Avalon Eidolon Diamond or Aerial 20T v2.

I am trying to decide between these two speakers and was hoping to get some input from anyone who has heard either of these speakers.

I realize the best thing for me to do is go and listen to them but it is tough for me to do. I have heard each speaker but wasn't at the store to listen to either of these in particluar. I heard the Aerials when demoing a subwoofer and they where the orginals not the v2. I only heard the Avalons briefly at a store being demoed for another customer about 3-4 years ago.

From what I'm hearing in talking to dealers over the phone and to a friend who has the Eidolon Vision the Avalon's give a more holographic sound (Wider and deeper soundstage)over most other speakers. The Aerial's I'm told are not as holographic and are alittle more in your face.
You gotta hear em ( :

Heard em both in different setups.... Both very solid, but I like the Aerials better.
Personal preference here is for Avalon.
I second the Avalons,although the 20T v2 are great, just too directional for my taste..Avalons are my next speakers..Enjoy
I heard both in optimal systems at different times of course.

I like both speakers very much, but would give my nod to the
Aerial 20T V2's for their awesome bass response and control.
Vote for Avalons. Its' sound is very sophisticated (from Symbols to Diamonds, haven't heard Isis yet). Matched properly will give you unforgettable soundstage with fantastic sense of emotions in music.

If you consider buying new speakers, wait a moment. Avalon will introduce replacement of Diamonds in April/May called Time (with two Eton woofers and ceramique midrange and diamond tweeter).
I own 20t's now and Eidolons before them. They are very very different speakers. Which you would prefer will come down to personal preference by ear, and associated electronics. I don't disagree with your limited descriptions but neither really describes them fully. My 20ts are very particular when it comes to electronics. I have not heard V2 yet but people I know who have have mentioned they feel they are one of the top couple of speakers in the world under $50k.
Thanks for the input guys and keep it coming. I am going to try and listen to the Eidolon in the next at a store (3 hours away) but I cannot find a Aerial dealer close that has the 20T v2 in stock.
I owned Aerial and now have Avalon - My vote is definitely for Avalon.
What is the rest of your set up?
Mmike says it best. YOU need to hear both...even if it means getting on a plane to listen to them. They are different but only YOU can decide. Both are great though.
I have a BAT VK 600SE for amplification and hope to get a BAT VK 51SE (Used) or a BAT 32SE (Used or New). Currently I use a Denon AVP-A1HDCI pre/pro but am working on either the 51 or 32 to put between the Denon and the BAT amp. I have a friend who has a all top of the line BAT setup with Avalon Eidolon Vision speakers, unfortunately he is over thousand miles away so a I can't just go and hear his setup.

My room is first and foremost a dedicated theater room but over the last six months I have been listening to music in there more than watching movies. I would like to try and improve this area and still have it integrate with the room and rest of the system for HT use. I don't think improving upon my two channel setup should hurt my theater setup only improve upon it. The room is fairly well treated and with my current speakers (Aerial LR5's) with the BAT amp pushing them sounds very good with music, but I think it can be improved upon.

My current setup in my opinion is very very good for HT and if that is all I did in that room then I would not even be considering changing anything but two channel listening is a entirely new beast to me. What my setup gives me right now on two channel is a fairly good sound stage right/left and up/down, but no depth. Voices are dead center and certain instruments come in on the right and left but it all seems to me that it is flat from front to back.

My pros and cons with the two speakers are this.

Aerial 20T v2 Pros =

I have a good lead on a fairly new used pair in black.

I have the Aerial center channel CC5. Matches the brand
and the aesthetics.

Build quality and fit and finish.

I'm very happy with the Aerial brand and believe in
them. ( If it ain't broke don't fix it)

Aerial 20T v2 Cons =

I'm a little worried about the ribbon tweeter.

Are they as holographic as the Avalons.

Will they give me the bass that I want in my room. (I'd rather not use
subs on two channel)

Ship in cardboard boxes that are lined with wood inside. Should be in
crates at this price level.

Avalon Diamond Pros =

Everyone I talk to in person says they are the most holographic. Sounds
like the people are in the room with you.

