A Zu / Tekton / Omega Speaker Positioning Thread


I'm a couple of months into ownership of a pair of 10-inch fullrangers, Zu Omens in this case. In extensive play with positioning, I've managed to get incredible tone out of them, the best I've ever heard -- but great soundstaging still eludes me. Specifically they fail at creating images outside of the speakers. On a recording of Bill Berry's Ellington Allstars, for example, my old 2-way monitors placed a trumpet 2.5 feet to the outside of the right speaker, and a sax just to the left, still outside the speaker. Now it's just two _great-sounding_ horns emerging directly from the right speaker.

We may be up against a reality that the limitation of 10-inch fullrangers is the inability to completely disappear, but let us have a discussion of best practices when positioning these guys.
I have a pair of Omega Super 8 Alnico XRS speakers and they provide a deep, wide, and reasonably tall soundstage. The soundstage width clearly extends beyond the lateral margins of the speaker enclosures. I positioned them exactly the way Louis of Omega speakers explained they should be positioned. They are toed in, and the degree of toe in is such that imaginary lines from the center of the drivers will intersect directly behind my head when I am seated dead center in the listening position. This works extremely well for Omega speakers. I do not know if such an approach would be appropriate for Zu and/or Tekton speakers.
I have a loaner pair of Omens while waiting on my new Definitions and I assure you the speaker is capable of a psychedelic soundstage that extends in all directions outside the boundaries of the speakers and they disappear well. I have them positioned about 3.5 feet off the front wall, about 110 inches apart on center and they cross(with lasers) about a foot behind my head. Great precision (to within 1/4 inch) will definitely help create the stereophonic "illusion". Hope this helps.
That's really encouraging, Schw! Does your listening position form an equilateral triangle or are you farther/closer than that?
My listening position is a little greater than 110 inches. An equilateral triangle isn't a necessity. I would see what seating area gives you the best frequency response and go from there.
I'm so happy with my Tekton Lores and 4.5s. The 4.5s especially throw a very wide soundstage in my 14x16 office, I can't believe it myself at times. For example, playing Neil Young's "Down by the River" or "Cowgirls in the Sand" the soundstage is at least 5 feet outside my speakers. Young's rhythm guitarist is 5 feet outside the leff speaker edge and 5-6 feet forward, Neil is solid at center the drummer significantly behind the bassist several feet back right and coming off the right wall about 4 plus feet from speaker edge. The height is about 5 feet eight or ten inches. It is incredible and blows my mind. On his piano pieces you'd swear you were listening to Maggie's. No joke! This happens with either the Primaluna Dialogue 1 or Jolida Fx 10. Of course the Primaluna brings out a stronger bass by a tad.
Tone is right on and very musical with great coherence, detail is very good.
I've got NOS Russian 6N3C-E in place of the stock EL34s, RCA clear top side getter 12AU7s, and Sylvania NOS gold pin 3 mica black plate 12AX7s as driver. Man, I'm really happy certain A'Gon members turned me on to these speakers. My Infinity Prelude Compositions also throw this type stage but with a different sound character, all good.
Also great to hear, Mikirob. For everyone's benefit, how about we share the following distances, measured from the center of the driver:

Distance out from front wall, width between drivers, driver to sidewall, and driver to your ear. Then comment on toe-in.

Right now my drivers of my Omens are 45" out from the front wall, 96" apart, 29" from sidewalls, and 102" from my ears, toed in so that the drivers would intersect just behind my head. The center fills in pretty well, but images that should exist outside the speaker pretty much reside at the driver. Moving the speakers inward from the sidewalls still doesn't get them to project the images outside the speakers when called for.
Ok, I will measure distances. Get back soon, clear up a little work stuff first.
Ah, the 4.5's have a driver that's half the size of Omens or Lores. Makes sense that they might to a far better job with the disappearing act. I'll listen to "Cowgirl" and "Down by the River" tonight for comparison.
I have Lores. Not sure my exact dimensions off the top of my head, but it's something like 35" from front wall to rear of speakers, low-20's inches from side walls to middle of drivers, and toe-in is so that they cross about a foot in FRONT of my face. I have preferred this approach as it gives a wider sweet spot and doesn't really sacrifice on imaging as far as I can tell.

One thing not mentioned yet that I also do - tilt the speakers up a bit. I have the front spikes elevated about 1/2 inch above the back spikes (a 1/2" wood block under the front ones). I haven't experimented with different amounts of elevation, which would probably be a good idea, but the elevating completely transformed the imaging/soundstage from laser-focused and sometimes intense to the point of listener fatigue to much more natural, spacious, and still with good imaging. If the point of toe-in is to listen just slightly off-axis, it probably makes sense to do so in the vertical dimension as well as the horizontal.

Also important to note might be room treatments. I have GIK panels at first reflections on sidewalls, GIK bass triangles floor to ceiling in front corners, and a GIK panel I put in front of my flat screen TV. I also have four GIK 2'X2' diffusion panels - two at front left and front right, and two directly to the rear of listening position.
First, let me state that my measurements really won't help you, completely different type of room, speakers and so forth...yet, it is interesting to explore because I know my circumstance breaks with conventional wisdom.

As stated, my office is 14x16, to exit there is a small hall of 4x4 feet with a 1 foot 45 degree angle (about where Neil Young's rhythm guitar player is). The ceiling height starts at 9 feet slope upward to around 12 feet, has a 3 foot run before it slopes back down to 9 feet.

