JansZen and exaSound's Superb Sound

I've reported on this pairing before in show reports, but this was, by far, the best and most transparent sound I've heard from JansZen and exaSound. The top was nice and alive, the height and openness quite lovely, and the sound very natural and musical. Doing the honors were the brand new JansZen zA1.1 single-panel loudspeakers ($4495/pair), JansZen zA2.1 loudspeakers ($9400), exaSound flagship e22 native quad-rate DSD DAC ($3499) with "the world's first and exclusive support for DSD256 on Mac" and third-generation headphone amplifier, Emotiva electronics, and a stock USB cable.

The zA 1.1 is designed primarily for near-field listening. David Janszen, who has so far built five of them, may add optional side-firing tweeters in the future. Its bigger brother supplies more midrange and detail, but this little baby is no slouch. Ideally it would be positioned lower in the room, but David couldn't find stands of the right height in time.

Ordinarily, I'd write something like, "Imagine what the sound might be like with even better electronics and cabling," but no doubt David and exaSound's George Klissarov would chastise me. In fact, no sooner had David said, in response to my query about cabling, "George and I don't go for fancy cables," than George followed up with, "I invest a lot of time to make my devices immune to cables." With that said, since I have yet to hear a component that didn't sound different with different cables, I'm more than eager to test out their claims in practice.

Brankin's picture


Are you sure the speakers were driven with an Emotiva amp and not a Van Alstine FET Valve amp?  The amp pictured on the right looks like an AVA model.  I did read that JansZen was going to use an AVA for the show.  Just making sure AVA gets their just due, since it is hard to come by for small company.  (I was not there...so if mistaken, sorry)


Jason Victor Serinus's picture

You are correct. But so am I. Here's the full scoop from David JansZen, with more detail than I was prepared to record in the time I was able to spend in the room. (For the record, if time constraints force me to choose between listening or talking, I invariably choose listening.)

Two channels of a 5-channel x 200W Emotiva XPA-5 (which I think is just basic amplification) were driving the front pair of zA1.1 from two channels of the 8-channel exaSound e28. Two of its other channels were used for the zA1.1s in the rear for occasionally playing back multi-channel files when someone expressed an interest in this. We played only stereo for you.

A 2-channel x 225W Van Alstine 400R (which I like) was driving the zA2.1 (not za 2.2) from the new two channel exaSound e22.

Ah, so I see that model corrections for the JansZen loudspeakers are also in order. My apologies. And my thanks to you for ensuring that Frank Van Alstine receives just credit for some of this room's superior sound.