Visit to the Cessaro Zeta System of Audioquattr

I visited audioquattr last week and, after I swore to him that I would not say a word about this amazing new system, I had to have Tinka put duct tape over my mouth because I have been bursting at the seams wanting to tell people what I heard from this system.

From the one-of-a-kind Cessaro Zeta system we all heard in Munich this year, to the Alieno amp (which I heard at Jeroen’s over a year ago), to the Grado Epoch on the absurdly complicated looking but amazing sounding Reed 5T on a brand new TechDAS AF3 Premium sitting on a Stacore platform, to the lengthened dedicated listening room, to the in-the-wall giant subwoofer drivers this is, to my ears, one of the two or three best systems I have ever heard in my life. (Jeroen also has the world’s first client copy of the brand new Alieno line stage preamplifier.)

Now that Jeroen has posted a photo of his stunning system on the AF3 thread I can finally spill the beans. This is such a unique system, with multiple presently one-of-a-kind components, I told Jeroen that, like MikeL’s system, among the systems I have heard personally, I think this is a system of real significance in the world of high-end audio.

After I visited Jeroen I did not write a coherent, comprehensive visit report like I normally do. So my observations on this thread are going to be more stream of consciousness rather than my usual coherence.

I did not even take any photos while I was there because I almost did not trust myself not to post them. I did take a cool video, but I do not know how to upload it here. Update a photo here:

aqCesZ1.jpg
 
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DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
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La Jolla, Calif USA
#41
Ron: "(By the way I am beginning to think that the higher output of high output cartridges yields more in dynamics and jump factor than they sacrifice in delicacy or nuance. The fact that the high output takes pressure off an all-tube phono stage is another benefit.)"

This is an excellent point. IME, what you stated here is very correct. The trend towards ultra low output cartridges with fewer windings of the coil results in exactly what you posited. Therefore, what one gains with these ultra low output cartridges is more than off-set by what one looses, IMO.
 
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flyer

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Dec 16, 2012
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www.ultisone.com
#42
The Alieno 250 LTD outputs 250wpc, so Audioquattr is using far more amplifier power to drive the highly sensitive Zetas than Ralph has ever recommended.
This 250W output is at 3 ohms according to the documentation. In other words, when using the (more) common 8 Ohms yardstick, this amplifier is probably about 90-100 Watt.
So maybe not such an overkill for the Zeta after all!

Btw audioquattr, your room (and yes, I admit also the Zeta themselves :) ) looks stunning now!

Very best,
Michel
 
Sep 7, 2016
232
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Netherlands
#45
Beautiful set up and awesome room. Did you try the AF3 Premium with and without the Stacore platform?
Thanks dcc and flyer!

Yes i tried it (shortly). It defenitely improved with the Stacore, mostly in bass and also more detailed. Could be more when compared longer.
But as i told in the AF3premium topic i have changed a bit much stuff last few weeks so lost a bit my reference.
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Pleasanton, CA
#46
Thank you Ron and audioquattr for another great report for a vicarious couch potato. I would also be curious about your impressions with a low power SET with 45, 2A3, 300B, or 50 tube type, maybe next time..
 

marslo

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May 2, 2014
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#47
Thank you Marslo!
We still can be friends :)
Thank you, it’ s generous;)
Btw nobody talk money here, I tried to find the pricelist of Cessaro but without success.
Any tip?
 
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Likes: bonzo75

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#48
Thank you, it’ s generous;)
Btw nobody talk money here, I tried to find the pricelist of Cessaro but without success.
Any tip?
No price list. Cessaro is priceless
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
840
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#49
Just an absolutely beautiful system, certainly has the wow factor for sure... and if it triggered Ron’s very own hyperbole function that is indeed truly priceless. Much happy listening Audioquattr, congratulations... and thanks also Ron for the fab report. Great to be able to read and share.
 

marslo

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May 2, 2014
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#50

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#53
It must be a hybrid
Hi Ron
Sounds like an amazing experience . Can you dig into the meat of your specific sonic experiences, were there any weaknesses and what were the main strengths? Were image sizes realistic? What about soundstage depth?

Isn’t the Alieno amp a kind of hybrid? I, like bonzo, would be interested in hearing something like this with a SET. I wonder why Cessaro’s own SETs were not taken. What was the system sensitivity?
I could not detect any weaknesses. I would give it a 10 on each of the usual audiophile characteristics. I found image sizes to be realistic. In this 31’ long room the speakers were pulled well into the room so there was plenty of depth.

I told audioquattr that if my system sounds 3/4 as good as his I will be ecstatic.

Alieno amplifier research: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/alieno-ltd-250-amplifier.24852/#post-496806
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
2,841
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63
Switzerland
#54
I could not detect any weaknesses. I would give it a 10 on each of the usual audiophile characteristics. I found image sizes to be realistic. In this 31’ long room the speakers were pulled well into the room so there was plenty of depth.

I told audioquattr that if my system sounds 3/4 as good as his I will be ecstatic.

Alieno amplifier research: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/alieno-ltd-250-amplifier.24852/#post-496806
Sounds a lot like what Audio Aero did with their TransTrac amp topology, which put tubes and transistors kind of both active at the output. They also did a triode/pentode SET that made 40 watts or so with a 211 and an 813 (in pentode mode). Apparently it sounds amazing on the right speakers.
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
2,407
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Bangkok
#56
I could not detect any weaknesses. I would give it a 10 on each of the usual audiophile characteristics. I found image sizes to be realistic. In this 31’ long room the speakers were pulled well into the room so there was plenty of depth.

I told audioquattr that if my system sounds 3/4 as good as his I will be ecstatic.

Alieno amplifier research: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/alieno-ltd-250-amplifier.24852/#post-496806
If this is a 10, there is a way to go beyond.

Btw, Bonzo will give a 11+ if even a single Mook is in the system.

Tang ;)
 
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kodomo

Active Member
Apr 26, 2017
257
154
43
#57
Thank you Kodomo!
Yeh well it all is induvidual but i prefered the new midbass. You allmost need no furter bass. And for the most important soundwise part of the spectrum it is hornbased with its speed and flow and dynamics.

For the amplifier we have discussed here at wbf...
Search for Alieno pls
Do you know what drivers your midbass horn uses?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,318
250
83
North Shore of Boston
#58
Beautiful set up and awesome room. Did you try the AF3 Premium with and without the Stacore platform?
I was wondering the same thing. It looks like all arms have been moved onto the AF3.

Congratulations Audioquattr! This rooms looks simply amazing. The lighting and camera angles of those photographs are superb. I feel the mood and would love to hear this system. I also really like the equipment rack behind the listening sofa. What a great looking room and system set up.

What speakers did these replace and how do they sound different? I presume the amps were used for both sets of speakers? I love the idea of the inwall woofers.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,318
250
83
North Shore of Boston
#59
Ron: "(By the way I am beginning to think that the higher output of high output cartridges yields more in dynamics and jump factor than they sacrifice in delicacy or nuance. The fact that the high output takes pressure off an all-tube phono stage is another benefit.)"

This is an excellent point. IME, what you stated here is very correct. The trend towards ultra low output cartridges with fewer windings of the coil results in exactly what you posited. Therefore, what one gains with these ultra low output cartridges is more than off-set by what one looses, IMO.
Davey, What do you think is the right output for a good balance of low level resolution and dynamics/jump? Or can such a generalization be made?
 

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