These are speakers you should hear before you buy. If you can't hear them first, then...
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Very similar. Druid is more efficient than Tone if that has any bearing. And not bothering with stands and extra cable expense argues for Druids but greater bass extension comes with the sub option. I don't think that other parameters separate the Tone and Druid. If you like one, you would like the other.
As Tvad mentioned, you will have to try them for yourself...Even after one year I have not made up my mind yet whether I am a single driver person.
Of course, you can always get a pair and resell to someone else in Australia if you don't like them. Best to try them for a while. Given the current hype of Zu that should not be to hard.
Or take a trip to Singapore...
If space and configuration permit, Druids are more efficient and have higher resolution. I'd take them over Tones + Mini-Method.
However, if you insist on bass below 38Hz to feel satisfied and your budget precludes Druids + Sub, then Tones are viable. In general, I think Tones make sense when budget or space dictate and they can be appreciated on their own. A sub is an upgrade path for a Tones owner. But if either can be accommodated, Druids put you on a higher fidelity plane.
I am distributing Zu loudspeakers in Australia and have all the models available. You can hear them on demo in Sydney and Melbourne and you can buy with 60 days satisfaction guarantee if you live elsewhere.
Check my contact details on the ZU website under distributors. I look forward to hearing from you.
Even though it's not practical given your location, I agree with Tvad's sentiments that the Zus are speakers you need to make your own mind up about. As you have no doubt noticed, they evoke a great diversity of opinion. My guess is that different listeners simply have differing personal preferences and priorities, whether they know about them in advance or not.
Assuming you know yourself well enough to be confident that Zu speakers are what you want, my suggestion would be the Tones + a subwoofer instead of the Druids. Personally I would be in favor of using a high-pass filter so that the fullrange driver in the Tone doesn't try to make deep bass excursions, even though that is getting away from the "crossoverless" spirit of the Zus.
Best of luck to you,
I agree with Goatwuss, never ever buy a speaker w/o hearing first. I did buy my seas w/o hearing, but did know hear the Seas' W22 in a DIY design I paid a guy to buld for me. Cost me $2K for the guy to build and i sold them after one day for $800. There are always exceptions. As i am interested in Tyler's 3 ways, which use the seas, but how they actually sound I am not sure and may take the chance, just based on my experience of the Thors I own. So if you know the sound of the drivers used in a design from previous experience then at least you are not going in blindly, or in this case deafly.
I truly hope you can get to Sydney or Melbourne and listen to these speakers. Obviously you can't go wrong either way although the type of music you listen to will help you decide between your 3 choices: Druid, Tone, or Tones with sub and then, which kind of sub. You can always demo the tones and buy a sub later. The Druids are an outstanding speaker and the Tones are just a wee bit less.
My experience with my short time with the Zu Tone has been a revelation. I purchased a pair of Tones over the Druids for a very simple reason: my favorite chair is pretty low and I wanted the flexibility of a monitor for placement. I currently have them mated to a REL Storm III and the match is blissful. To put this in perspective, I just sold my main rig and could not be more thrilled with my decision. (Cary 306-200, BAT VK300XSE, B&W 802d and another REL sub....they are probably still on Audiogon as sold if you don't believe me) Some may look at this as a BS over-reaction however I wasn't really enjoying the music. I don't know why I just wasn't. My new system consists of a Cary 303-300, Cary SLI-80 Sig F1 (used to own an SLI-80 a while back and missed the magic of a very easy to live with tube integrated).
At the end of the day, we either listen to music or analyze it....I voted against any more analysis and have chosen to get back to the music. These speakers are unbelievable in that regard and they have really taken to this setup. They pop when it's time to pop and they romance when its time to romance. These speakers will not be used as studio monitors as they will distract the engineers and have them tapping their toes rather than getting their work done. Any other 802d owners out there, I mean no offense that I sold my 802d's, the comparison is somewhat like a Corvette versus an Austin Healy 3000 (however with good reliability haha). The Healy is just closer to what driving is all about. The Zu's are cut from that same very fine cloth.
Met Sean and Adam at HE2006 and was very impressed that they genuinely seem to give a sh&%! I can purchase pretty much (within reason) what I want and I am a bit surprised that I liked the Tones.....they were too inexpensive.
Enjoy your quest and know that you are about to have some real fun when the Zu's find their way into you home. Let's say a prayer that the Zu boys stay the course, stay the same and keep the purity of their current philosophy on business.