JBL Everest DD67000 vs. Avantgarde Duo Mezzo


Hi:

I'd like opinions of members who have compared or listened to JBL Everest DD67000 and Avantgarde Duo Mezzo (not the new XD version).

I auditioned Avantgarde Uno Nano in 2011 and really liked it. I don't have any exposure to Avantgarde Duo Mezzo yet. Last week I compared JBL Everest DD67000 against Revel Salon 2 and I liked JBLs much more.

Thus, I am going to choose between JBL Everest DD67000 and Avantgarde Duo Mezzo. 

Please help me by expressing frankly!
haroon
Haven’t heard either of those models. At T.H.E Show in Newport, I listened to the AVG Uno XD and the JBL K2 S9900. Both amazing! I was very taken with the JBL. Great midrange heft - w/o being husky. Very musical with much transparency. Vocals, dynamics, and tone were delightful. The JBL engineers obviously have been on a mission - with the company’s financial backing.
I walked into the suite at AXPONA to hear the JBL's already thinking I wasn't going to like them.  What I heard in that suite blew me away.  The JBL Everest DD67000'S driven by Levinson mono blocks were the best speaker I heard at the entire show.  I couldn't believe the presence these speakers had and with all kinds of music. 

If one has the room and money for them, I now what's possible.   So while I never heard the Avantgardes, I can honestly say the JBL Everests are the best speakers I ever heard in my life.  Have fun if you get them.
Haroon. Please advise the ways you felt the JBL's outperformed the Salon 2's. Thanks.
No doubt the JBLs are killer. I've never heard the particular pair mentioned in this thread but have heard some other models and they are typically top notch. Not sure why Harmon chose a model of Everest DD67000'S  though. Seems to me DD75000 would be more appropriate as I believe $75,000 is the MSRP! :)
Thanks for your opinions, please keep them coming.

ptss: JBL DD67000 were extremely dynamic, open, live sounding, effortless...than Revel Salon 2. Salon 2 had better holographic imaging and smother sound than JBL DD67000 but compared to JBL DD67000, Salon 2 sounded slow, boxy (before that I never understood what boxy of a box loudspeakers meant), compressed and closed in.

However, I'd have said the same negative things about any conventional box based dynamic loudspeaker after listening to JBL DD67000, thus, not sure if those shortcomings are fault of Salon 2 or the whole design category.
Thanks haroon. Interesting you mention the Salon's had 'smoother' sound; as live music is anything but smooth. .  The 6700 dynamics must be much faster-as they should be for the $$. I listened to a 3 way Avantgarde about 3 years ago driven by Wadia 5 something (top line). Like you I was impressed by the effortless,unrestrained dynamic sound and the uncanny presence. FWIW I would go with the JBL, I've had great experience with them. Cheers to your enjoyment however you choose. Pete
It’s lovely choice to make. I’m not sure the Everest can be driven by the usual SET amps- they are efficient but not crazy efficient. That would be the chief benefit of the Avantgarde, though bass integration has always been the trick: I have older Duos and have gotten them as good as i think they can be in that regard, save for having Jim Smith (the original importer and known set-up guru) spend time voicing the system. The Duo Mezzo with larger, horn loaded woofers may have considerably improved that integration issue, but, for me, on the older Duo, it was very tricky to get the bass to cohere with the mids- set for "good bass" in the room, there was discontinuity and set to match the horns, the speaker sounded bass-shy. (As I said, this may be less an issue given the woofers on the Mezzo).
I use relatively low powered SETs (Lamm ML2- not flea power) and the horn-SET combo can deliver magic on good recordings. The JBL is marvelous- not having heard the latest and greatest, but have heard the K2 driven by a ViVa amp (which as I recall was a lower powered SET) and it was wonderful-very in the room, no sense of a speaker, or system reproducing sound.
I think the JBL new is heavily discounted at least in the States, or seems to be judging by listings here. Perhaps it depends on where you are located; not so sure about new Avantgardes. Audiogon member Eberroth has a set of Mezzo Duos for sale here (I think he’s in Poland- don’t know him personally but know his name from audio stuff).
You should hear these things yourself- everyone is going to have their own preference; I suspect the JBL may be a little more coherent top to bottom but probably not quite as invisible in the midrange as the Avantgarde, given the two things: if the Duo Mezzo is anything like the older Duo I have, there is no crossover on the mid horn. None. So, hooking up an SET amp like the Lamm (which has a particular synergy with the Avantgardes), will give you a sound that has almost no barrier between the recording, the system and you on well recorded records.
You need to talk to the Great Karmeli (A-gon member DDK) who has some major antiquarian horns, JBLs and uses Lamms though I think he uses multiple amps for his JBLs, so your cost factor on amplification is doubled, if I am correct.
I was a Quad listener for decades, first the original Quad (which I supplemented, never satisfactorily, with ribbons and woofers) and later, the Crosby Quad. I switched to horns and SET amplification in 2006-7, and haven’t looked back. Very "in the room," alive, dynamic and don’t miss a thing in the midrange, which is always where I first get engaged or turned-off; if the midrange is boxy, grainy or sounds reproduced, that’s a big "tell" for me that the gear is getting in the way.
Take my observations for what they are worth- I think you have to hear them both with appropriate amplification and decide for yourself what suits over a range of recordings, not just a few cherry picked demo records.
One last observation- at least insofar as the Avantgarde experience is concerned- the speaker is very sensitive to associated gear and getting everything "just so" takes some time. (Perhaps that’s true of all good gear, but my system got progressively better as I upgraded gear upstream in the chain and spent time dialing everything in over a long term period).
whart, according to the spec they are 96db efficient. I would consider that "crazy efficient".

