Anyone have thoughts on the Peak Consult Zoltans?

These have gotten a great review,recently.They are very efficient,and an easy load,which goes a long way.The review states that they are superior to the Watt/Puppies AND 45,000 dollar Kharma Mini.Of course it was one man's opinion,but the design priorities(can easily be driven with the finest low powered tube units)and build quality seem impressive,hence my quest for some meaningful feedback.
These speakers are priced very similarly with the Avalon Diamonds,but,though I do love Avalon stuff,I am beginning to believe the easier load,and drive capability surely must equate to a better listening experience.Am I wrong,here?

Thanks in advance!!
I used to work for a dealer which sold them.

They are very nice speakers but are not worth $35,000.00

You can get better sound for far less money.

I would advise you to find a pair of Usher Be 20's they cost half as much and are more transparent speakers with deeper bass and they are 90 db efficient. They are one of the greatest bargins on the market today. Immagine a $16,800 pair of speakers which can compare to the best $50,000.00 pairs of speakers out there, and that is the Usher.

I know the Usher BE20 a little (they were new and sound slow, (don't know if they better as mine and your avalon ascent). Lately i heard the Rockport Mira...very nice!!, you don't read much about it's rather expensive for it's size.
I have NO interest in replacing the Ascent(never will),but am gathering info for a friend.
Here we go again, Sirspeedy, please listen to a pair yourself, or have your friend listen to them.

They do need a fair bit of break-in time and really need a good amplifier.

As for worth, they certainly have the greatest quality parts to be worth what they sell for.
Allan b,I have heard the smaller floorstanders,and was Not impressed.So I HAVE heard them.My interest continues,as I DO believe this is a viable product.That is why I continue to look for feedback.This makes sense to ME.That's why I posted the question.

BTW,the speakers look to be incredibly well made.I could be wrong,but am willing to bet the cabinet materials,crossover,drivers etc go along way in the price differential,as compared to the Usher line.No offense meant,to anyone!
To sir speedy, Wrong wrong wrong, The Usher's are the equil to any of the $40k mega buck speakers like the Avalon Diamonds, or the Kharma's. Remember Usher makes all their own drivers except for the remarkable Eaton woofers, so they can save a fortune based on cost of driver acquistion. Also they have a lower operating cost and produce drivers in much larger quantities.

I have seen the drivers first hand and they are world class.

My rallying point is the audio snobishness that will dismiss a product because it is too inexpenisve and not absurdly priced! The Zoltan is just such an animal. It is a very nice speaker but not worth 35 big ones! Add up the parts and the wooden cabinet and it is no where near the cost plus a reasonable mark up. This is why I am so hot on people hearing the Usher's. World class speakers that are reasonably priced and beautifully made!
OK,OK,OK!!I submit!!!I WILL make an attempt to "garnish" listening experience on the Ushers.
One point I have noticed on their web page,was that they state a low power handling ability.Well they may be efficient(a good thing) yet when a speaker shows the top power handling ability of an amp to be 100 watts,it sort of sends up a red flag to me.I hope I'm wrong,but that sort of stuck out to me,when I was checking them out,last year.This may not be the model spoken of here,but it was one of the "top" offerings!

Sir Speedy,

I'm told by Peak in Denmark that another review of the Zoltan was just published in Hi Fi News, done by Martin Collums.

As for Audiooracle's contention that Zoltan is not worth it's asking price, please keep in mind that he is a retailer for Usher.

If you need your car to get the kids to school and the groceries home, you don't buy the Ferrari. If you need your car so that you can have the ineffable high of driving a precision-built, luxury machine - you buy the Ferrari.

And while many a forune has been made promising Ferrari performance for Toyota prices, that promise has never been delivered upon. You either own a Ferrari or you don't.
Sirspeedy, I am not sure what you heard, or where you heard it, as well if you knew the music and did you compare it directly to something else in the same system.

But a question does beg to be asked, why so many outstanding reviews and from all around the world, the speaker also measures better than most, all the fundamentals of things being right, and look at some of the latest reports from Stereophile, the audio federations guys, and several other online publications, along with many other individuals who like the Peaks a lot.

The Peaks use drivers from the same company that Verity and Sonus Faber uses and is built specifically for the Peaks, and is in the same price category as these speakers.

You need to spend sometime with the Peaks, with your music and you need to explain at the time of listening what you interpret, so that the presenter can explain his interpretation and what can be contributed to the room, the source or the amps.

So unless all these reviewers are nuts, you may have not heard the best of the Peaks or it may just be a lot different than what you are use to.

The expert reviewer is still the best source of what's happening, it may not be what you like but a lot of these good reviewers are also accomplished musicians and maybe this has something to do with it.
Allan,what the heck are you talking about!!!I do feel that I would like the Peaks under the correct conditions.That's why I started this Post!....DUH!!!
There are plenty of good designs out there.

"Allan b,I have heard the smaller floorstanders,and was Not impressed"

I'm just a little confused by that statment maybe??
Show conditions.Not surprising.Actually when I bought my current Ascents I did not care for them,yet had that certain "feeling".Same with the Peaks.Hope this quells your obstinance!
yep, it does :)
I would also note that Stereovox is the Peak importer! DUH.

