|Densen B-110 Integrated Amplifier & Darwin Cables Silver Interconnect Review|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Tuesday, 26 November 2013|
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Welsh singer Duffy has an alluring, smoky voice, and her music reminds me of the classic Liverpool sound from the 60’s. “Stepping Stone” from her sublime debut, Rockferry, features her gorgeous vocal, xylophone, lush background vocals, and piano, with supporting strings. Each one of these elements was distinct, yet they all gelled to form the complete picture of the recording. Having seen her live, the Darwins nailed it.
The SACD of the Dire Straits' magnum opus, Brothers In Arms, is simply a stunning example of the format. The Darwins had all the bottom end weight, recorded detail, and rhythmic flow one could hope for. There was plenty of shimmer to the high end, which is what really made me like silver as a conductor in the first place. Darwin’s claim of spending several years finding just the right balance of materials and construction seems to have borne fruit here.
Midrange purity, bass articulation, and localization of individual instruments in the mix, was superb without sacrificing coherence. Tracks like “Golden Brown”, by the Stranglers, and “La Difference” by the great Malian singer Salif Keita, have gobs of texture and distinct rhythms that are essential to the character of both songs. Both tracks really test a system in the areas of timing precision, musical flow, and drive. The Darwins were up to the task in all these categories.
Bill Magerman and Tony Bender have a great product. After several emails back and forth, it was made clear the Darwin interconnects were developed by a combination of engineering, trial and error, and good old fashioned listening. I think this is a very sensible and practical approach, and while it may take longer, which requires patience, the payoff is a cable designed and finalized through a formal process, as opposed to using a well worn recipe, and the hip materials du jour. A reminder that Darwin makes cables for most applications, save for power cords, and non coaxial digital cables.
The proof is in the listening ultimately, and the Darwin silver interconnects really do sound marvelous. A clear, open soundstage, with a seductive midrange, and overall neutral presentation with no obvious omissions. If any of this has piqued your interest, give Darwin Cables a call and speak to Tony Bender. There is no online store or ecommerce site, they really prefer the personal approach. With no oversized dealer margins, or big advertising budgets, companies like Darwin can pour their resources into making the very best product they can for reasonable prices, while still making a profit. I think this is a very good thing. I highly recommend considering Darwin silver interconnects for your cable needs. I can’t imagine astute listeners not being impressed.
Densen B-110 Integrated Amplifier: $2500
Power output in 8 ohms: 2x60W
Power output in 4 ohms: 2x120W
Dimensions (WxDxH): 440x310x64mm
Darwin Cables Silver Interconnects: $295 (3-foot pair)
CD Transport: Musical Fidelity M1 CDT
Server: Squeezebox Touch w/ CIA VDC-SB power supply
via Ethernet to MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate
DAC: Bryston BDA-1, John Kenny Ciunas USB DAC
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Audio Research SP16
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Rogue ST 100
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables: Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner,Salamander rack
CD Player: Onkyo C7000R
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity V-DAC II, Burson Conductor
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh MA6600, Electrocompaniet ECI-3
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, Spendor S3/5R
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB, DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS