Music is a thread that seems to run through the lives of audiophiles. I say “seems to” because often in my conversations with those who profess to be said audiophiles at large high-fidelity trade shows such as AXPONA in Chicago this year, it’s the gear they seem most interested in talking about. Rarely is an actual artist, LP, CD, tape, album or song brought up – there are exceptions of course – it’s all about this pre-amplifier, or that mono block.… Read the full article
The Zesto Audio Andros Allasso Step Up Transformer
Once upon a time, full-featured preamplifiers like the ARC SP-3 ruled the audio scene and contained a phono stage. Phono cartridges were high output MM or MI, and so the preamps of the day had only about 40 dBs of gain, max. Then along came the low output MC cartridge, and so was born the “Step-Up Transformer.” Most of them sucked (noisy) or were quite limited in impedance choices. All were expensive for the period.… Read the full article
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Audio shows can be a strange experience. No, I’m not talking about catching a frightening glimpse of yours truly, shakily down on all fours, getting a close-up photo of an XLR jack. I’m referring to sound.
For reasons that still are a mystery to me, at some events you practically are overwhelmed by the number of glorious systems. At others, you can go a whole day (or more) without getting your socks knocked off. I’ve wondered: Are the shows that seem to have very few awesome rigs the ones that suffer most from hotel bugaboos, such as challenging acoustics and sketchy power?… Read the full article
George and Carolyn Counnas, proprietors of Zesto Audio, probably are pinching themselves frequently these days. For a small maker of tube gear that’s not much more than six years old, Zesto seems to be turning a lot of heads and pleasing quite a few ears.
It’s not a dream, though. In the last two months alone, Zesto has appeared on the cover of Stereophile and the Absolute Sound, and garnered Best of Show honors at Audio Expo North America from Part-Time Audiophile.… Read the full article
The audio-show year kicked off for me with an eardrum-flexing snare shot in Chicago at Audio Expo North America. If those three hectic days near the end of April are any indication, we’re in for a heck of a ride.
AXPONA was the first of what will be the most crowded calendar ever on the exhibit circuit, with three shows in California alone, as well as at least that many other sizable events elsewhere. And that’s just the domestic lineup — the huge High End Munich show also drew impressive crowds recently.… Read the full article
A photojournal by Eric Franklin Shook
You can’t just say “It’s awesome, buy it.”
Eliciting a gut reaction of confidence in consumers who speak your name in conversations of top tier service and products is neither straightforward, measurable, or paint by numbers. Decades of experience and market research at all levels of the supply chain are prerequisite to attaining a seat at the table with the most trusted names in hi-fi. Building a good product is not enough. Anyone telling you different has probably watched Field Of Dreams too many times.… Read the full article
George and Carolyn Counnas are two of the nicest people in the high-end. A visit to the couple’s exhibit room at a show always results in interesting conversations about the tubed gear they produce under their charmingly named Zesto Audio brand.
But, as pleasant as those visits are, I wouldn’t stay nearly as long if the music coming out of those components didn’t sound great. But, it consistently does — spectacular even, depending on the associated equipment.
Zesto’s audio designer and chief engineer, George Counnas, reminds me of the late great William Z. Johnson of ARC fame. Johnson just had to think about what he wanted to build and then he built it. Easy! George Counnas just thought about the ultimate phonostage with flexibility never before seen in audiophile design history and just built it. His creative wife Carolyn, something William Z. did not have, designed the fluid modern look of the unit with even more elegance and motion than even they usually create.… Read the full article
If the artwork at Denver International doesn’t creep you out, I don’t know what will… I arrived in the Mile-High City bleary eyed, and confused after a 7 a.m. flight from Vancouver, and stumbled though the sprawling terminal taking in the strange, Nazi-themed art with one eye open, and made a dash for my hotel shuttle. The shuttle driver was named Mike, and when I mentioned all the creepy-ass art in the Denver airport he started telling me that the conspiracy theories surrounding the airport were unfounded, and it could all be easily explained.… Read the full article