darTZeel Gets US Distribution

The darTZeel NHB-108 power amplifier garnered effusive praise from Stereophile's John Marks in his September 2003 Fifth Element column, including the comment "the sweetest-sounding solid-state power amplifier I have ever heard." There was only one problem: the amp was hard to find in the US.

That should soon change with the recent announcement that darTZeel and Blue Light Audio have worked out a partnership to import and distribute darTZeel's audio products in North America. Based in Switzerland, darTZeel is the brainchild of Hervé Delétraz, who says his aim is the creation of nothing less than "state of the art" audio equipment.

Delétraz should be familiar to Stereophile's online readers. We ran a series of articles written by him, profiling the evolution of his design from DIY project to completed product. Once Delétraz finished his amplifier, he realized that it might be worth building and selling to other audiophiles—and he presented it to the public for the first time at HE2002 in New York.

The darTZeel NHB-108 power amplifier (NHB stands for Never Heard Before) will sell in the US for $14,141. Blue Light Audio's other companies include Tenor Audio and Ed Meitner's EMM Labs. Blue Light Audio is run by Jonathan Tinn (Tel: (503) 221-0465).

darTZeel promises that more products are on the way. Under development are a preamp, integrated and monoblock amps, and, further off, speakers and a turntable. Delétraz says that he hopes to have the preamp prototype ready for demo at HE2004 West in San Francisco this November, followed by a new product every year or so.

Delétraz sums up his new company's design brief as a simple challenge: "Does it make the music feel real?" He says this question has led to 16 years of "researching and developing every possible aspect of a new audio circuit, embodied in a completely new amplifier. The result is ground breaking!"