I wonder what the general tonal difference of the three options. Too bad IC does not have loaner cables for one to choose.
They do, but it is in the form of a no-questions-asked return policy. I guess the thought process is, if you are serious about the cables, and have the coin to purchase them in the event they impress, asking for the purchase upfront with a top notch return policy is essentially a loaner program with a security deposit in the event you decide not to return the “loaner cables.” Bob and Galen are great, knowledgeable people, and honest. If they fit your price range, it seems wise to give them a whirl based on Ron’s and many others’ experiences.
You must be new here.
Go to the iconoclast thread. Contact Robert Howard and tell him you want to audition cables. He’ll take good care of you.
In my case (and I only auditioned the TPC/OFE, SPTPC were out of price range) w/my Zu’s, and system, the TPC spkr cables clearly won the day. I felt the OFE were a little to muted or dark. The upper end sparkle just wasn’t quite there like it was with the TPC in my setup. Could have easily lived with the OFE though. Like Ron, the difference when switching to the Icono cables was immediately obvious. Everything just locked into place and took on this natural presence that has never been there before. I really didn’t want to think the cables would make such a difference (and have always been somewhat of a skeptic to bigger $$ cabling). They did and after listening for a month and doing some a/b’ing, there was no way in hell the TPC were going back. If I hadn’t wanted to spend the money (and I didn’t) I should have NEVER auditioned, LOL.
And to 2nd what Ron said, Bob (Robert) is excellent to work with. If you have any direct questions about the cables and how/why there made as they are, Galen couldn’t be more helpful either through direct email. A really class act for the company all the way around!
Going back to the original question, I have a pair of Zu Druid V and Undertone sub. I’m looking for a new amp for these speakers (currently have a Tripath amp) and like the PS Stellar line. My questions are whether Zu and Stellar are a good match (the Druids are known to be finicky), and whether the M700s are an overkill for the highly sensitive Zu speakers?
What is your preamp and how much power do you think you need?
I currently have a Schiit Freya. I mainly listen to jazz and classical music, so need enough power for symphonic music but not rock concert levels.
What is the reputed efficiency of the Druids as the Zu website is severely lacking in actual specifications.
Zu specifications say 101 dB, while in forum discussions most people agree it’s probably a bit lower, around 97 dB.
Ignore the low “sale price” as this is a really great amp. It is a smaller version of the Job 225 and to my ears sounds just like it as I’ve owned both. Plus by buying from AA if you don’t like it ship it back for a refund.
If your Freya has the adjustable gain settings try it on the lowest.
You will find a useful discussion of the design and sensitive nature of the Druids, when you click on the specs link on Zu’s web page for these speakers.
All that said, the best place to get amplifier guidance is from Gerrit or Sean at Zu Audio. Just call them.
I have a friend with Druid Mk V1 who powers them with a FirstWatt J2 that he bought used for about $2500. That combination, in his room, sounds great.
I have a NU-STA200 that I used with my Zu’s for a short time while in between Tube amps. It is a GREAT SS amp based off of the renowned Goldmund circuit. It would work well with the Druid’s. @lukoo , I however find that I really prefer tube based amplification with the Zu line and since the speaker sensitivity is very high you can easily get away with lower powered SET amps if you like that type of sound (which I personally do). If your interested in the STA200 I would be willing to talk to you about selling it. Maybe has 100hrs on it and is maybe 6 months old. Was bought new by me.
I have Omen Bookshelves powered by a PS Audio S300 (fed by GCD). The bookshelves I have use the same driver as your druids. I love the sound I get. I have no experience with the M700’s but my assumption is that while the Zu’s don’t need any more power than the S300 provides, the M700s may offer a little bit better channel isolation. If it’s within your budget to get the M700s, go for it. If not, don’t look at the S300 as any sort of major compromise.
The Nuforce is fantastic. However, the sta200 has super high gain. With such hi efficiency speakers, tube hiss will be louder than normal if running a tube pre. If all SS no worries. Until I purchase a set of 70@‘s or BHK 250, I’m using a passive pre to lower the gain.
Def. want to make sure your tube pre is low noise and low gain if you use the STA200 . I think the STA200’s sensitivity is around ~.700v for full output. I used it in conjunction with a BHK-Pre and my Zu’s and had no noise/hiss issues but due to the overall sensitivity of the entire system. I was in the lower part of Pre’s volume control range. Not necessarily an issue, unless you like to gain ride the system.
Thanks for your response. As a new member on the forum I’m limited to 3 posts per topic, so I have to reply by email. Great to hear that you love the Zu/Stellar combo. I will probably get the S300 as a start, there are always options to upgrade later. As I live in Sydney, Australia, we don’t have the 30 day return offer available in the US, but perhaps our local dealer will let me try the amp at my home before I buy. Cheers from down under
Lukoo, I bumped your account up a level. I think this will allow you to post times more in a given thread.
I think you’ll be well off with the S300. Let us know what you think if/when you get it. Happy listening!
Thanks Elk, much appreciated. This seems to work. I will probably give the S300 a go and let you know how it sounds in my setup.
Excellent. Thanks for letting me know.
My understanding is the various limits are to help control spam.