Like a Cathedral

Zanden's Kazutoshi Yamada builds amplifiers like Medieval villages built cathedrals: To glorify the quintessence. Jon Iverson and I were lured into his room because his Model 9600s were so . . . shiny (hey, we're guys, we're not complicated). Then we heard 'em driving the Ascendo System Z-F3 loudspeakers. Wowsers.

The 60W monoblocks (approximately $45,000/pair) are built around the KR 845 tube. "It's an extraordinary tube," said Yamada. "It's so good, I simply had to design a new amplifier to take advantage of it."