Acoustic Zen Adagio Speakers?

Looking to audition a pair of these in the LI area. Anybody? The overwhelming positive chatter that I read on line, wether from professional reviewers, or private owners, caught my attention!
Thank you for your time.


You have a better pair of speakers already. The Zens are very good but they are no better than many other speakers in the same price range.
I was planning to buy Adagios but ended up with amazing Hyperion HPS-938:
Thank you for taking the time to answer my thread. Let me be very clear, I'm not looking to get rid of my Merlins. However, the overwhelming reviews, wether professionals or private users, have awaken my curiosity and would very much like to audition them and see what the hubbub is all about.

Once in a while, I like to audition whatever else is out there.
9-14-11: Audiofreakgeek

"You have a better pair of speakers already."

Finally, someone with actual experience with these two.
I assume you did compare them with the same electronics in the same room. In what way were the Merlins better? Thanks.
I have the Adagios and like them a lot; though, after making some major upgrades this summer, I am still NOT totally hearing what I want. Also, going from a Creek SE5350classic INTEGRATED AMP to a Bel Canto PRe3 pre-amp, and Red Dragon digital monoblocks, and klast year last going to AZ's Hologram 2 speaker cable,.... the soundstage seems to have shrunk to the space between the speakers....probably just a matter of adjusting the speaker place.
To answer your thread more specifically...and maybe radically, I would audition a pair of Martin Logan's Electro-Motion ESL speakers which retail for $2200. I have read some very positive press about them; they were the buzz at the January CES show in Vegas; but, I have not heard them yet... maybe in the a few weeks when visiting Los Angeles. The traditional shop talk about ML speakers is they require careful room placement, tend to lose imaging if you shift your head or stand up, and have a narrow sweet spot. However, when set-up correctly can sound incredibly boxless, and natural, at the same time accurate and with above average dynamics; it is worth a shot. The Adagios are very good speakers with excellent construction and looks,... but they also are overpriced. Also after 20 months of ownership, I have concluded, they need to be played on the loud side to sound their best...of course that may be me, or declining hearing which I don't believe I have yet. Good Luck, Jim
09-16-11: Sunnyjim

"but they also are overpriced"

Overpriced comparing to what?
Personally, I think the price is OK. I highly doubt anyone pays their MSRP. You just need to get the right amplification for them, and they're absolutely fine for the price.
I agree that they need to be played aloud so the can perform its best. I am very happy witth them , Got them NEW at 3000 from a Dealer in LA, with MAPA BURL finish and they look very good crafted, regarding the sound, I doubt there are many speakers out there on the 3000-4000 range that can equal their performance. But of course, I haven't heard them all...
To Hasmarto, Yes, I am sure us audiophiles avoid retail, but we do so because the type of products we desire are overpriced. It is ironic, dealers complain that customer come to audition their products, for example, like AZ Adagios, then are chastized and damned to hell for buying used. The "brick and mortar shops" need to direct their anger to the manufacturers's of such overly expensive products.

In better economic times, dealers usually allow a measly 5 to 10 percent off, IF your are lucky, AND DON'T WANT A PAIR OF DEMOS. They want to sell at retail or very near it, to max out their profit so they can pay employees, turn the lights on, and pay property insurance premiums. We can all appreciate the need to survive.

I once had a cyberspace brawl about 10 years ago with a rep of Audio Physic speakers who provided a pretty little speech on the performance to price ratio, and the unmeasurable "value" of audio enjoyment. I pointed out to his dismay and consternation, that such enjoyment might be had at a lower price with a comparable product, or a more reasonably MSRP. I could practically hear him jumping up and down because someone challenged the industry line.....

The Adagio is a great speaker with beautiful cabinet work and surely quality mil-spec parts and drivers, but its, current retail of $4600 seems somewhat over the top in the same way that the Audio Physic Virgo I series prices were. And of course, the performance to price ratio is stretched beyong the laws of physics when you see the asking price for any Wilson speaker, past or present..

I understnd and can appreciate the R&D that goes into a gem like the Adagios or AP's Virgo I, and that manufacturers justifiably try to recoup their investment, or investors money. However, it is we, the consumer, who must shell out after tax dollars to own such gems. Grossly inflated audio prices often I believe are a way for the manufacturer to anoint his product with prestige and therefore value, and everyone wants to feel a touch of class at least once in their lives whether it's audio, watches, cars,etc.... Granted, manufacturers like AZ, or AP, do not source their parts from Joe's Surplus but Questionable Electronics, or their designs from an amalgram of Popular Mechanics issues......

