Are there more differences than similarities between CH Precision and other top Swiss brands?

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
Interesting feedback, Madfloyd. I have always respected deeply Soulution, Dartzeel, Goldmund and FM Acoustics. Although none was super-inspiring to investigate further, the FMA came closest and made it home for an audition.

I have been most intrigued by the comments about CH. I nearly brought that one over for an audition as well, but as always I did a lot of outreach to owners, dealers before I did...and instinct alone kept me from asking for an audition at home (as I am loathe to ask unless I am honestly very, very serious and confident.)

Now that the Gryphon is finally back today (loaner amp since July)...I find the tonal density remains one of my foremost priorities...and that is exactly Robert Koda + Gryphon Audio.
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
2,588
3,093
780
Denmark
Interesting feedback, Madfloyd. I have always respected deeply Soulution, Dartzeel, Goldmund and FM Acoustics. Although none was super-inspiring to investigate further, the FMA came closest and made it home for an audition.

I have been most intrigued by the comments about CH. I nearly brought that one over for an audition as well, but as always I did a lot of outreach to owners, dealers before I did...and instinct alone kept me from asking for an audition at home (as I am loathe to ask unless I am honestly very, very serious and confident.)

Now that the Gryphon is finally back today (loaner amp since July)...I find the tonal density remains one of my foremost priorities...and that is exactly Robert Koda + Gryphon Audio.
What was wrong with the Mephisto ?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
What was wrong with the Mephisto ?
Wow...great question. Super-duper subtle and very hard to trace its origins...but certainly discovered the black and white telltale sign in the end.

1. The CJ GAT 2 may have been off a bit, leaking a teeny bit of DC which DC-coupled amplifiers typically dont like
2. I had successfully plugged the Gryphon Mephisto into the Torus AVR16 (AFTER consulting first with both Gryphon and Torus manufacturing in their respective headquarters)
3. A series of new speakers, power cables came along...and blam...the Gryphon shut down after some scary buzzing
4. Minor repair...test bench is perfect. They bring it back...one channel buzzing
5. Loads of testing...the bench results are perfect
6. Absolute Sounds comes with it this time...the standby light is good to go...but it wont even turn on!!!
- Pedro methodically and scientifically goes thru each wire set up and available design information
- One hour later: it is working perfectly
- Straight into the wall.
- Plugged into the Torus, the unit will not even switch on. Again, so far perfect into the wall

Prelim questions? Current thinking is that while the Gryphon is dual-mono all the way thru, its pre-start protection circuitry checks both channels at once...and if it senses any AC wave form variance, then it will not even allow itself to turn on.

There is a chance there is a quick fix with the Torus, or even an adjustment to fix this...cannot say. I have emailed Torus this evening.

Interestingly, there are at least 5 Mephisto owners I can think of who use both the Mephisto AND the Torus AVR16...so I am really surprised by this.

It certainly sounds like either the Torus (or the Torus and CJ) led to a slow demise of the Gryphon...but now with the Robert Koda (no DC whatsoever...fully blocked and SS so no stray tube noise either...as well as fully balanced so minimal noise)...and going straight into the wall...the system has been perfect.

Stay tuned and we shall see what Torus says.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lagonda

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
2,588
3,093
780
Denmark
Wow...great question. Super-duper subtle and very hard to trace its origins...but certainly discovered the black and white telltale sign in the end.

1. The CJ GAT 2 may have been off a bit, leaking a teeny bit of DC which DC-coupled amplifiers typically dont like
2. I had successfully plugged the Gryphon Mephisto into the Torus AVR16 (AFTER consulting first with both Gryphon and Torus manufacturing in their respective headquarters)
3. A series of new speakers, power cables came along...and blam...the Gryphon shut down after some scary buzzing
4. Minor repair...test bench is perfect. They bring it back...one channel buzzing
5. Loads of testing...the bench results are perfect
6. Absolute Sounds comes with it this time...the standby light is good to go...but it wont even turn on!!!
- Pedro methodically and scientifically goes thru each wire set up and available design information
- One hour later: it is working perfectly
- Straight into the wall.
- Plugged into the Torus, the unit will not even switch on. Again, so far perfect into the wall

Prelim questions? Current thinking is that while the Gryphon is dual-mono all the way thru, its pre-start protection circuitry checks both channels at once...and if it senses any AC wave form variance, then it will not even allow itself to turn on.

There is a chance there is a quick fix with the Torus, or even an adjustment to fix this...cannot say. I have emailed Torus this evening.

Interestingly, there are at least 5 Mephisto owners I can think of who use both the Mephisto AND the Torus AVR16...so I am really surprised by this.

It certainly sounds like either the Torus (or the Torus and CJ) led to a slow demise of the Gryphon...but now with the Robert Koda (no DC whatsoever...fully blocked and SS so no stray tube noise either...as well as fully balanced so minimal noise)...and going straight into the wall...the system has been perfect.

