| :: London Hifi Show 2005
In our 18th year at this event, we have chosen to exhibit in two suites rather than just one as we felt our recent appointment as the sole UK distributors and Western Europe Representatives of ZANDEN AUDIO SYSTEMS from Japan more than sufficiently justified a dedicated space for this extraordinary portfolio of creations by Zanden’s heart and soul, Kazutoshi Yamada. In addition to the already acclaimed Zanden 2000 Premium CD transport and the 5000 MkIV Signature d/a processor, we proudly presented the very new Zanden 3000 Line Preamplifier as well as the latest version of the 9500 mono power amplifier, now in its MK3 incarnation. Developing 60W per channel in pure class A, this push-pull, 845 output tube based amplifier is more than capable of driving virtually any loudspeaker system irrespective of efficiency level with no sacrifice in departments of dynamic ability or excellent resolving power with most complex music material. Needless to say, all Zanden Audio Systems components have valves both in power supplies and active audio circuits.
This approach once again proved that properly applied tradition never fails to deliver. As you can see, we used Avalon Ascendant loudspeakers in the Zanden suite and, much to our delight, the smallest of Avalon transducers admirably dealt with the audio signals coming from components that would normally command a far more complicated speaker system
(and many times more costly loudspeaker!). While we expected a warm reception of this system and Zanden as a new brand in our collection, we were extremely happy to hear an almost unreserved judgement of this system being the “system of the show” and/or “something very, very special indeed”.
Our regular larger suite performed at the already established
high level of musical performance, although this year's mixture of
components happened to be of a slightly more affordable (relatively speaking, of course) nature. Our longest standing partner/supplier conrad-johnson design inc. gave us their new CT-5 valve remote line preamplifier which slots right behind the ACT2 flagship. A number of innovative steps within the power supplies as well as further refinements of already known circuits and topology
provided highly musical sounds with every possible genre of music. Magnum Dynalab
from Canada sent us their new flagship tuner/control centre (and whatever else it may become in the future) called MD109 which, even with just the
ST-2 indoor FM antenna and mediocre reception, shocked many visitors with its holographic and highly musical sonic presentation. Last, but not least, Kuzma Ltd from Slovenia wisely chose to produce their very best turntable Stabi XL in a smart and well executed black satin finish – something a number of potential users may prefer to the standard brass finish available
as the only option till now. The very latest version of the TriPlanar VII tonearm
(also in black) and the Benz-Micro LP cartridge had an equal part in
what is our very best analogue playback system. This room showed
Avalon Opus (4-way option) loudspeaker system for the first time at
a UK show event and, like any other Avalon speaker, contributed
enormously to the overall sound and musical results. Cardas Golden Cross cables and finite elemente pagode HD Master Reference equipment supports completed the systems in both suites.
It was fun, it was good, but, boy, aren’t I (and other member of my family and crew) glad it is over.
PS. For those who might be curious about humans (???) on some of the pictures, the interesting picture shows (L to R) Frannc Kuzma, Matija (the older of the two sons of the Audiofreaks family), Marko (the younger of the very same origin), our good and ever obliging friend and engineer Jon Davis and, above all my dear wife Vesna without who none of this would have been even remotely possible.