I have to say just a great looking speaker with excellent build quality
and fit and finish.

Seem to hold there value better (Although everything is tougher to sell
in this economy)

Come shipped in wooden crates. This is better for resale if it comes to it.

Avalon Diamond Cons =

They don't come in black, but I can overlook this.

Harder to find them used and price. This is bad for buying but better
if you need to sell them.

Will these give me the kind of bass I want without running subs.

Like I said in my previous post I plan on going to hear the Avalons soon and I hope this will help in my decision.

Well that's good. I think your amps will work fine. I was afraid you were going to say you had some 100 wpc tube amps or something and then there was no point to considering the 20t's.

Here are my comments to your remarks:

"I have a good lead on a fairly new used pair in black." V2 has only been out for about a year or so, so they'll all be fairly new.

Aerial 20T v2 Cons =

"I'm a little worried about the ribbon tweeter." The ribbon tweeter is the best sounding tweeter I have ever heard. On horns and percussion it will give you goose bumps because of how real it sounds. It is directional so if you were standing in the corner you would miss the best of what it does. If you listen while seated it's fine.

"Are they as holographic as the Avalons?" No. But then almost no speaker is. That is what Avalons are all about. Even the inexpensive models do it. But they are very fussy about room placement. They need at least 5 feet from rear of speaker to wall, and that's minimum. Anything less and they are just a decent speaker without the holographic imaging. The 20t's are ported on the bottom and very tolerant to being close to the wall. For me this was the single most influential factor in moving from Eidolons to 20ts.

"Will they give me the bass that I want in my room?" Yes. The 20t's have incredible low bass slam, if properly driven. Subs on 2 channel audio are overkill w/ 20t's. Also the 20t's are more dynamic from top to bottom. If you plan to use them in your home theater set up that may be important to you. If I were creating a home theater and choosing between Avalons and Aerials I don't think I'd have a hard time figuring out which would perform better.

"Ship in cardboard boxes that are lined with wood inside. Should be in
crates at this price level." Because oif their size and weight they ship on a pallet and the packaging for mine seemed very solid and secure. Not sure I'd make that part of the decision process.

Avalon Diamond Pros =

"Everyone I talk to in person says they are the most holographic. Sounds like the people are in the room with you." That is very true if you have the room for them.

"I have to say just a great looking speaker with excellent build quality and fit and finish." They are beautiful. Not as stable as Aerials if you have small kids around.

"Seem to hold there value better (Although everything is tougher to sell in this economy)" The last pair I saw for sale (about 4 months ago) went for 16,500-ish from a dealer w/ warranty. There really haven't been many 20t v2 on the market yet. Too new.

Avalon Diamond Cons =

"Harder to find them used and price. This is bad for buying but better if you need to sell them." There are two for sale right now. They list for $38k so expect to pay more for them than the 20t V2 which list for $32k.

"Will these give me the kind of bass I want without running subs." For music yes unless you are crazy about bass. For home theater- I seriously doubt it.

I don't have a stake in either so I'm not trying to sway you one way of the other. I'm just trying to help. They both do different things well. I suspect in your set up and for your use the Aerials might be the better fit. If you scrap the theater and you have the room you might prefer the Avalons. I could happily live with either (except for my room limitations) so I don't think you can go wrong.
Thanks for the detailed response Mmike84 that is the kind of answers I'm looking for. The one thing you say that intrigues me the most is about placement. My room is just over 14 feet wide and the screen for the projector is about 8.5 feet wide so I can only go about 2.5 feet from the sidewalls. Any further and the left and right speaker start getting in the way of the screen. From the front wall I can go out up to 5-6 feet no problem.

Why are you selling your 20T's Mmike84.
Make sure you listen to the Diamonds and not the standard Eidolon or Visions. The Diamond is a very different speaker and you can see a very different price tag also. The Diamonds have more bass output plus it will go deeper. There Diamond tweeter is the best in the world period but for how much they cost it better be. The Diamonds have a different woofer, tweeter, crossover and cabinet then the Vision.

