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Zu Omen Dirty Weekend Sale

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Seancito, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. dirtymac

    dirtymac Forum Resident

    Exile, MN
    They sound fantastic at low volume, dynamic and engaging.
    SandAndGlass and unclefred like this.
  2. Jim13

    Jim13 Well-Known Member

    You must have a listen, they are not warm, people who own them always go on about the dynamics, they are bright, you said your looking for a warm speaker.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  3. dirtymac

    dirtymac Forum Resident

    Exile, MN
    Very true.

    One other thing about the Zu DWs: though they are on the forward side, I will say that the extra detail and 'live' sound they produce sounds wholly organic and completely natural to me. This is unlike some forward speakers, whose details are etched, forced-sounding and fatiguing.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  4. Zoot45

    Zoot45 Member

    New Jersey
    Great descriptions. Sounds like these may not be the speakers for me. While I don't need a warm sounding speaker, I don't like bright sounding speakers. I think the best way to describe the sound I am looking for is a full well rounded sounding speaker. I want to hear the entire range with nothing exaggerated on the top end or bottom end. I play my music with no added eq or tweaks to the treble or bass. Right now I may be leaning towards the Vandersteen 1Ci which I have been debating about getting for months now. I think it is time to bring my HH Scott 299c to the local dealer and see how the speakers sound with my amp.

    Thanks for all the wonderful feedback.
  5. Seancito

    Seancito Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond, Virginia
    Even though I started this thread, I currently own Vandersteen 1c speakers and really enjoy them. Whenever they have these Zu sales I am intrigued since they sound like such a good deal for a well made speaker. I only paid $350 for my Vandersteens used, which is a good price and cheap for me. They are a solid speaker and pair well with my components and my room. I could get more use out of them, and I think for now I might end up doing that!

  6. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Looks like we're both in Jersey. John at Audio Connection in Verona will take care of you if you're north.
  7. Zoot45

    Zoot45 Member

    New Jersey
    Yeah Audio Connection is my go to place. Bought my turntable and RCM there. Nick and John are great o deal with. You can tell they really love what they do.
    JackG likes this.
  8. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    Strange name. Are these speakers Larry Flynt approved?
    head_unit likes this.
  9. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    Newbie Zu DW owner...was going to hold off for a review in my Zu thread but here goes initial thoughts...

    the Zu really exposes any flaws on a recording. For loud guitar rock that is compressed not good at all. But for acoustic and jazz they seem to be dynamic beyond anything Ive heard. several thoughts:
    1. Source dependent, my Harbeths make everything sound at least ok to great! With Zu your recording better be good or your going to hear any flaws!
    2. EQ capability on an amp is crucial... must have for these speakers
    3. Turning the speakers away from listening spot (ie more straight forward helps cool off the treble) but you lose the pointpoint focus and becomes more broadcast like but still fun to listen to
    4. Tubes seem to make sense with these speaker.. vintage
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  10. Robert M.

    Robert M. Forum Resident

    They also expose flaws in our systems upstream. No one has accused them of being too smooth or refined, but neither have they been described as being cold and bright, at least with good sources and amps. This recent review mirrors almost all of what I hear in my room (ZU Omens circa 2012/13).

    Zu Audio Omen Dirty Weekend speakers Review

    When my speakers were new, they were driven by a Rogue 88 (Kt88) and 66 magnum. The mid and low bass were underrepresented, with an average soundstage, imaging, and 3-d. I tried EQ just to make sure that the speakers could develop an impactful, tuneful, bass guitar in my room (they did), so I consulted with a local professional who recommended a better preamp for an across the board improvement (no EQ needed), and different/better wire to help keep the upper mids and low treble more neutral. A subsequent power amp upgrade improved the sound almost, if not as much as much as the preamp.

    My recommendation is to start experimenting with different wire, and work on the speaker position (wider and straighter was best for me), probably requiring a long wall placement. More substantial improvements will require changes in source and amplification.