I am not saying that just the Zoltan is overpriced but many similar speakers are! I have also posted a similar post to the WP 8. The WP 7 were $22,000.00 now they are $28,000.00
if you figure that the new tweeters cost a bit more it still doesn't add up to that major a price increase to cover the raw parts!

Companies like USHER and many others are building statement products that are priced resonably and not based on the "well it sounds as good as something else in that price point" so we will price it the accordingly!

The WP the Zoltan the Verity, JM Labs, Avalon, Kharmas, are all very fine products but whose prices are getting way out of hand, if you add up the driver costs, factor in cabinet construction and add a fair mark up it is is still way out of hand, how many poor Mormon speaker builders are running companies with such a low mark up the can drive a Ferrari?

What I am rallying for is for people to wake up and not subscribe to the audio snobisim which is making this hobby unaffordable except for the uber wealthy which is why I sell Usher and Cayin, Nuforce, and Plinius, etc and many of the other brands that I sell and endorse because the level of sounnd quality and engineering suport it!

and at the crack of Ferrari at Toyota prices. Any good car builder can take a $25,000 mass produced Japanese car and put $25,000 or so into it and bury a Ferrari! NO it won't get you laid like a Ferrari, or be as sexy but speed it what it is about. My buddy took a 1989 Ford 2.3 litter car and put about $25,000 into it and that same car does generates 660 hp on a dyno and it will on a track out run a $130,000 Ferrari in a quarter mile run!

Yes go ahead and snicker but that is exactly the point I am rallying for great sound that won't put you in the poor house because the product has a name or has garnished good reviews. Look at the technology and the build quality and then give it a good listen there are scores of smaller and not as well companies in this industry that make unbelievable products that are affordable.

If we were all to sucumb to the name recoginition and pure review thing there never would have been a Mark Levinson, Krell, Ayre, Audio Reserach, CJ etc. Every gold label company at one time was new and unknown and through the sprit of competition and market persistantce grew to become the companies they are today, but as Preston Tucker erronously thought, if you build a better product and price it fairly the world will beat a path to your door.

I guess if you want to be taken seriously in this industry you must price everything in the tens of thousands price range then stand back and watch the people get impressed.
In fairness I have "scoped out" the latest offerings by Usher!!They definitely DO look to be incredible bargains!!
Keeping abreast of the latest technology in drivers,and nice meaty cabinet weight,and stunning looksAnyone have exposure to the latest offerings??.Competition is a good thing,I guess.
Have you guys read the Martin Collums review? I have (I live in UK) and it's not glowing. I put that down to the general standard of UK 'Hi-Fi' mag reviews - I try and look towards US press for more reliable reporting.
I'm at the point of putting the money down for a pair of InCognito X's, MC said the Zoltan was dynamically slow and has a distant sound... although he did also say his listening room could have been bigger which might have helped
The difference, Audiooracle, is that Speedy knew ahead of time that I was the importer because I introduced myself to him that way on a previous thread. The fact remains that Usher and other Chinese-made speakers are fabulous - for what they are: great for the money, but not competitive at the highest levels. And while it is nice that you and many others are so enthusiastic about Usher, it remains that Usher has not performed at the level of achievement of those whose heels Usher imagines it is sniping at. There may come a day when Usher will design and build a truly world-class loudspeaker able to compete at the highest levels. For now, they are simply a budget alternative. The Ford on a Dyno is a perfect example: it may have the horsepower, but it will never have the build quality, the handling, the aesthetic, the heritage, and the entire scope of high performance (not simply horsepower) of the Ferrari. Usher has carved out its niche, and they make a wonderful budget speaker - But Usher simply doesn't have the chops to compete at the highest levels of the discipline. There is a vast difference between a Great Loudspeaker and a Great Loudspeaker for the Money - and Usher can very proudly claim the latter, but is excluded from the former.
I believe another issue is the cost of manufacture,where each "local area" will determine pricing.Does the manufacturer offer med insurance/work conditions/vacation/general wages etc!We have all heard sad stories regarding the salaries of some far eastern laborers.I hope this is not the case with companies like Usher,where I'm sure it's corporate owners CAN drive pricey autos,but how about the folks actually making the products?This ALL makes a difference,to me, when making a buying decision.Also,I DO like to think about my satisfaction level,about five to ten years out!My Ascents are fifteen years old(I have maintained them to a "flawless" museum quality standard,as they look absolutely new)yet a consideration important to me,when buying,and pointed out by my dealer,was the "HEIRLOOM" factor.This has held true,fortunately, for me.

Audiooracle means well,and has an understandable agenda.The speakers are probably just fine.
Stereovox was invited,by me,to respond to some questions a month ago,and has been nothing but professional.That too lends an aura to the products he represents.Even if Martin Colloms did not care for the Zoltans,it means nothing!!I simply must hearit for myself!!HMM

Boy Stereovox, I'm glad you believe in your products, but your condescending line that Chinesse made products can no way compete with the European or American products is the stuff of the uninformed and xenophobic.

The world has changed, remember that some thirty years ago "made in Japan" was a euphomisim for the shotty and cheap? Now made in Japan is synonomous with superior quality!

