Another Zu Thread

Sorry - I'm sure this is in the archives, but I've been reading them for several hours and haven't come up with anything super definitive.

Can anybody comment on what setup works best with the Druids and/or the Definitions? I have read >10ft to the listener for the Definitions.

Does the floor material matter? I have read that they need to be placed on hard surfaces, not carpet - true?

They appear to work in a fairly standard triangle pattern - separated by X feet, user seated Y feet away.

Toe in? Do these speakers do the "head in a clamp thing" or does it support multiple listeners reasonably well?

Distance from back / side walls?

Any help would be appreciated, either in direct answers or point me to a thread that discusses all the physical setup issues.

Here's what I can give you from my personal experience regarding the Definitions, that work in my crib: 10 feet from ear to speaker with the speakers 8 feet apart. Very slight toe-in. Maybe 15 degrees. Replaced the Zu spikes. They use crappy spikes. Replaced them with superior spikes from StarSound Technologies. Major difference. Carpet, hard floor? Your choice. Sound? It's been a year, and I'm loving them. More is revealed as time goes by. Quite an extraordinary trip. Made way for SET, and that is a real the Zuboys. They are great guys. Other Zu nauts should follow. I believe the Druids are more problematic in set-up as far as the floor etc.
The room will always have something to say. I assume you already have the speakers. Why not experiment a little and find the best arrangement for your room?
There is nothing problematic about Druids or Definitions but there are certain considerations which apply to optimal implementation.
The Definition is designed with a recommended 10 foot mimnimum between the forward plane of the speakers and your listening position. I have not noticed a sidewall problem at all. My right speaker is about 3 feet from the wall and there is no wall on the left. They are about 12 inches from the wall behind them.
Druids are different in two ways. First, you need to experiment with the distance between the speaker's plinth and the floor under it. This is accomplished by threading the spikes up or down to increase or decrease the gap. There is a rule of thumb. Definitions do not require spacing because they are not bottom ported like the Druids. Defs have their woofers in a sealed enclosure.
Toe in will effect the soundstage, naturally, and that will require experimentation just like with any other speaker. It will also impact the sweet spot. I don't think you can make it narrow but it is possible to make it wider by rotating the speaker position. I do not experience any "head in the vise" problems with mine.
For some reason, rumors abound concerning this brand name.
Aktchi - no, I don't have the speakers. I am considering taking the 60-day test drive, but would avoid even that if something about my situation and those speakers would make it an obvious misfit.

I have no problem with the 10 foot distance minimum. I have two rooms to potentially put them in, one where I'm pretty much obligated to sit about 12 feet (or less) back from the speakers which would be 6-10 feet apart. Rectangular, well damped. My other room is a big living area in a contemporary house that opens up to eternity. The speakers would be in the "end" of a rectangle, and I could split them about as far apart as I like, and I could sit any distance away. This is the preferred room to put them into.

I'm intrigued by the descriptions of the dynamics and the "live" sound, as well as the full extension. I listen to mostly rock, blues and jazz.

I currently have Dynaudio Confidence 2's, which I like a lot, but would probably want to move to a bigger speaker in the Dynaudio line for the room I'm in and the music I like if I stay in suit.

Thanks for the feedback. -Kirk
Macrojack has it right. There is no bottom port and Definitions do not benefit in any way with good spikes, bad spikes, and no spikes. Ask the Zu owners and they will tell you the same thing. I've tried their hardwood floor spikes, their carpet spikes, Adona brass spikes, and none. I settled on a pair of 2" thick maple platforms; not for isolation performance but for two other reasons. First, they raised the tweeter to a height that pleases my listening better and second it gives me the ability to toe in and out without scratching my floors.

Call or private email to discuss further. This will be my only post concerning this thread.

Disclaimer: Zu seller
Having owned the Druids, Def. 1.5's and now Def. Pros, I can say these are all really different speakers. The Druids are mellower sounding than the other two but also less revealing. All can fill a large room with a handfull of watts. If you're a bass junkie, you'll need subs for the Druids, if you're not, they actually have very nice bass. I love huge bass and the 1.5s weren't enough in my room, but it's a bass vacuum and they seem to be fine for most. None are particularly sensitive to room positioning, as I've had all within a foot of the front wall with no problems.