    Best regards,

    Robert Martellaro
    theron d likes this.
  11. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    F.Y.I., Zu is doing the Dirty Weekend thing again.

    Not to worry, you are not going to get any "earth shattering bass" from Zu's, just nice, natural sounding bass. The Zu's are very fast and efficient and are not likely to pair well with just any direct radiator home sub.

    You are going to like what you hear. I have a couple of vintage Scott integrated tube amps, a 222C and a 200B.

    Yes tubes make a huge impact on the Zu's. I only recently discovered this myself. I have a nice collection of tube amplifier's, but I only used them on the Altec Lansing A7, Voice of the Theater speakers and not on the other SS based systems.


    I have two pair of different sounding speakers, that I use for the front mains, selectable with a speaker A/B switch box. I use the front main towers for both HT and stereo. Here they are. The switch box is on top of the right Polk LSiM707. I have always run the front mains through an Emotiva XPA-2, 250-WPC amplifier (bottom shelf on the right).


    I never really gave it a lot of thought, because Zu publicly states that thy sound good with both tube and SS amps. But I did have a curiosity about using the Zu's with tubes.

    I had been using a PrimaLuna Prologue Five, with the A7's since last year. This is a similar amp to what @Benzion uses with his DW's, only it is KT88 based, while the Four is EL34 based.

    A few months back, I acquired an Audio Note Kit Amp, which uses EL34 tubes and sounded damn good with them. Even to the extent of producing better bass, than the KT88's (go figure?).

    But, since acquiring another tube amplifier (I keep the tube amps behind the TV), I now had the Five still behind the TV, now being freed-up.

    I thought, this is my chance to try tube amps with the Zu's. :goodie: So I did.

    All I can say is WOW! The difference was day and night! Zu's are really most at home with quality tube amplification. I can not over emphasize this point enough! I will never have the Omen Definitions hooked back up to the XP2-2, which sounds perfectly wonderful with the LSiM707's.

    It was like trading in my old Zu's and getting a new pair of their latest and greatest speakers.

    So now I have four systems in the listening room, all hooked up to the same source. Two are SS powered and two are tube powered. I can play any individual system of have them all playing at the same time.

    They exhibit excellent control and sound very nice at low volume levels also.

    From the DW Dagogo review "Zu describes the Omen DW as “a turn-it-up, hell-on-wheels demon, but it serves up oodles of detail at hushed, late-night levels.” I can confirm both parts of that statement. I listen mostly at lower levels."

    Here is a post by another Zu owner, which followed up the review.

    "I own a pair of ZU Omen Def Mk II’s. Paired with a Leben CS-300F integrated, I get musical magic like I’ve never had in 40+ years of audiophile life.
    Audiophile approved? Who cares? There is beautiful music in my room, full of life, dimension, color & joy. And the best low-level listening I’ve ever had as well…"

    From what this guy is saying, Since I have the Omen Definitions MK I, I'm going to have to definitely need to upgrade them to the MK II's. Which is an optional driver and crossover upgrade. It isn't a complete technical upgrade to the MK II, so they call it a MK IB.

    The good stuff, will sound really good and the bad stuff, really bad. That's just the way it is.

    Both Benzion and myself have made similar observations, and this post tube amplification for me. Brickwalled, compressed music or just about any genera of music that has a hard metallic edge to it, will have a really hard edge to it with the Zu's.

    But if you are not a big metal fan, an 80's music fan or Dubstep, etc...

    And, you tend to listen to Jazz, acoustical music, vocals, then the Zu's, together with tube amplification might be for you!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
    Mateo Sanboval and dirtymac like this.
  12. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Oregon Coast
    One of the largest plusses of high efficiency speakers such as the ZU, is the ability to sound dynamic at low volumes. One will often find he listens at lower DB levels than he did when using less efficient speakers.
    I prefer tubes on my Quartets, there is more of a sense of dimension.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  13. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    With all due respect, I completely disagree. Yes, jazz and tubes sound great on Zu but I've hooked a number of amps up to my Zu's, both tube and solid state and IME it just varies by amp. I've heard tube amps sound harsh and shouty and solid state amps sound sublime. And vice versa.

