Fussy Can Be Good

I’ve loved music all my life – as a musician, record producer and audio engineer. That makes me fussy about sound. That’s a good thing.

If you want something done right… Digital technology has its place, but true audiophiles know that for the truest, purest sound, nothing beats analog. As I returned “home” to the warm, wonderful world of vinyl, I looked for the gear that would deliver the highest fidelity. I wasn’t satisfied. So I built my own.

Vacuum tubes: everything old becomes new again Vacuum tubes faithfully bring warmth and harmonic tonality like nothing else can. As a young man in England, I designed vacuum tube circuits. I worked for DECCA Navigator — at the time Britain’s largest electronics company — as part of a research and development team designing airborne navigational systems for the Royal Air Force. So I have many years of experience designing, creating and bringing to market high-end electronic equipment. The difference here is that no one’s life is at stake.

My quest for perfection I started doing research on past tube designs going back to the original RCA circuits of the 1930’s. Those guys got a lot of things right, even though their tools were slide rules and trial and error. Their “classic” designs were my starting point. But I had the advantage of CAD software to simulate electronic circuits. Ah yes, the old and the new. But even with the engineering skill, history, technologies, in the end it’s designed by how it sounds, by ear. The resisters are very quiet, the capacitors are transparent, and the transformers have minimal distortion. To make sure its visual aesthetics lived up to its sound, I had an industrial designer (Musky Mistry) and an artist (Carolyn Counnas) collaborate to create an elegant enclosure that’s built like a tank. In the end, however, it is about what you hear. Hearing is believing.

— George Counnas, President of Zesto Audio