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Dussun V8i Integrated Amplifier Review

How Doug Schroeder deals with the power of the V8i integrated amplifier from Dussun

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A good way to characterize the sound of the V8i is that similarly to the Sun, it warmly illuminates. That may sound like an oxymoron in audiophile terms. Sometimes the term “warmth” is used to mean lacking a bit of definition, maybe even a bit bloomy. Conversely, terms denoting brightness usually mean a bit harsh sounding. I mean neither in this case. Rather, I am indicating the V8i carries power in excess, enough to make extremely quiet passages in music easily discernable. Power enough to make a person think, “I could do without a subwoofer with this amp!” Stuart Jones had told me that his Chapman Audio Systems T-77’s love quality solid state electronics. How right he was, as the Dussun took command of the T-77’s low end.

Some speakers are termed “power hungry” since they are so inefficient. This is the kind of amp that laughs at them. Yet, over extended listening, one definitely senses this amp longs to be intimate, not intimidating. I recall reading about a man in a support group sobbing as he revealed his biggest frustration in life. He was a hulk of a man, with rippling muscles and sculpted features, the kind that makes most guys a little uneasy just because of his size and latent physical power. His appearance made women downright afraid of him. As he cried, he exclaimed that he was so frustrated by constantly being misjudged. He wasn’t some hard, cold monster, but a softie who longed to be tender.

Dussun-V8i-4

I look at the Dussun and I think of an amp that fairly shouts by it’s looks “Formidable!” but sounds unfailingly friendly. Some of that gentleness with power came out when listening to Narada Decade: The Anniversary Collection, track #16 “The Alluvial Plains”, and its diminutive cymbal taps which keep tempo throughout the breadth of the piece. So, gently, like a linebacker picking up an infant, the V8i breathed out each tap. It was easy to discern the mute in the horn player’s solo. This amp has tornado-like power with a breath-like touch.

The Left/Right channel separation and imaging of the V8i are strong points. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the off-center echoes of electric guitar or cymbals through the speakers on Craig Chauqico discs. Solid state amps can do some things terrifically well, and one of them the Dussun does well is parse the left and right signals! More than most tube integrated’s I have heard, the V8i spreads the soundstage evenly, allowing no gaps between the phantom image and the outer edges of the soundstage.

The cleanness with which the signal can be passed along to the speakers at times can be shocking. Listening to Lenny Kravitz Greatest Hits disc and the single “American Woman” was hard to take. Not because the Dussun was performing poorly. Rather, it was reproducing the distortion in the song so well that it really grated on my nerves! I never realized just how awful that song sounded. The electronically fried voice of Kravitz made the midranges of the Chapmans sound like they were blown. I realized that the combination of power and precision made the song virtually unlistenable! No other amp had made this song so hard to play; I guess the V8i passes the “Lenny Kravitz Inverse-Pleasure Test”!

There are two ways you can go with an amp like this. You can pair it up with speakers designed to give every last iota of detail. In this case, you will not get a terribly warm and relaxed sound; but for younger ears, the power and depth searching out every nook and cranny of sound will be exhilarating.

Conversely, you can mate this integrated with a very laid back speaker like Vandersteen’s and you would appreciate the way the lower end is completely in hand and how gentle the high end can be. Without enough power, planars and speakers with larger woofers/passive radiators can sound pretty sloppy, but the V8i will reign them in nicely.

Lovers of classical music on a budget should seriously consider this amp. Classical pieces are considered the most dynamically challenging, but this was one amp up to the challenge! There was not the faintest hint of fatigue as the most powerful choruses and crescendos were reproduced without strain. On almost every piece, I had to restrain the amp since it had so much in reserve that if used unwisely it could overdrive the speakers.

To give some sense of the differences in sound between a very commendable tube hybrid integrated and the V8i, I’ll compare it to the Eastern Electric M520. Most expectedly, the “presence” and “slam” factors of the Dussun are more formidable. The treble, midrange and bass are all presented with more equality of intensity across the board than with the tube hybrid. It is uncolored and only slightly less warm than the Eastern Electric. Whereas the Eastern Electric emphasizes the midrange, and vocals are presented a bit forward, with the Dussun all vocals and instrumentation appear in the same plane.