http://www.speakershop.com/media/document_assets/Everest_DD670001.pdf


gdhal- compared to conventional speakers, yes. My Duos are 104 db and the units with the so-called Omega driver are 106 db if memory serves. This may make the difference between using an SET amp or not. My ML2s, which are 18 watts each, are more than adequate for my Duos. I’m not sure they would drive the Everest effectively though. And the Lamm is not a flea powered SET. I know there are more powerful SET amps, includling Lamm’s own big dog SET, but you are getting into some real money with those. I did hear Magicos driven by the big Kondo SETs at a reviewer’s home -those are rated at 50 watts of output (I think), and they worked pretty well- but that amp is also expensive.
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whart, you raise a good point and I will concede the efficiency issue. What do yo say about the fact Harmon is also recommending a MINIMUM wattage of 100? If that is the case the type of amp may be dictated by that fact alone.
Gdhal, I have thought about the Everest as my next speaker simply because it is less involved than custom made horns with unobtanium drivers. I don’t doubt that the Everest benefits from some power, probably for the bass. I also don’t know enough about the X-over network to know how transparent it is, or whether it benefits from tweaking or bypassing in favor of some external one, but at a discounted price, it is actually not crazy money (at least compared to some of the uber horn systems and antiquarian ones). Hopefully, David Karmeli will weigh in here, b/c he has JBLs among other horns and uses them with SET amps. More later, and thanks for the kind response.
I've been harping over the Uber jbl model line's for year's!, only to be bashed by members of audiogon,  which tells me that they never listened to them,  to me,  the jbl speaker's mentioned on this thread is better than any magico speaker's,  I would know,  of course I  have both! 
You're welcome whart. Honestly the JBLs are out of my league price wise but wish/dream I could ever own a pair. And yes audiolabyrinth, I too noticed that typically JBL gets no love on this site and I really can't understand why. Here is a little something for the two of you that may prove helpful in some way :)

Greg Timbers (gdtimbers@gmail.com) who designed the JBL Everest DD67000  claims they are his best creation ever. He further states while they retail at 70K they can be had for half that, and recommends this dealership (purportedly the largest of the JBL dealers, owned by a fellow named Greg also) http://www.homeaudiosound.com/ 303-451-8250.
I am not sure about Avantgarde Duo Mezzo’s sensitivity comparison with JBL DD67000.

Avantgardes are semi-active loudspeakers. In case of Avantgarde Duo Mezzo (107 dB), there is a 500 watts Class AB amplifier for 12" woofers; external amplifier is only powering horns till 170 Hz. Whereas, JBL DD67000 (96 dB) is a pure passive loudspeaker. I suspect it’s sensitivity will also go really high if there was a built-in 500 watts amplifier for 15" woofers. And some people are doing active bi-amping with low power amplifier for the bi-radial horns and massive amplifier for woofers.
Right. As I mentioned, the issue of sensitivity bears on the kind of amplifier that can be used, and the SET is magic with the horns. However, at least with the older Duo, the issue is continuity or blending of woofers to mid horn. And the powered woofers are fed at hi-level inputs through jumpers from the output of the SET amp, so the self powered woofers are supposed to retain the character of the main amp. They may, but at least on the older Duo, you still have the horn v. dynamic speaker discontinuity in character I spoke of upthread. It can be ameliorated to a large degree, but it’s there. I’d have the same question if you bi-amp the JBL with different amps, but would be interested to know how that sounds.
PS: what external X-over has been recommended? The one thing I do like very much about the Duo (and assume it is true on the Mezzo) is the absence of any x-over on the mid-horn. I think it contributes to the speakers "un-reproduced" sound.  
The Avantgarde Duo Mezzo's are a work of art, they also have a broader frequency response than the JBL’s.
That said, with the wrong amp the ADM’s can have an in your face sound.
On the other hand I have found JBL’s to be .... well - sound like JBL’s.

I realize it’s a horse of a different colour, but if you’re going to spend that kind of money, at least give the MurAudio PX1s an audition. I have yet to hear a speaker that sounds as life like, transparent, and dynamic as the PX1’s, not to mension their broad frequency response. In other words "real". You can also save yourself $10 grand with the MurAudio’s over the JBL’s.
Having is having owned Duo Omegas since the last 10+ years. And having heard the Duo Mezzo's often, the Everests 67000 are ahead of them. Just heard the JBL's on the weekend gone. 
The drivers have less distortions in the JBL, than the Mezzo's. 
Chise your amplification carefully with the Mezzo, as they are very unforgiving. But you get that right and you can be in sheer heaven. 
Similarly the JBL's will need more power and depending on your preference an OTL or solid state low distortion amp will get you there. 

Good luck. 

Regarding the Duo Mezzo's, would they be too much speaker for a 13x12x8 room? Would Shindo D'Yquems (18wpc) be a good match for them? Do they play all styles of music well, i.e., Americana rock, Afro-Cuban, Classical, acoustic Jazz? Thank you!

I would think that Shindo amp would be great with the Avantgardes assuming you already own it. Room size- you don't need a huge room for horns, mine's larger than yours but you could get it to work- you'll probably be a little more "near field" than I like- my listening chair is about 13 feet from the speaker line, with several feet of distance behind me (along with treatment) and a few feet to play with at the front of the room where the amps and speakers are situated.
I don't know if set up is different for the mezzo than the older Duo, but there's lot's of advice on this forum about set up tricks, how to toe in, angle the speaker for your listening position, etc. One of the issues --since the woofers are integral to the frame holding the horns--is getting a position that gives you good bass in your room and also maximizes the stereo image.
As for range of music, I listen to everything from reggae, old blues records, early metal, hard rock, folk to classical and jazz.
The differences in recording quality will be quite apparent- but much of what I listen to is "standard" issue records from back in the day (admittedly, some quite recherché these days), rather than audio porn. In other words, you can, with good set up and associated gear, tap into the vein of the music- those lesser recordings still won't sound better than they are, but you will hear quite a bit of information. The trick is getting the system into a nice balance --i know that sounds like matching colorations--but you can get rich tone, very visceral presentation and horn dynamics without getting annoying horn artifacts or shrillness. One issue to contend with running speakers this efficient is noise- inter component grounding issues, for example, which won't be as pronounced on a less sensitive speaker. But, if you put it all together right, you will be able to hear far more musical information at relatively modest volume levels- you don't have to crank the volume control to get immediacy or vividness- it's already there (particularly if the recording is not a dog).  
Hi gdhal, thankyou for your post,  what no one knows here is the jbl dd 67000 can be used in small to large rooms,  the biggest market for these speaker's have been in Asia for this very same reason,  as a matter of fact,  all the everest line was sold in Japan and other Asian countries before ever sold here in USA 😎
Regarding the Duo Mezzo's, would they be too much speaker for a 13x12x8 room?
Yes.

Best, 

Jim Smith
2ndliner- I'd defer to Hornguys on your question. Jim was the original importer of Avantgarde in the States and a renowned set-up guy. 
Thank you all for the responses! Jim, is it possible to give you a call?
hornguys (Jim), would you please share with us what loudspeakers are you using these days?
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You guys interested in talking to Jim may have better luck emailing him through his Better Sound email address. His business, as far as I know, is to consult and provide on site set up advice for systems. There is a fair amount of info on him and his system on the web. 
bill hart
Would it be hijacking this thread to ask for speaker recommendations with the Shindo D'Yquems/Vosne-Romanee combination? I had a pair of Devore O/96's. LOVELY tonality but I'm looking for more of a 3D presentation and larger soundstage. Thank you for the advice, Whart, I'll shoot Jim an email...
Why don't you start an new thread, since you won't capture Shindo folks under this one? Just a suggestion to improve response rate, not an etiquette thing. I can also intro you to a guy I know in San Fran area who has Shindo and is in the process of evaluating various horns, including some custom jobs. Have fun. 
Re Greg Timbers. He also designed the JBL 250Ti's; of which I own a pair with the big xover.. He is not only an excellent designer. I've had the pleasure of talking to him quite a few years ago. A great guy all round; straightforward and very generous with his knowledge. He wouldn't remember me; but I'll never forget him. 
VPI uses JBL (not sure if this Everest is the one) as the evaluation standard for their products
stringreen I think you must have read the following
http://www.tonepublications.com/analogaholic/hanging-at-vpi/

