essence - Zu Audio

essence - Zu Audio
1 | 2012
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Thank you for your purchase of the Zu Audio Essence loudspeaker system. Every element is
designed for a lifetime of hassle-free high-performance playback. It’s our intent that these
loudspeakers exceed every reasonable expectation in product performance, quality, durability
and customer service, for as long as you own them.
Impressions of new realities struggle and flow—eventual transition.... Awareness of
surroundings, songs of tranquility and warning—history and intuition instruct that patterns of
sound have been a fundamental constant. Observance of nature, both physical and spiritual,
teach us of the endless interplay of vibrational forces.
While traveling the line of time we observe many periods of increased awakening and
technological advancement but none so powerful and rapid as that of the Scientific Revolution,
Enlightenment and the birth of modern physics. The dramatic increase of understanding
regarding possibility, vibration and energy coincide with our collective ability to listen and
express patterns of life. David Toop in his book Ocean Of Sound paints a powerful image of
our modern musical creativity: “...Starting with Debussy in 1889, is an erosion of categories,
a peeling open of systems to make space for stimuli, new ideas, new now, this environment
included sounds of the world—previously unheard musics and ambient sounds of all
kinds, urban noise and bioacoustics... unfamiliar tuning system and structuring principles,
improvisation and chance.”
Welcome to Zu
Never leave children unattended in your playback room. Even though Essence has a wide base
and takes a fair amount of torque to knock it over, care should be taken to prevent accidents.
(Besides, you already know if you let them in your room uneducated and unattended they are
going to bust your needle, play catch with your discs, bend your tube pins, and write their name
on your new leather chair—good secondary reasons for spending time with ‘em. So hang with
your kids, grand kids, and neighbor kids, listen to some great music together, teach ‘em about
playback and great music. Introduce them to Lucinda Williams, The Clash, Miles, Hendrix,
Beethoven, Zeppelin, Sinatra, Rush, Silver Jews, Debussy, Woody Guthrie, Deep Purple,
Wagner, Black Keys, Marty Robbins, Kyuss, Spoon, Steve Earle, Sabbath, Velvet Underground,
Eels, CVB, Joanna Newsome, Ry Cooder, Cash, Ryan Adams, Zappa, John Prine, The Who,
Ian McKay, Zakk Wylde, Sex Pistols, Julian Cope, Alice In Chains, Legendary Pink Dots... the
Stones, Charlie Parker, Hank Williams, Elvis, Beetles and Mozart.)
The Essence loudspeaker system is not intended for outdoor use, do not expose to
rain or moisture.
Also, we recommend unplugging your loudspeakers, main amplifier(s) and electronics during
lightning storms or when the playback system will not be used for an extended period of time.
CAUTION: the tweeter used in the Essence will be damaged if blown on with compressed
air, tearing the aluminum foil diaphragm. Never use compressed air on Essence without first
protecting the ribbon by masking the opening closed with tape; don’t package or transport them
without protecting the tweeters with masking tape. Avoid blowing on them. Apart from wind
damage the ribbon tweeter is a solid and a tough design, but in the event that you let your kids
play with the compressed air hose around your speakers, and a tweeter was torn, please give us
a call and we’ll get you fixed up.
WARNING: Electrocution through loudspeaker cable is possible, though very unlikely. Still,
to avoid electrocution make sure your amplifying gear is switched off prior to connecting
or disconnecting. This will also reduce the possibility for accidental damage to your audio
WARNING: Essence loudspeakers are heavy enough that we recommend you have a second
person assist you.
WARNING: Essence loudspeaker drive units create stray magnetic fields that extend far beyond
the boundaries of the cabinet. We recommend you keep magnetically sensitive electronics and
media at least two feet [.7m] from the loudspeaker.
WARNING: Essence loudspeakers are capable of extreme sound levels, play responsibly.
If caution is not exercised your hearing will be damaged. And your neighbors will either hate
you or want to party with you.
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Essence features our new FlexPak foam-encapsulating shipping containers. They are extremely
protective, lightweight, simple, and reusable.
WARNING: practice good lifting techniques (squat down, use your legs, keep your chest up),
consider getting a friend to help. Each packaged loudspeaker weighs about 75 pounds [34kg].
