darTZeel NHB-468 mono blocks in my system

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#1
the waiting is over; this afternoon the 468's arrived, i met my son at my home shortly after they were dropped off. we got them un-crated and set in place pretty quickly; then i went back to work. got home and went through all the setting up and connecting. removed the shipping screws and installed the little gold plated plugs. hooked up the interconnects and speaker cables, connected my 20 amp IEC re-plugged EA power cords which put them into standby, and then connected my ground lead to my Tripoint Troy Sig.

started with some high rez piano from Quboz that had been the last thing i had listened to......and before the decay of the first note faded away i knew that this was something different. textures. breath of life. liquidity. the 458 had those, but not like this. tubes. this is ML3'ish territory. but without the darker tones. not rounding or blunting. and the speed and grip is better than the 458's.

tubes.

this was first blush in the first 5 minutes or so. played the Anna Netrebko track with the glass harmonica......that was special and on another plane higher.

tubes. you like tubes, this will be your solid state amp.

i'm now about 45 minutes in.......just more of that and things are getting a bit more ease and refined. the noise floor is really down there. did i say this is fast?

physically it's not much different; the tone of the front plate is a bit lighter and less golden. i suppose i prefer this to the 458's slightly. that's about it. we will have to see how my first impressions hold up. i'm in heaven, and i'm still only doing digital.......sounds fantastic and just easier to navigate thru tracks of different music.
 

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Golum

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Jun 7, 2018
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#3
Swiss power:D
 

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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Congrats Mike. I really wish I could have made my Dartzeel pre quiet enough to get these in. Enjoy!
 
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Violetmachan

Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2012
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#8
Congrats mike
Great news....looks like it’s for ever Christmas in Seattle , enjoy
Mike , you’re probably coming to last frontier of reproducing the holy grail of recorded sound in your dedicated sound space ....
I am sure your enjoying the sound of music ...looking forward to read your reviews and updates
 
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rugyboogie

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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#10
Congrats on the new amps. New über turntables as well.
Time for a road trip. Take care
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Hi Mike, congrats. They look lovely! Are you using the new Zeel cables?
i have a few runs of the 'old' OEM 'zeel' cable, and use 11 meters of it between my King Cello tape repro and dart pre. it is very good sounding. the new version of the OEM 'zeel' is even better i'm told.

however; what i use between my amps and preamp, is the Evolution Acoustics version of the 'zeel' cable, which i'm told is still better than the 'new' OEM 'zeel'.

so while i don't have personal experience with that new 'zeel', i'm pretty happy and have no plans to personally investigate any cables.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Congrats on the new amps. New über turntables as well.
Time for a road trip. Take care
thanks.

always time for a road trip to my place for Mr. and Mrs. Rugyboogie. :)
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#13

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#14
Congratulations, Mike!
 
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May 30, 2010
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#15
Mike, my congratulations, I am sure you are having a special moment with the new NHB486's.

I had the NHB458's (coming from a friend who had got new NHB468's ...) with the NH18 mk2 in my system not long ago and found them lacking exactly in what you say now you are getting in spades. Most probably if I had the NHB 468's the result would have been very different.

Although many people consider that the recent improvements in solid state electronics are just something more of the same, I feel the opposite - the differences between the very latest top models of D'Agostino, Dartzeel, Nagra or Soulution and the previous generation are really hyperbolic in terms of subjective sound quality, particularly with high quality digital.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Mike, my congratulations, I am sure you are having a special moment with the new NHB486's.

I had the NHB458's (coming from a friend who had got new NHB468's ...) with the NH18 mk2 in my system not long ago and found them lacking exactly in what you say now you are getting in spades. Most probably if I had the NHB 468's the result would have been very different.

Although many people consider that the recent improvements in solid state electronics are just something more of the same, I feel the opposite - the differences between the very latest top models of D'Agostino, Dartzeel, Nagra or Soulution and the previous generation are really hyperbolic in terms of subjective sound quality, particularly with high quality digital.
thank you Francisco. yes, it is special. it's early to talk about how special.....but i suspect very.

i can't agree on the 458, but respect that we all have our personal viewpoints. and as you famously always say, we build our systems around and in a complimentary way with our gear, so results can easily be different.

i do agree that solid state is improving, although i've not heard anything like the 468's yet elsewhere. at Axpona last year i heard most of the big boys, and never heard anything touch me. with my 468 reference now i will listen more closely to see if they do. this is not to say that these others are not very fine sounding, since they certainly are. admittedly last year i was not seriously in the market for amplifiers, so my level of interest could have been higher. but nothing sucked me in either.

it's almost impossible to fairly compare 'uber' amplifiers. i tried a year ago and over 1000 posts could not agree that i did it.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#17
Congrats, Mike. The perfection of the combination of many attributes clearly advances another major step.

- speed
- transparency
- detail
- ability to handle complex, multi-instrument easily

- dynamics (macro and micro, decay)
- extension
- effortlessness
- effortlessness at high volumes/low impedances

- sweetness
- liquidity

it appears these last two are really doing it for you with the 468s. We have all seen designers prioritize when ultimately, no component can be perfect, and so those priorities became the 'signature' of the sound. And yet, as designs advance, ultimately being able to excel in ALL areas must remain the goal. Sounds like Herve continues to be a leader in this regard. Enjoy.
 
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PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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#18
Congratulations Mike. Yes, just as you begin to get used to a new turntable drive type or LT tonearm, these new amps come in and elevate the overall sound to a new level. Your system now seems less stable than mine does (joking).

Two questions: Could you please elaborate on how these sound more "tube like" than your previous amps? And, I don't see lights on the active isolation platforms under the amps. Is that normal for in use operation? I thought they always had lights indicating the corrections taking place.

I look forward to reading your thoughts as these break in and you get a better handle on their sound. I suspect they will also let you appreciate differences between your sources that much more than your old amps did.

I'm happy for you.
 
Jun 3, 2018
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Congratulations, Mike! You should be in audio heaven, now!

To be honest I heard before all the big toys and none of these amps touched my heart like the darTZeels. Just right for my taste. So do you. Once you enjoy the 458 it is hard to imagine that it can come better. So great to hear the step to 468 was the right decision.

I am happy to hear more of your experience with the 468s and they will break in and get even better.
 
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