It seems that  Avantgarde Duo Mezzo will finally put me on SET amplifiers train while DD67000 is best served with power!
Hi haroon,

whart is correct you can't drive the Everest with a SET the woofers need current and some power to come alive, otherwise its a fantastic speaker, one go the best out there. The Duos are semi active, for me that's a problem, the woofer crossover point is too high for it blend successfully with any kind of tube electronics the least of which are SETs.

david
Here's a great deal on a pair of JBL K2 S9900's
I think anyone who likes rock and roll is making a serious mistake by not considering JBL's, particularly anything from the upper end models (Synthesis and the Studio Monitors).

I have the S3900's after several other speakers in the past 5 years and I'm really happy with them.  I've considered selling them though... so I can move up the chain.  I would really like to try the S9900's.  I'm kicking around the 4365's on Audiogon right now, though they might be a bit big in my room and the S9990's would fit a bit better.

Dynamic, detailed, image like crazy and yet not bright or fatiguing are all great aspects of the S3900's though. I do wish JBL had more dedicated center channels though.  

My big concern though is hearing that Greg Timbers is no longer with JBL and that what is out there now (3900, 4700, S9900, 65000/67000) are the last of a fantastic breed that I discovered too late.

I do find that using a sub X'd over at 40 to 60 hz works out great. 


I think I’m a fan of JBL, but not sure.

I bought my first real high end audio system, B&W 800D and second hand Classe, based on the reviews on Stereophile and the other internet review sites. It seemed to me that B&W is the safest bet for the novice like me, and I actually like them.

About a year ago, I went to an audio show with my slightly more educated ears, and tried to listen to carefully each speakers at the show. The best sounding speakers to me was JBL (I think it was DD67000) and ATC. They seem to be much better sounding speaker than mine. After the show, I checked my trusted Stereophile site again, and I found there is no review for ATC and JBL high end speakers. Only mid to low end. Since then, I have been wondering why ATC and JBL are not considered to be high end...

whart, according to the spec they are 96db efficient. I would consider that "crazy efficient".
The Everest is at the very bottom of what might be considered high efficiency and at the high end of what is considered moderate efficiency.

The woofer array is 4 ohms while the rest of the speaker is 8.

An SET is inappropriate for this speaker. The woofers are in parallel and expect that the amplifier will make twice as much power into that portion of the load or barring that, half the power into the midrange and tweeter.

For a tube amp to do this it needs a lot of negative feedback, something SETs don’t have. So if you plan to use an SET, go with the AvantGarde- you will have better luck.

Due to the efficiency, you will want at least 60 watts on this speaker in most average rooms in the US (15’ x 19’ or so) if you don’t want to clip the amp.

atmasphere, I consider your reference to a quote of mine a complement of sorts. Honestly. This because I have noted how well you articulate virtually all things audio in the numerous thread in which you post. I read the other day what you had to say about balanced cables, and admittedly found it some what educational. I imagine you are an engineer associated with this company: http://www.atma-sphere.com/ In any case, I appreciate the valued input that you and certain other rather knowledgeable people impart on the forum. An often unrecognized and unappreciated thing. Thanks.
[...]
About a year ago, I went to an audio show with my slightly more educated ears, and tried to listen to carefully each speakers at the show. The best sounding speakers to me was JBL (I think it was DD67000) and ATC. They seem to be much better sounding speaker than mine. After the show, I checked my trusted Stereophile site again, and I found there is no review for ATC and JBL high end speakers. Only mid to low end. Since then, I have been wondering why ATC and JBL are not considered to be high end...

The non-pro/-studio segment of direct radiating speakers effectively seems to have been annexed as review items by Stereophile. I do remember a very favorable review of the JBL Array 1400 some years back by said magazine, something that had me very pleasantly surprised, however it expectedly turned out to be an exception to the rule, as was the case prior to the review.