The Aerial 20T is pretty close to the V2 so you can get away with listening to the 20T and getting a good idea what the V2 will sound like. I had the 20T's and was ready to get them upgraded but I didn't feel the V2 was worth the extra money. If you listened to the Aerial model 9 it sounds nothing like the 20T same is true with Avalon.

I can tell you that the 600Se is not enough power for the 20T. The 20T love to be Bi amp with tons of power. Now if you used 2 600Se it would be closer.

Now the Diamonds like distance behind the speakers more then distance from side walls. The crossovers in the Diamonds is flat out amazing.

I will tell you that they both are very very different speakers.
Mtdking why are you selling your Diamonds and which did you prefer the Avalon's or the Aerial's.
I'm selling for personal reasons.

Well it's not fair to compare the Diamonds to the 20T because of the price difference. The 20T retailed for $10,000 less then the Diamond. The Diamonds are better but again they should be. I have never heard a speakers sound like the Diamond and I've owned Wilson's, Jm labs, Kharma, Vandersteen, Dynaudio and some others in the price class.

The Diamonds are ultra transparent with a midrange that is spooky holographic. One of the only speakers I have heard that has no driver integration issues. They are super fast and the top end has no limit.

There is a reason why you saw so many Avalon's at CES and Rocky mountain audio shows. Avalon has figured it out. It's there crossover that makes them so good. I heard other speakers with the same drives sound horrible (Kharma).

Email me and I can give you more and some other speakers you should look at.
I'm selling my 20t's because I want to try some tubed amplifiers and the 20t's are not a match. Once they sell I'll also have the perfect matching amp available.

Mtdking (above) knows what he's talking about so take those comments to heart.

I disagree with him (partially) on two counts. The reviews I have heard about say that V-2 is quite different than what Mark has heard, and I know he not heard them in person. In addition to being named by Absolute Sound as best in show at CES 2009 w/ Boulder gear at a price point that is about 1/2-1/3 below the other winners (magico, Vandersteen, etc.), everyone I have spoken to who has heard them says they are just a totally different speaker and perhaps one of the very best in the world at any price.

I also think your amps are up to the task although I promise there are many that will do a better job. I use a 4 channel Rowland and I bi-amp them and they sound incredible. I used to use Ayre monoblocks which are no slouch at 350 wpc but the Rowlands do a remarkably better job.

It sounds like you can give the Avalons the rear space so that's good.

Again for home theater applications I think the 20t's will do a better job.
I have owned both the 20t and the v2's the V2's are so so so much better more dynamic the ribbon is seamless from top to bottom bass and imaging is much better just an incredible speaker.
MMike he is only using one Vk600se. It's a stereo amp with 300 watts per side. The Ayre is a more powerful amp. We both know what that Rowland's 4 channels did for the speaker :). He will not hear what the 20T can do with that BAT.

In fairness I'm going by what another owner of 20T that had the upgrade done to V2 and he said it wasn't worth the $6500 after shipping cost. I was already to ship my speakers off to Aerial. He did say the bass was a bit faster and the midrange was a tad more open. He said he got more from upgrading his cables.

What I do know about the 20T is they do sound much better Bi amp. The bass unit really likes it's own power and it really opens the speaker up.

I will agree with MMike that if your not using a sub for HT then the 20T will work better. If your using a sub then find the speaker that sounds the best for music. Like Richard Vandersteen says if it sounds good for music it has to sound great for movies.


I agree with you that but the Ayre MXRs were not bad on the 20t's. I had an Ayre V-1xe (200 WPC) before that and it was good too. You know I think it's that 0 feedback thing Ayre does, the power rates high but it's not as robust as some. That's probably a good trade off in some set ups. I'm guessing the Bats may have more drive at a lower WPC so its probably adequate. However you're right in that he won't know what the speaker is truly capable of w/o more umph. But if he opts for the speakers first then he can play with amps later.
I have to disagree about the amp. The BAT is a very robust unit with plenty of reserve in the SE version. It would be putting out 600w into 4 ohms and I believe the 20T's are more efficient than the LR5's that I'm blasting right now as I right this. It's more about current than watts and this is one place the BAT does not come up short.