CAUTION, watch out for snaps, rivets, jewelry, and belt buckle scratching the cabinets when
positioning the loudspeakers.
1. Make sure your path is clear and your room is made as open as possible. If lifting is
required, lift with your legs and not your back, and if you are not accustomed to lifting, get
the assistance of a friend.
2. Lay a moving blanket, or similar, down on your floor.
3. Using a hand truck to make it easier, wheel one packaged loudspeaker into the room and
lay it on its side.
NOTE: Shipping companies are not allowed to enter your house, if you are nice they will
likely wheel the speakers right up to your door. But even if you give them a big tip, they are
not going to lend any muscle inside your home.
4. Cut the banding with a knife, and while still laying down, cut the tape securing the tabs on
either end of the box. You do not need to cut the box off the speaker, be nice to your box
and save the packaging.
5. Sit down in front of one of the open ends, grab the box flaps with your hands, and with your
feet press the foam encapsulated loudspeaker out the other end.
6. With the loudspeaker still horizontal, remove one of the foam halves, then gently roll the
loudspeaker over and remove the other foam half. Leave the plastic wrap on. Careful of the
lower rear portion of the loudspeaker where the binding posts are located.
7. With the loudspeaker still horizontal and wrapped in plastic, confirm the ball-end footers are
installed in the base. If the loudspeakers will be standing on carpet or on a rug, peel back
the plastic wrap to expose the base and feet, remove the ball-end studs and replace them
with the supplied spikes.
8. Lifting the top of the speaker, pivot onto its feet.
9. Move the loudspeaker into position and then remove the plastic wrap.
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Essence loudspeakers get 260 hours or more of factory burn-in, they will sound good right out of
the box but will not give you their best for a few weeks, depending on how much play, and how cold
they got in shipping, as well as what kind of music they see. If shipped in the winter months you can
expect them to need the first week to warm up and start sounding good, not sure why, it just is.
Remove the protective plastic shipping discs covering the full-range drivers. (Yes, there have been
a few times “speakers didn’t sound right” just to find out the full-range shipping discs were still in
place.) In addition to the installed ball-end footers (for hard surface flooring) Essence also ship with
spikes that are to be used to punch through and anchor the speaker on carpets and rugs.
While your initial placement for the Essence loudspeakers may not be the acoustic ideal, know
they are not hyper-sensitive to where in your room they are placed and you should get satisfactory
performance from most any position. Nevertheless, you will be rewarded if you work on setting
them up for the best sound. The following details may assist you in the pursuit of tone, texture, and
realistic stereophonic recreation. Loudspeakers should be placed to work with the natural acoustics
of the room rather than fight them. The following basic points should be followed.
Turn your electronics off before disconnecting and connecting your loudspeakers.
Connect loudspeaker and amplifier RED to RED | BLACK to BLACK.
Position left and right speakers symmetrically (classic stereo arrangement but wider) for best
stereophonic playback.
Point Essence loudspeaker directly at central listing seat for greatest intimacy.
Point Essence loudspeakers directly forward for less treble and more diffused playback.
Subtle changes to cabinet rotation (toe-in) and tilt (canting) significantly change sound.
Experiment with placement to get best sound.
A great setup book is Jim Smith’s, Get Better Sound. Self published,
Hard surface ball-end feet have been pre-installed in the Essence loudspeakers and carpet
spikes have been included in the package. Ball-end footers are more gentle on hard surface
flooring but will mar it, especially if slid. We recommend you lift and move the loudspeakers
to avoid damage. For carpeted floors we recommend that you use the supplied spikes. Spikes
provide increased support to the loudspeaker, allowing it to couple with the structure of the floor
and not wobble about on the carpet. Carpet spikes will also reduce permanent carpet or rub
impression from the loudspeaker.
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Place the speakers where you had planned. Connect the loudspeaker cables: red to red, black
to black on both the amplifier and loudspeaker. Put some music on and light ‘em up. Now, take
fifteen minutes and read the rest of this booklet. Essence loudspeakers are burned-in at the
factory and should sound good right out of the box provided the amplifier is happy. If at first
you find them restrained and aggressive, relax, they will come around.... If you position and
tune them for best sound during the first week or two please take time to retune after they have
opened up.