    I have a Leben CS300XS basically identical in specs to the CS300F referred to above, and yes it sounds larger than life and great for low level listening. If I only listened to jazz it would easily be my forever amp. But I don't, and paired with my Zu Omen DW, the Leben compresses and shouts very quickly on the volume dial, and therefore it's a bit of a deal breaker as a daily driver if you want to rock out at levels of 85db+. My SPEC RSA-717EX (class D) is much more composed and grain-free, and I can crank the volume to concert levels with nowhere near the fatigue that the Leben has at the same volume. The soundstage on the SPEC is not as big as the Leben's, but the tone and inner resolution are better.

    That said, I use a 3 watt Chinese SET with my DefHeads in my bedroom and couldn't be happier with that combo. YMMV!
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  14. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Grand Rapids, MI
    Friend of mine - out in California so I've never heard them - has a pair and loves them. Based on his experience, he liked them a lot more with a single-ended triode amp, versus a vintage McIntosh 2505 which he called harsh(!). Also didn't like a Bryston amp with 'em, so you may have to try some different amplifier to get a sound you like. Again, YMMV.
  15. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    my Pilot 248b integrated tube amp from the early 60s is great with the Zu DWs so far! 30watts of 7591 tube power! the hi/lo freq adjust really allows to tweek the music to my liking. Peter Gabriel Melt album original vinyl... wow! and Michael Jacksons / Off The Wall orginal pressing were just phenomenal..

    10 on the volume knob is plenty loud!
  16. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Since I no longer needed the speaker A/B switch for the Zu's, I decided to something that I swore that I would never go back to doing, and that is using a SS amp on the A7's.

    I obtained a warm sounding SS for that purpose, so that it would be complimentary to the Audio Note Kit Amp that I am currently using with them, along with a Line Magnetic, both of which are EL84 based tube amps.

    Some times I am intrigued by types of ambient music and ambient sounds, like rain, and end up playing them for hours on end. We have also had a major construction project going on across the street 6-days a week for the over the past year and a half.

    While the NOS RFT's in the ANK L4, probably make the most of this too, I don't think that burning a set of $280 NOS RFT tubes is a particularly intelligent idea, economically speaking. If these tubes are this much today, they will only continue to get rarer still and the prices will continue to climb.

    A quad of NOS EL34 Mullard's are going for a minimum of $750! Which make the RFT's a relative bargain.

    With all this in mind, I decided that the best way to proceed forward is to get a SS amplifier to drive the A7's, when I am not doing my "evening listening" through the A7's.

    I have been looking over SS for the job. The thing is, that once I discovered that "magic" that tube amplification brings to the super efficient A7's, I can't go back to using SS.

    The Emotiva XPA-2 is a nice sounding amp. Sounds particularly excellent on the LSiM 707's, which I picked up on a 50% off sale that Polk ran a couple of years back. For only $2k/pr. these are some really some nice sounding speakers.

    Some months back, out of curiosity, I hooked up the XPA-2 to the A7's. I couldn't deal with it. I have a First Watt design Aleph J and a First Watt M2, now these are design's by Nelson Pass, and they are distinctly thin sounding with the A7's. They are sitting on my shelf.

    I had previously took a solemn oath to myself that I would have enough tube amplifier's and tubes that I would never use SS amplification on the A7's. That's how strong I felt on the subject.

    By necessity, I am renouncing my "vows".

    As I mentioned earlier "the A7's should not be sounding this nice and pleasant sounding", this is because I have a SS amplifier driving them, as I was writing this.

    I purchased a pre-owned Electrocompaniet PI 1B, SS amp from Norway on the For Sale area of the forum. I did some reading and decided it would be a perfect fit for my tube replacement amp.

