Avalon: are new models quite better than older ?

I'm curious if all Avalon's owners are completely satisfied with the new vented models respect the previous sealed: I know the factory point of view but I wonder if in this particular aspect -bass articulation, impact and speed- the discontinued Ascents or Radians (just to name a few) could be better than the new Eidolons or Opus... Any comment will be appreciated ! Thanks, Luca.
Luke72, in my system, the Eidolon's bass is very agile, articulate and detailed. I'm driving the Eidolons with Atma-Sphere MA-2 amps and I would say their impact and dynamics in the bass is excellent on full scale orchestral music. (E.g., listening to the last side of the Stravinsky Firebird Mercury/Classic 45 rpm reissue, which has stunningly demanding bass transients.) The bass in the Opus I have not found to be as satisfactory, but the Eidolons are very good indeed.
Thanks Rushton. Any comment from audiogoners who passed from Ascent or Radian to Eidolon ?
Luca: I am not necessarily a fan of the Avalon speakers, especially the older Eidolons. I thought the bass did not integrate very well with the midsand always sounded lean.

I am very familiar with the newer Eidolons and feel there is a large improvement in the bass region.
Jtinn, you meant the older Radians or Ascents, I presume...
Thanks for the post. I hope to read something from an owner who passed from the older to the newer models and could add a first hand opinion.
I am refering to memory of a long time ago after hearing the Ascents at one dealer in CA and the Eidolons at a dealer in NY. I found the dynamics very constricted on the Eidolons & passed on them. I never felt that with the Ascents. They were one of my favorite speakers, but at that point I could not afford them. The Eidolons (they may have been updated since) broke up at louder volumes with distortion & compression in dynamics. The other speakers in the store were much more "dynamic". There could have been a problem with the demo, but I ruled out the Eidolon for myself after that. I listen to music usually very loud.
Dgad, thank you for adding your direct experience, I think that Eidolon's owners don't feel the same, probably you have many enemies among these now...
As an Eidolon owner who has heard the speakers with a half dozen sets of electronics, I'd say that if you are looking for speakers that are tuned first and foremost for dynamics, look to something like the Wilsons. Eidolons and most of the Avalon line are more musical and laid back. I've never had any problems having more than enough dynamics for my listening tastes (from large scale classical to jazz and some rock), and they certainly have speed. In fact, it's not difficult to get the sound to be too punchy, but punchiness and impact are not specific to bass, and may characterize the mids or highs as well. Bass articulation with the Eidolon depends a great deal on the choice of electronics and cabling. The Eidolon Diamond, which is what I believe Jtinn is referring to when he says newer Eidolon, definitely has more powerful 'authoritative' bass and is notably more punchy. It also has very finely detailed treble. Be aware that the Diamonds need a reasonably large room, but they sound extremely good, as befits their price range.

