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Earnest Salute to Yamada San of Zanden

My Zanden 2000p/5000s came back today. They were sent back to Japan for a substantial upgrade. The key change is the installment of a super clock. The presence of this super clock triggers a sea of changes in the circuit, wiring, and power supplies in both units. It takes Yamada san one full working week to finish the upgrade not inclusive of the testing period. In total, the Zanden left me for 10 days.

After I unpacked them, I was skeptical whether this is my unit. It looks so new to me. I know well I have been used them for 2 full years. I examined them closely and concluded that Yamada san had re-polished everything for me, i.e., both the main unit and the power supplies. Such delicacy of personal attention heightened my expectation even further.

I hooked up just the Zanden 2000p transport with the Heritage DAC via the SMR EE digital. (I have no time to install the 5000s yet) I then played the Eason Chan Live Recording Disc 2, from track 4 to 6.

I find my heart was beating a little bit faster after I finished listening track 4. RESPECT is the word that sprung up in my mind. For those who had recently listened to the Eason Chan recording, WHAT IF I TOLD YOU THAT THE MUSICAL IMAGES inside the souhdstage WERE all slighly OUT OF FOCUS during all of your listening sessions? Then, try to imagine when everything inside the soundstage now is in focus. Can you guys imagine?

I called J via the Beocom and let him listened to this uncharted sonic experience. I pplayed track 6. He usually requires 30 to 40 secs to form a judgment. Today, when I interrupted when the counter reached 1:00, he told me to let him finish listening to the whole session totaled around 3 mins 45 seconds.

This was what he said to me. He is a treasure in the audio world. We should really pay more respect to this kind or rare man on earth now.

Respect, respect then respect. What earns respect? Modesty and decency that does not preclude intelligence, creativity, and perservance. Where is the pride? Thre is no pride because they are not supposed to be shown up in the music. Maybe, there is an element of luck. The very luck of knowing him and owning his masterpieces.

Please excuse that I have no superlatives to describe the uncharted experiences.

To be continued......


  • J, I am tired of waiting shit. Can you get me the hack of this superclock Zanden? Why you didn't ever inform me such crazy stuff? Ain't no money, man, you got to tell me what's your cards, dude! Who the hack is this piano tuner dude?
  • Dear PianoTuner,

    When I come back from trip, I will bring my Zanden 2000P to your place and have a direct comparison. You told me that Heritage DAC would use its own clock and ignore the clock signal from the transport, how can this super clock makes further improvement when pairing with Heritage. Pairing with Zanden DAC, I can understand.

    Is the improvement that you are hearing when using with Heritage NOT due to the clock but because of other fine tuings made, say on the power supply?

    AE AE....when will Heritage transport be ready?

  • I believe the improvement does not derive from the superclock directly because Heritage always generates its own clock. The installment of the superclock however requires substantial upgrade in the powersupply section plus tons of other minor technical stuff that Yamada san does not seem to reveal.

    What it strikes me is how the best of the audio minds converge. The 2000p seems to mate for the heritage dac. Today, I hooked up a complete 2000p/5000s system. The 5000s is now directly linked to the superclock inside the 2000p. I have the SMR EE XLR going from the 2000p into the Heritage, while at the same time, a new version of clocklink cable between the 2000p and 5000s.

    Based on a few hours of listening experience, the superclock tremendously improves the bass resolution/energy of the Zanden combo. Bass can sustain with more energy. Bass lines have more resolution. Positioning of instruments is approaching the accuracy of Heritage, and as a result better imaging.

    Probably due to the fact that the use of tube inside the 5000s, image is slighly larger than the heritage. But that is not a fair statment because my speaker positioning is optimized with the heritage in the chain. I believe repositioning of the speakers will yield more pinpoint imaging. There are more audiences in the concert hall now, again, approaching to the Heritage standard.

    But the feeling between the two is still different despite using the same transport. I have been thinking hard how to depict their differences by words. Anyway I try.

    I still feel that the relationship between musical objects and the sound space/venue of recording is more interative/dynamic when Heritage is used as the DAC. The 5000s fed by the 2000p superclock does everything in the direction of the heritage but in a more static manner in relative terms. In smaller scale recordings, it is not easy to tell the differences unless you are extremely familiar of the minute details.

    I reckon the bass of the Zanden combo has more bass sustain and bass harmonics seem to linger more in space, whereas the Heritage has faster bass decay time, and hence the rhythmic feel is stronger.

    The Zanden Combo retrofit with the superclock is approaching the end, if not at least in anticipation of the end is in sight. The 2000p plus the Heritage reaches uncharted area, and J thinks it is probably the end despite the audition was done via the Beocom.

    Also, I don't feel that Zanden dac is a low gain dac anymore. The whole frequency spectrum is full of energy, bass no longer timid. At some point, I wonder where is the Zanden sound that I used to. The slight mist attached on the mid-range is also gone now.

    As of now, I am still shocked by the degree of improvement brought by Yamada san..
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