WOW! opened my eyes...
Feel better now?
And what the hell is a ZU loudspeaker.. anyway?
Feel better now?
And what the hell is a ZU loudspeaker.. anyway?
In the NY Times this morning was an article about Netflix, and it contained this quote from Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO:
"At the heart of any good investment, I tell investors, is a contrarian thesis that they and the company believe very deeply," Mr. Hastings said, "and that the rest of the world thinks is crazy."
Thank goodness there are people like Sean from Zu, and all the other small audio manufacturers swimming against the tide. This hobby of ours would be incredibly boring without them.
By the way the ying and yang theory apply here, Always gonna be the people with the opposite reaction, or simply want to slow something down or hurt it... You bring something new or advanced in a way nobody else has done exactly or conventionaly at least, just as Klipsch, or Avantgarde, you will have to expect some backlash.. Zu was just not concerned with this aspect cause they cared more about the product, but this knocked on their front door, and now they realize they need to prepare… Everyone will shot for the top guy its just in the nature of this.
Don't react too much to the naysayers and keep your energies focused on your family and your company. Your customers will not be swayed and those curious and open minded enough will take you up on the in home trial.
I appreciate the fresh approach you guys are taking and your products are beyond excellent value, I am enjoying my system and my music like never before. Some of the folks on this website have nothing better to do but to try and pull others down so please don't take it personally, easy to say and hard to do. Keep developing new ways of thinking into products and the rest will take care of itself.
Everyone will shot for the top guy its just in the nature of this.
Some of the folks on this website have nothing better to do but to try and pull others down so please don't take it personally, easy to say and hard to do.I have written time and time again of my respect for the Zu Audio team, and the company they are building. It's excellent for high end audio, and especially for American high end audio.
I hope people will realize that one's discussion of preferences in loudspeaker sound, and particularly as the preference may lie with brands other than Zu Audio at the present time, does not have anything to do with shooting for the top guy, or with pulling others down. It's merely an expression of opinion which contributes to healthy and complete discussion. At least that's my intention.
I certainly did not intend to imply that you were trying to pull Zu down if that is what you took from my post. I was meely trying to say that some who have never heard the speakers act as if they have, which is dishonest. Second, those who try to discredit fact, that is that Zu's FRD is somehow adversely affected by a "phantom crossover" are trying to discredit Zu in a dinhonest way.
If people have heard the Zu speakers and find another loudspeaker more appropriate for their system, that's cool. I think that is one thing we can all agree on. I am unconditionally a 2 channel guy and I get a great deal of satisfaction from it. I enjoy the Zu speakers and the Druid and the Tone are real world priced and EXTREME values.
Sean, Adam and the rest of the Zu team should not get distracted by these posts but should merely peruse them periodically for useful input. Highly likely that they will not discover much useful out here but you never know.
TVAD, your posts are always logical, kind and I have no beef with you or anyone else...except maybe the surround sound guy with 3 systems. Seems somebody has alot of money and is used to everyone believing he is always right...or maybe he doesn't have 3 systems after all. One of the pictures I saw of his system posted here had a "really nice refrigerator" in the background...probably the same electrical circuit as the system would be my guess but it's irrelevant.
Why is the Zu driver referred to as a full range driver (FRD)? While it's an impressive piece of engineering, It doesn't cover what is traditionally considered the full audio range, namely 20-20k Hz.
As I interpreted the thread the negativity expressed wasn't directed against Zu (1 poster excepted), but was instead directed at the zealous nature and borderline cultish attitude of Zu's advocates. It's one thing to have people say they prefer one product over another, but a line gets crossed when those same people vociferously and repeatedly say every other product is wrong and then try to back up their preferences with rehashed semi-techno babble. Should anybody really be surprised that other people might challenge such assertions?
And as far as product bashing goes, this thread was nothing. Search the forum archives for threads on DK Design amps, or better yet Gilmore speakers. Now there was serious product knocking.
Well like Zu says he's willing to work with us to get his speaker in our home for a test listen. I'd be willing to pay half shipping costs, Zu pays ship one way, I pay ship back. I'd give them a fair review next to my comparable Thor, comparable price/size,weight/dynamics. I feel my system's components offer a relatively fair enviornment. As you know I believe the Seas' drivers to be THE standard by which all others are judged.
btw ZU, lets use FedX, as UPS is a joke.
