RMAF12: Audio Arts brings Zellaton [updated]

I first heard a Zellaton loudspeaker courtesy of Audio Arts at NYAV this past spring. Big. Black and silver. Striking — definitely striking. If you’ve ever seen (much less heard) a Zellaton loudspeaker, you’d remember it. The sound? Fast. Rich. Unexpected.

The new Studio Reference One is a two-way — one 7″ widebander and one 9″ woofer. I can’t really find much in the way of specs on this newcomer, but I can tell you that its got balls and some sparkle — more than that, and I’m gonna need more time. Very pretty finish, though, and I do like those bright contrasts — but that is a lot of cash for a 2-way.

Speaking of which — Gideon Schwartz of Audio Arts has this to say:

Regarding price on Zellaton speakers, they are expensive because each driver takes 5 weeks to hand built. Most speaker companies outsource drivers or commission the major driver companies to make it for them. The Dueland crossover parts are all custom and proprietary for Zellaton which are some of the most expensive crossovers available today. The incredibly deep and substantial cabinets, along with Audi RS color choice all contribute to its price. Further, an incredible amount of R+D goes into each Zellaton speaker and special tooling is often need for different Zellaton drivers. The entire speaker is hand built in Munich. Nothing else sounds like Zellaton for a reason – and this is partly why it’s been around in various forms and iterations for the past 75 years.

From Mal Kenny:

A friend was raving about the sound, so we popped in. The sound was wonderful in the detailed, clean way that a Nagra fronted system should be. The Zellaton speakers, augmented widebanders, held together pretty well. All in all, I was pretty impressed.

  • Zellaton Studio Reference One loudspeakers ($52,750/pair)
  • Nagra Jazz preamplifier ($12,250
  • Nagra 300B power amplifier ($16,950)
  • Nagra VPS phono preamplifier ($6,850)
  • Metronome C8 Reference Asymmetrical USB DAC ($22,750)
  • Metronome Calypso Reference transport ($43,750)
  • Holborne’s Analog 2 Mk.2 turntable ($7,495), Holborne Dualpivot tonearm ($3,475),
  • Holborne MC1 cartridge ($1,975)
  • Van Den Hul’s Cumulus 3T speaker wire ($6,995/pair)
  • The Cloud 3T interconnects ($695/set)
  • Schopper Thorens fully restored 124 Mk.2 (unobtanium).