You may want to check out Focal's new Diablo Utopia from the new Utopia III line. The new generation beryllium tweeter is remarkable. This product should be a contender for the best stand mounted 2-way.
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The Diablo Utopia has a new generation of drivers specifically engineered for the Utopia III, a new crossover, a different enclosure and stands. In fact, the only thing that that the Diablo and Micro Be's have in common is that they are both 2-ways. I have heard both and it is night and day difference. Rest assured however, that the Micro's offer a tremendous value compared to the Magico's. The Magico Mini II and Diablo would be an interesting comparison. I can say confidently that the upper octave response from the new beryllium driver can't be touched by the Scanspeak revelator of the Mini. That being said, I have very high regard for the Mini. I think that it is responsible for what seems a plethora of new 2-way cutting edge designs above $10K retail.
During last 10yrs, my speakers evolved from Pro-ac Response 4 to ML Prodigy to MG20.1, then two years ago the SF Stradivari. Earlier this year, after having audition a number of some highly touted contenders within my allocated upgrade budget of 40-60k, I ended up with the MiniII.
Although price wise this may seem a downgrade, but sound wise (in my set-up) there's simply no contest. IMO the MiniII is much more accurate, neutral, fast, transparent, coherent and just as equally musical compared to the more costly Strads.
I also think they are almost a perfect fit for your room (1-2m longer would be more ideal), and given enough quality wattages from the Boulder, they should synergize pretty well. What's 1060's ratings to 8-4ohm btw.? Do home audition one, I have a hunch that you will most likely keep them.
@ Linkster: I´ve listened to several Utopia series speakers and never found the attracting (to much hifi). But I´ve heard that the new series is much better, than the previous ones.
@ Bvdiman: the 1060 delivers 300 watts into 8 ohms and 700 watts into 4 ohms. I´m a bit afraid that the AAD´s as well as the Mini´s won´t match the richness and transparency of my current Indra´s which I like a lot (great speakers). Have you ever compared the Mini´s to the Indras ?
Wow that's one spectacular spec of Boulder, more than doubling it's rated power to 4ohms? 700watts should be plentiful then! As for transparency and richness/density of tone colour/timbre I would think the MiniII to be quite vastly superior to Avalon--if Eidelon Diamond could serve any reference here (have not heard the Indra though, unless of course they are also a notch up or two above their predecessor in this regard).
Btw the dealer whom I bought the Magico from also happens to carry Avalons and Sonus lines, but unfortunately during my last visit, earlier this year, only the Eidelon and their smaller one down--I can't recall name, were in stock for comparisons. During which audition of MiniII and Eidelon, electronics used were VACs and Soulutions.
Yes, I've heard this dealer friend too raved about the Indra a lot recently (knowing him for more than 10yrs, I have no doubt of his discerning ears and taste in equipments), claiming they are over and above previous Avalons offerings from the Eidelon and down. However, at home, in his personal set-up, he is loving the V3, I wonder..
I´ve had the chance to do an AB comparison Magico V 2 vs. my Indras. Well I found the Indras had more weight, resolution and sounstage depth than the V2´s (probably due to the ceramique transducers).
Unfortunately I still can´t comment on the Mini II. But this first comparison let me to re-think my plans to substitute the Indras with the Minis.
I was told by a friend to look at YG Acoustics Kipod or Rockport Ankaa (or Altair ?) speakers to better the Indras.
Hope what you had for comparison was a fully broken-in pair of V2. As those few points you mentioned, plus added midrange dimensionality (more densely fleshed out), and also top and bottom extensions were only fully realized at or after the 300-500hr mark with the MiniII. Their sound kept evolving, sometime for the better and sometime for the worse, stabilizing only north of 300hrs. But it is just my assumption here that V2, being of same breed, should require somewhat similar process before fair assessment can be made to their sound.
Beside MiniII, I would also add the new TAD Compact Reference One Monitor to your must audition list. However, we can just do so much as to line-up the "better" mini monitors of today, finally, it is the synergizing and personal taste that really matters, there is no absolute best for everyone.. Anyway good luck in your pursuit, and do keep us inform of the journey.
I listen to the Avalon extensively before I bought my first Mini. The Avalon lower region performance hardly exist so I am not sure what weight exactly you are talking about (See JA measurements). Perhaps you are referring to the ripens they have at the midbass due to the woofer elevated response. Kind of nice on some recording but certainly not natural sounding and colored to my ears. I also think that the more resolution you are talking about is due to the tweeter brittleness and elevated output (Again, see JA measurements). Might be exciting on the old ears but resolution, it is not. Al in all, I think that there is simply no comparison on objective matters. The Avalon is a good specimen of the old design school, with hardly any innovations to speak of, where the Magicos is an engineering feast with performance that are in a league of their own. Just my 2 cents
The Avalons have very unique sound based on my brief listening session with them that I cannot equate exactly with any other line.
The sound had a certain "sparkle" compared to comparable speakers from most other vendors I have heard like Dynaudio and Magico.
It came across as resolving in my limited listening session but it may well have been a hotter tonal balance/timbre compared to many other speaks I am familiar with. It was different and interesting but I did not have enough listening time logged to really say whether it was a good thing or not in the long term.
MAgico Mini's when I heard them came across as highly resolving yet smooth as well but the timbre was more in line with other lines I've heard. They are expensive beast's though. The AADs (never heard these) look to be about half the price which could be a bargain if performance is comparable.
@ Roypan: you will agree, that the Indras have more weight and punch than the Mini II´s - so how would you call the lower region of a mini monitor like the Mini II´s compared to a full range speaker like the Indras. The mid band and the high frequencys of the Indras are quite pure as from the resonance character ceramique transducers are more linear (due to the stiffness and light weght of the material) than the ring radiator used in the Mini´s. To our ears "resolution" or lets call it detail retrieval was better with the Indras. But probably the Mini II´s are a lot different than the V 2´s or the synergy of Avalon and Boulder is much better than the synergy of Magico and Boulder ?
@ Bvdiman: I was told that the V 2´s had about 600-700 hours on them (in use for several month). I was a bit suprised as the price tag of the V 2´s is quite high - therefore I had expected a "better" performance - although performing on a very high level.
@ Mapman: I´ve heard a lot of good things about the AAd´s but I´m not a big fan of ribbon tweeters as sweetspot is quite narrow and the lack a bit "depth".
I will try to audition the YG Anat II Reference main module as it goes down quite low and is said to be an extraordinary speaker as well and a contendr for the finest monitors available.
Frankpiet-Not sure what you are talking about. What is a V2? Now if you are talking about the V3, I suggest that you ck the FR of the V3 vs. the Indra on SP reviews. The V3 covers a full octave more than the Indra. resonance character ceramique transducers are more linear where are you getting this information from? Have you ever seen the breakup modes on these drivers? Linear are the last thing they are. YG goes down quite low ? You can look at SS measurements of these speakers and see how low do they go. If 100Hz is low for you then no wonder you like the Indra. Sorry but I cant quite get your logic Frankpiet.
Franpiet, the Utopia line is now in its series III and offers vastly improved driver technology, cabinet construction and crossover design. The original Utopia line (circa 1995/6) featured a version of the inverted aluminum dome that Wilson uses now. The beryllium driver was introduced in 2002. I did not hear any of the hifi sounds that you noted on the Diablo. Really amazing depth. BTW, I lived with Eidolon Diamonds for 3+ years.
I think he is referring to V2 (est.retail $18k) the latest offerings from Magico, little brother of V3, releasing alongside their M5. What escapes me though that it was already available in the market for a few months now as Frankpiet stated--the period of breaking them in. Well, I have not been in contact with my dealer friend for a couple of months now, will check..
@ linkster: please read my comment carefully. I stated that I dindn´t like the Utopia series II models. I haven´t heard the series III line.
@ Roypan: my fault. V 3 (three way, four driver) not V 2 (two way (three driver). Retail for the Magico carried at my home was in the 35-40K range.
The YG is - according to their web-site, going down to 20hz. I would suggest thats pretty low ?
The Indras go down to 27hz. - so fairly low as well. But as I already stated. The synergy between Boulder and Avalon seems to be a lot better than the synergy of the Magico and the Boulder.
Frankpiet-Are you judging bass extension based on manufacture specs and propagandas? If so, you should buy the YGs. They are the best speakers on earth you know. Anyway, back to reality, the Avalon Indra, based on JA measurements were app 15 db down at 27Hz. The V3 on the other hand, are only 6 db down at that point. If you are hearing more weight out of the Avalon, I suggest some serious soul searching , weight and dynamics are not the Avalon cup of tea BTW, I heard the V3 on the Boulder at the CES last year. Best sound at the show, hands down. I was not the only one who felt that way (See CES 2008 press coverage).
Roypan: as we both know: there is no "best speaker on earth" although I know from various manufacturer homepages they claim :) but if so I would have other makes on my mind (German Physics e.g.).