If the Druid's were over 100 lbs I wouldn't bother in asking, as I don't fool with speakers over 125 lbs. Weight/sound/price, all 3 are very important factors when deciding on a speaker. I would never buy a speaker over 150 lbs. Zu keeps his top of line Definition at 125. BRAVO to Zu for that.
Which makes for my next topic. over weight speakers. Now you know the Wilson's are gonna get slammed, yet again. hehe
>>lets use FedX, as UPS is a joke<<
I'd be careful with that.
When shipping air, I prefer FedEx. However, UPS is the better ground carrier as every person touching the package is a UPS employee. FedEx contracts many of their ground shipments to independent carriers and you never really know how the package is handled and who is handling it.
Onhwy61, 20-20k is your description of a full range audio spectrum, not a full range driver, meaning the limits of the driver themselve is full range without filter, So no its not 20-20 but that means that fostex or Lowther never did it either, so then a Full range driver does not exist in your opinion period, not just Zu's. Thats fine. I could be wrong but it seems we are nit picking a very fine line on marketing here, not what matters in audio.
Also, the topic had to do with Crossover or not, so although I guess this FRD discussion applies here to an extent thats not what was disputed.
Third, I really did not want to make second post on this thread in order to keep it clean, but since some want to bring it on the table we have to argue it a little again.
The thread you refer to began as a query on Druid bass response. At some point someone raised additional topics which prompted the crossover/crossoverless discussion. The energy in the latter third of the thread regarded merely getting acceptance for a truth -- that Zu doesn't use crossover networks in their speakers and that the Zu FRD sees the full-range signal. We didn't say everything designed otherwise is "wrong." I did say that everything that has a crossover has a distinct quality to its sound that I think is a disproportionate source of recurring disatisfaction among audiophiles. My advice is, with the emergence of a viable and tone accurate FRD from Zu, and progress in this direction from others, to choose from the realm of crossoverless speakers if you want to make progress in this hobby and vault out of the perpetual disappointment box. It doesn't matter to me whether you disagree with that or not, it's still my advice to anyone who asks. And those of us who own Zu speakers believe that Zu is the most advanced of the vendors who have pushed in this direction.
As long as you don't try to distort what is true about a speaker's configuration, I and others here have no quarrel with you or anyone else preferring another speaker. The recurring issues of contention in Zu threads are instigated by the claims of people, who haven't heard the speaker, that for one reason or another it cannot behave as claimed by us owners, or that the speakers are configured differently than described. We have been generous with our time in explaining the details that will give you an understanding of Zu's speaker architectures, with or without having heard them. You may dislike the speakers and remain unentangled in arguments, but you cannot misrepresent them and expect to avoid a discussion.
I already covered the FRD issue -- At a time when the 20Hz - 20kHz audio band idea was established as a standard for electronics, cassette decks were considered "full-range" with 40Hz - 13kHz response when reel decks were 10Hz - 25kHz at some speeds. Even multi-way speakers that topped out at 16kHz have been considered "full-range." FM radio, which can top out as low as 10kHz but should go to 15kHz, has been considered "full-range." Some people consider full-range to extend hypersonically. The term has no fixed reference in audio. Hence, in the absence of definitive agreement, use "wideband driver" if you want. No one will care if you do, but the industry vernacular will also support Zu's use of FRD for the current Zu main driver.
I'm not a Zu owner or even potential customer since I already have large fullrange/wideband, hi-efficiency, speakers that I am very happy with. But, I finely got to hear Zu's Definitions under halfway decent conditions at HE2006 and have to say they impressed the hell out of my (even allowing for room interferences).
Not to mention that Sean and Adam, once again, proved to be great guys to hang out with. No smooth sales pitch or "hard sell". Hell, they weren't even trying to "soft sell" their products - just putting music on and letting it play.
And I have to admit, that after meeting these guys twice and listening to their products, that if I were in the market for hi-eff speakers - theirs would be at or near the top of my list. Especially, the Definitons. I use dual passive subwoofers and that simply wouldn't be necessary with the Defs.
More power to the Zu guys and let's hope they can't get some white papers out to satisfy the curious and critics.
You've cleared up some of my misconceptions about your 10" driver. Very, very impressive linear x-max capability for such a high efficiency, wideband driver. Yes, I'm jealous.
On the crossover terminology issue, note that different writers have used the term "crossover" in slightly different ways depending on the context. Perhaps to be exact we should use the terms electrical crossover, mechanical crossover, acoustic crossover, and maybe even electro-mechano-acoustic crossover. But that's just too unwieldy.
