In preparation I shuffled off not mortal wetware but hardware. Out went my Polish actives, in height-adjustable stands. Their bigger top plates hosted M1 EnigmAcoustics monitors driven by Enleum's petite AMP-23R with true variable gain. These 6½" luxo rear-ported 2-ways with soft-dome tweeters larger than typical were my conceptual stand-ins for the endless classic monitors that a DWX shopper opts out of because Zu's 1½-way approach suits them more. Now the M1 could simply hop off, the DWX on, naught else changed but probably the volume setting. That's if claimed sensitivity x higher Ω needed less voltage gain for the same SPL. And yes, if we do the big-monitor nearfield thing on a desktop, the visuals will turn a bit studio-esque. Or perhaps that's how serious gamers roll? Either way, we want our boxes off the desk for four reasons. 1/ space, period. 2/ to not sink mechanical resonances into our work surface. 3/ to get tweeter and sitting height eye to eye. 4/ to get proper soundstage width and toe-in with mandatory spacing. A wide soundstage needs wide spacing.

When my shipping papers pinged the inbox, they showed not just serial numbers but dated burn-in over a 2-week period. Lengthier harder pre calisthenics are part of the standard Supreme performance package. "We do it loud and long so you don't have to." Gracias. The FedEx International Economy tracker also showed a combined 100lbs weight for the two packages. My visit to the zoo's chunky monkeys exhibit was nigh.

To make up for extra speaker size, the stands receded to their lowest height. It put my ears between tweeters and widebanders. Having the cabinets end more or less in line with the screen's upper edge also looked most agreeable. Likewise for the hickory skins and their occasional swirly knots peek-à-booing right through the stain. Fab.

When Matthieu Saglio's new album sounded extra physical but well balanced out of the gate…

… I decided to squeeze low-hanging fruit compliments of Antonio Ramos' Hotel Groove. Click screen shot to launch YouTube track. Having grown mid/woofer diameters over the earlier M1 registered decisively on Maca's e-guitar. Having zero filtering across the majority bandwidth also produced more incisive clicks, cracks, snaps and other steeply rising attacks peeling at snappy salute out of softer surrounding tissue. Embedding crisp time keeping in earthy tone was a really fun combo. Because DWX suffered no frisky monkey business in the HF, transient speed packed full tonal follow-up. Great articulation and focus didn't mean things had to get lean. And though it seems wishful thinking when written out, it was factual: at this distance the big drivers focused ace. What had possibly started out as a somewhat Quixotic enterprise—hoisting über-sized monitors on their desktop petard—quickly felt seriously inspired and a real discovery. I was in no hurry to get back to the Enigmas.

In this nearfield on a taller chair to sit straight, a Soul VI would be far too stumpy. That really made the DWX a peg to fit my particular hole. It settled the instant question as to why someone would consider a DWX when for $200 more there's the DW6. That floorstander tops out at 91½cm. Set up at the correct height for my desktop, the DWX hit 132cm; more than a foot extra. In short—or rather, not so short—for scenarios like mine, no DWX, no go. Now that I've finally heard a Zu in a desktop/mixing-console layout high up and close by, I can confidently state that you really don't know what you're missing unless you try this. There are more benefits to doing the close-up Zoo.m. The bit of champers fizz which the unusually high-entering tweeter dishes out? It jumps across this little distance with more sparkle than survives the 3-4 meters of a classic setup. Neither is beaming any issue. Au contraire. In the solo seat of the nearfield, toed in, face on, it simply sharpens focus. It gives the DWX more insight or transparency than Zu's core aesthetic would suggest. While meaty tonal substance and drum kick remain prime attractions, there's more on tap here than classic small monitor fans would suspect. And yes, the DWX is a mega not mini monitor. On the desktop, its sonics simply didn't pork out. It was more fine dining that I'd credited its potential going in. Think comfort food with starched table linens, generous portions and a great chef into deep flavors.