The Zu Audio room is always done up as a dark, and mysterious playground that isolates visitors from all sorts of distractions visually and sonically. The space is large, but it’s just you and the Zu Audio system. Much like a sparring match, you engage the music, but never in a full-out fight — its testing you.
At Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019, it was more of what Zu Audio is known for. The Druid 6 ($9,999 pr USD) towers [reviewed here], Omen Dirty-Weekend ($999 pr USD) towers, and the recent Submission 6 ($5,900 USD) subwoofer that were the talk of the show. I spoke to Zu Audio founder and designer Sean Casey about the new Submission 6 subwoofer, but first let’s talk about the room as it was dark, and you might have missed what was in the room.
Off to one side, a DJ’s table with a MoFi Ultradeck ($1,999 USD) and Denon VL12 ($899 USD) turntables, possibly connected to an unknown fader. Along with a Rupert Neve Designs RNHP ($499 USD) headphone amplifier, and the all-new FIDELICE ($999 USD) phono-preamplifier that is also made by Rupert Neve Designs.
At the center of the stage-wall, a Zu Audio Modern Console ($12,900 USD) held all of the other electronics used at the show. Which included a sources from HoloAudio Spring Kitsuné ($1,499 USD) DAC, Pass Labs HPA-1 ($3,500 USD) Line-Stage, and XP-17 ($5,800 USD) Phono Stage fed from a MoFi Ultradeck ($1,999 USD) turntable with Zu Audio’s own Zu/DL-103 MkII ($499 USD) phono-cartridge, and GrooveTracer Counterweight ($159 USD).
Amplification alternated throughout the RMAF 2019 weekend, and was limited to three choices. The Pass Labs XA25 ($4,900 USD) solid-state amplifier, Ampsandsound Casablanca ($4,600 USD) tube-amplifier, and First Watt F7 ($3,000 USD) solid-state amplifier. Cabiling was entirely from Zu Audio’s product line: Mission MkII Interconnects ($175 USD), Event MkII Speaker ($400 USD) and Power ($800 USD). For what often seems like a spartan room put on by Zu Audio, there really is a lot of gear in the show system.
About the Submission 6 ($5,900 USD) subwoofer, I spoke with Sean Casey about the design. First thing, it’s awesome, plays really deep, and plays cleanly. It is designed for 40Hz and below (as low as 14Hz). Think kick-drums, from impact, rumble and decay — it’s all covered. The Submission 6 uses only one super-fast-moving 12-inch driver under its 50-inch tall cabinet structure. The idea is that the Submission 6 engages the floor, using the mass of the tall cabinet to better couple the sub-driver acoustically and mechanically to the room. Turning your listening structure into part of the enclosure. Not a new concept at all if you’ve ever used older Klipschorns.
The internal amplifier will accept all loudspeaker-level inputs including feeds from bridged amplifiers. The loudspeaker-level inputs are Lundahl transformer isolated and tuned for high-efficiency systems, yet will still integrate with common hifi loudspeakers. Line level left/right along with dedicated subwoofer inputs are also standard. Tuning options are in dial form and include: Low-Pass, Parametric EQ, PEQ Gain, and Phase.
Zu is currently taking orders for the Submission 6 subwoofer, with shipping expected to start in 6 weeks.
by Eric Franklin Shook