I judge a product by its' technical merits and by its' build and enginnering quality, not by where it is made and its snob appeal.

Usher has not been well known outside of Asia due to poor represenation, not becuause the products they build aren't world class. The reason Usher can build the products they do is that Usher is a $70,000,000.00! company!

Usher is the Asian version of B&W! Usher builds the only beryillium midrange driver currently available and they make their own beryillium tweeter as well.

The humility of Usher is evidenced by the fact that if they can find a better driver than what they themselves can build they will buy it, even when the driver is quite expensive. The BE series uses the same Eaton of Germany woofers that Kharma and Marten design use!
Usher also hired one of the most talented crossover designers around, Dr. Joseph D'Appolito.

You may be misunderstanding my position, I am leading audio's next generation. I am finding companies whose products are as good as anything currently available for less money because of what they produce and how they produce it.

For both American and European manufacters the time to laze about in the sun is over! For audio as well as for most industries. The quality of Chinese made goods will force many European and American companies into smaller and smaller production runs for more and more money!

You can't fight the future but to join with the inevitable, Chinese goods will continue to either directly or indirectly take over many industries.

I carry products from all over the globe: Denmark, France, Japan, England, Scottland, Israel, New Zealand, and of course the United States, and China both main land and Taiwan which has for many years produced extremely high quality goods. Usher is Taiwanese, not Chinese by the way!

My view is to bring the cost of great audio down to more and more people, so I will champion great products where ever they are made.

So how about this I will bring my cheapie, 300lb hand made beryillium and Eaton drivered $16,800.00 a pair BE 20 to compete with your $35,000.00 Peak audio Zoltan's any day of the week. Lets do the shoot out and see how many people will buy which product.

I will and have to side in some way with sirspeedy, about working conditions in China but how does one know what the working conditions are in any other countries factories. and etc.

Yes sir speedy Sterovox is passionate and he believes in his products, and I believe in mine. You as an educated consumer need to listen and hear the merits of a particular product and make the best decision you can/ Don't be swayed just by the press or by price, let the music be your guide.
At the risk of invoking more of sirspeedy's wrath for obstinance, I have to pipe in here a touch.

The Ushers are indeed good, I don't think anyone can argue that fact, as a friend of Bruce Jacobs and having sold several Ushers to my own friends, I would be hard pressed to say otherwise but they are not the Peaks, no insult intended but raising cows don't make you the best cook, the Ushers lack something, to me anyway, there is a texture, a finesse, a artistic balance type presentation that the Peaks do, that the Ushers just don't, another thing I've found, is the Ushers are somewhat tough to drive, making what some would say are the better sounding amps, like SET's or OTL's unusable to a certain extent, with them.

So the Ushers may have gotten some things right but they lack the "sophisticated" texture, presentation and even the easy load of the Peaks and some other speakers as well.

Not to say I would not own a pair but I wouldn't try to fool myself into believing they were Peaks, Sonus Fabers, or Verity's.
WOW,what did I do,to allude to anyone feeling they could irk me,into feeling "one" was obstinant?? -:)

I simply initiated this thread to gain info on some products that interest me.There are loads of audio "toys" that are just fine,as far as I'm concerned.The Peaks,and Ushers clearly fall into that category.You guys can battle it out for world supremacy.I just want to hear my beloved music collection reproduced with my own set of priorities considered!
I must admit that ALL arguements made here are well thought out,and understandable.The last post by Audiooracle is well written,and quite plausable.That being said,I for one never make a buying decision based upon price,or some reviewer(they are simply hobbyists,ya know)applause.Others may differ,when it comes time to buy something.That's fine by me.
I can make a STRONG argument for "anyone"(including myself)keeping,or trying to procure the "classic"(I own it,and know)Avalon Ascent "series two"(later upgrade)speaker system.It seems clear to me that these were discontinued(four "hard to talk wife into" cabinets) for policy reasons,concerning "selling more product".I have no doubt here,and really do understand WAF,as well as sales volume DO impact corporate decisions.With regards to the Ascent,I make this claim,not to further my own rationalization,but in lieu of design parameters set forth by some "weighty" posters,here!!Massive construction(six inch thick front cabinet)/very easy load to drive/massive external crossover/sealed design,with a "Q" factor of .5(accuracy in bass/midbass,beyond a ported design)/incredible hand made(four cabinetmakers taking two weeks to finish "one" pair)cabinetry,in beautiful "tropical olivewood"(no longer available due to deforestation(the "rarity factor")/SOTA clarity and timbral purity/first rate internal componentry and wiring/and I have NEVER heard ANY design that can match it's soundstage ability etc.What's not to like?Yet,and yet......
My point being,that "any" well versed design can find a wide audience,with proper marketing,and a good design base.That STILL does not stop someone like myself from continuing to seek information on "appealing" designs."YOU" never know when something "else" will stand out,in your mind,and force a change!It has happened to me alot.Though(thankfully) not as much now,as in my foolish youth.I've learned a bit,in my old age.The "thinking" hobbyist has a decided edge over the "fickle"!It's the "fickle" hobbyist who is most impressed with "price cache".Alot simply want something special.Something that can stand the test of time.Reliably!
Sorry for the rant.

