Zu Audio Dirty Weekend

Buying an audio system component without listening to is has become the norm. So you do a ton of reading, listen, watch or read reviews and after a lot of back and forth deliberating, you pull the trigger on something.

Is it the right choice? I won’t know but what are the options. I’m a bang for the buck audio aficionado and as such couldn’t conceive of $20k speakers or worse, $750 speaker cables. The names Teckton and Zu kept coming up in my quest to get new speakers. At first I wanted to stay in the $750 dollar range or lower, but the more I looked the more I wanted something that I didn’t want to compromise on. I wanted to avoid a subwoofer add on if possible as these have to have the wife seal of approval.

I was poking around in the main stream and as such, scoped out the Klipsh RP600 M, but they were too ugly. I scoped out the KEF Q350 but they didn’t seem like they’d dig deep enough for my taste. I looked at Jamo and Dali but all of them had one shortcoming or other.

But like I said, the names Zu and Teckton both kept coming up in references. But both were well over the $1000 mark. Cut to today when I finally clicked the purchase button, it was the last day of the sale for the Zu Omen “Dirty Weekend” which is a trimmed out for cost version of the Zu Omen.

I’ll keep you guys updated as to their sound along the way. I’ll probably have them in the middle of December some time. I’ll be pairing them with an old Peachtree integrated amp in the short term. And based on if I need “more” I’ll use an old Carver M 1.0t amp that I’ve had since 1990 which I just sent out to get upgrade to the MK II opt 2 refurb and upgrade mod that’s available for them.

Running out now, but was excited to finally purchase the speakers today so figured I’d pop in here as start a thread that I could update as my stuff comes together.

BTW, relatively new here but enjoying the community and the info!

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These are really great speakers for the price, I hope you enjoy them for sure :+1:

I hope that you end up enjoying them! I ordered a pair in Rustic Hickory last year, but ended up returning them in the initial trial period. While they were absolutely gorgeous, they just didn’t image well and left me very wanting for low-end. The room I had them set up in is very finicky though (open doorways, wiiiiiide, asymmetrical, etc). To their credit, Zu’s customer support was extremely helpful in trying to help with suggestions on positioning and adjustments of the height (for the bass finger-ports) as well as the room itself to try and squeeze out the best performance. When I decided it just wasn’t working out (I also had Buchardt S300 mkii’s on hand at the time which played much better to my tastes and in the space), they were very accomodating and hassle-free when it came to returning them. I recently heard their Omen line regarded as a “Grado of the speaker world”, and I feel that is an apt title; they aren’t for everyone, but those who do enjoy them will be infatuated with their particular sound. While I will say that their “tune by ear, not by graph” design philosophy is probably a huge part of that, their passion for what they do is undeniable and their customer support (at least in my experience) is second-to-none. Best of luck to you in your time with them!

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Huh, that’s a pretty accurate phrase lol, it makes a fair bit of sense too

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll work with them, thankfully I will have a lot of flexibility to adjust them however I want in order to get them optimized. Your commentary about the easy of dealing with them is ultimately why I figured I’d try them. In the end it’s a small price to pay to listen to something in your house for two months and if I like them, great if not, then I’ll at least have a solid point of reference from there and look at something else. The S400 were lustful but price creep and so on, you kind of have to put a boundary. Like I said I like a good price/performance ratio. If these don’t work out, I’ll try the Tekton Lore, but maybe it won’t come to that.

There’s an aspect of speakers that’s kind of like picking a dessert, you want them to sound AND look beautiful.

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Spent some time today fooling around with “placement” and thinking about how I’d have things set up come middle of next month. The room it kind of bright with large glass windows and wooden floors, but since it’s lived in it will have enough in the way of absorption and diffraction with plants a large cloth sofa, various pieces of furniture etc. I’ll be moving a large rug from one room and swapping it out with the cow skin rug there because there’s just too much bare floor. But since I decided to placed the speakers at an angle there are no “parallel” walls so reflections from the sides will be minimal. The ceiling is very high and has a sharp slant so again helping with minimizing direct reflections. I’ll be dealing more with secondary and tertiary reflections.

Thankfully my wife is cool with leeway and I have flexibility should I need it. Worse case scenario I’ll just have a position for the speakers and the seat when I’m listening and then I’ll move them to a more living room acceptable location when I’m not listening.

The amp is a Carver M 1.0t amp I’ve had since the 90s which just came back from tuning and upgrading. The preamp/source is a Peachtree Decco 2 with a an integrated Sonos which I have tied into my library and Tidal. So far so good. I spent some time making beefy but not obscene cables with a total cost including the cables and materials of about $65 bucks and my labor.

