ZANDEN Choku, Chukoh and Jinpu

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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#21
I haven't heard a solid state amp that can match Zanden's fluidity, cleanness and finesse.
How does your Conrad Johnsen gear compare to the Zanden 3000 linestage and 9500/9600 amps, Marcus?

I suppose your Avalon Time speakers need a lot of power and that afore mentioned Zanden amps are not strong enough for them?
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#22
How does your Conrad Johnsen gear compare to the Zanden 3000 linestage and 9500/9600 amps, Marcus?

I suppose your Avalon Time speakers need a lot of power and that afore mentioned Zanden amps are not strong enough for them?
Good questions, Audiocrack! Would equally be interested in Marcus' views on this since he has good knowledge and experience of both, it seems. FWIW, when i went to see a dealer of Shindo, Wavac and Zanden looking for a reference preamp, i happened to mention i was looking at CJ GAT, and he told me to go with the GAT. I assumed he had the ability to get it for me, and asked him how much he would charge. when he said he did not have the ability to source it...i was shocked at his honesty! i asked him why he would do this, and he said he simply felt the CJ GAT was better. I will go back to do business with him someday just for that.
 

Marcus

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Oct 5, 2012
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#23
Well, between Zanden 3000 and cj GAT the differences are subtle. GAT has deeper and stronger bass and little bigger soundstage and 3000 has that charming fluidity and finesse. The game might be different now considering recent upgrades for the GAT (Series 2) and Zanden (Mk2). I'll upgrade my cj GAT soon an my friend will upgrade his Zanden 3000 and we will compare...

Avalon Time need at least 250W/ch so cj ART monos are driving them quite well but to me "Zanden's sound" is closer to the absolute.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#24
Well, between Zanden 3000 and cj GAT the differences are subtle. GAT has deeper and stronger bass and little bigger soundstage and 3000 has that charming fluidity and finesse. The game might be different now considering recent upgrades for the GAT (Series 2) and Zanden (Mk2). I'll upgrade my cj GAT soon an my friend will upgrade his Zanden 3000 and we will compare...

Avalon Time need at least 250W/ch so cj ART monos are driving them quite well but to me "Zanden's sound" is closer to the absolute.
Great stuff! Thanks for that...direct comparisons of such rarified pieces are always fun to read about. I've never heard the CJ ART Monos, but have heard the Zanden 9600 monos which were impressive (or i should say very promising as i did not know the system very well when i heard the monos). But it certainly was a very balanced, very revealing and as you say 'very absolute' in its delivery.
 

Audiocrack

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2012
2,019
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#25
Well, between Zanden 3000 and cj GAT the differences are subtle. GAT has deeper and stronger bass and little bigger soundstage and 3000 has that charming fluidity and finesse. The game might be different now considering recent upgrades for the GAT (Series 2) and Zanden (Mk2). I'll upgrade my cj GAT soon an my friend will upgrade his Zanden 3000 and we will compare...

Avalon Time need at least 250W/ch so cj ART monos are driving them quite well but to me "Zanden's sound" is closer to the absolute.
Thanks Marcus.
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
2,019
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#26
Good questions, Audiocrack! Would equally be interested in Marcus' views on this since he has good knowledge and experience of both, it seems. FWIW, when i went to see a dealer of Shindo, Wavac and Zanden looking for a reference preamp, i happened to mention i was looking at CJ GAT, and he told me to go with the GAT. I assumed he had the ability to get it for me, and asked him how much he would charge. when he said he did not have the ability to source it...i was shocked at his honesty! i asked him why he would do this, and he said he simply felt the CJ GAT was better. I will go back to do business with him someday just for that.
That is indeed a remarkable story of honesty. I think such honesty is very rare in the 'audio jungle'. Never heard your GAT Lloyd but if it is indeed 'better' than the Zanden 3000 linestage, it must be stunningly good.
 
May 30, 2010
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#27
Good questions, Audiocrack! Would equally be interested in Marcus' views on this since he has good knowledge and experience of both, it seems. FWIW, when i went to see a dealer of Shindo, Wavac and Zanden looking for a reference preamp, i happened to mention i was looking at CJ GAT, and he told me to go with the GAT. I assumed he had the ability to get it for me, and asked him how much he would charge. when he said he did not have the ability to source it...i was shocked at his honesty! i asked him why he would do this, and he said he simply felt the CJ GAT was better. I will go back to do business with him someday just for that.
Good story. Did the dealer already know about your current amplifier? Some Gryphons have low input impedance that would probably exclude the Shindo, Wavac ur Zanden.
 
Aug 26, 2012
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#28
+1 for the Zanden 3000 . The right mix of transparency coupled with fluidic finesse . Set up right , it can dig deep !
 

