The Daniel Hertz M1

The Daniel Hertz M1 ($100,000/pair), designed by Mark Levinson (the man), uses a high-frequency horn, a 12” mid-woofer, and an 18” woofer. The stainless steel frame surrounding the horn is said to optimize waveform termination and imaging quality, while those frames surrounding the woofers are used to increase the rigidity of the drivers. The speaker is divided internally into two sections: One section for the horn and 12” driver, damped using sheep’s wool for its high mass and absorptive properties, and one section with two tuned ports for the 18” driver.

As seen here, the M1 is designed to be powered by four Telikos M5 Mono Reference amplifiers ($8000 each): Each channel uses one M5 switched to frequencies above 80Hz and one M5 switched to frequencies below 80Hz. Also in the system was a Telikos M6 preamp ($10,000). The source was a $400 laptop running WAV files from iTunes.

Interesting story: Daniel Hertz (the company) takes its name from the two sides of Mark Levinson’s family. Daniel Levinson was Mark’s father, while Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894), a German physicist and the first to demonstrate the existence of electromagnetic waves, was Mark’s great uncle on his mother’s side.

Share | |
COMMENTS
soulful.terrain's picture

Steve,

So I gather you want to put limits on how much profit an individual can make?

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

Steve,

So I gather you want to put limits on how much profit an individual can make?

What would you have gathered that from? Certainly not from anything I wrote.

se

soulful.terrain's picture

10 posts up from this one, you made the comment to 'atlaudio' that goes like this:

.."But there's a difference between making a reasonable profit and pricing something to the point that it can only be borne out of a certain contempt for those who would pay that price."

If you advocate a "reasonable" profit, then you must believe in an unreasonable profit, thus a profit limit.

Who gave you the authority to decide what is a "reasonable" profit for a businessman to earn?

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

10 posts up from this one, you made the comment to 'atlaudio' that goes like this:

.."But there's a difference between making a reasonable profit and pricing something to the point that it can only be borne out of a certain contempt for those who would pay that price."

If you advocate a "reasonable" profit, then you must believe in an unreasonable profit, thus a profit limit.

There's no advocacy of any such thing in that. But there's certainly a big straw man in what you wrote.

se

soulful.terrain's picture

...is a virtue. practice it.

atlaudio's picture

The M1 is a pretty amazing system... anyway, isn't live sound played from pro audio drivers ? It dosent take a genius to know how to make recordings sound live then, huh ? Tell you what.. I have a top notch EV system with over 4000W and dual 18's per side that sounds nothing like the M1, the horn on the M1 has no glare or "horny" sonic signature. Perhaps we could argue about price, but if we were all in one room with this system, everyone would likely agree that it sounds like the real thing.

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

anyway, isn't live sound played from pro audio drivers ?

Well, live performances that use sound reinforcement systems to amplify the music do, yes.

Quote:

It dosent take a genius to know how to make recordings sound live then, huh ?

You mean to make recordings sound like a performance played through a sound reinforcement system?

Quote:

Tell you what.. I have a top notch EV system with over 4000W and dual 18's per side that sounds nothing like the M1...

Keep in mind that designing a loudspeaker for sound reinforcement or cinema sound isn't necessarily what you would come up with if you are designing for a home audio system.

Quote:

...the horn on the M1 has no glare or "horny" sonic signature.

Great. That it apparently doesn't use a diffraction type horn likely goes a ways toward that.

Quote:

Perhaps we could argue about price, but if we were all in one room with this system, everyone would likely agree that it sounds like the real thing.

Perhaps so. I've not said anything about its sound except to say that generally I rather like pro drivers myself.

But at the end of the day, you can't escape the $100,000 price tag.

se

tmsorosk's picture

Ya $100,000. but if they sound like a million bucks does that make them a bargain ?
Are they competitive with speakers of the same price ?

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

Are they competitive with speakers of the same price ?

That's a bit backwards isn't it?