Audiooracle, you are indeed indefatigable.

For me: The fact remains that Chinese HiFi is not about cutting-edge, it is about cutting costs, cutting wages, and cutting corners.

My focus is solely on the highest of the high end performers, the best of the best, and so I am in a somewhat unenviable position: It's not that I mean to be condescending, and I'm sorry if you feel that I am. It's that I must be extremely critical because my clients demand it, and as such I have to call it as I see it.

I have yet to see a Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, Indonesian, or Malaysian product that can compete at the performance level of true world-class hi-fi references from Europe, North America or Japan.

The Chinese HAVE been able to do something wholly remarkable otherwise: They have been able to fiercely and unapologetically compete for price in the mid-fi market. Many of these companies seem simply to copy or emulate established European, North American, or Japanese designs. In fact, Usher has "shown it's appreciation" for established loudspeaker designs within its own catalog:

Usher Model S-520 seems to be a copy of an Acoustic Energy AE-1, Mk.II

Usher Models X-708, X-718 and X-719 are clearly "tributes" to Sonus Faber's old Concerto speakers.

Usher's D2 is quite the "homage" to JBL's legendary K2

Usher RW 729 is as close to a Sonus Faber Electa Amator copy as I have ever seen! Not only is the cabinet and driver compliment copied, even the wooden and stone-base stand is copied!

The Usher R 1.5 and 6.0 amplifiers seem almost dead copies for the old Threshold amps, while the P-307A preamp seems like it took a page from Cello's old playbook.

If Usher wants to be taken seriously as a competitor in the Reference department, they first have to come up with their own ideas. Instead, their catalog seems abundant with imitations and copies. Not that there isn't room for a Speaker-Clone company, but one cannot simultaneously be a speaker-clone company AND have a reasonable hope to be counted among the legends and references, as well.

There may come a day when Chinese products come in to their own and stand on their own and are not simply just "budget alternatives" to and clones of established references. So I suppose that it might be nice that a 300lb speaker from China is only $16,800/pair ... if we were buying speakers by the pound, that just might be a bargain by some measures. But we don't buy speakers by the pound. We hope for a high level of quality, creativity, originality, and technical achievement.

I understand your mission. You feel that there is a level of snobism in high end audio coincident with higher pricing, and you seem to feel that you can represent products that would bring a good measure of high performance to more people at lower prices, and your primary medium is right here in the internet. Nothing wrong with that. Internet sales and transshipping are the most productive ways to do business in this section of the market because it is hotly contested-for with predatory discounting being the most oft used temptation to attract the potential buyer. So while I do not market directly but rather sell only through authorized dealers, I seem nevertheless to have wandered into your pond and thus represent - if not a threat - at least a distraction. I apologize, but keep in mind that we are not necessarily cultivating the same client.

Where you imagine there to be "audio snobism" there is rather a client that is a connoisseur. This is someone who appreciates the advanced performance, the heirloom build quality, the heritage and provenance, the peerless musicality, and the notion that they will own something that is the Real Thing and not the budget-alternative or the clone. This isn't snobbery, it's a deep appreciation for the whole picture.

There is a neatness, a meticulously considered philosophy that is as simple as it is profound, and when one finally comes to terms with its uncomplicated beauty - there is a tranquility that it imbues upon the decision making process:

In reaction to my rude inquiry about how my friend (on a small wage) could afford to have purchased something very expensive, he simply commented, "I am not so rich that I can afford to buy cheap things."

And while the beauty of that sentiment is meaningful to audiophiles on a budget, the fact remains that *nobody* is so rich that they can afford to buy cheap things. Cheap things break. Cheap things deteriorate. Cheap things discolor and crack. Companies that make cheap things disappear and their promises, guarantees and warranties vaporize.

**That means, taken to lengths, that cheap things are more expensive than the more expensive things they are positioned to displace.**

As for a "shootout" with Zoltan - that would be silly. Any comparison should be as close to a dollar-for-dollar comparison between products as possible. As such, I would say the only appropriate speaker to compare the $16.8k Ushers to would be the $16.5k Peak InCognito-X. That leaves a simple $300 deficit between them to the favor of the Peaks, which are also about half as heavy as the Be20 (good news for people with stairs).

InCognito-X's run fairly loud on my 10 watt OTLs, although they'll handle up to 500 watts of solid-state if need be. I'm not certain that the Be 20 could get appreciable sound pressure at 10 watts, nor could it handle 500 watts of program - so I'm not sure if the comparison would be fair.

That very flat impedance and phase response of the InCognito-X really helps any amplifier perform at its most linear, and the excellent sensitivity means that you can throw low power tubes in the mix without apologies. Again - with abilities and peerless measurements like these, it's not necessarily fair to the Usher to compare.

That InCognito-X is a full-range 2-way design means that the acoustic output of the drivers will converge at a shorter distance with less wave interference, making the InCognito-X an excellent choice for even nearfield listening. I imagine that Usher won't do well in small spaces for nearfield listening, so we best not compare in these circumstances in order to level the playing field.

InCognito-X won't hit the 22 Hz mark of the Be 20, but they will come within a gnat's hair of 25 Hz in an average-sized room and will be extremely dynamic, with holographic imaging and midrange to weep for. So while it would work well in the nearfield, it will also (of course) work extremely well at standard listening distances.

