I agree. The Virgo IIs (not the IIIs) are one of the truly great speakers. I didn't think I would ever replace them until I heard the Avanti IIIs. Wider, taller and deeper soundstange. Deeper bass and more extended highs and still disappears like the Virgo.
Wendell, I take that as a yes. It is worth the extra $$$. Did you keep your IIs?. I'm driving my Virgos with a Pass X-350 and still searching for the right Preamp ( Adcom GFP-750). At higher volume, highs still to bright on most recordings. Very natural at low to mid volume.
I have not owned the Virgo II's but have heard them many times. I have owned the Avanti III's. Both are very accomplished speakers and the Avanti's are technically excellent...but...I tried very hard with lots of different gear and could never really get the Avanti's to let me relax and just enjoy the music...which is exactly what the Virgo's always allowed me to do.
Everybodies taste is different, but since you asked...I'd stick with the Virgo II's.
I did not keep the Virgos and regret that. They are wonderful. In my opinion, the Avanti IIIs are superior. I
know of no speaker, that I can afford, that I would prefer to have. I hear no flaws in them. I never experienced brightness from the Virgos or the Avantis that was not as a result of the upstream equipment or material. They simply reproduce the signal presented to them. I don't know the Pass or the Adcom so I can't comment.
Taking your subjest a bit side way, I was very impressed by the new Sonics speaker lines---www.sonicsonline.de/---designed by Joachim Gerhard---the original founder of Audio Physics---at the Home Entertainment show.
I believe the Virgo II was still Joachim's design, but the third generation was done after he sold the A.P.. And I heard many thought that the magic of A.P. was gone after his leave. I would think if you like the Virgo II, you should definitely look into the Sonics speakers. Except that, as they are so new, there will not be used one on the Audiogon for quite a while.
I also listened to the Sonics at the show. It is hard to make judgements under show conditions but I wasn't impressed with what I heard. Could have been the room or the setup.
I think whether you "upgrade" from the Virgo II to the Avanti III depends on whether you have a listening room that will let the Avantis shine. That is, big enough with space around the speakers to let them do their thing. If so, then I agree that the Avanti III will provide a performance level worthy of the money spent, but if not, the Virgo II is pretty darn good....
You nailed it. Both are wonderful but application is critical. I have a dedicated 17x25 listening room which gives the Avantis room to open up.
My room size is 22'x 30' half the ceiling is 10' and half is 20', into a loft. I also have a room attached to the rear of the listing area that is 12'x14'...so lots of air to fill! I added 2 Rel Storm IIIs to give me the missing octive. I don't think I would sell my Virgos. But it would be great to listen to Avanti IIIs with out dishing out 6+ grand for a used pair!
Does anyone run there Avanti IIIs bi-amped? That would be interesting to hear!
I also sent an Email to Joachim Gerhard. I'm just curious to know if the Avanti III is his design.
Thanks for all your input, Greg
I'll chip in with Wendall and Philnyc - if you've got the room to do an AP nearfield setup, the Avanti's are indeed worth the dinero, imo. They'll ask you take care in their setup but when they are right they do disappear and yield the best soundstage my ears have heard. I've got the Avanti Centuries which I chose after going in to hear the Virgo - I've always like the Virgo, but frankly it was no contest. Linear response, vitality and drive, excellent at resolving inner harmonic detail, and revelatory of whatever is upstream. Never heard 'em with SS and know they respond well to good tube gear. Disinclined to lump speakers into music genres, I'll make an exception and say for me the Avanti works its magic best with classical music.
I'm told the latest iteration of the Avanti (billed as the 'new' Avanti 3 on the AP Web site) is not designed by Joachim Gerhard. Kindly post back if you get a response to your e-mail - I'd be interested in Joachim's comments.
I did get a response for Joachim Gerhard. He said he was the designer for Virgo I & II. On the Avanti III, he was one of the designers. Spending most of his time Marketing. Sold Audio Physic in 2004. Now it's Sonics by Joachim Gerhard Design.
..........I do have the room size. It's a sickness!
In the June issue of Stereophile there was a review of A.P. Scorpio. In it, Michael Fremer stated: "The Avanti III, which I reviewed in the August 2001 issue, was far more capable in everyway than the Virgo II, it was my reference for a few years, and it's still a great speaker--but to my ears, the Virgo II's magic balance of strength eluded it."
I have not owned the Avanti III, had nothing against it, actually, I was thinking about getting it at one time, so I looked closely into it, and still pay attention to the whole A.P. line.
Contrary to Wendell's opinion, I was quite impressed by the new Sonics speakers. But I agree too with him, that it is very hard to tell the true nature of any equipment from a show room. I would love to hear from someone who has first hand experience on those Sonics speakers.
As an alternative, the Scorpio received a very good review from Michael Fremer. Maybe something to consider too. And I heard that there will be a new Virgo in the next CES.
You made me understand why I started this thread. I'm looking for people with my same preference to musical reproduction.