A further comment on this, since preference is highly personal in this regard. Some prefer to focus on the midrange, even to the point of eschewing low end, using single driver speakers and flea amps. A listener needs to learn which presentation is more appealing; either a rich midrange with slightly pinched treble and low end, with a bit of bloom in mid-bass, or the Dussun’s strong consistency, putting vocals into a mix of instruments without additional emphasis on the midrange. In such a case, from treble down to the lowest notes there is a homogenized presence; the power is infused in each note from the uppermost frequencies to the lowest.

Although slightly off topic, I want to comment on the experience I had when I put the V8i into my surround system for gaming. I was not prepared for the visceral experience when I played games like Halo. The deep throbbing background sounds were scintillating! Low, growling voices of enemies just out of sight were wonderfully nerve wracking. The Dussun brought new impact to gaming that I had never experienced.
The Dussun V8i is a strong contender, excelling in dynamic range and listenability at a paltry $1,600. It has nothing to fear from yet lower-priced pre/amp combos, and can go toe to toe with many pricier integrated’s. With power and finesse to burn, this amp shines like the sun.

Warning regarding Grey Market Components:

Audio equipment from China are vulnerable to knock-offs which are not up to factory specifications. If a price for a component is “too good to be true” then one must exercise suspicion. AAA -Audio, the distributor in the U.S. for Dussun, has this warning posted on their website:

Be caution that some Dussun products on the market are modified by third parties to run 120v AC power, not sold by authorized Dussun dealers. Dussun and AAA Audio will not be able to provide any technical support and service to those products. I urge all to purchase components through authorized dealers only, which will ensure quality and support.

* One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos; Neil De Grassetson, Charles Liu, Robert Irion, Joseph Henry Press, p. 120.

Associated Components:

Associated Components:

  • Source: Rega Saturn cdp
  • DAC: Benchmark DAC1
  • Preamp: Melody Hi Fi P1688 tube pre; Dussun V8i ss pre stage
  • Amp: Melody Hi Fi S88 monoblocks
  • Integrated: Pathos Classic One MkII stereo tube hybrids (2) bridged; Eastern Electric M520 tube Hybrid; Dussun V8i solid state
  • Speakers: Chapman Audio Systems T-77; Von Schweikert Audio VR-4 SR MkII; Eminent Technology LFT-8A; Art and Audio Fusion Technologies “Picture Art System”
  • IC’s: MIT AVt MA; Jena Labs Java, Tice Audio IC 1A
  • Speaker Cables: MIT AVt MA; Jena Labs Jazz; Tice Audio 416
  • Power Cables: Xindak PF-Gold, Jena Labs Bumblebee
  • Power Conditioning: MIT Z-Stabilizer; Tice Audio Solo

5 Responses to Dussun V8i Integrated Amplifier Review


  1. N V EASWAR RAO says:

    super amplifier i purchase v8i 50k i want remote control please send me

  2. Douglas Schroeder says:

    N V EASWAR RAO,
    God’s Joy,

    Dagogo.com is not the manufacturer’s publication; you will need to contact Dussun if you seek a remote control.

    Blessings,
    Douglas Schroeder
    Dagogo.com

  3. N.V. Easwar Rao says:

    Excellent amp super bass and sensitive hf low heat and less power consumption

  4. Jeff Lash says:

    Best amp I ever owrned. Wish I still had it.

  5. Jeff,
    God’s Peace,

    The V8i was one of the first review components I worked with 14 years ago. Inevitably, as a reviewer I cycle gear through the system, but it would be fun to return to a product such as the V8i to see how it would benefit from what I have learned about system building over the years. I suspect the Schroeder Method of IC Placement, in this case with interconnects placed between analogue output of the source into the inputs of the V8i, would boost the performance significantly. (If anyone is interested in exploring the Schroeder Method of IC Placement, you can find discussion of it here at Dagogo.com, and it is a “do at your own risk” activity at this time.)

    https://www.dagogo.com/audio-blast-schroeder-method-interconnect-placement/

    Blessings,
    Douglas Schroeder

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