Sound by Singer will soon have a pair of InCognito-X on the floor (they begin shipping from Denmark early next month) - go have a listen. You'll be shocked and amazed at what one can buy for just $16,500/pair: A full-range world-class loudspeaker handcrafted with real hardwoods by Danish fine carpenters, some of the best loudspeaker drivers in the world, with music reproduction so fine that - as one HE 2006 showgoer put it (when commenting about the sound of the InCognito-X in our demo room) - "If you weren't touched by the sonics in this room, you're made of ice!"
This one goes out to Allanbhaganinfo. I respect your opinion but we are one of the first few dealers in the country to deliver and install a pair of the BE 20s.

I would agree with you that the first Dancer series model, the extremely good 8571MK II's are not true competion to a $35,000.00 pair of Peaks, but the BE 20's are a different keattle of fish entirely!

When you examine what the BE 20 offers: a brand new state of the art pure Beryillium midrange driver, coupled to Usher's allready superb Beryillium Tweeter and you add in the magnificent Eton woofers, here is where you have the makings of a reference speaker giant killer at anywhere at 1/2 or even a 1/3 or more of these other reference class speakers!

Karma Grand ref has a Ceramic midrange and tweeter and two Eton woofers in a carbon fiber based cabinet. The Kharma's are $80,000.00 a pair!

The BE 20's have a pure Beryillium midrange and pure Beryillium tweeter and two Eton woofers in a 300lb sandwich cabinet of birch, mdf, and lead sheeting which makes the cabinet also incredibly innert and costs $16,800.00.
Sounds like you are getting a lot of the same design merits doesn't it?

I have heard the BE 20's both at the shows and at my client's home. We all went "ahhhhh" when we unboxed the speakers the finish was so stunning. The sound quality and build quality of these speakers is remarkable, and I would challenge you or anyone else to do a side by side comparison against the BE 20.

Does this sound like a rave, well your right it does. After spending close to tweenty years selling extremely expensive cost on object audio, along comes a company like Usher and their Texan gentilemen distributor, to bring remarkable sound and build quality at sane prices back to the market.

This is the reason I am an Usher zealot. Why should I want to charge 30k or 40k or 50k for a speaker when I can offer my clients very similar mind blowing sound for so much less, I call that integrity and serving my clients.

Yes I want to scream to the audiophile world "I am feed up and I won't take it anymore, buy Usher and be happy for a lot less!"
To Sterovox,

Your arguments are both amusing and just plain wrong!

First of all, I am no internet dealer. In fact, I do no internet sales of any kind! I am a brick and mortar dealer with close to a half million dollars worth of equipment on my floor! I do not sell outside of my region and I do not discount nor am I trying to sell to "budget oriented customers." Our website isn't up yet and we have not announced our presence to the world yet but we will.

Instead, we have been quietly assembling a very wide selection of some of the world's best audio and video gear.

You are right. I am on a mission. I sell state of the art products at all prices from companies that I and many famous reviewers feel represent some of the best products in the world. I sell products from Japan, France, New Zealand, Germany, Israel, England, Scotland, the United States, Taiwan and China. If I told most of the readers of these posts the truth, that many top European high end companies are building their products in China or some of the parts are being outsourced from China it would shock a lot of people.

In fact, the latest issue of Stereophile talks about the superior builds quality and artistry of the famous Quad speakers which are now being made entirely in China. In the review the writer states that the new Quads are much better built than the old Quads and are stunning in both finish and build quality! Isn't England also in Europe?

Also your anti Chinese bent is downright distasteful. The Chinese people were way ahead of the Europeans for many, years. China leads the world in the sciences and the arts. It was the Communists that keep the Chinese people down and off the world stage.

You call a value priced product cheap, and poke fun at how heavy the speakers are. LetÂ’s compare the technical prowess of Peak Consult or lack their of:

First before you decided to import them, no one knew who Peak Consult was. How long have they been in business?
Usher is a 30 year old company committed to the highest levels of quality. Their state of the art factory is certified ISO 9001 which represents laboratory grade manufacturing. Their work force is college educated and is treated very well.

I said in another post USHER makes their own pure Beryllium drivers. The only other company to do so is JM Labs/Focal and even JM Labs hasn't built a midrange driver out of Beryllium! Usher also has created their own driver technology from scratch. Peak, if I remember, buys their drivers from Audio Technology.

I guess then making your own extremely technologically advanced drivers is therefore lacking in imagination and ingenuity. Before you say "copy cat of JM Labs," the Usher Beryllium tweeter measures better with lower distortion! ALSO I will say it again, USHER MAKES THEIR OWN pure Beryllium Midrange Driver and are the only ones to do so! This midrange driver was extremely expensive to produce and took two years of development time!

Usher is also a $70 million dollar company that has the research money to develop their own technologies. You are misunderstanding Usher in calling their speakers clones of others when their intent is to offer a wide range of products for the Asian market. USHER speakers are easy to drive and offer remarkable performance for the money.

Many reviewers have already rated numerous Usher models as offering outstanding sound quality and build quality.

If it is the clone game, gee, I think you could call a $16,000.00 two way the new Wilson Watt!