Essence, like most Zu loudspeakers are not overly sensitive to placement. However, for
best sound we recommend you take time to optimize and integrate the loudspeakers with
the acoustic nature of the living room or space, as well as optimizing for your sonic quality
preferences. But for now, lets just get them up and running and sounding good, in a place
within the room that you, your family and friends can appreciate and live with. After all, if you
don’t have convenience and good looks from your playback system, you aren’t going to get the
amount of use you desire.
From an architectural and room usage point of view, position the loudspeakers to balance the
natural seating / facing position within the room. Architecture that is livable and attractive
almost always sounds good, loudspeakers that look out of place within a room usually sound
out of place. And as with art of this size (monoliths, pottery, statuettes...) Essence loudspeakers
need enough open space to both visually and audibly appear relaxed. Loudspeakers crammed
up against the wall, corner, furniture, or other pieces of art, do not look good and do not sound
as good as they could. The amount of free-space is usually predicated by the room size and
shape, bigger rooms with higher open areas seem to demand more free space around the
loudspeakers. Smaller rooms require less. No ruler required, what looks good will very likely
sound good. If you hold convincing stereophonic recreation as a desirable sonic attribute (we
do, but know for some stereophony is a secondary, or even unimportant aspect of fidelity;
and yes there are good reasons for it, maybe Phil Spector really did have it right—just about
recording and playback, assumed I’m sure) then you must also work in symmetry. For good twochannel stereo loudspeakers must be precisely mirrored, left / right, and facing the focal point
of the room. This aspect is detailed in the following pages.
The Zu approach to be reasoned out as you fine-fine your playback system to your room is this:
we feel Essence or any loudspeakers should be placed to work with the natural acoustics of the
room rather than fight them, and in most every case, where they will sound best is also where
they will look best.
Professional audio engineers aside, we strongly recommend that you place your speakers with
your eyes and ears first. Audiophiles, please fight the urge to set them up based on what has
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been handed out in the popular magazines and internet. Generally, the information found is
over simplified, or complicated, and wrapped in jargon, thus obscuring the problem and the
solution. If you are a student of Olson, Jeans, Rayleigh, and the like, do your thing, and realize
there is a strong aesthetic undertone in most all great works of acoustics.
Again, getting good sound is not as hard as you might think, so long as you... yep, think with
your eyes and ears and not with your brain. What most of us regard as architecturally attractive
is at least subconsciously influenced by how a structured space sounds.
Laying out a system based on room flow and visual appeal usually results in good sound, and
speakers shoved in corners are not an example of appealing visual integration. If you only have
a random or even less than scholarly understanding of acoustics we again encourage you to
plan with your eyes and ears, and less with your brain and measuring tape. Nevertheless, these
finer points, which require such tools, are present on the following pages.
Whatever the reason, the current consumer playback world is generally lost in its conception
of acoustics and the nature of sound—much has been written in the hi-fi world but little of it is
genuine. For a great nontechnical loudspeaker setup book, get Jim Smith’s, Get Better Sound.
Self published,
Recommended works on the subject of acoustics representing a good cross-section include:
Helmholtz, Hermann L. F., On The Sensations of Tone, 4th ed. trans. Alexander J. Ellis (Dover,
1954. Original 1885-77)
Rayleigh, J.W.S. Baron, The Theory of Sound, 2nd ed. Vol. 1 & 2, (Dover, 1945. Original 1894)
Lamb, Horace, Sir, The Dynamical Theory of Sound, 2nd ed. (Dover, 1960. Original 1925)
Jeans, James, Sir, Science & Music, (Dover. Original 1937)
Olson, Harry F., Music, Physics and Engineering (Musical Engineering), 2nd ed. (Dover, 1967.
Original 1952 & 1967)
Benade, Arthur H., Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics, 2nd ed. (Dover, 1976, 1990)
Kinsler, Frey, Coppens, and Sanderds, Fundamentals of Acoustics, 3rd ed. (Wiley, 1982)
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There are two main areas of fidelity if bandwidth, dynamic range, and group delay (more or less
timing) are assumed—and dynamic range, bandwidth and group delay are largely set by the
system and the user can’t really tune these elements anyway—they are tone, (tone as used by
Helmholtz and further defined by guitarist everywhere) and stereophonic realism (“soundstage”
as is the hi-fi jargon) which is the ability to recreate three-dimensionality.
