Thursday, October 17, 2013

Zellaton, CH Precision, Robert Koda, Trinity and Holborne at RMAF 2013



I was intrigued by the pioneering German company Zellaton (which invented the sandwich driver) when I heard one of its speakers in Munich earlier this year. In Denver Audio Arts showed the $49,750, two-and-a-half-way Zellaton Grand “Purist Version”—purist, I suppose, because of its custom-cast crossover parts.

Driven by a CH Precision A1 amplifier and a Robert Koda K-10 preamp and sourced by a Holborne Analog 2 MkII turntable with Jan Allearts cartridge, the Grand managed to produce the second best Kije at the show, with terrific tone color, transient speed, and overall realism. Judging by what I heard at Munich this is a much improved speaker, and a Best of Show contender.

By Stereophile

I’ve come to expect nothing but great and interesting music from Audioarts’ Gideon Schwartz. I walked in to Dead Can Dance’s Spirit Chaser, and, though the volume was much lower than that heard in most other rooms, the music was nevertheless engaging and in many ways more inviting: smooth and detailed, with exceptional image focus and superb stage balance.

Schwartz explained that Zellaton’s new Grand “Purist Version” loudspeakers ($49,750/pair), with Dueland custom-cast passive crossovers, delivered the tightness, focus, and purity he most values in music playback, while Robert Koda’s K-10 preamp ($31,000) “captures tube beauty without sacrificing solid-state speed.”

Other components in the system included CH Precision A1 monoblock power amplifiers ($74,950/pair); CH Precision C1 DAC ($32,975) with Ethernet streaming board ($4950), USB input board ($3975), and X1 power supply ($14,975); CH Precision D1 CD/SACD player ($37,750); and Holborne Analog 2 MkII turntable ($13,225) with Jan Allearts MC Finish cartridge (TBA). Cables were van den Hul and racks were Audiostrata Exclusive for Audioarts.

I exited with Wild Beasts’ “Bed of Nails,” which was reproduced with the most compelling combination of detail and warmth I think I’ve ever enjoyed.

By Ultra High-End