Soliloquy 6.2i vs VS vr4jr , Zu Druid & Usher 6371

I have the Soliloquy's and have the ' upgrade' bug !
I am not able to sample equipment very easily and am looking to narrow down my choices here .
I am using an Audio Aero Prima integrated amp with a Granite 657 CDP .
While I don't have any real problems with this set-up I would like to improve on it .
My listening room is small at 11ft. X 12ft. thus I listen in the near field , @ 6ft. from the speakers . I do listen to rock music but usually at low volume levels as well as contemporary blues and some female vocalists like Diana Krall. I value good ole toe tapping head bobbing involvement most of all .
The only other speaker that I have any experience with is JM Labs Electra 926. I did not care for them as they did not have any 'heart' and were a little tizzy on the top end .
I would like to know how these choices would compare to my Soliloquys in my situation . Would these be a side ways move or an upgrade ? I realize that each one will have a different sound and would like to know what that difference is .
Any other moves from the Sols, that were an improvemnt, would be welcomed .
Thank you .
Sound to me like a perfect fit would be a Merlin. I would asuume these should work perfectly in the room size you list.I realize you have other speaker interests,but figure i'd throwin the Merlin anyway....
I believe Zu offers an in home trial that allows you to return the speakers ifyou don't like them. In home trials are the only way to know.
Thorman ; Thank you . I had considered the Merlins very seriously and have talked to Bobby at length. I don't think that the Merlins are the speaker for my type of music .

Pardales ; I see that you have the jr's. Are you able to compare them to any of these in my list ?
I am holding their trial offer in the back of my mind, it is quite a hassle to do the return thing though . But you are certainly correct about the 'in home' audition being the only way to go ! Thanks.

Any more suggestions ?
My suggestion of a cheaper route to try (if you haven't already). CABLES. Quite frankly I've found with my Soliloquy 5.0's and my equipment, that I can vary the sound immensely with just a change of IC or speaker cables. Others may have other experience, and possibly I lucked into some excellent budget equipment, but I have no need/desire to upgrade anything because I can get the sound that I want with just cable changes.
I have received Druids from Zu but did not send them back although the physical task of packing and returning them does not seem at all daunting........other than the pain of separation.
I haven't heard the speakers you're considering against the Druids so I can't provide any comparison commentary for you. Apparently you've already heard positives about them and that's why they are on your list.
The thing to understand is that Zu is not an ordinary speaker. The design they apply is not a slight variation on established designs but a ground up rewrite of nearly everything. The cabinet, wiring, drivers are all original.
The Zu Druid represents a shift in speaker design that will influence the entire industry.
Ssglx ; Thanks for the insight. I have tried IC's and a PC for the CDP with good results . I have decent speaker cables and may try your suggestion for a change there . It is not that I am not happy with my current set up but more that I want to make everything better . I recently upgraded my CDP and received excellent results ! Now I am looking for that same result with a speaker upgrade ! How much better can it get ? Wow what a loaded question !!!

Macrojack ; If you have had a different pair of speakers prior to the Druids what would you say was the difference between them ? How has the Druids' 'new design' affected the final outcome of the music ?

Thank you.
In the past ten years I have used as my primary speakers:
Goldmund Dialogues
NHT 2.9
Avalon Eclipse
Aerial Acoustics 10T
Vandertseen 3
Vision Acoustics Soloist
All of the above are very good speakers and those of you who are familiar with these names can see that I wandered.
The reason that the Zu Druid has my attention and allegiance at this point has to do with its personality and presentation.
The Druid is very efficient due to its lack of a power usurping crossover network and it is faultlessly coherent for the same reason. These two points conjoined with the advantages provided by its price/performance ratio provide you with an opportunity to incresae the performance level of your amplification.
I have gotten stunning results from the Onix SP-3 driving my Druids.
The new design of the Druid allows you to listen to your music from 35 hz to 12 khz without the splicing between drivers that a crossover necessitates. You see, when the network divides and assigns highs to tweeters and mids to mids, etc. it is breaking the music into segments to be reproduced by specialized drivers. The result is that of several drivers reproducing their parts as cohesively as the designer can bring them together. His problem lies in trying to provide a seamless overlap that doesn't create excessive energy at overlapping frequencies and concurrently trying to cause all drivers to reproduce in phase with each other. When you use only one driver, all of these problems are completely avoided. The presentation of the Zu Druid is as cohesive and coherent as that of the original QUAD 57. It too is a single full range driver. What the Druid provides beyond that QUAD is the ability to play at 130 db without breaking up and to reach both lower and higher and to provide dynamics that may not be available from anything but a horn. These speakers are absolutely amazing.
After a 3 year search for a pair of the aforementioned Goldmund speakers, I found a pair and proceeded to build my final system around them. I posted that they were the speakers to keep for life. Then a friend told me about the Zu reviews on and I began reading. My interest was piqued and I drove to Ogden, Utah to see for myself and bought a pair on the spot. When I came home I put the Goldmunds up for sale and luckily was able to trade them for granite countertops with undermount basins in both my bathrooms plus some cash. They're pretty good speakers, after all.
It is difficult for me to distinguish myself from the multitude of other experts on this forum who all hold opinions and I can think of no reason why you should believe me over them but the answer lies near at hand. Call Zu and have them send you a pair. If after 60 days you aren't sure, Zu will extend the evaluation period for you. I'm betting it won't take 10 minutes for you to "get it" even though break in is a fairly protracted process. The worst that can happen is you rent them for 90 days for the price of round trip shipping. Certainly you've lost more than that on previous audio gambles. I know I have.

Did I answer your questions adequately?
Macrojack: I am only talking theoretically, but even besides Quad, have there not been single driver speakers like Lowthers all along? Somehow they remained a niche albeit with small loyal fan base. Also, if Druids are so good, why does company offer a more expensive Definition, and why is it working on even other models? You know the Quad had just one model for years at a time. Just being the Devil's advocate here but this is the natural question, what do you know about Druid's that its makers don't?
Having owned Druids, Definitions, and now the Definition Pro's, I'll chime in.

The Definitions add very deep bass that the Druids don't by themselves. They also sound bigger but need more room to breathe. Resolution is greater but at the expense of being a bit pickier with upstream components.

These speakers have a house sound that is different from what conventional speakers offer. Yes, there have been other single-driver speakers but none that I know of will play very loudly with authority on challenging fare. Shout is a concern with hi-efficiency and single-driver speakers while the Druids especially are immune to this issue.

The Druids aren't perfect but I wouldn't consider anything else in its price range for my own tastes. Uniformity of tone, preservation of instrumental relationships, low- and high-level dynamic presentation, midrange bliss, and PRAT are all incredible with these speakers.
Aktchi -
I know nothing about Druids that the Zu boys do not, but I know a great deal more about them than you do. The poster asked a question of me directly and I answered it to the best of my ability. I believe Mike answered your questions in his post with the exception of the one about new models.
Zu is always experimenting and trying ways to improve upon what has been accomplished so far. This includes their products and those of everyone else. The Druid I own is the Mark IV. That is because there were other Druids that preceeded it. There may very well be a Mark V someday but this post is not about comparing one Zu speaker to another.
Saki70 wanted to know about the Druid compared to other speakers he might consider purchasing.
A couple of hours ago FedEx showed up at my door with the new Zu Mini Method subwoofer. I have only just hooked it up but I found immediately that it is a lethal device. It was turned up to about Noon or One O'clock and it almost brought the house down on me. I backed it down to about Ten O'clock and was able to blend it with the Druids almost immediately. For anyone interested I will include more info later. For now I will just say that it employs two of the ten inch woofers from the Def Pro's and that they are powered and fire forward. I called Sean about it and he said that they use one in their 4000 sq. ft. warehouse and it is more than enough. Looks like the stakes just got a lot higher around here in the area of resonance control.
Miklorsmith: There are about 99 makes out there that somebody or other considers "only one I'd consider" or "best for money". People are entitled to such opinions, and to even change them. However, I find it a little odd that people forget or don't know that single driver speakers have existed for decades. No one make has dominated the market, but then it is not clear at all if Zu's will do that either.

Macrojack: I have not heard Druids, but then I am not the one who promotes them at every appropriate and inappropriate occasion; also, there are too many speakers out there for anyone to have heard them. Contrary to your posture that you were merely answering Saki70's question, you took yet another opportunity to announce how "revolutionary" Druids are, without facing the fact that single-driver speakers have existed for decades. Even the designers don't seem as enchanted with Druids as you are, for they seem to keep modifying it and also to work on newer models. Not quite the confidence of Quad 57 team, is it?

This is not to say that the Zu driver or the Druid speaker is not good. However, I would wait for the designers to settle on a design themselves, and also for a few side by side comparisons. In the meantime I urge everyone to take this kind of single-minded promotion of a single brand with a big and much-deserved grain of salt.

I have owned the Druids, Druids MK2, Currently own Druids MK4 & Definions MK1.

I auditioned the big name store brands in the Druid price range prior to purchasing them (B&W, Revel, Martin Logan, Sonus Fabre, Energy, etc.) The Druids are truly an amzing speaker for their price range.

