Opinions about Daniel Hertz

Have anyone heard Daniel Hertz’s Maria intergrated amps with Eva or Amber speakers? Stephen Huff gave them one of the best reviews ever but is it all marketing and hype? Mark Levinson claims to solve the problems of digital reproduction with his master class software which can turn any digital recording into original master tape quality.  

But ML had a questionable past such as rebranding Chinese products as his own and marking up the price. Others said he can’t design anything but hires good talent while he works on marketing. His series of business ventures and contentious business relationships would give one pause, but I only care about the sound. What do others think? Did he in fact made a revolutionary breakthrough in digital playback. Or is it all hype? Bottom line is how do his systems sound?


It looks like a great piece with appropriate specs given the price ... but so do Boulder, et al. that come without checkered history

I would have the same pause ...

Hope others can chime in with direct experience

It doesn’t help when just four months ago at the time of Stephen Huff’s review the Eva system costs $13k, and now on Daniel Hertz’s website, it costs 19,000EU. 

OP - curious as to the verifiable source of the allegation ML personally had committed fraud by rebranding Chinese gear under his own label that he was in control of at the time, can you share the source and proof? Was thinking of the Maria but not if I would be supporting a fraudster even if the SQ of the Maria turns out to be stellar...

I wouldn’t trust anything coming from Steve huff’s mouth anymore. 
He used to be a hobbyist, but now he’s just another YouTuber who churns reviews in as brainless a manner as steve guttenberg. I’m willing to bet $100 he would have moved on to something else in 3 months or less. 

You cannot be a reviewer and stay truthful to a system ...

I love Steve Huff as an individual ...

But his room is not a dedicated acoustic room...

And then he changes his flavor each few weeks reviewing, not realizing that we reach an optimal someday with a refinement and optimization with a well chosen system ONCE FOR ALL ...

At least he is honest and repeat multiple times that price tag does not equal acoustic satisfaction nor musical satisfaction ...

My own system cost 1000 bucks... I live very well with it in ectasy, (am i deaf ?😊 ) i modified my speakers and headphone and i created an acousric small room for it ...it takes me time... I was not changing my speakers/headphone/amp/dac each month ... Tuning a room is possible and specific to one system ...you must learn and live with this system to optimize it ..

Huff live and made his money with these reviews ... He is as Guttenberg very human but they sell gear , acoustic information must be gathered by us for a specfic system with which we will live with ...

Purchasing 40 amplifiers is the work of sellers and reviewers or a mental disease or acoustic ignorance ... Pick your choice ...My hobby is music and acoustic not buying gear ...

Huff just reviewed a 100 bucks Douk tube amplifier and rave about it ... I just buy a tubes preamplifier from Douk at 50 bucks for my small active speakers ... No comparison with the Ember amplifier i paid 400 dollars and i sold it thinking that if tubes sound as this it is perhaps not for me ( i tried 50 tubes) .... The Douk come with chinese tubes not the best but i will keep it so good it is in my system ... low cost chinese product dont equal junk all the times now ... It is simple a good engineer in America is rarer than in China now , because of the population size and the education race in China society... In the last decade many good chineese engineers worked in the audio chinese industry because there is many engineers in China ...They must live and audio chinese industry benefit now from it ...Douk equalizer 7 band rival a more costly one as the Schiit ...

i bought also a 50 bucks S. S. fosi pre-amp very good for my secondary headphone (movie)..


If my system was a 20,000 bucks one , i will buy a Berning tube ZOTL pre-amplifier and called it job done as the one i returned one month ago because it lack synergy with my too hungry too hard to drive AKG K340 ( i kept then the headphone out of my Sansui Alpha the TOP of their chain for decades ) ...


I wouldn’t trust anything coming from Steve huff’s mouth anymore.


A Maria Amber system shows 24 000 Euro on their site

a good amount of scratch relative to what's in market at the moment

12k for an amp/dac and 12k for speakers gives you a ton of options when shopping in that space








Ugh, Ivwant to like Huff, but ever few months he talks about his end-game system ant then changes it.  He was never gonna replace his Fleetwoods, etc, then the DH stuff can’t be beat, ad nauseum.  cmon Steve, which is it?  And yes, Levinson’s Red Rose Audio was re-branded chi-fi stuff, so dh is highly suspect to me… 

You must do your own research instead of waiting for a reviewer to do it for you...

The gear price dont matter ...

