I auditioned Zanden 3000 "long and hard" but preferred at the end Joule-Electra LA-300ME and noe LA-450ME.
Zanden is amazing preamp. You listen to it and you can hear mouse fart.... across ther studio. You ate amazed by its brilliance, by its bass and dynamics. In brief, for audiophile its dream come true
You listen to Joule-Electra (particulatly the latest 450) and you hear nothing of the kind. Nada! You don;t know if mouse farted or not, you do not see any brilliance and du=ynamic range etc. However, you are grabbed by the music, grabbed and it does not let you go. The same feeling , the same emotion as during live concert...
I am a "nut" on live transmissions of Metropolitan Opera (every Saturday at 1 PM EST) and with "450" I feel closest to the feelings I have had during few actual attendances of Metropolitan Opera.
I feel, and may be wrongly, that any preamp which bring my attention to anything will get me bored after some time and preamp that "grab" me into the music is one I can enjoy my entire life (with future upgardes, of course)