Avalon Eidolon or Parsifal Encore

I currently own the Verity Audio Parsifal Encores and am perfectly happy with them. However, a long time ago I heared a phenomenally sounding pair of Avalon Radian HC's, so I am intruiged by the pair of Avalon Eidolon's that is currenlty listed on auction. If I can pick them up at the right price I would consider doing an in house shoot out against the Verities and keep what I like best. Obviously, besides the financial ramifications, this is a big hassle involving shipping heavy boxes coast to coast, so before I decide whether to bid an the Avalon's I am interested in any opinions on how these two speakers compare. I listen mostly to small acoustic ensemble music (right in the Verity's sweetspot), and I use 200 Wpc pure class A monoblocks. Any comments are welcome.
Firstly, are there any upgrades available to your Parsifals through Verity? I know there have been a number of tweeter variants in this design and if I'm not mistaken the Encore production run used two different tweeters (perhaps the Ovation tweeter could be available). So the bottom line is that I would investigate all possible upgrades before going forward. In considering this move, your existing amplification would probably be even more suitable for the Eidolon's than the Parsifal's.
I can't imagine having the Verity Parsifal Encores and thinking of any other speaker - simply great speakers. Buy more music:)
Linkster, do you mean in SS versus tubes sort of way?
FWIW I would hold the Verity's and sell everything else and replace it with a 100 watt full tube system. You are only getting 50% of what the PE can do with your gear.

The Avalons are great but you will be in the same place IMO with the ancillaries.
Don't sell'em! I'm with Bjesien on the next move, if need be.
I agree with the others - keep your speakers. The Avalons are fine speakers too. What did you like better about them? It might be that the quality you liked was due to the associated gear as much as the Avalons. What kind of cabling was used with the Avalons?

I'm not too big of a fan of Transparent cable. I've not tried their cable in my system, but what I have found in common with underperforming systems at two local dealers was Transparent cable. I'd swap out the cabling before swapping out the gear as others suggest. Try some Nordost or MIT - and borrow enough so you don't have to mix and match if possible.

I see no mention of power cords in your system listing. What are you using? The right power cords can cause your speakers perform at a much higher level.
I never said I like the Avalon's better - I heard Avalon Radian HC's a long time ago and liked them a lot (with MIT / Spectral) so I'm intruiged by the idea of giving Avalon a try in my system. This is exactly how I ended up with the Parsifals, and before that Revel Studio's. Heard them in some showroom, liked them and tried them at home.

But I would never sell the Parsifals without first doing an in house shoot out and finding I prefer the Eidolons. The question is, should I even bother to try to buy the Eidolon's cheap on auction allowing me to do this expiriment. The consensus appears to be that it would be a lateral move at best so I should not waste my time and money. Considering this, I will probably refrain from bidding on the pair currently on auction.

As for ancillaries, I will not use tubes for poweramps because of reliability issues. Besides, my class A monos are stellar. Also quite happy with Transparent cabling. I use PS audio AC-12 for powercords with great succes.
Sorry that I hadn't read your post closely enough.  I misread your post and thought you weren't pleased with your Parsifals.  I figured that with the right cabling the idea of dumping the Parsifal would never enter one's mind.

The Eidolons and the Parsifals are the two speakers on my wish list.  I ended up buying my Spectral gear after hearing them drive Eidolons spectacularly.  The resolution of detail, transparency, and realism exceeded anything I'd ever heard.  What I heard and liked about the Parsifals was very different: the most amazingly gorgeous midrange.

In terms of power cords, glad to hear that the PS Audios are working for you.  I had their previous generation cords, which I thought were quite good, but they got trounced by the cheapest Nordost cord, the Magus.  I ended up dumping all my PS Audio cords and replacing them with Nordost Vishnu.  This was a major upgrade.  But even bigger than that was just swapping one Nordost Brahma for the Vishnu used at my power outlet.  I've had my speakers for 15 or so years, and they are now doing things they've never done.
Both are great speakers but very different sounding. Your amps are fine partners to both speakers. I run >200W class A amps too. Parsifals are not hugely sensitive design like the Lohengrin or Sarastro. Even at 93db, the added power is noticeable.

IMHO, it is a worthwhile effort to experience a different design with different priorities. I have owned the Sarastro 2s and various Avalons from Opus ceramique, Eidolon Diamond to the Isis. In optimizing them, I gained some understanding in speaker-room interactions, and about my own listening preferences.

The Eidolon midrange has great transient attack but more unforgiving. It does not shine unless proper diffusion is in place. The Verity midrange is fuller sounding and manage to sound good in broader room conditions. The Verity's first order crossover and the broad bandwidth midrange have great transparency. With relatively large overlaps betw the drivers and having woofers on a different plane are quite demanding on setup. The small ceramic midrange in the Eidolon covers a much smaller bandwidth and the dispersion pattern are more even. Veritys are designed to harness room gain for dynamics and Avalons excite the room less. Avalon's cabinets are more inert vs Verity uses lossy cabinets to channel away vibrations. Veritys are relative small size speakers that play big vs Avalons are large speakers with leaner bass alignments by contrast.

It is tough to guess which you would ultimately like better.
Hi, I agree with the other posters, maybe work on electronics. I'd also suggest upgrading your Transparent cable to the newer mm2 versions. This is a major upgrade. Can you move your center channel off your equipment rack? When it's being used it can't be helping (vibes from it right into your gear)

Any power conditioning?

Ever try a different preamp? Then use the theta for movies only....
I own P/Es and have briefly heard various Avalons on a few ocassions. No expert on Avalon here, but my impressions generally mirror those stated by Glai. Very different sounding speakers. The P/Es are a bit warmer and sound like they are noticeably less damped thru the mid-bass.

My guess is that each approach will have its fans, but that most listeners will come down firmly one way or the other.

Good Luck

I guess my comments were driven by the fact that I love the P/E type of sound and as Marty said the two brands do sound quite different from each other and it is true that folks will gravitate to one or the other - not better or worse, but a different approach. Now if at a dealer you are smitten by the Avalon sound, and you have the finances to make these kind of changes, then why not? You may be one of those for whom Avalon is the right approach, and really hard for anyone to know or tell you otherwise. But still think it is a lateral move, but just maybe the right one for you. Let us know what you decide:)
Hello Edorr,

I would like to share my first hand experience with you. First it may be helpful to give you some insight of what speakers I was coming from. For years I was in the electrostatic camp, I owned Acoustats, 2 pairs of Quads, and then finally a pair of Martin Logan CLS 2-Z. When I was making the move to a dynamic speaker I wanted to retain as much as possible the qualities I so enjoyed with the stats, and add to them the frequency extension, weight and fullness, along with the dynamic authority that good dynamic cone speakers have.

The two speaker systems that caught my ear were the Verity Parsifal (encore version wasn't out yet)) and the Avalon Radian HC. I found a dealer the carried both lines and agreed to let me compare them in my house at the same time. I was trading in my CLS 2-Z so when the dealer brought the Parsifal's and the Radian's to my house he naturally wanted to take a listen to the CLS and make sure they were working properly.

We first set up the Parsifal. Compared to the CLS there was a noticeable drop in transparency and coherence and a hollowness where the upper bass and lower mid(s) meet. We then spent 2 hours trying to position the Parsifal to get their sound to gel. Moving them from side to side, back and forth, an 1" here 2" there, woofers firing to the back wall then firing forward, moving room acoustic treatment. We finally got in the ball park and could hear their promise. Most noticeable virtue was a beautiful transparent upper mid-range. Biggest downside was a lack of coherence and continuity of the drivers and to a lesser extent the hollowness noted above.

We then set out to set up the Radian's. First try we plop them down and they have it all over the Parsifal. Coherence from top to bottom, detail retrieval, and a jaw dropping rock solid transparent sound-stage. Dynamic linearity. I was sold!!! I really wanted the Parsifal to work out because there was around a 2.5k price difference and I was really spending more then I should have at that time in my life.

I've since moved on to the Eidolon and then eventually the Eidolon Diamond. So from my past experience, I would say yeah go ahead and give the Eidolon a try. I have a feeling you are going to be surprised on just how good they are. YMMV

Best of luck to you,

Go for it.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Thanks everyone, this has been extremely helpful.

Tom, I was just about to report I'll pass on the Eidolon's but now you got me thinking again - especially since like you the Avalon that really impressed me were Radian HC's 15 years ago.

If I pick up the listed Avalon's cheap my financial exposure is limited (I can easily resell my P/E for what I have into them), but I quite dread the logistics. I'll chew on it and make up my mind Sunday. I may just give them a try (unless I get outbid of course).