To Kapa 11, I am glad you confirmed what I thought might be related to hearing loss, or lack of power. The Adagios are not necessarily inefficient, and Robert Lee claims they can be driven with a SET amp. Though, it would be interesting to find out the technical reason for this anomoly. As you noted, the Adagios are speaker and achievement. I am continually amazed at their neutral and accurate presentation. Though, it may lack the dynamics of some other more expensive speakers, but not much. But, as Hasmarto noted, I just need to find the right amplification. I would even consider a tube amp or tube monoblocks, but recently had a nasty problem with FM transmission coming in loud and clear from a two tubed Jolida phono pre-amp. I tried every trick in the book, but never could resolve it. So, I fear something similar could occur with any type of tube amp or hybrid....also I not interested in tube rolling merry go round.

Much thanks to both Hasma and Kapa....sorry Audiofreakgeek, did not intend to monoploize your others have said, the Adagios are a great speaker system, you can go wrong!!!! Jim
Certainly didn't intend to turn this thread into a war among AZ fans, was simply looking to audition them. However, I can appreciate your passion, and I'm certainly going to do my best to audition them!
I have been in touch with a local dealer who briefly had the Adagio set up in his house, but unfortunately sold them before I had the chance to hear them.

Perhaps one day, I'll get that chance. Thank you all, your inputs are duly noted.

I heard them at a dealer a few years back, I wanted to be blown away. I recall being underwhelmed, they were very polite with compressed dynamics. I recall the dealer saying something about the "under-hung voice coil." Next to them were a pair of Dali's...Whatevere is the model that's about the same size, I beieve the Ikon. They had low end, slam, great vocals. Def. more of a rock speaker...Those Merlins are awesome, man. I think you'll miss the imaging if you trade them in for the Zen's.

I'm not trading anything away, like you, I want to experience the Zen experience. Those speakers have received tremendous accolades from professionals, and private owners.
Just need to satisfy my curiosity.

To trade in my MX, would mean to start all over again! Everything in my system, is catered to them.
I'm with you..! How do the binding posts work?

The best I've used. They are also implemented in my amp, the ARS Sonum Filarmonia. Simply, a single knob tightens both leads of the connected cable at the same time, without tools. Works best with spades.
I think Clearsound Audio in Patchogue carries the AZ line--I know I heard the Creshendos over there. Give Neil a buzz, he's a nice guy.

I have been in touch with Neil, and I've been to his place twice to listen to I believe a pair of Sonist speakers.
Real nice guy.
I've listened to them and PMC: both t-line designs. The PMCs I've heard were the latest FB, OB, and PBs.

I like PMC better. To my ears the PMCs have more detail and more punch.
My Adagio experience:

I am on my second pair of Adagios. I had a pair a few years back and ran them with an 845 based tube amp that was only 22 watts. It sounded OK but I could never really get the tweeters to "wake up" unless I drove them at a high volume. I wound up selling them.

Looking back now, I think I sold them way before they were fully broke in and I am sure I used the wrong amp.

I recently came across a deal on a pair that I couldn't pass up so I jumped back in. I matched them this time with a great hybrid integrated (150 wpc) along with a better front end and Acoustic Zen cables. I also gave them a chance to break in fully. WOW! What a difference. These speakers sure benefit from an amp that can grab them by the balls. They always had a fast dynamic midrange but now they have a solid articulate low end with clear detailed highs. Imaging is outstanding and the overall sound is now what I had been reading about in all the rave reviews.

I recently listened to a new pair of Adagios at my local dealer while auditioning other electronics. They were not set up very well and were not broken in. The Adagios sounded dull and lifeless. No imaging to speak of. I can see why people would think they are overrated. These speakers need a long breakin period, good electronics, and careful setup to sound like the speakers in the audio magazine reviews (not unlike most speakers out there). The good news is they can and do sound like the speakers in the reviews given the chance.

Another nice thing is they are almost always available for a discount from authorized dealers and can easily be had on Audiogon for half of retail. At the discounted prices they are a great bargain.

As an added bonus, the customer service from Robert Lee at Acoustic Zen is as good as any audio company out there! They are also an American company that you can get ahold of during normal business hours.
Mjmch2003, Yes speakers in Adagio have underhung motor that is responsible for both price (huge magnets) and some loss of dynamics. In exchange they produce much less distortion especially when displacements are large. Only few companies use underhung speakers AFAIK. Some tweeters (like Morel Supreme) are underhung.
man... after having these speakers for sometime don't know how true that is buda...I know this is an old thread,but i do have to blab...
They sounded good I guess but i would listen and think...i cant see what the fuss about these speakers is about...Did a little research about (burn in) getting the surrounds moving and i have been using the ayre disk on track 4 to get surrounds and things jumpin.(I have had these speakers for years...ever since these threads started).
Listening to cd,s I thought I was done with and ready to sell.I cant believe all the detail and lowend I never one time I thought I needed a subwoofer...not any more...
I know these things aren't the flavor of the month anymore...but doing the extended "burn in"
They are Very different speaker than they were before that...i was about to list them here and go back to an ole standby way now...They definitely grew a big pair.Hearing things that I have never heard out of these things.
Still have them paired with modwright kwi 200 and now i can hear what the amp as well as the speakers are doing...they just weren't burn in fully!