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RMAF 2011: Zu, Spatial, Kronzilla

Zu Definition. This speaker is almost iconic and a huge upgrade from their world-class Druid debut. And with all those subwoofers hanging off the back, I (for one) was utterly and immediately enthralled by notion of the sheer output that the massive speakers could effortlessly crank out. High sensitivity and depth-charge like bottom-end? Oh, yeah, I was all over this. I just could never scrape the dough together ….

So, here we are, almost 4 years later. The Definition has had a few updates in the past few years (from Mk 1 to 1.5, Pro, 1.9, and Mk II), and now, we have the latest update. Well, make that two.

Enter the Definition Mk III and the Definition MkIV. Yep, they’ve released an update and revisioned that update — all at once. Now, this isn’t as odd as it sounds — the MkIII is actually an upgrade rather than an update, while the MkIV is actually an entirely new speaker. You have an older Definition, you have some choices:

  • Stay as you are (free!)
  • Send in your old Definition for transformation into Mk.III ($3.5k)
  • Buy a new Definition MkIII ($7k)
  • Trade in your old Definition for the new Definition Mk.IV ($8.5k)
  • Just buy a new set of Definition Mk.IV speakers ($12.5k)

What’s new? Well, with the MkIII, you get new full-range nanotech impregnated drivers (from the top-of-the-line Dominance, I believe), a new cable wiring harness using their latest “Event” cabling, a new subwoofer amplifier, and some internal cabinet mods to increase structural rigidity and reduce noise.

For the MkIV, we get a whole new Definition. Building on the MkIII — with the new widebanders (from Dominance) and Event wiring harness, we get a new Radian 850 based tweeter and a completely redesigned cabinet. But that’s not the big news. The big news is the subwoofers. Gone are the rear-firing subs and in is a new down-firing 12″ sub driven by a Hypex UcD 400 amplifier, with a host of user-friendly adjustments. Bottom-end bandwidth has increased to 10Hz-20kHz, but it still carries a 101dB efficiency at a nominal 8ohm impedance.

The sound in this room was, in a word, evil. Every time I came through, or wandered by, or climbed the neighboring staircase (gotta get that exercise somehow, and anyway, it’s not like anyone was able to ever catch the elevator without a 10 minute wait), I got a full dose of dark, throbbing, sinister, skull throttling. Alarming. Unsettling. I have no idea WTF Sean was playing in this room, but whatever it was, it sure wasn’t Diana Krall, Eva Cassidey, or any other audiophile BS. This was real music — and none of it was even a tiny bit familiar. Which was completely awesome.

Kronzilla SXI 50wpc, Class-A, zero-feedback, integrated amplifier. Biggest. Tubes. Ever. I cracked wise as I was leaving, something about “compensating”, but no one laughed. [Sigh]. These are the jokes, folks ….

Spatial Computer was also showing with the Zu team, and had apparently brought their brand new bass-management package called “Black Hole Electronic Bass Trap”. For $975, the hardware works to eliminate bass nodes. More info here. I never actually saw the little bugger, but I’m guessing that’s part of the point.

Also new is Version 2 of the $3k Spatial HD solution. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see or hear any computer audio in the room on either of my visits through. Both times, I found Sean Casey playing DJ to his $4500 modded Technics turntable (more details can be found on the Vinyl Anachronist, here). Not sure if they’re still modding these out, but it was pretty trick in the room.

Base plate on the Def MkIV. Big and aluminum! But look at that connector. Is that an XLR hanging there next to the power cord?

Simon Matanle, Zu’s Marketing/International Sales dude chatting it up with writer Danny Kaey.

About Scot Hull (976 Articles)
Founder, Editor and Publisher at Part-Time Audiophile and "The Occasional Magazine"