Stay tuned and we shall see what Torus says.
At least it is working again ! :)
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
  • Like
Reactions: Lagonda

christoph

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 12, 2015
4,069
3,397
565
Principality of Liechtenstein

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
Mai I ask, what the loaner amps was?
It was a D'Agostino Progression. A very solidly built amp by a clearly seasoned legend in the industry. I just far prefer the Mephisto, but I do not think anyone would say that is a fair fight nor unexpected.
 
  • Like
Reactions: christoph

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
Are Absolute Sounds now distributing Gryphon as well?
Hi Ashandger,

No they are not...but my local audio dealer (who sells a lot of Absolute Sounds lines) was kind enough to take over the repair of the Gryphon as he felt convinced it was something manageable by his audiotech who apparently is very, very good having rebuilt quite sophisticated amps back from the ground up. So when he brought it back repaired as part of helping us out, Absolute Sounds joined to ensure that we get a full professional view on the day of bringing back the Gryphon. They also then put the Ultra 5s on the XLFs.

That is service!

And sure enough, if Absolute Sounds had not been here yesterday, there we might have been sending the Gryphon back again because plugged into the Torus it would not switch...but sure enough, it is perfect into the wall...and we are going to work on the odd interaction with the Torus. I will update what Torus says when I hear back, as again there are a few members here who use their Mephistos and/or big amps into the same model Torus as we use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: christoph

ashandger

Well-Known Member
Jun 15, 2013
325
93
268
Hi Ashandger,

No they are not...but my local audio dealer (who sells a lot of Absolute Sounds lines) was kind enough to take over the repair of the Gryphon as he felt convinced it was something manageable by his audiotech who apparently is very, very good having rebuilt quite sophisticated amps back from the ground up. So when he brought it back repaired as part of helping us out, Absolute Sounds joined to ensure that we get a full professional view on the day of bringing back the Gryphon. They also then put the Ultra 5s on the XLFs.

That is service!

And sure enough, if Absolute Sounds had not been here yesterday, there we might have been sending the Gryphon back again because plugged into the Torus it would not switch...but sure enough, it is perfect into the wall...and we are going to work on the odd interaction with the Torus. I will update what Torus says when I hear back, as again there are a few members here who use their Mephistos and/or big amps into the same model Torus as we use.
Many thanks for the feedback. Definitely great service. In case of interest, Michael Fremer just published a very positive review of Isoacoustics supports/feet under his Alexx speakers. Review is available on Stereophile website.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
Many thanks for the feedback. Definitely great service. In case of interest, Michael Fremer just published a very positive review of Isoacoustics supports/feet under his Alexx speakers. Review is available on Stereophile website.
Thanks! Just read it...strong review!
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,987
662
550
Mass
Many thanks for the feedback. Definitely great service. In case of interest, Michael Fremer just published a very positive review of Isoacoustics supports/feet under his Alexx speakers. Review is available on Stereophile website.
I cannot find this on the Stereophile website, would you mind posting a link?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,519
1,777
698
  • Like
Reactions: ashandger

goodsource

VIP/Donor
Jun 13, 2020
6
0
51
43
:cool:Oh great system!!!
Look at my signature;)

Living in Switzerland, I regularly listen to Swiss brands on system's friends.
Brands like CH Precision, Goldmund, Soulution, Dartzeel and Nagra are all excellent!

Their sound signatures are quite similar, but I would say to differentiate them (IMHO):

Soulution is on the neutral side (not to say "cold" because it's not cold at all!, but it's to give a direction)
CH Precision is on the hot side
Goldmund is exactly between CH Precision and Soulution.
Nagra is difficult to classify, because once they make a lamp element, another time without... (I dream of their DAC;))
Dartzeel is rather on the hot side too...
To be chosen and combined according to your taste and the elements of your systems.
it's too simplistic to just call these brands and classify them as hot and cold.
one thing i have learnt in high end systems most of these brand are pretty transparent.
and cable makes a big difference.somehow cables are the least transparent and least neutral aspect of any high end system.
so it would take much more than hot and cold to compare these swiss brands.
 
Last edited:

Brahmsian

VIP/Donor
Aug 2, 2020
27
20
53
55
I have owned all CH, Solution and Dartzeel and here are my thoughts:

CH = a great all rounder but geared for smaller works (chamber, jazz) and chamber orchestra.
Soulution = muscular that is great for symphonic works, rock, indie music - try War on Drugs!.
Dartzeel = great for rock, hip-hop and grunge. You have not lived until you hear Nirvana on a Dartzeel on full blast.

Never owned a Nagra so can't comment.

All are great and the above is a bit of a generalisation. But it is another perspective from a music point of view. Having gone the full journey, I am now with CH but I can live with all 3. Oddly enough, I don't miss the DartZeel as much as I miss the Soulution. Man, that bottom up sound is very addictive especially on the 725 and 711. The first generation Soulution was too neutral.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: MadFloyd

poonbean

Member
Jul 31, 2020
30
16
13
Well - I can now report back my listening findings between the Nagra Classic amp and Dartzeel.
In short, I now own the Dartzeel CTH-8550 - never ever thought I'd pick up an integrated. Of course, all observations and words here are my observations and ymmv. Source = Lumin X1 and Roon and Qobuz. Speakers = Verity Sorastro 2s. Cabling = Audience SX interconnects and speaker cables to top and bottom, Shunyata Alpha NR power cords and Denali 2s. Room = open to house so not pressurized, main room is ~33+feet long, 15 feet wide, ceiling 8-12ft with big wool floor rug. Speakers on the short wall with big bay window behind, definitely not optimal.