I'd prefer to know if the M1's stomped the dog shit out of everything that cost considerably less.

se

atlaudio's picture

I walked around and listened to the rooms even the YG room that was close and my feeling was that the DH system relayed something I did not encounter in the other rooms and that was seamless, coherent natural dynamics. When I say natural, I mean lifelike with real presence and weight. I found most the other rooms to have that "Hi-Fi" sound, which to my ears and brain is sort of hollow and ghost like.. OK... granted, the traditional hi-fi spatial image thing is fun because it sounds like music out hanging in the blackness of space, but to me the signature is sort of "hollow" for lack of a better word. Almost like a skeleton with no muscle. Everything is aligned and in its proper place structurally, so the symmetry is pleasing, although the organic nature of music in the DH system overall moved me emotionally more than others. It simply FELT better to me.
Its hard obviously to compare the DH system to the small systems that were so abundant at the show because those are little guys for little rooms. like little gumdrops or something. They obviously could not match the low frequency of the 18"s on SS monos. The speed of the DH system was very evident in Fremers vinyl rip of the 45RPM Who "Tommy" jam.... It was easy to hear in the rapid guitar strumming. Next was a similar vinyl rip of the "Gladiator" soundtrack... The soundstage was so wide and deep, coherent and dynamic that I seem to have slipped into a trance as I was transported off the earth. (resistance is futile.lol)

So, I have listened to Wilson Alexandrias and they did not compare to the depth of frequency and coherence, I listened to the YG room at the show and got that hollow, spatial thing. The MBL room was similar in SPL, but the speakers had audible dynamic compression. I must apologize, but I did not like Legacy even for a minute. So, yes, to me, based on their performance, I think $100K is a proper price point.

As far as stomping the stuff that cost considerably less, yes of course they did in my opinion.. by a good margin...

Perhaps DH will be at Rocky Mountain and more people can experience them. This show had anemic attendance..

Cheers

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

As far as stomping the stuff that cost considerably less, yes of course they did in my opinion.. by a good margin...

Did you compare it to any speakers that were a bit more comparable?

Any JBL Everests (which sell for less than half the M1's) there?

se

atlaudio's picture

They were not at the show. I have heard the JBL as well.. They do sound great although the midbass and low midrange is better on the DH. The DH is 100dB, so more sensitive than the Everest and teamed with the m6 preamp which has a one million Ohm input impedance, it just had a noticeable speed.. even the 18 was fast.

corrective_unconscious's picture

Perhaps those speakers do sound as good as other 100k+ speakers - which appear to have a lot more machining and more costly drive units for the same money - I just can't see how the cost of materials could come anywhere near a typical industry proportion of that list price. I agree with the other skeptics that the tumultuous history of this person and associated ventures, particularly in the apparent Red Rose re-badging, as well as his anger problems, imo, I have witnessed at a previous show, raise questions.

Of course, a thing is "worth" what someone is willing to pay for it. No one can deny a person's decision to spend money as long as it's done so legally. We can question the decision, however. Even mock it.

tmsorosk's picture

There is a lot more to it than the price of parts and time to build . Manufactures must recoup development costs on a per unit basis . On this type of speaker with a low number of units sold , that cost per unit will be high .

corrective_unconscious's picture

I was obviously talking about relative value. All the ultra high manufacturers have to recoup development costs and have comparatively low unit sales.

My terribly simple observation, to which you added exactly nothing, was that this particular speaker appears to have a larger markup vis a vis parts cost than any similarly priced competitor I can think of.

atlaudio's picture

Appearances can be misleading... unless someone actually knows what went into these speakers, it is moot to comment on parts cost. I think people are getting off track.. its about how they SOUND, and what they make you FEEL, not some ascertation as to what the parts count and hard cost of manufacturing the component parts is... this is audio, and its about the music and how it makes you feel.
If I create an exclusive treatment for dogshit and every time you smell it you have an orgasm, then its worth something more than its component parts.. Are Armani suits worth more then the yardage of silk off the bolt ?
You actually think that the only high end equipment coming out of China was the Red Rose Music gear ?? lol... It may have been the FIRST, which Mark seems to have done quite often in his 40 year career, but there are many big names made in China.. mainly companies who do high volume... like companies with lots of dealers...

I personally will pay for the best sound over "most expensive component parts" any day. After all, I am in this for the experience rather than the calculation of value.

I for one do not think this speaker is overpriced. Most speaker cabinets are CNC machined MDF glued together by cabinet makers and sprayed with automotive paint then filled with Dacron.. Drivers are off the shelf Seas, Scan-Speak, Peerless..whatever..