Imagine if the, say, ATC SCM150 ASL Pro (or one of their "civilly dressed" active siblings, which are likely more expensive but wholly comparable sonically) were to be held up against any of the bigger models from Wilson Audio, Magico, Raidho, Vandersteen, Revel, B&W, Tidal, etc.; they (the ATC’s) are $25,000/pair fully active speakers with 15" bass drivers, and while I’m sure there are more refined and spacially expansive/exacting alternatives to be had, I gather very few of them come close to attaining the same level of overall scale, dynamics, coherency, coolness under pressure, and tonal accuracy and honesty of the ATC’s - and you only need to add a source/DAC and possibly (but not necessarily) a preamp.

The thing with the Stereophile paradigm of sound is that of favoring refinement, laid-back sweetness, lean tonality, spacial abilities/"airyness," and a sound rid of "coloration" (which comes in many forms, one might add). And then subtract fundamental pillars such as dynamics, presence, ease, low-level resolution, and not least the importance of the reproduction of the lower mids/upper bass (and how this region is usually robbed of energy and impact). To hell with the consensus of the views of the established hi-fi community (lead on by the biggest review sites/magazines) and what they consider "high end." Your ears and independent mind are the better judges of this.

EDIT: Oh, sorry - I forgot Art Dudley's enthusiastic review of Volti Audio's all-horn Vittora's not long ago. Quite a highlight. Oh well..
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Thank you phusis,  I'm not sure if I understand correctly what you explained here, but I think what I'm impressed with ATC and JBL is exactly what you described here, dynamics, presence and ease. I wish I can confidently choose my next speakers, but I need more education... Thanks,

tmare --

Sorry if I rambled on a bit in above reply to you. I was trying to come about how the sonic "paradigm" or overall preference of review magazines/sites (especially Stereophile) seems not to favor the sound represented by speakers such as the bigger ATC models or JBL’s - let alone horns in general.

Reviewers may (secretly) like them, but you don’t really see it evidenced through their chosen review items (i.e.: the larger models by ATC, JBL or the likes are not chosen at all). A show report may give you a hint (I seem to remember Mr. Fremer of Stereophile expressing fondness of the D66000 Everest’s at some show report), but it’s a rarity, and usually never followed by an actual review.

Wouldn’t it have been something; a favorable review of the JBL Everest’s in Stereophile? I mean, them being pictured on the front cover would’ve required a larger format ;) This model, be it either the DD65-67000, is JBL’s all-out assault on the über-highend category - why are they not represented in the bigger magazines against the top models from the typical range of the reviewers darling-brands? ATC’s equivalent to the Everest’s would be the SCM300’s with two 15" bass drivers per side; fully active they’re actually cheaper than the (passive) Everest’s, but either the ATC’s or JBL’s are easily competitively priced compared to the competition and their biggest speaker models.

I one were to be perhaps slightly supersticious you would think that the ultimate, or perhaps rather the imprinting closer to a live, natural acoustic sound must not come too cheaply or too readily going by the will of the established hi-fi industry, if it’s even desired. And yet I find named models like the ones from ATC and JBL (and others) to do exactly that; I find they are closer to live, natural sound, and though they’re not cheap they are no more expensive than the competition - actually they are typically cheaper.

I wish I can confidently choose my next speakers, but I need more education...

"Education" is a dangerous word here. Sometimes you must un-learn to get educated on certain matters. In this case I’d say your initial impressions in actual favor of the JBL’s and ATC’s, sans the views of a review magazine like Stereophile, are the ones to go for. You bought the B&W 800D’s based on what Stereophile think of them, and you went on to favor other speakers that are not backed by reviewers. What’s the conflict here? None, really. Go by your ears; not what’s recommended by Stereophile.

EDIT: going by your initial reply above it seems your understanding of "education" is actually getting to learn what you favor in sound reproduction, irrespective of review opinion, which is good. The conflict in you is yet a remnant of doubt over why what you favor in sound reproduction is not mirrored by, in this case, Stereophile. The education, as I see it, lies in your ability to ultimately distance yourself from external opinion, and go by what your ears and gut-feeling tells you.
"Go by your ears; not what’s recommended by [a magazine].’"

This is a step toward wisdom as opposed to "knowledge."
I imagine you are an engineer associated with this company: http://www.atma-sphere.com/
Hello gdhal, your surmise is correct.
I think Ralph is being modest - he IS atmasphere.
Thank you again for your advice, phusis,

Yes, as you guessed, I think I don't still know what is my ultimate preference, or I am not enough confident with my preference.

For people who prefer the speakers that Stereophile ignores, (in this case ATC and JBL high end), the only place to know what the other people think is the forum like here. I searched a lot, but I couldn't find any professional review for SCM300 or DD67000, except one professional recording magazine. That is actually why I joined this forum recently. Thank you.