I understand the Avanti III is a different beast. But should I replace my Virgos?. What are all the Virgo lovers upgrading too? I'm also pretty locked into at least a year with my Pass Labs X-350 amp, it's that good.... I read how much better the new X-350.5 is...and what Preamp works best with my Amp, my Speakers, my Wife, my budget... If I spend 20k will I be happy?.... I know I'll be single, but that, death and taxes are all I'll be able to count on...
So what are ex-Virgoers making the jump too?
The Scorpio seems like a re-make of the Virgo. I do respect the opionion of Michael Fremer. He is the reason I gave the Virgo a listen in the first place.But I need a more dramatic improvment in presence and sonic abilities with reasurance from my listening brothers and sisters!
I do feel we share similar preference, even I have not owned any Audio Physics. I have been looking into a floor stander to replace my Dynaudio C1 monitor. The Virgo III and the Avanti III were among my top choices. I like the clean line and compact size of the Virgo III especially, and the fact that it is fairly efficient, supposedly much easier to drive than my C1. However, I am also afraid that the Virgo III may not be enough of an upgrade.
The Sonics speakers did not appeal to me on paper, or in pictures. But after seeing the Allegria speakers in person at the HE show, I was really attracted by their compact size and sleek quality look---kind of similar to Audio Physics, and I really thought they sounded fine. Did you see the show report? Link: http://blog.stereophile.com/he2006/060106louis/
They are my dream speakers for now. However, I am not ready to spend anywhere near $15,000 on a new set of speakers. On the other hand, the used Avanti IIIs at 6 grands seems a lot more reasonable. Please let me know your thought if you do get a set of them!
FWIW, one of the best systems I ever heard was a set up which had Avanti IIIs powered by Herron electronics (pre & amps). It was terrific in every way on classical AND rock - just killer. You didn't listen to the system - you just listened to natural "alive" music, whatever the genre.
If you like AP and have the space, I think the IIIs are still terrific speakers, I don't care what Mikey says. The price/performance ratio at their used price is a no brainer to me, provided you can give them the room they need. These speakers are worth mating to synergistic electronics - check out the Herron gear with them - it was a great combo.
Anybody have an idea why Gerhard abandoned the side-firing woofers? It's a great configuration and is really nice aesthetically too.
I think the Allegra is unattractive (the shape, not the finish shown in the photos), while the Allegretto looks nice but is a 2-way with only 1 mid/woof, a configuration that I usually find is lacking in clarity and dynamics compared with 2 mid/woofs.
I have the Virgo IIs and am anxious to hear this new line as well - one of the limitations of the Virgos is that they are not the last word in detail - maybe more modern drivers will address that shortcoming?
The Virgo IIs have great detail potential. They are room and placement sensitive...... With acoustic music, especialy Guitar, I have not heard a Speaker with more detailed presentation than the Virgo II. They are not the last word in detail or dynamics for Classical or Rock music.
Why did Gerhard abandon his side-firing woofers? Good question. You should email him and ask. The side-firing woofers were made necessary by his narrow baffle design. From what I've read, this is how the Audio Physic line become famous for their disapearing act.
Although I havn't seen them. I'm not gaga over the photos of any of the Sonic designs. I'm thinking of going down to Berkley, Ca. and checking them out sometime this summer.
I'm still looking for someone who has bi-amped Avanti IIIs with Pass Labs or any other SS gear.
I would not trade the Virgo's. We spend far too much time "upgrading" and in that search for that one minute of perfection, we tend to go in circles.
I am a Virgo owner and have similar tastes. I have a Pass X250 and have had great luck with it. I would just look at changing the preamp. Go with some tubed preamp. Possibly a Blue Circle, Copland, VACetc. My preference, the Blue Circle, but there are others. I don't think you will regret it and still save a lot of money.
There is some magic with the Virgo, that I have not been able to duplicate in 35 years of audio. I think Michael Fremer came across the same thing you and I have heard.
When you have a piece that appeals to you- why change?
I remember getting a word of advice from a reviewer (I won't mention his name) a few years ago when I bought his former reference CD player. I was supposedly trading down one or two levels and was down on myself at the time. I was not sure I would like it, missing detail, all the other goodies, we imagine we need more of.
He gave me some good advice and the magic behind this hobby.
It is not that we are looking at upgrading, but we are constantly looking for something different. In that search, we tend to make some purchases and sell some items that we regret later. So why not just stay with an item you like and just be content.
I have changed equipment less and am happier now than when I had a constant revolving door on the equipment. And yes, I ended up really liking the CD player he sold me even though it was " a step down".
If you really are caught up in the magic of the Virgo. Stay with it. I am. Who cares what other models are above it. While they are more expensive, might have better parts, more of everything,it still might be not what you are looking for and if you step back, you realize you already have what you are looking for. Virgo 11- if 6 years old, you have 20 years+ left. Those surrounds are not ones to disintegrate. If so, they can still be reconed and/ or replaced with the same drivers. The speaker on whole can not.
I have owned all three versions of Virgo's and found the III's are the best out of the group to my ears. They are much harder to set-up than the first two versions. Tubes seem to work better for my taste. Each version I have tried both with SS and tubes, the tubes always sound superior on the Virgo's. Can not comment on the Avanti III's, but looking forward to hearing the IV's. Just my experience as a long time owner of AP products.