The guy who borrowed the V 3 drives them with FM Acoustics and found them sounding much better with FM Acoustics gear than with my Boulders but he as well found the Boulder Avalon combo better than the Boulder V 3 combo.
I use top-of the line Shunyata cabelling - probably V 3 don´t like that...?
Referring to the manufacturers specs you are right: Avalon goes deeper - and to our ears did.
Regarding weight and dynamics: having owned Opus Ceramique a while ago and heard the Eidolons several times: the Indras are a total different animal.
Bvdiman: I have the feeling that at louder listening levels the bass is to much for my room - that´s why I mainly look for smaller alternatives.
Heard the Avalon mixing monito a while ago and was quite impresed but didn´t like the black only pro finish.
Will give the Focal Diabolos a listen on monday.
Well understood, room/speaker synergy--that is also one reason I ended up with the MiniII--'very well executed and controlled everything' for my room size. Considered the newer M6 (with carbon drivers) initially, but experience told me that sometimes less is more. When you have uncontrolled bass bouncing all over the place it just skewed everything else good doesn't it, plus a bad headache too?! Maybe later after I have my room professionally treated, I will certainly re-visit the possibilities. Loved those M6s!
Frankpiet, In the late 90's, early 00's(?), Avalon made a solid wood, 2-way, bi-ampable monitor. Good looking & good sounding. It was simpy called "The Avalon Monitor" I have used them for years & am amazed at their soundstaging, & enjoyment they provide.
Since you connect with the Avalon sound, maybe you can locate a pair to listen to? If you're intrested, there's some info in audiocircle. BTW- I have no financial interest in Avalon nor the potential seller.
Good luck & enjoy your search.
I agree with Bvdiman about working with the Avalons in your new space. I believe it could be done, depending upon the layout of other essential items in the room.
Avalons are very sensitive to very small alterations in spacing and toe-in. A couple well-positioned bass traps and absorption panels should take care of any boominess.
given that you are in Germany and from what I read you like details, why not consider some of the local brewed speakers like MBL, Burmester, or Tidal? Tidal offers ceramic and diamond tweeter options on most of their speakers, you will have most of Avalon Indra sound and more with Tidal.
MBL 101E, even though physically large, works better than most small speakers in small room and very popular in Asia for that reason. if you like MBL sound, 101E might be a contender.
Having had the Diabolos around now for a few hours at home I must say that this speaker is a remarkable product. Nevertheless the Indras do exceed the Diabolos in several to me important areas (transparency, soundstageing, imaging, micro and macro dynamics) although beeing in some aereas (coherency, speed) scaringly close in performance to the Indras. As the Indras have to move due to the bloomy bass in my new smaller listening room I will receive later today a pair of Kharma Mini Exquisites which I can buy as a used pair from an audiophile who moves up the Kharma line. Keep you posted.
i wld also consider Sonus Faber Guarneri Memento. Visually sunning, 2 way appropriate for a smaller room, relaxed yet inviting character, not hard to drive. i auditioned them about a year ago and was very impressed. I like the Magico Mini's too, I think the difference would be more of a matter of personal taste. The Magico's do go lower, are more dead neutral, and more accurate...its more about what it doesn't add not what it does ( & costs more).. It simply gets out of the way. The Guarnei, however, is more about what it adds. It does have its own character. And for me, its beautiful...warm and inviting without really losing much in resolution. Both are excellent.
Linkster: I still have the Diabolos for home audition. Just started listening to the Kharmas and I must say: the by far most detailed and coherent speaker I´ve ever listend to. Exceptionel well imagers a huge and deep soundstage and a remarkably hefty baseline for such a small speaker. If I would give the Mini Exquisites a 100% I would say the Indras are at 90% and the Diabolos at 85%. I´ll have the chance to listen to the Mini II´s in two to three weeks time and then I´ll decide which way to go (either the Mini Exquisites or the Mini II´s or the new V 2 - if released by that time). By the way: I´ve swapped the Shunyatas for Kubala Sosna Emotions and find the a better match with Boulder and Avalon as well as with the Kharmas.
Tired of looking around I now settled with a quite unusual appoach: I´ve sold the 1060 and bought a pair of audiostatic DCA fully active electrostatic speakers. Speed, transparency and resolution are top notch and easy outperform what I´m used to with the Indras and what I´ve heard so far from the Focals or Kharmas.
Bass goes down fairly low (25hz.)