JansZen and exaSound are two brands doing their darndest to confuse my ability to capitalize. Ahem. Anyway, if you’ve heard of these brands, it’s because they both tend to do what they do extraordinarily well. Given how well they work together, and how satisfying their show-demos are, I’m hoping these two become household names. Quite simply, they do excellent work.
Let’s start with the speakers. David Janszen had two pairs of speakers here at AXPONA, the familiar $8,750/pair floor-standing ZA2.1 and the new $4,495/pair ZA1.1. Both speakers are a hybrid ESL design, mating the electrostatic mid/tweeter panel to a pair of mid/woofers for the support down low. Crossovers are kept at 500Hz to keep the typical colorations in the upper-mids out of the picture.
Altogether, this presentation was a far cry from what I expect from hybrid-ESL systems like Martin Logan. Instead of “blistering speed”, I heard “rich, organic and deeply illuminated.” And that’s kinda odd, but in an altogether good way. I wish I’d been able to spend more time in the room, and particularly to hear the new stand-mounts which I managed to miss on both trips through, but I was very impressed by what I did hear.
Moving on to the electronics, exaSound was showing a new flagship DAC, the $3,500 e22 which supports up to quad-DSD (DSD256 at 12.8MHz). I haven’t seen any files at that resolution yet, but still, it’s an impressive number to hit. The e28 multi-channel DAC has a few new-to-me options, too, including the $3,650 e28 FC, which includes a new extremely-high precision femto-clock.
In sum, I just wanted to offer that “I love it when a plan comes together.” What was due to the big amps or the excellent decoders or the delightful speakers was impossible and unhelpful to judge. I didn’t care. What I heard was a powerful and delicate system.