My Tekton 4.5s sit on a 6 foot long heavy duty solid maple piece that holds albums, cd's and books. The speakers are only 6 inches from the back wall toed in 1/2 inch from edge back left, 1 and 1/4 inches from edge front left. Same measurement on the right 1/2 inch from edge back right, etc. the center of the 4.5 inch Teckton speaker is basically 60 inches apart and they are 43 inches to the center of the single driver off the floor which is carpeted. My desk is on the opposite side of the room and I face speakers from about 10 feet distance, my ears just slightly below 43 inches, which to me sounds best. My chair adjusts up and down.

When I swapped in the Lore just to see what they would do in this room I ended up placing them exactly as the 4.5s with the following difference: as a 39 inch floor stander I placed them 2 inches away from the side edge of the maple cabinet and 2 inches in front of the front edge of said cabinet. As stated the toe in and distance from back wall stayed nearly the same. This room has a 2 person couch and 1 over-stuffed chair and wood filing cabinet, no room treatments. That pretty much covers it and I am sure it doesn't help you one wit in your room. I want to state one other thing though, the bass on the little 4.5 is very good given its parameters, probably beats its specs a tad. As for the Lores, tuneful, warm, gets very close to the measured specs.
One thing I forgot: I also tilt the Lore up slightly, about 1/2 inch. Also, the Lore loses about a foot laterally, but still well outside the speakers. Depth is superb on both speakers. If I swap in my Cary 280 v12 with KT66s, the depth increase, the height increase, it's wall-to-wall on good recordings like Muddy Waters "Folk Singer."

I am now going o give you my main listening room positioning for Lores only. Room dimensions are 16x26. 9 foot ceiling. When I use the Lores in this room I have them along the short wall 4 feet out into the room, 4 feet from each side wall 8 feet apart. I sit about 10 feet from speakers. Toe in is basically the same angle as my office. This room has an abundance of furniture, plants, paintings, hardwood floors with rugs, and so forth. Sound stage is wall-to-wall with either the Lores or Infinity Prelude Compositions. With the Compositions there is no toe in, fires straight ahead. I usually have my Cary 280 V12 with Cary SLP 98, a Rega P3 with Grado Platinum, or Sony DVP S9000ES as transport with Eastern Electric DAC upgraded fuse and Shuguang Black Treasure 12AU7, plus either Silnote Reference II IC, sometimes Alpha Core Silver Saphire; PS Audio Statement speaker cables. I also have used Kimber 8TC, Alpha Core Silver AG1s. Digital is either Black Cat Veloce or MIT. Power cords are all Custom Power Cords.
I am a Zu lover but found the Superfly speakers extremely difficult to place correctly. As David alludes to above, there is little margin for error, but when placed perfectly (I also found treatments necessary for this speaker) they are capable of disappearing.

On the contrary when placing/room interaction is off, the top end can be hot and fatiguing and the sound flat, dead and not really compelling.

Zus are capable of beautiful tone with great harmonic density coupled with raw drive, but they need to be coaxed. Its my theory that the difficulty I had placing mine is why they traditionally show poorly at conventions.

I've had 3 Zu haters hear my rig and change their conclusions... that is, until I reconfigured my room and lost my magic.
Gopher, this thread is aimed at helping to get that magic back. The harmonic density I'm hearing from the Omens coupled with their _speed_ is an incredible combination; if I can get the imaging right I'll be in heaven.

So for you, what specifically changed with the new configuration? Sidewall distance? Pullout from the front wall? Seating position?

I just purchased a pair of Zu Essences. I heard them at a dealer, driven by some sort of Arc tube amp. They certainly sounded dynamic, but I found their soundstage to be to forward for my liking; a bit bright, too. I asked the dealer for a home demo and he was happy to oblige. I am quite conservative in my purchases. I have not fundamentally changed my system in five years, satisfied and happy. I chose to give Zu a try since I was planning to move and wanted to simplify things a bit. I am often surprised at the bad rap that Zu speakers get. Anyway, I took the Essences home and hooked them up to my Manley Neo-Retro 300b's. Damn, but I was proud of my amps at that point. They firmly set the soundstage back behind the speakers, where I like it, and proceeded to give me a much more dynamic and detailed soundstage that I had previously experienced in my system. My previous speakers gave me a deep and precise soundstage, grat decays, but a very laidback presentation with little bite and attack. The Essences have an often startling attack that is only bright with the hottest, and in my opinion, worst recordings. The Essences are surely sensitive to proper room placing, but they dissapear entirely in my setup. My room is less than ideal, square, large, 12 foot concrete ceilings, and 20 feet of 6 foot tall windows on one side, but I don't have much trouble with soundstage accuracy, size or brightness. I toe in my speakers so that the tweeters cross just behind my head. I hope that helps some...

Iramirez, can you let us know your distances driver-to-driver, to ear, and to sidewall? You're getting images outside the speakers when called for, right? Many thanks for the input.
Well, my speakers are 7' 4" apart, tweeter to tweeter. My sitting position is 14' away. The sidewall and rear positions are a little strange because my speakers are not really on the wall. They are in a corner position. If I measure from the nearest contact points, then they are 31" from the back wall and 5' from the side walls.


Personally, I have learned more about positioning speakers by asking the manufacturers of both Zu and Tekton what they prefer with there speakers. They know there speakers very well and I have been very happy with the advice received from both. I find it also very nice to build a relationship with these guys as they will often share very nice information and are often as in the case of Sean at Zu and Eric at Tekton, very nice, passionate, and very helpful.
Sean is great. He delivered my Def 4s and, after asking some basic questions about my listening habits and taking some measurements while adjusting the plate amplifier, positioned them so that they sound wonderful regardless of where I am standing or sitting. I agree with Morganc; a passionate manufacturer is a knowledgeable resource, and everyone who works at ZU is extremely approachable and helpful.