Zu Audio goes its own way when it comes to speaker design goals, emphasizing sensitivity and dynamic range. The Utah company's new Essence ($5000/pair) covers almost the entire audioband with a single 10" drive-unit, augmenting this unit's output from the central "whizzer cone" in the top octave with a ribbon supertweeter. Sensitivity is claimed to be in the high 90s! The enclosure is constructed from Baltic birch ply with an outer MDF cladding, and the internal wiring is, of course, Zu's own cable, with cold-forged, solder-less connections to the Cardas binding posts.
As my readers will know, I am not generally a fan of designs where sensitivity/efficiency is given preference as a design goal over low coloration. But driven by a Melody 2A3-based push-pull amplifier offering all of 10W, the Essence sounded surprisingly clean and relatively neutral, as well as superbly dynamic.