DalbyAudioDesign D-7 Stabiliser SE and Lignum Vitae Feet test

DalbyAudioDesign experience 

After 3 years of persistence and constant pursuit, it finally happened. I had received 2 items from the artisan company Dalby Audio Design. My excitement reached fever pitch as something very special arrived at MonoStereo. Something of such importance to me that the anticipation which I've not experienced for over a decade! The new DalbyAudioDesign D-7 Stabiliser 'Complex' variant and already highly acclaimed D7-LVSE90 Lignum Vitae 'Select Edition' Isolation Feet were the items in question.

I've have had real high expectations for what I've seen over the web of DalbyAudioDesign, but nothing prepared me for what I experienced. Each little detail regarding the package, quality of materials and even the smell was something I never experienced so far. This is where all audio manufacturer should take their lesson on how they should cherish and present their products.

If you ever have the chance to experience the legendary Hermes products, the emotional discovery of opening and acquiring something special was the same with DalbyAudioDesign today. It's clear that Lee Paul Dalby is single minded about his bespoke creations. He designs and crafts his products for his own personal use. They are utterly perfected to a level I've never seen before. Like all artisans, he's on the constant quest for perfection, that never lets him stand still. This echoes the centiments in Japanese cultural history, where not only the end result is sacred, but also the path of getting there is articulate, precise and exhausting. In the west we hardly appreciate the bespoke made instruments as we're accustomed to fast forward nature of enjoying things instantly. I strongly believe that such hectic and flickering contemporary mind can hardly enjoy the music. This is why the dedication of building musical instruments is not an easy task. Its and art to make and cherish.

If you're expectations are being met don't read on. If you are like me you will be spell bound and intregued in equal measure at what is transpiring here. When each step element of the product and experience it gives you with own such creations, you start to get the sense that the path DalbyAudioDesign is different from all the other 'know' hi-end audio manufacturers at the highest level. Dalby Audio Design may well have created a brand new market sector which is above what we deem at the pinnacle. I shall call it 'Hi-Art' not Hi-end.

We start with the OTT detailing of the Packing. The brown moleskin bag with golden embellished DalbyAudioDesign logo, that house both Stabiliser and isolation feet is the same fabric that is used by Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada in their products.

O.K. It's clear I'm totally affected by the aesthetic and presentation facts of these two products. I won't get into details the sonic impact as these are only the first initial impressions, but I'm already dumb stuck by the performance. 

D-7 Stabiliser impact to the performance of turntable was simply mind blowing. Going through the first listening session with a set of my favourite vinyls, that I know by by heart and mind just made me further captivating. I had my great share of experimenting with analog stabilisers, tonearms, cartridges, mats and other accessories, but even at first listening the D-7 Stabiliser created such a difference, that put to shame to all of them. This makes me wonder regarding the importance of turntable dedicated parts. Even with changing of different tonearms I never experienced such a boost of analog replay.

I've been around long enough to rule out the placebo effect and I've tried to repeatedly listen to the songs with and without Stabiliser to get a clear and avid picture. With D-7 stabiliser inserted the energy of the music felt like being boosted through the additional gain stage. It was like... What in heavens name just happened? I was locked in! And something happened to the reality of reproduced music. Everything got the right pace and emotional burst. A mesmerising effect that transcends the usually involvement with the music to the higher plane of awareness and interaction. 

I've just received the vinyl LP of the Rostopovich concert from 50's. Basically recording was great, but with the addition of D-7 Stabiliser the tone coming from his Cello was something beyond momentary captivation. It radiated in its natural resonate aura with crazy amount of anchor points that recreate the musical event. It felt like elaborate fluidity of pure musical reciprocation.

D-7 Lignum Vitae Feet

I tuned out a bit, write my listening notes and clear my mind for the D7-LVSE90 Lignum Vitae feet. Putting them under my Thrax Audio Dionysos reference preamplifier opened up another story. This unveiled further insights into already highly established performance of the Dionysos. With D-7 feet under the Thrax preamplifier the rhythm & pace, emotional energy, the tone and dimensional atmospheric sense of the ambience offered so much anchor points, that the three dimensionality was something I haven't came across before. Like a decay and delay the impression resonated with me long after I've stopped listening. 

Dionysos is already a high performer on its own and among the best preamplifiers out there, but the addition of the D-7 Lignum Vitae feet extended the reproduction to the new for now unheard territory.

I can finally understand the Hong Kong AE club and other owners of DalbyAudioDesign around the world in their enthusiasm for both Lignum Vitae feet and D-7 Stabiliser. Those are not an evolutional niche products, but a true game changers. I hardly got any sleep last night as my mind was baffled, by the change and I needed to settle in with my transition. It took the time to embraced the effect logically as the the first impact throughout the sensual receptors.

It's hard to step back after such insight into the music. These two bespoke musical instruments are not cheap by any means, but the change they provided even after the initial listening is at such grand pace, that no where in thew world I can return them back to Dalby HQ's.

Many claim their unique way and designs in audio. Interestingly Lee Paul Dalby bypassed all the typical high-end audio paths of magazines reviews and in the absence of any forcing of himself or his products. He simply created the musical instruments that found their own way into the homes of most demanding musical lovers and audiophiles across the globe. In few years time DalbyAudioDesign managed to create a mystical appeal and cult following.

To make a comparison would be flimsy and cheap but the philosophy always reminds me of what Kondo San decades ago started with the quest for the right materials that resonate with the natural energy in reproduction of music and tone. Fast forward to the 21st century and the arrival of DalbyAudioDesign. What was a simplistic insight from the Kondo San side, DalbyAudioDesign even through products deemed as accessories has brought the reproduction of music to another level, that is light years ahead in my view. He strives for perfection, builds to his own standards, ignores limitations and expenses. He designs like a true artists for himself. It is the one and only way to achieve such and design output. These is where the industry design stops and artisan was comes in.

I would dare to call Lee Paul Dalby, the master of the tone and the materials. Die Tonmeister. No one so far dared to go so far with the mixture of exotics materials in executing them to the visual and aural perfection as he has with his products. 

DalbyAudioDesign creations are a revelation for me. After twenty some years in the highest realm of audio I finally feel like finding the 'holy grail'.
DalbyAudioDesign D-7 Complex Stabiliser and D-7 D7-LVSE90 Lignum Vitae 'Select Edition' Isolation Feet are masterpieces of amazing originality. These musical instruments not offer only an aural impact like no other products so far, but offer one of the kind experience and ownership pride, that no one managed to create so far. Everything else feels less than sub standard when comparing to the standards set by these two products.

This was to be an elaborated preview. I plan to write paragraph or two, but simply couldn't stop writing. 

Text and photos: Matej Isak    

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DalbyAudioDesign is situated in West Yorkshire England.

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