Zu loudspeakers

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,424
500
113
Switzerland
>>...Will all be capacitor coupled, IT coupled, direct coupled? EI core, double C core? You see my concern drawing too many conclusions from single examples of various types....<<

You must be joking. Your concern does not concern me in the slightest. I have an RF problem with SET due to solar PV in one room, and I have a bass problem with SET due to a new speaker in another room. I have listened to a variety of alternatives plus have commissioned several circuit types implemented by the same amp builder, using some power tubes outside the KT88/90/100/120/150, EL34, 6550 realm. It's not an objective nor full-scope exercise by intent. It's me applying over 50 years experience with this realm to look into a few of the amplification white spaces that might inform where I land wrt replacing SET in my systems, and possibly solve some amplification problems others bring to me from time to time.

That's it. Most of the above will be represented. If it's not useful to you, I invite you to ignore it.

Phil
Those concerns are tube concerns and not specifically SET concerns. I still scratch my head when you say the new Druids are not SET friendly though...
 
Aug 27, 2018
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Los Angeles, CA
Hi Cobra,

Thanks for doing the hard work, and looking forward to your sharing of the results.

Out of curiosity, in your years with Zu, have you tried some famed amps like Kondo Ongaku, top Ayons, top Cary, top Wavac, Air Tight 300B, etc.,? My gut tells me some of those amps are probably very good for some speakers and certain tastes, but there is also a lot of marketing involved in reinforcing the mythology.

How do they mate with Zu? Thanks
****

Yes, many. Everything you mentioned works with Zu. Someone even bought an Ongaku by once to audition with Zu. It was disappointing to me, but most "famed" amps are. Ongaku sounds more worthwhile on a relatively-efficient crossover speaker for the way it mitigates the basic compromise intrinsic to a crossover speaker. But an Ongaku + an Audionote speaker does not sound remotely as authentic as a Zu Druid 6 or Definition 4 powered by Audion, for example, or Marc's 211s. On Zu, Ongaku has limited magic to contribute. So, while Ongaku on Audionote sounds better in some respects than, say, Audion Golden Dream powering Audionote, on Druid 5 or 6, I'll take Audion.

I don't take Ayon and Cary seriously as musically-convincing amplifiers. At any price point there is always something better. I regard Air Tight highly. Of the Japanese triode builders, AT amps are the most objective at sane prices. If I had never found Audion, I'd have probably had AT in my systems for the past 15 years. I did have a chance to hear Wavac 300B on Zu...oh perhaps a decade ago. That was a revelation in collapsing the "distance" between recording and speaker. Wavac has all the Zu and Audion qualities of directness, speed, transparency, agility, tone density -- just more so at exalted prices. If I choose to put well into five figures into amplification (X2) again, I certainly could land on Wavac on sonic attributes.

Phil
 
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Likes: caesar

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,424
500
113
Switzerland
****

Yes, many. Everything you mentioned works with Zu. Someone even bought an Ongaku by once to audition with Zu. It was disappointing to me, but most "famed" amps are. Ongaku sounds more worthwhile on a relatively-efficient crossover speaker for the way it mitigates the basic compromise intrinsic to a crossover speaker. But an Ongaku + an Audionote speaker does not sound remotely as authentic as a Zu Druid 6 or Definition 4 powered by Audion, for example, or Marc's 211s. On Zu, Ongaku has limited magic to contribute. So, while Ongaku on Audionote sounds better in some respects than, say, Audion Golden Dream powering Audionote, on Druid 5 or 6, I'll take Audion.

I don't take Ayon and Cary seriously as musically-convincing amplifiers. At any price point there is always something better. I regard Air Tight highly. Of the Japanese triode builders, AT amps are the most objective at sane prices. If I had never found Audion, I'd have probably had AT in my systems for the past 15 years. I did have a chance to hear Wavac 300B on Zu...oh perhaps a decade ago. That was a revelation in collapsing the "distance" between recording and speaker. Wavac has all the Zu and Audion qualities of directness, speed, transparency, agility, tone density -- just more so at exalted prices. If I choose to put well into five figures into amplification (X2) again, I certainly could land on Wavac on sonic attributes.

Phil
The Wavac HE-805 was one the best amps I ever heard.
 
Aug 27, 2018
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Los Angeles, CA
You're welcome to take my 75SE as well and let me play with the class D monos for a spell
Keith,

The REF75SE would be an interesting mainstream amp to throw in the mix for context. Will be in touch about the feasibility wrt timing & logistics. As I am wired for monoblocks I have to check I have cable-lengths to support it.