The DH speakers are made with hand selected hardwood that is graded cured and aged in a giant humidor, then the same techniques used to make a piano are applied. This is instrument grade wood with resonant qualities that MUST maintain a certain humidity not to swell, crack, split, buckle, etc. This is different than making a kitchen cabinet. 14 layers of lacquer are then applied and each layer is hand polished, and dried before the next is applied... total paint job takes 4 weeks. The damping inside is natural sheeps wool, not poly fill.
The drivers are proprietary, and the 18" woofer os 100Db sensitive ... good luck finding that. This sub can handle 4000W RMS at 8 ohms. The mid is made by the same manufacturing plant and has a special damping treatment on the surround for unparalleled midbass and low midrange frequency. The mid and horn are in a separately sealed internal enclosure.
The horn is a patented compression driver that sounds nothing like a traditional horn.. no glare at all.. smooth as silk and extremely wide dispersion. This horn is 115Db sensitive and no other speaker company has it.
The speaker bezels are solid hand polished stainless steel. They look like the bezel of a Patek Philippe. These also add rigidity to the mounting of the drivers.
The back mounted crossover is in an independently sealed enclosure of its own and is completely removable without opening the speaker.
The crossover is mounted on a plate which has slots for airflow and cooling if someone decides to be playing at concert level. This prevents any drift or anomalies from a hot crossover.

I have researched these speakers well.. I may own some soon.

So yeah.... appearances can be deceiving....

Happy listening !

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

I think people are getting off track.. its about how they SOUND, and what they make you FEEL, not some ascertation as to what the parts count and hard cost of manufacturing the component parts is... this is audio, and its about the music and how it makes you feel.

And for me, it's also about whether I feel the person wanting me to give them my money has what I consider to be contempt for me.

Quote:

You actually think that the only high end equipment coming out of China was the Red Rose Music gear ??

Not at all.

Quote:

lol... It may have been the FIRST, which Mark seems to have done quite often in his 40 year career...

Naaaah. Manufacturers were going to China well before Red Rose.

Quote:

...but there are many big names made in China.. mainly companies who do high volume... like companies with lots of dealers...

Sure, there are big names who are having their stuff made in China.

But in the Red Rose case, we're talking about an amplifier that had already been designed and manufactured by a Chinese company that was selling them RETAIL for $200. Levinson simply bought the amps from the company, had them re-badged, and sold them here for $2,000.

Quote:

I for one do not think this speaker is overpriced. Most speaker cabinets are CNC machined MDF glued together by cabinet makers and sprayed with automotive paint then filled with Dacron..

So?

Quote:

Drivers are off the shelf Seas, Scan-Speak, Peerless..whatever..

And I've not seen anything to indicate that the drivers used in the M1 aren't off the shelf.

Quote:

The DH speakers are made with hand selected hardwood that is graded cured and aged in a giant humidor, then the same techniques used to make a piano are applied.

So?

As I've said previously, you can get an entire Petrof grand piano for well less than half of what the M1's selling for. And we're just talking about a simple, flat-sided BOX.

Quote:

This is instrument grade wood with resonant qualities that MUST maintain a certain humidity not to swell, crack, split, buckle, etc. This is different than making a kitchen cabinet.

No it's not. The very same precautions have to be taken by anyone who works with solid woods, which by the way isn't necessarily the best choice for loudspeaker enclosure. MDF isn't as common as it is just because it's less expensive than solid wood. It's also because it's better damped and more inert.

Quote:

14 layers of lacquer are then applied and each layer is hand polished, and dried before the next is applied... total paint job takes 4 weeks.

Of course most of that time waiting for the finish to thoroughly dry between coats. So it's not as if it's four weeks worth of labor.

Quote:

The damping inside is natural sheeps wool, not poly fill.

So? I can get batts of 5-1/4" sheep's wool for less than a few bucks a square foot.

Quote:

The drivers are proprietary, and the 18" woofer os 100Db sensitive ... good luck finding that.

Beyma 18P80/ND.

What do I win?

It's not difficult at all to find 18 inch pro drivers rated between 98 and 100dB.

Quote:

This sub can handle 4000W RMS at 8 ohms.

Which is utterly meaningless.

They say the speaker has been limited to 126dB. Which only comes to 500 watts at 8 ohms.

Quote:

The mid is made by the same manufacturing plant and has a special damping treatment on the surround for unparalleled midbass and low midrange frequency.

This sounds more like a sales brochure than a human being.

Are you sure you're not just a shill for Daniel Hertz?

Quote:

The mid and horn are in a separately sealed internal enclosure.

I would expect that even in a $2,000 loudspeaker.

Quote:

The horn is a patented compression driver that sounds nothing like a traditional horn.. no glare at all.. smooth as silk and extremely wide dispersion.

First, patents don't mean shit.