I build a speaker using a Fostex augmented by a supertweet on top, and refer to the passing of the signal from one to the other as a "crossover", even though there is no electrical low-pass filter on the Fostex (other than the inductance of its own voice coil). Maybe I'm misusing the term, I dunno. But I bet that unless I built a speaker that people were seriously taking notice of, no one would give a rat's ash how I used the term.
I enjoyed your post. Thanks for taking the time. For someone whose brain process is panoramic rather than linear, you did a fine job of communicating with us luddites.
"Physics". There, I said it! Now they MUST take me seriously!
Mechanical Engineering Dropout, 1978-1979
Really, you take any branch of physics, try and take it down to a fundamental level and see if the whole thing doesn’t fall apart. Yes, Newtonian physics let us get surprisingly close to the average model of many things, let’s us measure and repeat basic stuff. But the further we dig the more we realize we are nothing, understanding virtually nothing on a base level, only knowing how to repeat and model not truly getting the whys of it all. Physical laws are discovered, they do not allow or disallow, they behave in a particular way under particular conditions, understanding being based on the particular way you measured and model the thing. Again, you break stuff down far enough and new models and behavior emerge. The physics student that does not subscribe to absolute will be find himself in a position for discovery and contribution with greater frequency and magnitude.
Spoken like a true Physics major dropout! Your endless ramblings laced with words like "pissed" are not going to get people to audition your speakers. I hope you realize that there are some of us on here who have technical backgrounds and have an advanced understanding of physics. I am sure you make a decent speaker but I wish your zuids would not go about it like it was the best thing since sliced bread.
You want to know what I think? :)
I've never heard Zu speakers or cables before. A few months ago I was in the market to spend my hard earned $3000 on new speakers. Audioned many speakers locally in Phoenix and loved the Spendor S8e speakers the best. Well, the new Domus Sonus Faber Homes were probably better but cost $5k.
I considered the Zu speakers and read all the threads and reviews available. Visited the Zu Website but didn't find enough concrete information on them. Not enough to justify buying them. The website is seriously lacking in information on speakers and the cables. The only information I found that helped was that these speakers would not perform 100% in my overly large 25x30' w/ 10" ceilings room.
As I see it, this is the reason for alot of the gossip on the forums. If there isn't enough information available people will question and gossip to find out more. I've been interested in teh Zu speaker cables but I cannot find any information anywhere what these cables are made of. Well, sorry to say there is no way I can choose them over others. I'm too carefull of a buyer. What speakers did I end up buying? The Usher CP-6371. I love em. Sound great in my room right now. I kinda wanted those Spendors but coudln't swing the money. I think these Ushers are filling this room more than those Spendors could anyway.
Sean, it's great you got onto a forum and addressed poeples questions. Alot of good manufacturers do. But, as you mentioned, your not really computer friendly. Or rather, forum chat friendly. Since that the case I would strongly suggest maybe someone you know and trust do it for you. They can put Zu on with a happy face and cheerfully, positively answer questions. Problem solved.
BTW, I'm taking time out of my day to post on here too. We do so because its our love and hobby. we do it out of interest in products and manufacturers do so to support existing and broaden their client base. Alot of manufacturers like "Bottlehead" have their own forums on AudioAsylum and CircleAudio. Just a thought.
Hey, we like that your a real flesh and blood guy. A joy to converse with on many subjects I'm sure. :)
If the sound and performance of the product is not enough to qualify it in your mind then you would be better served by a company which specializes in white papers and measurements. One of the things that has impressed me about Zu from the outset is its willingness to provide actual experience rather than dazzling me with technobabble.
I personally believe that Zu exceeds sliced bread in at least four different and important ways and I am preparing a thesis on that very topic to be published in late September. If you would like I can notify you of availibility at that time.
Meanwhile, you should not assume that Zu makes a decent speaker but rather try a pair at home and learn that they make an excellent speaker. Or that they don't. Right now you lack data.
I think you're right about there not being much info on the Zu website. The way I dealt with that was to call Zu and ask questions. It so happened that Sean answered the phone. I found instant rapport with him and now count him as a friend. Since I'm within driving distance, I travelled to Ogden to hear for myself but, if I were farther away, I would have taken them up on their money back trial offer. They've shipped everything FedEx ground that I have received so far and the one way shipping charge for both my Druids was only $40. If anyone out there is considering this option, give Zu a call and they will give you a firm quote on one way shipping. These guys do not mess around with service at all. They are loose as hell in their personal interaction but the business end is as professional as anything you will ever encounter.