Phil
 
Mar 17, 2012
84
16
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Cheltenham
You really can not get away from the evil storm god. Monotheism never really caught on in Hi Fi; for some anyway. Perhaps some one will bang on endlessly about Horning or De Vore or even Cerat
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Aiming to have a couple of visitors soon. Blue58 to hear my system for the third time in the new room, and a return visit from Manisandher, after I recently visited him and his sweet sounding Animas setup.

Barry always directs criticsm in ways that practically lead to impvts, I very much trust his ears. I've been banging on about how I feel my system has taken a big leap fwds into greater transparency and neutrality territory. I'm sure he'll let me know if I really am onto something.

Mani has perfected a very commendable sound, our musical tastes and system objectives aren't 180 apart, his take on my sound should be interesting (he did own Zus once, the Druids IV).
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,902
1,597
113
London
Even Theresa May accepted defeat today, Marc, after years of trying to convince everyone of the same thing
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
I think Ron has the perfect reply to you, Ked
No politics!
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,188
80
48
Zu Audio is having a sale on their Zu Omen Dirty Weekend start soon. These speakers go for $999 in the basic finish. I know many guys here on the site paid more than that for a few inches of their interconnect cables or a few centimeters of their power cord.

So if you read the reviews and bought into the buzz of the popular brands, and got a Wilson Alexx, Magico M3, or something like that, but now you are only playing the same 20 records over and over, or worse yet, you are down to just a few audiophile songs like Hotel California, Tin Pan Alley, Take 5, and Son of a Preacher man, it's time to make that move to high-efficiency and Zu! Zu sounds incredible with great recordings, but sounds really amazing with normal music - that normal people listen to. Zu also sounds incredible with inexpensive SET amps like Audion and sounds good with SS Pass Labs.

I am not a filthy, disgusting, lying, exaggerating, misleading, slimy reviewer - so be warned: Zu is all about conveying the emotion of music. If you want analytical detail, stay with the well-marketed box speakers. Also, Zu excels at rock, jazz, soul, and blues. So if this type of music is not part of your regular diet, look elsewhere.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Caesar, I see you're still choosing yr words w great care LOL. Anyhow, it would be lovely to think my words over many years, and yours, Phil's and SETDrugs more recent words of wisdom will convince some to at least give Zu the benefit of the doubt.

Me? I'm onto my second pair, current ones highly modded and optimised. And save for that magical pr horns, Zu are keepers. 11 years now, some marriages and careers don't last that long.
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,188
80
48
Caesar, I see you're still choosing yr words w great care LOL. Anyhow, it would be lovely to think my words over many years, and yours, Phil's and SETDrugs more recent words of wisdom will convince some to at least give Zu the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately, the audiophile culture is cess pool. Sun light is the best disinfectant!

Me? I'm onto my second pair, current ones highly modded and optimised. And save for that magical pr horns, Zu are keepers. 11 years now, some marriages and careers don't last that long.
Awesome! And I bet the horns will be another system, in addition to Zu.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Thanks for making my life even more difficult.

In 1993, I loved my GF. But I also adored FBI (very) Special Agent Dana Scully. I soon learnt my lesson that I couldn't have them both. So in 1994, my GF was gone, but my Gillian Anderson poster stayed on my bedroom wall.

Are you saying I should be polygamous again?
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,753
703
113
Marina del Rey, CA
Zu Audio is having a sale on their Zu Omen Dirty Weekend start soon. These speakers go for $999 in the basic finish. I know many guys here on the site paid more than that for a few inches of their interconnect cables or a few centimeters of their power cord.

So if you read the reviews and bought into the buzz of the popular brands, and got a Wilson Alexx, Magico M3, or something like that, but now you are only playing the same 20 records over and over, or worse yet, you are down to just a few audiophile songs like Hotel California, Tin Pan Alley, Take 5, and Son of a Preacher man, it's time to make that move to high-efficiency and Zu! Zu sounds incredible with great recordings, but sounds really amazing with normal music - that normal people listen to. Zu also sounds incredible with inexpensive SET amps like Audion and sounds good with SS Pass Labs.

I am not a filthy, disgusting, lying, exaggerating, misleading, slimy reviewer - so be warned: Zu is all about conveying the emotion of music. If you want analytical detail, stay with the well-marketed box speakers. Also, Zu excels at rock, jazz, soul, and blues. So if this type of music is not part of your regular diet, look elsewhere.
I recommended that @Ron Resnick do this while he's in a temporary rental for fun. For $999 he can get used to coherent, crossover less sound as a nice experiment and a good party speaker.
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Well Ron loved my Zu presentation here. On cd, no less.

