They make really good ice cream; I had a strawberry thick shake there today. So maybe their preamps are good too.
24 responses Add your response
Zesto is actually a chain of ice cream shops here in the Louisville area. In other areas also: "While some former franchisees continued to operate under different names, others retained the Zesto name, and they do so today independent of each other and without support from a governing franchise structure. Among the cities where locally owned Zestos currently operate include Evansville, Indiana, Seattle, Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, Columbia, South Carolina, and Omaha, Nebraska (where it operates across from Rosenblatt Stadium, former home of the College World Series).
The Zesto trademark is currently controlled by Zesto Inc., a Missouri corporation owned by Harold Brown, who operates the first known Zesto in Jefferson City, Missouri, and registered the mark in 1985. Brown's company grants exclusive rights to use the Zesto name by territory."
I am going to turn them in for trademark infringment! LOL
Yes, I listened to this phono pre at T.H.E. Las Vegas in January and was very impressed with the sound, build quality and price. Great value in a phono pre amp. It was played through TAD monitors; a very revealing speaker and I found it to have a fluid pace and musicality that was effortless sounding.
We used this phono preamp in our room at THE SHOW Las Vegas. The rest of the system was our own Electra-Fidelity A3-500 300B monoblocks and OTL preamp, Fritz Carbon 7 Speakers, Resolution Audio Cantata, and Denon DP-3000 turntable completely refurbished by Concert Fidelity. Cabling was by WyWires.
This was the first time I had an opportunity to listen to the Zesto unit at length, having previously heard it briefly at RMAF and THE SHOW Newport. IMO the unit, in addition to being well built and attractive, performs extremely well and for a tubed phono stage is extremely quiet. I would agree with Hifimaniac's comments on the sound and add that we played a number of different musical genres and the unit did not disappoint us.
Disclaimer: I am a reseller for Electra-Fidelity, Resolution Audio, WyWires, and the Concert Fidelity refurbished Denon DP-3000.
I own one and it is a great phono stage and IMO competes very effectively with anything in the $6K to $10K range. I also own the EAR 868 full function preamp with built in phono stage. I can say for sure that the Zesto outperforms the EAR internal phono stage in all the areas that are important to me including resolution, soundstage, transparency and lack of grain. This using the EAR's linestage feeding an EAR 534 and Marten Form speakers. I do know the designer and Zesto president George personally but I have no financial interest in the company. To clarify an earlier remark, the company is Zesto Audio and the model is the Andros PS-1. There is also a line stage preamp in prototype stage now which will make its debut at the Newport Beach, CA show.
Alexs- After chatting with Paul Seydor about the Andros, he suggested I contact George and Carolyn to ask if they would send out a demo, which should arrive sometime next week - wonderfully nice people. I am curious about your further impressions and comparisons. I currently own an EAR 834p Deluxe, which I'm currently A/B-ing with a colleague's Herron VTPH-2. Of course, there are characteristics of each's presentation that I enjoy, with neither frankly the clear successor to the other, IMHO (e.g. the EAR with my jazz vinyl/the Herron with my classical vinyl). So, I'm obviously very curious to hear where the Andros may fit within this trio.
Rlw3, sorry for the delayed response. When I borrowed the Zesto for our room I played a lot of rock music LPs. The phono stage did not disappoint me in the least. We cranked up Money from Dark Side of the Moon a number of times and the reproduction was everything you would expect, especially in regards to the attack you referenced. We also played some Steely Dan, Allman Brothers (Eat a Peach), Tom Verlaine, and a few other classic rock LPs. It really is a nice phono stage and we will have it in our room at Newport as well.
Mbump - Sorry for the delay in my response. I've owned two EAR 834P's one deluxe and one black. I also have an EAR 868 preamp with built in MM/MC phono stage. I think the Zesto is way ahead of the 834P and is very competitive and a bit smoother and more liquid and has a slightly better soundstage than the 868 phono stage. I'm told that the 868's phono stage is sold as a stand alone unit for $6,000, making the Zesto a very good buy.
Having had the Zestro now a week, I can begin to make some preliminary comments on my impressions. When A/B'd with the EAR 834p Deluxe, a pretty clear node must go to the Zestro, as the 834p is a bit less resolving, not as deep in soundstage presentation, and warm to a point of being slightly nebulous, partic. in low frequencies. Recently, the game got interesting, as I now have a Herron VTPH-2, borrowed from a colleague, and have to say that here, things are very competitive. The Herron has great detail and solid presence of the stage. Source placement is spot-on, though it may not throw quite as 'wide' a stage as the Zestro. Transients are also a forte with the Herron, with low frequencies being particularly solid. Where the Zestro may have a slight edge is its seeming ability to create a more visceral experience - timbral accuracy, partic. with percussion, is very impressive. The soundstage is also not only slightly wider, but deeper, more separation of sources. The Zestro is also slightly warmer than the Herron, and doesn't pack quite the punch in amplitude, though cranking it up a notch or two to compensate doesn't introduce more noise - very black backgrounds. I could likely be happy with either the Herron or the Zestro, but the listening continues...
Just my 2 cents worth at the moment - thought I'd share ~
Had mine for 3 mths now. Best phono stage I've had compared to CJ 15, Groove and clear audio .
My system is clear audio master solution, benz .32 mv ref silver, Conrad Johnson 16ls preamp, wadia 16 i, Cary v12, Avant garde Duos, all Synergistic ref cables.
Zesto is extremely quiet , and now my analog sounds clearly better than CDs thru my Wadia.
Seriously considering the Leto preamp.
I've had the Andros phono since May and just added the Leto preamp at RMAF. Both are simply outstanding, even better as a pair. I've only used the Andros with a Zu Denon 103R so far, but can say it gets the absolute most out of that cart.
I'm significantly upgrading the cart very soon, so hopefully I can get a better measure of the Andros' range. Support from Zesto, when needed, has been terrific as well.
I purchased an Andros about 2 months ago. It is superb. 'Quiet' is an understatement. Not only does it handle my low(ish) output Ortofon A90, but does so driving a Voltikus Gold with no preamp (i.e. no active gain stage). Harmonic integrity is at least the equal of my former phono stage (VAC Phi Beta 110i), if not better, while the midbass on down is significantly improved. In the overall scheme of things, it is a bargain.