    Here is the amp. It is a 50-Watt, line stage integrated. It can drive all the way down to a 2-Ohm load at 1--WPC.

    This amp was superseded by the PI 2, which is about the same, but is rated at 100-WPC.

    The picture on the PI 1 page of their web site, is actually of the two, which apparently look identical on the outside.

    I believe that both integrated amps have been discontinued as the search engine found this still existent web page. When I went to check out the current products, I did not see this one listed.

    They seem to be replaced by the 125-WPC ECI 6 series, which comes in many flavors. Like the AN stuff.

    I was not familiar with this company before now.

    I did manage to find a review of the PI 2, in some audio rag.

    Electrocompaniet PI 2D Prelude Integrated Amplifier Review :p

    So since I have separated the Zu's from the Polk's, I also had my Russound AB-2.2 amp/speaker selector switch freed up.

    I hooked the "amp" input to the A7's and the two "speaker" inputs into the ANK L4 and the Electrocompaniet PI 1B.

    As my tube amps reside behind the TV, the Electrocompaniet PI 1B, is now residing there as well, sitting on top of a 5-channel Emotiva SS amp, that I am using as a back up.

    This is the first time I powered it on, after I split the incoming signal off of the preamp with a "Y" splitter, so that I could have have an input pair for both the Electrocompaniet PI 1B and the L4. I had placed the banana plugs on the wire from the A/B switch box, so they could both connect to the output terminal's of both amps.

    I powered it up for the first time, selected one of the RCA input's and went on to adjust the volume level, so that it would match the same level of sound that was coming from the L4.

    Initially, this was just by "ear", no accurate measurement from a reference level source, just by the volume level of the streaming music that was playing at the time.

    After I got back out from behind the TV, I thought I would get my opinions, switching back and forth between the two amps.

    Just a note, I remotely power up the equipment behind the TV using RF AC on/off remote switches from the hardware store.

    It is currently going on 6-o'clock and the construction project across the street is quiet and the room is pretty quiet, for still being daytime.

    I'm not getting much difference between the volume levels of the tube and SS amp as I switch them back and forth. My guess, followed up with a commercial quality dB meter bore this out. But again, I need to send out some test tones to more precisely match the volume level of the Electrocompaniet PI 1B integrated so that it precisely matches the L4's volume level.

    Realistically speaking, I think they are about a within a decibel of each other, with the Electrocompaniet PI 1B, being ever so slightly higher.

    When I say this, I mean that the difference, if any, is so slight that it is barely noticeable. I'm not talking about just the volume, the SS amp has turned out to be an excellent system match for the A7's.

    Previous to that, I have used SS amps with the Zu's and it was usually a more painful experience than not. It is quite possible that an amp like the Electrocompaniet PI 1B, would be a "right" SS amp for the Omen Definitions. If I find another one down the road, it may pick it up for a spare and who knows, I will test it with the Zu's.

    But so far, it's tubes for me with the Zu's. The Zu's are brighter than the A7's are with their super tweeters and HF horn speakers.

    The A7's are Zu's personified. They are the real deal.
  17. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Just a reminder... Zu Audio is holding their 2nd DW sale this year...


    "Sale is live and we’re in full production. Full-range drivers are hitting the burn-in phase, cable harnesses and trim bits are also stacking up in the parts bins and burn in racks, fulfillment will be twenty pair per week and the second batch is coming together for shipment. Please call or email with questions—we love what we do and we’re here to help."
    Height: 36” [91.5 cm]
    Footprint: 12 x 12” [30.5 x 30.5 cm]
    Weight: 54 pounds [24 kg] each
    Bandwidth: 35 – 25 kHz
    Efficiency: 97 dB-SPL 1W, 1m
    Impedance: 12 ohm
    Power Amp Range: 4 – 300 watt
    Made by us in our home town of Ogden, Utah—U.S.A.
    Remember, you can order the DW's in a variety of colors. The pair in Rustic Hickory for $999. The other color selections con be ordered for an up-charge of $100-$300.

