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

bmarq

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Dec 29, 2018
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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.
Thanks for sharing @poonbean! I have the Verity Parsifal Anniversary’s and have been considering Nagra Classic Pre/Power combo as both companies have been known for their synergy. But you have just opened my mind to try it with the Dart 8550’s which has always been on my radar. May I just ask if you decided to also keep your Nagras or the Darts completely did it for you? Sorry to sidetrack the thread.
 

poonbean

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Jul 31, 2020
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I've got the pair of Nagra monoblocks up for sale.
The DarTZeel CTH-8550 is a single box integrated amp - so you only need one.
For clarity, I've the current Mk2 version, which I think has been out a year or less.

Also, one of the main reasons I got the Nagras is because I learned that they used the Verity Lohengrin for voicing (among other speakers). And I confirmed that info with Julien at Verity, who was quite positive about the Nagra/Verity combination. And, while I do think the combination was superb, it just wasn't the sort of magic I was seeking. I'd say that part of the magic with the Dart driving the Sorastro's ribbon tweeter is that the Dart's presentation is a bit richer all around and more rounded/tubey, which likely softens up the presentation provided by the ribbon. A fast amp, like the Nagra coupled with v fast ribbon tweeter might just be too much of a good thing for me.

FWIW, I had the Parsifals (much earlier version than yours) for several years before stepping into the Sorastro. As a somewhat related comment, I had the Kharma 3.2 before the Parsifal and struggled to find suitable gear to drive it that didn't overly excite the ceramic tweeters - tubes did the trick. Knowing what I know now, I could easily see pairing the Nagra with the Parsifal and its dome tweeter, which I found to be a lovely and rich sounding loudspeaker that might benefit with some speed driving it.
 

bmarq

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Dec 29, 2018
16
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I've got the pair of Nagra monoblocks up for sale.
The DarTZeel CTH-8550 is a single box integrated amp - so you only need one.
For clarity, I've the current Mk2 version, which I think has been out a year or less.

Also, one of the main reasons I got the Nagras is because I learned that they used the Verity Lohengrin for voicing (among other speakers). And I confirmed that info with Julien at Verity, who was quite positive about the Nagra/Verity combination. And, while I do think the combination was superb, it just wasn't the sort of magic I was seeking. I'd say that part of the magic with the Dart driving the Sorastro's ribbon tweeter is that the Dart's presentation is a bit richer all around and more rounded/tubey, which likely softens up the presentation provided by the ribbon. A fast amp, like the Nagra coupled with v fast ribbon tweeter might just be too much of a good thing for me.

FWIW, I had the Parsifals (much earlier version than yours) for several years before stepping into the Sorastro. As a somewhat related comment, I had the Kharma 3.2 before the Parsifal and struggled to find suitable gear to drive it that didn't overly excite the ceramic tweeters - tubes did the trick. Knowing what I know now, I could easily see pairing the Nagra with the Parsifal and its dome tweeter, which I found to be a lovely and rich sounding loudspeaker that might benefit with some speed driving it.
Thanks for these great insights and for clarifying the 8550 you have is the Mk2 version. What I have been following was the previous model. The current one that you have sounds like a really great amp that will be very well received and reviewed in the coming months.

I agree with what you said regarding Nagra/Parsifal combo. I feel that the first order crossover has made the tweeter a tad polite, needing an amp with a bit more speed/resolution to truly open it up and give the presentation more life.
 

nirodha

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Aug 11, 2010
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interesting discussion; over the years I have owned Goldmund, Soulution, Nagra and Orpheus and home demoed Dartzeel.

I would rank them in terms of cold to warm in this order Soulution, Nagra, Goldmund, Orpheus and Dartzeel.
Hi there,
is it possible to rank them in terms of transparancy? Btw, if the Nagra is on the cool side, I never want to own a dart. Own Nagra and never heard a guest listener call the sound analytical or cool. Transparant yes, full blooded yes, alive yes, dynamic yes. It probably has to do with cabling etc. ?!?:rolleyes:
 

RdW

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Apr 8, 2018
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I have read this thread with great interest and might have missed this but assume this conversation started in June 2018 with the CH A1 and M1 available on the market. End of 2018, CH introduced the A1.5 and M1.1. I am already a longer time in the market to find a good SS-amp that would to my ears be more on the tube side/warmer side than the classic SS-amp side. Not that I am looking to get a tube sound from a SS-amp, I get that.

I own a ARC Ref 150SE and am used to this nice signature but in summer, my 75m3 room get too hot! I have tried Dan D'Ago and Soulution. Wonderfull amps but they were to me too much on the "clinical" side, driving my TAD CR-1 86dB speakers. I am looking for more articulation and definition in the lower end while keeping the sweetness in the mids.

What I am asking is if all the discussed in this thread and the comparisons made would get another view when introducing the CH M1.1 and A1.5. Or was it compared against those? I am very interested in your views. CH is not to audition in NL hence might need to cross borders one day to audition.....
 

BruceD

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The finest Swiss Amplification Audio products that I recall being impressed with

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Golum

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The finest Swiss Amplification Audio products that I recall being impressed with

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BruceD
I very much can relate to this (plus being super exotic)
But so so many great ones around here...
 
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MadFloyd

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I would consider CH to be a very neutral sound. I would not describe it as warm.
 