Yes, the two way Incognito X sounds like a remarkably good two way, but I will stand on my contention and I will gladly bring my 300lb Taiwanese {not Chinese made} monsters to compete with your $35,000 Zoltan's any day of the week.

As per fine Danish woodworking, the build quality of the cabinets is equally stunning and shows the finest artistic talents and care.

As for your comments about Sonus Faber clones, then I guess anyone who has made a two way with Scan Speak drivers could also be called that.

I will agree with you that Usher does build some clone or homage products, but that is an Asian company building a wide range of products for the Asian market. Imitation in the case of the Threshold clone shows a fondness for the original, which is no different than someone now coming up with a new version of the famous Dynaco Stereo 70.

No Stereovox, you are the one trying to justify a $90,000.00 turntable. Is this for the connoisseur or the snob with more money than sense! I am sure the turntable is quite fantastic, but how much better is it really than one of the multitude of other reference turntables that are priced at $10,000.00 or so. Artistry? Or is it just throwing money at it to enrich the pockets of the greedy retailer and the importer! I would love to hear how much better your $90,000.00 turntable is over Lloyd Walker's magnificent Proscenium Gold turntables which is $30,000.00?

My company stands for the new generation of high end audio.
Our focus is to sell the best in equipment which is superbly made and reasonably priced!

I will be happy to let you believe in your delusion that because a product is made in Europe, and I sell many really excellent European products including Danish speakers as well, that is it better because it is made in Europe.

My call to arms is for all companies to work to produce products that are excellent and affordable. I find it delusional for you to compare your $16,000.00 two way to the four way BE 20 and stand there trying to be credible.

Wake up, the world is on notice that both mainland China and Taiwan are heralding in the new industrial revolution. American and Europe builds less and less, not because the Chinese are making goods cheaper, but because they are making goods of remarkably high quality and doing it competitively! This is the way of the world. Most Japanese goods are no longer made in Japan either.

It is for this reason that superior Chinese and Taiwanese companies are taking over the world of manufacturing. The build quality of these goods is fantastic and the technological innovations are the reason most of the world's finest laptop computers are made in Taiwan.

Let you and Sound by Singer sell all the Peak Consults you like to people with more money than brains. I will be happy to educate my customers, the people who are willing to listen and to judge a product by its technical merits and artistry for themselves

I understand your difficulty and I'm sorry you get so upset. As I said, Usher makes very good budget speakers, many of them copies of past designs from other manufacturers, but still very good speakers for the money.

As for the Continuum: It defies explanation or comparison. If you ever have the privilege of hearing one installed in a truly world-class system, you will forever be unable to listen to other designs. The reason? Continuum changed the rulebook, changed the way in which things are designed, and developed something completely new. And this is indicative of an earlier point of mine: the companies I represent embody the values of originality, extremely high build quality, and unmatched technical achievement. The Caliburn is simply the most extraordinary machine ever made for playing records.

I have nothing bad to say about Lloyd Walker's Proscenium Gold turntable. I enjoyed my chance to hear it in a reference system and it was a very good performer. My team and I then disassembled it and boxed it up to send away, as our client was replacing it with a Caliburn system. I have gotten to hear reference rigs such as the Basis and the SME 30 for the same reasons: clients replacing their "reference" record players with the world's most magnificent record playing machine: The Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn.

It seems to me that you are succumbing to a prejudice that is fairly common but nonetheless distracting: You feel insulted that I would want to compare the InCognito-X to the Be 20 because the X is a 2 way and the 20 is a 4-way. This is not about the weight of materials (300lbs vs. 150 lbs), nor is it about the number of drivers (4 vs. 2). We must only compare quality. Quality of build, quality of sound reproduction, quality of technical achievement.

Fact is, 2-ways' only limitation historically has been LF. Peak has removed that limitation in the InCognito-X, so now the only comparison left to do is one of pure quality, and in that department I guarantee you the Be 20 would have an extremely, EXTREMELY difficult time vs. the InCognito-X. There is no reasonable reason to be upset by the comparison, as the InCognito-X is an extremely fine instrument, and original design, heir to a great Danish heritage of loudspeaker design, and an extraordinary technical achievement on its own.

I'm sorry, as well, if I erroneously labeled you an internet dealer. I assumed that you were simply because that seems to be the only way to survive in the fiercely competitive world of mid-priced hifi. It wasn't meant to be a pejorative, but rather an acknowledgement. Mea Culpa.

As for Usher building clones - that is precisely the reason that they have not yet "arrived" - they seem far too interested in imitating, externally, the successful designs of others (American and European designers), than with developing their own philosophy and presenting it to the world.

The appearance of quality is not necessarily indicative of the existence of quality, and when a company goes to great lengths to create a clone - at least in looks - it seems to tell me that they are more interested in creating a deception of equivalency than standing on their own originality, creativity, and technical achievement. Even their "Dancer" series borrows heavily from the multi-layered laminations of hardwoods in a "lute" extrusion profile that Franco Serblin developed for Sonus Faber. In fact, I would say that Usher seems rather obsessed with Sonus Faber and Franco Serblin's designs and achievements. But there can be no excusing copies and clones. When you say:

>"I will agree with you that Usher does build some clone or homage
>products, but that is an Asian company building a wide range of products
>for the Asian market. Imitation in the case of the Threshold clone shows a
>fondness for the original, which is no different than someone now coming
>up with a new version of the famous Dynaco Stereo 70."

