In order to best make sense of the extraordinary experience of listening to a darTZeel amplifier, one has to understand the mind and motivations of its creator Hervé Delétraz.
“Listen first, measure afterwards. Theories of physics will never explain how the beauty of music can have such a profound effect on us. When it comes to music, only humans should be the judge.”
darTZeel is the result of exceptional engineering wisdom, Swiss craftmanship that would put watchmakers to shame and the unwavering passion of a once-in-a-generation designer. Transcendent sound quality that reveals the emotion, heart and soul in music, breathing life into a live performance. Often found in the reference systems of experienced audiophiles and reviewers around the world (e.g. Michael Fremer), darTZeel occupy a rarefied position at the pinnacle of what is possible in high-end audio amplification.
ART Open house Stenheim Alumine 5 with darTZeel Pleasure control
darTZeel Audio factory tour video
AnalogPlanet Tours darTZeel Factory, Geneva, Switzerland
The darTZeel Sound
The acquisition of a darTZeel ‘piece’ is a very special experience on many levels. To begin with, these instruments, as creator Hervé Delétraz refers to them, are hand made in Geneva, Switzerland and are very rare, often complementing cost-no-object systems and rarely seen, even at shows. Due to their exclusivity, having an opportunity to hear them is a special experience. They are absolute final destination products for those that acquire them.
The darTZeel standard of build quality stands alone in the world of high-end audio. They are truly ‘heirloom’ pieces, often compared to fine Swiss watches in terms of the precision, fine engineering, fit and finish quality. Such is the breathtaking industrial design beauty inherent in their construction, that the NHB-108 and NHB-468 power amplifiers have transparent see-through sections so the internals can be seen and appreciated. This is very rare in audio where most electronics are contained in forgettable silver or black boxes.
Hervé builds every design to be the very best that it can be – no corners are cut and nothing is left on the table. darTZeel do not have a philosophy of ‘building to a cost’ to compete in different sections of the market. Their approach is to build the very best instrument possible. That’s why there’s just one of everything – one pre-amplifier, one stereo amplifier, etc. Therefore, the technology and materials used in these designs are simply the very best available. When investing in a darTZeel piece, it won’t be obsoleted in a year or two. You are investing in a level of technology that will always sound great and be relevant.
The greatest benefit of the darTZeel experience is the unique sound quality and that is the reason why darTZeel remain at the high-end audio summit. They are a pure solid-state design (no tubes) however they sound like a single ended triode tube amplifer, but with dynamic drive and headroom. In some ways, this is the Holy Grail of high-end audio amplification – to have the ability to express subtlety, nuance, perfectly natural tonality, immediacy and realism but also at the same time exhibit dynamics, control and drive with a total absence of etch, harshness or fatigue that many solid-state high power designs are known for. Many experienced audiophiles who have tried many amplifiers over their audio life journey hear about these claims and naturally have doubts about their validity. However, upon listening they are pleasantly surprised then shocked at what darTZeel have achieved.
Perhaps the greatest attribute of the darTZeel sound is the way they allow the emotional content of the music to flow. Not only do you forget that you are listening to a hi-fi system, but you immediately connect with the artist’s intention, motivation, pain, joy or whatever feeling the music is communicating. This is the ultimate experience a music lover is seeking.
The darTZeel Philosophy
- Use an exceptionally simple amplifying circuit.
- Remove all global feedback and virtually all local feedback.
- Provide perfect power.
- Design the circuit for exceptional extended bandwidth and minimal phase shift.
- Eliminate all switches, relays and traditional volume controls.
- Build it to a quality level that would make NASA proud.
The Zeel Connectors
During his early days in design, Hervé became intrigued with cables though not necessarily from an aural perspective. While he clearly heard differences in design, his fascination really stemmed from his inability to correlate design differences with the ultimate sound produced by the cables. Through his research at the Engineering School of Geneva, Hervé attempted to solve this mystery.
Hervé’s experiments concluded that mismatched components and cables change and distort the sound. While at audio frequencies this distortion might be low, it is distortion and degradation nonetheless. If there is a better solution, why induce distortion to begin with?
Enter the Zeel connection. darTZeel instruments can be used with any cables that you choose, however they are also fitted with their unique Zeel connectors and offer you the choice of specific cables designed by the company to maximise the sonic potential of their amplifiers. Precisely matched inputs, outputs and cables offer pure distortion-free signal transfer resulting in extra purity, clarity and definition.