Yep, that’s the back of my head in that top picture. That might be the first time I’ve done a show report with me in the photos, but Scot Hull was lurking around behind me in the YG and Zesto room where I was once again transfixed by the sound before me. So much for the journalist not being part of the story, but that ship sailed long ago.
The real reason to talk about this room is Zesto Audio, which is always one of my favorite tube amplifier manufacturers in high-end audio. It seems like I haven’t seen George and Carolyn Counnas at a show in a while, and that’s my loss–the YG and Zesto room was one of the very last rooms I visited at AXPONA 2023, and it was a beautiful coda to a wonderful and busy show.
I shouldn’t forget about YG Acoustics. I heard YG twice at the show–the other time being in the Bel Canto Design room–and both rooms sounded fantastic. But the combination of YG and Zesto at the show was a new one for me, and I found that the precision and detail of the speakers were a perfect complement to the glorious tube sound of Zesto.
The system in the YG and Zesto room was quite accomplished: YG Acoustics Hailey 2.2 speakers ($52,800/pr USD), Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select class A monoblocks ($35,000/pr), Zesto Leto Ultra II preamp ($11,900) and Zesto Andros Tessera Reference phono stage ($19,900). The analog rig was a Dr. Feickert Analogue Blackbird Deluxe turntable ($8,635) with two Tri-Planar arms paired with a Benz Micro Gullwing SLR cartridge ($3,300) and an Ortofon Verismo ($6,999). All wiring and power management was Cardas, and Stillpoints were everywhere–including a Stillpoints ESS42-26-4 rack ($13,788). The entire room was organized and hosted by Reference Analog, a dealer in Oklahoma City.
It was easy for Scot to sneak around and snap photos of me in the YG and Zesto room doing what I do–sitting and listening. I was so mesmerized by the sound in this room and the way it helped me to relax, to think about the craziness that was AXPONA 2023 and all that hustle and bustle when it’s always supposed to be about this, listening to music and getting carried away from the world. George Counnas always knows how to find the right jazz LP to accomplish this, and I’m always grateful. This is beautiful gear, obviously, but it’s also supremely musical. What else is there?
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 2023, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.
Also don’t forget to check out our collaboration to commemorate the event with our solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800 grams of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top with also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.