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Densen B-110 Integrated Amplifier & Darwin Cables Silver Interconnect Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Article Index
Densen B-110 Integrated Amplifier & Darwin Cables Silver Interconnect Review
Wrapping Up
Darwin Cables
Cables Listening

Not far into my first listening session, it was obvious the B-110 was cut from the same mold as the B-200 and B-310. The trademarks of the Densen house sound were there. Super quiet backgrounds, crystal pure treble, midrange transparency, and superbly articulate bass. Densen pieces are among the least mechanical sounding solid state components I have had in my system. Speaking of which, the B-110 drove a pair of Harbeth Compact 7 ES3, tethered by QED Genesis Silver Spiral speaker cable. Sources were a Squeezebox Touch connected a Musical Fidelity V-DAC II DAC, hooked up with Darwin cables (see review below).

The B-110 seemed to be much more powerful than the published power rating. Dynamic swings were so effortless. This seems to add credence to the Densen design claims of a carefully implemented power supply and an efficient output stage. Along with the amazing dynamics, the overall musical picture was refined and coherent, with a sense of natural flow. Again, I heard no mechanical artifacts at all. I especially enjoyed to pristine, shimmering high frequencies.

Bottom end control seems to be a Densen trademark, and it is here in the B-110 as well. No matter what the source -- bass guitar, cello, acoustic bass, or deep percussion -- it was easy to identify, and there was never any overhang into midrange, and zero smearing. Readers should not get the impression that this precision somehow means there is a lack of any body, or that the presentation is anyway clinical. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was nothing "cool" about the B-110 except the looks.
The B-110, as good as it was at either frequency extreme, really excelled at midrange purity and just allowing the music to happen. Graceful is how I would label the B-110 in its overall ability to unravel complex musical passages without a hitch. I found it virtually impossible to make the B-110 sound strident, uninvolving, or unengaging.  

This may be going out on a limb, but I would bet the Densen line, overseen by founder Thomas Silleson, is designed by music lovers. As a matter of fact, Sillesen is an avid musician, surprise, surprise. I mention this because the B-110, along with the B-200/B310 pairing, just allow you to forget about evaluating electronics and just to enjoy the performance of a given recording. I have heard far, far more expensive components that never let you forget you are listening to HiFi, and fail to draw you into the music.

Densen B-110 Integrated Amplifier

Wrapping Up

This may seem hard to believe, but I did not know the price of the B-110 until midway through the review process. When I was told it was priced at around $2500, the first thing that entered my mind is that they are practically giving this amp away. Even at $4500, I would not have blinked.

I can only say, in my experience, a component that sounds this elegant for $2500 is not just a rarity, but virtually non-existent. Couple that with a two hundred step, hyper engineered volume control, multiple inputs, top shelf parts, stunning looks, a 20-year track record, and there is very little to complain about. Check out the Densen line. In my opinion a beautiful counterpoint to cookie cutter, trend chasing, buzzword friendly products that are a dime a dozen today. The Densen B-110 hits all the marks, and then some.


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