What amp are you using with your Zu Essences?

Just a scored a pair of these and I was just wondering what people were pairing up with them. I've heard they work best with tubes. Has anyone tried solid state or Class D and then moved to tubes? How many or how few watts have worked for you? Thanks in advance for any stories.
Just thought I would chime in one more time. I have about 150 hours in on my Manley Steelhead which is partnered with my Manley 300B amps-- replacing the receiver that was performing stand-in until the Steelhead arrived. After replacing a tube in the 300B that was apparently functioning but not at peak and inserting the Steelhead into the mix, I couldn't be happier with the sound.

With the Steelhead/300B combo, the Essence throws a huge wall-to-wall soundstage that starts slightly in front of the speakers and extends back through the rear wall of my room. In SET mode, they are absolutely stunning on small ensemble music or acoustic. It's pretty exciting to have Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, and Van Morrison lifesize and in 3D in the room. Plus, if I want slightly better dynamics, I just switch the 300B's into PP mode. In PP, the 300B's have all the drive that the Essence will ever need in my room.

Upon final assessment, wihtout the option of switching between SET and PP, I would recommend at least 15 watts of SET or PP power to really experience all of the dynamics of which the Essence is capable. 24 watts of PP 300B power is more than sufficient. If you are not listening at moderately high to high listening levels on large-scale classical (e.g. Mahler) or on something like electronica (e.g. Massive Attack) then less watts would be just fine.


Hey Morgan, I did not have the amps side by side, and there was a two month gap between the PX-25 leaving and Jota HC arriving. But from memory, the biggest difference I can remember is the PX-25 being slightly warmer and fuller, while the Jota is more dynamic / explosive (prob due to the headroom based on the power difference) and little more towards the neutral side. I also think I'm getting a more holographic soundstage with the Jota. Other variables in play.. the PX-25 had a Goldpoint attenuator built in, while the Jota does not. I began using a Lighter Note attenuator with the Jota. So you can see, not really apples to apples.
Okay the jury is in for me. The KT-94s in my LA Audio 100r really are beasts. They could drive a truck through a wall. People may say that the Essence is refined, but not with these tubes--my Essences are clearly hard rock speakers now. There's some bloom in the bass that I'm not fond of, but for being as sensitive as they are the Essences really do crave power. A further benefit is that the LA Audio 100r brings balance to the attack; they curb the ribbon's natural etching affect which gets rid of any listener fatigue, but still provides more than adequate detail and transparency as can be got with a Zu product.

The Sharp digital amp I used to run these on really was a detail freak and made taut every bass note, but it's a 5500 dollar integrated 10 years ago and so should do somethings expertly, but it never got the mid-range right, suffering from a dose of sterility.