Sound — 8
In a Bass of this price I would normally expect to see some higher end pickups (Bartolini's or MEC's etc). However because of the wood, the tones that this Bass can produce are truly amazing. I personally do a lot of lead bass playing and I found that, while this bass tends to gravitate towards a more muddy sound (courtesy of EMG) with the right EQ settings, it could still really cut through the mix. While slapping on the lower strings the tone was perfect. There was an excellent sweet spot, and mind blowing thick tone. However when working your way up the strings the volume and tone of the upper strings got slightly weaker and slightly tinnier, however, it was barely noticeable. While the front pickup produced a rich deep thick beautiful tone, and the rear pickup had a perfect smooth but treble sound, I still prefer the sound when both pickups are working together in series. However because of the on board controls this bass has innumerable sonic possibilities, possessing truly gorgeous tone.
Overall Impression — 9
The Dart Deluxe is beautiful and feature laden. The Bass is beautifully hand made in Brazil. It sounds excellent and looks even better. Despite its sonic versatility it could really shine through if equipped with some nicer pickups. However this in a minor issue when you look at the beautifully sculpted body and neck and the perfectly tuned action. This bass is truly worth the high price tag, and will last a lifetime. It's a very solid investment. Besides, nothing can beat the feeling of knowing that you are playing a one of a kind piece of art.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This Bass has a spectacular finish. It is crafted beautifully, yet durably. The hardware is all Gototh which has a fine name for quality and durability. The strap buttons, while not locking seemed fine and I never had any problems with them, they are well secured and will last a lifetime. This Bass manages to retain its beauty while still being built like a tank.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The first thing that can be said about this bass is that it plays fast. I have never played a bass that is more smooth feeling, almost bordering on the feel of a fretless bass. The action is low and buttery, but perfectly set, and never buzzes. What else can you say? The finish on the bass is beautiful. The grains in the Pinho-de-Riga are beautiful, exotic and are complimented perfectly by the beautiful sunburst. All of this combines for a Bass that is just as beautiful to look at as to play.
Features — 8
The D'Alegria Dart Deluxe Bass is a beautiful, feature laden example of top-notch luithering. The splendor of this Bass begins from the moment you open the soft shell case. You immediately notice the beautiful sunburst, and the odd grains of the exotic woods. This Bass consists of many different kinds of woods. It starts with a 3 piece Freij plus a top made of Pinho-de-Riga, with a frontal bookmatched figured Fresno veneer stained in amber. Both of these woods are non-endangered certified woods, straight from Brazil where these basses are custom made. The beautiful dark brown sunburst body is finished with a glossy polyurethane, then hand polished. The neck is made of another beautiful Brazilian wood name Tauari. The 34 inch neck is very thin (especially for a 5 string) and the way in which it is finished allows for a very fast, smooth feel. While the neck is very fast, the strings are spaced fairly far apart, making for a very broad neck, making it very difficult to hit any kinds of chords. But this is mostly a matter of personal preference. The Dart Deluxe is equipped with two EMG-HZ soapbar pickups connected to the ToneChaser TC-3B preamp. The way that the controls are configured make for innumerable sonic possibilities while still retaining a great amount of Precision in the controls. The controls are perfectly done and consist of master volume, pickup blend, bass mid, treble controls and individual parallel/series switches for each pickup. While these are a handy feature, when the Switch is in parallel mode it seems to rob the bass of it's tone, making it a feature that I seldom used. But still it is nice to have the control. Probably the most notable feature of this bass is the push/pull active and passive controls on the volume put. When the knob is pulled up, the bass works in passive mode (battery disengaged and bass and treble controls defeated) and when the control is pushed down the bass works in active mode.