Dartzeel w/Other Preamps.

I have a '108 and the HoloAudio Serene KTE. If the Serene is transparent enough to let the amp shine, what would I be missing if I don't get the Dartzeel 18NS? 


I’m guessing the likelihood of someone having heard/compared the Holo and the Dartzell is pretty remote. Maybe pm member mikelavigne regarding the Dartzell itself and see if you can assess from his comments the distinctions. Mike has Dart gear.

Also, if you are not a member of WhatsBestForum maybe consider joining, there's a specific Dartzell Forum within it. Mike is a member there as well

I also had the dart combo. Someday I replaced the NHB 18 with the MFA baby reference preamplifier. Never looked back. Don’t waste your money. IMO darts are extremely overrated. I sold them both. 

@thanasakis can you tell me a little more about what you didn't like about the darts? What makes them so overrated?

j-wall  I bought them in 2010. In the third year the power ampl failed (one output was not audible). After multiple communications with Mr. Deletraz (very nice man), I sent the amp to Switzerland. Returned within a month. The fault had been fixed. I sold the amp and the new owner reported another malfunction (one eye not lighting up properly). I don't know what he did next. That's about the amplifier. Let's go to the preamplifier. Within a year of buying it, I found that the black rubbers surrounding the two potentiometers had started to polymerize (!!!!!) I was shocked as soon as I saw them. From that day on, I was careful when I needed to rotate a potentiometer, not to touch the rubbers, lest they be cut (!!!!!!!!). Unacceptable for a machine worth €20,000 (when I bought it). As for the audio quality, they sound great! but no better than the preamplifier -power combo I use today even though they cost less than half what the darts were! That's all.

I had the 108 pre-SCNP connected to a VTL 7.5III preamp and it sounded great. I upgraded to the 108 Model 2 and the improvement was huge. The 7.5III is a great companion to the 108

I've never owned an 18NS but would like to  do an A/B comparison with the VTL someday. A audio business owner I know sells Dartzeel, and he loves the 108 Model 2, but feels while the 18NS is a great sounding preamp, there's a lot better bang for your preamp buck out there.  He would recommend the the Aeris Cerat line of products, which he also sells.

I've had numerous email conversations with Herve' over the past few years. While @thanasakis has had issues with the Dart, I can't help but feel if Herve' is made aware of an issue, he'll do what he can to fix and improve his product.


I should be satisfied as I've been out of audio for 22  years, but now it's starting to knaw at me and I've only had the amp for less than two weeks 😵. 

Before getting into more trouble, at least let what you have settle in real good and really get accustomed to the way your current system sounds...

That's the scary thing with audio - there's always something better around the corner!

The 18NS is among the finest pre-amplifiers—one benefits greatly from using the pre-amplifier with the 108 in single-ended mode. The same is true when using a DAC with internal volume control. The 18NS has a sophisticated phono pre-amplifier, with recent models updated to accommodate Herve's newest darTZeel low-output moving coil cartridges. All to say, a portion of the 62,000USD price of the 18NS is for its exceptional phono stage. If you are digital-only, perhaps a higher-performance DAC (although I understand the Holo is quite good). I am watching closely the soon-to-be-released Lampizator Posiden, which, in addition to an end-game DAC, incorporates Lukaz's latest pre-amp circuit. US retail is approximately 25k. Two line-level inputs are included.  

Enjoy your 108, and have fun with your next step.