They utterly trounce my former Gallo Ref. 3's. Srajan's description matches mine and several other owners' to a T.
They play anything and everything, at any volume without losing composure. I've played them at 105 db in my house on a 6-watt amp without clipping or compression. At whisper volumes, they retain what's meaningful in the music too.
Best I've heard.
I have had them for over 3 years, & they are spectacular for acoustic & female vocals. I listen to the likes of Mindy Smith, Alison Krauss, Diana Krall, etc., and various acoustic guitar disc's like the Windham Hill collections. The Druids draw out so much low level detail in the instruments that it really keeps you involved with the music.
If you have any other specific questions, please send me an email.
How do they do in terms of soundstage width, depth and height? Are they fussy on placement?
Anyone hear the Zu Definitions? How do they compare to the Druids?
Their soundstage is HUGE! As far as placement, I had them @ 18" from the center of the driver to my side walls & @ 34" from the rear walls, with them toed in to the listening position. They were pretty easy to get them set in the correct spot.
Check out this link and the posts from 231cobra , he sums it up very well. http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewtopic.php?t=19374&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
I sold my Druids to upgrade to the Definitions. I really enjoyed the Druids, and was completely blown away the first time I heard the the Definitions. They have such a non-fatiguing sound that really draws you into the music, and their bass is so deep and very very clean.
A couple of questions regarding the Definitions.
1. On Audio Circle a question arose regarding "limited dispersion", which would negatively impact the size of the sweet spot. Does your experience align with the comments of 213Cobra?
2. How can the Defintion be time aligned and phase coherent when the 4 bass speakers are rear firing? I'm not sure I understand how the low frequency sound waves could reach the listeners ears at the same time as the midrange and tweeter when the wave is traveling in the opposite direction.
Thanks for any clarity on these issues.
The limited dispersion is Vertical, so when seated it is like you are inside a sound tunnel, once you stand up the detail is not quite as sweet. As far as the width of the sweet spot, it is quite sizable, but can vary if you play around with the toe in and distance apart.
As far as the time aligned question, you are better off calling Zu about the technical side of that. All I know is that they sound amazing!
Hope this helps
Ton1313, thanks for your response. They sound very intriguing to say the least.
Dolphin, The Definitions are listed for a June July review on 6 moons.
The final conclusion from 6moons.com
I own both the Druids and the Definitions. Go to Audiocircle.com and look for the Zu Druids thread under the Two Channel section, for some comparative comments. I intend to post a user review of both here soon. In the meantime, feel free to email me questions or post here after reading Audiocircle.
Soundstage on the Druids is fully-dimensioned (appropriately wide, tall and deep) when you have them positioned properly for your room and seating position, and you're seated to take advantage of the resulting soundstage. It's not difficult to find the right placement. A little intuition on toe-in for a start and progressive adjustment from there will help you snap them to spatial focus in 10 minutes or so. The imaging sweet spot isn't one-head-width's tight like a Quad ESL. For near and mid-field listening you have some latitude in your position but tightest focus is perhaps in the seating space of 2, maybe 3 people. That said, imaging fall-off outside the sweet spot is gradual, and when you can get away from the speakers, this issue becomes quite uncritical.
What will be noticeable on first listen from a near/mid-field position is that the soundstage is elevated somewhat, as though you are close enough to a stage to sense the reality that the performers are a little above you. The FRD is almost 4 feet above the floor.
The 6 Moons review pretty much nails the Druid. Surprising really, to see a product reviewed so closely to my actual experience with it. It is a speaker of unusual immediacy and intimacy that outputs coherent life-like sound, sacrificing nothing in terms of dynamics to produce real tone.
I own the Druids. I echo 213cobra's observation - Srajan's review sounds like something I would write if I could write.
213 cobra... Sarajan believes if you purchase the Druids with a Zu sub, one would have 90% of the Definitions performance cababilities. Would you agree with his statement? This combination (Druid + sub) sounds like a winner to me.
FYI....It is posted up on their site, Zu is visiting the east coast again! Easton, PA Sept. 16 & 17. They will be brining the Definitions, Druids, & Tones for a listening session for all those interested in the PA, NY, NJ, MD, DE area. If you dont know, Easton is only @ 1 1/2 hours from NYC & @ 1 1/4 hours from Philadelphia.
