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Thread: Dartzeel NHB-18NS or ARC Ref 5 se?

  1. #51
    Addicted to Best! Cascais's Avatar
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    dctom - Thanks for the very helpful reply which confirms the quality of the Dart phono section which is praised in reviews. Strangely the phono on my unit was disappointing, thin and light on the bass, not comparable to my reference Ayre Evolution, which I find very satisfying coupled with the ARC Ref 5 SE, SME 20, Skala combination. I will listen with fresh ears when the Dart comes back but at present it is possible that I will continue to use the Ayre even if I keep the Dart for CD. If so my ultimate aim would be to have the Dart upgraded to the new model.
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    Subscribing... always curious about both darTZeel and AR preamps and phono stages.
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    The loading on the Dart can be adjusted but needs to be soldered. I ran it around 330ohms if I remember correctly.
    That did produce a fuller sound.
    What cartridge are you using?

  4. #54
    Addicted to Best! Cascais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dctom View Post
    The loading on the Dart can be adjusted but needs to be soldered. I ran it around 330ohms if I remember correctly.
    That did produce a fuller sound.
    What cartridge are you using?
    I'm using the Lyra Skala loaded by the dealer at 17k ohms in the Ayre. The Dart is loaded at the factory at 836 ohms. I found the Ayre sound much superior although can't say if this was due to the loading.
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  5. #55
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    Maybe the Ayre is indeed a better phono stage than the Dart's internal one. It is your listening experience that should be the arbiter.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by dctom View Post
    Maybe the Ayre is indeed a better phono stage than the Dart's internal one. It is your listening experience that should be the arbiter.
    That is exactly what my Dartzeel dealer suggested. An external phono stage might have an innate superiority to a built in model and Ayre products are very good. The ear will be the judge.
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  7. #57
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    The Dartzeel NHB - 18NS is a great machine but is now prohibitively expensive in the UK. When the model 1 came out in 2007 it was 15K GBP an extra phono was about 1k GBP, so the phono was modest in high end terms but obviously preformed very well. It climbed up in price over the years to around £27k in 2015 mostly due to a falling pound, partly UK inflation (22% approx)

    The new NHB - 18NS is 37000 GBP (2nd phono 6K) because the pound has fallen to 1.2CHF /1 GBP. If the exchange rate was the same as in 2007 the NHB - 18NS would be about 18k GBP inc vat (2.5 CHF/£1). A great buy, in high end terms, for an all in one solution to vinyl replay.

    Why am I writing this - although the Dart is excellent there are a lot of possibly more cost effective solutions in the UK, if buying new, 2nd hand it is a better deal but I dont know how much the upgrade options are.
    Last edited by dctom; 03-19-2017 at 12:56 AM.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by dctom View Post
    The Dartzeel NHB - 18NS is a great machine but is now prohibitively expensive in the UK. When the model 1 came out in 2007 it was 15K GBP an extra phono was about 1k GBP, so the phono was modest in high end terms but obviously preformed very well. It climbed up in price over the years to around £27k in 2015 mostly due to a falling pound, partly UK inflation (22% approx)

    The new NHB - 18NS is 37000 GBP (2nd phono 6K) because the pound has fallen to 1.2CHF /1 GBP. If the exchange rate was the same as in 2007 the NHB - 18NS would be about 18k GBP inc vat (2.5 CHF/£1). A great buy, in high end terms, for an all in one solution to vinyl replay.

    Why am I writing this - although the Dart is excellent there are a lot of possibly more cost effective solutions in the UK, if buying new, 2nd hand it is a better deal but I dont know how much the upgrade options are.
    The cost of a basic upgrade (without revised phono stage or power supply) for the NHB-18NS is 6500 CHF or 5265 pounds at current exchange rates.
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  9. #59
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] Mike Lavigne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cascais View Post
    The cost of a basic upgrade (without revised phono stage or power supply) for the NHB-18NS is 6500 CHF or 5265 pounds at current exchange rates.
    if you are speaking about the upgrade from 'version 1' of the 18NS to 'version 2' (introduced last year) I had not heard you could do that without also getting the new battery system and power supply and the new phono. I had heard the 'total' upgrade to be approx. $11k USD. not sure exactly what it is now.

    the delta from version 1 to version 2 in all areas is night and day. the new version plays at the very top level of phono stages and line stages, and continues to provide all the cost savings of interconnects, power cords, and rack space.

    it's a no-brainer way to go.
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  10. #60
    Addicted to Best! Cascais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    if you are speaking about the upgrade from 'version 1' of the 18NS to 'version 2' (introduced last year) I had not heard you could do that without also getting the new battery system and power supply and the new phono. I had heard the 'total' upgrade to be approx. $11k USD. not sure exactly what it is now.

    the delta from version 1 to version 2 in all areas is night and day. the new version plays at the very top level of phono stages and line stages, and continues to provide all the cost savings of interconnects, power cords, and rack space.

    it's a no-brainer way to go.

    Check with darTZeel HQ in Geneva, as I heard from Hervé that there were three different price schedules depending on how far you wanted to go. The basic 6500 CHF included new battery system and front fascia, etc., and for extra cost you could get phono and power supply upgrades to the newest version. However the policy might have changed although I would be using my present phono section with the Dart preamp.
    I wouldn't belong to any club that had me as a member - Groucho.

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