If you want more listening info, I have posted more than my share of listening impressions at audiocircle.

Everyone has their own preferences, and the Zu's might not be for everyone, but don't unfairly judge until a product until you actually hear them for yourself.
Aktchi - True words. Everyone seems to have pet picks. The thing is, they're all doing business the same way and ultimately have the same problems.

I've heard both ways and stated which I prefer. I doubt Zu will dominate the marketplace here the way they do, along with SET amps, in Asia.

Again with the single drivers - these aren't Lowthers or Fostexes. They don't have those limitations but manage to keep the strengths of other single driver speakers.

Zu has committed cheerleaders for a reason - they deserve to be heard, figuratively and literally.

I do and have appreciated your feedback. But, platitudes aside, there are simply too many speakers to form opinions only after actually hearing them all for myself. For better or worse, we rely on other people's experience too, common ground provided by comparison against models we both know or have reasons to respect.

Your list is numerically impressive, but all of those are models with high distribution costs, and I wouldn't expect them to offer the same value as speakers direct or almost-direct marketed by an equally good designer.

That's why I solicited comparisons among GMA, Salk, Tyler, and Zu in another thread. Understandably, few people know more than one of these makes. However, I look forward to experience slowly accumulating in this forum.

I also believe in letting a design team finalize its design. Quad 57, Spendor BC1, the LS3/5a, Larger Advent, DCM Time Window all are examples of very different speakers whose designers arrived at a point where they felt they had done their best. If a designer continues to feel he can improve his product in a few months, then at least I am not inspired to buy it just yet. This is a subjective call, and others may well feel differently, but this is how I feel.

You wrote:
"If a designer continues to feel he can improve his product in a few months, then at least I am not inspired to buy it just yet. This is a subjective call, and others may well feel differently, but this is how I feel."

Do you feel that way about authors too? "I don't want to read The DaVinci Code because Dan Brown might write another book and it might be better".
Do you wait until musicians have died so that you can be sure they won't record anything that improves upon the recording you are considering? Do you see how silly that sounds?

I can't understand why you have chosen to appoint yourself the anti-Zu but it is not appreciated by those of us who are Zu-ish.
I can't understand why you have chosen to
appoint yourself the anti-Zu but it is not appreciated by those of us who
are Zu-ish.
Macrojack (Reviews | Threads | Answers)
Zu-ish point of view is made over and over. I find it refreshing, and
healthy, to read a dissenting point of view...regardless of the product. It
helps to keep things in perspective.
Zu Druids will, alone among this bunch, give you holistic sonic presentation, uniform transient behavior top-to-bottom, tonal consistency and no driver integration issues. Aside from Zu's breakthrough full-range driver combining tonal accuracy, wide frequency range, good dispersion, with high efficiency, unlike Lowther and Fostex, the absence of crossover in the signal path cannot be fully appreciated in the abstract. You have to hear it.

Definition adds sub-woofer bass extension in a transient and tonally consistent way, and sonic scale that the Druid can't quite match. The trade-off is that the Druid communicates greater intimacy and can be used as a near-field speaker, which the Definition cannot support. Druid has some lingering colorations that are engineered out of the Definition, in part because the dual FRD array manages the high frequency output acoustically in addition to the FRD's upper range mechanical roll-off and the high pass filter for the supertweeter. Further, the dual FRD MTM array gives the Definition broader horizontal dispersion while limiting vertical dispersion, mitigating floor and ceiling effects. Together, this makes Definition more suitable as dual purpose music and home-theater speakers, for which you will see that 2 channels are exactly right. Definition also has higher absolute resolution.

No question Druid is more forgiving of the upstream chain, particularly mediocre sources and power amps. The Druid's 12 ohm load puts most solid state amps in a more tonally acceptable sonic zone. Definitions demand more careful selection of associated equipment, for they lay bare what's wrong elsewhere in your system.

Hmmm....I don't think anyone wrote that single driver speakers are new. Least of all Zu themselves. They freely admit their design themes are inspired by classic research from early to mid 20th century. What is new about Zu is easy to identify: a full-range driver that is aurally neutral 38Hz - 12kHz and absent annoying full-range driver "shout" or distracting beaming. Packaged in a tight-footprint form factor that can be easily assimilated in normal domestic environments, the products Druid and Definition are fairly described as "revolutionary," both for the phenomenal tonal, transient, dyanmic and phase-coherent fidelity, and the reordering of resource allocations in system design that they incite. Druids particularly make true high-end performance more financially accessible than any other speaker on the market so far. Perhaps someone will excel them in this respect, but not today.