Traditional musical instruments are tuned around the concept of tone, and not stereo. If your
playback system doesn’t do tone little else matters (to the majority anyway). So if you want to
hear what Mike Watt is doing with his 1963 Gibson EB-3 bass guitar, or tell it apart from a 1966
Fender Mustang, focus on building tone in your room and system and forget the stereophonic.
Once you have tone and texture, then move to dialing in the stereophonic aspects of playback.
NOTE: How and where the loudspeakers excite a room and how a room reacts are relative to the
type and source of excitation and room reactance—a function of boundaries (walls, floors, etc.);
boundary properties (mass, compliance, Q, damping, texture and structure); area impedances
(shape, volume); diffusion and absorption (furnishings, people, flooring, etc.); source and type
of wave excitation (loudspeaker design and placement); resonators (closets, forced air ducting,
hallways, etc.); even atmospheric pressure and humidity, though very minor, will influence
sound. While the above are beyond the scope of this manual, the recommendations and listed
books will start you down the proper acoustic path. Now, with your loudspeakers positioned for
visual appeal, livability and fidelity, you can now begin fine-tuning. This involves three major
steps: in sequence they are bass, mids and treble. If you can’t fine-tune your system within an
evening or two please contact us, we’re here to help.
If you have one loudspeaker that is framed with more wall space than the other, this is the
loudspeaker you will fine-tune and then simply mirror the other. Select recordings with large
amounts of sustained low frequency information; dramatic pipe organ and dance music work, as
do test recordings that have warbled low frequency tracks (50—100Hz range). Note that steadystate sine, triangle and square wave signals prove very difficult to interpret. Bass information
with some transient content will enable the listener to make fast work of fine-tuning.
With the loudspeaker playing at a moderate level, (VERY IMPORTANT—only the ‘tuning
loudspeaker’ should be connected and ‘on’) walk over and kneel down next to it. Kneeling
will put your head in the seated listening horizontal plane and allow you to hear how the
loudspeaker integrates with the room. Now move your head and ears in all directions around
the vertical axis of the loudspeaker, say a few feet or so [0.5m] on all sides. It’s big bass
waves we are listening to here (envision the size of North Shore surf, moving at the speed of
sound, moving around, impinging and bounding off all the walls in your home. Yep, bass waves
are big). Listen to the fidelity of the bass, does it sound woolly and muddy right behind the
loudspeaker? Is the bass more defined a bit to the left or right? If the bass sounds better a bit
to the left, move the loudspeaker to this position and then listen again. Remember, moving the
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sound source also changes how the room reacts, so with each move, you should also listen in
your listening seat and attempt to confirm and corollate your observations at both positions.
Complicated rooms can be further modeled by walking about the whole room, noting nodes and
anti-nodes (peaks) within bass octaves. If you aren’t hearing much, move on, you could have it
nailed or have a great sounding room; or your ears really are painted on and should send your
speaks back for refund.
For problem rooms there is also a good technique referred to as ‘listener mirroring’, please read
carefully, mirrors confuse. Put one loudspeaker in the spot you want your listening area to be.
Face this loudspeaker, the one now standing where your listening chair would be, toward the
spot you want to place the loudspeaker. Now play the bass-heavy material, then walk over and
listen in the area you want the loudspeaker to be. Find the good sounding spot, this will most
likely the best sounding spot to then place your loudspeaker.
Once the lower octaves are sounding good, natural and vibrant midrange and treble can then
be dialed in. Before you begin, it’s important to understand a few details about midrange
tuning. While similar to that of bass, midrange is a task of inches [decimeters] rather than feet
[meters], and upper octaves a matter of fractions of an inch [centimeters] and loudspeaker
firing axis (wavefront and where they face). And while midrange and treble changes can be
heard at the ‘being positioned loudspeaker’, it is much more helpful to have a friend do the
positioning while you listen from the sweet spot/listening position. Select lighter recordings for
this—singer-songwriter, folk, jazz, space-ambient, violin solos, acoustic guitar, and so on—
music with good overtone color and not too heavy.
