Saturday morning about 10:00 a.m. on April 3, 1999, and scattered thunder
storms are trying to interrupt my listening pleasure. My Zen amp #147
is cooking right along with Sting's version of "Little Wing" on wax.
I waited about 1 month to write this review so I would have a clearer
understanding of what my girlfriend, Raquel, and I liked so much about
this little darling. To state is as briefly as possible - ambiance,
resolution, detail, fluidity, harmonic correctness,....WOW!
I was first
skeptical because I enjoyed my modified Audio Note Kit Four so much.
With reduced negative feedback, new N.O.S. tubes, and better coupling
capacitors, this kit amp had beaten most others I have heard in the
multi-thousand dollar range. To my very content surprise, the Zen amp
blew me away after about 3 hours of constant, loud listening. CDs sounded
more like LPs, and LPs sounded even more detailed. My girlfriend, whom
I use as a judge of new equipment, was instantly impressed after about
5 minutes! She uttered all the comments I had only been thinking to
myself about the Zen amp. She then asked me how much it cost, and, upon
hearing my reply, told me to buy a second one to form mono-blocks.
up, I must say that I like the amp best with as little in the signal
path as possible. Driven directly from my Forte' DA converter, with
only a (1M) pair of my new Alpha-Core TQIs (fantastic), the amp sounds
incredibly detailed and fluid. With my new Grado Sonata phono cartridge
(still breaking-in) and my Sota Comet, the amp sounds amazing! Listening
to Luscious Jackson on CD and then wax leads me to conclude that the
LP offers superior micro-dynamics and low-level resolution. It sounds
that good - even considering I run the phono into a PS Audio 5.6 preamp
(not the best phono section), with the line stage and tone controls
bypassed. My MB Quart D-40s never sounded better, and will sound even
nicer with the new Alpha-Core silver speaker wire I am going to purchase
in the near future.
like to thank Steve and everyone at High Fidelity Engineering Co. for
making such a phenomenal product. I highly recommend it for serious
music lovers, and think even "sound pressure-philes" will find it pretty
satisfying. I would give this amp a 5-star rating.
and Raquel Gregory