Missed this question. Answer is, Druids + Method sub are excellent but I wouldn't peg the combination at 90% of Defintion. The bass extension is only part -- and the smallest part -- of the Definition's improvement over the Druids. The flatter frequency response, greater articulation of fine detail and more effortless bloom of sound dynamics in the Definition are not equaled by adding the sub to the Druid. It barely closes the gap, IMO. I think subjectively that Druids alone are 60% of Definitions for <1/3 the price, and adding the sub maybe nudges the combo to 65% of the Defs. The Definition is more open, more projecting, more articulate, more dynamic, more scintillating than the Druid and that's before you notice anything about the bass.
Driven by a 2Wpc SET 45-based tube amp in my relatively small listening room, the Druids are a revelation in terms of detail and coherency across the frequency range. They will also play plenty loud enough. True, they will not give you the last octave of bass, but I am not terribly concerned about bass slam. Accurate and musical bass is what the Druids offer down to between 35Hz and 40Hz, enough to go a bit lower than the lowest string on a double bass, which is enough for my needs.
Can anybody give some comment if I were to use Nagra Vpa monoblock of 50 w to drive Druid or Defination. Which will be better match?
I've heard the Druids three times. Twice in official Zu Audio rooms, and once in another VTV room, which one would assume was set up professionally. Each time the Druids have sounded congested, honky and boxy. I would love to hear them properly set up because I have to believe the folks who love them are hearing something substantially different than what I have heard.
The Tone monitors sounded significantly better during the one demonstration in which both The Druids and Tones were featured.
Tvad...ditto on my account as well. I've not heard the Definitions, unfortunately, but the Druids (heard them in two systems) sounded sharply metallic, with discernible interference from the cabinet itself. I had a headache within minutes, and was unable to stay in either room. One of the rooms in which I heard the speakers was set up by Zu, so I'm unable to find an excuse for that result. In addition, the three others in our group had exactly the same reaction. Obviously, the Druid fans are hearing something quite different than what we did. As always, YMMV.
I was at VTV. Now, keep in mind I own Druids. I didn't find any room at the show where equipment I was familiar with sounded anywhere close to what I know it can sound like in a home, so there was a general problem with lackluster tone, even in horn-based systems. The room characteristics were terrible in all respects. In the Zu room, the Druids exhibited flashes of the character I know them to have but most of what I heard was far below what I get out of my own Druids. Compared to what could be heard in other rooms, Zu's setup was competitive but not as convincing as it should have been. Sean and Adam also bring music strongly skewed to what they like, which is energetic, often musically dense and sometimes not well recorded. Their music choices are always fun, however, so people hang out and enjoy the content with not much obsessing about the gear itself. Also, the hotel carpet turned out to be thicker than usual for hotel carpet. On Saturday at VTV, the Druids in the Zu room didn't have the proper spike height for the conditions, which of course affects performance. This was corrected on Sunday with the arrival of taller spikes. Zu is still getting their act together with respect to refining their show configuration and practices.
Zu also uses a pro audio dac which they like alot. I've heard it twice now and I don't share their enthusiasm for it. It seems to bleed character from music, to me.
They did not bring Definitions because they knew the room would be too small for a proper demo. You really have to be able to locate your ears at least 10' from the Def to hear its sound integrate. It is definitely not a near-field speaker.
On the other hand, when Zu had their own demo session in L.A. in August in a ground-floor room with stable floor, 24' x 32' space, and all their speakers present, they were able to show stellar sound quality.
I did not like the sound quality in the Shindo room. It was clean but dry and bleached of character. The VRS front end may have been a factor in addition to the room itself, and the Shindo amps were an unknown to me.
I also don't know how broken-in either pair of VTV show Druids were. There's no substitute for getting then in your house and breaking them in for a month. I know Zu put the exhibited Druids through the factory blast for break-in, but it's also known not to be enough for a new speaker that is then packed up and shipped.