Moderator: I see that one of my posts above got posted twice. I won't be offended at all if you remove the duplicate occurence. :-)

Miklorsmith, Tvad: Cheerleading is an established part of audio, indeed any passionate hobby, and is one of the things that makes the participation fun. But the extreme kind at least deserves to be called and pointed out.

Macrojack: I gave you examples of speaker designs themselves that were finalized to the point that the designers didn't tweak any more. Similar examples exist in other components. Of course, so do counter-examples, when a component keeps getting "improved" forever. I just prefer the former way of doing things.

Speaking of works of literature and music, one may buy 10,000's of books and cd's in one's life, but only a few speakers, so the standards have to be different. After all, nobody has held up one cd in his hand and said to me, "this is so revolutionary that you can stop listening to all other music now". With components, that happens with amusing or frightening regularity.

[Still, have you never read, seen or heard a real classic besides Rocky and Terminator variety? :-) For most of the classic poems, novels, stories, plays, symphonies, etc., once they were published, there was no Mark2, let alone Mark3 and Mark4, etc.]

In the end it is simply my personal preference to wait for a design team to stabilize their design, whether it is at Mark 4 or Mark 29, before I'll consider buying it. If that seems silly to you, so be it.

As for my being anti-Zu, consider this: I have not said one word against their sound, which I haven'e heard, only heard about. I have short-listed them in my own thread when inviting comparison among selected few brands. I just told a new manufacturer Daber Audio (another thread) that "Apparently, the guys to beat are Green Mountain, Salk, Silverline, Tyler, and Zu".

Could it be a sign of some unbalanced extreme edge in your thinking that even such complientary attitude sounds "anti" to you?
It's interesting to me that each of these Zu vs. Whoever threads leads to the same types of discussions around the Zu's. Having heard none of these other options (but plenty like them), I'll postulate that the others will sound much more alike and the Druids will sound different from the group.

They don't sound like XO's in a box. XO's in a box can separate themselves within class but ultimately they will sound more like each other than the Druid. Further, the Druid will be happiest with completely different amplification than the other speakers. So, even if you had the same speakers in the same room, compatibility and preference would likely fall to the best amp/speaker match.

All that said, if one could optimize amplification for each speaker in the same room, I'd guess "the vote" for each listener would put the Druid first or last. What they do well, the others won't match, and the Druids won't do exactly what the others do.

I'm a cheerleader for Zu, sure. Skepticism is warranted too. If I bought every product people thought was the "best ever", I'd be $4m in debt and looking for a medium-sized warehouse to store it all.

One concern I have with the Druids is that it seems to be a small handful of enthusiasts that rush to claim how great they are at every opportunity. The fan base does not seem as wide-spread as for components that I would consider true classics such as Quad ESL-57's. That said, I also very rarely hear negative comments regarding the Druids. Unfortunately, I haven't heard the Druid's, so I can't comment on the sound.

I plan to change that this weekend. I am finally going to hear the Druid's, and I hope they are as good as the claims. The Druid's are up against some tough competition for a place in my current system, but if they outperform my current speakers, Zu had better get a pair ready for me.

Phil, Miklorsmith: Your kind of advocacy of Zu is appreciated, that is how I became curious about Zu's in the first place. As to why discussions end up revolving around Zu's, you'd notice, eg in this thread itself, that Zu's start out as one among many on someone's short list. Then their extreme cheerleaders move in. (And yes they have said Zu is "revolutionary" for not having a cross-over.) It is that kind of advocacy we should call.

Jeff: Good luck with your audition. I look forward to your first impressions and later a full review. I would suggest starting a new thread. Please list other speakers you compared them against, and also on what kind of music.

Other thoughts on Zu: (i) As I said above, designers know their product and capabilities best and as long as they are tweaking the design and think they can improve it (at the same price point) I am happy to let them try. When they settle down, I'll listen to the final result. (ii) I also think there is huge gap between Druids and Definitions, between 2 drivers and 7, between $2800 and $9000. So the Zu floorstander range has a hole in the middle with room for a model or two. Maybe that's what they are working on.
Zu's revolutionary aspect derives first from the accomplishment of their wideband full-range driver. Without that, the crossoverless design would not be possible, or it wouldn't yield the same results. Druid and Definitions are systems, holistically designed to meet music fidelity objectives beyond what's attainable by price-competitive products.

Keep in mind that Zu pursues this stellar sound in a consistent way with inconsistent speaker topologies. The Druid is an open-cabinet system that leverages an acoustic energy management principle first developed to manage motorcycle engine exhaust for power maximization from the engine. The Definition, on the other hand, is a sealed box system, but not strictly an acoustic suspension design, as the cones move little and do not rely on the enclosed air spring for support. However, both designs, along with the sealed box Tones achieve a family sound that delivers unprecedented fidelity in compact footprints.

You're right, the Zu advocates are a relatively small population. This is a small company that invests very little money in promotion and has no dealer channel. But it is growing and had won a reputation for innovation and sensational sound quality out of scale to their actual presence in the market.

Also, Aktchi, you're correct -- from a marketing standpoint, Zu has a hole in the middle of their line. Today, Druids deliver 70% of the Definition's fidelity and quality at less than 30% of the price. And the right amp is crucial to that equation (not necessarily expensive). So there is mitigation to that gap. That is to say, $2800 Druids are fully worth, for example, $8,000 of power amplification. What you'd spend on a more expensive speaker, if put instead into better amps for Druids, would achieve much the same thing or better. But Zu will nevertheless plug this gap when they have the right product.

Sean & Adam are committed to continuous improvement, so the Zu models will never be "done." However, refinements will become progressively more incremental as has happened with Druid, in part because its the FRD that drives much of the result, and it's excellent now. You can consider their speakers "settled down" but not immune to improvement.

I've owned many highly credible speakers over more than 30 years of audiophilia. And I've worked in the business, maintained connections to it, and have heard nearly everything worth hearing at some time or other. I'm not speaking out of context when I say Zu's sound is real. That said, however, I agree with the prior comment that when auditioned by mainstream audiophiles in context of a group of decent speakers, Zu will be ranked by many as either first or last. Hearing a truly phase-coherent, transient-uniform, tonally accurate, dynamically faithful, efficient speaker sans crossover for the first time is powerfully disorienting to people who have never heard the precedents for Zu's design principles. Which is almost everyone on this board.

Thank you Macrojack and Ton1313 for your comparisons .

Jeffreyds ; please keep me posted , either here, by email or on a new thread. I am really quite interested .

One thing that I have noticed , from reading here on the 'Gon , is that I haven't really heard a bad word about the Zu's . The only dissenting words concern the 'cheerleading', by the actual owners , and maybe the cabinet finish's. Nothing about the sound .

Any one else with a comparison ?
The Zu Droids sound like an interesting speaker. I havent auditioned them though. I have auditioned the other three however. If you like the Soliloquy sound, then I dont think you gain anything with the Usher 6300s series or the VS 4JRs.

I have a bunch of the Soliloquy speaker models myself and put my 5.3is a step ahead of the VS 4JRs and somewhat even with the Usher 6300s. I do use a class A amp with a tube based CD player however which seems to mix well with the Soliloquies would be my only other comment.
Thank you Rysa4 ;
Were these auditions on the same equipment in the same place ? What type of music did you use ? I too use a tubed CDP and a hybrid integrated amp .
My auditions of the VS JR4 as well as the Usher series were both done at CES in 2005 and 2006 at Alexis Park, the place were the high end audio stuff gets demoed in Vegas each year at the show. I cant say that either used the same equipment, only that the manufacturers tend to try and put their best foot forward usually in these demos,despite the limitations in power and rooms inherent to Alexis Park.

The VS 4 JRs were quite the talk at CES 2005 but were not as impressive to me as the SOliloquy 5.3 is that I own. I found the VS to lack a bit of coherency between mid range Tweeter and lower frequencies and have a less wide soundstage in comparison.

I do like the Usher 6300 series in general and find them to be appealing during my two 15 minute listening sessions with them. They are quite tall and a bit bright. It is possible that over time there could be some listener fatigue with them but I didnt listen long enough to be sure.

I have never listened to the ZU Droid speakers only read about them here.

As typical with speakers these are subjective opinions with the only validity being that I listen to Soliloquy speakers almost everyday.
I finally heard the Zu Druid. I posted a review in the review section.

Here's the link:
Nice w/u - well thought out and coherent. Their quiet magic grows and grows on you. If you were able to "get it" in one session, you definitely should take Zu up on the trial.

Very nice review. You captured the Zu experience nicely. A couple of things to add are that the Druids provide an unusually full sound at low volume levels. They don't need to be turned up to some point where they come alive. That's probably not something you would have a chance to learn at a show. And secondly, I tried using my Druids with an ASL Orchid. It's a 3.2 watt SET integrated and it sounded positively wonderful but just didn't boogie. I suspect that if you hooked your Cary amps up to the Druids you would be much more impressed. Sean Casey has told me that the Druid starts to really get up and dance with 30 or more watts of amplifier stroking it. did some comparison work between the Gallos and the Druids. If you read that and measure it against your show experience, it might give you valuable perspective on how to read his review of the Druid.
When all is said and done, however, you are left with the fact that Zu is all about fun and they will not make it difficult to return your Druids should the unthinkable occur. Go ahead and bring a pair to your house. Then you can speak to the many who are perplexed about this Zu talk.
I'm glad you enjoyed the speakers, Jeff. One question, however. How does a 2 watt amp (Yamamoto) and a speaker that rolls off at 40Hz cover much of the musical spectrum without notable compromise? In my experience, only lighter fare is suitable for such a lineup.
...they will not make it difficult to return your Druids should the unthinkable occur. Then you can speak to the many who are perplexed about this Zu talk.
Oh no! Not the unthinkable! Please, Reverend Zu, you must save the audio aimless from themselves!