Nagra is all about speed, attack, detail, texture, excitement, fleet of foot and nimble, and yes, musical, too. I'd say puts the listener in more of an observer and appreciator/sympathizer role than the Dart's engaged empathizer role - perhaps overly poetic and silly, but that's what my typing fingers just spit out, so I'll keep it. Terrific image breadth and height. Speakers are nearly invisible. And this thing is Silent. Elegantly made, solid, simple in appearance and operation. The biamp feature is terrific and made the Verity's sing and the bass growl. Never ran out of steam. My nit pick - perhaps too fast, perhaps a bit tipped up, tho that could be the ribbons and the room. My wife said the system never sounded so good. My daughter, a Berklee College music grad liked the set up too.

Dartzeel is all about emotion, grace, depth, empathy, muscular as in a powerlifter, definitely not in a rush, and very very musical. Terrific image breadth and height and depth, too - wow, suddenly that drum kit is a couple feet off the stage and in the back - terrific! Speakers are more invisible because the image is scary good. And it's also silent, tho perhaps not quite as black as the nagra. Amazingly, at low volume, the amp is spooky in it's ability to engage and project an image - how is that possible (and I wasn't even high)? Beautifully made, and not nearly as ostentatious as it looks. A nit pick - could be a bit faster with a bit more attack and texture - perhaps that's a consequence of AB'g with the Nagra.

The Dart is also much more tolerant of poor/older recordings I think in part because it's presentation is biased towards a musical liquid presentation than a detailed fast all-the-information-you-can-handle presentation. Because I want my system to be able to make me weep (happily!) than jump up and down, I'm more in the Dart/tube camp. Yep, it's a bit quirky (pleasure control!) and the manual is entertaining - never actually read a manual from page 1 to the end in a single sitting, but Herve made it fun and laugh out loud funny at times. As a side note, Dartzeel is an anagram for his last name, and his email is an anagram of his first name - quite the character - very responsive to emails. Also, FWIW, Herve said the CTH-8550 mk2 betters the NHB model one separates.

To blather on, for a "true" comparison, I also AB'd the Nagras thru the Dart's preamp section, because the 8550 allows you to defeat the amplifier section and send signal out through RCAs. This tamed the Nagras somewhat, but not by much - which suggests the Dart magic is in the amp.

In addition, at first, I was not enamored with the Dart at all - found it warm, plodding, overly pretty, genteel. Could not understand what all the fuss was about - how could a solid state sound like that? While reading an interview between Herve and Matej at mono and stereo where they were discussing power supplies, I decided to unplug the Dart from Shunyata Denali 2s and go straight into the wall. Viola. The Dart came alive. No idea why, as the Denali was a fabulous improvement for the sources and the Nagras and is not supposed to limit current. Whatever, it works way better - had to start the evaluation all over again.

Also, want to give a shout out thanks to Collin at Gestalt in Nashville for providing me with a laid back informative guiding hand through this process. He contacted me soon after my initial post herein and we chatted about amps, music, wants, desires, and budget. He's a super patient and experienced guy who asks good questions and actually listens to the response, converses easily and unhurried, and offers suggestions without forced opinions - what a great service! And to boot, he was not deterred by the fact that he and I spoke several times months earlier about tube amps and in the end I decided to go a different way. He's a wonderful source of help, insight, and equipment.
 

Gregm

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2019
321
223
115
France
Interesting feedback, Madfloyd. I have always respected deeply Soulution, Dartzeel, Goldmund and FM Acoustics. Although none was super-inspiring to investigate further, the FMA came closest and made it home for an audition. (...)
Interesting !

Throughout the years, I had (in chrono order) Goldmund-pre / power, FMA pre (rca)-power monos, Soulution, CH, and finally DartZeel.

At the time I istened to modified Genesis V or Audio Physic Medea speakers, in a relatively large room (45 m2), mostly thru my Simon Yorke & a diy SRPP riaa or a small FMA. I listen mostly to orchestral music, some some & blues.
When I first listened to the MFA combo, I was, literally, mesmerized -- and I am not given to superlatives!
My previous Goldmund setup was excellent with beautiful hi-frequency extension and control, etc, but the sweet sound, the dynamic impact, the clarity and naturalness and the drive capacity of the FMA gear was beyond anything I had experienced until then.

By comparison, Soulution was very powerful but dry sounding, edgy at times especially with the Medea (manger drivers). The CH on the other hand gave a delicate sound, making even heavy metal sound politely powerful. The Dart, an early integrated, was actually powerful and sweet at the same time, somewhat less dynamic than the FMA but full lof detail and hi-frequency extension none the less.

By the way, only the Goldmund were mine; the rest were on long-term loan, the FMA from a good friend who was away and the CH & Soul & Dart from dealers.
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,987
662
550
Mass
Great reports! Love this thread.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing