Zesto Leto Ultra Preamplifier, Bia 12 Stereo Power Amplifier, and Andros 1.2 Phono Stage, Vimberg Mino Speakers, Merrill Williams REAL 101.3 Turntable, Tri-Planar Tonearm, Benz Micro Gullwing SLR MC Cartridge, Cardas Clear Beyond Cables

Zesto Audio presented the third generation of its Leto preamplifier: an Ultra version that offers a slew of new features, from upgraded all-analog circuit topology and a new 12DW7 tube configuration to the addition of three gain options (3dB, 6dB, 9dB) that can be saved for different input sources. Full remote control capabilities have also been added for on-the-fly adjustments of input, volume, gain, mono, and muting.

But perhaps the most intriguing new feature is a Presence control for the upper or upper-mid frequencies. Broadly speaking, it's tone control-like but more accurately described as roll-off adjustment in which a low-pass shelving filter cuts the highs in a gentle way, with six positions across different frequencies. It might sound tweaky, but with more revealing systems and across various recordings and styles of music-or even your mood-this can be helpful for taking the edge off or smoothing peakiness in the higher frequencies. I happened to have with me the lovely recording of the Labèque sisters playing Bryce Dessner's Concerto for Two Pianos on a Deutsche Grammophon LP that contains some thrillingly dynamic upper-register piano passages, which made it an ideal demo for the Presence control. Through Zesto's amplification stack, feeding Vimberg Mino speakers, the fortissimos retained their intensity, but the degree of brightness could be scaled back ever so slightly with these adjustments-without tampering with the actual signal. Although this recording didn't "need fixing," it beautifully demonstrated this nice feature to have at one's fingertips.

The analog front end for this excellent-sounding system included a Merrill Williams Audio REAL 101.3 turntable fitted with Tri-Planar tonearm and a Benz Micro Gullwing SLR MC cartridge. Cabling was from Cardas Audio's Clear Beyond line, with a Cardas Nautilus power strip up front. Racks were Stillpoints ESS42-26-4.

mtrot's picture

Those Vimberg Mino are my dream speakers!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Stereophile review is coming soon to a mail box near you :-) ........

mtrot's picture

Nice! I've heard them twice at audio shows.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

My guess is, JA1 is gonna hug those Vimberg Mino speakers and won't let them leave his listening room :-) ........

audiodoctornj's picture

Got to say we loved this. We are the only dealer in the United States that sells Vimberg, Zesto and the Merrill Williams table.

We just bacame a dealer for the Zesto line and Vimberg.

The Zesto electronics are totally amazing, simple operation, extremely musical and a value for the sound quality which approaches the best available for a lot less.

Factor in the stunning visual look of the Zesto electronics and how unbelievably nice George and Carolyn are.

Vimberg is going to be one of the most sought after loudspeaker lines on the market, these are artisinal built loudspeakers of the highest level of build quality.

We have been telling people for years just how remarkable the Merrill Wiliams table is.

It is no wonder that this system would sound amazing.

We will be displaying both the Tonda and the Ameas

Dave Lalin
Audio Doctor NJ