I have to wonder, just how do you sell your next "I found it"?
Jeff: Great review. I responded to it there but a few words may not be out of place here too.

My own unsolicited advice is a little different. Your review basically says to me that you feel Gallos -> Druids will be a sideways move for you. That, plus the fact that Zu is working on newer models, including perhaps a further improved Druid, suggests waiting. See what their lineup looks like after a while.

Most of us have been searching for the best speaker for our taste/budget for years. If we have done even 1/2 of a good job, then it should not be trivial to better what we settled on. It can be done, that's why we keep looking, :) but it is a tribute to the job you did so far that it is not easy. So congratulations and good luck.

Rather than ordering Druids, I would suggest trying to hear other contenders as and when you can. And, always, please post your impressions. :-)

Thanks for the response. I can't explain how two watts and a speaker that rolls off at 40 Hz performs with so little compromise. I'm sure that's a secret that Zu and Yamamoto want to keep.

I have auditioned countless single driver, high-effeciency designs powered by low powered SET amps. I agree that most designs of that type make compromises and are certainly not suited for all types of music. The Zu's simply do not sound like those other designs.

I tried a variety of different music types during the audition. None of it was what I would consider "lighter fare". No chamber music. No string quartets. Most of the music was either jazz or rock. While the amplifier certainly would run out of juice before the speaker, I never felt like I needed more volume or that the sound was thin or constrained. In fact, just the opposite, the sound was full and round.

Also, I did try the speakers on serveral occasions with the Method sub. The sub extends the bass down to 20 Hz. While I could definetely tell the difference with the sub powered, it was not dramatic. The speakers played just fine on their own.

I'm with Aktchi regarding waiting to see what Zu Audio has forthcoming. There is an enormous price gap and wide open market segment between the $2000+ Druids and the $9000+ Definitions. It stands to reason that a model somewhere between the two might be in the works, and would solve some of the issues with the Druids and the Definitions...namely the 40hz roll-off of the Druids and the small-room placement issues with the Definitions.

An offering in the middle would seem to be a no-brainer and the guys at Zu are too smart to ignore the potential.
Thanks for the response. I can't explain how two watts and a speaker that rolls off at 40 Hz performs with so little compromise. I'm sure that's a secret that Zu and Yamamoto want to keep.
If there is some physics secret here that has managed to elude every speaker & amp builder in history, then more power to the Zu guys.

I heard the Druids twice, and thought they sounded rather UNbalanced--piercing highs & overly-resonant cabinet--but given what you have to say about getting pulled in over time, as well as the comments other owners, I look forward to hearing them (and the Definitions) again.

I tried a variety of different music types during the audition. None of it was what I would consider "lighter fare".
You listed Natalie Merchant, Alison Krauss, Jack Johnson, etc. among those you heard with this setup. Those IMO would qualify as lighter fare.

It would seem from your comments that your goal has little to do with replicating the dynamic composure of live music. Would you say that's true? Not that it matters a lot, other than to give additional context to your conclusions.

Thanks, Jeff.

Your experience with the Druids was very different from mine. Please give a few more specifics about your auditions. Where did you hear them? What were the associated componenets? How long did you listen? What types of music did you listen to? I'm curious about what could have made our experiences so different. Also, just for reference, I did not detect any room treatment whatsoever during the audition. I can see how that could potentially lead to disaster at a stereo show, and I wonder if Zu just got lucky in this instance.

Also, in response to your other comment, I think that recreating the dynamic composure of live music is less important to me than some other speaker attributes such as tone, timbre, speed, transparency, and texture. Of course, since I have yet to hear the perfect speaker, everything becomes a tradeoff. Those are just a few of the attributes that are important to me. I did mention in the review that you won't mistake listening to the Druids for a live event. Other speakers replicate those kinds of dynamics better. Avantgarde comes to mind. If that's important to you, I would keep shopping. Hope that helps you understand what I like in a speaker.

