Zu Dominance—like nothing before. Nothing else in the ultra high-end is as real, has this much tone and is so seamless and holistically resolving—from the deepest bass through super-prime treble.

Under revision—Dominance Mk.II will debut October 2015.

Dominance is delicacy and power and grace, and challenges all other loudspeaker designs for realistic and satisfying music recreation in your home. The heart of Dominance is Zu’s nanotech impregnated full-range driver, arrayed for perfect time and phase, and pinioned by twin massively motored 3” bi-film composite tweeters. Descending subterranean bass energy is controlled and made real through an incredibly efficient 15” sub-subwoofer complex. The hull of Dominance is a super-structured framework encasing three discrete ZuGriewe cartridges and decked by solid machined from billet baffle and base. Dominance is a loudspeaker system, designed as a whole and engineered to fully realize and showcase Zu’s innovations and position on tone.

Price is for a matched pair.

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“Many people falling in love with the Zu sound wanted a more expensive speaker—they wanted to know what a Zu would sound like if cost constraints were removed. Dominance is the answer. And with super high efficiency and power handling, it’s capable of making a very loud statement of its abilities. But to this listener, it’s not what Dominance does loudly that’s most impressive—it’s what it does softly, after hours, when the lambs are in bed. I’m thinking two in the morning, everyone asleep (except me), half a bottle of burgundy and an open fire, and some Dead Can Dance to play amongst the candle flames. In such surroundings, Dominance proves yet again that the heart and soul of the music lies in the deepest frequencies. I’m really not into measuring FQs, the feeling does it for me more than any test kit, so when I say the organ in the cathedral gathered up its skirts and swept me down the nave on a wave of air, you’ll hopefully understand just what real bottom end articulation does, especially when every pedal note is nuanced to reveal a foot paddling away like a duck on speed. Dominance does the whole lot, the highs, the mid’s, the lows and the subterranean, without any of them taking precedence—it’s just one vast canvas of utterly seamless music—about as far away from the anaemic sound of conventional hi-fi as you’ll ever get. Initially I wasn’t quite sure about the name Dominance. Now I’ve heard it, I don’t really care because when the bar is placed this much higher, they can call it whatever they like, the Zu Reality maybe? At least it would be appropriate.” —Simon Matanle

Zu’s Dominance is very different in design, and for good reason. Other statement loudspeakers have lots of varying sized drivers, each designed to operate in a small to medium bandwidth. This multi-way, crossover intensive path leads to complexities that hinder integration of the super-wide musical spectrum and radically limits dynamics, harmony, and organic resolution. Yes, Dominance also has many drivers but the approach and results are fundamentally different. Zu, like the musical scales and the forces that created them, center and weight around the critical human voice. Zu’s three high output full-range drivers cover the vast majority of music and attack components. The shortfalls in this approach are the deepest of bass and highest treble harmonics, overcome using a sub-subcontrabass subwoofer and time sensitive super tweeter array. As for dynamic unity, scale and expression—Dominance defines the new standard, with every component and engineering decision reflecting Zu’s point of view: that dynamics are king and that loudspeakers must be as dynamically expressive and uniformly balanced as possible.

Solutions in the lowest octave are realized using a very powerful 15” driver; down-firing and loaded in a sealed labyrinth within the Dominance structure. Its regulated bandwidth blankets the deepest of bass sustain and fundamentals (sub-subcontrabass (A –1) | 14–30Hz) and does so with massive dynamic range and super low noise. And if the solutions for really deep bass sound intriguing... for the top octave and harmonics (A9+ | 12+kHz) Zu uses two massively motored, 3” voice coil, bi-film tweeters, one on top and one on bottom. This tweeter array aids in holistic soundscape recreation and adds the harmonic detail and symmetry to the highest octave and overtones. The completed six-driver Dominance array behave as both line source and point source, and realize exquisitely singular timing, phase and speed. But you would not call Dominance a six-way loudspeaker. With its three full-range drivers covering 90% of the musical content equally, filterless and free, Dominance behaves like a full-range loudspeaker with augmented really deep bass and highest treble: a, or maybe just the Zu Dominance-way.