Anyone interested in finding out about the amp, here’s a link. I wound up going for the MKII opt 2. http://carvermk2.com/m10tmkII/m10tmkII.htm

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Four months later, here’s where we are. Full review of the speakers in the progress.

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I’ll start by saying that this is the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of speakers. Yeah, I know. But hey, I’ve got other hobbies and a kid in college and a daughter getting married next year, so.

That said, I love these speakers on 90% of the music I play on it. They are extremely resolving, they have great imaging (more on that later) and they do have bass. Not MICKEY by Lil Yachty bass but it’s definitely there, a genuine and good enough mid 30’s deepness. But I will be the first to admit that I’d probably enjoy them more with a sub. Leaving thing as they are for the time being. When I say they’re resolving, they are more than just resolving, they can be downright harsh if you don’t think about where you put them and what you put around them. I did wind up spending quite a bit of time getting the distances right since they’re almost trapezoidally placed in a wide open room. A fair bit plants and moving rugs around in the house and getting my IKEA masterpice of corner sound absorption artwork and they sound good. They sound very good. They sound insanely good when listening to things that are instrumental. Horns, brass, drums, latin percussion, damn there’s a track I listen to a lot by Generoso Jimenez, an old time Cuban trombone player. The track is called Las Trompetas Se Divierten. There are section of the track that have a horn playing in my house, six feet away and if I reach out, I’d touch them. That’s the good part. The bad part is that they can and will sound shouty if you don’t take great care to adjust them just right.

They seems to be very sensitive to that, and the one way I was able to bring it under control for the majority of the music I listen to was to give them very little toe in. The lens warps things a bit but they’re probably 4 degrees toed in, so relatively flat. This also has the effect of widening the sound stage and given the trapezoidal placement withing the room, the imaging is very good.

One of the other things they excell at is dispersion, because so much of the sound comes from the 10" driver (35 to 12k) I can be cooking in the kitchen and still get pretty decent sound out of them, you can move about the room and even listen to them quite a bit off axis and they still sound good. So I can imagine they’re good social entertainment or party speakers. You get music from the just about everywhere.

I have an amp that can power the hell out the speakers, 500 watts into 8 ohm, these are 12 omh so whatever the math works out to be, still more power than the speakers could handle (rated at 200 watts) so the amp never really is anywhere it has to sweat, and to top it off they’re very efficient so they’re loud. But here’s the flip side of that, I find myself wanting to turn them up, because they do not come alive until they’re being driven hard. At low volumes they simply sound like it’s a shame to even have them on. But man can they go loud, with no distortion and the more you drive them the more you want to turn it up and again, no distortion. So I’m very satisfied when I get to set things lose.

Finally, they’re bright, or can be bright, but thankfully knowing that and having the luxury to wait and match the remaining components I was able to very easily tame the brightness of them. A very rich and sweet and musical Bel Canto DAC 2 feeling into a Schiit Freya + with a set of Electro Harmonix tubes which take the sweetness and does a little more magic to it, and adds a little more space to it and by the time it’s all said and done, I’m not thinking of anything but how much I’m enjoying what I’m listening to.

So I kept the speakers, I am enjoying the speakers but I can also see how someone might send these speakers back because I did a lot to make them sound the way I wanted them to. Probably more effort than some might want to go through, but I had the time and the spare dollars and the ability to trial and error a few things over the past few months. BTW, the build quality is phenomenal and I did spring for the clarity cap upgrade for them.

Forgive any rambling and any grammatical errors, I wrote this with a drink in hand, of course, while listening to music.

Peace, love and harmony fellas.

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Thank you for mentioning the artist and track, just stumbled upon an entire genre of music that I had not tried before, and it happens to sound GREAT on my desktop system…heeheehee :+1: Happy Listening!

Glad they worked out great for you, enjoy them my dude!

@db_Cooper, What’s up buddy, the Zu dirty weekend sale is coming up, i don’t particularly NEED anything new, but i am keen on doing my part to keeping the economy active during this crisis so I am looking at all sorts of interesting new to me products.

Can you provide an update on your feelings w/the set-up now that you have had some more time to let the “newness” fade please? Also, have you made any equipment changes etc good sir? Thank you much in advance for your time.

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I am also interested. They look soooo good and get good reviews as a whole. and well a great implementation of a full range driver = win. plus i really like the omnidirectional potential of it. i have a fairly open house like db does, though not as big :slightly_frowning_face:

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No changes and actually I’ve been simply enjoying things as is, I’ve stopped being critical. That I guess means that I’m happy with where things are. I will say that these speakers need to play loud or else you’re not getting to see them at their best.

One more thing to note at $999 the DW are a bargain. At $2400 for the Omen, no where near the same bang for the buck.

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Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would buy the reg omens ever with the dirty weekend sales

Edit: don’t get me wrong, in theory they sound better from better parts, but still…