Staying with the same loudspeaker tuned for low frequencies, (remember you only tune one
channel and then mirror its mate) and with your favorite light recording playing, start tuning for
mids and highs. Move the speaker toward the closest wall an inch or two at a time [3—6cm].
The sweet spot observer, and possibly the person positioning the loudspeaker, should notice
midrange color and presence transition from low and masked to open and intimate—that’s
the goal anyway. There may be several spots within the good sounding bass area that have
good presence, go with the widest point (closest to the wall) for an expansive and engaging
stereophonic soundscape. Don’t worry about center focus, Essence loudspeakers throw an
expansive and focused image (provided it’s in the recording and passes unhindered through the
electronics—there’s nothing worse than some stupid whizbang technology forever synthesizing
space and tone).
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Once a midrange position is selected it’s time to work on the highest octaves. This is usually
as simple as rotating the Essence loudspeaker to face directly at the seated listener—pivoting
the speaker on its front inside spike. Now listen again for soprano voice and light instrument
openness and intimacy, minor placement adjustments and face angle will likely be necessary.
Realize that best placement may change with speaker age, electronics upstream, and other
variables. The simple guideline is if it’s a bit treble rich, rotate each speaker to focus behind the
main listening area a few feet—experiment. And yes, this same technique works for other Zu
speakers, and most others you might be proud to own.
Spikes for carpet, ball-end studs for hard surface floors. Once positioned and tuned-in, your
last step is to level the loudspeakers by adjusting the spike or ball-end studs. Each loudspeaker
should stand straight and level and all four contact points should be equally weighted. If you
have a high listening position, or would like a greater sense of image height, you can cant the
loudspeakers back, lowering the rear feet / rasing the front feet. This rotates and elevates the
stereophonic image. Just be sure the left and right loudspeakers both have the same amount of
canting. And yes, you can use spikes in the front and ball-end studs in the rear for even more
dramatic angles. As always, experiment and have fun.
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Recommended tools: tape measure, masking tape, Strait-Line® intersect laser level, or similar
(inexpensive and useful for leveling wall art when you aren’t using it for fiddling with your hi-fi).
With the one loudspeaker now tuned and sounding good, getting convincing two-channel
stereophonic effect is now simply a matter of measuring and mirroring. Don’t fuss over whether
or not your loudspeakers are perfectly square with the walls, or get obsessive with the room’s
mathematical relationship. To do so is to waste time and possibly mess things up. Trust what
you’ve already established with your single-channel effort so forget about everything other than
establishing your center plane and mirroring the other channel.
In the mono ‘speaker you established two points of reference that will now establish your twochannel stereo mirror plane. Those points are your seating position and your tuned loudspeaker.
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(Reference illustration—two-channel stereophonic loudspeaker setup)
1) Measure and note the distance from the wall behind to the positioned
loudspeaker’s inside forward base corner.
2) Sit in your center seat, mark the center spot of the floor right between your feet
with a bit of masking tape.
3) With the Strait-Line® intersect laser level in hand, stand and walk straight ahead
to the facing wall. Butt the intersect laser level up against the wall and position the
laser so the side plane laser indicator runs parallel with the wall, and the center plane
intersects your seating center mark.
4) From the wall, along the center laser mark pointing at your chair, measure the
same distance as in step one, and mark with a bit of tape. These two points establish
your stereo center plane.
5) Move the intersect laser level forward so the intersection is on that bit of masking
tape nearest the wall and the center laser mark intersects your seating center mark.
This should result in the orthogonal laser striking the tuned loudspeaker right on the
inside front corner.
6) Measure and note the distance from the laser intersect to the point of laser contact
(inside front base corner) on the positioned loudspeaker.
7) Reflect this distance on the other side of the stereo plane, marking the mirrored
distance with tape.
8) Now place the second speaker’s inside front corner on this mark and approximate
the toe-in by pivoting it on this inside front corner. If fine tuning of toe-in is needed
pivot either loudspeaker on the front inside corner footer only. This will keep the
mirrored stereo relationship the same and you won’t have to get the laser and tape
measure out every time you mess with toe-in.
