Sonic Artistry: Stenheim, darTZeel, Merging Technologies, Nordost, Seismion

Talk about a dream triad of fabulous gear from Switzerland: darTZeel, Stenheim, Merging Technologies. The first thing I said to myself when I saw this simple, sharp-looking spread in Toronto-based retailer Sonic Artistry's room was, "Damn, this is an attractive group!".

That attractiveness extended to the Swiss group's collective sound. Doing hosting duties at the time of my visit was all-around great guy and Audio Fest regular Walter Schofield, proprietor of Nexus Audio Technologies, which represents Stenheim among other high-end brands. Walter Tidal-streamed an array of dazzling, mostly electronic music. The speakers disappeared completely. (It wasn't the first time I'd heard a pair of Stenheims disappear), while the soundstage blew open like a high-resolution hologram, contoured images placed solidly in space. The presentation brimmed with information delivered in a confident, coherent, tactile, effortless, refined manner. The synergy was obvious.

What were the components? The 3-way, high-sensitivity Stenheim Alumine 3SE Special Edition speakers with upgraded crossovers and wiring ($59,000/pair); the darTZeel LHC-208 Mk2 DAC/streaming integrated amplifier, ($31,500), and the Merging Technologies streaming DAC with Roon Core built in ($18,800). Cabling was by Nordost, and all the components rested on Seismion Reactio Model 54 active isolation bases ($7600).

Anton's picture

Good room!

rschryer's picture

And both were remarkable for their ability to project sound in a way that left no trace it was coming from them.

Glotz's picture

DarTZeel has a reasonably-priced integrated with DAC?? Ooooh, I will have to search that one out at AXPONA! (I can only dream of ownership... lol.)

I did get to hear the Reference Ultime Two loudspeakers at last year's AXPONA Show and man it was utterly sublime (Leonard Cohen's 'Anyhow')! Truly a memorable favorite and utterly natural. To die for!

Sonic Artistry's picture

I do not believe that the US distributor will be displaying at this years Axpona for you to be able to hear the darTZeel LHC-208 mkII. It really is a spectacular instrument and worth your while seeking one out to audition.

Sonic Artistry's picture

Stenheim will be back at Axpona this year showing the Ultime 2's in Schaumburg F and the in Room 745 to hear the Alumine 3SE loudspeakers.

Glotz's picture

For each of these responses. Very helpful!

Sonic Artistry's picture

Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with us. We appreciate the kind words. Just a quick note that the costs shown are in CANADIAN funds.