Each year at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Peachtree Audio and Zu Audio take a large corner room on the mezzanine level of the Marriott Denver Tech Center. First-time visitors likely are surprised by what they find there, which is less a structured product demo, and more a nonstop party.
The master of ceremonies typically is Peachtree’s David Solomon, who stands in the near-darkness armed with an iPad filled with kickin’ tunes. He enthusiastically introduces each with stories about what the track means to him, how it was recorded or its rarity.
“This is a great song by Roger Waters,” he said, cuing up “Perfect Sense Pt.1” from Amused to Death. “Waters wasn’t happy with it, so he re-mixed it. But I like this one, the original.”
The composition had a familiar Pink Floyd-ish soundscape, with rumbling thunder, spoken passages and some moody instrumental work, including a beautiful repeating piano figure.
The system on which Solomon was playing DJ was fairly simple. It included Peachtree’s Nova 300 integrated amp (regularly $2,500 USD, currently on sale for $2,000 USD), Zu’s Druid Mk. VI speakers ($10,000/pair USD) and a pair of Zu Undertone subwoofers (starting at $1,900 each USD). Cable was Zu’s Event line (totaling $3,000 USD).
The Nova 300, despite its compact size, delivers 300 watts/channel into eight ohms. I first saw a pre-production model last year at RMAF, and came away impressed.
The Zu Druid Mk. VI contains all-new drivers. It has a 10-inch, full-range nanotech cone to cover most of the frequency spectrum, along with a Radian-based tweeter to add detail and extend the high frequencies. Zu also said it beefed up the Mk. VI’s enclosure to control resonances and improve resolution.
To reach the lowest notes, Zu was using the Undertone subs, which feature an internally powered (400 watts) 12-inch woofer firing downward in a sealed enclosure. At RMAF, the subs were dialed in to provide subtle support from about 14-28Hz.
On the Roger Waters track, as well as an eclectic mix of about a half-dozen other songs, the Zu-Peachtree combo offered a very organic sound. I’ve found that speakers using full-range drivers – even when augmented by tweeters and subs – tend to project an especially cohesive image. The Druid Mk. VI was no exception. The speaker was rich, yet detailed, with both weight and good pacing.
The slight warmth overall, and the polished natures of its highs, make this a speaker that would be easy to listen to, particularly at higher volumes and over a long period of time. Perhaps most notably, the Druid Mk. VI’s balance and coherence made me want to just lean back and enjoy the musical performance, rather than think about the palpability of male voices at 150 Hz or other such audiophile concerns.
Elsewhere in the room, Zu was displaying its Omen speakers ($1,000/pair USD), along with Peachtree’s new decco125 Sky integrated amp ($1,200 USD). The latter was especially interesting as it not only allows streaming from Tidal and Spotify, but also has a direct mode to play music from a smartphone when no WiFi is available.
The combination of Zu and Peachtree products always seems to produce good sound, creating another solution for music lovers on a budget.