Acoustics basic matter much...Why? because everybody buy with his money budget... Then the only way to have a good S.Q. is not the gear pieces you will be able to buy by itself alone , and  there is always better one anyway  ... The only way is learning how to control the mechanical, electrical, and acoustical working dimensions of the room/system/ears...BEFORE upgrading if upgrading appear necessary ...

Quit reviewers listening , or listen to them for their human side ...


Ugh, Ivwant to like Huff, but ever few months he talks about his end-game system ant then changes it. He was never gonna replace his Fleetwoods, etc, then the DH stuff can’t be beat, ad nauseum. cmon Steve, which is it? And yes, Levinson’s Red Rose Audio was re-branded chi-fi stuff, so dh is highly suspect to me…


Should I assume you watched the video from Adrian at Audio Excellence Canada?  I've always considered ML stuff quite expensive but what do I know.  Many folks swear by it.  I've considered a few used items in the past but eventually to rich for my blood.

But, if you are going by what Huff says about audio you better think twice.  Or, maybe go watch his other voodoo channel and have a listen to his 'spirit box' or whatever the heck he call sit. 


I asked Daniel Hertz and the US dealer if the Maria was similar to the PeachTree GAN1 but they did not go into much detail on that. Other than the A2D conversion for analog sources on the Maria what makes the Maria different from the GAN1. I know there are some differences but there are also similarities. These 2 amps are unique.

Since my modded GAN1 is so good, and I did not get a good understanding of how the Maria is different from the GAN1, I lost interest. I needed more power out of the GAN1 so it is now used as a headphone amp (amazing). My 2-channel speakers need more power than the GAN1 delivers.

The Maria can also use a remote control.


I put little faith in huffs reliability in reviewing imo 

he maybe right on somethings,but technically he is not that knowledgeable .

let’s see testing and popping thetop for the quality inside where it counts .

that’s where many reviewers fail.

I haven't independently verified claims that ML re-branded Chinese equipment and jacked up the price. However, it is all over the internet message boards. 

Hopefully, someone who have heard the DH system will chime in. 

I thought Huff’s take on the plastic case for the Hertz amp was pretty funny...as if plastic was a breakthrough material. 12 thousand euros for the smaller amp...it might be somewhat water resistant, or it floats. Doesn’t Levinson live on a houseboat somewhere?

Mark is a businessman first, he does what HE feels best for his brand. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did go to China, he has hoodwinked us before. I believe even if sounds good, it’s not worth the 💵 you will spend. Mark is very influential and sheep will follow and support the high pricing and miss gear more deserving at with less hoopla. I know I don’t buy his gear and I can find better for less money .

ML is for someone who wants a pretty looking  piece of equipment.  All show.

Huff stated that the Aavik U-150 integrated was the best integrated he'd ever heard.....he was right.  I bought one and can confirm it's the best integrated I've ever heard and will never sell it  .He's a reviewer and as such, he has to move to different equipment on a constant basis....I love his take on things and I love watching Steve G also.....They are entertainers that review audio gear...no more,  no less. .......Is there anyone else that will say something positive. As far as Levinson goes, I have no comment.

I concur about Huff human side and good will persona...

I dont bother with reviewers most of the times save a very rare exceptions..

I bought a Douk product a preamplifier at 50 bucks after his review of one at 100 bucks ... Everything he said was true... This does not means that all Douk product are all good and not junk...But some are not junk at all ...It seems too many good chinese engineers had no jobs elsewhere for some time and go working for Nobsound ... I dont know... There is way much engineers in China that look for a low payed job than in US by statistic...

Huff stated that the Aavik U-150 integrated was the best integrated he’d ever heard.....he was right. I bought one and can confirm it’s the best integrated I’ve ever heard and will never sell it .He’s a reviewer and as such, he has to move to different equipment on a constant basis....I love his take on things and I love watching Steve G also.....They are entertainers that review audio gear...no more, no less. .......Is there anyone else that will say something positive. As far as Levinson goes, I have no comment.

In case some might misinterpret, the ML products discussed here and the ML products from Harman are completely different and separate. Harman’s new 5000 series ML componentry is designed by excellent, experienced engineers, the price is now affordable by more, and the sound is great, some of my favorite.

From reading comments here I would not go anywhere near Levinson stuff.  Well let me tell you put-downers and haters that I own an ML23.5 and it is a great amp, really great. There is no bling, no 'show' just a plain looking form follows function amp.

I bet some of you mouthing off have never heard his early stuff.  ML was taken over by the giant Harman group and are producing components designed not by Levinson himself but by other audio engineers and marketed under the ML name yet nobody seems to find fault with that. ???

