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The Best Audiophile Award 2011

We don’t have formal and stringent criteria for granting our annual best Audiophile award. Indeed, I had rarely visit too many of you. My feedbacks primarily come from PT, Master Wai and even people that you guys won’t even know. I have poured in parameters such as time/space constraints, willingness to share knowledge, and the overall ethics of that very person. Obviously, this is subjective but it is also true that I can’t be too wrong. It is exactly because there is no formal standard to judge what constitutes the best that I have to throw in my own parameters. To me, it is the spirit that counts the most.

This year, the award goes to Mr. Zanden. Given his limited time amidst a hectic daily business schedule that drives him to work until mid night (Mon to Fri), his remaining energy are divided by audio and his family. With his relentless passion, he has successfully conquered the enormous Cessaro Beta 0.5 system in a room that is not as ideal as his old place. Inspired by the neutrality of the Tidal Sunray-T1 system, alongside the recent addition of the Stuff by Tripoint to the Zanden 3000 line-stage, he has achieved an uncharted balance in his system through his listening skills that mightily impressed PT. I regard Mr. Zanden as the doyen of modern Audiophile.

His subsequent advices and assistance to PT to tame the Cessaro Beta system allows us to understand his listening philosophy at close range. It is always easy to criticize but not many can really get down to the feet and lend a real helping hand. He is such a person. The set of his reference CD recordings that accompanied him for at least a decade long tested in numerous systems worldwide is a very helpful tool to check various system parameters such as imaging, dynamics, tonality, sound-staging and most importantly the ultimate musical atmosphere.

Those old wise guys said, “There are many different routes to reach Rome .” We respect his way of reaching the utopia. Again, it is the spirit that counts. It is not about how big is the listening room and how expensive is the equipment. But AE knows there are many hardworking audiophiles out there trying to challenge the status quo. Others say they are crazy but we treasure this spirit very much. As in all Mr. Zanden’s work, such balanced harmony has ensured longevity of style of his time.

Once again, congratulation to Mr. Zanden! We shall grant you the latest Silver Signature ground wire by Tripoint to you shortly.



  • Good job and well done! It sounds like you really squeeze your sleeping time for the audio. I wish you can contribute more to this forum.

  • Good job. I didn't know you have such limited time for audio. Do you ever sleep?

    Come on, say somthing!

  • Ever since the ownership of Zanden 1200 mk 3 phono, I am tempted to try Zanden electronics. Though I have never met Mr. Zanden before, the judgment of J.Lam can't be too wrong.

    Good job!
  • 呢間公司又幾撚過引, 有獎頒比客人! 我個仔翻譯給我聽. 有趣有趣! 老實說自從埋堆後好似升了班去大學一樣, 有好多新觀點.

    最近去個直哥處聽全套Zanden, 功放只是300B但可爆到七彩而不亂, 音色高貴, 係貴價野表現.

    唔之幾時我火四郎才能拿獎? 我對FM的興趣開始轉淡, 聽聞有專殺FM的功放, 我好有興趣.
  • This company is driven by knowledge and ideas. They are cultivating a culture here. Outsiders will not understand what this group is doing. You have to enjoy audio as much as you can to truly realize the benevolent atmosphere here.

    When I was strolling in MK, some shops are badmouthing this company. And they don't quite know AE rarely opens on weekdays and even rarer on weekends until I told them. One guy was skeptical of my answer.

    Anyway, it is the culture that holds the bonding together. And the standard is in the quality of music playback.
  • Mr Zanden,

    Congratulations! Your attitude in fine tuning the room acoustics and setting up of the gears, especially on the vinyl system ever since I met you a few years ago is certainly a strong motivation for myself to be more hardworking on this. Like many in the forum, I always treasures your opinions not to mention if you can come to my place to give me more hands on advice on how to tame my room to be a better environment acoustically.

    English Teacher, I echo your views...when I get to understand more about acoustics, speaker positioning, gear matching and noise from vibration, ground noise, etc. I become more prudent in saying one cable is better than another one or one preamp is worst than the other because there are so many other parameters that would tilt the equation.
  • Happy New Year to you all !

    I was absolutely thrilled when PT informed me that this special once-a-year awarded was bestowed upon me. To keep the record straight, I am working from home early in the morning these days before going to the office until late, therefore, if time permits, I still manage to spend nearly an hour listening to music on weekdays but not everyday.

    What I have noticed these days, life is fair to most people in this world, the good Lord will give you something and then take something away from you. Those without time and financial constraints can easily acquire the most prestigious hi-fi goodies but they usually are unable to assemble a truly musically sounding system.

    Anyway, enough of the above philosophical talk, JLam's account of my hi-fi journey in last one year and a we bit longer was by and large accurate. My continued pursuit in achieving hi-fi nirvana paid off dividends ( I must admit I am not there yet) and the recent public demo of the awesome Tidal's flagship system had given me the biggest excitement because of its seamless top-to-bottom end coherence, I was inspired to replicate this kind of coherence in my system too which I thought was not originally possible in my room. Over the years, whenever I auditioned someone's system, my focus was on its strength and not its weaknesses, then I will try to tune my own system to achieve the certain sound character of that person's system which appealed to me.

    In summary, after many visits to fellow AE's users' homes to hear their treasured systems, these had helped me to fine tune my system to reproduce a more musical sound. My current system can play all types of music with great sense of realism, the particular areas I find most important are the ability to reproduce both micro & macro dynamics together with rich harmonics and free of compression (this requires further explanation in future).

    Thank you AE, thank you PT & fellow AE users for your inspirations in these years, without you guys, I will be running around in hi-fi circles. The AE award belongs to all of you but since the award is the fantastic Tripont grounding wire which I have longed for, you are welcome to come over to my hi-fi abode to enjoy the sound of music.

    In the coming days, I will be posting my impression on AE's top systems plus my latest enlightenment in hi-fi.


    Mr Z
  • I will show you where is the nirvana. I believe I am standing at the front gate of it now. I don't know what is inside. But I will soon
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