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Building system around Zanden

I have been asked to write something about Zanden as I was told I am the only person in the market who is using every Zanden component in my system : transport, dac, phono, pre & power amps plus some cablings.

Honestly speaking, after mucking with hi-fi since 1973 -, my 1st amp was a British Goodman tuner amp, source was Goldring turntable &
Kef Cadenza speakers - at that time, I thought the sound was very good ! So when you read someone\'s (including famed hi-fi reviewer) comments about certain component or system is very good, one needs to be very careful whether to take it at face value or with a pinch of salt.

To get to the point, I thought my system until 2000 was very good until I went to my first proper concert ( since then I\'ve been a regular concert goer every 2-3 months), after returning home from concert, I quickly played the music (performed by another orchestra), it sounded so different, actually it sounded so bad, then I realised the difference between hi-fi & music. Immediately, I had to cut out the highs from my system with wooden pucks, wooden platforms etc (do you share the similar experience with me ? ) in order to be able to tolerate the sound coming from an all valve-based system.

The search for better/different equipments continued since 2000 until I was introduced to Zanden\'s dac, the tonality of the sound was the one I was searching for, then the matching transport, then a home visit by Zanden\'s Yamada-san who taught me a great deal about hi-fi & music and later on, his pre-amp arrived, then power amp and his phono amp(s). I have to declare the benefit of using all Zanden components is far greater than just employing some of them, in other words, the sum it produces is far greater than their parts.

What every audiophile hopes to create from any system is to achieve
the \'correct\' tonality to begin with, then you further tweak your component to obtain the dimentionality/texture, space & rythum /tempo
, once you succeed, you got the music in your home !

I am not saying one won\'t achieve the abovementioned music without
Zanden components, I \'m happy with the sound I play through my Zanden system.

It would be unrealistic for anyone to obtain any satisfactory sound from their system without paying painstaking efforts in tackling room acoustic problems that literally plague every serious audiophile, these problems exist in every listening room and if you don\'t do anything to solve them, you don\'t know what you are listening to, your room reflection, your furniture or your components. I was fortunate enough to receive help from Franck of Acoustic System who makes the famous or infamous resonators, wooden platforms, racks & pucks. His several home visits have helped me to achieve the sound I want, now I can enjoy sonata or orchestral music, although it is still nowhere as good as sitting on the 5th or 10th row in the concert hall,
I can really appreciate the music played through my Zanden system as it is the most natural sounding system I have come across.

I wish others won\'t have to muck about with their hi-fi as long as me in order to achieve the sound they are looking for, however, the use of Zanden component(s) in your system may just get you there.

Enjoy listening !


  • Mr.Zanden,

    The acoustic master told me your system is one of the best in the world now. He repeated this statement twice before he got on the taxi last Sunday.

    Are you happy with the Zanden superclock upgrade? After 10 days, I am still thrilled by the passion of Yamada san in yielding the best whenever possible. When I visited him in Novemeber 2005, he told me the idea of superclock. I thought the superclock upgrade can easily be done but it turns out it took him one whole year to figure out the corresponding modificiations of the circuit, power supply as well as changing all the directionality of the internal wires to achieve what we can be heard via this superclock system today.

    Like you, I admire people who keep pushing the envelope. I am sure the 9500 amp with KR tubes will be another milestone of his masterpieces. I am also sure you will be shocked by the improvement as he never just installed the tubes, put the chassis back on, and then call up Fedex. He will refine all the circuit in order to bring the best out of your expensive KR Tubes.

    Piano Tuner
  • Hello,
    i am using Zanden 1200.2 and 3000. What can you recommend to try on interconnect and mains cable, that matches the sound of the Zanden gear? Maybe this is very user and system depending, but perhaps you have some advice. How is with Audio Note/Kondo or Cardas or Wireworld cables?
    Thanks for any advice to try in my own system.
  • Balazs,

    I would try some Skogrand or Argento with Zanden.  Should energy is a priority, get the Skogrand; and if contour resolution is more important than energy, get the Argento. That is a function of your music preferences.  
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