That is truly sad. It allows, philosophically, for theft and excuses them simply because they are an Asian company building products for an Asian market. It is no different than someone putting a Ferrari kit on a Fiero - it may have a similar look on the outside, but it's still a Fiero.

Usher may have developed its own Berylliuim driver, but it was not before nor even contemporaneous with the JM Lab achievement. Instead, it was built after JM Lab put their money, their time, their talent, their originality and creativity on the line to develop the first one. It is extremely difficult to develop something new, and extremely simply to follow in the footsteps of achievement and lift technology. I'm sure they are now developing a diamond tweeter, since the Beryllium has gone somewhat out of style.

Usher seems to remain a very well-funded copycat company that builds extremely good speakers for the money but, so far, doesn't seem to have introduced anything original, nor do they seem to have made strides in technical achievement.

Your quip about Quad is unrelated: Although they are being built in China, they are being built under license from the original designer (Peter Walker, RIP) and the present owners of the original design. Peter Walker's technical achievement is being preserved and reproduced under license, not lifted unceremoniously and reproduced without permission. Shouldn't Usher be paying royalty or licensing to Sonus Faber?

By contrast, Peak uses Audiotechnology to build their custom-designed drivers because Audiotechnology has the heritage, provenance, creativity, originality, and technical achievements of Ejvind and Per Skaaning behind them. Ejvind founded Dynaudio, Scan Speak, and Audiotechnology. There is no better family to have make drivers in the world, which is why companies such as Sonus Faber, Verity, Rockport and Peak turn to them for their custom solutions. And while Peak is not a 30 year old company, they are a 10 year old company (the "X" in InCognito-X stands for 10 year anniversary) and there is no danger of them going anywhere but up.

Heritage, provenance, originality, creativity, and technical achievement. These are the ingredients of the kind of greatness that stands the test of time.

Peak has them.

Usher does not.

Audiooracle writes:
ALSO I will say it again, USHER MAKES THEIR OWN pure Beryllium Midrange Driver and are the only ones to do so!
That's untrue. Consider Technical Audio Devices, who first built a beryllium compression driver in 1975, and who continue to build beryllium tweeters and MIDRANGE units to this day. The TAD Coherent Source Transducer is a concentric midrange-tweeter unit.

And to keep this in perspective, Yamaha made a beryllium midrange driver in the late 70s through to late '80s - as used in the NS1000 range.

Hi Metralla - you know, I comletely forgot about TAD and their extraordinary technical achievements with Beryllium drivers! Bad on me ...

I also had no idea that Yamaha made a beryllium midrange at all, never mind 25 years ago! I recall using the old NS10 as nearfield monitors in the studio, but they had a nasty peak that was hard to get past.
Sirspeedy, it seems almost sacreligious to enter into the Stereovox/Audiooracle slugfest over Peak Consult vs Usher but as a prospective purchaser who is interested in both products and who has no biases against Asian, European, American, Russsian or other nationalities' products and as I have listened to the Be20 though not anything in the Peak Consult range I will put in my two cents worth. I suspect, however by now Sirspeedy you are regretting ever posing the question on the Zoltans. For the record I have Japanese amplification(Accuphase), a British subwoofer(REL), British Analogue front end(Wilson Benesch) American phono stage(Pass Labs) and Italian main speakers(Sonus Faber).

The Usher looks very well made and the design of the Dancer range is very reminiscent of Sonus Faber. As an owner of the Guarneri for over 8 years this is of no consequence to me, imitation being the most sincere form of flattery and all that. I am more interested in how they sound.

I was, therefore very happy to have been given the opportunity to test the Usher Be20 by the very knowledgable and helpful Austalian distributor for Usher in my home using my equipment.

I really wanted to be blown away because I really liked the way they looked and I appreciated the technology of the beryllium tweeter and mid(ex NS1000 owner by the way). Sorry Audiooracle but I was not.

To my ears they lacked the ability to faithfully re create complex harmonic structures. As an example, the decay on things like finger snaps on Cassandra Wilson's Glamoured LP was just not there. These sounds did not appear to emanate from a person. Instruments, using a number of different artists on material I know very well were not portrayed with the realism the Guarneris were able to manage and these are the original 1994 version. At no time did I feel like saying "wow, I've never heard that on that track". Now it may have been that my system was not a good match for the Be20's but there was just more musical information and soul from the Guarneris.

The new technology employed by Usher should not of itself be judged as a reason for the product to be considered spectacular unless the performance of the new technology takes us to a higher plane of musical reproduction. In my room with my equipment it did not and I was genuinely disappointed as it is a visually attractive speaker that appears to be very well made.