Not everyone likes the Zu speakers. I'm not sure what the issue is with the Druids, and I'd still have them if I didn't fall into a little money. Lots of folks are very happy with them, but not all. In my giant bass suckout of a room, the 1.5 bass was light and the presence band was peaky. I suspect the active presence band is one reason some folks don't like the Definitions - it serves some music exquisitely but gets agitated with a few keys of a piano and with blazing guitar music.

To solve both problems, I went for the Definition Pros. This required a separate amp and EQ in the bass. I ended up with a Crown K2 and TacT 2.2XP, which fully controls the crossover between the main and sub arrays as well as EQ potential. I drop the presence band down a few db, raise the crossover frequency from the 40 hz in the 1.5s to 65 hz and now I have a setup that will serve ALL music at ANY volume. Yes, I like girl with guitar, yes, I like Metallica, and Snoop Dogg, and heavy electronic, and yes I like to CRANK it some times. Set up this way, even my 2 watt SET amp can happily oblige.

But, it plays very well quietly which is how I normally listen. SET magic and still the ability to bring the house down. It sounds like an Aphile wet dream but it's the real deal. It's also a fairly complex setup but it's transparent, revealing, warm and honest. 20 hz to 20 khz can be as flat as you want in-room or you can choose to skew the response to taste. The subs and mains blend perfectly, as they are essentially coincident.

I'm not one to exaggerate to make a point. The reward is a setup that can be tuned to suit any reasonable listener.

And, oh, flame away all ye naysayers about that which could not be. If I had that attitude, I wouldn't have "made it".
Audiofeil, there is a significant difference with different kinds of spikes. There are spikes and there are spikes. Kind of like silk ties and the like. The Zu boys have told me that their spikes are really not the best, and they were thinking of auditioning the Starsound points. Regardless of the type of floor, spikes make a difference in the sound one can get from any speaker. Put the spikes on the Audiopoint discs and it is easy to shift the speaker. They won't dig into the floor. On carpet? That's a major pain in the ass. Me? Wood under my Defs? Not in a million years. Not under any speaker...
As I stated in my earlier post, rumors abound concerning Zu speakers. The Definition is a no holds barred statement product around which no corners have been cut. It will perform quite well in your larger room and I wish I had a space that large for mine. As for spikes, I suggest you disregard any suggestion that the stock spikes are in any way inadequate. Zu would not design and build their own drivers and develop their own state of the art paint shop and create one of the coolest web sites in audio and offer a professioal version of the Definition, only to mount it on insufficient spikes. That opinion appears to eminate from a majority of one.
When you contact Zu, ask them about the Def Pro. I can't tell you if it something you'll want to try but I'm sure the Zu boys can. Good luck with your trial.
Kthomas: Aktchi - no, I don't have the speakers. I am considering taking the 60-day test drive, but would avoid even that if something about my situation and those speakers would make it an obvious misfit.

OK, in my first speed reading of your post, I misunderstood your situation and thought you were seeking help with getting most out of the speakers you already had. No problem, you have experienced people advising you here. There is no harm in contacting Zu directly either. I wouldn't expect them to say "don't bother trying our speakers" though. But thta's fair enough, because as far they are concerned, figuring out such things is what the trial is for.

What made you interested in Zu? What else is on your short list? Good luck.
macrojack, ignorance is bliss as you have shown, but then again, what could I expect. You are very naive. There are more speakers than you realize sitting upon inferior spikes...
Okay, I will jump in.. First off I will say that the definitions in specific work well on hardwood, possibly a little better response than directly on carpet, but probably cause the floor resonates a little better. However truth is being on hardwood with a rug out in front of them have been the best overall that I have experienced just kill the first point reflection with some type of rug.

I have used the factory supplied spikes.. #1 they are about at least an Inch too LOW for me.. Now I have used Sistrum Stands and Both types of Audiopoints, the 1.5" and 2" versions.

