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Bass could be tighter and faster. With as lean and tight an amplifier as my Genesis GR360 monos, it's never an issue but with amplifiers of lesser control and damping, the lower registers can become a little too ripe for my taste. Knowing Zu’s history and talent with active bass systems, the next model up is likely to have this sorted whenever it bows.

Finally the only real weakness of the Essence is a relative lack of resolution in the upper midrange/lower treble. I say relative because it really jumps out by comparison to the rest of the spectrum. When I compared the Essence to the Rogers LS3/5a, the reserve in resolution was squarely not obvious but in absolute terms, violins and soprano voices could have more texture and finely resolved details. Again associating the Essence with an amplifier of superb midrange transparency will alleviate this limitation and remember that I am a vocal music freak. If I can live with it, most people won’t even notice the difference. What they will notice is the superb dynamic prowess, the impeccable timing and the overall feeling of aliveness that comes with any of the Zu speakers.

I concur with Frederic and believe this limitation to be inherent in the choice of 10-inch driver into this band. The obvious solution would be a smaller widebander but that should necessitate an augmentary bass driver to become a three-way, sacrificing the no-crossover concept over the widest bandwidth. While 2-way to 3-way is the usual progression in speaker lines, in Zu's case it could be considered a setback. That would lock their bigger models into the 10-inch unit with its built-in limitations unless the ribbon crossover point were significantly lowered - which could restrict dynamic range and translate into a textural seam. I personally believe that given the company's current focus on the Eminence platform as core driver, the Essence maximizes their '1.5 way' full-range concept.- Ed.

One final comment - the Essence must be the least finicky speakers to position I have ever owned. As the manual confirms, put them down where they look good and they will sound great! Of course fine tuning and a little effort brings extra rewards but unlike many other speakers to have passed through my house, these will sound good almost anywhere. That is a very real—but sadly quite rare—feature.

I ordered my pair in Cobalt Blue matte as I was afraid that a glossy finish might suffer from the perpetual moving about a reviewer's gear has to endure. I am not sure it's the color I'd pick were I to order a second pair but on the other hand the non-reflective paint changes hue all the time depending on outside light conditions. There are times when I like what I see more than others. One thing is certain, this paint is as maintenance-free as it gets, never showing a finger print or mark. A little dusting now and then is all it takes to keep the speakers—and my better half—happy. And some of the new wood veneers look pretty nice too.

That’s as much of a follow-up I want to pen to avoid hyperbolics. These speakers need to be heard, not talked about. The original Druid won our Lunar Eclipse award. The Essence is better in every way and cheaper than the Druid was when last available. I wonder what that makes the Essence - a super nova cosmic explosion*? Anyway, there simply is no bigger bang for your buck out there.


* 6moons has reviewed a lot of Zu speakers and I, Stephæn, Frederic and former contributor Les Turoczi each own a pair. Given our extensive coverage and general perception, I deemed it counter-productive to issue another award to this brand even though this latest model is arguably the one to deserve it most. - Publisher

Quality of packing:
Reusability of packing: A few times.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: Easy for speakers this size thanks to still reasonable weight.
Condition of component received: Flawless.
Completeness of delivery: No issue.
Human interactions: Responsive and helpful.
Pricing: Extremely competitive, new direct price for domesitc sales unheard of for this level of performance.
Final comments & suggestions: Not the most transparent, honest or linear design I know of and yet by far the most enjoyable. The Essence gets the music. The rest is irrelevant.

Zu Audio website