Now Audiooracle, just in case you think I am against all that you have said I am not. I am interested in listening to Peak Consult products - no dealer within 500 miles unfortunately but I believe that given the technology employed I agree with you that it appears at first glance that they are over priced as are many brands. One of the problems, however with pricing is this. You can't just bring it down to the sum of the parts. What about the intellectual property of the designer? How do you value that? In the end it comes down to what the product delivers within the confines of its competitive set. If it doesn't sound as good to enough people as an equivalently priced Wilson, Avalon or Sonus Faber then they won't sell very many no matter what the reviewers say. As much as some of us may resent it products of all sorts are pitched to perceived needs and high priced products generally are perceived as being of better quality than low priced products. Not always true but there you have the problem for Usher. They will have a difficult time convincing people their products are as good or better than higher priced products, especially those products from established makers. I agree here with Stereovox they appear to me to be very good value for money products but to my ears not competing with the best of the best for sound quality. It will take "miracle marketing 101" to convince this advertisers' world that you can pay less for more.

Also, check out one thing on Audiogon. What prices do various products command on the used market? Avalons, Wilsons and precious few others appear to hold up very well. Peak Consult - maybe not round long enough to have built up a reputation or maybe they are about double what they should be given their competition. Depreciation on Ushers, even at their low initial price is also very steep as is to be expected.

Usher written off? No, I will look again at a new Usher product as I have not rejected the brand just because the Be20 didn't do it for me. Usher seems intent on being a major world force and maybe their next product will be the one for me. Or maybe a Peak Consult - a heavily discounted one!!
I must admit,Phaser,you are right on the money about one thing......I'm sorry for initiating the post!!

I never meant for a "War Of The Worlds" atmosphere to come about,yet that is where these threads have "SHRUNK" to!!

I certainly hold no animosity for the "WARRING FACTIONS",and actually respect and sort of "like" both parties by now,but PLEEEASE!!I cannot see guys like Dan D'Agostino going at it with Jeff Rowland,or Dave Wilson going up against Franco Serblin!!It's just NOT going to happen.

George Gershwin stated it JUST RIGHT..."you say POTATO,and I say POTAATO.Now let's call the whole thing off"!.....TIME WILL TELL,HERE!!!!

BTW--as to you not being overjoyed with the Usher Be 20,it can very easily be system dependent!!My pal has the exact set-up as me,yet our Rowlands clearly get better timbral/harmonic accuracy on my Avalons than on his Kharmas!!It does not mean the Kharmas are not wonderful speakers.It means my pal bought without thinking through what was the best match in componentry.A good tube amp always sounds superior on Kharmas,based on my significant exposure to those wonderful,"PRICEY" speakers.He does this alot,as he buys on emotion,and product reviews.Fortunately he is quite well off financially,and can afford a mistake or ten!!

Can I PLEASE restate my original question,limiting it to hobbyists(for which it was intended)?ANYONE HAVE THOUGHTS ON THE PEAK CONSULT ZOLTANS?

Sorry EBM(love ya anyway)!!

Hey Sirspeedy - Off Topic a smidgen: I used to own a pair of Avalon Acent Mk. II loudspeakers, drove them with a Cello Duet 350. What a great system that was - those two seemed to be a match made in heaven. I had tried the speakers with a Mark Levinson 23.5 but it just didn't seem to have enoug juice. Once the Duet 350 came in to play, those speakers were just amazing.

I wound up selling them to a fellow in Belgium who flew to Atlanta to pick them up. He hung out for a few days, we drank beer and watched the Yankees sweep the Braves for the World Series. I'm glad I met him (his name was Ward - very cool guy), but I'm kinda sorry I let the Ascents go - they were one of those historically significant pieces of hi-fi gear that belong in a museum. I sincerely think that the Ascent Mk. II was among the greatest Avalon speakers of all time - if not the greatest.
Stereovox,thanks for the enlightening response.Very nice of you!Though with the class you have shown here,I am not surprised.Not to say I feel Audiooracle is also not a quality person,and I truly understand the feelings/agenda intended.I believe both of you are professionals,and believe in their product lines.Too few dealers(these days) are simply out to sell product.I am amazed at the "NON" level of customer technical suport that many dealers ascribe to.Digital has made them lazy.I am from a time when dealers actually knew how to set up a turntable,and mount an arm/cartridge(that I did not have to re-check).NOW I won't let anyone touch my table/arm/cart!!I do it myself,and know it's correct.

BTW--Just read the latest Hi Fi News with the review of the Zoltans.It was NOT a glowing review,but knowing that reviewer and his room/componentry/musical tastes,this has to be taken into consideration,and I MUST state that anyone interested in any design MUST HEAR IT FOR THEMSELVES!!Particularly with their own program material!!I find it hard to believe that a company like Peak would design a product that sounded too smoothed over( as stated in this review,basically).YET the previous review I have read of the Zoltans was positively a RAVE!!!Here the reviewer stated, emphatically,that the Zoltan was clearly superior to the much more expensive Kharma Mini Exquisite(which is poised to get an over the top rave,in TAS,just watch),and had "more detail" than the Wilson Watt/Puppy 7!Sort of flies in the face of the Hi Fi News conclusion.Lends creedence to my feeling that WE MUST hear these "investments" for ourselves!!

This is the ONLY way for a hobbyist to get a feel for a product.

The review in Hi Fi News is rather meaningless,other than to be a motivation for myself,or anyone else to actually get off our tush,and listen!!

Best to all!!