General reaction nevertheless by listeners in the Zu room was highly favorable and while I think the essential qualities were communicated by the demo, the startling qualities that give Druids a sense of intimate ultra-reality were not vivid except on a few occasions when a highly-energetic, dynamic, recording that was also nicely recorded was used. The room was just a black hole for acoustic energy.
Zu also uses a pro audio dac which they like alot. I've heard it twice now and I don't share their enthusiasm for it. It seems to bleed character from music, to me.
I agree wholeheartedly. At the Zu Audio LA demo, they started off using a computer transport and the pro DAC. IMO, the music came to life when they switched to a Consonance Droplet CD player.
Also, I quite like the music Zu Audio chooses for their demonstrations. So, while it may not be ideal for some audiophiles, it is right up my alley, and therefore the music is not a factor in any less-than-favorable impressions I have had of the Druids.
I thought the Edgarhorn/Brenneman room and Dehavilland room were among the best of the VTV rooms, although I couldn't quite figure the speaker placement in the Dehavilland room.
As you know from our many discussions, your impeccable taste in amplifiers and their respective sonic nature mirrors mine. Or should I say, it mentors mine. Furthermore, I'm terribly jealous that you actually own the penultimate versions of some of those very amplifiers! As such, I was both surprised by what I heard from the Druids at VTV, and convinced that you (and other fans) must be getting something different out of these speakers. Because frankly, although I thought the music selection in the Zu room was both a perfect showcase for any speaker, as well as just plain catchy, my physical reaction to the sound made me re-think attending another audio show, ever. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to make it down to LA again for a home-cooked listening session of these speakers you obviously love so much. And once more, thank you for all of the valuable feedback you've offered over the past month regarding audio equipment in general.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving, everyone.
I heard the Druids last week at my local dealer. They sounded ok but I felt the tweeter seemed to draw attention to itself (in a big way). I was expecting a lot better given the rave reviews.
They are sensitive so perhaps the amp being used was not well suited. The dealer agreed. They are going to set them up with different amplification and I look forward to hearing them again.
At VTV, one recording Sean and Adam played in the Zu room delivered what I thought Druids are capable of, and that was a Chinese recording using a combination of western and Chinese instruments, and I don't know the name of the recording or the performer(s). Everything else played while I was in the room, while interesting and fun musically, impressed many people but did not deliver what I hear from my Druids every day. Zu did use the Consonance Droplet CDP but on Saturday was sending its digital output to the dbx DAC. On Sunday, when I wasn't there, they apparently spent some of the time demo'ing from the Droplet's analog outputs to the Melody preamp. I'll go so far as to say that if I'd heard Druids in that Arcadia hotel room before buying them -- and that includes in both the Zu and Shindo rooms -- I might not have followed through on the purchase. The truly impressive demo was listening to how much dynamic energy at decent tonal quality was available from the miniscule Z.Vex ImpAmp. Now that was a motivator because it made clear how much amplifier latitude one has with Druids.
I have tried many amps on the Druids and I don't find them especially sensitive to amp topologies, but certainly revealing of their character. A 300B amp with flabby bass will be revealed for holographic tonally rich midrange, smooth spray on top and, well...flabby bass. The absence of a crossover makes the loss of focus and detail in an otherwise good push-pull tube amp starkly evident compared to a good SET. A tonally neutral, smooth and unfatiguing solid state amp like a Red Wine comes through as exactly that while a high power silicon beast delivers tons of slam indelicately. An 845 SET sounds more objective and punchy than an equivalent 300B. Differences between EL34 and KT88 are obvious. There is lots of room for preference. BUT, in every environment except those Arcadia hotel rooms (and apparently at the Marriott in Denver) the Druid has an aliveness, tonal richness frequency accuracy and utter lack of fatigue that seems elusive to reproduce in the massively dysfunctional hotel setting. I wish it were otherwise. How Zu will create customer touch points in environments like shows where they can't control their circumstances remains a marketing problem to solve for them. Again, in my opinion, everyone at VTV was similarly handicapped and nothing there sounded good enough to me to compel a purchase if I had only those demos to go on. In general, the manufacturers in the industry should theoretically benefit from the direct exposure to customers, but it's possible that these hotel room shows for the public (as opposed to the dealers in the trade) actually slow decisions to buy, on products that absolutely require listening for evaluation.
