Can Dartzeel CTH-8550MK2 deal with 6v


I come from the Devialet world that was good, always appreciate but i fell the need to change the amp because change for the speakers Alexia 2 and the Devialet Pro 440 was not satisfying me specially in the bass and low volume listening.

So now i ended up choosing the Bartok Apex with the Dartzeel that now finish the “burn” time and i just love the sound. But one question is raised, i like the 6v output more than the 2v but I can’t find any information about the amp if it supports the voltage. I know that 2v is the standard but not transversal, i saw a lot of DACs and Cd players that use an output of 4v or similar.

Does anyone now’s if the amp can handle 6v or if there’s any problem using it?

I’ve got a very similar question outstanding with the darTZeelers (for my Model Two). I’ll bolt on your query next time I talk to the factory — and see if they can add it to the website. Useful info to have!

(Nice amp choice, by the way :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:)

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The 2009 Hi-Fi News review of the 8550 (presumably Mk I) seems to suggest it has a sensitivity of about 1V :thinking: (but has a input level adjustment of +/-10dB). I’m guessing it shouldn’t have any problem with the 6V setting.

@Anupc The 1v seems very little, the most of sources is 2v and some brands like Mak is 4v. The gain is not power input but i agree with you, i believe that handles 6v and i hope so because I’m using it :laughing: I love the sound of the Dart dCS combo.

@all2ofme I already made the question to Dartzeel but instead answer to me he ask me which dealer i bought… The dealer have the same info i do but he said is no problem

It depends what you mean by “handles”. This depends on what you understand voltage input and out put figures mean.

In short the output figure ( say, 2V) represents the voltage output of the dCS device if it is set to this figure for programme of 0.0dBfs. The input figure usually represents the amount of signal incoming that drives the amplifier to full rated input. The actual output voltages experienced in practice when listening to music are not fixed and vary constantly. There is no requirement for them to exactly match.

The output voltage is referenced to an input of 0.0dBfs. With properly mastered programme this level is not reached as the programme will have been mastered with a few dB in hand so as not to cause distortion by accidentally exceeding the limit . Further the highest modulation is only present at dynamic peaks so the mean voltage output will be below 2V and much below this with very good recordings exhibiting a wide dynamic range.

If the input quoted for the amplifier is the level that provides maximum output from the amplifier this normally means the amount of power that can be delivered by the amplifier before it clips. The clipping point is usually where the power delivered has a distortion component reaching 1%.

So, in the example given if 2V is the DAC’s line output voltage and the amp’s input sensitivity is 1 V they are not matched but do not need to be as 2V will not be reached or only very briefly and occasionally. Nevertheless if the input of the amp is rated at 1V this may feasibly be reached. This is why there is a volume control. If there was no volume control a 1V input would provide an output from the amp of 248W which, I can assure you, you do not want to hear and your speakers do not want to receive.

I do not know why you want an output of 6V with an amp of 1V sensitivity as all it means is that the volume control setting will be placed at a lower position when you listen. In simple terms you are boosting the output at one end and therefore having to lower it at the other :smile:.

If as above in Anup’s post the amp has a level adjustment of plus or minus 10dB this means that you can set the amp volume control settings where convenient without running out of a usable range one way or the other.

@PAR I understand what you’re saying. My concerne is that I don’t damage the amp and I don’t know if the input power sensivity is 1V because I can’t find it anywhere. About what you say relative to the power output and the volume control, i see, and it can be useful for those songs that have a low volume (gain) in the recording and i wanna to ear it a little loud, or like DartZeel says, with more pleasure (DartZeel call the volume controle, pleasure control) :sweat_smile: Like that touch

If you look at the test results in the HiFiNews article linked by Anup you will see that for a rated output of 220W the test gives an input of 975mV which is a smidgeon under 1V.

@PAR true, but that’s the model 1, mine is second version and a lot have change.

Hi all!

Mystery is over :sweat_smile: i receive an email from Mr Hervé saying “ Thank you for your message.

6 volts may be the limit and you eventually may overload the inputs. No any risk but possibly distortion.

If there is not audible distortion and if you prefer 6V over 2V, then just trust your ears and keep up with 6V.”

So, i do prefer to ear in 6V and because I don’t fell any distortion at all, I’ll keep this way. To end i just can recommend highly this combo, this amp sounds amazing regardless the price and i already heard a lot of amps from Dan, Audio research, Krell (that i was client in the past), Devialet and do far and i feel that this amp with a good dac and in this case with my Wilson alexia 2 makes you fell the music in a very special way.

