Decision between Zu Definition OR VS DB99

Trying to decided between these two spectacular speakers. I have not listen to either of them and will not get a opportunity to do so. Hence asking for suggestion/opinions regarding these spks. My room size is 22 by 13 and basically listen to all types of music from classical to rock at quite loud volumes. The spks will be driven via Audio Aero Capitol power amp and cdp.
You write very well and your observations support my experience. It seems to me inevitable that Zu will insinuate themselves into a great many homes over time but I wonder why the progress is so slow. As soon as I learned about this Druid speaker I was hellbent to see and hear them. The inherent superiority seemed obvious to me. All I needed was to determine if it was indeed as clearly superior as the design suggested. So I ventured up to Ogden, Utah and visited the Zu lab. My answer came upon me instantaneously when Adam fired them up.
I urge everyone out there to try a pair on their trial basis.
They tell me that only one pair has been returned out of several hundred. So it seems likely your biggest problem will be finding someone to take your crossovers off your hands. If you hurry, you might still find someone who doesn't know about Zu.

And, Phil, your earlier writings played a big part in my decision to visit Zu. Thanks.
Thank you MJ, and you're welcome too. As is the case with many good ideas that come from small companies, lack of awareness limits the rate at which Zu finds its rightful place in the market. The company is small, and clearly has very limited funds for promotion. Talking to Sean and Adam, I get the impression that aside from supporting its workers, whatever money Zu makes gets quickly ploughed back into the business. It's hard to raise money for hifi manufacturing from a standing start so these guys bootstrapped the company and are exporters. I am sure there's very little left for marketing. Clearly 2005 has been a breakthrough year for Zu, with exposure in especially helping to energize interest in the company and products. They've been building interest in Asia faster than here on product quality and word-of-mouth, fueled by the high-purity school of SET-oriented Asian audio.

As you can see from some reactions here and elsewhere online, Zu's speakers and its FRD are disruptive to a lot of accepted practice and perception in hifi. The last hifi product I've seen elicit so many "it can't work" pronouncements from people who never got within a hundred miles of the actual device was David Gammon's Vestigal Tonearm at Transcriptors in the 1970s. It's partly because of that very low-mass, low-wear arm that I have vinyl discs today that are eminently playable 30 - 40 years after purchase. With a Denon moving coil, too. But of course, it couldn't work with anything other than a high-compliance Shure V15 or ADC XLM, everyone who never heard one said. That reminds me...I think I'll go get mine from my gear closet and put it back on my turntable. Then I'll have two "it can't work" items in my Druids system; one at each end!

I didn't know it at the time I bought my Definitions in March, but they were only beginning to be shipped into the market. The Druid has had more time to motivate the market. The depth and velocity of word-of-mouth awareness of Zu is beginning to amount to something. I've seen this before in hifi, companies beginning small and getting sales traction before they could promote or find mass distribution: Advent, about 1969. The original early '70s Mark Levinson. Nakamichi around 1972/3. Ariston, Linn & Rega around 1974-78. Dahlquist, Koetsu, Nagra, Infinity. Apogee in the '80s. The SET revival making its way from Japan to Europe and the US without mainstream press support and before the WWW. More recently 47 Labs, Red Wine Audio, Omega, Cain & Cain and Zu.

All of these companies and movements made a lasting conceptual contribution to the industry and forced people to question accepting some of their thinking about what makes good hifi. But Zu speakers in particular seem to polarize people before they hear them. It looks like a 2-way but it's not quite. It uses a full range driver but it's not a "referenceable" Lowther, Fostex or something else already in the club. It's a 101db/w/m speaker that can handle several hundred watts of amplification. It's supposed to beam, honk, shout, be less efficient than rated, and have no bass whatsoever, but sadly for skeptics it fails to honor any of those obligations.

I haven't heard the VS DB99s. And specs seem sketchy.


A little preamble: The DB99 is described as a 3-way, implying that it uses passive crossover elements in the signal path to all the drivers. If this is true, it would likely be the primary weakness compared to the Definition.

Based on your first quote that's nothing more then an assumption which holds no merit in the real world. I don't care what speakers you like or don't like, but don't say you don't like something you've never listened to - that just screams narrow mindedness.

What I can see about the VS online does not give me confidence it can achieve the holistic sound of Zu that is vital to me, but I'd have to know more and hear them to be sure.

I agree with your last statement, but I am at a loss of what more you could want to learn from the website that you could learn about the Definition's on Zu's website?

I have never heard the Definitions so I have no observations on there performance, but based on the information on their website the specs seems sketchy - see what I mean ;)
Wow 213cobra,, I had to re-read your post several times just to make sure your observations were not a actual direct comparison of the VSA dB99's and the Zu's. The glowing review of the Zu's blurred the fact/fiction line for me on a couple of occasions. I was nearly seduced before realizing your only comparison of the two speakers, were those darn "online" specs of the dB's versus your impressions of the Zu's that you purchased and own? Crossover's asserting themselves, just "squeezing the life out of the music", and "disintegrating the holistic sound" whew, powerful implications. I was nearly tempted to burn my dB's! And the VR1's too! You really must hear the 99's before jumping to any conclusions about them. They truly are anything but the picture you have generically painted them.

For those interested, the VSA dB99's can be seen and heard at the StTropez Hotel Rm#1002 at the upcoming CES. Though not the most conducive venue to audition anything critically,, surprising sometimes the lasting impression a system will leave on you.

Nakoawala,, find dealer nearest you or,, spend a few hundred dollars, and jump on a plane if necessary to audition them or any speaker system you are laying $10k down for. A small amount of $$ and time invested, will save you a lot of grief in the long run.


If you read my text about the DB99, you'll see an IF, as in "If this is true, it would likely be the primary weakness compared to the Definitions." The "if" refers to whether the DB99 is a true 3-way with a passive crossover in the mid. I have enough experience with this to be able to outline my areas of doubt. It's not narrow-mindedness and in fact I repeatedly make reference to the need to hear the VS to be sure, and still accept that someone prioritizing things differently than I do might prefer the VS even if there's a crossover bigger than your head separating the signal to the drivers.

What I would like to know that I haven't found so far is a spec on the DB99's crossover frequencies, for that would tell me quite a lot about the nature of the beast and whether my "if" should be a "will".

Zu's specs are sketchy to some people in some respects. I don't buy speakers on specs alone so I don't care. They could be more thorough however, for marketing purposes. But in the realm of loudspeaker specs, it is peculiar for a company to describe a model as a three-way without listing the crossover points. That's the only thing I'm looking for.