I am willing to evangelize Zu speakers not because they are perfect, but because they solve in one stroke an intersection of many problems commonly cited here and elsewhere by audiophiles as causes for dissatisfaction. The catalytic effect of a 101db/w/m speaker that is frequency accurate, missing the shout of most HE designs, crossoverless overall and filterless 40Hz - 12kHz and with extended treble and bass with uniform transient behavior top to bottom transforms system character and makes the power amp the center of gravity of the system. You will find a lot of dissatisfaction and fatigue factors you might have once ascribed to sources and cable, preamp and power amp, have actually been instigated by crossovers in the mid-band of your speakers, along with speaker inefficiency and wild loads cornering you into restricted amp choices. The Zu design sets you free of all that, but frankly by far the best way to realize the benefits is to take the 60 day money-back offer. For me months later I am near the end of changes having cascaded through 2 systems because of Zu, and I have to ascribe to their speaker designs and my patience in assimilating all the downstream effects they drive, the greatest leap forward in fidelity I've been able to create in 30 years of making good choices. Someone else might bias their equipment array to steer their Zu system to have some different traits from mine, but that essential holistic character will be unmistakable. I just haven't heard it simulated in a hotel lodging room. Perhaps it can't be.
If you hear Druids or Definitions in my house and you don't like them, well then it's settled -- you just don't like them. Zu gives you the opportunity to settle the issue in the room you know best -- your own.
I read this thread with interest, as I recently aquired a pair of Zu Tone's. I really like the idea of using low powered SET tube amplification, and already have a pair of Entec subs to augment the bass.
So far, I sort of agree with both Tvad and Phil in that in some aspects the speakers seem very promising with very good soundstaging and quick response, albeit with what seems to be some peculiar tonal innacuracies. To me, the speakers sound a bit hollow. I took some measurements using both a Behringer DEQ2496 and a RS sound level meter, and in both cases, the measurements show a bump in the upper midrange - lower treble in the 1-3k range. I am attempting to use digital EQ (a Z-Systems RDQ-1) to temper this anomoly, but so far have had a hard time getting it right. Anyone else with the Zu speakers have a similar experience?
finally heard these. good , but certainly not classic.
"finally heard these. good , but certainly not classic."
What do you mean by this? Details?
I don't know how long you've had your Druids, Stew, but that "hollow" sound is common when new, needing break-in. On first listen when I got my Druids, I thought the same thing but chose to give them time to get used because the rest of it -- the top-to-bottom transient consistency, tone, overall speed and lack of crossover effects made it right to give them some time.
I heard the Zu Druid MK4's at my friends house. The pleasure of enjoying music is what I like best about the Zu products, not only the Druids.
They were connected to a pair of upgraded Cary Audio 300 SE Monoblocks with Western Electric 300B, NOS 6SL7 and a GZ37 Rectifier. The preamps were an Atmasphere MP-3, MP-1 and a CAT (Convergent Audio Technologies). Speaker cable was the Zu Ibis and the Interconnects were Nordost. The CD player was the Vacuum Tube output Blue Note.
By the fourth time I heard the Druid's they had 100 hours playtime on them, but only with the Cary's lower power.
The only comment I have is that the standard "Black" finish started to show signs of coming apart at the seams. It looked more like textured contact paper than paint. It's the high humidity that makes anything wooden swell. The Druids were not in a temp/humid controlled area so they do suffer a bit in the Tropics under constant 75%-80% humidity.
Druids... A+, Highly recommended.
Patricia Barbers songs were amazingly convincing, as if I could reach out and touch the musical notes. One could sense the acoustic space as if I was right there in the Blues bar.
On the heavy metal side we played some Rammstein - Reise Reise and they had a good manner about them. Kraftwerk sounds like fireworks, especially track 2 on Electric Cafe, with the synthesizer parts really separated and distinct.
Jean Michel Jarre's AERO CD was like being along for a ride on a new age vacation.
On The Rite of Strings, Jean Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke and Al Dimeola shoot out into the stratosphere, it simply gave me the goose bumps.
I am buying a pair for myself soon!!