Great equipment, and great listening space. I once owned the Dunlavy's, and it is a fine speaker. I can certainly handle power and fill a room, but I've since found other speakers to be more refined and less grainy. The Avalon is about as refined as you will get, but I have found my Radian HC, which I just got, to be current thirsty, and my ARC VT200 may not have enough juice to bring out the best of the Avalon. I'm not sure if the same would be true of the Eidelon. Even though the CJ is 275w, it's strong suit is musicality and not power. You may also want to consider the Audio Physic Avantii III or Caldera, Vienna Acoustics Mahler, and the Revels.
Since the Dunlavys, Amatis, Watts, and Eidolons have different presentations, ranging from laid back musical (Amati, then Eidolon) to potentially detailed and agressive (Watts, depending on system), I would choose the speaker characteristics I wanted first. I believe the Eidolon has better bass than the old SC4's, but the bass is less well integrated (and powerful) than the best. It's imaging is superb, as is the refinement, speed, and tonal characteristic. The Watts are, IMO, the most dynamic of the four.
Eidolons are reasonably good with lower powered amps but improve markedly with higher power - you will likely find yourself looking for trade-ins eventually on the CJ's to higher powered tube amps or solid state monos. Check the Eidolon reviews on AudioReview.com and in old A'gon threads, there were some earlier good comments on amp and power matching from a wide range of users & tastes.
I have only heard the W/P and the Eidolon. The Eidolon is not only a little better, it is in different class. The W/P sounds techni color, the Eidolon sounds real.
I think the C-J Premier 8 XS will okay I think, since other people have reported good results with BAT VK-60 mono (120 watt) and CAT JL-1 (100Watt).
I agree that the Avalon is on a higher level than the others mentioned, but I also agree they'll probably need more to make them sing than the C-J can give them. I will say that I have never been a fan of Wilson Audio speakers, but the Watt-Puppy 6 is a different animal, it actually gives that "big" sound that the Dunlavys can give you when set up right, a marked difference from earlier versions of that speaker, has surprisingly good bass which is substantially better than prior marks of the speaker and I think it would work well with the Connie-Js (I've heard it with VTL 150s, ARC Ref 300s and Nagra amps, all to VERY good effect). You should be seeing good deals on them now, too, because Wilson is reportedly redesigning them as a much more expensive speaker and using the Sofia to take the W-P place in the sonic-price niche. They are worth an audition if you want to keep the same (excellent) electronics you have now (and believe me, I thought I'd never say that about this speaker).
I listened to the Eidolon, the Watt/Puppy 6 and the Wisdom Audio before deciding. I bought the Wisdoms. The Eidolons imaged impressively but did little else for me. The W/P were impressive. But the Wisdoms seemed to do more right. Usually a speaker design will be particularly good in one area or, in better designs, particularly good in all but one area. The Wisdoms struck me as being good top to bottom. Depending on musical taste I think you could find the W/P to be short on bottom end. No such problem with the Wisdoms.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated and I thank you. As much as I really want to like the Watt/6,(they would look the best in the room and my wife likes them) I think I'll be disappointed in the long run. Although their indivdual characteristics surpass the SC4 and yes, their dynamics are incredible, I always go ahhh,the music is back when I
return home from their audition. Maybe I'm just used to the Dunlavy presentation of sound and I need more time with them. For now,however, I'll trust my ears and continue to search. The Eidolon sounds like a good start. Thanks again.
hello don't waste your time with the BAT 60 mono's your Conrad Johnson premier 8XS is way better sounding having owned both amplifiers before.
I would give these a listen, they're great sounding and are in the ballpark in terms of $$$.
unfortunately, i have not listened to them, it's just an off the cuff suggestion!
I would give these a listen, they're supposedly great sounding and are in the ballpark in terms of $$$.
unfortunately, i have not listened to them, it's just an off the cuff suggestion!
Beowulf, which model of Wisdom Audio are you referring to and what type gear matches well?
Not a particular fan of the W-P, I did audition the Eidolon, the Amati Homage, and the La Perfection by Venture. I bought the Venture. They simply did more right for my tastes. They are a flat impedance load and relatively efficient (92 dB). Beautiful to behold and a true world class speaker that is quite easy to drive (I'm using 50wpc SET, 12 wpc SET and 27wpc OTLs. Even the OTLs drive them effortlessly.)
Your mileage may vary, but I'd recommend at least a listen.
Should audition the JM Utopia before commitment.
i agree with the utopia recomendation. i have heard the amatis, and watt puppys, and earlier avalons. the amatis are very smooth, but a little lite on dynamics. i think any of the speakers you mentioned are top shelf, but i think the utopias have less problems and with your great amps and seems to be wonderful system you will love the utopias.sound labs are also top shelf. good luck and keep us up to date.
It may be worth auditioning a pair of Alon Circes -- not the prettiest, but great sounding and far less $$$.
best of all ,i think it's kharma ceramique 1.2f reference
You have a great system including the speakers. Keep what you have and enjoy. In my opinion you will spend a lot of money to most likely be disapointed.
Its quite refreshing to see so many positive comments regarding all of the speakers concerned. Often when one asks a question (such as your own) it will meet with highly partisan, non-objective comments and recommendations - Kudos to all of the thoughtful respondents.
My own immediate thoughts (after reading the thread): Have you been able to bring any of these speakers home for audition? If not would you be able to? You're spending quite a bit of $. I would think that any dealer relieving you of this much $ would be happy to oblige you.
So much of what you hear is system/room-dependant that it'd be a shame if you didn't actually get a few of these fine speakers home for a good weekend-to-weekend listen.
The character you are hearing at the dealer will most defiantly be different than it will in your own system. Even simple things often overlooked such as speaker cables and ICs can take a speaker from sounding brutally analytical to heavenly musical.
Speakers such as the W/P-6s are extremely fussy about positioning and can sound dramatically different in two different rooms. A Wilson dealer should be willing to show you how theyd sound in your space.
Ive never heard the Amatis, I have heard the W/P 6's, the Eidolons - and the Circes (that Larryro mentions).
Delivery of sound from each is quite different. The least-mentioned Circes are wonderful speakers and really should be considered in your audition (probably the Kharmas too). The Circes are especially wonderful with tube gear. They are very open, with three dimensional soundstage that lives and breaths Id call them the closest to an electrostatic or magneplanar but with dynamics
and no need for head-in-vice listening! One can walk around the room and still point to a given instrument or musician in a swing/jazz band. The Circes lack the dynamics of the W/P, but this is true of so many speakers including (but not limited to) all other speakers on your list. That said, the Circes will get down pretty deep, and with some fairly articulate bass lower than the Eidolons & just as tuneful.
The W/P are impressive in their speed, dynamics and HUGE soundstage. I've never heard them on CJ gear - most often they are paired to beast SS amps from Krell etc. But what I have heard from those systems is nothing short of remarkable. If it were me I would HAVE to bring them home just to be sure.
The Eidolon's - which are much talked about, and come very highly regarded, do just about everything right, but need lots of juice! In contrast to the Circes the Eidolons image equally well, with a very natural presentation - but not quite as natural as the Circes. The Circes just seem more organic in sound quality start and decay. In the bass, the Eidolons have neutral & tuneful bass, but not as quick, deep or snappy as the W/P's. Where the Eidolon really shines is in the midrange/highs & ability to disappear. The Eidolons ability to plausibly recreate the human voice may be without equal.
What a truly difficult decision... and one that Id love to be in the position to have to make ;)
Thanks for the thread, & be certain to post what you end up with.
Good post Mike.
On the subject of bringing speakers home for audition, there are very few dealers in my area that will allow this with large speakers anymore. And for those that do, you need to appear very serious, i.e. you will buy other speakers from them if not the first pair. Times have changed. If you are careful to audition with equipment you know (or bring your own), and music you know, you can usually get a good sense of what the speaker will do in your space. This is one reason to travel to a dealership that carries your electronics (and be prepared to buy from them if you take a significant amount of their time.) Also, you can do a lot with your own space if you treat it well acoustically - and thus minimize the differences from the showroom. And at this price range, you can make a point of hearing the speakers you are serious about in several dealerships - different rooms, different equipment.
I must congratulate all the respondants, and especially Mike above, for a well-focused review.
It's been a while since I have listened to the Avalons, but I found little fault with them other than a polite representation of the lowest two octaves. Spectral and similar high-current amps are recommended to bring out their best, which should not disuade you as long as you have plans to change (not really upgrade) your electronics -as long as you do that you will not look back.
The only speaker I have heard anyone trading up to from Avalons were Rockports (the Antares, at $40K). If the latter is in your price range, and you need contact info for Andy Payor in Maine, let me know. This is a "final" step for many happy audiophiles who want to step off the continual upgrade path, and something I hope to pursue in the future. Andy is a true pioneer and one of the genuinely authentic artists we have in audio.
I have dreamed about Wilson's work for many moons, and the latest iteration of the Watt/Puppy 7 should be auditioned since David is probably coming into his prime in adding the magical characteristic of "naturalness" that [listeners whom I respect stated] the Sophias have in spades. I have not listened to the W/P 7 (I will at the HiFi show at the Hilton next month), but by initial accounts this appears to be an entirely different animal than the W/P 6. As for pricing, the W/P 7 will list for $24K (up from $20K), but the Sophias will remain at the $12-13K range.
Alas, I have not heard the Alons nor the Amatis.
I would also suggest listening to the Talon Khorus X ($16K) at a trustworthy dealer. I own the little brother of the Khorus, the Raven ($7K), and find the lack of any emphasis of the audio spectrum refreshing. The micro/macrodynamics are stunning, and bass reproduction (even at low volumes) amazing. Jazz and vocals sound real, and there is no compression even at high volumes so that you can approximate the levels of live performances without any consciousness of strain or fatigue (in my wife's words, "it doesn't sound loud, it sounds like music").
The current Khorus (X) is an entirely different creature than the one which initially garnered great reviews - the enclosures are much more solid, the finishes are beautiful (high W.A.F.), and it remains easy to drive (yes, tubes are not only allowed but sound great; I am saving for the Tenor amps). The only Achilles heel to this design is the patience to allow for proper break-in (now performed at least in part at the factory). I attribute this to the pair of custom 10" combo midrange/woofer cones which are positioned back-to-back (only the front cone is visible). These assemblies are massive but in combination with the crossover network allow pistonic motion at speeds and midrange quality equalling the best electrostats (I still own an old pair of Martin-Logan CLSes).
Any audition you make MUST be based on well broken-in speakers otherwise you will not hear the potential of this (or any other) design. Give the Talon designer Tierry Budge or Mike Farnsworth (their prez) a call at (801) 619-9000; I have found both of them to be honest and informative.
I wish you the best of luck in your plans. I am envious of your room; any system you choose will have the space to breathe which will allow you to hear them at their best.
WOW! As a first time poster, I especially can't thank everyone enough for your sincere and insightful advice. It all goes to highlight an important point I often forget; there is no best or perfect speaker (gear) necessarily, but rather what is most appropriate in any given system and context for each individual. I am grateful for the sharing of all of your thoughts and experiences, as it provides a sound framework from which,hopefully, I can discover my own sonic bliss.If I haven't done so already-(Bin)
Qualsound, I find that the Eidolons are easier to drive than the comments in this thread suggest. I've listened to Eidolons in my dealer's listening room using both Rowland 100 watt solid state amps and BAT tube amps with excellent results. At home, I drive my Eidolons with Atma-Sphere MA2 OTL amps (220w) and don't feel any lack of power to fully drive these wonderful speakers.
I suspect you will find that your C-J 8's will be a good match to the Eidolons given their triode configuration. Wonderful amplifiers!
Agreed,systems should compliment the room.I know this to be true as I had my exact system in a much smaller room and it was disappointing. It replaced a more modest but still very pleasing system and yet failed to even match it in terms of simple musical enjoyment. Also at that time ,I had a 7' grand piano that sounded gorgeous at the dealer,but awful in its new cramped space. Well, in their new home with room to breathe, both system and piano sing.
A word on set up. I follow Dunlavy's advice to have a greater distance between the speakers than from the listening position to the speakers. This typically mandates positioning on the long wall which he also suggests. I don't know if this technique works with other types of speakers, but it works extreemly well with Dunlavy(the magic is lost any other way). I have not heard the W/P6 set up in that way or any other speaker for that matter. I am curious as to the results of such a set up.
I'm looking foward to the Hi-Fi show next month to check out the fine gear suggested here in this thread. Once again, I thank you all for your support.
Rushton, among the fine speakers suggested, the Eidolons seem to perform well overall and do little harm. It also seems that while my 135 watt/chan CJ will drive them satisfactorily, they really come alive with more power. I could re-configure the amps to run in pentode,producing 275 watt/chan, but I would rather not. Re-tubed not too long ago.
Since it's not likely to find an Avalon dealer with CJ8xs, I'll try them with as similar amplification as possible.
BTW, I temporarily had the Atmasphere MP1 pre amp in place of the CAT mk1 running balanced to a Krell 300s SS amp and the MP1 breathed new life to that system.
I own the Eidolon, much better than the W.Watt, but after two years I want to change them. Next speakers? As I don´t want to have in front me two walls, instead that the sound labs are fantastics, Pipedreams, Piega, Lumenwhite or Kharma are the only ones posibilities.
I am a dealer, but I will try to be impartial. I have a customer who owned the Eidolon's and they drove him nuts. He tried everything he could to get rid of a very nasty bass bump at about 80-90 hz, but could not do it. He had the ARC Ref 300 MKII's and then tried the Accuphase A50V's. No luck. He also thoought they wer too lean for his taste. He eventually sold them after auditioning the Piega P10's (in his house) and also sold all of his amps and bought the Tenor's.
I have to agree with Arooj on his assessment of the Talon Khorus X's. I currently have them setup and have endured the AWFUL break-in period. I was ready to throw them off the back deck, but thanks to a friend who also owns them, I stuck with them. It literally takes over 500 hours before they are listenable, but after that, they are wonderful. There is a cohesiveness that is not there with the WP's, Eidolon's or the Amati's (the most beautiful of the bunch). They are one of the best imaging speakers, sound stage is incredible, the midrange has body and transparency galore, the bass is THUNDEROUS, and the highs are sweet and airy. They are world-class in every way and I recommend you find a way to hear them. Most people give up on them before break-in, I almost made the same mistake and I am glad I endured!
As far as my motivation goes, I received a brand new pair of these on trade, from a customer, for some electronics, not as a Talon dealer. I am blown away and will be pursuing the line, if they will have us as a dealer.
Other speakers I recommend, that I do not sell, that are wonderful with the music you like are the Magnepan 20.1's and the Soundlabs M1's.
for image and tonal purity there is only one speaker
avalon diamond. jm lab does not have the same depth of the sound stage which is typical for most european speakers. If you have the power to drive them the mbl 101 speakers are a revolutionary product from an amazing company...Watts are not known to be as musical as others but they play loud for the jbl headbanger American audience and with a much higher price tag...