I like the 20T's because they are Aerial and I have the Aerial center (CC5) channel, but after listening to the Eidolon Diamonds today I have to say they where pretty good. I do think that the Avalon's would be a much easier load for the BAT and it seems there are quite a bit of BAT/Avalon combos out there.

What do you guys think about this. I can get a pair of Eidolon Visions for 13K in mint condition. It's not the Diamonds but I think I would get 85% to 90% of the Diamond.
The amps will be fine. Skip the visions. The Indras are much better at that price point.
Dude I listened to the Indra's today and I thought they where weak as hell. I would keep my LR5's before I bought those babies. Now the Diamonds where a different story and the Isis where just insane.

My friend I spoke of earlier in this thread has the Visions along with all BAT gear and they would be his speakers that I would be purchasing if I got the Visions. He wants to step up to the Diamonds himself.
I disagree with part of that. The Isis are insanely good and insanely expensive. The Indras are just a mini version of Isis. Maybe they didn't have them set up correctly. Sure they pale to the diamonds but at 1/2 of the price they should.

As Mark points out how many set ups at CES included Indras? A lot. They can't all be wrong. They are tweaky. If I am not mistaken the Diamonds are being discontinued and there is a new model coming between Indra and Isis.
Yup, the Time. Should be out in the next couple of months.
You are correct on the set up issue. I should have not been so hard on the poor Indra. The dealer had limited space and they did offer to pull them out and I told them no it was ok. What I didn't like about them is that they didn't seem robust enough in there sound. Maybe this would have changed drastically if they where out in the room I don't know, but the Diamond's where set up the same way and sounded way better. The Isis is just another beast all together over the Indra's and Eidolon's.

My preference for a speaker is for it to have weight when playing music. This is where the Isis's two 13 inch woofers come in and set it apart from the other two. Unfortunately the price is sky high but the Isis is what really fits my taste in how music should sound through a loud speaker. This is the same reason why I think the Aerial 20T v2 may fit me better than the Eidolon. I think from what people are telling me the 20T will have the weight with it more so than the Eidolon. However I did like how voices sounded on the Diamonds and with the two JL Audio subs I will run with it the bottom end should be fine.

Decisions, Decisions

I just want to say thanks again for all your help you guys have been great and keep the opinions coming.

Does anyone know what the Time will consist of (Size of drivers) and is the Eidolon going away or will it still be in the line up.
Same tweeter as Isis, same midrange as Indra and same woofer as Diamond but two for each speaker. Just under US$ 50K.
The Indra with the BAT vk600se in a 14 foot wide room may have very good bass.

Indeed, Avalon's are very finicky about set-up, power, and components.

In terms of bass, there are very few speakers that do that cohesively so that music has the weight you are speaking about. Unfortunately, that costs money. The Isis does it, so does the Kharma Exquisite Ref. There are a handful of others. Short of that, I would prefer quality rather than quantity.
I know what you are saying. I had Eidolons (not diamond). I looked at Indra and preferred it over my Eidolons because the crossover (see holographic thing) was just way better. That is what Avalon is doing better than most and also why the set up is so critical. Remember I said above if you don't have the room for Avalons they become common. That's why you didn't like Indra. They weren't set up correctly. The dealer is probably trying to get the diamonds moved, plus they are 2x the price. With the new model dealers are moving the diamonds which is why there have been so many for sale lately. Then I heard Isis and it was everything all in one. But I don't find that price tag too appealing.

The 20ts do a lot of things I liked about Isis. The bass slam is there. The resolution is there. The imaging is there. If you can spread them out (they like that) the soundstage is good. And for a lot less $. Of course remember that's V1. V2 is supposed to be an entirely different animal, and much better! I should probably make that upgrade to mine and quit!
I was never sold on the Indra either. But I have never liked the Ceramic tweeter at all in any speaker. I have heard the Indra 3 times and I came away wanting more weight and backbone.
Check out the implementation of the ceramic tweeters in the various Tidal Audio speakers (e.g., Amea and Contriva). They both use a 30mm version of the Accuton tweeter (Indra uses a 25mm Accuton). BTW, I have heard that the Indra does some things better than the Eidolon Diamonds.
Go listen side by side and report back...........

