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Help: Where are DPA Digital?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Yeldarb, Mar 7, 2004.


    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    Actually, Deltec still exists as such though it is a saga.

    When the PDM3 was reviewed five examples failed to win over the Reviewer.

    I am not sure what is happening with Martin Clark's Deltec site but I informed him months ago that I can repair the DH-OA32 hybrid op amps. However, as the ones for the reformed Deltec have military grade epoxy coatings they cannot be fixed and spares do not exist unless I can used the prototype hybrid circuits instead this story is closed as well.

    If you follow the link above I am friends with the originator of the thread and Joe Walsh who is about to sell off finished versions of Deltecs amps. The originator of the thread sent Adrian Walker 700 GBP for the repair of his MA1 monobloc and work was started but never finished, the fascia plate damaged and parts lost. This is why I say the warranty is worthless and the service function none existent. I will finish the repair for cost of parts only and I will support Joe's amps. So perhaps you and I might have a conversation regards servicing in the future?

    I offer free advice to the original Deltec and DPA Digital equipment owners and I am a Service Engineer of last resort although I do not advertise. I am not motivated by money so greed never comes into it.
    Hempknight likes this.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Thanks for that, a real shame to see the decline and treatment of customers. I strongly suspect the PDM3 DAC failed because it was just so expensive. I love mine, it really has pushed CD replay to a standard I’ve not had before, but £2.6k? And without asynchronous USB! It just wasn’t going to fly given the kit arriving from Chord etc.
    Clive D likes this.

    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    Adrian Walker set the price of the PDM3. Dave Clarke saw the profits. The only passion they had was greed. But where there is greed stupidity quickly follows. Sadly the designs in my opinion did not match the price tag as you clearly indicate in your message. There were other product designs but at really crazy prices. Then they swung away from highly expensive equipment to budget equipment and lost their Investor in the process because the difference in build quality was striking, a smack in the face but still with a high price. Then they bought in a CPC digital cable and sold it as a bespoke Deltec cable at a 500% mark up.

    Deltec still exists on the Company House site and it does still have a web site though I have not checked, but thats it I am afraid. Adrian Walker has walked away.
  4. mrmaxy

    mrmaxy Member

    Thanks, thought there was a story. Still, some theory has crept into the designe. The only lytics are in the power supply, bla bla. I’m not in the big money stuff anyway, I fell through the cracks long-ago. Still a decent dac which I keep coming back to and no reliability issues whatsoever. As said, put through a naim pre and I only have praise for the thing.


    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    Only 20 of those PDM3 were made, not including the prototypes and the price you paid, it was sold for a loss in terms of the parts that make them up. There are no circuit diagrams or technical information that I know of other than what Dave Clarke holds and he never struck me as being kind in sharing information. In comparison to Rob Watts as a designer, Dave Clarke made errors in design and implementation as clearly shown up in the Hifi reviews. Its all history now and does not matter. It showed promise but with the people controlling the company it was doomed.
    Your dac was perhaps made by a sub assembly company so might be reliable and last the course of time and at £300 the pleasure you get from it, is money well spent.
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Here’s a pic of the inside of mine:


    The build quality looks far neater than most ‘proper’ Deltec stuff I’ve seen, which may well indicate it was fabricated elsewhere. I’m not aware of any ‘errors’ highlighted in reviews, the only criticisms I’ve seen were that it was far too expensive and that the transformers hum mechanically, both points I agree with. I also suspect the grounding is a bit odd as I have to run it with the mains earth lifted to avoid an earth loop, but both my systems use vintage power amps, so I can have issues in this regard (it is certainly grounded via the interconnects). Beyond that I’ve never seen a review with any technical test data at all, just subjective impressions from reviewers I’ve not even heard of to be honest. If you have any links to anything more in-depth I’d be very interested to read it.

    PS When I showed it to Martin he suspected a heck of a lot of the design was a reheat of past DPA work, just with a different DAC chip. He suggested service shouldn’t be as hard as I initially suspected. Routine PSU recapping will be a doddle anyway, I could do that myself!
    Hempknight likes this.
  7. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    The most likely failures are the small electrolytics right next to the TO-220 regulators, which must get hot in use.
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I never leave stuff powered up if I’m not using it so to be honest being digital I’m hoping it will be obsolete before it needs any work doing. Any decently made electronic hardware should last a good 20 years or more as long as you don’t leave it cooking 24/7.

    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    As part of the design tantalums were the favourite capacitor of choice with Dave Clarke. These are a lot more stable than the cheap aluminium electrolitic caps.

    Your PDM3 is a sub assembly made version. One of the twenty that Walker and Clarke hoped to make themselves rich with, pity about the review as that buggered them.
    From experience the owners of DPA equipment around the World are a resourceful bunch so no doubt solutions to problems will be found. Polish Engineers and owners of the equipment seem most resourceful.

    Switching off equipment not in use is alawys a good idea despite what Rob Watts said about keeping it on 24/7.


    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    As for what Martin Clark said about design similarities with that which came before it? I gave Dave Clarke a lot of circuit diagrams and technical information regards Rob Watts designs so I know what Martin Clark thinks is quite true. So there should not have been any problems with grounding but I hold the view that perhaps the copyist was not as good as he thought he was?

    The PDM3 is not a hard product to fault find. Basic electronics should suffice.
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The grounding thing is very likely my systems having old power amps (a Leak Stereo 20 and a Quad 303) which seem to common signal return to ground. They always end up properly grounded (I check with a multimeter), but not necessarily with every earth pin connected!