Thanks all for your support and good music listening wishes :pray:t3::muscle:


Hmmm, seems a rather strange non-definitive answer from the actual designer. I wonder why :thinking:

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@Anupc Its seems a strait answer to me, there’s no problem dealing with the 6v. I already been searching and a lot of main sources have an output of 4v. So the 6v of the dCS that in fact its 5,8v is no problem. Zero distortion and 100% pleasure :grin:

Another thing ím doing now is trying different settings of decoding, filters and Maps. I’m available to some suggestions but off course its about personal preferences and the system components.

Happy Listenings

Perhaps it’s just a language thing, English not being Hervé first language; terms such as “may” or “if” in response to a specific question seems strange.

In any case, I took a look at Stereophile’s reviews of the dartZeel Amps, they don’t give much away in this regard. But presumably dartZeel components are designed to work well with each other, in which case, the input sensitivity of the their Amp should match the maximum output voltage of their Preamp.

According to Stereophile’s measurement of the NHB-18NS, the Preamp’s output is best between 1-2V (unbalanced), with increasing distortion after that, and well into 3% distortion at 6V output.

Google searches also seem to suggest about 1V as the input sensitivity on most dartZeel Amps. On that basis, I suspect the Amp performs best with a 2V full-scale input, and possibly distorts with 6V.

But if you’re sure it’s working perfectly at 6V, then like Hervé suggests, enjoy :smile:


That tallies with what I heard into my NHB-18NS at 6V. Perhaps a bit crunchy. I’ll try again another time, as it was only a brief listen.


@Anupc I understand the data but, they are different components, this is the latest version of the amp, its connected by balanced cables and i fell no distortion at all and I have good ears :sweat_smile:

There are many differences between audible distortion and measurable distortion. Audible distortion spends upon the listener and his/her sensibilities, the nature of the distortion, the harmonic content of the distortion and the type of music being listened to affect the degree to which you are aware of it. For example you may be more aware of distortion listening to the pure tones of a flute solo compared to Death Metal :grinning:.

In fact added distortion could even be preferable with some genres of music. Perhaps this is what you find. We may not be talking here about that form of distortion leading to a buzzy, cracked, rendition. That subjective outcome may be considered as gross. However with some music forms such as rock where distortion is deliberately used for artistic reasons a little more added by the reproduction equipment may even be liked.

I wouldn’t go this way of using my system myself but I am rather conventional . If you are unaware of the distortion per se its effect may even be to your taste. Why not? It’s your system so use it as you best like. So @Anupc is probably correct but it is your reaction to the end product that matters. As he says, enjoy.

NB: Balanced connection has no effect on distortion but in regard to noise from parasitic sources .

If you have some time you may want to view this link which is a talk by the test equipment manufacturers Audio Precision. You may find the section concerning distortion most instructive particularly the levels of generated distortion made before the audience becomes aware.


Hey Pete. Thx for posting this. Its quite dry even for an engineer but the underlying information is actually quite good. I was reading a rant yesterday on FB where a buyer had stepped up from a 1 year old five figure set of mono blocks to the same brand newest five figure mono blocks. The customer didnt hear a difference in the showroom but in their own home the difference was amazing with greater depth and much wider soundstage. When i hear this “info” it make me wonder if the user actually listens to the system or if the dealer has done a new-speaker alignment complimentary while they are there.

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@PAR You now Par, one of the things that make me try the darteZeel is one of the statements of the owner that i agree 100%, not everything is about measurements because if it was that i would not buy a dCS or a DartZeel, i had bought a Chinese amp and Dac with perfect measurements. You see that in audio everything matters, source, cables, quality of energy, amp…. So, it’s all about everything, all connected in a perfect harmony and it’s how i fell. I saw a review of a dCS Rossini that the reviewer also says that he preferes to listening to 6v. So, not that i give preference for is opinion because I already work in a radio station, be a Dj for some years and still play in my private parties and I’m a music enthusiast for a long time and i can evaluate myself. My biggest concern was about the possibility to damage the amp but by the dartZeel reply that would not happen an i have good ears :wink:

But thanks for your support and opinion :pray:t3:

In general, I have read from users of Apex at least Vivaldi ones that they preferred 2V whereas they used to prefer 6V before Apex. As the Apex board is essentially the same for Bartok that for me suggests 2V might be the way to go. But perhaps the 6V adds a certain something for you that you like, that’s the beauty. If you like it, it’s fine. Designer says it can’t do harm so no worries. With my non-apex I drive 6V, but then my preamp and power amp do not have a lot of gain.

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