9) While you can also use lasers to adjust and ensure mirrored stereo toe-in, we
recommend that initially you eyeball it based on the amount and angle of the
loudspeaker’s visible inside cabinet edge. Before you get “laser crazy” with toe-in
we highly recommend that after you get close, by eyeballing it, you then level your
loudspeakers, or start messing with firing axis (canting and elevation, which Essence
is sensitive to) for which the laser is also a very handy, sometimes essential tool.
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The most common abuse in hi-fi is to use cable as a form of tone control. Doing so usually leads
to frustration and further loss of fidelity. When cable affects timbre it affects timing, phase,
frequency response, and so on. Avoid using cables as tone controls.
Timbre problems are usually solved with loudspeaker break-in and correct loudspeaker
placement. If the cable has good properties relative to phase, gain, group delay, impedance,
and bandwidth, it will likely convey with fidelity the transmitted emotion and color. As an aside,
avoid taking other people’s opinions on cable as gospel—just because a reviewer makes blanket
statements about cable “sound” means little relative to your rig and your ears. So trust your own
ears, they’re yours for a reason. Also, bear in mind that just because you had a good sound with
cable A on loudspeaker X does not mean that cable A will be a good system match for Essence
For best stereophonic imaging you should run matched pairs of left / right cable of the same
length. If tone is more your thing and stereophonic effect is not so important then length
matching of left / right channels is not critical.
While insulation, jacket materials, pigments, conductor shape, metallurgy and structure are
important (yep, they really are), all pale into insignificance compared to the influence of
electrostatic / electromagnetic forces, virtual ground plane, and conductor relational geometry.
It is the E&M model, or cable geometry, that largely determines a cable’s measured attributes.
Improvements that will be noticed from well engineered cables such as ours should include:
enhanced bass depth and resolution, lower system noise floor, richer harmonic structure and
timbre, faster attack, greater stereophonic accuracy and an overall ease of listening—simply a
lot closer to real and satisfying and a lot further from typical hi-fi animation. But this assumes
you are striving for the natural. Preferences in playback are just that, and individual enjoyment
really is the goal, and not some ideal of what playback should be. Yes you can strongly feel our
hepcat bias, but that’s just us—do what makes you happy, and hopefully it includes some Zu.
The grille on the Essence is designed to offer true protection for the drivers. Unlike basic cloth
grilles which are largely cosmetic; the aluminum grilles, with the ball and socket fastening, look
great and keep everything safe from all sorts of accidents. To put the grille on, simply line up
the pins with the sockets and press. To remove, unplug one socket corner at a time. If the grille
becomes bent simply reform it by hand and it’s good to go.
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Zu finishes of all types are engineered for a lifetime of trouble free good looks. Just wipe ‘em
down whenever you feel the need. A lightly damp microfiber cloth or chamois is recommended.
Wood finishes are impregnated with a sealer and state-of-the-art conversion varnish top coats
and are highly water resistant but are not waterproof. You can use any household wood finish
cleaner / wax / polish you like, as well as the mentioned damp chamois or microfiber cloth.
High gloss finishes do not need any additional UV or other protection and we do not recommend
wax or UV protective sprays. For serious cleaning and polishing on the gloss finishes, we
recommend 3M® Perfect-It™ 3000 Glaze Polish or equivalent. All our painted finishes are top
shelf, super durable, waterproof, and will remain so for decades, even in direct sunlight.
Dusting of the 10” full-range drivers should only be done with hand-held compressed air as
used in photograph and sensitive electronics dusting. Or, if you are careful, you can use a
very soft brush or even your bare hand to dust the full-range driver—but I would stick to the
compressed air. And as for the tweeter, not much you can bungle there.
The unplated pure copper binding post terminals should be cleaned once or twice a year using
the supplied polishing compound. Once you have cleaned and polished the binding posts and
spade lugs (if you are also using our unplated pure copper spade lugs) avoid touching the
spades or the binding posts. Keeping the contacts free of the halides on your skin help ensure a
long term and trouble free connection.
Instructions for cleaning and polishing the binding posts.
1. Wash your hands with soap and water prior to cleaning the terminals.
2. Completely remove the binding post knob and black plastic clamping block. This will make
for easy access of the copper lugs.