Second, a compression driver and a horn are not one and the same. It's not compression drivers that sound like horns, it's horns that sound like horns.

Quote:

This horn is 115Db sensitive and no other speaker company has it.

A lot of good that 115dB is when you just have to pad it down by 15dB in order to match the other drivers.

The speaker bezels are solid hand polished stainless steel.[quote]

"Hand polished" = Held in the hand while polished using a motorized buffing wheel.

Which is a hell of a lot less expensive than designing and building a machine to polish them automatically.

[quote

wrote:

They look like the bezel of a Patek Philippe.

They look like about the plainest rings you can imagine with some button head socket screws in them.

Quote:

These also add rigidity to the mounting of the drivers.

Those driver frames are rather flimsy, eh?

Quote:

The back mounted crossover is in an independently sealed enclosure of its own and is completely removable without opening the speaker.

For $100,000, I'd expect them to be physically separated from the enclosure.

Quote:

The crossover is mounted on a plate which has slots for airflow and cooling if someone decides to be playing at concert level. This prevents any drift or anomalies from a hot crossover.

The crossover components would still get hot even with ventilation.

se

atlaudio's picture

Wow, your undying energy to discredit the audio legend Mr. Mark Levinson is phenominal... I am totally impressed.

Cheers !

Steve Eddy's picture
Quote:

Wow, your undying energy to discredit the audio legend Mr. Mark Levinson is phenominal... I am totally impressed.

What's far more impressive is your undying sycophantic attempt to turn someone who's little more than a sideshow barker into a god.

Ask John Curl sometime what a great guy Mark is. It was, after all, John's designs that put Levinson on the map with the JC-1 and JC-2. Ask John if Mark ever paid him the royalties on those designs as he was promised.

It's also impressive that you didn't address a single thing that I said.

se

atlaudio's picture

I don't address your rhetoric because I know your type.. no matter what I comment about, you will find a way to try and "be smarter". A real wisecracker you are.
Sideshow barkers don't make it into history, and evidently his name is powerful enough for Harman to buy then use as a market edge for Lexus automobiles. Oh yeah..Cello was a real flop too..lol.. maybe we should count how many times the name Mark Levinson has been printed in the pages of Stereophile in the last 30 years.
Do you mean the JC-1 and 2 that Colangelo redesigned before they were really recognized as the ML-1 and ML-2 ? You got a gripe from 1977 ?? LOL

The bottom line is that the mere mention of the name Mark Levinson stirs something deep and emotional inside you, which means you have been MARKETED. Good or bad, the hooks are in you.

Your heated, passionate, emotional response speaks volumes about the power and strength of the name Mark Levinson....

Good or bad, there are far more responses on this thread than the next "hottest" topic from the AXPONA report.. so based on statistics, the Daniel Hertz system (due to the name Mark Levinson) is the most talked about.

Its simple math my friend.... and THAT equals good business.

Bravo !

tmsorosk's picture

Well said atl . It's a sad case of sour grapes .

andy_c's picture

Here's a quote from an interview about high-end audio ripoffs.

"When I started there was no ‘high-end’ audio. There was McIntosh and Revox and JBL, but I never thought of it as high-end audio — to me it was just good engineering, quality parts, and the goal was just to achieve better sound. In my opinion, high-end audio started to develop originally out of a passion for better sound, and very quickly it developed into a way of taking money from wealthy music lovers who though they were getting something. And it’s turned into a gigantic fraud, a rip-off, a fiasco. It’s really tragic that people who love music are spending all this money on stuff which doesn’t really work. It’s just the most under-engineered, over-priced... well, there are some good products here and there; not everything is like that, but by and large it is. And in some cases there is actual fraud on — people should be in jail for some of the cables that cost US$27,000 a pair."

Seems like that applies here.

tmsorosk's picture

I guess it's all how we look at it . Whats  a ripoff to some is a treasure to others . But if you want the best in ANYTHING it's not likely going to be cheap .

3DVagabond's picture

Hi, new member here. I've found the comments here very interesting. Just wanted to add my $.02.

Back in the '80's I was involved in the audio retail business. Pertinent to this discussion I was the manager of a high end audio store. One of the lines we sold was Cello at the time Mark owned the company. I had the opportunity to spend a day with Mark at the factory and his home. Even at that time Mark was a legend. You told someone that you owned his gear and they were typically speechless and awed. When Mark Levinson the company was acquired by Madrigal (IIRC) Mark had to enter into a no competition agreement and they got the rights to his name. They knew the weight and respect that Mark Levinson commanded in the industry.

