JansZen zA2.1 Speaker Review

JansZen zA2.1
JansZen zA2.1 Speaker Review

The JansZen zA2.1 attempts to deliver the advantages of a full-range electrostatic speaker, but in a small-footprint suitable for medium-sized rooms. Unlike planar speakers, which almost all require a large room to really work their magic, the zA2.1 was designed to fit into a less cavernous environment. With dimensions roughly equivalent to many mid-sized floor-standing box speakers, and drivers contained in a closed rather than open-back design, the zA2.1 can fit nicely into a room where even old Quad ESL-57s (one of the smaller planar electrostatics ever made) would have never fit properly. If you have always wanted to own electrostatic speakers but refused to move to a larger domicile to accommodate them, the JansZen zA2.1 could be YOUR electrostatic.

Basically the zA2.1 is a sealed cabinet, two-way design with a side-firing tweeter. But instead of a conventional tweeter the zA2.1 has two identical electrostatic panels mounted in a barometrically isolated sub-enclosure. At a 500Hz crossover point, the electrostatic panels hand off to a pair of 175mm alloy-cone midrange/woofers. The crossover slope is a very gradual 6 dB per octave, which means there is a fairly wide frequency range where the electrostatic panels and the cone woofers are both producing sound, the main advantage being the improved phase alignment.

To maximize the zA2.1’s flexibility JansZen added several level controls. The electrostatic panels’ level can be reduced by up to 6 dB via a variable control knob. The midrange/woofers have a three-position toggle that offers -3 dB, + 3 dB, and flat settings. Finally JansZen has a side-firing tweeter they call their “airLayer option” which can be continuously adjusted from off to very loud. 

The zA2.1 cabinet enclosure utilizes an acoustic suspension design for minimum group delay. With 25mm thick walls and a 63mm thick solid hardwood front baffle that features “front edge scoops” to reduce front panel edge diffraction, the zA2.1’s 91cm tall and 26cm wide cabinet is compact yet solid. 

The zA2.1 is very purposefully a limited dispersion design. Both horizontal and vertical dispersion parameters are restricted so less energy radiates out into a listening room’s reflective surfaces. Especially in the upper frequency range, early reflections from the walls, ceiling, and floor can have substantial negative effects on a speaker’s in-room imaging and harmonic balance. By limiting dispersion of the zA2.1 JansZen delivers an electrostatic that will have far less in the way of sonically negative room interactions.

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