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Old 21st September 2009, 12:10 PM   #1
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Default Calling Zaph Audio ZD5 Owners

After much scouting around for a high end standmount design, I have been leaning towards the the Zaph ZD5.

Before I pull the trigger, I wonder how many owners can chip in with some subjective comments about the sound quality / voicing of this design?

The components, aesthetic and design principles have been much discussed, but I'm struggling to find many comments on the sound quality.

Many thanks
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Old 21st September 2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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Hi,

While I'm no owner of a ZD5, I do have experience with the tweeter and with some Zaph-kits. Zaph makes good kits, well documented and argumented, you only need to tweak it to your own room/ears, but even the projects as-is are very good quality.

The tweeter is a good one, if not crossed to low (distortion). Zaph has a good documented page and if you really want to spend your money on a good project, the ZD5 is a good one. I myself build the SR71, somewhat cheaper but it sounds great (With a bit of tweaking off-course), and I'm not disappointed.

So read up on the woofer and tweeter, but I don't think you can go (very) wrong on it. By the way; have you seen the projects of troelsgravesen.dk? Maybe he has some nice projects as well...

Gr, Henri

P.S. On Troels; have you read the Ellam 25 or Ellam-XT? Nice projects as well, and maybe easier to find info on them about the sound/quality. Also very well documented...

Last edited by hpolkerman; 21st September 2009 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 21st September 2009, 04:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I've been to Troels site on a number of occasions, and the Ellam does indeed look like a solid high end design.

I doubt I would be disappointed by either, though I just need to be sure in my mind before shelling out quite a lot of cash. I 'm favouring a standmount design as I have a capable sub to cover the lower octaves.

Also, I'm unsure the acoustic affects of changing the rads on the ZD5...The Ellam design doesn't seem to be quite so prescriptive over such details; now is that because they have a negligable affect and that a wider baffle is less sensitive to the corner treatment, or is it that the ZD5 is simply squeezing out every last drop of performance?

From an aesthetic point of view I'd like to maybe only have rads on either the horizontal or vertical, but I wonder the affect it will have on diffraction, and if they are specific to the listening axis.
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Old 21st September 2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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While I have not heard the ZD5, I have heard Zaph comment that with Jed's design together with Madisound (The Recession Buster Reference) that no one is going to build the ZD5 again. Here's a link: http://www.madisound.com/catalog/pro...oducts_id=8644 It's a complete steal at that price. I couldn't resist, jumped on the kit and completed mine a few weeks ago. Also, you can visit Jed's page to learn what the kit will cost when Madisound runs out of their kits www.clearwaveloudspeaker.com This is truly a high end stand mount speaker. I chose the ported version. Here are a couple images:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 21st September 2009, 05:22 PM   #5
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I built and own a pair of ZD5's and it is without a doubt a phenomenal speaker. It is clear and fast with very little coloration. The bass struggles on the very low end (to be expected) but as a result can sound a little boomy. I have listened to many stand mounts, in fact the other day i went into a dealer and listened to a pair of Sonus Faber stand mounts. Compared to the ZD5's all i could think was "Really! this is all you got".
I built mine without the rad sides and i am please with the sound.
I showed them last year at Burning Amp and they were very well received. Go for it
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Old 22nd September 2009, 07:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by s7horton View Post
While I have not heard the ZD5, I have heard Zaph comment that with Jed's design together with Madisound (The Recession Buster Reference) that no one is going to build the ZD5 again. Here's a link: http://www.madisound.com/catalog/pro...oducts_id=8644 It's a complete steal at that price. I couldn't resist, jumped on the kit and completed mine a few weeks ago. Also, you can visit Jed's page to learn what the kit will cost when Madisound runs out of their kits www.clearwaveloudspeaker.com This is truly a high end stand mount speaker. I chose the ported version.
Congratulations on those superb looking speakers. That looks like a great deal, very very tempting. Though I'm across the pond, the delivery, VAT and any duties would probably still be cheaper than if I bought the components over here. Interesting to hear John Krutke comment - surely a seal of approval.

I don't know much about the SB tweeter, how are you finding the sound?
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Old 22nd September 2009, 08:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by neil_kaye View Post
I built and own a pair of ZD5's and it is without a doubt a phenomenal speaker. It is clear and fast with very little coloration. The bass struggles on the very low end (to be expected) but as a result can sound a little boomy. I have listened to many stand mounts, in fact the other day i went into a dealer and listened to a pair of Sonus Faber stand mounts. Compared to the ZD5's all i could think was "Really! this is all you got".
I built mine without the rad sides and i am please with the sound.
I showed them last year at Burning Amp and they were very well received. Go for it
Thanks for your comments - I'm not too worried about the low end, it's an open, natural and extended mid and treble I'm after.

Good to hear it more than holds it's own against a well respected high end brand, but I wonder how the ZD5 will compare to the Clearwave RBR, and if they justify the extra cost.
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Old 22nd September 2009, 08:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ashley_May View Post
From an aesthetic point of view I'd like to maybe only have rads on either the horizontal or vertical, but I wonder the affect it will have on diffraction, and if they are specific to the listening axis.
Always put rads on vertical, if you can put a rad on the upper horizontal. I've build mine like the 'Milestones' with those kind of rads, you'd have a smoother top-end with the tweeter (less ragged). So if you can: do it... Effects measured an posted many times on the internet and also in Hobby Hifi 5 from 2001: 'Mindestends uber 7.5 prozent der Shallwandbreidte sollte jede kante abgetragen werden... eine fase im Winkel zwichen 22.5 und 45 Grad stellt eine nut minimal schlechtere alternative dar.' For the non-german speakers; A rad of at least 7.5 procent is recommended at vertical. under at least 22.5 degrees. 45 is ideal. They have tested with a baffle 34cm with 12.7mm 45degree rad worked best. But they haven't tested it horizontally.

Can't mess up the listening axis to much, I think they only get better, but I don't have proof (only from my listening experience...). But diffraction gets better on the tweeter (do a search on the forum, some threads do discuss this)

So if you've got reasonable woodworking skills and do like the looks; I woud go for it, only improves the sound.
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Old 22nd September 2009, 03:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ashley_May View Post
Congratulations on those superb looking speakers. That looks like a great deal, very very tempting. Though I'm across the pond, the delivery, VAT and any duties would probably still be cheaper than if I bought the components over here. Interesting to hear John Krutke comment - surely a seal of approval.

I don't know much about the SB tweeter, how are you finding the sound?
Hands down the best sounding pair of speakers I have built. My other recent projects include Zaph L18, Zaph SR71, and Tony Gee Extremon stand mount. The little I have read, designers seem to prefer the SB29 over the Vifa ring radiator. How can you go wrong for $400 though? That's less than the cost of the scan speak drivers!
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Old 23rd September 2009, 02:03 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input, I've gon for the RBR kit. It will surely be great for the price. Expect a build thread in due course.

Thanks again
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