"Talking about the three performance upgrade differences, DWX without upgrades is pretty damn good. If you didn't compare, you'd likely be happy day after day. They are warm yet dynamic without soupy bass but bass solid through the kick drum so all traditional instruments that can be carried by their player come off as real. Bass drum, big organ, the last register of a full piano not quite but then, what user-carriable loudspeaker can? Superfly or Supreme don't technically improve the measures of the lower bass region but our brains seem to attribute improvements higher up to improvements even deep down into the weight and color of the note and phrasing. The DWX's meaty midrange is expressive and dynamic but not at all ruthless so very much like its floorstanding parent the DW6. Meaty midrange covers the human voice region including harmonics. The upper treble region is engineered to match the tone and dynamic characteristics of the mids and lows. For us getting tone to match in both bandwidth and dynamics is a high priority. Also of interest to those drawn to the price of the standard version, this is where we spent the bulk of R&D time getting things right. Think of it not as the entry but as the essential or foundational. It sings, kicks, loves, screams, drone and explodes with grace and poise.

"Superfly upgrades bring a bit more resolution to midrange and treble while simultaneously making it still less fatiguing to elevate the forgiving nature of DWX. With Superfly DWX you will have improved enjoyment margins of amp mismatches, problematic rooms, hashy sources and less-than-ideal recordings all while hearing increased nuance. Supreme upgrades improve resolution even more. But unlike DWX Superfly, Supreme brings just a bit of healthy tension to the love affair where changes in system and recordings become more apparent. There's still an improvement of that relaxed quality of Superfly but only when the system works as a system, combining in the direction of tone the listener intends. DWX Supreme is still a pleaser but with increased earned confidence. DWX Supreme knows how to argue and express tension when in the the music and sounds being played. Most will find the relationship they have with DWX Supreme even more real and fulfilling but not without a touch of effort with the whole of the system."

Using my dog-eared audiophile translator, I read higher resolution as meaning the usual. We hear more of the good and bad stuff, be the latter a poor recording or shortcoming in our system. With greater magnification powers comes greater responsibility to sort our hardware so it remains a source of pleasure not misgivings. If we don't want to get that involved, the standard DWX might have our number? Sometimes easier really does it. On that score I didn't ask what version I'd get. Given a choice, I only asked for the teal-infused hickory because of the many blue curtains in our crib. Even one of my desktop's screen images of a Mexican cenote has a lot of teal in its water pool. Accessorizing isn't a dirty word when Zu give us options to make living with our hifi easier on the eye. One gal's pink is another guy's purple wherever teal is the new black.

If you're new to this zoo, remember that a conventional two-way's high and low pass splits the signal at typically ~2kHz. As filter slopes steepen, this puts ever more energy-absorbing phase-shifting parts in the signal path. By contrast Zu shun a classic crossover. Our amp connects directly to the voice coils of those big bi-cone cellulose drivers for lowest possible signal loss. What attenuation occurs at the extremes of their bandwidth is purely acoustic; and in this case delayed at the bottom by a resonant port. Only the tweeter gets a 1st-order filter 2.5 octaves beyond the typical seam. Call it a 1½-way to remind yourself that despite two drivers, it's not a two-way. Similarly unusual is the choice of burly 10" midrange; and letting it run wide open into the treble. It takes little imagination to appreciate that more cone surface and higher mass must influence textures and tone across the vocal range particularly in the presence region should our reference be a modern 5¼" two-way. Going big is the inherent enabler of Zu's aural aesthetic. But there's more. Unlike a conventional rubber surround or foam equivalent of a Lowther type, Zu's pro-roots driver uses pleated impregnated cloth. Even when we play loud, this driver moves far less than small 'hi-tech' wonders which brag about extreme excursion potential to seemingly jump out of their hoops. Zu call theirs a hard-hung design with higher acoustic transfer efficiency.

Which one of you played too loud? [Zu DW6 in a lineup at the Audiophile Nick.] And what's gotten the pair of you all blue?

The last difference to a classic two-way is higher sensitivity. Rather than aim at only the flea-watt triode crowd starved for transducer choice, Zu speakers also welcome ultra-power class D and regular 100-watt transistors of high damping factor. Like the team's casual video style, their speakers are generally unfussy to set up; quite omnivorous on amplifier options; and deliberately SPL happy by embracing robust pro-arena not overbred wimpy audiophile drivers. It's all part of the company's DNA, attitude and preferred music styles. The DWX has another thing up its sleeve; flippancy. It can work tweeter up or down. Depending on the height of our seat and preferred stand/perch, one or the other orientation could be preferred. Simply flip it. There goes another birdie at conventionality. So does the whizzer cone with its free edge forming a ~4-inch circle from whence the big driver's higher frequencies emit. Other brands with whizzers include Cube, Lowther, Rethm, sound|kaos and Voxativ. There'll be more but not many. It's a small club. Added up, these points of distinction arrive the DWX at quite a different place than a quick first look would suggest. Finally, it's made with US labor and 95%+ domestically sourced parts. To some shoppers that really matters.

By May 30th Sean checked in. "Sorry, forgot to ask which version you want. With good amps, I think the Supreme version is nice. Your cabinets finished up last week, ready for lace-up and burn." Having good amps, I agreed on holding court with the Supreme. By then Steve Guttenberg the Audiophiliac had a YouTube review so first words on the DWX were in. By then I'd shuffled some hardware around. The office now sported tidy 4" active 2-ways with dual radiators. To host DWX, these tweeter stands would have to go and bigger ones move in to accommodate Zu's far chunkier monkeys.