3. Using the supplied pink colored polish cloth (labeled “copper polish”) rub the exposed
copper lug until it is clean, usually about 15 to 30 seconds is all that is needed.
4. Before the polish dries, wipe polish off the copper lugs with the supplied buffing cloth.
5. Refit the black plastic clamping block, red mark up, and binding post clamping knob.
6. Again wash your hands with soap and water. The pink polishing cloth does contain a small
amount of petroleum distillate.
The supplied pink polishing cloth is good for roughly ten years or one hundred binding post
cleaning’s and should be stored and tightly sealed to keep it from drying out. The pink polishing
cloth should be replaced if it becomes dry or if it becomes excessively dirty (all black and gray
with no pink). If you are also using our loudspeaker cable fitted with our pure copper spade
lugs, we recommend that you clean your spades the same time that you clean the binding
posts. Polish each spade for 15 to 30 seconds then buff with a buffing cloth.
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All parts used within Essence are 100% recyclable. They do not contain any toxic material.
Any Zu product or part may be sent back to Zu, free of charge, for proper re-use or disposal.
Zu Essence loudspeakers are RoHS compliant (European Union’s Directive 2002/95/EC,
Restrictions of Hazardous Substances), and therefore do not contain any of the following
substances: mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), polybrominated
biphenyls (PBB), or polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). Additionally, Zu Essence
loudspeakers do not contain beryllium (Be). They are classified as a lifetime life-cycle product
and will most likely be in service for well over 50 years.
We at Zu take pride in hard work, innovation, engineering and manufacturing know-how, and at
the end of it, an honest, well built, kick-ass product. We also love to get out and enjoy life and
embrace all that the world has to offer.
Zu is sincere in its search for real environmental, human and ecology-friendly manufacturing;
no fluffy feel-good bullshit, just the real deal; and not because of some great googly moogly
“climate change” geopolitical power play nonsense. It’s simple isn’t it? People like being healthy
and enjoying blue skies, green hills and wildlife. We keep our impact to a minimum because we
get out and enjoy nature and don’t want to muck it up.
Zu makes good stuff, products that last, things you can pass down to your kids and their kids,
stuff that isn’t going to end up in landfills. Want to make a difference? Do a little research on
your own before you fall for hype, support a cause, discriminate, or purchase a product. The
people driving and building Zu believe that manufacturers and users have equal responsibility
and an obligation to their respective communities. Users and producers must search for real
solutions and maximize their positive impact on family, community, nature, and technology.
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Essence is a high-efficiency, high-output, direct radiating floor standing loudspeaker. It features a full-range Zu
designed and built driver, full implementation of the Zu-Griewe loading technology with fixed gap, no crossover or filters
on full-range driver, complimented by a high output transformer coupled ribbon tweeter to provide the sparkle and
resolution from 12 kHz and up.
January 2009—
Dimensions H x W x D
Acoustic Center
Horizontal Listening Window
Vertical Listening Window
Recommended Listening Distance
Recommended Connector
Accepted Connectors Via Adapter
Internal Cabling
Power Recommendations
49 x 12 x 12 [125 x 30.5 x 30.5cm] // footprint is 12.5” [32cm] square
67 pounds [30kg] // may vary with finish selection
FlexPak foam encapsulated 54 x 17 x 17” [137 x 43 x 43cm] 75 pounds [34kg]
97dB SPL @ 1W, 1m
12Ω, nominal full bandwidth
40” [101cm]
4 feet [1m] or more
1/4” fork spade [6.3mm] or oversized 5/16” [8mm] fork spade
the above plus bare wire (banana plugs in a pinch)
Zu Mission cable harness, pure copper, approximate conductor area is 13AWG per charge
2—8 watt (average room, moderate volume)
8—32 watt (large room, loud listening)
32—90 watt (large room, concert levels)
200 watt (maximum input power)
Amplification Considerations
all types, tubes and solid-state, anything that sounds good.
