Reviews

+ darTZeel

+ Evolution Acoustics

Stereophile Magazine: CES / THE Show 2009 – Blue Light Special by Wes Phillips 
“It was jaw-droppingly real. “

Stereo Times: CES / THE Show 2009 by Dennis Parham

The Evolution acoustics room, whose products are engineered and hand crafted in the USA, demonstrated synergy between their Mini Two loudspeaker ($40k), darTZeel 250 watt integrated amplifier ($22k) and Playback Designs SACD / CD player ($15k). For me, the sound was natural sounding and inviting with plenty of harmonic rightness. A definite candidate for best sound.

Dagogo: CES / THE Show 2009 – Fred Crowder – Dagogo Magazine

Jonathan Tinn was again showing at the Alexis Park and definitely hit a homerun with the Playback Designs Player, the new Dartzeel integrated amp and the new, smaller version of his speakers with powered subwoofers.  The integration between the drivers was absolutely seamless and the speakers were ideally sized for the room.  Tinn had also used a fair amount of acoustic treatment on the walls.  The sound was absolutely stunning.  Space and depth were superb.  Jonathan was showing prototypes of the new Dartzeel monoblocks, which are rumored to be something very special.

The Groove: CES / THE Show 2009

I’m visiting the Las Vegas high-end show for the first time and sitting in the sweet spot in this room was as heavenly as 2-channel music reproduction gets. No other room at the show (the Venetian included) had such a level of top-to-bottom balance, scary dynamics, pure realism and sheer palpability of voices, instruments, live recordings were REAL … and they weren’t even playing vinyl! I would say the absolute best matching of components and perfectly setup. Now, those prototype DartZeel monoblocks … my brain is still trying to comprehend how it is possible to sound SOOOO good, sound from another planet, sound for the Gods! Everyone in the room was shaking their head in disbelief! Most amazing indeed. Nothing compares.


The Audio Analyst: CES 2008 – Another One from the Road (or, 41 @ 52), Page 2 by Greg Weaver

“Two industry members I’ve known for years now, Jonathan Tinn, of Blue Light Audio, and Kevin Malmgren, former Vice President of Engineering at Von Schweikert Audio, have teamed up to create Evolution Acoustics. Evolution Acoustics teamed with Switzerland’s darTZeel electronics to pull off one of, if not the very best, sounding room I heard this year.

Showing in a smallish room at the Alexis Park, they managed to put together one of, if not the, best sounding rooms at the 2008 event. Kevin said that he had worked some ten months to develop the Evolution Acoustics flagship MM three. With a projected retail of $70,000, the MM three is a visually arresting design, with sweeping sides and a satin finish that photos just can’t do justice.

The MM three is a three way design using a 5″ aluminum ribbon tweeter centered on the front sweeping face, two 7″ ceramic mids immediately above and below on wider swept back portions, and two 15″ treated paper woofers, one above and below each midrange on yet larger portions. The response is given as 10Hz to 40kHz, ± 3dB and as 7Hz to 70kHz, ± 6dB.

A product of Blue Light Audio’s Jonathan Tinn’s imagination and Kevin Malmgrin’s engineering, the $70,000 MM three Jonathan has paired with Switzerland’s darTZeel electronics, which he imports into the United States, for a number of years now, always with simply stirring results. Driven by the $22,000 darTZeel NHB-108 amplifier which was fed from the $26,000 NHB-18NS preamplifier, the MM three created absolute magic. Evolution Acoustics also premiered their new interconnects, a rather largish cable, to say the least. Sorry, once again I find I did not note the digital source…

One of the most starling things about this system was how deep it was able to go in this SMALL room. Standing anywhere in the room was great, but taking the “hot seat’ was breath-taking. Focusing for a fairly small listening sweet spot in that smallish room made sense, and if you didn’t take time to take a turn there, you missed 30 to 40 percent of the magic this room had to offer.

In that sweet spot, I was treated to a presentation so three-dimensional, so dynamic, and so life-like, as to be spoiled to virtually anything else I heard at this year’s show. I was most taken with the extension, integration, horn-like dynamic attack, low frequency slam, and tonal balance I was treated to when I sat front and center in the “chair.” Kudos to the hard work and dedication of the Evolution Acoustics’ project.”


Stereophile Magazine: CES 2008 – Make Way For The Big Boys by Jason Victor Serinus

“Attendance was light at the Alexis Park on Wednesday, with the rooms closest to the front getting the most attention. That was certainly the case for Evolution Acoustics, whose imposing MM3 modular speaker commands respect. After seven years of development, this huge baby, designed by Kevin Malmgren made its initial debut at RMAF 2006. Then, the company went low-key while Malmgren and his wife were busy raising their first child (who, after almost one year of development, has just made a most auspicious debut in his stroller at T.H.E. Show 2008). Well, not really. The speaker was back-ordered even before it was launched, and has kept Malmgren and its distributor so busy that they haven’t had the time or need to yet establish a dealer network.

The MM3 weighs 650 lbs per side and consists of three parts: the MM1 center portion and MM2 bottom and top. The tweeter is adjustable for both level and crossover point to create a smooth and even response. The woofer is also adjustable on every level—how deep, how full, etc.—and is powered by a 1000W amp in MM3 configuration and a 600W amp in MM2 configuration. Because the woofer extends flat down to 10Hz, and actually reached down to 3Hz in the Alexis Park, it includes a subsonic filter to make it analog-friendly for platter spinners. Everything in the speaker except the midrange and tweeter is made in the USA.

Paired with DarTZeel electronics from Switzerland, Evolution Acoustics power cables with built-in power conditioners, and huge gauge EA interconnects and speaker cable, the system conveyed the weight of massed strings like no other speaker I encountered at T.H.E. Show save the Rockport Ankaa discussed earlier in this blog. When I played Martha Argerich performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto 2, the strings were so close that I felt as though my head was under the piano’s raised lid. Playing a track from the new John Marks-engineered Pipes organ CD, issued by the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, all I could write was, “Holy Shit! This really sounds and feels like an organ.”

Tinn also distributes DarTZeel. The system boasted the NHB108 amp (Stereophile’s 2005 Product of the Year), which outputs 160Wpc into 8 ohms; the battery-powered NHB18NS preamp complete with phono stage and remote control. The two units are connected by impedance- matched 50 ohm DarTZeel wires. They certainly did the Evolution speakers proud.”

+ Wave Kinetics