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New Zanden phono Mk3

Just open box for about an hour...listening to DG recordings all through as this is one of the greatest motivation for me to buy this phono on my respect and appreciation of Yamada san's relentless effort and skills in developing this 3rd generation phono. I have heard both the first and 2nd generations and each generation is a quantum leap in terms of performance. To outperform them is in itself already a great challenge even to the original designer I would have believed.

I can see much much research has been made in this version and there are 79 brands of LP listed in the research list by Yamada san each of which has got a specification on which curves the user should use in order to get the right balance. There are over 50% of the brands are unheard of for myself!

Sonically, the DG recordings sounds more lyrical and organic with a much more natural decay and harmonics....

More to come...


Just on the number of curves this new generation


  • Marvel大大又有新"瘋佬"!! 呢部好野我年尾就會出手. 老實說部JPA66對我來說太深, 好多功能我用不著, 但curve selection就極重要. 較好支臂但條curve是錯, 較乜幾叻都冇用. DG label的黑膠珍品甚多, 只為呢點出手已值回票價.
  • I'm touched. Great job done by a master.
  • This is Puyi, the old man. I can finally log in after some hassles. PT, if possible, can you arrange me to audition this great piece as I have many DGG recordings?
  • PT, check email and advise soonest avaibility.
  • PT, check email, make sure I get it at the same time as VR. I am waiting for more indpeth reports on this unit. Come on... Marvel..... Come on Mr.Zanden!!!!
  • Have listened to the Zanden phono for a few more days and could report a few more observations. I note that Mr. Zanden has written a very detailed analysis in another thread but I choose to complete mine first before reading his because this would ensure what I write below reflects my own feeling. It would also be a pleasure in reconciling our analysis on the same phono but with quite a different system setup.

    I connect the DV cartridge and tonearm into the Zanden phono using the low impedance input socket. The unit does not seem to require much burning in as on the first few hours, it can demonstrate a very matured and relaxed sounding. That allows me to go into a more in-depth audition much quicker without having to wait for a few hundred hours of burn in....lazy me.

    So far,my experience on phono is built upon : Wavac, Tron Syren, Tidal, Zanden Mk1 & 2 and latest being EMT. I listened to many other phonos in others' systems with the most impressive one being the DV phono in PT's system. This Zanden Mk3 seems like coming out from the DV family matching surprisingly well with the DV arm/cartridge combo, next to perhaps their own phono. I tried the DV combo on Tidal, Syren and EMT and so far only Zanden can produce the most natural and human like vocal in my system resembling what I heard in PT's system.

    Enough introduction, back to the sonical performance of the phono itself. For each different brand of LP, I set the right curve based on the mapping table which is extremely convenient. Of course, the naughty part of me had switched to other curves for a ABCDE comparison, believe it or not, for some LPs, the difference is not subtle and one can easily tell which curve should be the correct one eventhough there are 5 choices. Of course, not all LPs are having such a distinctive character and using RIAA seems to be the default which can always be relied upon to produce reasonable good sound.

    My understanding on musicality has been enhanced by listening to this phono because it produces a very lyrical, elastic and contiguous chain of musical notes with rich texture and colors. Vocals resemble the seductive liveliness of DV which I was most impressed when listening to PT's system. The voices are very magnetic and full of variations produced by the breath in and out of the mouth and nose through muscular actions of the entire respiratory system....I call this microdynamics similar to the touchings produced by the violinists and pianists.

    One of the biggest improvement that I notice on this Mk3 compared with its two predecessors is the transient and I have got the EMT phono recently which does this equally good, if not better, I am very surprised that it comes out from the Z Mk3 which really marks a new era of the Zanden design philosophy and this is a compliment rather than a criticism. On a comparative term, EMT is more musculine when pairing with DV combo. This can be changed by using the settings available on the panel of the EMT but inherently, I think EmT phono matches much better with its own cartridge. Again, I may be wrong and until I am fully acquainted with the EmT, the above is not conclusive.

    Speed is something always debatable and people may have different definitions and interpretations on what is called 'speed'. Some may believe a quick leading edge and a short harmonic tail is 'speed'. This may be wrong. To me, speed is 'synchronous' in the progression of the time axis thus giving a sharp 'waveform' rather than staggered. The 'sluggishness' and slowness in its predecessors have been greatly minimised, if not totally removed.

    Forget about the DG curve, forget about the patents that this phono possesses, I am genuinely stunned by the sonical performance of this masterpiece which is revolutionary rather than evolutionary compared to its 2 predecessors. My salute to Yamada san!

    One last remark. PT came on the first night when the phono was first installed, he finished listening to a whole LP, side A and side B on a sopprano which was unprecedented...we always swap LPs after listening to one track or even part of a track. PT commented that this is somewhat the kind of 'music' which draws him to continuously listening without thinking to swap to other pieces.

  • Try to post photo again
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