There is an oft-quoted statement in high-end audio, that good preamps are hard to find. It’s not cliché because it rings true. OK, there are a lot of good preamplifiers, but really great preamplifiers are extremely rare. And the Zanden Model 3000mk2 is one of those really rare, really great preamplifiers. It manages to dig out the refinement in almost any recording, but also plays music like it wasn’t in the system, and its overall tonality makes it exceptionally easy to just sit in front of. Putting it with its partners shows what the Model 3000mk2 is capable of with its wings fully unfurled, but with other amplifiers, the Model 3000mk2’s performance shines through.
Those who define their preamplification by the strong flavours it adds to the system won’t find much to like in the Zanden Model 3000mk2, but many others will listen to this preamplifier and rise to the challenge. Many will hear it, and initially think its fidelity to the source a beguiling, but somewhat academic, exercise. Those willing to go past the first toe of the learning curve, however, will quickly find that they are listening to a preamplifier of rare talent and elegance. It has quicksilver reactions and the kind of dynamic range that few solid-state preamps can match, and has the ability to just get out of the way of the music. That will improve the performance of almost any power amplifier, but when that power amplifier is Zanden’s Model 9600mk2, suddenly your audio system gets moved up into a new league.
Type: valve preamplifier
Tube complement: 1×5687, 2×6CA4s
Inputs: 3×XLR pair, 3×RCA pair
Outputs: 1×XLR pair, 1×RCA pair
Input impedance: 100Ω (XLR/RCA)
Maximum output: 9v
Frequency response: 10Hz–20KHz (-0.5dB)
Dimensions (W×H×D): 39.8 ×10.3 ×25.4cm (main); 17.5x16.5x35.7 (PSU)
Weight: 9.1kg (main), 5.5kg (power)
Manufactured by: Zanden Audio Systems Ltd.
Distributed by: Audiofreaks
Tel: +44(0)208 948 4153