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First a page from the Dominance book. As Zu's most advanced drivers, the Druid V would use what the top model had. The specific version of the widebander pioneered in the Dominance is called the ZuFRD-HO. HO signifies high output delivering stunning attack, shove, resolution and bandwidth. Features include a maximal motor for expanded dynamic contrast and reduced harmonic distortion; a lightweight neutrally-hung voice coil assembly with a paper/Kapton former; a linear inline layup of the inner cone for best resolution of detail; a diamagnetic shorting assembly for dynamic damping of the moving mass when playing at concert levels; nanotech-impregnated paper cones designed to support wide bandwidth; and a billet phase cone with concentric maximal-length sequence diffusion for smooth high frequencies. All this is anchored to a heavy cast aluminum alloy frame with overbuilt bonded and riveted yoke/magnet/top-plate assembly.

Druid V tweeter details

The nano materials and application process reduce weight while increasing strength and propagation velocity without incurring any sacrifices in damping. In 2004 we began to experiment with cutting-edge DuPont nanotech-engineered coatings and solids. The initial reasons were to realize the best possible gloss finish which would also be far tougher. These nanotech-engineered liquid solid ceramics, fibers and synthetic resins performed as promised. We quickly recognized the benefits and made the switch. It was during this process that we also got to experiment with applications for loudspeaker cones and diaphragms. While we had extensively tested coatings, microspheres and binders on driver cones over the years, this new nano material presented a novel set of attributes and opportunities for our widebander platform. Nanotech for cone materials, layups, binder additives and formulae, tubes, spheres, coatings, infusions etc. make for an exciting time to be a paper driver. Then we got sidetracked from the liquid solids and invested time again in a whole new range of satellite-grade graphite matrixes.

Radian tweeter high pass filter

After a few years of on/off experiments with these exotic layups, we returned to nano materials and liquid solids to start treating the paper with various micro materials for even more vibrant and detailed tone. Today we impregnate the paper pulp post pressing with a liquid solid matrix utilizing several nano-processed materials. Some key components and compounds include nanosphere ceramic balloons, melamine, synthetic epoxy A/B, cristobalite, amorphous fumed silica and aircraft dope. (Our apologies to DIYers, we cannot sell them this material due to the isocyanates. This can only be used in the industry and requires powered air-purifying respirators.)

From left to right - Omen, Soul Superfly, Essence

We continued to watch and occasionally experiment with new fibers and mats. They are still very promising, especially what's being done with buckypaper. For us however a tone-promising pulp-free combination of these new materials has not yet been identified. Nothing has proven to be as well behaved as natural fibers. There’s just something about paper. Its balance of strength, propagation velocity and damping all contribute to that tone and fidelity we pursue. But add the right combination of old coating technologies plus nano materials and adhesives and fortuitously paper maintains its vintage advantages well into the 21st century. Currently the Dominance is the only Zu speaker to benefit from these nano-endowed drivers.

The above was excerpted from my February 2011 interview with Sean. Exactly a year later he wrote that he wanted to reevaluate everything he'd been doing and planning about the Druid V. After loads of prototypes and trying to make it bigger—similar in size to what I'd heard at Adam's in March of 2006 who was then exploring a far more broad-shouldered bipolar super Druid with rear-firing widebander—Sean had returned to the original dimensions.

Massive billet aluminum plinth

The guts have been solid now for about a year. What you have drawn up in your introduction on considerations is right on target. Druid 5 will be a nearly cost-no-object version using the same Zu nanotech driver as the Def4 and Dominance and that same massive Radian 850-based tweeter. The new Druid 5 also sits on a machined from 2" billet 6061 plinth which anchors to the main cabinet through the use of side cleats/stringers which really tightens up the interface between cabinet, feet and floor. We are also damping the cabinet a bit differently using a combination of QuietCoat Marine and some dowelling between the back and front baffle right below the driver.

I don't have photos yet, in fact I still have not built a proof for production and am still working off prototypes—they are not pretty—but the results are pretty fantastic. In short, Druid is baaack!

Plinth from below

Here are the specs. 16 ohms, 101dB efficient. A bit better low frequency extension than previous Druids. Much better resolution of transient detail, much less clouded in tone and texture and much more dynamically expressive - way more. And then there's that Radian 850-based tweeter with Mundorf silver/oil cap. Sure it's only running solo from 12kHz and up but it's stunning how much better the whole sound is by having the top-most harmonics at least as dynamically expressive as our Zu103ND driver.