RdW

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The finest Swiss Amplification Audio products that I recall being impressed with

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IMHO

BruceD
Actually never considered them:rolleyes: Has to do with dealership availability I guess.

Although the same goes for CH, dealership I mean, what I like about CH is what I read in terms of sound in combination with the parameters one can adjust like for the amplifiers that provide an adjustable global versus local feedback ratio, from 100% local to 100% global. Curious what that could do for me.
 
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mu6

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Actually never considered them:rolleyes: Has to do with dealership availability I guess.

Although the same goes for CH, dealership I mean, what I like about CH is what I read in terms of sound in combination with the parameters one can adjust like for the amplifiers that provide an adjustable global versus local feedback ratio, from 100% local to 100% global. Curious what that could do for me.
Hi RdW,

I'm the CH Precision distributor for the Netherlands and Belgium and the P1, L1, A1.5 and X1 are currently on demo at Rhapsody (Hilversum).

Best regards,
Hans van Put
HVP AUDIO
 
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ashandger

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Just FYI, the 2 last issues of UK magazine HiFi Critic may be of interest to you as Martin Colloms did very detailed reviews of Dartzeel 108/18NS combo followed by CHP P1/L1/A1.5/X1. The next issue coming out this month will have additional review of the CHP along with Argento cables which Martin found to be very good match with the CHP gear. Info is on the HiFi Critic website.
 

MadFloyd

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Actually never considered them:rolleyes: Has to do with dealership availability I guess.

Although the same goes for CH, dealership I mean, what I like about CH is what I read in terms of sound in combination with the parameters one can adjust like for the amplifiers that provide an adjustable global versus local feedback ratio, from 100% local to 100% global. Curious what that could do for me.
This adjustability appealed to me as well. In my situation I'm at 0% global. If I could go less I would. :)
 
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RdW

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Just FYI, the 2 last issues of UK magazine HiFi Critic may be of interest to you as Martin Colloms did very detailed reviews of Dartzeel 108/18NS combo followed by CHP P1/L1/A1.5/X1. The next issue coming out this month will have additional review of the CHP along with Argento cables which Martin found to be very good match with the CHP gear. Info is on the HiFi Critic website.
Thanks! I will certainly have a look at these two issues.
 

RdW

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Just FYI, the 2 last issues of UK magazine HiFi Critic may be of interest to you as Martin Colloms did very detailed reviews of Dartzeel 108/18NS combo followed by CHP P1/L1/A1.5/X1. The next issue coming out this month will have additional review of the CHP along with Argento cables which Martin found to be very good match with the CHP gear. Info is on the HiFi Critic website.
Just ordered the two copies. Like in the old days, by mail :)
 
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Jambo

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Just FYI, the 2 last issues of UK magazine HiFi Critic may be of interest to you as Martin Colloms did very detailed reviews of Dartzeel 108/18NS combo followed by CHP P1/L1/A1.5/X1. The next issue coming out this month will have additional review of the CHP along with Argento cables which Martin found to be very good match with the CHP gear. Info is on the HiFi Critic website.
The review that ashandger mentions (CHP P1/L1/A1.5/X1) is now avaible for free on the CH Precision web site (under Media / Reviews) - full HiFi Critic review pdf.



Enjoy.
 
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LL21

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RdW

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I have a CH Precision A1.5 for demo in the house this week and must say I am impressed . I also received my October-December 2020 copy of Hifi Critic by mail and read Martin's article. I have to say that there is nothing in that article that I disagree with in term of how the A1.5. produces music.

I am searching for a longer time now for an amplifier that can drive my TAD CR-1 loudspeakers, of course with a sound that pleases my ears. I might have found it! There was no opportunity yet for me to listen to Dartzeel NHB 108 but might not want to... I really like what I hear.
 

RdW

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This adjustability appealed to me as well. In my situation I'm at 0% global. If I could go less I would. :)
Now I had the A1.5 in the house, I can say that I have to work out a “internal conflicts” to settled for either 10 or 20%. :rolleyes:. Great option btw.

I own a Soulution 520 pre. A good pre-amp and a pretty good match, I think ....However, I read all the time that an L1 would be a significant improvement. Any experience?
 

rsorren1

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Now I had the A1.5 in the house, I can say that I have to work out a “internal conflicts” to settled for either 10 or 20%. :rolleyes:. Great option btw.

I own a Soulution 520 pre. A good pre-amp and a pretty good match, I think ....However, I read all the time that an L1 would be a significant improvement. Any experience?
RdW, thanks for considering our A1.5. I've not set-up a TAD CR-1with our equipment so I don't have a specific recommendation for you to try with respect to Global/Local negative feedback adjustment. In general, start with 0%. Then play a few cuts that have a good bass line in them. Adjust the percentage up from 0% to 10% to 20% listening for the bass to "tighten" while also listening to the "openness" of the mids and highs. At a certain point bass and mid/highs will sound just right to your liking. That's the setting. Remember, when you connect your CH Precision equipment to your network via an ethernet cable and control them with our free control app, you can change the % quite easily. Your dealer will also help you with this.

I've always said that our components in a system together is greater than the sum of the parts. I said this even BEFORE working for CH Precision. The interface between our amps and pre-amps is optimized (especially in our 10-Series) and in my experience sound best together. The Soulution 520 pre is a fine product to be sure. If you can, you should try an L1 or L1/X1 and see what you think. Whatever you decide, thanks again for considering CH Precision in your listening room.
 

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