    I really like their Maple Sangria, which is a $300 up-charge, which I view as quite reasonable and takes these speakers to a whole new level, looks wise.


    I have the Omen Definition's (MK I), I bought mine used and they are your typical basic black speakers. I would have preferred the Maple Sangria, if I had ordered them myself. But the black matches the Polk LSiM707's and the back amp faces and grill cloths in the equipment/TV stand that is between them.

    As I have noted in my previous post. am now using only tube amplification on the OD's from now on. It does beautiful things to the Zu's, that were not happening with the SS amp (just a suggestion, hint, hint).

    I'm not sure if the DW's include the Clarity Cap upgrade. If not, I believe that it is available for an additional $100.

    Just a note; To those who own the original Omen's MK I, there is an upgrade available to upgrade them with Zu's latest nanotech drivers (Zu260FRD/ND to the MK 1-b for $699 the U/G, which also includes the Clarity Cap U/G. But I really think that you might be better off just ordering a pair of the DW's for $999 and selling your original pair. I do plan on upgrading My pair of Omen Definitions to the MK-1b.

    displayname likes this.
  18. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    after almost two weeks with Zu DWs, considering selling my Harbeths and Rogue setup which Ive had for several years. Honeymoon phase not over yet so giving it some time! Thinking out loud -now I need a SET ampifier to match the Zu’s...
    SandAndGlass, Whoopycat and Seafinch like this.
  19. Seancito

    Seancito Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond, Virginia
    I ordered a pair in rustic hickory with the clarity cap upgrade. That was two weeks ago. I can't wait!
  20. Seafinch

    Seafinch Preferred Patron

    Tell me more...
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  21. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    it’s comparing apples to oranges. Harbeth are great set of speakers, best Ive had to date long term. hours of listening, warmth, detail. Zu’s are polar opposite fast and dynamic. Takes your ears (brain) some adjusting where at first you think they are a little forward but after speaker movement and adjustement they settle in. Clear as a bell. Listened to Doobies Greatest Hits ( DCC) on vinyl last night...unreal!
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Listen, set's are nice, but I wouldn't spent=d the $$$ that you need to spend on a SET amplifier for $1k speakers.

    Instead, there are the discontinued PrimaLuna Prologue EL34 based Four on closeout at Upscale Audio for $899 and the Five (which I have), on closeout for $1,099. The Five has a larger power supply and is better designed to run KT88's, they have a lot more mods over the Four, for only $200 additional. But you can swap out EL34's in it if you wish. Both of these amps have auto biasing, so just turn the amp off, let the tubes cool down a bit, remove them, put in new tubes and turn the amp back on. It's that simple.

    I have the Five playing with the Omen Definition's MK 1 and they sound excellent!

    UPDATE! Just went on the Upscale Audio web site and they have further reduced the prices by $90 on the Four and $110 on the Five. The amp that replaces the Four and the Five is the Prologue Premium and it is $2,199. So, what wal already a good deal, is now an excellent deal!

    The current price on the Four is $809 and the Five is $989.




    This is the tube amp to grab for your Zu's!
    displayname and Benzion like this.
  23. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    cool will look into but Im headed down the SET road eventually be it Line Magnetic, Decware, Melody...
    IanL likes this.
  24. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    I thought the same thing, at one point. Now that I'm "settled in" with my PrimaLuna Four, I've learned one thing - power is your friend, and, having 35 WPC with the Zu's instead of 8 WPC really makes a difference. I've abandoned my plans for a SET amp, at least for now, I'm just really happy with the Four.

    The one upgrade I will do to the Four, eventually - I will swap in KT-77's in place of EL-34's, when the time comes to replace tubes.
  25. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    good point... how about 20-40 Watts of SET power say Line Magnetic?

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