Zu Audio Omen MKII loudspeakers at T.H.E. Show Newport 2015


the_show_newport_logo_2015If they’re exhibiting, Zu Audio is nearly always my first port of call at any audio show. Not simply because they make vibrant, animated-sounding loudspeakers but because I dig them as people. They’re a world apart from 99% of other audio show exhibitors and their demo space always feels different each time you drop in. I’m amazed no one has thought to copy the DJ session vibe of the Zu Audio show space.

David Byrne once remarked that he loved New York because whenever you looked out of the window you’d see something fall down. That’s how I see Zu Audio: something’s always falling down.

Sean Casey and Gerrit Koer could be found helming the room in the most laid-back manner possible on the Friday with Casey bursting into conversational life whenever someone wanted to talk tech-turkey. There’s no canned demo and (almost) no audiophile music. Casey’s son Ian could be seen alternating between Radiohead and Swans across two turntables. Come Saturday morning, Casey’s wife and kids joined the party to print t-shirts in the hallway.


Threading the needle from Munich to Newport Beach, I ask Casey about the possibility of an active Zu loudspeaker. He’s one step ahead: “It’s coming,” he says. Excellent.

So what’s new right now? Looming behind the Zu Druid MKV at the Hotel Irvine was a pair of MKII Omen (US$1800/pr) that feature the same cone as the Druid, stiffened by nano materials. Don’t mistake that for the same driver though. Sensitivity remains the same as the MKI at 98db.

Perhaps more crucially, this second gen Omen features an all-new tweeter assembly as well as revamped internals for lower cabinet talk. The finish seen here is the Batman-esque Black Suede.

Further information: Zu Audio






T.H.E. Show Newport 2015 coverage sponsored by LH Labs:


Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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  1. Hey DAR,
    I totally agree. would be amazing to feel a laid back vibe as ZU showed. But with all the old, anglo money walking around, hard to make that pitch to all. I’m 55 and love all things young and exciting. Even some Zeppelin drew me into one of the rooms. And how about ELAC and Andrew Jones little speaker? HA…i want….

    • Oh hey Jeremy – I didn’t get chance to ask Sean where he got ’em. Now I/we know.

    • No idea – I’ve only heard the Omen II in a hotel room in the USA. I know that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for but better for me to be brutally honest like this than say claim the Omen II to be “Amazing, buy ’em now!” etc. only for you to risk buyer’s remorse down the line. However, I can say with confidence that the Soul MKII are quite a bit better with clarity and punch than the original Omen. Experience tells us that revisions don’t tend to change a products fundamental character all that much. Maybe fire a message in Sean Casey’s direction for more on this?