Nice review. All I could think about looking at the pictures of your system is having to dust all that Glass!!
That is a chore for sure. Yet somehow it feels good...:-)
I'd also be interested this comparison
I have the Apache and have heard the Dark Star but haven't heard the LCD2 with the Apache. The Apache was designed as a preamp and a headphone amp. If you have no intent on using the Apache as a preamp, I doubt I would recommend it as a dedicated stand alone headphone amp. On the other hand, if you are only looking for a headphone amplifier for the LCD 2, then I can vouch for how well the two paired together last weekend at the RMAF in the low gain setting for the Dark Star.
If you don't need the pre-amp function of the Apache I would go with the Dark Star becuase it will give you the flexibility to drive the HE-6 or any other inefficient headphones using the high gain position while the more efficient headphone will work great in the low gain position.
Both hold the RSA warm (for a SS amp) house signature sound.
I used to own the Apache and just sold my Rudistor RP010B becuase I have the Dark Star on order.
Unfortunately I did not get the chance to compare them directly and cannot give a detailed comparison. For me personally the RWA, with the excellent built in DAC, is a better value in terms of having a very high level of performance as an amp AND having a really outstanding DAC. But the Dark Star does have more power for really tough loads.
I saw several burning in this past weekend so one of those may have been yours. The Silver Dark Star looks really great up close and personal as they would say. Of the two, I would go with the Silver even though all my other gear is black or mostly black.