Marcus

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Oct 5, 2012
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#29
Never heard your GAT Lloyd but if it is indeed 'better' than the Zanden 3000 linestage, it must be stunningly good.
"The battle" between GAT and 3000 is interesting. A friend of mine has both and thinks that GAT is superior. But his system is very different than the one I made the comparison, so... He's also a "Zanden fan" as I am and thinks highly of all their products except for the 3000. But everything can change with the introduction of 3000 Mk2 with new finemet and cobalt transformers and other refinements Yamada is working on. But my friend has also recently upgraded his GAT to Series 2 status and he heard exactly the same improvements as Myles did and is waiting for the 3000 upgrade to become available. This will surely be very interesting but I doubt we will have a clear winner.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#30
Good story. Did the dealer already know about your current amplifier? Some Gryphons have low input impedance that would probably exclude the Shindo, Wavac ur Zanden.
Interesting...to be honest, he genuinely seemed to like the CJ GAT as a piece. The input impedance of Gryphon Colosseum is 20 kohms, whereas the output impedance of GAT is 100ohms, Zanden 150ohms and Wavac and Shinod both 600 ohms...so i think all would work with Gryphon. I am no techie, but that is the impression i get from the techie's i have asked for advice.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#31
"The battle" between GAT and 3000 is interesting. A friend of mine has both and thinks that GAT is superior. But his system is very different than the one I made the comparison, so... He's also a "Zanden fan" as I am and thinks highly of all their products except for the 3000. But everything can change with the introduction of 3000 Mk2 with new finemet and cobalt transformers and other refinements Yamada is working on. But my friend has also recently upgraded his GAT to Series 2 status and he heard exactly the same improvements as Myles did and is waiting for the 3000 upgrade to become available. This will surely be very interesting but I doubt we will have a clear winner.
Wow...that's pretty good. he owns both! Big Zanden fan here as well...long-time fan on their digital obviously, but i also like their Reference 9600 mono power amps a lot as well...and hear very very good things about their phono stages. I also know many who swear by the preamp, but i have not really spent time looking at this piece myself.
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#32
That is indeed a remarkable story of honesty. I think such honesty is very rare in the 'audio jungle'. Never heard your GAT Lloyd but if it is indeed 'better' than the Zanden 3000 linestage, it must be stunningly good.
Yes, a very remarkable story of honesty.

As for the GAT, to be fair, every system is different, and you of all people have shown me what 'great care' and attention to detail and the proper composition of a system can do with already world class individual components. 'The composition and setup of a system' make a huge difference, sometimes all the difference. I learned a lot from just that 1 fantastic day of visiting you and your wonderful family and listening to your system which redefines 'reference' in my book.

I think the CJ GAT has surprised even me in how well it works in my system. i spoke at length with Gryphon about it who were incredibly supportive. i was concerned about gain and also about RCA-XLR. Fortunately, the system is incredibly quiet, even though i have a ridiculous amount of gain. 26db in the preamp and 31db in the amp....yikes and with a hugely efficient speaker...95db. fortunately, at volume 1-10, its soft enough to play late at nite. During day, its 10-25. Action movie tracks around 45-52.

when you buy almost exclusively 2nd hand, these things come with the territory (no auditions of the actual unit at home in your system)
 

Audiocrack

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2012
2,019
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#33
"The battle" between GAT and 3000 is interesting. A friend of mine has both and thinks that GAT is superior. But his system is very different than the one I made the comparison, so... He's also a "Zanden fan" as I am and thinks highly of all their products except for the 3000. But everything can change with the introduction of 3000 Mk2 with new finemet and cobalt transformers and other refinements Yamada is working on. But my friend has also recently upgraded his GAT to Series 2 status and he heard exactly the same improvements as Myles did and is waiting for the 3000 upgrade to become available. This will surely be very interesting but I doubt we will have a clear winner.
Many moons ago I talked to the proprietor of Audiofreaks, the UK distributor of both Zanden and Conrad Johnson. He (also) preferred the GAT line to the Zanden 3000 line. I really love the latter and think it is really a fantastic unit although in the end I (clearly) prefer my Kondo m1000 mk i. The latter I also prefer to the Kondo M1000 mk ii. Have however not heard yet the new Kondo G1000 linestage: a new and very expensive linestage only (this in contrast to the M1000 mk i and mk ii with also a phonostage).
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#34
Many moons ago I talked to the proprietor of Audiofreaks, the UK distributor of both Zanden and Conrad Johnson. He (also) preferred the GAT line to the Zanden 3000 line. I really love the latter and think it is really a fantastic unit although in the end I (clearly) prefer my Kondo m1000 mk i. The latter I also prefer to the Kondo M1000 mk ii. Have however not heard yet the new Kondo G1000 linestage: a new and very expensive linestage only (this in contrast to the M1000 mk i and mk ii with also a phonostage).
Wow...that is interesting. I did not know that about the UK Distributor. (I also did not know there was a new Kondo G1000!! I recall that you preferred mk1 over mk2 Kondo m1000....how much is the G1000?
 