Stock spikes makes them sound far more Muddy, and almost Hollow compared to getting them up a little higher and or with better vibration control on heavier spikes, This is my opinion and might not be completley a rule of thumb in every single acoustic environment. But I lost a bit of impact and 3 Dimensionality with the stock spikes of both the version cut off tips and with the tips Zu can supply.

Solid Brass spikes were far Better feel in the room than the Steel Nubby spikes supplied. Why? Don't know, better energy transfer? Just better Height? Or just better Mass? Well the brass are probably 10 times the weight, they are over 1.5" higher using the 2" spikes as well.. You equate why or how, but yes the Spikes sound quite different no question on that.

The cabinets vibrated much more on the Sistrum stands, the stands worked best on hardwood, but were pretty bad on carpet...

The 2" heavy solid brass spikes sounded the best in all configurations more or less, and they seemed to really eliminate any excess cabinet vibrations as well as bring the tweeter up to 37" vs. 35.5". I hated spending the money on them but they were just better. Experiment its pretty easy, Oh and Flat on the floor with NO spikes I thought would definatley obtain the most increase in Fullness or something and make the room Shake more, well Nope.. On spikes were always better and cleaner Bass and Midrange output whether the stock or Heavy brass spikes were used. I have never tried them on blocks of solid wood so I have no comment.
Thanks Undertow. You said it better than me. Yes indeed as far as the bass and midrange go. Macrojack order 8 spikes from Starsound. A couple hundred bucks. You splurged for the Def Pros, why not hear what kind of bass your Defs are capable of. Don't like them? They will refund your $$. I don't believe you'll want a refund. Wait 'til you hear what your midrange and bass sound like. Then tell me how Zu wouldn't put their speakers on inferior spikes?
We're the smallest cheerleading squad on the planet and just like a cheerleading squad, we're undermining our energies by focusing on that boy "Spike".

This is a discussion for way down the road, like when the OP actually has the speakers. FWIW, I'm using the stockers on carpet on concrete and they aren't muddying up anything. Now, going from an audiophile-type amp to a Crown on the bass array, that's another story.
Who is OP? I was simply giving a breakdown of my own experience, not really defending warrenh or anybody.. Unfortunatley right now I have Carpet on concrete in my new room and on the wood floor they were much better in that respect, but this is just a preference..

And Trust me I did not think they were muddy or losing impact until I heard them on the different spikes opposed to the Stock.. then it was fairly apparent you could be missing something, Hey I would have never thought this myself believe me it just happened…

I spent about 3 weeks going crazy moving and switching between spikes cause I did not want to think that Brass would have better effect.. I actually moved from an Audiophile costly amp on the bass arrays to Crown myself and had very good results, but this was well after my Room change and spike change.. Always a better tool to do the Job and its just being lucky or finding it that makes this more interesting.
Op.... Other People? Old People? That might make sense!! Ha
OP - Original Poster

I will probably try some beefed up spikes at some point.
Miklorsmith, all kidding aside, give some "beefed up spikes" particularly Audiopoints a try. You have nothing to lose. Start looking to see if you have any thank you notes. :) Keep us posted when you do the deed, regardless of whose spikes you, warren
Hey Undertow

Just wondering, I see you can get threaded spikes. Will they fit the Definitions?

yes, I forgot the thread count per inch, but the Zu boys will give you the scoop. I purchased threaded spikes from Starsound. It's a common thread count....
I tried the Audiopoints on my previous speakers and they didn't make a hill of beans difference. And on the Audiopoint discs they were actually muddy. I sent them back for a refund.