Audiodreamer heard both side by side so ask him.

if you want music, you should think twice about Avalon. I have not heard any ceramic midrange speakers to sound natural over the long haul. diamond tweeter or not, most critical is midrange and ceramic is just not the right material to many people's ears. what is ceramic? ceramic is essetially aluminum oxide and how often do you see aluminum used for midrange now a day? people have learned the disadvantage of aluminum midrange and stop using it long ago.

but Beryllium is a different story, I love the way Usher BE makes music in midrange.

a lot of things look good on paper, but they don't necessarily sound good in real life. I have heard Marten Design, Avalon, Lumen White, Gryphon, and Tidal extensively, all use ceramic midrange, all left me cold after half an hour.
Wait. So you hate Avalons and were able to decide that you hate Ayre products by auditioning them on Avalons. You continue to be comedy gold.
I think Semi has a valid point. There is no perfect speaker. Perhaps there is price to be paid for the imaging and detail achieved by ceramic drivers. In addition, they tend to dip below 4 ohms, and need careful component matching. One has to prioritize what aspects of reproduction are truly musical. Semi seems informed to make that opinion.

I also think it is a bit hard to generalize about a material. I have heard silk-dome tweeters that were shrill to my ears.
Bar81 who are you talking to?
The post above mine by Semi. A while ago he went on and on in another thread about how much he disliked the Ayre reference gear spouting a bunch of borderline ridiculous "observations". The audition was using Avalon Isis speakers so I'm just noting his continuing credibility issues.
because Bar81 is very defensive of what he owns, everyone can tell
for the record, I have heard all the speakers I listed above mated with Boulder, Ayre, Lamm, BAT, Burmester, Einstein, Gryphon, EAR, and others. long enough for you? stop wasting bandwidth and go hide in your own cave if you have nothing concrete to offer.
You have no credibility, everyone can tell.

Take your own advice.
Not to interupt this awesome dialogue that you guys have going here, but as the starter of this thread I wanted to let everyone know that I'm going with a pair of Aerial 20T v2. I didn't get to actually here them but in talking to some people that I trust I decided to make the executive decision and get them.

Thanks for all the opinions and input.
Congrats. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
Congrats also, I'm sure you will be very pleased.
Congrats Audiodreamer

I've listened to Aerial 20T V2's extensively at my friends place and love-em.

I love Avalons a hell of a lot too, esp. the Diamonds and Isis, but hey, we're talking about two fantastic speaker manufacturers, my only other would be Intuitive Designs, but that's another thread, have fun.
Well I've had the speakers for a week now and all I can say is WOW. There is no comparison to the LR5's, none-nada. What impressed me the most about the 20T v2's is the bass. I'm not running the subs at all and there is just so much great bass coming out of the two Aerials it's glorious. On the highs and mids it's just scary sometimes, very real.
something I noticed after owning 20T for a few months.

20T bottom firing port, unlike B&W which has a fixed base with predetermined distance to the port, can drastically affect how the bass is coupled to the room. so do play with speaker heights, a little change there can make a big difference in sound.

Tilt. Aerial likes to have their 20T tilted slightly upward duirng demo. depending on music, I do like slight tilt most of the time. can't tell you the angle of tilt, but my very sensitive bubble level definitely captures the tilt. slight tilt gives a more pleasing presentation instead of very direct and in-your-face sound. 20T's ribbon is very vivid and has good micro dynamic, slight tilt will achieve a more musical balance.

don't use supplied jumpers + wires, bi-wire them if you can. if you don't like running two long speaker wires, at least run one long jumper wires from bottom binding posts to the head units. you will notice less glare and edginess on less than perfect recording. especially if you have them toe in crossing right behind your head, you will hear big improvement in midrange/top end smoothness.

I will try to put my 20T on some solid platform like granite or Symposium shelf to control port distance and air diffusion/absorption, my 20T sits on carpet with thick pads and there is strong interaction to the floor.