DATE: September 1998

MAGIC. That's the best way to describe the listening experience with my Zen amplifier. I don't have much experience with tube amps, or high fidelity stereo equipment in general. But I do know what sounds good and this amp sound GREAT! When it arrived I anxiously unpacked the several layers of protective packaging. I carefully opened the tube boxes so they wouldn't tear. I gently inserted the tubes into their respective sockets and headed with the amp to my listening room.

I connected my CD player, plugged in the amp, flipped the power switch and waited 30 long... very long seconds. I hit "Play". The sound that poured forth from my speakers (94db sensitivity) was incredible. I slowly turned up the volume just to see what it would do. It got LOUD. So loud in fact my wife came to the basement and asked me to turn it down a little. Ok... no worries about if it'll get loud enough. Then, I just sat back and listened. I mean, REALLY listened. I switched from CD to CD. I listened to Rock, Jazz, Blues and Classical. Everything sounded so clear and precise. There was so much detail in the music I'd never heard before.

Then, an amazing thing happened. While listening to Mozart, I sensed someone coming up behind me. I thought at first that it was my wife coming to listen with me. I turned to see… but I was alone in the room. I experienced this several more times that night. In fact, a couple of times I was out right startled by a presence behind me when in fact no one was there. Since that night, every time I listen to music through my ZEN Amp, I experience the same or similar things. I've been startled many times. It's as if not only the band is playing live for me, but also the audience or people in the recording studio are actually here in the room with me.

When I close my eyes, I'm no longer listening to music, but experiencing it. People talk about a "sound stage" and "3D imaging", etc. I'm still not sure I know what all that really means except I know when I listen to music through my little Zen amp, not only the speakers but the entire room disappears, and I'm hearing it performed live. Really live! It's eerie. Thanks again Steve!

Brice D. Hornback

Indianapolis, IN





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