I suspect Tinka will prefer them to the Pendragon behemoths.
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
1,342
800
113
Caesar, I see you're still choosing yr words w great care LOL. Anyhow, it would be lovely to think my words over many years, and yours, Phil's and SETDrugs more recent words of wisdom will convince some to at least give Zu the benefit of the doubt.

Me? I'm onto my second pair, current ones highly modded and optimised. And save for that magical pr horns, Zu are keepers. 11 years now, some marriages and careers don't last that long.
You might have been faithfully married to the Zus for 11 years Marc (congratulations btw) but you have been kinda online dating with quite a few other speakers over that time.

You almost ran off to the US to hook up with the titillating Sadaani twins, made musings of a Duetta dalliance and occasionally eyed off a bit of a tryst with the AG Trios, had longing languid looks at the colourful Cessaros (yes the Liszt goes on) and also a tempestuous some what up and down relationship with the Animas... and then even winked a couple times at my Pap horns ;)... but no matter how smokin hot and sexy Caesar makes it sound just don’t go throwing it all away for some cheap Dirty Weekend package, that would just be wrong.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Graham, you really made me laugh w that, thanks so much.

Yes, that's true, horns are the pretty girl that always catches my eye.

Sometimes she ends up a little steely and unforgiving, Ms. Animas.

Sometimes statuesque and vibrant, Ms. Liszts.

Sometimes hugely practical across all areas, Ms. Duos.

Sometimes downright confusing, Ms. Mono WE15.

Sometimes just a little too fat, Ms. Trios.

Where my Zus remain solid and always eager to please, Ms. Labrador puppy. A man's best friend.

*caveat - my GF has asked to be left out of this one LOL.
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,402
172
63
Pleasanton, CA
It's the Zu Apotheosis! With all this talk of girl friends. better guard that port.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Caesar stokes up such emotions, esp good vibes twds all those reviewers out there.

I'm chuffed that as someone who owns such stellar audiophile spkrs as MBL, he really finds Zu cuts to the chase on music reproduction, and is such an emotional listen.
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
1,342
800
113
Graham, you really made me laugh w that, thanks so much.

Yes, that's true, horns are the pretty girl that always catches my eye.

Sometimes she ends up a little steely and unforgiving, Ms. Animas.

Sometimes statuesque and vibrant, Ms. Liszts.

Sometimes hugely practical across all areas, Ms. Duos.

Sometimes downright confusing, Ms. Mono WE15.

Sometimes just a little too fat, Ms. Trios.

Where my Zus remain solid and always eager to please, Ms. Labrador puppy. A man's best friend.

*caveat - my GF has asked to be left out of this one LOL.
Interesting the whole to horns or not to horns quandary. I am now committed poly-speaker-amorous. Though my three way will likely have to become a two way as I just can’t justify having three sets of speakers. There aren’t enough hours in the week or dollars in the bank to keep more than two setups sounding optimised and being appropriately valued in listening. There are no easy answers and perhaps no perfect speakers.

Though definitely you’ve got a lot of warmth and good love out of those big puppy Zus of yours... the big and happy Golden Lab Zus make you feel good so then surely they must stay... (and apparently the Dirty Weekend speakers are just more of little Shih Tzus anyway) so to stick with Zu, or go horn, to just choose one therein you may only find regret and heartbreak.

So to horn or not to horn... that is the question.
 
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Likes: Lagonda

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,068
1,073
113
E. England
Graham, horns remain a mirage concept for me. The ones I would love to consider most are too tall for my space, won't be able to get in, and too pricey.

Ie AG Trios w Basshorns, Cessaro Liszts, Pnoes, Azzolina Sferas, ACerat Symphonias.

Animas just don't do enough for me in the lower mids/bass, Sadurnis are not practical re demo/after sales.

That leaves AG Duos Mezzos XD and PAP Trios Horns. The latter of course having yr enthusiastic thumbs up, the Duos I know well over 5 years regular exposure at Blue58's.

The choice likely would be btwn these two, if ever the temptation gets too much.

Then again, I've watched tv docs on polygamous arrangements, and I can't say I'm on board the human version of having yr cake and eating it. I'm not sure the audio equivalent is any less emotionally complicated.
 

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