I've never owned Ascents but did spend an afternoon listening to them at a store in Manhattan where they were well set up. My impressions at the time were that if anything, they were too balanced toward the bass. Sorry, I can't comment on their dynamic behavior.
Thank you Flex, very interesting comments. The reason why I started this thread is simple: I own a pair of Thiel 7.2 and I just purchased a pair of Avalon Radian HC. Well, comparing the two, I noticed that the driver's speed of Radians (yes, not only the woofers, also mid and tw) is better, sound is faster and transients more clean. Thiels are vented (even if they have a passive radiator), Eidolons are vented, Radians are sealed so my question about bass speed and impact. Thanks again.
I'm a former Avalon Radian HC owner. At the time I bought, I was quite fond of the Eidolon, but it was out of my price range. I heard both with Spectral/MIT, and bought a DMC20II pre, DMA180 amp, MIT/Spectral 770 bi-wire to drive the Radian HC in a 17'x14'x9' room. For me, the bass was well-articulated and speedy, but not impactful. Of bigger concern, the system was quite fatiguing(w/Meridian 508 as a source). After a few months, I sold it all & returned to a tube based system.
Since then, I've had the pleasure to hear Rushton's Atma-sphere/Eidolon combo, and it's got me wondering what the Radian's might have capable of with a top quality, high powered tube amp. Regardless, of tube or ss, I've always found the bass performance of the Eidolon's to be excellent, and certainly better than either the Ascent or the Radian HC. To me the unanswered question is, "how good can the older Avalons sound w/tubes?" Regards,
Thanks Spencer. My feeling is different about the impact of bass in the Radians: I found the woofers really fast, dynamic and capable of move a lot of air (and I have a huge room, 40 x 30 ft)... but no, I haven't heard the Eidolons in my system yet so I can't make a direct comparison.
I don't want to come off as someone that rationalizes his equipment choice as so many of us do,but,the original last version Ascent series#2 was and is one of the finest speaker systems ever designed.I heard the Eidolons in a very fine set up when they were introduced and they just did not have enough to make me want to upgrade from the Ascent.Truthfully upn an a-b comparison the Eidolon may provide a bit more bass,but,they,to me,sounded a bit lean in the upper mid.The Diamond I have not heard,and Avalon does not make it easy for these to be auditioned.I'm not driving for 3 hours to hear them in another state.Avalon does not demo them at any trade show other than Vegas.Obviously intis case 'what happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas'.As for the Ascent you have a sealed enclosure that will definitely produce a more articulate midbass than a ported design.Avalon can stand on it's head,but, they are never going to convince me that a ported design with a similar internal volume will do any better than a properly designed sealed box which the Ascent is.The only thing a ported enclosure of thi type(Eidolon and Diamond)will do differently is produce a louder and abit less defined bass and midbass.Read the comments on midbass made in the absolute sound regarding the performance of the 32000 dollar Diamond.Also,if you have acess to it,read the hard cover book that came with the early Avalons.It is spot on regarding this subject.Common sence tells me that you are going to sell more product by giving the public what it wants.Most people want lots of bass and a room friendly design.The Ascent had 4 boxes.2 175 lb speakers and 2 55 lb crossovers.That's 460 lbs worth of speaker vs. 2 150 lb boxes for the Eidolon and Diamond.Also the Ascent was a very easy 5 ohm min. load to drive.That makes a DIFFERENCE.Lastly what I did to supplement the extreme low frequencies was to ad a REL Stentor Sub.I crossover at 24 hz. This is a killer set up and cost me alot less than selling the already fabulous Ascent's to buy the Eidolons.I'm glad I did.
Sirspeedy, couldn't agree more ! How you can see on my previous posts I have a pair of Radians HC now and I discover day by day how much faster, articulate and, YES, impactful these speakers are compared to a vented system... Surely the Ascents MkII are even better but I'm so glad now with my Radians... Thanks.
Does anyone know the history of Avalon wrt who designed which models? I know that Charles Hansen, now of Ayre, did the Ascent and Eclipse. The next products were the Monitor and the Radian and then the Arcus, I beleve. After that, I think it all went ported (maybe Arcus has a port also), and I know Hansen was long gone. Did Neil Patel (he of rather large ego) come in right away, or was there someone else in there for a while:?
Does anyone know the history of Avalon wrt who designed which models? I know that Charles Hansen, now of Ayre, did the Ascent and Eclipse. That may have been it for Hansen. The next products were the Monitor and the Radian and then the Arcus, I beleve. After that, I think it all went ported (maybe Arcus has a port also). When did Neil Patel (he of rather large ego) come? Did he follow Hansen or was there someone else in there for a while?
Drubin, you can find info about Avalon story from the company site, reading the reviews of the models. The big boss at Avalon were Neil Patel but I'm not sure if something changed recently. Thanks, Luca.
FWIW, I know of a prominent Audiogon member who went from the Ascent II's (w/ Muse Model 18 subwoofer and its appropriate personality card) to the Eidolon with no regrets.
Luke: I am an owner of both electrostats(Acoustat 2+2s) and the Avalon Radian (not HC) with both tubes and solid state.
I would state that the bass definition of the two are actually quite comparable but the quantity of bass is higher in the Radians. Midrange goes to the Avalon but the treble region belongs the the Acoustats. The dynamics both macro and micro goes to the Avalons. Along with imaging and soundstage width and depth. Clarity goes hands down to the Acoustats.