Zu has always put bang for the buck into every product it has made, and Dominance is no exception. Sure it’s super expensive, but the bleeding edge is costly. Consider though the competition’s offering for best home audio loudspeaker and you can see the values inherent in Zu. Others competing for “the best” are in the hundred thousand and up bracket, by contrast Dominance is a deal. In Dominance you can see the value in tone, engineering, fabrication, architecture, and materials—values that are seemingly absent in the competition, priced something like art with little to no reflection of appliance.

How does Dominance sound to the designers, to Sean, Adam and others at Zu? “Totally off the charts. She scales with infinite confidence and dynamic range, yet is relaxed, calm and collected, and fully blessed with an unrepentant rough, explosive and aggressive capacity. Dominance is hard to live without once you have had a taste.” 

A Few Zu Dominance Features & Benefits

Full-range time-aligned phase-accurate vertical array (ZuFTP-VA):

A design specific to how the drivers are aligned, their bandwidth, orientation, aspect, and the space in which they will be used. The design is a Zu archetype which realizes comprehensive integration of mirrored, vocal-centric, vertical sources for the seated focal point wherein timing and phase are accurately positioned throughout the musical scale. The design fulfills many of the benefits of point source models with characteristics of line source models—integrating the best of both with the additional benefits and perceived improvements of timing; resolution of detail, texture and color; and stereophony. Added benefits of the multi-element full-range driver array, but are not specific to the ZuFTP-VA tech include reduced dynamic harmonic distortion, expanded dynamic range and impact, lower net contact resistance, and reduced room integration issues.

Zu Full-Range Nanotech Paper Cone Drivers (Zu260FRD G4/HO-nano):

Delivering stunning attack, shove, resolution and bandwidth. Features include maximal motor for awesome dynamic contrast and reduced harmonic distortion; lightweight neutral hung voice coil assembly featuring paper/Kapton former and linear inline layup of inner cone for best resolution of detail; diamagnetic shorting assembly for dynamic damping of moving assembly when playing at concert levels; nanotech impregnated paper cones to support resolution of tone and unity in bandwidth; billet phase cone with concentric maximal length sequence diffusion for smooth high frequency response; all of which is anchored to a heavy cast and machined aluminum frame with overbuilt bonded and riveted yoke/magnet/top-plate assembly.

ZuRG/Dominance Full-Range Driver Loading Technology:

Zu’s original acoustic loading technology has progressed significantly in the development of Dominance. All three of the full-range drivers are discretely tuned, housed, and utilize ZuRG cartridge assemblies, thereby increasing resolution throughout the bandwidth and yielding a full-range driver systems that extends much lower than previous Zu designs—and without sacrifice. This greatly improves the sub-subwoofer’s integration, and realizes a very low subcontrabass low-pass filter point (27Hz / 3rd order). Other nuance of the Dominance loudspeaker’s implementation of this technology includes split tuning of the thee full-range driver array—the center full-range driver is tuned and weighted for deeper bass, while the top and bottom full-range drivers are tuned for increased pop and shove.

Mirrored, Massively Motored, 3” Voice Coil, Bi-Film Tweeters:

By far the sweetest, most resolving, most dynamically expressive tweeters out. And when matched and used in the Zu Dominance FTP Vertical Array you get perfectly integrating treble overtones and structure.

Zu Perfectly Discrete Filterless Interface:

Three input binding posts; one SUBWOOFER, the other FULL-RANGE, the third TWEETER. Each is discretely wired to each driver element using pure silver Zu Event cabling and completely free of any filters, networks, and even solder. This allows users easy future upgrades or changes, and affords experimentation for those inclined (filter points, change or remove speaker-level filters, run line-level filters and discrete amplification, upgrade as technology advances...). If this is all to much, don’t worry, you can make this as easy or as optimized as you like and we’re here to help you through it.