I do need to update my system page. I am now using the Modwright 36.5 LS/PS 2 chassis preamp, and upgraded my powerplant premier to 2x Powerplant P5, and I put the new Stillpoint ultras under my P/E and center channel.
Good advice from Rtn 1 , if the avalons dont fit the taste , than sell them again , always make sure you dont pay too much from the start.
If you ever see some diamonds for sale try them out also, those diamond cones are special , you get a " end of the line" feeling .

Ive gone the path of buy loose sell and buy again also .
Hi Edorr,

Just wanted to add that I thought the Eidolon in almost all regards is a significant step over the Radian HC and if you have the means to do it that you really owe it to yourself to give the Eidolon a try. I believe you will be shocked as I was .... and the dealer for that matter!

Should be an interesting comparison. After owning a zillion speakers, I bought a pair of Parisfal Encores 7 years ago and have never desired to purchase another speaker. Everything I've read about Avalons tells me they will be more tightly focused with amazing soundstage, tight, tuneful bass... in other words, the perfect speaker for fussy audiophiles.
OK guys, you convinced me. I will roll the dice and put in a bid on the Eidolon's. If I get them I'll report shoot out results in a few weeks time.
They fetched $9,300. More than I was willing to pay. Too bad, shootout will have to wait...
The shootout will happen after all. Just agreed to buy a pair of used Eidolon Visions.
respect , ill look forward to the outcome
I'm looking forward to your shootout. I'm thinking about changing my speakers too but the situation somehow opposite to yours. I currently am happy with a pair of Avalon Radian paired with First Watt F5/Atma-Sphere MA-1(in winter) but wondering I could get more of everything especially dynamic at low playing level as my normal listening volume is around 70-75 db. The contenders include Verity Parsifal Encore/Ovation, Avalon Eidolon or Vandersteen 5A.
Gigi, The Parsifals work very well at low playing levels, and I will soon be able to tell how they compare to the eidolon visions. I will either have a pair of parsifals or eidolons to sell shortly (cheap!) so stay tuned.

To me the 5A's our out of contention after having heard them recently (Prefered my parsifals by far). Also, if consider the vandersteen route you should get the 5a carbon's.
Gigi, I would caution you from taking one persons evaluation on a product. Dozens of goners have very different opinions about the sound of the 5A.
The 5A Carbon is a significant step above the 5A but that doesn't change the fact that dozens of our customers get fantastic music from theirs, in fact one of them moved from Parsifal to 5A and is very happy. I recommend you take some of your own music and get a demo for yourself because they excel at dynamics at low levels. One advantage the 5A has is the subwoofer is completely adjustable, remember the loudness control and its purpose.
Cheers Johnnyr
Vandersteen Dealer
Well, we're waiting!

Judge Smails

Eidolons will be delivered tomorrow. First impressions will be reported before the week-end. In depth shoot-out over the week-end.
Allright i m curious
Be aware that it could take weeks to months to position your speakers. You are starting at a big advantage in having used speakers, and not needing to break-in a new pair. If they have been in storage, they still may benefit from some hours of warming-up.

Avalons are very finicky about set-up. You will need to experiment to 'lock' onto that holographic image. Width, depth, and toe-in provide infinite possibilities. There will be times when you think you are close, but it does not quite come together.

I would suggest to just get them in a reasonable position for the first number of days, so you can learn what they do. Then, you can take some time to fine-tune. It may be useful to take notes, take measurements, and mark prior positions in tape so you can return to these quickly. Having a 2nd person would help.

So, all I am saying is that any magic may take some time.
Edorr, if the Eidolons have not been played for a while, please give them some time to break in before making a judgement. Even if these speakers were played extensively by the prior owner, if they've been sitting un-played for some weeks (or months), they will require at least 20-50 hours of actual music playing break-in before you will start hearing what they are capable of delivering.
First impressions right out of the box - Positioned in the same place as my Verities.

Damn these things are BIG in comparison with the Verities! But absolutely gorgeous. I could live wiht these as a piece of furniture.

Sonics positive:
The Eidolons throw a larger and more holographic image
The timbre of instrumens appears more natural on the Eidolons
There is more "note decay" and air around instruments on the Eidolons
The Eidolons sound more dynamic

Sonics negative:
These speakers are far more unforgiving than the Parsifals. Distortions on some old favorite 70s live recording are ruthlessly exposed, and sound more harsh than on the Parsifals. So do some high notes on brass instruments that are not played perfectly.

