Only the Music: dCS Company Tour

Do you use the Dartzeel amp in the same way you use D’Agostino, Constellation etc ie dCS direct into the amplifier eschewing a pre?


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We do indeed, all of our systems will run direct from DAC to power amp. For our purposes, a pre is counter productive - we want people in our listening room to be able to hear the dCS kit as clearly as possible, so a pre in the signal chain would be detrimental in that regard, adding in more variables to the system.


While you’re at it, James…which darTZeels?

My baby (the 108 Model Two) or the beefier 468s (drool)? Must admit I was surprised — and chuffed! — to see them mentioned.

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108 Model Two :slight_smile:


I was also quite surprised given how little known this amp is (maybe this is just my own ignorance!). I’ve never seen it in the US.

This reflects highly on your choice Ben.

Hi @James,
I have another question for you and/or @Phil:

From the pictures and the video of the tour, the dCS listening room uses Transparent cabling. I can’t tell exactly from the pictures but I can see that you are using at least the XL line, and the speaker cables could be Opus.

Transparent says this level of their cabling needs to be “calibrated” to the specific equipment in use. (I must admit, I’ve always been confused about why this is necessary, but that is a separate matter.)

So… Does dCS (a) have different, specific Transparent cables for each gear combination (i.e., Cable1 for Vivaldi–>Constellation, Cable2 for Rossini–>D’Agostino, etc.) or (b) have the same cables regularly recalibrated for different configurations (this seems incredibly burdensome to me); or (c) ignore Transparent’s recommendation in this regard?

Thank you!

The cable “calibration” that Transparent (and others like MIT offer) has to do with the Zobel network contained within those boxes on the cable. The calibration is associated with the cable length, and the Speaker impedance. It has nothing to do with the source component (dCS in this case).

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Transparent cables above Reference are to be calibrated for specific components at the Transparent factory.

The Transparent XL balanced interconnect I just bought (fortunately, for considerably below list) was sent to Maine for that purpose.

dCS says its listening room speaker cables and interconnects are all Transparent. Hence, my question.

Even for interconnects, the “calibration” has to do with impedance matching.

In the case of a dCS DAC to Amp direct connection, the factors that affect the cable calibration is the length of the cable required, and the Amp’s input impedance, not so much dCS’s output impedance as its very low (under 1 Ohm).

I know this for a fact because my dCS Vivaldi DAC goes direct to my Amp via MIT MA-X SHD Interconnects. I also have Transparent Speaker cables (which aren’t used at the moment) - when ordering these cables, you need to specify the length and component impedances that the cables are plugged into, so that they can fine tune the Zobel network.



And as James has clarified that there are four amp choices in the dCS listening room–D’Agostino, Constellation, darTZeel and VAT–my original question about cable calibration remains unanswered.


Really sorry that you didn’t get an answer to your question over the weekend but those cables predated my arrival at dCS (and I think they predated James’ arrival too) so we popped the question over to Transparent as they have records of what they supplied to us and they sent the following information…

“Your cables are calibrated specifically to the source components you are using. In other words, if the source remains the same (i.e. Vivalidi DAC) but the load changes, then the cable remains appropriately calibrated.”

So, with respect to…

…the Transparent cables are correct to be used with all of those amps as long as we don’t change the design of our output stages.

Nick at Transparent also added that if anyone has any specific questions about the cables that we have or any other queries about Transparent cables then if you drop an email to [email protected] then they’ll be able to answer anything for you.




Hi Phil,
No apologies needed and thanks for the response.

I understand that this would be the case for the interconnection I e., source to amp connection. You have clarified that the output stages of all dCS gear are approximately the same, hence, one calibration. (Thx also to @Anupc for the details about how Zobel networks function.)

However, what about calibration between the amp(s) and speakers? The amps in the listening room are very different and it looks like you have a Opus (or Magnum Opus?) speaker cable. Transparent says it calibrated the speaker cable as well, so you would have up to four combinations there.

(I am also new to Transparent, and if I have something wrong here pls correct me)



Can I suggest that you drop an email to [email protected] then they’ll be able to answer anything for you.

In the email conversation that we had over the weekend Transparent said “Your Opus speaker cable is set for the D’Ag M400 amps and can be used for the Constellation as well given the measurements we have for both components”. I don’t know whether these Transparent cables were ever used with the Dartzeel or VTL amps …




Thank you Phil.

This is exactly what I was wondering about.

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