Mark Levinson left the company many years ago ( 1984 ). In 1980 ML was in financial trouble, and he asked Sanford Berlin to invest in his company. Berlin invested 480,000 and others invested another 300,000. He asked Berlin to invest and aid in the management of the company. His older original amps were good. After that he started the Cello company, and a couple of others. Since 1984 he has had nothing to do with the Mark Levinson company.

Mark Levinson is more of a marketer than a designer. Jonathan Curl was one of his engineers at the beginning of ML. The JC-2 preamp was Jonathan’s design. After JC left the name was changed to the ML-1.

"According to John Curl, he and Mark Levinson had an argument about intellectual rights and the refusal to pay any royalties to him regarding the JC-2 resulted in a conflict between the two then the breaking of relations and a name badge change from JC-2 to ML-1."

According to Wikipedia:



  • JC-1 Moving Coil Cartridge Preamplifier (design credit : John Curl)
  • JC-1AC Moving Coil Cartridge Preamplifier (design credit : John Curl)
  • JC-2 Straightline Preamplifier (design credit : John Curl)
  • LNC-1 Electronic Crossover (design credit : Richard Burwen)
  • LNC-2 Electronic Crossover(design credit : Richard Burwen / Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-1 Preamplifier (at first a rebadged JC-2 due to IP by John Curl, design credit : John Curl / Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-2 Class A Mono Amplifier with regulated power supplies (design credit : John Curl(JC-3) / Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-3 Stereo Power Amplifier(Dual mono design first series with optional ML-2 style frontplate as an option, design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-5 modified Studer A-80 professional tape recorder with custom electronics
  • ML-6 Dual Mono Preamplifier (basically two ML-1’s created after a Japanese customer pointed out that in mono the ML-1 sounded better. Also available in silver look)
  • ML-6A Dual Mono Preamplifier (open frame modules instead of the potted ones before, design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-7 Preamplifier (stereo ML-6a, design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-7A Preamplifier (update by Madrigal, design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-8 Microphone Preamplifier (input Brüel & Kjær microphones)
  • ML-9 Power Amplifier (design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-10 Preamplifier (design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-11 Preamplifier (budget model forced by new management, design credit : Thomas Colangelo)
  • ML-12 Power Amplifier (budget model forced by new management, design credit : Thomas Colangelo)




At least its very affordable -

Maria 800 with M1 Speakers

M1 System (Maria 800 with M1 Reference Speakers Audio System)

Regular Price
100% Marketing Hype no question. 🤣😂😅

The review I linked to was a bit confusing to me. I am under the impression that the Maria amp is a Class D amp (maybe GAN) with the digital conversion done in a chip. The chip does more than a standard DAC chip

I am thinking the Maria is something like this,

What makes the GaN 1 so special?

First and foremost is the GaN-FET amplifier module. It has several inherent advantages in a power amplifier that even the best MOS-FET designs simply cannot achieve. A GaN-FET power stage provides a precise high-power reproduction of the Class-D PWM signal with extremely high linearity. This linearity eliminates the need for ANY feedback, ultimately allowing for the best possible audio quality providing clean, clear middle and high frequencies and a tight, solid reproduction of low frequencies. GaN-FETs track the complex audio waveforms so much more accurately than MOS-FETs resulting in significantly more transparent and natural sound. The difference is something even a casual listener can hear and appreciate. The GaN 1 is also designed so that it does NOT even require a digital-to-analog-converter (DAC). The digital audio signal at the input directs the amplifier outputs to drive the speakers. Although DACs have continued to improve over the years, there is no DAC better than NO DAC! This concept is not a new one as similar devices often referred to as "Power DACs" made quite a splash in our industry years ago, but this time around, using the concept with GaN-FETs raises the bar to an entirely new level.

When I first saw S. Huff's review of the Daniel Hertz's Maria w/ Eva system, I was excited to make plans to go up to N. Cal for an auditioning. But after seeing all the comments and using some common sense, I was a lot less excited, thinking perhaps this is more marketing hype than substance? Class D, light weight int amp, small cooper speaker wires b/c the amp was tuned to it (really?), and the ground breaking software decoding that transforms digital to the most analog experience ever, if these were true, than the entire audiophile industry got it all wrong. Add on the history with Redrose Music, Mark's treatment of Jonathan Curl, and let's not forget his history of companies:  Madrigal Audio Labs, ML, Cello, Redrose Music, and now Daniel Hertz. I was skeptical at best and found peace laying it to rest. 


