High-End Sound … An Affordable, Wife Friendly and Compact Solution
By Jack Lawson 20th December 2020
Zingali Zero EVO
The Ground Zero K-1 Loudspeaker Stand: a Gamechanger
During the lock-down, just when no one can see it, our studio changed beyond recognition …. See photo, affordable mini-monitors? But how can they sound so great? Answer: I don’t know.
The quest for high-performance compact (bookshelf / stand mount) loudspeakers is driven by practical needs but the technology of high sound means moving a lot of air with little resonance; it can be done at a high price. But need it be £15,000 per pair??
The sub £3k Zingali Zero EVO offers a monitor grade horn loudspeaker with highly sophisticated aspiration, transmission, porting and acoustic wave guide, using professional bass and compression drivers. Other loudspeakers brace the cabinets and lose the low frequencies; killing the music in the process. Not so these unique Italian beauties. With remarkable live, asymmetric acoustical cabinets of very high mass, it is the bargain of the century, the product that the Hi-Fi Press don’t know and don’t care to find out. No one makes money from it. Selling for £2,795 per pair, The Music Room customers build high performance systems around such an economic package and the Zero EVO has a forgiving load – meaning that modest amplifiers can be used until the lottery win!
“Mini monitors are been handicapped by stands that work and look like crutches. Time to think again.”
I have often faced the dilemma where a customer says in astonishment, “But I am downgrading from £10,000 loudspeakers,” to which I offer to sell the £2,795 Zero Bookshelves for £12,795 … usually they don’t get the joke or the “point.” The point is: Mr Zingali is too genuine to play a marketing game, but (sadly) I know that his astounding loudspeakers would sell better if priced pretentiously. It is a fact that most dealers won’t sell Zingali because other products cost less to make and hand over the margin to compensate and motivate said dealers for their investment, their demos, part-exchanges, interest free credit, etc, etc.
Now, the other problem with the organically carved Zero EVO Bookshelf is that few people have the substantial surfaces to mount them. Bookshelves?? Regular stands won’t do. After some years, my “solution” was to challenge a designer to engineer a speaker stand from first principles. The physics is great. If you check it out, a loudspeaker on different stands sounds much lesser or greater.
Finally we took delivery after what seemed a very long time of thought and computer modeling resulting in discoveries about what made a stand acoustically great. In the event this is a limited edition of five pairs of the Ground Zero, an advance edition which Music Room exclusively took delivery of. This design might hit the market in some form late in 2021. The materials and resonances have been optimized along with energy transfer and some secrets are concealed within the pedestal. Suffice to say this is a very sold and stable, heavy design with centre of gravity very low and a “beak” to buttress stator reaction. There is yet another secret about the best level of mid range and high frequencies which is lower than previously imagined and also improves the previously mentioned low centre of gravity, also surprisingly crucial to performance.
The base plate continues the stability and dynamic centre with a laminate of steel, sandwiched inside a painted high density fibre board base with wide outriggers and tapered concave sides. The steel plate drains energy directly to metal feet, aka spikes.
For the unique live cabinet and downward firing port of the Zero EVO transducers, with its sophisticated wave guide feet, an adaptor assembly was designed in collaboration with The Music Room for this model. The interface for the Zero EVO Bookshelf is a steel top plate embedded in a fibre platform rigidly bolted to the loudspeaker (replacing its M8 spikes) through four substantial aluminum spacers.
The custom stand was conceived first by principles, then by listening with good compact loudspeakers, and finally by listening with the Zingalis whose musical (non braced, or live) cabinets offer greater potential if tamed.
The enhancement in performance, safe to say, has taken everyone by surprise; I think even the designer and me. We both anticipated that the project was risky or even reckless. But this article is advance notice that we are onto something very significant. Value for money. Sensible prices. The combination with the Zero EVO -- which has always needed a great support – is breathtaking, warm, live music of astounding energy but finesse. Ideally, a compact speaker can throw a beautiful soundstage but its sound is compressed and it loses the bottom two octaves. This combination takes the state of the art a few leaps ahead of size and price, crucial to both man and wife.
Affordable? As stated, the loudspeaker is £2,795 / pair including VAT. Previously the best stand was Track Audio’s 600 Reference SE costing over £2,000 with a 240 x 300 top plate. Ground Zero is projected to sell for £650 plus £200 for a pair of custom designed adaptor platforms made of sixteen high tensile bolts, painted fibre board, steel, and aluminum couplers.
The elegance and the acoustical holography of “Ground Zero” achieves real progress. Non-audiophiles will share the pleasure, indeed a miracle, of this accomplishment, a synergy of Italian and English audio engineering. Perfection.
There have been five sets made. That’s it for sure. As stated, maybe a similar, a cheaper or a more expensive product will be generated on the drawing board. As the designer stated correctly, there will be five lucky people. Or should I say, well-informed people??