Stylinlp_38: I traded out of Usher 8871 into Zu Druid last year. The 8871 is at a considerably higher price point in the Usher lineup than the 6371.
It took me several weeks to understand the Zu sound, but once I did, it was very similar to what Phil has indicated; that I could not bear to listen to the Ushers (I'm pretty sure that means all conventional speakers, but those were the ones I had on hand) after that. I even tried putting them back in for an intended period of three days; they lasted perhaps 24 hours before I started squirmin' and yearnin' for the Druid sound.
That said, Usher makes an attractive speaker and is quite respectable sonically in its price range, and if you compare them with other conventional speakers and assign value to the looks and cabinetry then they are a good value. I was reasonably happy with them for two years before I moved on, although I did spend a lot of time looking for the right amplification without success.
Macrojack: Speaking of Zu......This might be of interest to some of you......
Interesting read. Excerpts from Sean: "We thought we would have no problem pulling 500+ locals...and force HiFi to come to terms with the whole DJ culture stuff...But in the end, it was a bust. Only about 50 locals hit the show...The music rushed over the fifty of us who remained, bass pounded our mind, body...There is nothing so cool as super loud, super clean awesome music that is played with an into-it crowd...[Next time] We might have to bring along a bus load of hot ladies from Utah to jump-start the thing...The market is massive - outside HiFi...."
The last comment caught my attention, don't know how to read it.
Zu definitely has a unique personality. I can't imagine Harbeth or Tyler attempting this! I am sorry the party didn't work out, wish it had. I can see why Srajan feels bad. The airport location had to discourage the locals.
I am a classical person, not quite into super loud DJ scene. But if they ever organize a classical event around Chicago, I will show up.
Thanks to Sean for taking the time to post. Clearly his words were a direct wire from his brain - no crossover! Sort of reads like 'Trout Fishing In America' ;).
A couple of comments on the other posts in this thread. Firstly, I don't think it is reasonable to expect Zu to pay the cost of shipping their speakers to your home for a trial with you paying the costs of shipping them back if you don't like them. I mean get real. Secondly, the "Physics dropout" slag is just plain BS. Who the hell cares? If you have a beef with the physics, then say so, but when you get catty about credentials, all I see is a green-eyed monster, and no it doesn't make you look credible.
The reason for discussion about shipping info is Zu's money back guarantee. If you buy a pair and elect not to keep them, then you will be responsible for return freight. Therefore, shipping info determines the amount of risk involved since there is no restocking fee.
I don't know of a source for independant measurement. Perhaps that sort of thing is meaningful but not to me. I think that actually tasting the food will be more revealing than reading the recipe.
Your post hints that you might be in Hawaii and I can imagine that the shipping risk is a good bit higher to your island than what we face on the mainland. Perhaps, by contacting Zu you can find out if anyone in your area has a pair you can audition. Zu owners are usually pretty open to sharing.
I would have liked to see what the setup sounded like but I'm sure I couldn't handle more than 5 or 10 minutes of it myself. A high percentage of us audiophiles are refugees from a time past and I speak for myself when I say that. Zu wants to engage younger people and perhaps bridge the generational gap that threatens to kill this industry along with the diminishing number of us dinosaurs who presently support it. I too applaud their effort.
The only credibility problem I had with the piece concerned the "busload of hot ladies from Utah". Utah? Hot ladies? Huh?
>>Sure its not limited to single ended, but its IDEAL for low watt tube.<<
Absolutely untrue. I've run the Definitions with a number of tube amps, including a pair of Art Audio PX-25 monoblocks (6WPC), but my personal favorite is a pair of Pass XA-60 (60WPC Class A) amplifiers. If you haven't heard them with different amplifiers, don't make assumptions.
No! The Zu speakers are not best set up with any specific amplifier type however your choice of amplifier will play heavily with the results you achieve. Hence, amplifier selection affords an excellent opportunity to manipulate the results to suit yourself.
I can't answer your question concerning how many of us are interested in low watt tube amps but I think my comments above address the significance of that query.
I have Zu Druids and I felt that the ASL Orchid I used and still have was underpowered at 3.2 watts per channel. It sounded very nice but wouldn't "up and boogie" with the Druids the way my other amps do. I get very nice results with an Onix SP-3 at 38 watts and a Pass Aleph 30 at 30 watts. Zu ran 400 watts into the Druids at their recent RAVE party in L.A. So I think that kills your notion that there is any ideal type of amplification or amplifier power rating for Zu speakers. They are much more versatile than most and certainly not limited in their appeal to anyone with sufficient curiosity to explore their possibilities.