Zu Dominance Quick Specs

Hight x Width x Depth: 62” x 16” x 21” [157.5 x 40.6 x 53.3cm]
Weight: 350 pounds [159 kg] each
Bandwidth: 12Hz – 20kHz
Dynamic Range: titanic
Efficiency: 101 dB-SPL 1W, 1m
Impedance: 6 ohm
Power Amp Range: 1 – 900 watt

Breakout of Electroacoustic Specifications

Tweeter Array:
Bandwidth: 1k – 20kHz
Efficiency: 119 dB-SPL 1W, 1m
Impedance: 8 ohm
Full-Range Driver Array:
Bandwidth 30 – 12kHz
Efficiency: 101 dB-SPL 1W, 1m
Impedance: 6 ohm

Sub-subwoofer System:
Bandwidth: 14 – 50Hz
Efficiency: 90 dB-SPL 1W, 1m
Impedance: 8 ohmNanotech—what and how it’s used.

Dominance features Zu’s new nano-sanctified full-range drivers; the nano-materials and application process reduce weight, increase strength and propagation velocity—all while improving damping quality. 

Nanotech, nanotubes, buckypaper, liquid solid ceramics, nanoscale wetting... here’s the background. In 2004 Zu began experimenting with cutting edge DuPont nanotech engineered coatings and solids. The initial reasons were to realize the best possible gloss finish which was also much tougher. These nanotech engineered liquid solid ceramics, fibers and synthetic resins did as promised. Zu quickly recognized the benefits and made the switch. It was during this process that Sean and Adam caught a glimpse of what was possible with some of these new nano-materials and got busy experimenting with applications for loudspeaker cones and diaphragms.

While Sean had extensively tested coatings, microspheres, and binders on driver cones over the years, this new nano stuff presented a whole new set of attributes and possibilities for their full-range driver platform. Nanotech for cone materials, layups, binder additives and formulas, tubes, spheres, coatings, infusions, etc., an exciting time to be a paper driver. Unfortunately Zu got sidetracked from the liquid solids and was again investing time in a whole new range of satellite grade graphite matrixes. After a few years of on and off experimentation and fuss with these exotic layups, Sean and Adam looked back at nano-materials and liquid solids and started treating the paper with various teeny-tinys to imbue the paper they already loved with a more vibrant and detailed tone. The Zu team already had a good idea of what they were looking to do with nano application—having kept current with the technologies and application in coatings—and so found solutions relatively quickly. Long story short, Zu is now impregnates the paper pulp post pressing with a liquid solid matrix utilizing several nano-processed materials, some key components and compounds include: nanosphere ceramic balloons, melamine, synthetic epoxy A/B, cristobalite, amorphous fumed silica, and aircraft dope. (Sorry DIYers, we can’t sell the material due to the isocyanates; the material can only be used in industry and requires powered air purifying respirators.)

Zu continues to watch and occasionally play with the new fibers and mats. They are still very promising, especially with what is being done with buckypaper. But for Zu, a tone promising pulp-free combination of these new materials has not been found. Nothing yet has proven to be as well behaved as natural fibers, there’s just something about paper; its balance of strength, propagation velocity and damping that give it that tone and fidelity. But add the right combination of old coating technologies, the right nano-materials and adhesives and presto! For Zu, paper is still as good as it gets for realistic fidelity from your loudspeaker system.

Currently Dominance is the only loudspeaker to feature Zu’s new nano-endowed loudspeaker driver. There is however Experience and  Definition Mk3 nearing release and these two models will gets the nanofied full-range drivers....