With bigger amps, the Druids are unusually dynamic, IME.
I heard them at a show, in a room set up by Zu. They had Audiopax amps. The three of us did not stay long. Honestly, the sound was painful. But again, your comments as well as those of others are intriguing, so I'll hear them again soon. One never knows if it's the setup itself, or perhaps the effect of having heard 15+ rooms prior.

Thank you again for your comments.
Tvad & Aktchi, I see the Gap in pricing is a decision for some that something is missing in the model structure, but they have already filled that gap.

It's simple they seem to have wanted to provide the biggest bang for the buck on a SMALL and simple speaker with the Druid and tones for overall music listening, and an all out assault still using the same philosophy with small footprint but quite a bit heavier and sizely definitions for the very serious rooms and demanding applications.

They Will still sell you the Druid in most cases with a single FRD that does its thing, but Simply Sell you a Method Subwoofer which will put you right in the middle of the cost range between the 2, and yes it integrates just fine, now you can BUY 2 Methods I believe but will then be approaching the cost of the definition, which simply is why they would most likely point you to the simpler and more intergrated approch of the Definition.

So I do not see them doing anything with the druid and adding an Internal Sub or something to simply make another powered tower... However if the demand is there than I guess they could consider it, but no way will it be as compact as the druid is, and then it would cost probably 5500.00 a pair anyway to fill the concern of your Gap between 2 Models.

So keep it simple in fixing the 40hz issue, add the Method subwoofer and its done and in the price range you want to see, it is designed with very fast drivers to keep up with the druid for this purpose I understand, and then they can Universally sell The druid to the SET single driver group, and just have someone get the package with a Sub for the Theater Rock group and there you go with the in-between pricing.. It makes perfect sense... Cause any more and you might as well get the Definition.

I mean you can take the definition and cut off the 4 drivers on the back and run the Front's only which would just be a Druid plus or something and give you 2 Drivers vs. 1 driver but still the same issue with wanting to go under the capabilities of a full range driver at 40 hz and you end up with the same problem at a 5500.00 range speaker anyway and would still need to add more bottom end, unless they break down and start putting in crossovers to give you a passive woofer pair or something like a conventional speaker.

Just my opinion, but Zu is attacking a Niche for a certain purpose, they are not a mass manufacture, I mean does every speaker manufacture fill the gap? Sure many do we have all seen the Glossy adds with a speaker using 1 driver, than 2 drivers, than another model going from a 4.5" midrange to a 6" midrange and Adding an 8" on the bottom and this and that and So on... But I do not see the realistic application in this instance.
By the way don't forget, How many In-betweens can you really get with a SIngle driver full range, no crossover system?

In multi driver systems its a whole different world, Okay lets offer a Monitor 2way, Okay lets kick it up to a D'Appolito 2way for our next marketing step up, okay now lets take our Big monitor D'appolito 2way and Stack it on top of a bass cabinet with a 12", Okay lets now take our 2way and stack it on a Midbass + Woofer section for our Next step up using a 10" and a 13" driver, now we got a 4 Way system...

Opps I might have just described Infinity, Wilson, and nearly 99% of the speaker manufactures out there.. I am not bashing but making a point that a Single Driver Full range is a SINGLE driver full range, not many variations to build an In-between model just to hit a price point, so yes I think unfortunatly for those concerned will have to buy a Druid pair and an Extra box the method sub, and find 3 spots in a room to place them...
Matrix, your points about the Druid/Method combo is well taken, however I will not purchase a speaker system that utilizes sub woofers for several reasons that don't really need to be specified. Suffice to say it's something that I won't consider, and I'm certain there are others out there who feel the same. A $5500 full range loudpspeaker system makes perfect sense for a customer like me who doesn't want to pop for the $10k Definitions and doesn't have the space to allow for their proper placement.

Anyway, it's all discussion for the sake of discussion at this point in time.
Matrix: I wasn't being theoretical, I read somewhere (6moon?) that Zu is working on newer models. I am curious enough to see what will come out.

I have very good speakers and have no compulsion to buy now.

Theoretically, I don't agree with your analysis. Designers who could design a full range speaker for a large room should be able to design one for smaller rooms. Of course, Zu might (or not) have made a marketing desicion to let the subwoofer fill the middle slot, which may work for some, but I feel like Tvad, the subwoofer route is not for me.
Ahem, I really like my Soliloquy 6.2s (non i). Thats all I'm sayin'.
I understand, but that was not my point, Definitions use Subwoofers on the back, so what else would they do to satisfy no subwoofer anyway that you are asking between the Druid and active Definition? I mean unless they run an active sub system with the druid nothing will solve the issues you are asking about.. minus the slim chance they would put a standard passive woofer system with crossover to be driven with the FRD full range driver in a single cabinet and come to a more conventional design, maybe bi-wire capable posts on the back..

