Reviews

Carmelita (Stand-mount / Bookshelf)

Carmelita Passive. The Absolute Sound, Dec 2015: Robert E. Greene published a very detailed review, also in print on p148 - 154. Among his many accolades was, "If you see them in someone’s house, you can be sure that that person is a true connoisseur, not just of audio as a whole, but of a certain kind of audio, of the pursuit of that almost mystical experience that one can have on occasion of leaving one’s listening room and moving into a world of ethereal beauty of sound, without giving up warmth and fullness."

Carmelita Passive: AV Rant podcast #476, March 2016: Tom Andry presented a talking review that starts after intros and banter at 00:06:30 and lasts through 00:20:30 . ". . . absolute holographic imaging . . . "; "If you're an audiophile and the rest of your family doesn't care . . . this is the perfect little solution right here."; ". . . and they're definitely something special." 

Carmelita Passive: Positive Feedback, Dec 2015: John Acton wrote a thorough review, ending with, "With the zA1.1, David Janszen has accomplished a supreme feat of engineering in distilling the myriad benefits of electrostatic speaker technology down into a compact, attractive, easy-to-place package that just happens to sound like real music. Uncolored and transparent, and possessing extraordinary levels of clarity, the JansZen zA1.1 is a remarkable performer."

Carmelita Passive: Thread on AudioCircle about a glowing review of this model in the Feb, 2015 HiFi News, where they got a Commended star, and even made the cover. [David Janszen: For those concerned by the low impedance found at the lab, there is a good chance that they received a pair with an early wiring error. I reacted badly and offended Alan Sircom before I reasoned through the possible causes. Sigh. I thus don't feel comfortable posting this review, but it can be found here.] 

Valentina (Floorstanding)

Valentina P8 and A8 (Mark II versions, new as of late 2019)

Substantially revised versions of the Valentina Passive (now P8) and Valentina Active (now A8) began production at the start of 2020. There are no reviews yet, but our presentation of the Valentina A8 at the Florida Audio Expo was covered quite graciously:

The Absolute Sound, Feb 2020 by Alan Taffel, "I walked into this room and saw nothing but a pair of speakers. Where was the equipment-laden rack? But David Janszen was holding a smartphone, and wonderful-sounding music was coming out of his Valentina A8’s. Turns out the active speakers were being driven by a $100 Bluetooth receiver and David’s phone. So, the speakers cost $12,750, and the entire system cost $12,850. On streaming Tidal, the sound was amazingly full and easy-going. Needless to say, with the A8’s ’stat panel handling everything above the bass, transients were exemplary. But so was the bass. This is the future for Millennial systems: powered speakers with analog and digital inputs, driven by a smartphone. With the A8 Janszen proved just how well it can work."

PositiveFeedback.com, Feb 2020 by Tom Gibbs, "David Janszen's new work follows the lineage of his father's original design for the electrostatic loudspeaker. The model on display, the Valentina A8, boasts dual internal 500 watt amplifiers. The sound was nothing short of superb!"

Reviews of the original version

Valentina Active. PartTimeAudiophile.com, August 2016: John Grandberg wrote a very comprehensive review of the original powered version of the Valentina posted August 2016 on The Part Time Audiophile site. "These JansZens sounded far better than they had any right to considering the lack of care that went into setup. I could have simply left them as-is for the remainder of my listening and they would have earned a very positive review." After setting up, "The resulting sound was among the very best I’ve encountered on any system, anywhere." John goes on to be very specific about what he means by this.

Valentina Passive. Stereo Sound (Japan ), Summer 2015: Hiroshi Shigeru Onodera wrote a review in Japanese in his Pick UP! column.

Valentina Passive: HiFi+, March 2014: Steven Stone wrote about this model in comparison to normal speakers and traditional electrostatics, and concludes with, "Although not inexpensive, the zA2.1 ranks as one of the best I've heard in terms of resolution and overall realism. Especially for fans of minimally processed acoustic music, regardless of genre, listening through the zA2.1s is an experience that few other loudspeakers can match."

Valentina Passive. The Absolute Sound, Jan 2014: Robert E. Greene's (REG) went into detail about what sets JansZen floorstanding speakers apart from others, and concludes with: "One can hear something so like concert reality as to be almost mind boggling." For those who aren't familiar with REG, he's a concert violinist and math professor with a clear, reality-based approach to evaluation, and is rarely so effusive.

Valentina Passive. The Audiophile Voice, Jan 2014: Hugh Mandeson wrote a glowing review, where he evaluates the speakers from a subjective viewpoint. A nice tidbit from him is, "Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me" on SACD was like butter and I was toast."

Older reviews

Here are links to a few older reviews of the very early Valentina Passive (then known as the zA2.1) shortly after its 2012 introduction:

From Peter Davey on positive-feedback.com"I can't say enough good things about these speakers as David really got it right . . . "

From Roger Gordon on positive-feedback.com: "The zA2.1's play music. Everyone who heard the zA2.1's loved the music. Even if you are not in the market for new speakers you need to hear these speakers for yourself. The Janszen zA2.1 (Valentina) loudspeakers are an amazing value for the money. "

From Marc Phillip on magazine-audio.com: Part 1 and Part 2 (in French; a planned full translation into English never happened): "I highly recommend the hybrid Janszen zA2.1 (Valentina) speakers, which true to their promise, reproduce sound faithfully." ("Je recommande chaudement les haut-parleurs hybrides JansZen zA2.1 (Valentina) qui tiennent leurs promesses, reproduire les sons avec fidélité.")

Nikolay Efremov reviewed an early pair of zA2.1 (Valentina) in the March 2013 issue of the Russian magazine, Salon AudioVideo. We made the cover of that issue. A rough translation of one excerpt: "Powerful passing attack is a blow to the chest felt even at medium frequencies — so alters the perception of music that all test records are rendered in an entirely new way. Instruments acquire scale, real volume. String, especially if we talk about bass-guitar, shoots like elastic spring. Time synchronization is evident-how the system acts as one broadband emitter. Vocal sound is generally hard to describe. Perhaps we can say that the acoustics creates movement."