Zesto Audio, Marten, Merrill-Williams, Cardas | AXPONA 2019

AXPONA 2019 Zesto

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by Core Power Technologies
AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by Core Power Technologies

CHICAGO (PTA) — Zesto Audio was demonstrating the full gambit of their stunning high-end tube electronics, along with a new phono-stage. Marten brought their youngest Django XL loudspeakers out to play, Merrill-Williams brought reality to the music, and Benz-Micro came to fly. Cardas brought their new Beyond series of cable and the Nautilus power strip.

The Story

The new Andros Deluxe phono-stage is amazing device when you peel back the layers of its features and design attributes. The new Andros Deluxe Phonostage follows the Andros 1.2 phonostage and Andros Tessera phonostage, taking the best parts and qualities of each, and moving them forward. However the Andros Deluxe is more than a combination of the two, it’s an entirely new product and degree of sound refinement.

AXPONA 2019 Zesto

When it comes to the combining existing greatness, the new Andros Deluxe doesn’t stop there. It uses 12DW7 tubes in the output circuit. The 12DW7 tube is half a 12AX7 and half a 12AU7. The 12AU7 half drives the output transformers, and is favorable for its high current and low noise. Allowing a true floating-ground-balanced-output.

AXPONA 2019 Zesto

Much was done in the design of the Andros Deluxe to achieve significant noise reduction. The extensive grounding scheme, the circuit design, and steel enclosure all play a major role in achieving this dark and noisefree background from which the music can emerge. The heart of the Andros Deluxe’s all-tube design is the new main circuit incorporating the same large MC step-up transformers as used in the Tèssera phono-stage, as well as an entirely new output circuit to drive the balanced output transformers.

AXPONA 2019 Zesto

The Sound

Zesto and the rest of the players were exhibiting one of the best examples of true high-fidelity at the show. Everything you would demand as necessary in a critical listening experience, had it’s box firmly checked off. The new Andros Deluxe Phonostage was exhibiting ultimate control of noise and detail, while in chorus with the Merrill-Williams table, Tri-Planar tonearm, and Benz Micro cartridge. The Marten loudspeakers really found the Goldilocks zone for my tastes. That zone between ultimate resolution and endless hours of fun. Everything was just right.

AXPONA 2019 Zesto

The System

Zesto Audio

– Andros Deluxe Vacuum Tube phono Stage – $6,900 USD

– Allasso Step-Up Transformer – $2,995 USD

– Leto 1.5 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier – $7,500 USD

– Eros 300 Monoblock Class-A Power Amplifiers – $19,900 pr USD

Merrill-Williams Audio

– R.E.A.L. 101.3 Turntable – $8,900 USD


– U2 Classic 10” Tonearm (two used in system) – $6,200 ea USD

Benz Micro

– Gullwing SLR Moving Coil Cartridge – $3,600 USD


-Cadenza Mono Moving Coil Cartridge – $1,280 USD


– Django XL Loudspeakers in Silver Grey – $15,000 pr USD

Cardas Audio

– Clear Beyond Phono Cable (1m) – $1,850 USD

– Clear Beyond Speaker Cables (2m) – $8,170 USD

– Beyond Interconnects (1m) – $3,750 USD

– Beyond Interconnects (2m) – $5,350 USD

– Beyond XL Power Cords (1.5m) – $2,480 USD

– Beyond XL Power Cords (4.5m) – $3,770 USD

– Nautilus Power Strip – $1,500 USD


– ESS42-26-4 Rack – $10,000 USD

– Ultra 6 Feet (used under power amps) – $899 ea USD

– Aperture 2 Acoustic Panels – $800 ea USD

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by the LSA Group
AXPONA 2019 Zesto
George and Carolyn Counnas of Zesto Audio