Now I am coming to the conclusion that the Druid if placed at the 5500.00 mark and this discussion would not have existed and everyone would be Happy with the Tone on the low end the Druid at the mid point, and the Definition at the high as long as the numbers matched up?... That is just standard progression then.

So bottom line is your interest is not in Zu speakers, but in something that is not a crossoverless Full range system, so there is no void to fill in this type of design, see what I am saying? Now I could see them putting the definition front array by itself but you will still simply achieve the same as the druid with better dispersion and 3db better output maybe this is what you are looking at. So I am not sure what is being asked. But yes it was just to play devils advocate, I don't think much will be done that cannot be done now with the current Zu combos unless they have developed a whole new system using nothing like the drivers they are now, maybe a dual 5 inch full range or some other drivers completly, or simply a CUT in half Definition, 1 Full range, 1 Super tweet, Dual 10" instead of 4 10", but again this would be the same as running Dual Method Subs or even a Single with the standard Druid. I only jumped in cause I have interest in seeing what you guys think would be what is missing due to I can't figure what would solve this for less money than just adding the single subwoofer, AGAIN the definition is simply a 4 Driver sub system with set crossover electronically just not adjustable.

I am not a designer and I am sure nobody here is, but like I said if you were working with a handfull of Scan speak drivers with multiple crossover parts sure anybody can come up with "Bridge the Gap Models",,, I just don't see what to do beyond them eliminating the whole FRD driver system in the first place and it would not be the same style anyway.
Aktchi, sorry I forgot to say I think the new system you are refering too from 6 Moons is the Definition PRO, it is the same cost as the definition 1.5 however removes the Internal Amplifier, so you must supply your own electronic crossover and Amp costing you more obviously than the standard definition in the end, basically this gives you control over the bottom end tuning in you do not have over the standard definition, along with more power handling and deeper capability's at higher spl's.... These are not listed on the website now and they just came out production wise very recently I believe... I am no Zu pro, but to do anything further with a single driver full range I would guess they would have to build a Cabinet horn style like all the other guys and it would be Huge in comparison to what they are doing, again I think they are looking for a different market than the standard full range guys.

04-26-06: Matrix
I understand, but that was not my point, Definitions use Subwoofers on the back, so what else would they do to satisfy no subwoofer anyway that you are asking between the Druid and active Definition?
C'mon, Matrix, now you're being silly. When 95% of people think of a system with subwoofers, they think of separate used in the Druid/Method system to which I referred. Sorry if I was not clear, but that's what I meant. I will not consider a system with one or two subwoofers in enclosures separate from the tweet/mid units.

I've heard the Definitions, and I thought they sounded pretty good, but not good enough for me to give up my present speakers and pony up another $6-$7k. Certainly another system can be designed that reduces the Definition's four woofers to two, or one. If so, I'd surely put it on the list when it's time to scratch the upgrade itch.

Again, discussion for the sake of discussion.

At least one other Friend of Zu has mentioned via an unsolicited e-mail that a mid-line speaker is in the works with a delivery date TBA. I know no further details and I have not verified the information.

Could be Urban Legend...
Matrix, Tvad:

The Zu model I recall readig about was not Definition Pro. Unfortunately, I don't remember more. I hope more information will be available soon.

I too meant subwoofer in the traditional sense of a separate third cabinet. I like two full-range floorstanding speakers.

I am sure Druid is a good speaker but a sideways move for those who already have a great speaker with limited bass. It may even be better than what they have, but for many a meaningful upgrade would have to be all round, not spend a couple thousand dollars for a sideways move. Definition is probably a meaningful upgrade, but not affordable for some of us. However, if Srajan would sell his pair for a little less than the $5500 Zu charged him in a sweetheart deal, he can look me up. :)

We'll see what future brings, and I am sure it will bring many interesting things, from Zu as well as others.
But yeah don't make a sideways move to Druids with what you guys have, and Maybe I should have said this, but I am not a Druid fan after hearing them so much, but the Definition is a whole other world, those are the speaker for me not the druid for sure, actually I don't even consider them a very common sound at all. Kinda like Saying the Klipsch Low end stuff sounds like the K-horn heritage series, no way in my opinion.

I got ya... Just was confused Cause basically you guys were saying NO SUBWOOFERS, which no matter what with the definitions or the Druids adding the bottom end you would need to Have a couple extra A/C wall plugs was my point for the extra amps... So I see that a Zu model of something like the druid with built in active woofer section would probably take care of the issue... I thought they just built something called a "Mini Method" to deal with this but maybe they will intergrate them into the Stereo cabinet pair, I hope so!