Opinions on newest NHT Absolute Zero

I'm considering buying the newest in the "Zero" line from NHT, the Classic Absolute Zero. I know the Super Zero got tremendous reviews from every source I could find and it looks like the more recent Absolute Zero should be even better, but I can't really find many good reviews.

If anyone owns or has had a chance to listen to the Absolute Zero speaker from NHT, I would love to know what you think.

In my setup, they will be placed on a bookshelf in a 16'x20' room that is fairly live. Since the Absolute Zero is an enclosed design with bookshelf placement considered in the design, and with NHT usually making a warmer speaker, it seems like a good fit if the sound quality is up to par.

Any help is appreciated!
I have a friend using this same speaker with a Teac mini receiver and Teac mini CD/DVD player (500 series) in a similar sized room. She has the speakers on a glass shelf inside of an open back bookcase about 5 feet high and about 3 feet from the back wall. Signal Cable interconnects and speaker cables. The sound is impressive, no low bass, but a real sweet mid-range. If you want a bit of the lower bass, consider the NHT Classic 2.

Regards, Rich
Thanks, Rich.

I'm pretty sure the Absolute Zero is made to be used with a sub of some kind.

I'll be using the speakers with a Velodyne CT-120 sub, so I'm looking for the quality of the mid- and high-range response.
Thanks for the suggestion, Null. But, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, I'm placing the speakers on a bookshelf. Here are some details on that:

the bookshelf is backless and where the speaker sits it will have wood below it, above it, and to the right of it, but nowhere else. I heard the NHT Super Zero would be good in this position since it uses acoustic suspension rather than a ported design. I'm just wondering if anyone has actually listened to this speaker and has an opinion on it before I pursue finding some to test for myself.
The NHT's are one of the few speakers that I have experienced that do well with inside bookcase placement. I used a pair of NHT SB2's in this way for a number of years. With a backless bookcase, the NHT's should do even better. In my friend's set-up mentioned previously, her bookcase is more of an glass and wood, open rack affair. Her room has only window/venetian blinds and light rugs, so the room is pretty minimalist/live. I was very much taken with how good the system sounded. The music played was Talking Heads, Morrissey, and Sinatra.

Besides acoustic suspension design speakers, you can also consider front ported designs. For the money though ($260 a pair at J&R Music with free shipping), this speaker is very hard to beat.

FWIW, other speakers that I have tried with bookshelf placement and how they fared: B&W 302 (dreadful), EPOS ESL3 (boxy/ nothing special), Wharefedale Diamond 8"s and 9's (good/ much better on stands), Omega Super 3 (if you are not using tubes, don't bother. If you are, then very good), NHT SB2 (very good), Rega Ara (very good).

Regards, Rich
I don't know the A-Zero, but I believe that NHT makes (or used to make) a different bookshelf model that features adjustable dispersion for bookshelf vs open space placement. Might be worth checking out for your application.

As an additional note, I listen to acoustic guitar music, independent rock (The Shins, Aberfeldy, Decemberists, etc.), Classical, Jazz, a little Electronic, and Motown. Most of this is from very high bitrate (320kbps+)digital music. I also use the system for home theater 20% of the time.
May I suggest you look at the NHT Evolution M5 instead of AZs if you have to put them in/on a bookcase/shelf?

They have a boundary adjustment feature which drops output below 300 Hz -6 dbs to compensate for the natural boost these frequencies response will receive from the proximity to the boundaries (shelves and walls).

I had Classic Threes in such a placement situation, but switched them out for the Evo M5s, and it was a bog improvement.
I would love to go with the M5's because I have heard so many great things about them, but due to restraints from the significant other I will definitely be placing these speakers _on_ the shelf in a space this is fairly small (10.5h x 10w x 8d).

Have there really been so few people who have heard the NHT Absolute Zeros?
The Absolute Zero has existed under varying names for at least a dozen years. Each generation of the speaker has seen evolutionary type improvements. It is not that the Absolute Zero is worlds different than its predecessor, the SB-1. It is probably though, the best sounding incarnation of this speaker.

Regards, Rich
Then I guess I should rephrase the question to ask those who have listened to the Super Zero (the most current past incarnation) if they were impressed. So what do you say?
Hey Dust ...

