I hear that you have to match them with cables twice their price.
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I've been listening to a pair of older Eidolons for over six years now so I'm extremely biased. I replaced a pair of Paradigm Studio 100 v2 and the difference was so dramatic it's now very difficult listening to other speakers who's time and phase is not addressed.
I should also point out that my audiophile ear was so childish when I auditioned Eidolons in stores and at shows they always seemed sleepy by direct comparison. I simply didn't know what I was hearing.
I was constantly listening to my system and not the music with the Studio 100s v1s and v2s. After a few years of constant dissatisfaction with my system I began going through amps and preamps with changes but with no success in musicality.
The switch to the Avalon Eidolons was nothing short of magic. Even my family was stunned by the difference but far more importantly the rightness and musicality of their presentation and at any volume level. The Paradigm's had a rather loud volume sweet spot.
After living with the Avalon's it's easy to hear systems that are and are not doing the rightness thing.
If there is a house sound I would assume its the rightness and musicality. There may be a model that might be brittle or thin but I've never heard anybody comment on that before. I would easily assume those would be a consequence of issues upstream.
As to cabling I did some brief auditioning but have settled on a Cardas Golden Reference system loom because they provided the best top to bottom cohesiveness and may very well be the brand of internal wire used by Avalon.
Avalon speakers have definitely there own sound and they sound different to any other brand. The stage is wide and deep. But with amp's and cables you still can influence the stage and even sound. Like the sound, these parts are all a personal matter. I sold them for over 6 years. High's of the older can sound a little harsh. It also has to do with older technique and tweeters with a less high freq. respons. The newer Avalon sounds less harsh in the high freq. A friend of mine had a small concertroom with a Steinway wing. He gave classical concerts in intimate settings. I never liked the sound of a violin played on a Avalon compared to the sound in real. I Always found them to clinical. In real they have a lot more body and overwhole warm sound. The thing I dislike most on Avalon speakers is that individual focus of instruments and voices is in real a lot more touchable and direct to point out. This is only my point of view.
They absolutely have a house sound, I've listened to easily 75 setups over the last 20 years. The sound is detailed (above average to very detailed depending on model), open, very focused, spacious. The negative for many, including me, is that they are typically lean (this is not room-related, or system-related, it is positively a trait) and can strike many folks as fatiguing. They fatigue me in a way that live chamber, symphonic, jazz, blues do not. This is why I don't use them.
The outside is often stunning, inside you cannot see a thing. I met a person who owned the Diamonds. He opened the inside to look at there crossovers. He said; I was surprised about the simple parts they use. It was difficult for him to put it back in place. What I said earlier; a violin sounds a lot different in real compared to the way it sounds with Avalon speakers.
Hi Bo, I think used Avalon owners all over the world would be interested in the serial number of that pair might be :)
Scary cos there is no way you can access the crossovers without major hacking (literally). Scary.
I do agree with you that violins are the Avalons' trouble spot. More so with the models using the Acuton ceramic mid than the old Ascents and Eclipses.
But heck they sound good overall with a host of other material. The lean and fatiguing sound can be minimized with triodes triodes and triodes everywhere... Cables with chokes in the mystery network boxes help a bit too but at the expense of resolution.
It was one of the most unique persons I met in audio. He stripped even a pair of Nautilus 802 speakers and made an external filterbox for it. The results were stunning. A friend of mine had the Avalon Eclipse improved version. He also plays with the Platinum PL-200 of Monitor Audio now. It blow away the Avalon speakers in every aspect. This speaker also has a deep and wide stage same as the Avalon's. But instruments and voices are within this square so much more palpable. Like in real. A friend of mine also plays with Avalon and has many parts the same as I have. Compared to the Pl-200 it is less touchable. Timing of the Pl-200 is superior to all the Avalon speakers I heard.
Extracting the crossover of a JBL or B&W or better yet Focal Utopia is completely different from trying to take out anything from an Avalon. I wonder how much sawing he did to take out the crossover and how much glueing and sanding to put it back. I figure he has since sold the Diamonds, and wonder if the new owner knows there's been something done to them.
I don't even want to THINK about how a violin would sound on them.
A friend of mine with the biggest best ones played a bunch of jazz on them, including trumpet works. My ears rang for 3 days. Like violin, trumpet has a very difficult set of overtones to reproduce. Most speakers cannot capture both the "drive" and tone without adding loads of ear-splitting distortion.
Sorry, but coloring up speakers with cables and amps adds distortion (as pleasing as it may be) which heavily masks true detail. Might be listenable, but I prefer real low distortion sound to convince me I might be at a performance, not tonally pleasing mush that has had the life sucked out of it.
Often Avalon owners use tubes to make the sound warmer. ( coulor it more) Some don't like this at all. But don't forget at the end it is Always about a personal matter.
About details: These days I use a Onkyo PR-SC5509 preamp processor with Audyssey Pro. I measure at total different places and hights compared to the Audyssey way. There way is ok, but was not that concincing. I have done many many tests with it. Now I can get more details out of recordings than almost any other pre amp. You hear words endings nog with ease. Ending on sssss or tttt or th. You even hear breathing on recordings you thought you knew well. This year I was on a big audio show were I was the absolute sound. On monday I went with my own music listening to other expensive highend sets. There was a lot of details missing at all the sets I listened. Brethinh and words endings were gone. Even mu stage was wider and deeper than most. My 3-dimensional touchable image was superior to the average image of other expensive highend sets.
Let's remember that detail alone is a dangerous thing to judge by: just hook up a tweeter used in your favorite speaker and compare the detail of the tweeter to the entire speaker. Immense detail. Mostly due to the lack of other lower frequency sounds to mask that detail.
Or, use an eq and give a rise above 6k. Again, loads of detail. But, only due to an exaggeration of frequency response. Learning how to use an eq would teach a lot of audiophiles why many speakers sound the way they do.
My last post sounds like Avalon bashing, it's not, they are better than most speakers available.
They are not bad speakers. It is brand on his own. That is a good thing. I like brands who believe in there producs and always keep there own sound. The low freq I have are stunning and fast as a rocket. I used the nordost Valhalla for over 12 years. At the time it came out it was something new and extremly fast. Now I play with the Audioquest Redwood 2013 version. This one is even better in timing and speed compared to the Valhalla.
Which amp, pre amp, source and cables did they use for the demo? Because this is very important also how deep the stage will be. I play now about 4-5 metres behind and even more than one metre beside. This makes the stage very big. Instruments and voices are very loose from eachother. I did many tests to hear how I can adapt the stage like I wanted it to be.
I am a classical music buff with a particular affinity for violin and piano. These instruments are the litmus test for any system audition. These are the most difficult instruments to get correct, and my system excels in both. The violin was the most difficult to get, but with proper components and cables, you can get close to the real thing. I have videos links on my system page to prove it.
I know a number of people who bought Avalons and sold them because they couldn't set them up correctly. They are certainly a tough nut to crack, and you will need to spend some time and money to make them work properly. I've had my days where I didn't think I'd get there. Audio is filled with enticing components which are really dead-ends towards achieving the proper tonal balance. Everything matters, including power and cabling.
Real music gives you a focus as it should sound. I am a perfectionist and good never will be good enough. Comparing and hearing gives you a lot of information how to deal with it. Many music lovers do not have the knowledge how it should be. Those who know how it should sound do not know how to get it with audio stuff. In 2005-2006 I visited many audiophile people with sets from 10.000 euro till 150.000 euro. Seldom there is a good balance between the equipment. They all make many misstakes and there often are not happy with there set. The main problem is that most cannot listen in a few seconds to all the parts you Judge a system for. They often focus on one part with which they are not happy. Wenn they solve this, often after some time there is a new issue. People often do not know the properties of cables, amps, speakers etc. This is what you have to learn to understand it. I work en think in properties. I use the properties of stuff to make those changements which are needed. Many audiophiles buy parts which are tested well. This doens't make any sense. Audio is al about making the right combinations. Wenn clients send an email with all there stuff I often see the misstakes they make. I send them an email back and try to explain why it wil not work. I always use the properties to explain why it causses problems.
I know a number of people who bought Avalons and sold them because they couldn't set them up correctly.---
One should start with the speaker which is potentially capable. Avalon Eclipse was not the one with the capability. I struggled for 7~8 years to make a decent sounding system. I failed. Without capable speakers, it is the dead-end. Don't waste your effort, time, and money at the dead-end.
When you have capable speakers, the right timber and balance are easy to achieve because you can hear it. Audio is fun with the hope and expectation that you will get there. When you don't hear it, everything become hard and complex.
I am happy with a simple tube system I have now. When you have a good sound with a simple system, who want walls of gears. One should start with capable speakers that one can hear what is wrong and right sound.
In comparison of the last and improved Eclipse to the Monitor Audio Pl-200. The Pl-200 blow away the Eclispe with ease. It was superior in every single part you Judge a speaker for. Time and technique goes on. These days it is more easy and cheaper to get a 3-dimensional image like you can get with the best highend in the past. Still there are many people who spend a lot of money on audio for only a 2-dimensional image. This is caused by the poor knowledge of the peole who buy it. But also caused by the shops who sell it. I was amazed that many shopkeepers were stunned by my 3-dimensional image at the show. Wenn I asked them which amps they sell? They have many 2-dimensional amps for sale. So wenn people do not get the right information they still spend too much money on only 2-dimensional audio. It is that simple!
More aptly, what speaker brand doesn't have a house sound?
Omsed ["Sorry, but coloring up speakers with cables and amps adds distortion (as pleasing as it may be) which heavily masks true detail."]
Can you tell me what brand of cables add distortion?
James63, if your looking for more robust bass performance you might check out the Avalon Compass, Opus, or the higher end Time models. You're not going to find a great deal of Avalon reviews in Stereophile since the US is not their main market.
Which brings me to BOL who's self profess claims of his three dimensional hearing abilities are such that 'manufactures ask for his opinion'. Bol is a biased audio dealer who never fails to lead you to believe he pretty much knows everything audio, in his mind anyway. His compulsion to respond to almost every reply in a thread he has participated in with wordy contrary negativity that often has nothing to do with the original posters question is plain weird. "They are not bad speakers." but (this is were all of his speaker responses end) Monitor Audio's (with their time and phase inadequacies) are way better, 3D and absolutely accurate.
If the Eidolons were at all brittle in the upper frequencies Avalon would have been hammered by the press years ago when they used Spectral/MIT electronics for their 2C3D demos which showed the possibilities of vast sound staging possibilities of dynamic box speakers. Soon after the Avalon faceted enclosure became, and still is, one of the most copied design aspects of dynamic speaker design. I'm sure Avalon uses solid state to voice their products and the majority of Avalon users use solid state with great results.
If they are mis-positioned within a room, reflections could easily cause issues in the upper frequencies. The synergy between the speaker and the rest of the system is such a subjective matter of taste I find many of these claims made here regarding all Avalon designs a likely result of inexperience.
I'm an extremely satisfied Eidolon user and working Musician. I won't deny my Eidolons took a great deal of time to properly locate in my room and even then a more experienced user visited and eliminated the slight toe in and moved them about six inches closer together resulting in a deeper sound stage and the speakers total disappearance in the room. "Dead end," hardly.
Fortuitously, this labor day weekend I played a recorded digital file solo Violin track recorded the week before for the Musician who performed it. He was floored by the playback from my system which includes Carver tube, Cardas, Avalon Eidolons. He said he could even hear his A string going off which he didn't hear at the studio. A search for higher end Avalon speakers (Eidolon on up) discussions will yield a majority of positive responses with many users trading up.
Personally, I never found the Eidolon an exciting speaker at show and store auditions. By comparison they seemed sleepy. Within minutes in my home system their cohesive single source presentation was immediately noticeable followed by their time and phase accuracy. House sound? After some time with my Avalon's I can immediately hear time and phase issues with many other speakers. And yes Bol, that includes your Monitor Audio. To be fair and since replacement tweeters are no longer available for the original Hansen designed Eclipse, I have suggested Monitor Audio speakers to those on extremely limited budgets. Monitor Audio does offer very good performance for their modest price.
Finally an intelligent response to the Audiogoners original question. Up to this point I was treating my review of responses here as standard humor.
I auditioned the Eidolon (Non Diamond), Indra's, Focal Utopia Scala's, Vienna Acoustic "The Music" and B&W 800D's at a local dealer. Room was professionally designed with appropriate sound treatment - I'll get back to that point in a minute. All of the upstream component's were identical (Pass Labs 100.5's, Playback Designs MPD5, Kubla Sosna Elation cabling, J River playing high rez files.
While all of the speakers mentioned are reference quality and have plus's/minus's, as any other component in this crazy hobby; The Indra's just did something special. They did not deliver the bass weight of the Scala's or VA's, however; the base was tight and accurate. The coherence and transparency they displayed could not be achieved with the others I heard. They just disappeared and made you feel as if you were in the studio listening to a master recording.
Back to set up & room treatment. As Vicdamone articulates, proper placement is key to getting the most out of your system/speakers. Avalon invests pages upon pages in their User Manual as such. Additionally, appropriate room treatment is critical to get any speaker to shine. (Bass Traps, Wall Absorbers, Ceiling panels, etc.) Hence, we all invest gobs of time, energy and $$ to achieve the very best sound in the space we live....Like sand through our fingers.
I am not familiar with Monitor Audio, but I do know this: if you are looking for a speaker that provides tremendous detail (Macro/micro Transients), coherence, sound-staging, etc...You will be ecstatic with Avalon's. The only other speaker I would consider other than Avalon's that provides similar qualities would be the Tidal Contriva Diacera SE. Until then, my Indra's are staying right where they are.
We live in the 21st Century....Self Promotion is NOT a characteristic that is admired or considered credible. BOL.....Cmon Man!
In the past I owned much more expensive stuff than these days. Because my goal was to get a higher level in sound for more people. So I bought less expensive stuff to see how far I can get. To be unnest I never thought I could top many stuff with prices which are a lot higher. Brands sometimes want people to believe that some brands fitts better with there stuff. Like MIT and Avalon. I think this is based on nothing. Why? because with the latest Audioquest even Avalon sounds a lot better than with all the MIT cables which I heard and autioned many many times. Avalon sets a deep and wide stage. But you still need a sharp as a knife individual focus of voices and instruments. Wenn you use MIT instruments and voices both arr never sharp focussed as in real. With Audioquest connected to Avalon I got superior better focus as in real.Still I do not get the sharpness I want. A 3-dimensional image is very easy to understand for people wenn you have a system which can easily persuade and convince. After hearing this you use a 2-dimensional sound. I have to admitt that people say to me that they understand me exactly after hearing my demo. Then my words become very clear and simple to understand. Monitor Audio is the only brand I know to date which all speakers can give a deep and wide stage. This is based on there crossovers. Wenn you use an amp which can give a deep and wide stage it becomes clear how much better they to this job comared to there competitors. The problem is that many shops use only 2-dimensional amps with all there speakers. Then you never know. Monitor Audio England said after hearing my demo: we never heard a demo this good. The reason is very simple. And they admitt; they use amps which are not capable of giving the same level in depth and wide as you do. So I said to them; you limit yourself in most of your shows all the time. For me it is difficult to understand why they choose for a show were the level is that much lower. I wanted to be on that show only to be the best. Only reason why I wanted to be there. So I succeed.
" We live in the 21st Century....Self Promotion is NOT a characteristic that is admired or considered credible. BOL.....Cmon Man!"
Words can be read differently. What is the reason why you use the words you write. At the end it is just about opening people there eyes and ears. Maybe you think it is about me, but it ain't. I am not a genius or God in hifi. Audio is only dead material which can play the music you love and want. My favorite thing in live is music. Emotion is in the music. The best audio set can play the best recording in the world of music you really don't like. There will be no emotion or feeling at all. But a well balanced audio set can improve the feelings of emotion of your favorite personal music. I want other people to get the best emotional feeling with there music. That is the main goal and why I do this work. A deep and wide stage makes listening to music so much more appealing than most 2-dimensional sound of many sets. It is measurable in the smile it gives on other people there faces wenn you have a 3-dimensional image. Voices and instruments are very direct and small in proportion in real. I call this intimate sound. Like the feeling classical live music gave to me. I was pulled to a voice like a magnet. I closed my eyes and I knew were she was. She was in front of me, so small and direct. She took al my attention. This part I Always want in every set I sell. Because it improves the emotional experience it can give. It places me closer to the music and singer. I want to give other people the best emotional feeling with there own music. I try to let people hear the difference in how there music can be played by an audio set. What are the differences and what does it do to your personal feelings. Many people sell to make as much money as they can. What I said earlier; many people with extreme expensive sets play at a much lower level than what could be possible for the money they spend. Sometimes I met people with sets from about 100.000 euro and the end results were so poor. Almost no depth, no controle in the low freq. And even voices and instruments which were poor foccused and too big in proportion. A good balanced system will give you more emotion at the times you play your beloved music. Wenn you use it well it is one of the best emotions you can create.
just call me Bobby
I have been a happy Avalon owner for many years. I first owned a pair of the Avalon Eidolons for many years. I sold them and tried B&W 800, Vienna Acoustics Mahler, Eggleston Andra, Usher BE20, Revel Studio and a few others. If I were to describe the "house sound" of the Avalon's it would be a huge sound stage with incredible transparency and immaging. Do they have a downside? of course they will not play as loudly or as deep as other speakers. If you are seriously interested them you MUST audition them in your own home and see if you like their sound. They are not for everyone as they are ruthlessly revealing. You must have top flight gear in you system. Everytime I have upgraded a component in my system the Avalon's performance has elevated. Trust me when I say that is not the case with most speakers!!