Zanden 1200s, have they done it again?

I am interested in hearing from any happy or unhappy owners of this new "top tier" phono section.
I now have a Lamm which performs quite well but not in all areas and is somewhat dark and closed in.
Have ss amps and pre and wonder if this will continue to give a more neutral presentation?
New units come with Slyvania nos tubes
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Well, when you think, that a Lamm LP2 is dark, closed in and not neutral, you should probably look for something different. How about a ML25 Phono, or a Pass Xono?

I heard the Zanden once for a couple of hours, not in my system. The sound was exceedingly warm and "tubey", though how much of that was due to the Zanden would be hard to say. "Some" would be my guess, though neutrality was not that system owner's goal and his amps and speakers surely contributed to the coziness.

I agree with you about the Lamm. I've heard them in two systems, including mine. Never could get well balanced or clear sound from it. I've heard many phono stages I thought were better, and line stages too for that matter.

If you want the low level harmonic detail of tubes without excess warmth, check out the Nick Doshi Alaap. See my system for more info. (I have the full-function pre, but separates are available. The phono section uses FET's for MC gain followed by tubes for additional/MM gain. It works.)

The VAC Renaissance (full function pre) is also quite good IME, though the Alaap's MC stage has better frequency extension at both ends than the VAC's internal stepups.

If you want to stay with SS then I'd consider a Klyne or Rauliruegas' Essential 3150 (full function pre). Neither has the low sound floor/harmonic detail of the Alaap, but they're both neutral and transparent. More so than an LP2, at least IME.

Happy hunting,