Dominance Finish Options

Custom finishes are quoted—with Zu having a custom finish shop in-house, with all the latest finishing equipment and killer craftsman, the sky is the limit. Really, anything you want is possible, from any automotive gloss, retro woody sides, flames, custom mattes, any wood on the planet, combinations, arts.... And yes, it can get pretty crazy on price.

Zu’s nano-tech, hand-cut and polished gloss finishes are expensive. Zu uses only the very best from DuPont, PPG, and a few others. The finish materials alone for a pair of Dominance in jet black run well over $1000; then there’s the forty hours minimum of craftsmanship, the state-of-the-art paint booths and equipment, the training, bake cycles, the amount of shop space.... Zu finishes have always ranked with the best but late 2004 there was a radical shift in production. Earlier that year Zu’s culture of continues improvement and never satisfied temperament had them experimenting with cutting edge DuPont nanotech engineered coatings and solids. The hope for these new liquid solids was for a better looking finish that was also much tougher—a finish that would not swirl mark when cleaned and would last for at least the life of the owner. These nanotech engineered liquid solid ceramics, synthetic resins, and other compounds did both, and by the end of 2004 Zu had switched to these revolutionary coatings. Today all Zu gloss finishes use ultra-premium nano-coatings. They have proven and continue to prove their worth, and have also earned Zu a more ecological friendly process. Expensive sure, but so worth it when you see ‘em.

What else is needed for Dominance to work in my system?

Dominance is a statement in fidelity and does require a little extra gear. In addition to the typical stereo kit (player, preamp, amplifier) a user also need to integrate a second amplifier dedicated for the subcontrabass section (really deep-subwoofer), a way to adjust volume, and a way to process signal. It’s as simple as it sounds. If you are worried, don’t be. Zu is there for you with options, recommendations, setup and how-tos.

(Please see block diagrams.)

So, Dominance is in your living room, your digital music files and turntable are connected to your preamp and your amp is connected to your Dominance loudspeakers. Everything is sounding good; treble, mids, and even bass—but you don’t have the subcontrabass section connected yet. To get that up and running you need to consider:

Minimalist Path:
One box, simple and easy to use, with very good performance—An amplifier with built-in signal processing and volume control. This option runs $800–$6,000. Crown, Crest, QSC, and other pro audio companies offer the widest selection. Zu can also design a line-level filter which would allow the use of a standard integrated amp.

Best Fidelity Path Without Complexity:
Two, maybe three box solution, still easy to integrate and operate.

A secondary preamp for deep bass volume control. This allows for quick subcontrabass adjustability cut to cut, album to album.

A custom in-line low-pass filter (27 Hz / 3rd order), or adjustable low-pass filter, ideally with fully adjustable perimetric EQ.

(The two above process are available as a one box solution.)

Stereo amp for driving the Dominance sub-subwoofer.

You will also need cables to patch it together. A pair or two of line-level cables, and a second pair of loudspeaker cables. 

For best and deepest bass we recommend a traditional non-switching amp with a power output rating of grater than 50 watts (massive power really not necessary). A couple of good choices for reference include a Pass Labs X150.5 and Bryston 2BSST2. Really, a 150 watts is more than enough.

(Please see block diagrams.)

What main amps do you guys like and how much power do I need?

For our tastes, with the efficiency and grace the Dominance affords Zu loves the Yamamoto A-08 with Emission Labs output tubes. World class amp for not a lot of cash, and it really matches up withe Dominance. Yes, 2 watts are plenty with Dominance, even for rockers. 10 watts for block parties. 100 watts for mansions playing venue to full-tilt Hollywood style parties. 1000 watts if you are looking to get insurance money back from the “accidental” destruction of your home.

Uncrating And Setup, Do I Need Help?

Yes, you will want to call your local professional piano movers to do this. As for setup, if you know where you want them then just have the piano movers place them. If you want us to deliver them and set them up for best possible sound that service is available—price dependent on where you live in the world, where the speakers are to be installed within the home, and your desired install schedule.

Please download PDF for more information.