Cello equipment was the most neutral colorless electronics I've ever heard. Even until this day. We carried lots of other high quality brands but all of them, and any other audio electronics I've ever heard, made some impression on the sound. I don't want to digress into a discussion about brands etc. but I'm sure those here know what I mean. You audition an amplifier and you say, "Great bass" or "What a clear high end". There was none of that impression with Cello electronics. You instead listened to the music. You could also hear the impression of whatever non Cello piece you inserted in the system. Change between something as subtle as record clamps, or turntable mats and hear the contribution to the sound they made. The cartridge or tone arm wasn't set up properly and the degradation on the sound was obvious. The other side of the equation, you could insert, or remove, something as complex as the Cello Audio Palette and, unless you spun one of the dials, there was no change at all. Nothing. Complete neutrality.

Not so for the speakers though (AR-LST derivative). They were, in a word, awful. That was until Mark, the sound engineer, spun the dials on the Audio Palette. They then sounded fantastic. Clear and dynamic. Imaging still sucked, but that could have been Marks listening room, as much as anything. A sparsely decorated room, with little except for a Persian rug on the floor and a listening chair, the room was, let us say, "lively". The Audio Palette though, in Mark's professional hands, tamed both the room and the speakers. At least tonally. I could never come close to reproducing the sound Mark achieved. Those here that speak of him with much respect, I understand completely.

Now, those here who speak of him with contempt, I understand you too. I was at the same time, very much disappointed when I met Mark. I had imagined some Zen like audio guru master that would impart to me total audiophile enlightenment. Instead, he more reminded me of a used car salesman. He wasn't the least bit interested or concerned with me, my business, or any type of enlightenment I might have been searching for. My trip was intended as both a PK meeting with Mark and to purchase some equipment. I could have saved the money and time going to see Mark and just placed the order on the phone. I got nothing more out of it, except, of course, for the opportunity to meet Mark Levinson. I am happy though that I did get to meet him. I think anyone who loves high end audio should get the opportunity as well. I think our personalities clashed a bit and someone else might take something different from the experience.

Being older and, hopefully, a wiser man now, I think I understand Mark better. Mark is a survivor. Few people can go through life, live through the ups and downs, and come out the other side able to do exactly what they want to in life. I believe Mark has done this. I don't know how Mark is doing today, but I can assure you that at the time I met him he wasn't raking in the dough. From being in his home I can tell you that Mark was "surviving". If a company like Yamaha or Onkyo can sell a piece of gear for $200, then Mark would need to sell it for $2000. That's just the type of business that the ultra high end is. The numbers just aren't there to sell product at the same mark up as the mainstream manufacturers do. The other side of the coin though, and this is what makes the high end what it is, Yamaha or Onkyo, with all of their state of the art labs and equipment, couldn't design and produce equipment like the Cello Audio Palette, or even his little Etude passive preamp (switcher/volume control). I don't think they'd have a clue on how to measure the sonic purity of such equipment, and without being able to quantify it's sound, they couldn't understand how to make it.

So, is Mark's products expensive? Too expensive? A rip off? Is he a rip off? Not if you can afford it, want it, and can appreciate it. This Chinese amp he marketed? Sounds like it was pretty despicable. I can't imagine why he would market something like that. It surely couldn't have sounded anything like the equipment I've been familiar with from him. Maybe Mark was in ultimate survivor mode at the time? It's impossible to judge someone though without actually walking in his shoes. Hopefully it is something that he'll never find the need to do again and instead he'll be able to produce the type of products that have made him the legend that he is.

Sorry for the wall of text. After two pages of rant/counter rant though, I felt I had to have a say too.

 

Peace.

Daniel Hertz is new Mark Levinson Made In China CONFIRMED's picture

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. READ MY COMMENTS IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS POST.

Cheers

tmsorosk's picture

Thanks 3D , for giving things some prospective , it was very three dimensional .

drblank's picture

Here's a link to Raptor Electronics that explains the Red Rose Music.

 Also, it is widely known that there are Chinese companies that pop out of no where that copy US companies products.  So maybe the Chinese company was merely copying the Red Rose Music product, not that Red Rose Music was slapping their name on the product and increasing the price by a factor of 10.

http://raptorelectronics.com/events.html

Now, it could have been that they did have the product or portions of the product mfg in China, as do many companies are doing now to save money, but they are or at least were designed in the US.

Pages

X
Enter your Stereophile.com username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading