I choose the Avalon over the Pro-Ac -- The ProAcs are a bit to bright for my ears...
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dma: i'm very partial to avalons, having owned 3 different pairs. i'm also a fan of the "british sound" manifested especially in proacs. your ears ought to be the final arbiters of your decision. IMO, of all speakers mentioned, the opus is by far the best respecting the characteristics you seek. by all means, try to find a pair used if you can. -kelly
Once again Kelly says what I was thinking, yet unable to say. I agree completely with cornfed's coments, I am an Avalon owner as well(eclipse)and I will probably never own another type of speaker as long as they keep up to the good work. The only thing I will add is the Avalon's have a style(aesthetically pleasing exterior)that is second to none, simple, clean and classy. Enjoy and good luck!!
As a most satisfied Avalon owner and having auditioned--in our system--a good number of "name" speakers before their purchase, I have nothing but high marks for Neil Patel's designs. The Arcus is, without qualification, the finest 2-way speaker I have ever heard. Period. The only other speaker I would own, if budget allowed, would be the Eidolon, with the Opus close behind.
If you want incredible staging, great imaging and focus, as well as transparency usually found only in the best ribbons, planars or stats, buy the latest Avalons. Their musicality and "correctness" are stunning.
I owned Eclipses for several years and was never really happy with them. A lot of factors certainly, including room issues (I could never get satifactory bass from them). I now own ProAc 2.5's and much prefer them. Your milege may vary, and obviously many people here would disagree, but my vote woulde be for the ProAc over the Avalon without hesitation.
I have only listened to the 2.5's from ProAc, so it's isn't an apples-apples comparison...but I'm going to place my recommendation behind Avalon anyhow. I have owned the Radian HCs and now own the Eidolons and nothing else that I've listened to w/in 3x the price range has come close to the articulation/imaging and soundstage that the Avalons are able to project.
The reason I am using my "intellect" is that the only Avalon dealer in Colorado doesn't have the particular Avalon model that I am interested in. That is why I was asking about things like imaging, soundstaging and bass response. Anyway, I went and heard the Eidolon, as well as the Watt/Puppy 6's, Avantgarde Duos, Kharma Ceramique 1.0's, Revel Studios and the ProAc Response 5's. IMO, the ProAcs came in last.
1. Avalon Eidolon. They should be #1 considering the $100k worth of gear they were hooked up to, but the best combo I have ever heard. Absolutely amazing!
2. Avantgarde Duo. Unbelievable clarity and soundstage plus great bass. 103 dB sensitivity, 8 ohms impedance. Tube fans would love this speaker. 10 watts made these sing.
3. Revel Ultima Studio. IMO, better overall coherence than the Wilson Watt/Puppy 6's (at half the price!) They sounded great with Rotel gear! Giant killer.
4. Wilson Watt/Puppy 6's. Great clarity and imaging but lacked bass. For $20k you should get it all.
5. Kharma Ceramique CE 1.0. These showed flashes of brilliance, but paired with solid state they were painfully bright. I'll bet an Audio Research VT100 or 200 would make these sound great.
6. ProAc Response 5. IMO, they just sounded lifeless after listening to the Avalons, Avantgardes and Revels.