I also tried the Audiopoints under my components. I preferred the DH Golden Sound ceramic cones.
well, you show enough people the color black and someone is going to see blue. the nature of the beast.
Warrenh, keep drinking the Koolaid.
Warrenh "The Zu Boys"
Mihilli, I believe its a standard 3/8" thread... Mainly I believe a lot of the fuss here is that the Height in fact changed the soundstage quite a bit.. The Original spikes only raised them about a Half inch or so, but you could maybe get them to go about 3/4" out of the cabinet from the floor.. I just simply found the Solid 2" Height better period, whether it is due to it being Starsound material, Brass, Or just a beefier spike is really not explainable by me accept they just simply worked better overall and sounded a little more clear, solid and yes much easier to place the cabinets, and they are much much Tighter fit to the body of the speaker with A much more Solid platform it seems. Try something out it can't hurt, How much this is worth Funding wise, well thats the real justification in the end and up to you.

Bartokfan. LOL.
Bartokfan- I'm sorry you decided to break your silence but I'm very happy that you are now saying nothing in so few words.
Warren- Why does disagreeing with you always bring a personal attack - and why do you always have to have the last word?
As long as we are on the spike subject does anybody have any suggestions how to get them level. I've spent what seems like hours trying to get my Druids level and still havn't gotten them perfect. Any tricks?
Re: getting any adjustable, 4-spike device perfectly level is tough. I'd try to lean the speaker so three points are touching, then rotate the 4th until it makes solid contact with the floor. Cinch extra nut and you should be there.

Otherwise, very thin shims should be able to do the trick.

Bartok, if you're not going to follow your promised, self-imposed banishment at least stay out of the Zu threads. You don't see us wading into your shallow waters regarding your chosen flavor, hmmm?
01-24-07: Bufford
As long as we are on the spike subject does anybody have any suggestions how to get them level. I've spent what seems like hours trying to get my Druids level and still havn't gotten them perfect. Any tricks?

If the spikes are threaded their entire length and they are used in conjunction with locking nuts, simply insert the spike as far as necessary to adjust to the proper height and secure with the nut. Simple.

Or, if the spikes do not use locking nuts, and if the spikes are only partially threaded with a flange (like Adona and Audiopoints spikes), then you can buy some washers and place them as necessary between the spikes and the speaker plinth to adjust height.
Druid Spikes… Luckily that speaker is much more manageable in size and weight than the Defs, and you should be easily able to adjust the spikes with the standard Jam Nut supplied by Zu… You are forced to use a specific Height with the druids as I understand for the Port tuning underneath, so You can't go with any solid barrel spikes and must use the stock threaded rod type in this case. But again they are lightweight and very thin speakers, what is giving you difficulty on Leveling them? If your doing the 2 CD case stacked height or whatever it is that is suggested by Zu I would just stick the Jewel cases under each corner and lower each spike to match this distance at all 4 points and don't worry about being level to the room or floor, as you distance underneath to each corner would seem to be the criticle distance for the port.
I realized after reading Miklorsmith and Undertow's responses that the leveling question may be one of method/technique rather than hardware. I apologize if my earlier response seemed obvious.
Right Tvad, my problem is getting the wobble out, that fourth spike is just really tough to get right.
01-24-07: Bufford
Right Tvad, my problem is getting the wobble out, that fourth spike is just really tough to get right.

My speakers use four spikes as well. It takes some finessing.

