Verity, Grand Prix, and Zanden Make Music

With an older Grand Prix Audio Monaco 1.5 turntable ($23,500) outfitted with a Tri-Planar Ultimate 12" tonearm ($9800) and PC-1S cartridge ($8500) as source, Japanese manufactured Zanden Audio Systems electronics, cables, and room treatment allied with Canadian sourced Verity Audio Sarastro IIS 3-way loudspeakers in custom finish ($55,195/pair) to produce great soundstaging on a Bach LP. Equally wining was the enticing sound on an LP from Ray Brown.

The speakers, which began shipping in November, have new dedicated "S" stand isolation platforms whose very low resonance frequency provides superior isolation on most surfaces. There have also been some changes to the tweeter and crossover. Grand Prix carbon-fiber support stands for equipment also contributed to the sonic excellence.

In a rare case of "trickle up," Zanden is refreshing its upper line by incorporating the same technology first introduced in its entry-level products. This includes, on the Zanden 9600 Mk.2 845 balanced mono amplifier ($57,200/pair), upgraded Finemet output transformers, cobalt input transformers, and new tube rectified power supply w/double chokes, as well as no negative feedback and fixed bias. Also heard were the Zanden 3000 Mk.2 tube preamplifier w/transformer coupled inputs and outputs ($23,000), and 1200 Mk.3 tube phono equalizer ($25,000).