If standard modern monitors groomed for 'high res' throw some shade on the DWX, the Zu throws back a lot more when it comes to large-scale cinematic fare with boisterous basses and polyrhythmic percussion. That's when we work Zu's zone of special competence and enjoy the biggest differentiator. It's very much a fun tuning like Meze's 109 Pro headphone which John Darko and I reviewed in a joint podcast. Think innate warmth but leave rhythmic slop at the door. Time confusion won't enter here. There's image density and upper-bass punch as two aspects which our M1's 6" premium mid/woofers clearly couldn't match. I simply didn't feel compelled to curate my listening around the DWX's strengths. In its own way the kind of stuff antiphiles love to whinge about like structurally sparse songs recorded superbly like Mahsa Vadhat on Kari Bremnes' Norwegian Kirkelig Kulturverksted label was just as compelling.

That's back at a crafty balancing act which doesn't overstretch its strengths only to create a big gap against its weaker attrbiutes. How would this balance hold in a classic 3-4m stereo triangle? As I put the M1 back on their office stilts, the volume control did have to move up a few clicks to generate equivalent output. More sun snuck in through a virtual sky light to inject extra white into the palette. Bass went as low but with less growl and pop. The overall sound felt more distanced. It traded forward projection for a more a laid-back perspective, carefree fun for seriousness and sophistication. The high-end biz is a serious affair. The thing is, at a fraction of what I compared, the Zu was closer on seriousness than it should have been. Then it turned tables on uncensored pleasure. Such statements are less vague than they appear. How is illustrated by Amr Diab's garland of prayers set to miniaturized song. One needn't understand a word to be touched by their spirit. Genuine things communicate more directly than words, concepts and conceits. The same is true for the DWX's 'it' factor. It certifies itself like a letter guaranteed to be delivered.

My next delivery was up the stairs. To suit, I had to remove one segment of each upright in my trusty Track Audio stands to trim them to 52cm height. I'm a stickler on correct speaker alignment. There's a sloppy way of doing it; and a better way. The latter costs nothing, just a withdrawal from the attention deficit fund. To shake things up, I left in the 2 x 9½" force-cancelling Dynaudio sub and the outboard analog filter which sends +80Hz to the speakers via a Crayon CFA-1.2; and -80Hz to the sub. A 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley defines by its -6dB point so at 80Hz, the speakers are down six decibels, the sub in by the same amount. This reflects the prior combo with my Korean miniature marvels, the 4" MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini with hidden isobaric 'woofer'. They're only good to ~70Hz so mandate a sub. Contrary to paper specs and notions, Zu's 10-incher is a widebander not regular woofer. It doesn't go as low as it looks. For my kind of organic trance/ambient grooves, hitting 25Hz is a must. Leaving the sub in played to that.

Here the tunes live on a microSD card in a battery-powered Shanling M3 Ultra. That plays USB-C server into a Soundaware D300Ref reclocker/DDC. It forwards digits via I²S over HDMI to a Denafrips Terminator Plus with 12th Anniversary firmware update. Now analog signal hits a Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with Elrog ER50 direct-heated triodes in a grounded-grid circuit so no coupling caps or output iron. That plus assorted resonance attenuation from Korea's Hifistay plus Carbide of Texas plus cables constitutes this hardware amalgam.