Any avantgarde acoustic owners?


I’m sure there are a lot of detractors here because of the limitations of the design, perhaps audible crossover issues... but I’m a firm believer that dynamics are king, and I do enjoy the colorations that Horns can provide. To me these colorations equate to a sense of thereness.

anyway to the point: anyone here heard or owner them? What do you like about them? I was eyeing the duo xd... one day perhaps I will get. There’s a dealer near me that has the whole line up to the trio on demo. Have to trek there sometime... anyway they  seem nice! 
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Okay...I'll bite. I'm sure there are many here that have heard them as well as more than a few that still own them.

I bought mine direct from Jim Smith shortly after he became the US distributor. I flew to Atlanta, he picked me up at the airport, took me to his house where I listened for most of the day and then he drove me back to the airport that evening. I got home, decided on the color and then placed the order. They were drop shipped at my door about three weeks later (and I've had 'em ever since). They are stock with the exception of exchanging the mid range Xover caps out from the stock Mundorf caps to Duelund VSF (don't bother). They are not the Omega driver version. They are the cornerstone of a system that has been stable for 17 years based on Atmasphere amps and preamp, Walker TT and Metrum Pavane II DAC (the only piece of recent vintage, including all cables/wires). My goals are/were full frequency reproduction, high sensitivity, macro and micro dynamic capability and extreme resolution coupled with purity. And, needless to say, it has to come off as "musical".

The Duos have delivered the goods in spades in these aforementioned categories to the degree that I have never seriously entertained any thoughts of changing them out nor have I cast a wayward ear in other directions in search of another solution. They play with any flea power amp extant and, when set up properly, stage and image like a SOaB. I have heard over the years on various fora people piss and moan about how the bass is too slow for the horns  and is tough to integrate but I simply do not find this to be the case. Rather, IME, the one inescapable drawback (not a major one) is that the bass comes out of a sealed box and, as such, suffers the attendant "boxiness" or sense of being closed in relative to the unbridled and unrestrained exuberance and openness inherent in horns. If this same bass solution was paired off with traditional boxed midrange and tweeter drivers employed in most designs, nary a peep would be made about it. Unless you are well heeled enough to be able to accomodate a full on horn system from true bass horn up, you will have to make peace with this situation.

Certainly there are speakers out there that are even more convincing than the Duos but at what price? Heck, todays Duos cost triple what I paid for mine back in 2001 (and, of course, incorporate many advances). But if you want a speaker capable of laying  bare all of the music that is in the grooves, that will convey the full palette of emotion and shadings and one that will command your attention and turn every record into a performance, you will be hard pressed to exceed what the Avantgardes bring to the (turn)table.

@acresverde 

Thanks for taking the time to write all that. I'm setting up a horn based system around some Gotos. I need to hear stories like yours to stay motivated.

I do not own the Avantgarde Duo's, but I would love to :-)

I have listened in detail to TOTL models from Focal and Sonus Faber  and to my ears the Avangarde's Duo's  topped them both - not by a small margine either.

Now maybe it's my ears, but the details, clarity and dynamic speed of the Avantgarde's won me over immediately. And in case you are wondering I tried all three at the same audio store that had them setup with very similar components & cables.

The Avantgarde's also provided the largest sweet spot and image.

All the speakers had plenty of  room to "breath" and I did not notice any reflections from any of them.

Now If I could just win that lottery...

