We don't manufacture TVs, cameras, or iPods, but American products still dominate the world market for upscale audio. Take Zu Audio. Founded at the beginning of the century, it's based in Ogden, Utah, and its speakers are sold all over the world. I recently wrote about the company's Soul Superfly speaker for Tone Audio Magazine, and you can read the complete review there.
One of the things that first attracted me to Zu was that its design methodology is more musical and less measurement-oriented than most, which is not to say Zu's engineering is completely seat-of-the-pants, just that the end result is a sound that is, well, different from what I was used to.
I've used a number of Zu speakers in my system over the years, so I wasn't surprised to hear that the Soul Superfly ($3,000 a pair) sounded like no other box speaker. The speaker makes a strong statement, very in-your-face, very rock and roll, and I love it.
Since all Zu speakers feature a 10.3-inch full-range driver that covers bass, midrange, and well up into the treble, Zu speakers don't have crossover networks, so your amplifier directly plays the driver without an inductor, capacitor, or resistor in-line. That direct-coupled strategy yields all sorts of sonic dividends. The Soul Superfly's immediacy and vivid clarity are matched by few box speakers in its price class.
The Soul Superfly's 1-inch dome tweeter is mounted in a beautifully machined aluminum flared horn. It comes in at a very high frequency, 10kHz; while most tweeters on two- or three-way designs are crossed over much lower, typically between 1.2kHz and 4kHz. Zu's approach makes for a dramatic difference in the way the speaker puts sound in the room. Oh, boy, does it ever!… Read more