Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
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Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac late 2020 with Ventura 13.4, 40GB RAM, Audirvana Origin, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 network switch, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn Gradient Box at 80Hz/4th-order hi/lo-pass; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos, Goldmund Job 225; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Qualio Audio IQ w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Shanling M3 Ultra, Soundaware D300Ref; DAC: Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Vinnie Rossi Signature L2 + icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Enleum AMP-23R; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF + Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; Headamp/DAC: iFi iDSD Pro Signature; Headphones: Final D-8000; Active speakers: DMAX SC5
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl Dp5 transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: starting at $1'398/pr
If you know the DW of DWX to abbreviate dirty weekend, the added 'X' could suggest a 48-hour sex marathon. But in Zu speak, it's long meant special sales. It's when over a long weekend they offer direct-selling discount deals for extra high value. That convention eventually birthed the Omen Dirty Weekend MkII floorstander. It became the current DW6 which presaged today's DWX. That's its 35% smaller monitor version. It's still built on a 12" squared footprint but shrinks to 23" height down from the tower's 36". It packs the same one-size-fits-all-Zu 10" whizzer-cone widebander, the same wave-guided 1" Eminence ASD-1001 titanium tweeter with ferrite motor. The latter enters with a shallow 12kHz high-pass capacitor. This solitary filter part gets upgraded to a ClarityCap MR part in Superfly guise, to a Jupiter copper cap in Supreme. Those upgrade packages also mean Mission MkII or Event MkII hookup wiring respectively; ever tighter driver matching plus longer factory burn-in; and Zu's B3 unified terminal which parallels the standard version's classic binding posts. A first for the brand is a classic front port to extend the main driver's bass output in lieu of their usual Griewe loading. Unchanged is 12Ω nominal impedance and above-average 95dB claimed efficiency. The DW6's 30Hz spec becomes 38Hz. Chuck a foot in height, give up just eight cycles. Finish options include natural walnut and hickory in black, metallic black satin or red or blue pigment infusion which retains visible wood grain.
The most direct message of the DWX seems this: go where prior Zu models couldn't by shrinking overall dimensions; remain grown up by adding a port rather than sacrifice more than an octave's worth of bass with a small cubed/sealed cab. Should we wonder why not a Union coax instead, it's probably to hit a sweeter price point. But probably is a weasel word like compatibility and musicality when we can DM Zu's owner/designer Sean Casey, below center. As to why not smaller than the minimum width dictated by a 10-incher, in two decades on the beat, to my knowledge Zu never yet attempted to shrink their signature widebander's diameter. You want smaller, go elsewhere seems to be the subtext. Real men need cubic inches?
Once we have Sean on the horn, we might still learn about the optimal listening axis—centered on the phase plug, tweeter or right in-between—which will determine ideal stand height; recommended toe-in for most linear response; and possibly some price-appropriate hot tips for electronics both tube and transistor which team Zu knows to work well. Potential buyers could also want to know how Zu might describe the sonic upgrade path from standard to Superfly to Supreme? What improves and how? The DWX is essentially a point source when a 12kHz filter hinge for the tweeter lives deep inside pure overtone turf. Now nearfield listeners with a desktop or foot-of-bed setup could be particularly intrigued. Unlike classically stacked multi-ways, a point source doesn't need the same distance to cohere. It's what makes coaxial even triaxial designs à la Cabasse ideal nearfielders. Of course overall size restrictions apply. The DWX isn't exactly petite. Not all desktops are big enough to host it. But with height-adjustable Gravity floor stands adjacent to my work desk, I certainly had the room to trial the DWX in a desktop scenario. Front not rear porting usually also means greater happiness with close front-wall proximity. A few of my moons lined up automatically. But first there was the Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg who has the earliest sample in the mail; and John Darko had already raised his video-editing hands for a personal pair before me. "I'm thinking of getting some lowrider stands like those made by JBL that also tilt the speakers backwards."
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