I was very moved by Marvel brother's posting of his impression of my system, it was his first audition of my horns. From someone of his stature in the audio community (he has possessed most of the high-end products in the market and has heard numerous systems) to give compliments to another person's system is not easy, it requires humility and a true sense of awareness/enlightenment. I was also humbled by Romanovym's comments "This is by far the closest experience to listening orchestral works at Cultural Centre".
I very seldom invite people home to listen to my Zanden/Cessaro Beta system as I feel uncomfortable of having strangers in my home (if it is not hi-fi, would you invite a stranger home to share your wine, food or watching your favourite movies !). I continue to tweak the sound exactly to my own taste based on my listening experiences from the many live concerts I have been to over the years. To me, it is very important to hear the various pieces of your favourite music performed live, this will enable you to have a much better understanding of the recorded music (positioning of the players and instruments i.e strings, cellos, horns, double bass and tympani etc), afterwards, you "try" to reproduce the sound (this means everything - from tonality, dynamics and soundstage) of your system as close as possible to what you have just heard .
Marvel's listening impression is a confluence of other respected listeners. After receiving positive feedback, I know I am moving in the right direction but there is simply nothing to feel proud or to boost about. I would like to reiterate I do not like to write/describe the sound of my system in any hi-fi forum because sound, like the taste of food, is so abstract as well as subjective. Furthermore, because of the size and relatively small listening area, those who have not physically experienced the actual sound, will in my word, feel highly skeptical how on earth it can sound good at all. The case in point was an unwarranted and sarcastic comment by the editor of an international hi-fi portal several years ago who expressed severe reservation on the sound of my listening room without having been there. Notwithstanding my reaction, his comments about my old system in my previous residence was fair when he said "it's so easy to forget that an audio system'sonly responsibility is to pleasure its owner. This one fulfills its owner's needs to the 'T'. He is to be congratulated for having arrived already where most of us are still striving and struggling".
I do not normally listen to other people's systems (they seldom invite me) except AE's evolving system, from Tidal to several latest designed Cessaro's single-paired horns. My hi-fi mentors have always been Franck Tchang of Acoustic System International and Yamada-san of Zanden, Herr Ralph Krebs has provided assistance on cross-over adjustment (the gold-coloured super-tweeter cover was produced on my special request from previous standard silver material). Franck, every time after visiting my home, says my system sounds the best (large and small) among all the systems he has heard globally (he has not heard current AE's statement system driven by Choku, I hasten to add ).
In the past, whenever Yamada-san came to my home, he would point out one or two anomalies and fixed them (Chris will attest to this because he does it to everyone's system). However, in his previous 2 visits, he just simply sat down and listened to my system for hours. When I said to him in his last visit I will part with my present system, he said to me in a philosophical manner that I have reached the summit of hi-fi MT. Everest and I should be satisfied.
Well, you may be perplexed by what on earth is going on here. The truth of the matter is I have decided to sell my entire system and before that, I want to share my listening pleasure with those who are genuine music lovers and more importantly, are very interested in building their future system around Zanden products and Cessaro horns. If you meet these 2 prerequisites, I would like to invite you (please "do not" bring your friends for validation but come on your own) to come to audition what a Cessaro horn system driven by a full suite of Zanden gears (those solid state users should stay on their camp) sounds like as it is my belief (very subjective indeed) "only the best tube design can produce the best hi-fi sound", period. Those who want to understand more about my impression of Zanden's designer and his products together with my hi-fi/musical taste should read my previous article in 長空 by Yamada Kazutoshi of Zanden Audio.
Now what is my definition of how to achieve best (subjective indeed) sound or what should a very good system is supposed to sound. Well, if you go to a classical concert, you will enjoy and be emotionally touched by musical performance of an orchestra and the solo performer. You will be captivated by the music. In domestic hi-fi reproduction, our life-long endeavour is to re-create the "live event" or the "recording" in the studio. To achieve this goal, your home system must posses the following qualities in order to "cheat" your brain that you are hearing the real thing and these are :