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.

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.



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



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.

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.


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