Zingali Home Monitor 1.15 mkII review
Further to the rather hilarious thread over in the 2-channel debate, (HERE ), figured I would actually post up some initial findings from my short time with the splendid Zingali Home Monitor 115 ii speakers, which I think are now on their 3rd Wam owner!
As many of you are aware, I’ve been on a speckled and convoluted speaker journey, with numerous boxes gracing our living room over the last 12 months, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I’ve long maintained that it is very very hard to audition speakers, it is nearly always in a room that bears little resemblance to our own, and being transducers, the way the room interacts with them, to my ears at least, is still the single most important effect beyond the character of the speakers themselves. If you are lucky enough to get a home demo, it is normally only for a short period – enough to get an initial feel for the behaviour and characteristics of the speaker, but so much changes as you live with them for a short while that this wasn’t working for me either. Therefore, buy used, sell on became my way of trying to establish what I wanted – funnily enough, us box swappers got pretty much slammed in this months HIFI+, an article I strongly disagreed with. It’s fine if you are exposed to all manner of high end gear for days on end, but for us lowly punters (or me at least), it has only been through this extended journey that I now know what dynamics, soundstage, imaging, forward treble, warmth etc etc truly sound like. I know how bass differs from impact, depth, texture – how vocals are warm, recessed, clinical – how imaging is wide, pinpoint, expansive, deep etc etc etc. Anyway, procrastination over – that was really to try and make the point that I had realised *what* I wanted, just not sure how to achieve it. My Zens were very relaxed and easy to listen to, had a fantastic image, superb vocal midrange, sweet top end and textured bass – but a little slow and not efficient enough to fill my room. The Impulse H2s had tremendous energy and attack, dynamics to die for and bass slam that I have still not heard bettered. But they were too forward, didn’t image particularly well and didn’t have the bass definition along with the impact.
I wanted to try and achieve the best of both….
Hence my interest piqued when I heard that these were up for sale whilst auditioning Nicks lovely new Overture 3 Signatures.
Anyway, if you’ve read the other thread, you know the rest, jumped in and bought them – panic attacks ensuing after realising just how big they are. These things stand approaching 5ft tall, are 78cm deep and weigh almost 100Kg each, a 15” bass driver and 15” omniray horn at least keep it in perspective in a photo – but I guess it must always be a shock to see these in the flesh. That said, Zingali always seem to do a good job of the aesthetics, nice solid cherry slabs break up the monotony, which you are always going to get with the square footage involved here… The horn also looks very nice when the sun catches it and the build quality is lovely overall. I am running them with a chord pre amp and some Cayin 6550 fed monoblocks (using TJ signals – KT88 Black Treasures from next month…), room is approx 30ft long, 17ft wide with a 12ft cathedral glass ceiling.
All this and not a word on how they sound…
First impressions. At 98dbw I expected these to blow me out of my chair Maxell style, they didn’t, in fact I was refuting the claim and checking to see if I’d screwed something up on the inputs – nope, I actually plugged the Zens back in – instantly clear, the Zingalis ARE 98dbw, these are just SO unstressed and uncompressed that you do not notice the high spls, the Zens sounded quiet and tiny by comparison, couldn’t imagine such volume being so clear, smooth and relaxed. The imaging is not what I’d expect from such huge drivers and ‘beaming’ horns either, it is really very good, better than the Zens, not so wide outside of the speakers, but incredibly spatially accurate and detailed between them (bear in mind they sit where they dropped, I have not moved them at all and do not know how they will respond to placement shifts!). Another surprise was the detail – again – huge drivers? I’d have thought this would represent a reduction in the ability to resolve fine detail, but I am hearing things on my discs (files…) that I’ve never heard before. Taking John Mayer’s acoustic version of Free Fallin’ (on the live in LA disc) – I could hear the crowd before, but now there are individuals, with clear voices from those nearest the mics, amazing detail retrieval.
The bass driver seems to be a short travel device, none of these huge rubber surrounds and 3” movement – hence the bass is not overwhelming, it remains detailed and imparts tremendous scale to everything, just underpinning the music with that foundation that makes it all seem much more believable. To be honest, I still don’t think it has the slam of the Impulses, (but the front baffle is sitting 1.7m from the back wall… and they are rear ported, so there may be more work to do here…) – but it does have all the texture to allow you to clearly define all the notes and instruments at the bottom end of the scale. The biggest surprise to me though has been in the presence range. The vocals are just beautiful, male and female – such detail and feel to them, bloody lovely. You can also dial in +/-3db on the midrange, unusual, but a useful tweak, currently at +1.5 and about right for me in their current position. The top end is slightly rolled off at the extremes, I would guess it doesn’t do much above 17-18K, probably in part due to the huge frequency range the horn has to cover. That said, it is not dull – which was my first thought until I’d listened to them for a while, just a question of not being what I’m used to. They are a world away from metal domes and SO different to the Impulses with their Focal tweeter… In all, they are very very musical and relaxing – very dynamic, unstressed and seemingly unbustable – they are in no way fatiguing and present all the music I have listened to in a very lifelike way. I am loving them so far…..
Last edited by steve rb; 25-06-2010 at 12:51 PM.
Nice write up Steve. Its great to hear that they are working for you. I know its been quite a search but hopefully the Zingalis will be staying. If those things can't fill the room with music then you may need to consider a full PA rig as an upgrade.
Very nice write up Steve and my findings too. Hope you find my comments below of interest.
So what did I replace these mighty creatures with at Chez Papa du Martha?
Another pair of Zingalis - the standmount Overture 2s. These have the same horn as used in the larger 4s. Jack Lawson the Zingali distributor for the UK always maintained these were amongst the best speakers vailable within that range, if not the best, and I have to agree with him. I loved the Home Monitors as did Martin who owned these previously for a very short time. They image very well for large speakers and are effortless - with orchestral music the orchestra is simply back there playing for you. But in our small cottage they were like near field monitors, they did blend in the room well but I never thought i was hearing them to advantage. Steve has a suitable room so is likely to be hearing much more from them than I was able to.
The Overture 2s are such an excellent replacement I am now very happy that we did the deal. the 2s work so much better in our room, they are dynamic with a big sound but retain that zingali magic. The big improvement for me however was improved detail and pin point imaging which is startling and the sound is big - very big indeed. I have to add I also use super tweeters and in this case I had to swap the speaker cable to the super tweeters to fine tune them in. i should also point out that i use a Zingali sub woofer and with the 2s they complement one another superbly. For that reason my system sounds wonderful - so results all round and I have a bit of cash spending money for the coming year having now joined the great unemployed! Zingalis R Us.
I know you all like pictures - so see below, and yes our house does look like a toy shop.
I like the strategically placed Hat that just tweaks the Sub! I use old Corks. in places!
And not 'like a toy shop": just evidence of a life lived full and well!
Nice write up. Sounds like everything is singing now.
Good write up - I think I sort of know what they sound like now
Depends very much what you want doesn't it and as you say hard to know what you are getting until you try for a longish period of time.
So I took a trip over to Steveís yesterday to have listen.
Yes they are big but are simply beautiful to behold and are a perfect companion for the room both visually and sonically. OK so we have established that they are big but they donít sound it. Now I donít mean this in a bad way. As Steve has said they just sound very unstressed. They portray music with an intimate presentation without shouting or drawing attention to themselves but are also not overly polite or soft. When I arrived Steve was playing 'Ryan Adams Ė Gold', one of my favourite albums so I had a good reference point to compare the presentation with my own Overture 3S (also previously owned by Lawrence) My initial thoughts were that there was not the big 3D soundstage that I was expecting but a quick tweak with the positioning and it all fell into place.
We played a variety of music and I didnít hear anything that didnít sound very good through the 1.15ís. They excel with vocals and acoustic guitar which given Steveís general taste in music can only be a good thing. I had wondered why Lawrence was using a sub with them when he owned them. They do just lack that final bit of deep bass. Itís certainly nothing to worry about but maybe there is a certain expectation with a cabinet of this size.
So in summary they are both beautiful to look at and listen too and will hopefully put an end to Steveís long speaker journey, well for now at least
Speakers to live with for sometime methinks. I want some
Bugger, yes of course it was - and an oft used avatar round here too I think!
Originally Posted by icehockeyboy
"Is It Live Or Is It Memorex"
Amazing how sound pressure can be directional isn't it?