I can see these speakers are very sensitive to anxillary equipment. Note that I am playing them with Bel Canto Ref1000m. My Class A monoblocks have been in the shop for months. I got tired of waiting, so I bought the Bel Canto's as a temporary replacement. Very interested to hear what these speakers do with the class A's. I can also imagine these work very well with tubes.

Unexpected bonus points:
I played a multi channel DVD-A (another stoney evening - Crosby & Nash) and found the Eidolons integrate far better with my Kef 204c Center channel. This is a big plus since I have 100+ Multi Channel SACD's that I listen to quite a bit.

I also think I will prefer to play these speakers without my two JL 113s subs - which can then be relegated to LFE channel only duties. I may even sell one. Need a bit more experimenting to decide on that.

Botton line: very unlikely more listening will change initial impression. The Eidolons are keepers - look for Parsifals on Audiogon for sale shortly.
Keep the posts coming

Try convergent audio , they make ceramics sound more forgiving while maintaining the high resolution
Thanks for the initial impressions!

“I can also imagine these work very well with tubes.”

I think you might be right. My Accuton based Salks were magical when I added a tube Aesthetix Calypso preamp.

Thanks for your summary, Edorr. Your thought that Eidolons would sound good with tubes is right on target. Great tube amps bring out the best in these speakers in my experience. The challenge is that they do like a fair amount of power. The good news is their impedance curve is fairly easy for many tube amps to handle (minimum at 3.6ohms).

And, you are absolutely correct in your surmise that ancillary equipment is critical. The Eidolons will not gloss over any deficiencies in your source material or other gear upstream.
Few more quick observations.

Eidolon has very clear and fast bass. Shines on Jazz ensemble music - very musical basslines.

Lots of depth and great layering of instuments on large orchestral music.

Still some harshness in the treble in particular on old recordings - I suspect this is simply what is on the track.

Nonetheless, the treble is the only area I slighlty prefer the Verities over the Eidolons (may be this is why they build the Diamond). I think my class A's will sound more "liquid" in the highs than the class D's I am using now though. Reluctant to address the issue with high powered tubse because of reliability issues (I blew up a Graaf GM200 OTL amp once and have become a bit gunshy since).

Vocals used to come more pinpoint from the center with the Verities, and seem to be floating in space a but more with the Eidolons (help me out here - is this called "imaging"). I have not done any expirimentation with speaker postioning which I suspect may be the issue here.

First impresssions on playing them with the JL113 two subs (Eidolons at full range subs crossed over at 30Hz) is the subs will probably stay in the stereo system. No discrernable negative impact (i.e. no muddling of the bass) and a tad more foundation (I use Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Tin Pay Alley" from "could not stand the wheather" to test this).
A change in amplifier will help, Edorr. As we've been saying, the Eidolons are *very* revealing of everything in the audio chain.

The Eidolons will "float" an image in width, height and depth. But expect the image to be rock solid, with no wandering, wavering or shimmy. If the image is not absolutely solid and tangible, room placement is definitely the next area of experimentation. The Eidolons will enjoy a lot of clear open space behind them. So be sure to experiment with pulling them well out into the room.

Judicious room treatment for fine tuning can also help, but this is not something to do early on in the process.

Good luck with your subwoofer matching experiments. Good move to set the crossover at 30hz. I don't know how the JL113s interface to a system, but as you work forward be mindful that the Eidolons will make the sonic signature of any crossover network audible.

Best of luck to you in optimizing things. Enjoy!
I am not planning to use a cross-over network in the main signal path - I run the Eidolons at full range. I just use a low pass filter for the subs.

I also have a Rives Parc analog bass EQ unit that is designed go into the mains signal path and apply EQ in the 30-350 range. I have not been using this yet since I think it will indeed leave a signature on the Eidolons. I may play around with it first, but in the absence of major room modes that need to be EQ'ed I will probably end up selling it.

I am also wondering if anyone has used any vibration controlling devices under the Eidolons. I currently use Stillpoints on inverted risers under my subs, and have been using stillpoint ultras under my verities (and center channel). To use the stillpoint ultras under the eidolons I would need to put a threaded insert in - which involves drilling holes. Not sure it is worth it. Any experience?
I use Walker Audio Valid Points under my Eidolons. They made a significant improvement over the stock stainless steel points Avalon Acoustic provides. At first I did not thread them into the base but just used them "free style." I have since tapped and threaded them to the base for a slight further improvement.
Both great your money your move.