In comparison to other Avalons I much prefer the Radians to either the Opus or the Eidolons because of the integration of the bass to the midrange drivers, but the inegration of the midrange to the treble seems quite better in the Eidolons and to a lesser degree the Opus. Eidolons Diamonds are in a league of their own: the treble and midrange integration is superb along with a tight taut bass.

Since I like the cello solid state electronics seem to work better than tube amps. I have an all spectral setup along with MIT cables. I can listen to Schnittke, Schubert,
Beethoven, my beloved Hank Williams and Yardbirds for hours and hours without any fatigue
Shubertmaniac, great post, thanks ! I'm so glad that many owners prefers the discontinued Radians vs the Eidolons, my initial feeling is right ! Thanks again to all audiogoners.
Just returned from the Italian Top Audio & Video Show, I've listen to Opus and Opus ceramic: yes, the bass is fast and really articulate... Faster than the previous Radians and Ascents ? I don't know. However I've noticed a very little difference in the sound between the ceramic drivers and the woofer... anyone thinking the same ? And the dynamics ? No match between Opus and Radians, bigger the drivers and cabinets better the dynamic range. Thanks, Luca.
Nothing to add but now I'm powering the Radians with the Pass X600 and I couldn't be more happy ! The sound is fast fast fast, dynamic and so musical... Do not underestimate the older Avalon guys, they are still incredible great speakers, trust me.
Sirspeedy, thanks for your 2nd post, i'm really glad with my Radians now... but it seems so difficult to explain to other audiogoners that a new project (read: Eidolon) not necessary is better than a previous one (read: Ascents or Radians). Cheers, Luca.
I have Eidolons now and Radian HC too. Well, I can't decide if I definitely prefer the one or the other ! Call me crazy but Eidolons have better resolution, transparency and detail in the mid/high region, the bass is more extended and deep BUT the bass itself has less speed, articulation and dynamics: it seems that the ported woofers cannot match with the speed of ceramic drivers... When I listen to a well recorded drum-set with Radians the sound is tight, I can clearly distinguish the leather of drums, with Eidolons the drums sound more deep and visceral but a lot less tight and "kicking". Even worse with a well recorded double-bass.
The power in the mid/high region partially make up for this limit adding lots of energy and speed on higher notes but the result is unsatisfaying for me... Am I the only thinking that on Eidolons vs previous sealed Avalons like Radians ? I wouldn't miss the magic and energy of Eidolons in mid-hi frequency but cannot live with a slow and little muddy bass.
Waiting your opinions and advices. Thanks, Luca.
Luca, as I mentioned at the outset of your thread, I experience no slow or muddy bass on Eidolons here. Here the bass on the Eidolons is extremely tight, well defined and agile. But the Diamonds are better defined still, so perhaps the Radians are as well. But this is a matter of subtle degree of refinement, not the gross level of difference you seem to be describing. If you are using the same amplifier with both the Eidolons and the Radians, could it be that the amplifier is not as good a match to the Eidolons as it is to the Radians?
Dear Rushton, the amps are the same: Pass X600, well know for their great control on speakers drivers, so I doubt that could be a problem due to amps. Anyway, thanks again.
I believe that you will find the Ascent mk2 to be the speaker that does it all for you(based on your comments).This was Avalons premier product originally and they have not bettered it in any of their three way designs regardless of ad copy or industry hype.They were a sealed enclosure(more articulate bass and midbass).They were a very easy load on an amp(lowering how hard your amp has to work,meaning lower distortion).They came with a seperate external crossover(would you want a crossover in a potentially resonant enclosure or external?).They had significantly more mass in the enclosure and had unbelieveably high resolution in the vital upper mid to high freq.They were discintinued due to wife acceptance factor(4 cabinets,including crossovers)and the need for Avolon to distribute a more compact design.These speakers really have to be heard to be believed.They are occassionally available used at about 5-7k and are a steal.I have heard them on numerous occassions in various Manhattan loft set ups and always felt that this was Avalons towering achievement.Don't take my word for it ,try to hear a pair.Avalon once had indicated to me that they had received one pair back on trade in and "had forgotten just how good the sound".YOU can believe me or not,but I'm not making this up.
Dear Sirspeedy, good to hear from you again ! Just now I'm dealing for a pair of Ascents... I'll let you know soon. Thank you, Luca.