Dared MP 5 tube amplifier review

 An IPOD, Monitor Audio RS6 and a very small amp

Ipods are meant for teenagers.
Cheap amps are not hi fi.
All amps sound the same.
Small amps cannot drive floorstanders
Audiophiles are retired ah peks who have time to sit down and enjoy the whole CD.

The Dared tube hybrid amp looks better in red than Scarlett Johansson in a red dress.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong and hmm I guess the last one is wrong too  Grin

I unpack my new Dared MP5 hybrid tube pre-amp with a solid state 10w pc power section. The packaging can put many other more famous brands to shame. The word is ATD. Attention to detail. There is adequate packing material to make sure this amp survives a rollercoaster ride from ROC. The first thing you see when the box is opened is a set of gloves and a cleaning cloth, which will be needed to wipe off the inevitable fingerprints you leave behind on the chrome polished surfaces.

Next the cabling (USB connectors, RCA cables and a phones to RCA cable) are neatly stored in their own bag. My Reference series Marantz looked like it came in a NTUC plastic bag.

I use my IPOD docking station, the supplied cables and hooked it up to my MA RS 6 (91 db speakers) with QED XT 300 wires.

I have a playlist of test songs which I keep in my IPOD for auditions, so I crank this section up. The volume is set at 9 o’clock in my new 3.5 by 4m sound room.

Do you know the feeling of palpable presence? How much does it cost to invite Yo Yo Ma into your home to play in front of you? Now, I know, it costs 200USD for the amp plus USD 19 shipping.

Feel like having Earl Klugh over for dinner, just flick on the switch. Of course I recorded much of these in lossless formats but I also included some techno, and if you suddenly feel your feet move involuntarily, this amp is the cause. 128kb recordings, this setup milks the best out of it.

There is bass, a delicate mid and treble, although with a modest damping factor it won’t embarrass the grip a Krell solid state super powerful amp has. Its about finesse, and lounging with a magazine, a bit of port or sherry and a good book, although with such fine tunes emitting from the system, it will be hard to concentrate on the book.

Ever had the sensation of Natsukawa Rimi’s (夏川りみ) voice massaging your senses and leaving you unable to move about. Emil Chau seems to sound like he decided to do an impromptu live performace in my room. I hear some nuances which I have not heard before and the imaging is stable and set behind the speakers.

This setup is small change for something not much bigger than a toaster, although it does get warm.
Tomorrow, I will invite Bach and Mozart to come jam with Anzen Chidai  Switch off the lights and enjoy the music with a dull glow from the tubes, so this is what I have been missing all this while….

I finally set up my hi fi room, the Ipod playing on the Dared in the background whilst setting up my room, air con etc has made it a lot more bearable in the heat.
As the sound warms up, the partner ship of the MA RS 1 and the Dared is a good one.
The RS 1 has a tighter bass, and makes up for the lack of deep bass by exerting a tighter control over the proceedings allowing more of the excellant mids that the MP 5 can generate show through. A veritable classic amp indeed Smiley

I just bought a y-splitter which allows the single input on the Dared to be fed from my iPOD and my Toshiba which has Sharc DAcs that are supposed to be pretty spiffy.

The result really made me sit up again. What was supposed to be background music, quckly became an intense session of rummaging through old CDs, forgetten songs to bring out the best from the setup. And oh my, what a sound!

Focus, clarity like someone uses a solvent to take away years of mist from my aural windscreen. The combination of solid DACs, a good transport (the Toshiba weighs in at a good 6kg or so), good ol' cable talk RCA cables, the amp connected to my RS 1s and a marriage of high sensitivity speakers and an amp which cannot stop singing and you have tight bass, pacey rhythm and a sweet top.

Using the Usher 520:

The Usher gives nice neutral sound just short of being warm, with a well controlled treble which won't bite, but gives v good detail for not much more money than what people pay for a pair of good stands

The mids are well expressed, but the presentation and scale are just a bit small, and they won't give floorstanders much competition in the lower  frequencies, but as a whole they are very high VFM and will play happily on the end of the Ipod and Dared

You need to turn up the volume dial a bit more with the 87db Ushers, but what comes out is highly musical.

V nice indeed

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.


  1. Hi Bro..im very new to this tube amp and though of getting 1 of the MP-5 From Analog Audio Labs. But i saw your post of getting it direct from other source seems much more cheaper :)
    Care to share with me how to go about doing it?
    Pls email me @ ki1l3r@hotmail.com and your hp no if you dont mind so that i can communicate with you thru phone and smses. Thanks!

  2. Hi Pete. As what Jing Long said above, I'm in the same position as him. Hope you dont mind emailing me the details to seeyouat@gmail.com. Thanks alot!

  3. These amps were available online last time back in 2007, and via ebay too.
    You will need to source for them, or just pay the local guy. Everyone needs to make some money...


  4. Glad to see ppl still talking about MP5! I've been an owner for a couple years already and still find it amazing and exceptional for its value!

  5. I just bought mine but am listening using a headphone. What would be a good bookshelf speakers for MP5

  6. You will need to audition them for yourself, use high efficiency speakers for the best effect. I partnered them with Monitor Audio speakers, no compliants.

  7. I bought mine over a year ago and still makes me sit when I turn it on.I upgraded the tubes to GE NOS from Yugoslavia, used decent interconnects and paired them with Tannoy Fusion 2. Amazing sound for its value!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Dynaudio Special Forty Speaker review

Tips on choosing a fan and the Haiku Fan

My Setup March 2016