Your ears are the best judge. You do have a local dealer ...


Regards, Rich
I actually bought the Classic 4's and ended up going back to my Dynaudio 1.3SE's. Not saying they were bad, I just think it was a different flavor. They were a bit cold in my opinion, and did not dissapear like the 1.3SE's. Then again, you are paying a pantload more for the 1.3SE's. Just my own thoughts.
Thank you for the info, Rich! I had searched online for any dealers in Cincinnati, but I didn't even check NHT site. Great call.

I really don't think I can do any better than these for the price I found for them online. The Dynaudio 1.3SE's are DEFINITELY out of my financial league.
I know.... I was actually looking at the Classic 3's... ugh. They really are great for the money. If I had to pick a monitor for $500.... it would be these. BUT, if you want to spend some more and watch a speaker disapear infront of you... ahhh yes... 1.3SE
I sell NHT speakers. The entire line is solid, if a bit clinical sounding, the AZs are no exception. Great value.
It seems like what most people agree on is that NHT is a great value. You get a sound that you would expect from a much more expensive speaker. And I think that's exactly what I'm looking for. I'm on a budget, and these will be the first "brand new" speakers I have ever bought (the rest of my system is used).

I like hearing what other people think about a speaker before buying it because some people can pick up on things that I may not notice until further down the road. They may notice good or bad qualities that I wouldn't hear immediately, but would like to take into consideration when making the purchase.

The problem is that with these particular speakers, I'm having a heck of a time finding a review! I thought for sure some people on Audiogon would have an opinion to share.

Thanks guys
These speakers will probably not come up for review, unless they are part of a review for a complete NHT home theatre speaker package and then the Zeroes would most likely be the surround speakers. Are you still resisting the suggestion to go hear them in person?

FWIW: Most folks on Audiogon are not fussing with $200 speakers. Not a value judgment, just an observation. I would try over at the Audio Asylum to see if anyone is chatting these speakers up .

Regards, Rich
Hmmm...seems like it would be a pity to disregard a speaker based on price. As I remember, Corey Greenberg at Stereophile magazine compared the Absolute Zero's predecessor (the Super Zero) to the $3,000 Proac Response 2 monitors at http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcomponents/804/index3.html .

I don't agree that "most folks" on audiogon don't want to talk about a good speaker just because they aren't ridiculously expensive. I think it might be more accurate to say that most great speakers don't usually come at a bargain price, and since Audigoners like to talk about great speakers, then they don't usually talk about speakers at a bargain price. This doesn't say anything about a great speaker at a low price though. Which is what the Absolute Zero may be.

Anyway, I'll post a review after I get them. Thanks!
hey dusty, hold on there pardner. i've owned nht 2.5 and given nht bookshelves as gifts. large and small. nht makes a good speaker. it just aint about price tho... yes for a mere $200? they are probably well worth it. BUT don't kid yourself into thinking they have the ability to recreate acoustical instrument musical sound to a well trained ear. it took me years to rediscover what truly hi end gear could do and i was always content during this learning process. many a-goners are just a little further down this road than you might be or maybe not. no big deal!:) i loved my 2.5's but my kestral 2's ARE more realistic at making MUSIC. if amazing sound were available cheap, trust me, we would be snapping it up. we are not all md's or hi fi snobs:)
No Stands for Absolute Zero.
I'm sure you made up your mind YEARS ago, if you did "pull the trigger" on the NHT Absolute Zeros I'm sure you've found that there's absolutely ZERO speakerstands available that will securely hold these speakers. Even buying the speakerstands recommended from the NHT HiFi site directly for the Absolutes you quickly find that none of the included brackets will work with these speakers.

-You can sit the speakers on a stand (and subject them to the risk that someone or something is eventually going to knock them over and ruin them); or you can make your own mounting system/bracket for these speakers (pretty ridiculous). -Those are your options.

Wall mount "omni" mount options exist, but if you want to create a 5.1 NHT Classic series system and your rear channels will be in the middle of the room and cannot be wall mounted, be prepared to be incredibly frustrated as countless NHT Absolute Zero buyers before you have been.
Actually, I can't speak to any experience with these speakers. As soon as I bought them, I included them in a trade for the Thiels that are in my system as of this posting. Best audio decision I ever made.

- Dusty