Aug 26, 2012
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#35
Many moons ago I talked to the proprietor of Audiofreaks, the UK distributor of both Zanden and Conrad Johnson. He (also) preferred the GAT line to the Zanden 3000 line. I really love the latter and think it is really a fantastic unit although in the end I (clearly) prefer my Kondo m1000 mk i. The latter I also prefer to the Kondo M1000 mk ii. Have however not heard yet the new Kondo G1000 linestage: a new and very expensive linestage only (this in contrast to the M1000 mk i and mk ii with also a phonostage).
Hi AC , it's probably the tube rectification of the MK1 that you prefer v/s the SS recti in the MK2 . How does the Kondo do in the see thru / transparency stakes . One virtue , that I feel is a strong forte of the Z3000 . The Z3000 has the ability to help the orchestra breath naturally , teasing out sonorous nuances of massed strings , tonal differentiation amongst woodwinds . While being able to expand and bellow , when the big moments arrive . Not ultimate scale given my room and speakers , but very satisfactory nonetheless. I am sure given Yamada San's penchant for live recordings, the Choku and the Chukoh must be very special indeed .
 

bonzo75

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#36
Interesting...to be honest, he genuinely seemed to like the CJ GAT as a piece. The input impedance of Gryphon Colosseum is 20 kohms, whereas the output impedance of GAT is 100ohms, Zanden 150ohms and Wavac and Shinod both 600 ohms...so i think all would work with Gryphon. I am no techie, but that is the impression i get from the techie's i have asked for advice.
100 ohms is low and good. Very few valve preamps go that low, I think. VTL 7.5 MkIII is 75 ohms, and high current, which is why it is working fine with Marty's Spectral. Ypsilon seems to be at 150ohm. The only thing is that valve preamps publish the impedance at a certain frequency, and the impedance changes as the frequency moves and can go up pretty high.
 
May 30, 2010
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#37
100 ohms is low and good. Very few valve preamps go that low, I think. VTL 7.5 MkIII is 75 ohms, and high current, which is why it is working fine with Marty's Spectral. Ypsilon seems to be at 150ohm. The only thing is that valve preamps publish the impedance at a certain frequency, and the impedance changes as the frequency moves and can go up pretty high.
Even from the technical point of view, there is a lot more in tube preamplifiers than the impedance, usually quoted at 1000 Hz. In general (we have exceptions such as Atmasphere) it is not possible to DC couple the output and the output is either capacitor coupled or transformer coupled. If capacitor coupled the impedance raises at low frequencies and connection to low input impedance amplifiers can be compromised, unless the capacitor has a high value. Another aspect is that distortion of tube circuits usually increases significantly when they have to deliver more current, as needed by low gain, low input impedance amplifiers.

Transformer coupled preamplifiers do not suffer from this problems, as the transformer effectively adapts the impedance of the tube circuit output. I think that the Zandem and Ypsilon are transformer coupled.

Some hybrid designs, such as the GAT or the VTL 7.5 solve the problem using tubes for gain and solid state unitary gain buffers to achieve low output impedance - they will drive anything without electrical problems!

BTW, the GAT circuit seems to be a well kept secret - I could get schematics and measurements of most conrad johnson equipment, but could never find any detailed information on the GAT!;)
 

bonzo75

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#38
Thanks micro, so you think ypsilon technically should be able to drive a low input impedance SS amp as well as the VTL?
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#39
Also Caesar found great compatibility between his CAT pre and symphonic line Kraft. Those amps sound interesting
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#40
...Transformer coupled preamplifiers do not suffer from this problems, as the transformer effectively adapts the impedance of the tube circuit output. I think that the Zandem and Ypsilon are transformer coupled.

Some hybrid designs, such as the GAT or the VTL 7.5 solve the problem using tubes for gain and solid state unitary gain buffers to achieve low output impedance - they will drive anything without electrical problems!

BTW, the GAT circuit seems to be a well kept secret - I could get schematics and measurements of most conrad johnson equipment, but could never find any detailed information on the GAT!;)
Great stuff, Micro! Thanks for that. I will try to remember that. Also interesting that the GAT 2 has presumably different circuit schematics now as well.
 

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