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

  1. #81
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! MadFloyd's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for that very articulate description. It seems you value the same things I do and I fully agree that piano is a great test. In the past I've owned the Ref 3 and Ref 5 and felt it was 'fluffy' sounding on piano - that it lacked the combination of weight & sparkle that a piano emits. I've also heard that the Ref 10 and 6 are better in this respect but until I hear it for myself I wouldn't count on it.

    I always wondered if the dartzeel would sound synthetic or non-organic in the way that many solid state designs do, but I'm guessing that's not the case.
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  2. #82
    Addicted to Best! Cascais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    Thank you so much for that very articulate description. It seems you value the same things I do and I fully agree that piano is a great test. In the past I've owned the Ref 3 and Ref 5 and felt it was 'fluffy' sounding on piano - that it lacked the combination of weight & sparkle that a piano emits. I've also heard that the Ref 10 and 6 are better in this respect but until I hear it for myself I wouldn't count on it.

    I always wondered if the dartzeel would sound synthetic or non-organic in the way that many solid state designs do, but I'm guessing that's not the case.
    The piano is an orchestra in itself with great dynamic range and combination of the tune and percussion and therefore a challenge to any component. The Ref 5 SE does a good job but does not compare with the Dart in reproducing the power and complexity of the instrument. Your guess is right about the Dart not sounding synthetic or harsh as some ss designs do, but it has been said that it combines the best qualities of tube and ss, and I can believe this.
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  3. #83
    Addicted to Best! Harlequin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank750 View Post
    Am I missing something in this comparison? Isn't the Dartzeel a $40k preamp?
    Hmmm....The RRP of the Dart in the UK is 34,000, close on three times the RRP of an Ref5se, a more realistic comparison would be with the Ref10.

  4. #84
    Addicted to Best! Cascais's Avatar
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    Harlequin: Realistic for whom? I was making a personal comparison having both preamps in my possession and trying to chose one over the other. Looks like the Ref 5 se will be up for sale.
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  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cascais View Post
    Harlequin: Realistic for whom? I was making a personal comparison having both preamps in my possession and trying to chose one over the other. Looks like the Ref 5 se will be up for sale.
    What!!! Oh I can't be bothered, enjoy your darTZeel.

  6. #86
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    Just a word to finish off this comparison between the ARC Ref 5 SE/Ayre phono section and 18NS with phono section. The Ayre has been sold as the Dart's phono proved to be superior, a star in its own right. While the Ayre was satisfying and would have been my phono section for life, the Dart has more dimension, liquidity, realistic timbre with the Skala cartridge. However I plan to get a Lyra Etna as a next step so we shall see where that leads.
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  7. #87
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    The Dart 1's phono is excellent, I compared it to several other phono stages when I had it. I am sure the new one is even better. I believe it is easier to change the loading on the model 2.

  8. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by Cascais View Post
    Just a word to finish off this comparison between the ARC Ref 5 SE/Ayre phono section and 18NS with phono section. The Ayre has been sold as the Dart's phono proved to be superior, a star in its own right. While the Ayre was satisfying and would have been my phono section for life, the Dart has more dimension, liquidity, realistic timbre with the Skala cartridge. However I plan to get a Lyra Etna as a next step so we shall see where that leads.
    Hi Cascais the internal phono section is pretty good to almost forget anything else. Since this last 3 months I have the Dart preamp I am back and forth between my ARC REF Phono2 and the internal phono section. The ARC is better, with a lot of more air, and a beautifull midrange. On the contrary, Dartzeel Phono section is faster, deeper and with more blacks (ARCs is noisier) and a more open and beautifull highs. But sometimes if the record is beautifully recorded warm things go tooooo much warn
    But I decided to sell my ARC REF Phono2, my point is you can save on cables (Transparent Reference MM2 XLR which ones also i sell) and also on a dedicated preamp and still enjoying a lot. I have a Transfiguration Proteus cartridge.

    And yes save to go to the upgrade, and after the upgrade with new phono take a decision for a dedicated phono preamp or not.
    But for example anyone with a Lyra or Koetsu still should like an ARC Reference Phono2

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