Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO with DHT module,COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; S.A.Lab Blackbird SE; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE UP NC500MB; LinnenberG Audio Adagio
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver; Titan Audio Eros power cord
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: £3'550

According to Osho, the American writer Paul Reps wasn't enlightened. Just so, Osho views his Zen Bones, Zen Flesh as one of the very best books on Zen by a Westerner. Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki meanwhile was fully enlightened and published on a truly massive scale on the same subject. Yet Osho found his writings not as accomplished.

Which segues into the two-chassis Lysios amplifier from Sicilian company audiozen. Zen and Don Corleone? What will Mario Puzo fans of The Godfather and Scorcese's immortal movie triology make of it? Leave the gun, bring the cannoli? Clearly Sicily isn't just Mount Etna, mafia dons and risotto al nero di seppia or black squid ink rice, a favourite of the late Luciano Pavarotti. It's also Antonino Pistone for hifi electronics, here with Salvo Giardina of importership Audiopoint Italia [middle] and their mutual audio bud Fabrizio Tuzza [left].

And yes, officially audiozen are as Italian as Linn and Tannoy are British despite their Scottish origins. Still, the actual Sicilian locale plays even better to earthy Zen than Northern Italy. Zen has always included the marketplace with its very ordinary life. In fact, Zen embraces disciplines as varied as sitting meditation, sword fighting, martial arts, archery, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, gardening, motorcycle maintenance and more. It's not about meditating oneself out of mundane life. It's about participating in life with full awareness. For those of us into the finer playback arts, this includes audiophilia. Voilà, audio zen not in a remote monastery accessible to only the chosen few. This audio zen might happen in a Catania taverna overlooking the Med, Tunesia in the distance, a shot of ristretto on hand followed by a glass of Donnafugata grappa. Â saluti!

Quant'è? Scottish importer Elite Audio UK list the Lysios at £3'550; or, in late 2017 Merkel bills, at a whisker above €4K. Either denomination buys us a 150/300wpc into 8/4Ω class A/B amplifier with 125dB S/NR and 150kHz bandwidth at -3dB. With 6kg for the clean signal-path box and 8.5kg for the dirty power-supply box with dual-mono toroids and low ESR filter caps, there isn't a hint of machismo, just Zen practicality. Output devices are IXYS insulated gate bipolar transistors aka IGBT. Those show up with "quasi complementary symmetry enriched with Baxandall diode to eliminate the local Miller effect"; four per channel. Nino will unwrap that for us into everyday language. As our maiden review on his company, we'll also need some more general background to get properly acquainted.

Those of a technical bend can read the above-linked PDF white paper. In it Ixys explain how IGBT marry specific Mosfet and bipolar behaviours. But the eyes of the rest of us will glaze over. We'll instead follow Nino along into how audiozen came about; and let him explain what sets his Lysios amp apart from others that might bat eye lashes at our wallets. Clear from already the cover photo is that it eschews muscle-amp optics with their multi-branching radiators and thumb-thick face plates. Those into fonts could feel that the 'power supply unit' screening would look better if written out in the same font as 'reference dual mono amplifier'; and that company name and logo ought to be the same size for both boxes. Others could question why the top unit's fascia attaches without visible bolts but not the PSU. Neither works without the other. Shouldn't they then look like they go together all the way?
... to be continued...

audiozen website