BTW, the four spike issue is precisely the reason some speakers (and components) utilize a three spike/footer system. It's easier to level. Do the Definitions have a three spike pattern alternative?
I don't think so. The footprint is too small for three so you'd need an outboard plinth which I don't think Zu offers.
Definitions are strictly 4 point stance.
The Druids can be handled pretty easily. If you can get behind them, put a level across the back of the plinth and a CD jewel case under it. It helps to have someone else tilt it forward for adjustments but I have managed by myself. Just adjust the rear spikes until you have the gap and level positioning you need, and then do the same in the front. This should give you solid footing and an appropriate gap.
I found that carpet made this more difficult and I found the bass adjustment more effective if I put a piece of wood under the speaker. Someone on this forum said he used 12 inch square by 2 inch thick concrete pavers from Home Depot. That sounded like a good idea and I would have surely done it if I had not upgraded to a bigger Zu.
Lay off of Bartokfan, guys.
ZU vs Tyler, make a interesting showdown.
It would make more sense to compare Tyler to a line of speakers that has phony list prices and copycat designs. That way you would be comparing apples to apples.
Bartokfan, Excellent Idea…. You have tylers right? Okay you are in an excellent position to make your dreams come true, FREE shipping with a 90 Day return policy on Zu.. you are the authority here and are the top representative of Tyler to give a fair shake and put on your own Head to Head A-B test to prove to yourself and everyone you made the best choice in American Built speakers… Please get back to us when you record your findings, take some pics.. By the way Zu charges very little for and even sometimes Nothing to ship nearly 300 lbs worth of speakers.. I Have seen just recently Quotes from Tyler acoustics supossedly that they will charge 300 to 400 to ship a pair of the bigger models, and a few guys were asking around on some recent threads that they want to make sure about them before such a costly audition to get them in home. I have nothing against Tyler, but since it seems you have this strange facination with proving something you are infact in the best position to do this instead of telling everybody " please tell or conduct a shoot out" etc… You have jumped in about 100 times on these threads and really have nothing to say accept its impossible that the Seas Excell Driver could be bettered by something else. So please get a pair of Zus for free and return them! Nobody else wants to pay and possibly wait 5 weeks for delivery on Tylers. By the way 3 or 5 weeks wait, and paying shipping costs is not a knock at Tyler, that is perfectly acceptable accept the fact that it is just easier for somebody already with Tylers will have an easier and cheaper way to get the Zu's.
Argh. OK, here's why Bartok should be excluded from the Zu threads - to date he has added no productive dialog in any way, shape, or form. Derailed threads often do not find their way back on track and this is destructive to genuine information-gathering efforts.

Bartok does not even try to contribute one iota of ANYTHING, he is merely lobbing rotten fruit on the stage. Until he brings something productive to the table, I will not "lay off" his tired act. Repeat after me - self imposed ban, self imposed ban. I see his word is as meaningless as his hollow rhetoric.

I wonder how his challenge might go using my choice of SET amplifiers.

Re: The Druid spikes - my feeling about them was that even with the designated carpet spikes, the bass gap could not be properly tuned. So, I spiked one of the Home Depot paver blocks to the floor below the carpet and used that as the base for the speakers. This was an effective strategy and I encourage anyone having issues tuning the bass in the Druids on carpet to try something similar.

And, while all the Zu speakers do sound better in the sweet spot, they are enjoyable anywhere in the room. I will be hosting a sizable listening session in my home this upcoming Sunday and I'm not worried at all about the many different spots the listeners will be sitting.
RE Bartok,

Everybody has the right to make stupid posts. We've all done it.

However, he abuses that privelege.
I must second Undertow's suggestion that Bartokfan appropriate a pair of Zu speakers to compare to his Tylers. There is an old expression which I have always valued. It says, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way". It is high time that ole Bfan do just that, instead of buzzing us perpetually like a mosquito on meth. I agree with Miklorsmith that Bfan makes no useful contribution and serves as a counterproductive and often damaging distraction. It's time to vote him off the island unless he can provide something positive and substantive to the discussion.
Does Bartokfan actually have Tyler speakers or just wish he had them. Paul?
Paul has Thor loudspeakers with SEAS drivers, which fueled his interest in Tyler loudspeakers since they also use SEAS. This has been mentioned by Paul in past threads. He endeavors to own Tyler loudspeakers one day.
An aspiring Tyler owner who perpetually assails all owners of every other brand of loudspeaker to switch to Tyler due to a superiority that he projects based upon imagined outcomes resulting from a specific component inclusion.
I believe this gives us a basis upon which to dismiss any opinion he may offer on the subject as hearsay or speculation insofar as it is not based upon actual experience.
Oh boy.. No wonder, I think he must feel if he causes enough rumble online about Tyler that they will just feel that they owe him a Deep discount for support or freebies! Who knows the mind of the delusional?
Why do we respond to his posts? Why give him this power? This just ain't worth it. :)
As I recall, Bartokfan has heard several Tyler models, so he's not making assumptions simply based on owning Thor speakers with SEAS drivers.

Tvad, you his attorny? lover? big brother? give me a break...he got a mouth or have you taken over for him?