That's until I saw the review by Adrian Low at Audio Excellence, a person whom I respect as a straight shooter. Now, that aching question returns. Is it really as good as M. Levinson claims? We need OCD Mickey or Jay Audio or others to review this damn system and give us some unbiased reviews. 

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Then buy his f-ing stuff without wasting time to listen to it. This forum is for those who want to investigate and get to the truth.

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Good point. Maybe I’m naive but I was thinking their reputation is on the line and the more reviews we have the better.

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I have great respect for the man. He has his name all over the industry and a good one at that. Who has a perfect personal life?  I respect him. There are some misconceptions and bs out there. Ml never repackaged Chinese. They did a knock off of his. He never designed RR. He bought the rights to sell them from the company that made them for a NY cliche market. That literally went down in flames in 911. There were reliability issues at first. He had the company make changes to the amps for reliability. The manufacturer would not let the schematics out, not even to ML. They retained the right to make them. He never had his hands on anything inside the boxes. Look at the specs of the two and see for yourself. Name one amp that had his name on it that had poor sound or quality?  The man is a legend. 

I agree with Arafiq. Anyone who makes Youtube income by putting down others, Mr. Huff, is a scoundrel.   

Great CDC!

One thing you have to question is why M. Levinson starts so many companies and sells them off after they become successful. And if the same thing will happen with the new one.


Great to know the forum posters here are the real experts, not guys like Steve G and Steve H who review equipment every day and have tried more stuff in a year than most of us in a lifetime.  

Jay had some funny comments in his video regarding Mark and the new amp:  "hiding in Italy" and "pump and dump" 

Adrian posted another youtube review with the Maria being preferred over the other amps that he sells, and Adrian points out that this conclusion goes against his financial interests, since Daniel Hertz also sells the Maria direct, and Adrian would make more money selling the other lines that he carries. 


Also, in the new Adrian review - some odd stuff about the Hegel, with the manufacturer reaching out to say that maybe the unit he reviewed was a dud, and they want to send him another one.  That does not instill confidence.

You mean like Elon Musk selling 85% of Tesla lol


At the same time I do agree that almost every audio manufacturer whose brain-name as one person, is quite a salesman as well. Getting back to the OP has anyone heard or own the Maria and can chime in?  With all the name slogging aside, is ML’s Maria sounding like the best of the best or salesmanship?

The thread is labelled, opinion on Daniel Hertz, so of course I would expect to hear lots of different views but.....

Personally, I’m more interested in how the equipment sounds from people who’ve actually heard it.

The rest of the stuff is very speculative.  It might affect your decision to purchase because of distrust of the founder or the brand, and that’s perfectly fair. People vote with how they spend their dollars.

Not easy to audition, but would like to cut through the marketing hype.

Hand cut, hand polished Perspex by artisans to me, still means acrylic/plastic.

What I’m curious about is demystifying the Mighty Cat Class D audio chip and theory behind the C-wave that supposedly eliminates digit-itus.

Are these just patents, fancy labels for a Ganfet based DSP and some type of filter? Do they really offer competitive differentiation?

Would like to see someone compare the AGD Audio MKIII to the Maria 350 and see how they stack up to each other.

Judging by responses above, thread should be titled Levinson Witch hunt.

For whatever its worth, the guy is smarter than most dudes peddling non-innovative, lazy rinse/rehash/repeat crap in the high end for decades. The latter type of creature must live with a deep sense of insecurity whenever it sees innovative guys like Levinson, Borresen, etc.

Would You go for this Maria/Amber system or for Voxativ Zeth Absolut system, costing few thousand less?




Gimme a break Mike...You have run through 3x as much gear as Huff...Not to mention you're both literally the same hifi persona schilling for brands you love. 


i have zero opinion about ML’s Daniel Hertz venture, one way or another. never had any interest to even look into it. OTOH i do have a couple long term friends who were in that group of his "contentious business relationships". i heard enough first person accounts to not want anything to do with him.

i do respect his contributions to our hobby.

i don’t know ’Huff’ from a bale of hay.

as far as 'running through gear'......i've had the same room, same amp brand and speaker brand for 2 decades. made one upgrade for each. i have evolved my sources over time. i do love my gear and talk about it, but mostly talk about my whole 'system' process and the importance of putting work into tuning my system.

not sure what i did to cause you to attack me. but i'm sorry for whatever it was.