Country of Origin


Soul 6

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Soundaware D30Ref SD card transport & USB brdige; Preamp: icOn 4Pro SE; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio Lieutenant, 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: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; 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 Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D-8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl SD-9 transport; DAC: Denafrips Terminator; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Simon Audio; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: $5'999/pr

Confident as cuss. No fuss. A whole new level of cool and badassery. 

81.5cm tall. 32.5cm footprint. 18kg/ea. 8Ω nominal, 5.1Ω minimum. 100dB/2.8V/1m.

That's what it says on Zu's page for their Soul VI. It adds "unhyped and uncolored". Cough. Considering the above—colors and quotes—them's fighting words. Could they be words to live by and with?

This SpeakOn termination—B3 in Zu speak—runs parallel to the classic terminals and anticipates Zu's Event cable to continue the internal hookup wiring in the most efficient way.

I'd have words with boss man Sean Casey to learn what makes this Six special. Not that our readers don't know about a special six. But to avoid sixes and sevens, it's best to go to the source. Externally nothing tells what transpired between last to latest Soul. It's still a high-efficiency coax. It's still a stumpy slightly pyramidal box. It shouldn't block our views or suck our amp dry. Surely though there's more to it when numerology skipped beats. There was no Soul V or IV, not even a MkIII. So lots must have happened. What?

Here's a quick game of nomen est omen. Druid VI. Its biggest advance over Druid V had been mechanical build. The mission was reduction of box talk for a quieter less reactive cabinet. With Soul leapfrogging straight to six, observers with imagination expect a similar overhaul to far higher mechanical self damping. They also expect comparative gains to arrive at the same suffix. And since they can read, they've already come across Okoume on Zu's site.

Osprey Standard by Pygmy Boats

That doesn't just sound African, it is – a large timber-producing tree from Cameroon, Congo, Gabon and Ghana. It can grow up to 60m tall with buttresses near its base up to 3m. "Its timber is considered one of the best for the manufacture of plywood, particularly for marine uses, and is very popular with plywood kayaks. The wood is pink in color." Zu's site gives an even more solid hint with "all Okoume cabinetry". It's not just a pretty face of stained or raw veneer. It's all wood; and of course glue. Next we look at the point-source principle executed by any coax unassisted by a 3rd driver. We don't just see a big mid/woofer with a tweeter down its throat. We see time coherence. From that we expect very precise very deep soundstaging with excellent image specificity. Our main question is bad(b)assery. How low will Soul dig? It stands on what's just fractionally larger than a square foot. It leans in not out on all sides and stops well shy of a meter. That's no big cubic volume. Meanwhile the trademark 10.3" driver must excel in the vocal range and meet not the familiar Radian but a new Eminence Mylar/neodymium compression tweeter at ~10kHz. Though beefy, the big driver can't be a specialized bass pump. It's a do-most-of-it widebander with whizzer. What to anticipate? Published specs call it 38Hz – 28kHz ±3dB qualified as in-room power response.

12mm Okoume Ply cabinet with diagonal stiffeners and ring braces.

I sent Sean a preview link for a jumping-off place. They say that white men can't jump. But what white man calls his speaker Soul? I felt certain that Sean could jump just fine. Wherever Supreme means better, today's $5'999/pr Soul VI has certainly jumped well past his current $3'799/pr Soul Supreme. It's even overtaken the $4'999 Omen Def Supreme. Now plain Six rules supreme. It's the only coax in the line.

According to this video, it's the best speaker Zu have ever made. I take that to mean 'most universal' to appeal to and satisfy the most people. It's the cluster luck of unobtrusive size, elegant form factor, broad finish options, sufficient bandwidth, non-fussy load behavior and suitability with all manner of amps and receivers. Weighing that in Berlin was John Darko who'd picked a gloss burgundy review pair. I asked for teal. It promised to décor well in both our downstairs and upstairs systems. That matters with all furniture. This one just happens to also make sounds. But whether it plays or not, it's still a décor object. We should love it just for that.

Soul mates then?