darTZeel NHB-18NS preamplifier and NHB‑108 Model Two power amplifier

Solid-state power amplifiers,
Solid-state preamplifiers
DarTZeel NHB-18NS,
DarTZeel NHB‑108 Model Two

As a huge devotee of the acoustic guitar and the luthiers who build the very finest on the planet, I was able to obtain some hi-def recordings of various high-end instruments. The art of constructing beautiful objects like these is largely about the control of tensions. With a string pull well above 150 lbs on metal-strung instruments, structural integrity is critical. The top (the bit with the hole) of the guitar does most of the resonance, and the bridge acts as an air pump, not unlike a cone speaker. The top must, therefore, be braced to resist the immense stress of the string tension from tearing the whole thing apart. Mass is the enemy of resonance, and the art is in balancing the two opposing requirements. I’ve gone into detail about guitar-making simply because the darTZeel does the same to the audio signal. As a result, I have never heard the differences in these instruments, drawn in the air, with such incredibly articulate precision and charm. It’s almost cinematic and certainly in full Technicolour. The guitar energises all these different resonances. The resultant tone, note shape, and expression that each musician can extract allow them to create a different kind of tension – this time in the listener. Each instrument drowned the room in dripping colour. The way the daRTzeel shows the differences in reverb speed, dynamics, and the layers of harmonic bloom that swirl around as the art of the luthier joins the circle is fascinating. If you think an acoustic guitar is a simple thing, then I assure you it is endlessly complex in both scale, speed, and tonality. When it comes to the sheer resolving power of the amplifier, then it goes way down to the sub-note level, and it does it effortlessly.

I loved my time with the daRTzeel amps as much as I have with any product over the years. The pair are not in any way ‘cheap’, but they are primarily so involving and musically enlivening that price becomes a secondary concern. They delivered such musical joy and involvement that it has indeed been a rare privilege to have them at home, and I was extremely sorry to see them leave. They are truly exceptional and a huge testament to Hérve Delétraz and his audio art.


NHB-18NS Preamplifier

Type: Battery powered line stage

Inputs: 5 plus optional phono stage

Outputs: RCA, XLR, BNC

Analog Input Impedances: 
RCA line – 30 ohms
 XLR Line – 15 ohms 
Zeel BNC – 50 0hms

Freq. Response: 5 Hz–500 kHZ

Signal to Noise ratio: > 92dB

Remote: Yes

Size: 170 × 440 × 335 mm (H×W×D)

Weight: 24kg + PS – 3kg

Price: £39,995

NHB – 108 model two

Type: Dual mono power amplifier

Power output: 150 watts RMS @ 8 ohms; 
250 watts RMS @ 4 ohms

Analog Input Impedance: 
BNC Zeel – 50 ohms  
RCA line – 30 ohms
XLR 30 ohms

Size: 170 × 440 × 350mm (H×W×D)

Weight: 30kg

Finish: Red with gold facia and backplates

Price: £39,995

Maufacturer: darTZeel Audio, 

URL: dartzeel.com

UK Distributor: Absolute Sounds

URL: absolutesounds.com

Tel: +44(0)208 971 3909 

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