Krell for the bass and the silky but still very firm control for the medium/trebble.
 
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gleeds

Industry Expert
May 29, 2018
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For those of you who missed the release elsewhere, this seemed like the right place to post a few photos of darTZeels' new Swiss workshop. Before doing so I want to give a quick shout-out to my good friend and colleague Jonathan Tinn, darTZeel's long-time US importer. Jonathan has afforded me the privilege of representing this extraordinary product line in Southern California and I am very grateful. Thanks, JT!!!
 

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