Zu Essence vs B&W

I am looking to upgrade from Klipsch RF-7s to Zu Essence but would also like to consider B&W. Any thoughts on how the Essence compare to 803s or even 803d? I listen to mainly rock and singer song writer (Avett Brothers, Bealtes, David Gray, Floyd, Stones)
I am looking to upgrade from Klipsch RF-7s to Zu Essence but would also like to consider B&W. Any thoughts on how the Essence compare to 803s or even 803d? I listen to mainly rock and singer song writer (Avett Brothers, Bealtes, David Gray, Floyd, Stones)

good grief! The Zu speaker is so different from the B&W because of the driver technology & the overall design philosophy that it wouldn't be right to make a comparison. Or, atleast to me, the comparison would not be meaningful.

It appears that you do not know which way you want to lean - full range driver speaker OR multiple driver speaker. Maybe you need to decide that before you start making a short list??
Or, if you have the chance, go listen to the Essence & N803 or 803D & see what you think of the reproduced sound...
i guess I want to know which one would be better suited for my taste in music, I don't care about the technology involved. I want a larger soundstage and a more immerse sound than my Klipsch with a smoother more present mid-range.
I don't listen to the kind of music you do however I think the Essence should be on your list. My concern and reason I sold them was with the lack of mid intimacy coupled with the ribbon being a little on the hard side.

I do listen to Floyd and for that, you want to look at speakers that go less than 30 Hz otherwise too much of the music is cut out. I had fun listening to Pink Floyd on the Essence but they lacked in too many other areas for me.
As Bombay notes above, these are very different spkrs. As a matter of fact, IMO of the three mentioned Klipsch would be the best spkrs for the music you listen to... just go for a different model.

The B&W you'll have trouble driving & getting used to. The Zu will be strange light & detailed, but less heavy in the bass.
11-05-09: Macallan7
i guess I want to know which one would be better suited for my taste in music, I don't care about the technology involved.
The problem with your line of reasoning is that the technology used to make a speaker has a distinct effect on its reproduced sound. The technology used in making the drivers has an effect on sound. You can't simply isolate the technology from the speaker & make a worthy decision! IMHO, you'll have to get your hands dirty in this aspect (of understanding the impact of technology on sound) if you want to accomplish your goals.

11-05-09: Macallan7
......I want a larger soundstage......
Now, this requires much more than merely switching speakers!
It's like your telling me that you will go out & buy all Stereophile class A category equipment & you will have THE best 2-ch system compared to anybody else. Not true!
It requires skill to coax the best out of your electronics & speakers. Merely buying electronics & speakers & plunking it in your room does not get your wider soundstage, smoother midrange & more immersion into the music! Once again, you'll need to roll-up your sleeves & tweak your system within your home environment.

Who knows, the system you have right now might be able to provide you with what you are looking for? Have you tried to coax the best out of your system? That would have meant trying different amplifiers, diff CD players, different preamps, diff cables, looking into your AC power quality, isolation, etc.
Macallen7, I looked back at a couple of your previous posts and think you need to get out and listen some more. What speakers have you heard and what are your impressions?

I don't think you will find the best answer here on your computer screen. Good starting point sure, but it seems to me that you are looking for more than that.
Understood, but Zu does not sell to any local stores, I have heard the 802d but not the 803d. I have listened to Martin Logan, Klipsch, B&W and Von Schweikert.
No local stores, but they are doing a road tour, so check out their site they might be coming to some place local to your area.
11-05-09: Macallan7
Understood, but Zu does not sell to any local stores, I have heard the 802d but not the 803d. I have listened to Martin Logan, Klipsch, B&W and Von Schweikert.

that's quite good!
what are your impressions of the 802D sonics? when you reply, please state the components of the system that the 802Ds were connected to.

I would also like you read your impressions of the Martin Logan & Von Schweikert specifically in regards to why you thought that these speakers could not deliver what you are looking for. Thanks for the feedback.
Thanks. I heard the 802d with an all Mcintosh front end, C2200 and MC402, sounded huge and very smooth, the top end was "sweeter" than my klipsch. The VR4-jrs were driven by an Arcam receiver, very smooth but nothing spectacular. The MLs were Vantages driven by Krell 400xi, these were my favorites but so inconsistent, on some songs they were awesome, on others thin and harsh. I like aspects of the electrostatic sound but I also like heavier music like the Bealtes White Album or the Stones. My Klipsch are actually very enjoyable once I added a tube preamp (Juicy Peach II) and a powerful amp (B&K 200.2) I am very into singer songwriter music so I want the vocals to be as smooth and 3-D as possible but do not want a speaker as limited as the ML.
How much are you looking to spend? I have owned klipsch and B&W in the past. I feel that klipsch's weak point is their vocals and I feel that B&W strong point is there vocals. I really like the 803s and think it would fit your bill. I feel that in the price range of the 802D there are better speakers (thiel 3.7, Martin Logan spire, Wilson Sophia, etc). But a used pair of 803s will bring a lot of the "B&W sound" with a much smaller price tag.