Component Tolerance
Tweeter Detail
High-Pass Detail
Full-range Driver Array Detail
drivers 1% pair matching, 0.01% on electrical components
1x TB-1855S-B ribbon, final foil adjustment and assembly by Zu // bandwidth: 12k—40kHz+
2nd order bessel @ 18kHz (12kHz acoustical) Kimber Kap 2uF + 2.0mH
1x Zu260FRD/G4/ESSENCE full-range driver // bandwidth: 30—12kHz (direct and unfiltered)
Spike / Feet Insert Thread
Included With Loudspeaker
Loudspeaker Options
Life Expectancy
Manufacturers Country Of Origin
Compliances of Directives
Warranty & Service
MDF / Baltic or Finish birch
3/8–16 TPI, 9/16” hex nut, 14mm wrench can be used
2x hard press-on full-range driver covers, installed
8x hard surface stainless ball-end feet / 8x stainless 9/16” [14mm] jam nuts, installed
8x long carpet spikes, 1x connector cleaning kit, 1x finish cleaning cloth, 1x instruction booklet
custom finish work
40 years; cabinet, and the Zu 10” drivers; 15 years on TB-1855S-B ribbon (foil will likely need replacement)
U.S.A. all parts and labor excluding the TB ribbon tweeter which is a product of Taiwan
5 years limited on cabinet and drivers—warranty does not cover misuse, abuse, components upstream from the
loudspeaker system, modifications or non-factory service.
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Zu products are designed and manufactured to the highest quality. However, if something does go wrong
Zu will fix or replace the product free of charge. Zu Essence loudspeakers have a five year limited warranty
from date of purchase to original owner. If under normal home use you have any problems with drivers,
cable, parts, cabinet, we will fix or replace the product. Loudspeaker warranty and service can usually be
performed by the user, also known as DIY service, in such cases Zu will provide full technical support.
This provides faster repair of product (reducing down time is always good), minimizes handling hassle and
damage potential to both Zu and you, and reduces shipping costs.
Zu loudspeaker finish warranty covers color changes in paint, finish checking, and oxidizing. Wood finishes
are not guaranteed against fading and you should keep them out of direct sunlight, just like a piano. While
every effort is made to ensure a perfect finish that will last a lifetime, this warranty does not cover damage
from impact and abrasion; or seam / core construction visibilities in extreme high temperature / high
humidity environments.
Zu products are designed to be used in temperature and humidity controlled environments, namely your
home or office unless otherwise stated. Warranty does not cover loudspeaker finish damage caused by the
extremes of an uncontrolled environment.
If in the highly unlikely event that a Zu product arrives to you dead on arrival (D.O.A.), and after discussing
it with a Zu tech, we will ship another of the same product at our expense and arrange for the D.O.A.
product to be collected. If after inspection we find that you have misrepresented a returned product’s
condition, and that it was improperly handled or used, Zu will charge you for all damaged parts, labor,
shipping and handling of the product.
Warranty does not apply to damage caused by operating the product outside the intended use, accident,
another product, misuse, abuse, flood, fire, earthquake or any other external causes. Warranty does not
cover damage caused by modification or service performed by anyone other than a Zu representative.
Cosmetic damage is also excluded from warranty, as is all product that has any part of the Zu serial
number removed.
When a product or part is exchanged the replacement becomes your property and the suspect or damaged
part becomes Zu’s property. Parts provided by Zu must be used in products for which the warranty service
is claimed.
If warranty becomes necessary, you must call or email for a return of material authorization (R.M.A.)
number, or to arrange for user serviceable parts. This provides opportunity to assist in diagnosing the
problem and helps us to schedule for rapid turnaround in the event that parts, service or repair is needed.
Upon factory inspection of parts or product, warranty eligibility will be determined. While service options,
parts availability and response times will vary, we do our best to keep you happy. International customers
should know that Zu will comply with all applicable export / import laws and regulations, you may be
responsible for custom duties, taxes, broker fees, freight, and other charges. When shipping of product
or part is required, repackage the complete product, or part, in its original packaging. If you have any
questions about packaging please call or email. Product damage caused from incorrect repackaging is not
eligible for refund or warranty and the freight company may also reject your insurance claim. Until we have
the product back in the shop and sign-off that it is eligible, the product is still your property, we recommend
you insure or declare the full value when shipping. We also recommend that you only ship with a freight
company that has a good reputation and offers tracking and insurance for the full amount.
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Ogden Commercial Industrial Park
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