Regards - Steve 


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I also have the Duo (225 era) supplemented by a pair of 15 inch subwoofers that are DSP’d. The speakers mesh wonderfully with SET amplification and require a little fiddling to get them to play well without being too reticent in the bass or lacking in cohesion between the integrated woofers and the midrange horn. Due to their efficiency, you can hear gremlins in grounding and power that may be masked in other systems. These speakers made me work to get a very low ’noise floor’ but it was worth it. Differences in recordings, cartridges, VTA settings, etc. are pretty obvious. Get them set up just so and they can be marvelous. My system page here has some pics of the set up installed in Austin, TX.
PS: on this era of Duo, there is no crossover on the midrange horn which lends it an immediacy that can be quite lifelike with the right amp. You connect the amp output directly to the midhorn, and then run jumpers to the tweeter and woofer module. I've been using Lamm ML2 for a dozen years and they are very synergistic. I came from electrostatics and have always been about the midrange first. Though I keep a restored pair of old Quad ESLs in a vintage system (a pair that I have owned since 1973!), I don't feel like the midrange in the Duo is compromised by comparison. 
fyi... Avant-garde Are Not Horn speakers!   They claim that they are horn speakers but in fact they are a copy of horn style/hybrid type of speakers.  

If they are true horn speakers;  it has to have compression drivers and horn load enclosure!  
@nickecb    My god, man! You could be on the threshhold of the audio grail of the highest order. If you can provide the not inconsiderable care and feeding (and space!) these drivers demand and can somehow come up with appropriate horns and a competent xover design (hopefully all analog) to open them up and let them breathe then you will have probably reached the apex of what is possible in lifelike audio. Goto is legend to me and I would drive a thousand miles to experience them.

Please tell me you don't live in Auckland.
I must agree with Acresverde on all points. I have been thrilled with with my Avantgarde Duo Omega's (Sub225) for over 12 years. I have tried a number of amps and settled on AtmaSphere S30 OTL. 

In all honesty the first few months of ownership was thrilling but I didn't really have a clue about setup. I tried all sorts of positions and crossover settings and got very good results. However, it wasn't until I followed Jim Smith's 'Get Better Sound' book and DVD that I was able to take a quantum leap forward in sound!

I have tried to time-align the mid and treble by moving the treble housing back. This made a surprising improvement. I also changed the footers for Herbies lab footers which made the bass more natural. I have read lots of comments about the bass being slow etc but I believe this is often due to the crossover cutoff and gain being set too high. 

Overall I have zero interest in changing these speakers as they give me the 'live' sound that I have always been searching for. They are dynamic and exciting without ever sounding fatiguing.

Did I mention that I really like them?
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@acresverde Thanks for the encouragement. I'm still in the component buying phase of things. I'm going to start setting everything up in about a year in Virginia. If you're ever in that neck of the woods I'd be happy to have you over. I'm a bit of an amateur to all this so I'd be grateful just to have another pair of ears that can call me on what's not right.
I demoed the duo's and was amazed, the room we wanted to use them in was just a little too small.  They sure throw a big soundstage.  If i didnt already have 2 full sized setups i would not hesitate to get a pair.
My others are Dunlavy SCiv in our theater room and symphonic line's in our 2 channel room.   I like  midrange  on all of them.


Anyone know of a Avantgarde dealer in NJ?  I am desperate to hear the Zero-1-XD.
My buddy owned a pair of Duos, as he was convinced after hearing a pair of my modified Lascalas, he wanted and needed horns, and he always wanted to 1 up me ( he made much more money than I, and led a bachelor lifestyle, as opposed to having a family ). He owned them less than a month, because he sat too close to them ( his room was too small ) and felt they weren't coherent. The Trios are a gem, and are great as far as coherency is concerned. Unlike my Lascalas, which allow me to listen more near field than many horns, any of the Avantgardes need some distance between them and the listener ( this has been my own experience ). If the Trios were in my budget ( and I had the proper sized room ), I would not hesitate in owning them. I modify all horns, and eliminate most, if not all, of their inherent nasties. In 1996, at the NY Stereophile show at the Waldorf, I was blessed with the honor of being the presenter of the Jadis Eurythmie speaker / system. My friend ( as mentioned above ), was the importer at the time, and he and his business partner acknowledged my passion and familiarity with horns. A wonderful weekend ( with some issues ). I would love to hear the Magico Ultimate III loudspeakers. Horns forever !