Zesto Audio Andros PS1

Zesto Audio Andros PS1

Andros PS1 replaced the phono preamp that I use regularly (Rotel RHQ-10 "Michi") with a Linn Sondek LP12/Ittok/Karma system as the front end, connected at the single ended MC input. Cartridge load was selected to be 400 Ohms, very close to the recommended 470 Ohms from Linn. The rest of the system included the Melos Plus Series Line preamplifier, a Parasound HCA3500 power amp and ATC SCM-50PSL speakers.
Except the usual arrangements, Andros proved to be easy to place and to setup. The four tubes emit small amounts of heat, therefore the PS1 can be placed at any standard rack that offers a reasonable distance between shelves. According to a Zesto note in the user manual, the preamplifier is delivered with about 50 hours of break-in time.
First impressions from Andros PS1, showed that it belongs without a doubt to a class of equipment proving a proper all-tube design could be easily offer a low noise level as, for example, the nvo Audio SPA1. With the PS1 in the system, the sound was natural, with good dynamics and, ultimately, pleasant and restful.
The system retained the potential to create a stereo image with good width, clear depth and good detail in sound source positioning. This is something that becomes evident in recordings with small ensembles, where a pin-point focus is often apparent, but, also, with big orchestras and choirs where the listener enjoys a very good grasp of the overall scene and feels the size of the whole event.

Zesto Audio Andros PS1
Zesto Audio Andros PS1

The PS1 sounded balanced with good extension towards lower frequencies, offered good detail with some emphasis in the region, in comparison with what I'm used to from my reference. In any case, this was a very subtle characteristic, one that most of the listeners will appreciate and, most likely, a deliberate choice from Cunnas who otherwise has chosen neutrality as the basic design trait.
This neutrality is evident at midrange where PS1 offered a feeling of good detail, good voice focus and description and a pleasant, balanced feeling. The preamplifier appears to be very likeable and easy to listen to. Given a good quality turntable and a low noise vinyl record, Andros is capable to offer aural images of great clarity contrasted to an adequately "black" background.
In the high frequency region, the preamplifier sounded rich in harmonics, well extended and with good timing attributes. Percussive sounds feel fast enough in attack, with a slightly thinner body and, also, fast release. In this respect, it is obvious that PS1 does not exploit the ability of tube designs to be somewhat colored and with a character. It can be said that it does the exact opposite, leaving the system to pass the very best of the disc to the listener.


It must be admitted that the PS1 won me over from the first moment but with a good reason. It is a careful, pragmatic approach, well attended to the details (both to the construction and to those of voicing), worth of listening to. Add to these a rather reasonable price, and there it is: A phono preamplifier any audiophile should seriously consider!

Listening Sessions Recording

The following recordings were made with a DV-RA1000 Tascam master recorder (using 24bit/192kHz sample rate) and you can download them to have an impression of what the device under review sounded like. It is obvious that any recording of this kind could not be absolutely transparent but, according to our experience, the majority of sound attributes we listen to, during the actual listening sessions, are preserved. No need to say that you should use these samples cautiously and for informative purposes only. Do not rely on them exclusively to make any buying decisions. The file format is .wav, so expect that the zipped files will be quite large (even if the clips are about a minute or less long. You could use an ABX listening tool like the ABX plug-in for foobar2000 if you want to make some more elaborate experiments. Contact us if you have any questions.

Listening Sessions Recording TOC
Track #01 Zesto Audio Andros PS1 (Linn Sondek LP12/Ittok/Karma, MC Low/400O)
Track #02 Reference: (Rotel RHQ05/Linn Sondek LP12/Ittok/Karma, 96kHz Recording)

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