The way your post was worded, I'm not sure if you were asking or telling but in either event you were misinformed.
I've had my speakers for about 6 months at this point and have explored their capabilities fairly comprehensively. One area where I have not pursued their limits is in the area of SPL capability. It does not take much input to make them play very loud. They certainly will exceed my upper threshold without breaking up at all. You would never guess to look at them that they perform as large as they do.
On the other hand, however, they have a very complete sound at low listening levels. All the speakers I've ever owned in the past needed to be brought to life at a certain decibel level and these do not. Their delivery is well balanced and easy and natural from a whisper to ear bleed pressure.
I'm providing a comprehensive answer here because there appear to be a lot of misconceptions about Zu. There is nothing complicated, difficult or specialized about them. They are speakers, just like yours are. The difference lies in how they do what they do. And this must be experienced to be understood. Please do yourself a favor and find out about them for yourself. This rumor mill is potentially damaging to a small, innovative and sincere company. All I'm asking is that you know whereof you speak before contributing to the confusion with unfounded speculation and imaginary shortcomings. Thanks.
No, Zu speakers are not exclusively directed at the low-wattage tube amp user. The high efficiency and easy drive characteristics may be ideal for that, but these speakers have a power-handling capability that is just about unique to the genre of high efficiency speakers. Their dynamic capabilities are impressive regardless of music type, and as Zu demonstrated with their rave DJ party in Los Angeles, that includes using their speakers at high SPLs with several hundred watts available to each speaker. I've heard them with big, meaty, McIntosh solid state amps and would consider that option, along with my SETs.
We've been running the Zu Druids for about a year or so now. I have some comments about the speaker if y'all are interested:
First, the speaker really is efficient. The impedance is easy for our small amp, the S-30, which can play it so loud that we can easily simulate a band playing in a real club. So there is no issue with dynamic contrast or dynamic range in general. We've not found the upper limit of the speaker yet :)
Except for the bottom 2 octaves the speaker is quite uncolored. There is a slight amount of 'box boom' in the 2nd octave and there is not much of the bottom octave below about 35 Hz. We've found that tone controls do help a bit in that regard but mess everything else up. Otherwise the speaker is very neutral and detailed. If your music source is smooth, so is it, if brash, so it is. It is also quite revealing- nothing slips by it.
Overall the speaker is an excellent product. It solves so many speaker issues all at once- size, bandwidth, efficiency, impedance are all good. You only miss the very bottom octave and you totally get everything else.
I'm thinking real seriously about using them for PA. Imagine a PA that doesn't sound like a PA- and these speakers are small and light at the same time. They really are a very nice advance.
So- do we like them? Sure we do- we bought 'em! We also run Classic Audio Reproductions and are fans of MG-20.1s, Wilsons, Sound Labs and a host of others. Most of them won't fit in the shop though and the Druids do it with ease!
It took me several weeks to understand the Zu sound, but once I did...kck, can you elaborate on that a bit? Just for the sake of stimulating discussion, let me put this question on the table: If the Zu's sound like music, if they sound "right", why would it take several weeks to "understand" their sound?
Bartokfan, PatD on AA? What is the verdict they measure good or bad, in his opinion... I am just curious as we seem to be running in circles with this, and I have no idea how to find or read what you are, or if you are saying no way you will even deal with Zu, or you are very eager to hear Zu? Please just state what you are getting at, thank you.
Drubin, as in most things it takes experience to learn something. Wine, music, food. As one grows, matures and experiences these things regularly they learn to taste, see, smell, hear subtle differances. People that are really into SET amps and high efficiency speakers have been around for years. Very experienced in 2 channel stereo.
As I see it, I'm definately a noobie. Only been serious into high end sound for 5 years. Just one of the unwashed masses until I found the AudioAsylum back on 2000.
The response Kck gave me earlier I fully understand. He's moved on beyond my experience. I can tell that hes right. One day I will outgrow these speaks and most likely move to Setamps and high eff speakers. I kinda wanted to this time but I dont have a tube amp plus my room doubles for home theater. That helped my decision on picking the Ushers. Hes right on the reason why I choose them. The thing is my last pair of speakers are only 1995 Mirage 490i tower speakers. So to me, these ushers sound fantastic lol.