One thing is to keep in mind what you are use too. The are RF-7s are some what bright and forward. The ZUs might just be too different... But I think B&Ws will out class the Klipsch on almost all areas.

Also keep in mind that a used pair of Martin logan spire are under 5 grand and I think they are a big step up from the Vantage. I had both the spire and 802d in the same room for a demo. The 802d imaged much better but was also more "colored" though the midrange ( and need moster amps). the bass was faster and more controled on the spire. The highs were both top notch!
The Spire would certainly be on my list, vocals are my top priority, i just don't want to be limited in what I can play. If the Spires can handle Floyd and Zeppelin then they may be the ticket.
... larger soundstage and ... smoother more present mid-range

I have not heard B&W 803's, but if your goal is as stated, this is exactly what Zu will give to you - IN SPADES!- IF properly set up. I don't think you can get better soundstage or more present mids than you can with Zu. They are phenomenal in this regard.
That is what I have read, anyone compare to the Logans
I would advocate that you ask your dealer to let you borrow a pair of Von Schweikerts and try them out with your equipment and in your room. If you pay close attention to speaker placement I would be very surprised if they didn't sound awesome for the type of music you listen to.

Also, do any of your local dealers carry any of the French speaker lines: Focal, JM Reynaud or Triangle? All of these are somewhat different, of course, but I find that all of the French speaker manufacturers create a lush yet detailed sound that is stellar for vocals and instumental music.
i haven't heard the Essence, but I have 805's and if you're into honey smooth mids/crystal clear highs, you cannot go wrong with 800 series

with proper amplification, vocals are SO smooth and airy, imaging and soundstage is off the charts if placed properly

the only thing you might need is a subwoofer, if you're into bass that is.. for a small room, i think the bass they provide is fine
I am looking to spend around $5K so the Logan Summit or Spire used would be in the ballpark and so would the 803s. I have an idea of the B&W vs Logan sound but have never heard the Zu. The Summit would be ideal if they could handle rock music. I will try to find a place to listen.
If you are used to Klipsch speakers, the Zu Essence will be right up your alley. The Zu will give you the same dynamics, better midrange clarity, more detail and tighter bass. The Essence is a great bargain.
You don't need as much horsepower for amplification as the B&Ws can be a more difficult load to drive.
The Magnepan 1.6s are tough to beat at their price point X 5 but need lots of power. Class D amps like Wyred would do the trick and keep you on budget.
Another sleeper is the Gershman Sonogram at $3500. With the exchange rate so bad, the American(N) speakers will definitely be a better value.
Well for what it is worth I listened to Metallica's Black album (among other rock) on both the 802D/803D and Spire. The spire had lots of bass and energy to well... Rock. They seemed to play what was there no more no less. While the B&W can "rock" too but they need to be played LOUD to come alive.

Logans can be pretty hard to place right. I find the bass integration changes with distance and integrate best at about 10 feet. If you sit to close there is too much bass and they can sound thin if you are too far back. They also need to be off the rear wall a good bit (most speakers should be anyway).

But really use your own ears and pick the one you like best. I would go listen to all of these speakers again and if you go with Zu have a money back guarantee. I believe any of these speakers will be a good up grade from Klipsch RF-7s
Thanks, the Spire and the Zu actually look like the best options at this point. Any thoughts on the Spire vs the original Summit?
I have never heard the Summit but the word over at the Martin Logan forums is that the bass integrates much better on the spire.
Anyone familiar with the RF-7 and the Essence?
I have B&w 802D but for your musical taste I would go with tannoys all the way.
i had a chance to go listen to the Spire's yesterday. I was actually disappointed. They did some things great, vocals were very upfront but so was everything else. They sounded interesting but not real. It seemed like the drums, guitar everything was on an even plane about a foot in front of the speaker. Also the sound off axis was a dramatic difference much more pronounced than the folks on the Logan forum care to admit. It was set up properly using an Ayre front end and they did sound good, just not what i was expecting.

What i was impressed with was the new 804 diamonds, they looked tiny in comparison but sounded just as big as the Spires. In fact they actually imaged higher and seemed more disconnected from speakers themselves. The bass was not as powerful but i think a sub could cure this. I had never thought about the 804ds but they are top on my list now. Would a sub cure the lack of slam?
Why don't you just audition the Essence in your own home? Zu offers a 60 day 100% refund guarantee. All you pay is shipping. Would give you the perfect opportunity to audition them in your room, with your gear. That's the best sort of listening test you can have to see if it fits your personal tastes. Get 'em with a standard finish for the audition, and if you like them, either keep the standard finish, or send them back and get an upgraded finish if you like. I took advantage of this with Zu, and I have no intention of sending the Essence back to them. Just a really nice match with a tube amplifier. You're talking about spending almost five grand on new speakers. Paying 360 something for shipping should be considered a bargain to see it it's the right speaker for you.