    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    I believe the Reviewer mentioned timing problems with the PDM3 but the price proved the killer and clearly showed that Walker and Clarke knew nothing of what the market could pay and they continued on with that pricing regime and attained sustained zero sales.
    As a colleage pointed out, they should have renamed the company Walker & Clarke, WC Audio, flushed with success or should it be down the pan?
  13. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Are the blue hybrids buffers or do they contain the actual DACs?
    That is very expensive technology
  14. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    DPA... at their best.. at their peak... for a while... TOP SHIT! state of the fvcking art worldwide. Respect;):cool:
  15. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    David - the blue-coat is obfuscation on a version of the classic DPA custom ceramic-hybrid opamp. Yes, an expensive thing.

    If you are ever down this end, come and play with what such stuff, updated for better psrr, can do :)
    Arkless Electronics likes this.
  16. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I used to use hybrids like that in codec designs for BT, the difference is that BT planned to use one on every phone line in an exchange, so economies of scale made the price acceptable. The price of 1% or even 0.1% smd resistors these days makes these hybrids obsolete

    DPA_SERVICE pfm Member

    The hybrid DH-OA37 has mainly transistors and a few diodes on it. Much like the traditional DH-OA32 with the only exception being the Military epoxy blue coating. The snag being whilst I can now repair the DH-OA32, I cant repair the DH-OA37 because the coating cannot be removed. They are also not compatible because of an extra pin on the newer hybrid. But I do have the original prototypes which may resolve any problems with broken equipment from Deltec 2 and 3. But I have to build them from scratch.
  18. Joe Walsh

    Joe Walsh New Member

    Just come across this thread after searching for Deltec.

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Joe Walsh, not of James Gang or Eagles fame, but a mechanic and MOT tester who lives in Poole, Dorset. I never meant to end up as a mechanic, I actually studied Music Tech at College and Sound Design at University, but mechanics were in my blood and here I am today! That’s enough about me, so now I’ll try and cut a long story short.

    One sunny afternoon during the glorious summer of 2018, I was walking my dog around at lunchtime on the business park where my workshop is, and I noticed my storage company neighbours emptying out a storage container on site. There were boxes of amplifiers stacked up and flightcases full of leads. I asked what the score was, and was told the occupier or the storage unit had not paid for some time and could not be contacted, so the contents were to be sold to cover the backdated storage fees. I went and had a cup of tea, did a quick google search, got some money out of the safe, and walked back round and made my neighbour an offer above the outstanding fees. Ten minutes later it was loaded in the back of my van. Twenty minutes later I found that 11 of the 15 amps were missing fascias. Thirty minutes later I found one of the complete amps was essentially stolen from a chap in the USA after reading a thread on Audiogon. Doh!

    So the first job was to get that amp back to its rightful owner. I found that amp to be incomplete internally, so it was sent to Tom of DPA Service who has repaired it for the man over the pond. The sad story, as Tom has already mentioned, is that the poor chap had already paid a substantial amount to have it repaired, and that clearly didn’t happen. Pretty sh*tty!

    The second job was to take the fascia from the MA1 prototype to a local precission engineering firm and commission them to replicate this for the amps missing the fascias. Once this was completed the fascias went off for powder coating at a firm that I use for motorcycle parts. And once that was completed the fascias went back to the precision engineering firm to be taken to an engravers, who etched the famous DPA logo into the fascias and filled them with gold leaf. To sum up, a time consuming and expensive process! Each amp has now been assembled with its new fascia, and they look better than Deltec’s own effort which featured paint that chipped easily and a logo sticker lacquered in.

    In the meantime I listed the 200+ standard DPA mains cables on eBay and found myself with 90 metres of Eupen power cable, the key ingredient of Deltec’s InSlink mains cable. I contacted Clarke Cables who manufactured the InSlink for DPA, and commissioned them to make the Eupen cable into a limited run of the InSlink power cables. At the end of September these were delivered to me, and they’re also on eBay now. I’ve had some great feedback from people who’ve bought these, and also from those who’ve bought the standard IEC cables.

    As for the completed amps? Well I’m now listing these on eBay and gauging interest. Hard to price amps that are so rare. I’ve kept a pre/power combo for myself, with the pre amp being a prototype that is CNC’d out of a solid slab of billet alloy, with twice the number of hybrids found in the CA1 pre amp. It’s something very special that I could never replace. What I can say about these amps is that the clarity and separation of instruments is magnificent. I’ve heard new things in tracks that I’ve listened to hundreds of times. It’s a shame that Deltec weren’t better at business, because they sure could design amplifiers! Tom has offered his future services for anyone who does decide to buy one from me, so although there’s no warranty there is a service and repair function available as far as he is concerned.

    There was also a bunch of billet alloy offcuts in the storage unit which had formed part of a display stand for Deltec when they did trade shows around 2010-2012, and this has now been recycled into custom motorcycle parts by a good friend of mine who owns a well know custom bike company in Southampton. The grips, fuel and oil tank bungs on my chops are lathed out of this!

    So all I’m hoping now is that some people out there decide to buy a piece of HiFi history from me! There’s three pairs of MA1’s, one SA1 and one CA1 going up for sale. I’m going to be open to reasonable offers, as I’d like to get them moving and hopefully get the money back that I’ve invested! And it’s probably time for me to stop watching Storage Wars!

    NeilK and Hempknight like this.
  19. tomek

    tomek pfm Member

    Nice DPA drive Rev2. with Teac drive and DX32 DAC issue 2:

    So many years and DPA is still fascinating me. I was using the same configuration for many years before Buffalo DAC and compared it to many "high end" cd players at the time and DPA always won. Musicality, warmth, details, space, natural sound. DPA colapsed, Rob Watts went to Chord and now Chord is owned by Shenzenaudio ...
  20. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    I don't recall hearing this - when did this happen?

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