Living Voice Avatars Review

Category: Speakers

Living Voice Avatars Review
I have a pair of Living Voice Avatars for review in my living room for the last month and I'd like to share my opinion with you guys.

To give you some insight on my background with this sport,some of my previous speakers were Vandersteen 2Ce, PMC LB1, Yamaha NS 1000M, Bose 901 and I have also used Zingali Overture 3 for some time. Now I also have a pair of Coincident Super Eclipses latest version.

My living room is 7X5X2.75 meters with a wooden floor and concrete/brick walls.

The amplifiers I used were the Cayin T88 (2x25 triode KT88 tubes) and a Sony 940 (2X120 mosfet).
CD player was a Cayin CD17A, cables were Kimber 8TC and KCAG with gold plated WBTs.

I will not get into technical details on the Avatars, you can find them on all on-line reviews from the magazines.

My first impression was negative due to the finish and overall quality. The finish is extremely poor for 4000 Euro worth of speakers. The Living Voice logos are glued on the back of the speaker and on the rectangular stand, but they are glued off centre and with a tilt! It is as if some kid had done the job:-(.

When I connected them to the tube amp I was surprised on how bad they sounded. It was clear that the driver units were good units, but the overall performance was not balanced. I thought that they needed time so I connected them to the sony and let them play for a few days , while I was visiting a friend out of town, otherwise I could not stand them!
When I came back they had opened up some, but nothing spectacular.
After some 150 hours or "breaking in", I put them aside and never played them again.
The sound was very boxed in, closed and the bass was what we call "one note rhumba"! I tried moving them around with no results. In some cases, percussion and guitars mostly, it was evident that these speakers are performing great, only sometimes!!
The voices of Diana Krall and Rene Marie were coloured to an extreme and the box could easily be heard even by non experienced listeners.
A friend who owns Von Schweikert VR4s was suprised by the fact that we could not find position to solve the inherent problems of the Avatars....
Listening to the White Stripes Seven Nations song, was a torture when the guitars first came in. The sound was pretty much congested , even at low listening levels.
The soundstage suffered severely, in jazz and rock music. Even in large synphonic works (Stokowski's Bach transcriptions, Mahler etc.) the soundstage was shut in.
The Vandersteens were maybe clouded in comparison but their overall performance was way better and they cost a fraction of the Avatars.
Before any of you start thinking that there is something wrong with the rest of the setup, read this.
I finally bought a pair of Coincident Super Eclipses. The Eclipses blew away the Living Voices in every single item. Maybe the LVs are a bit more analytical in some rare cases, but the overall comparison is extremely negative for them.
Now, I was initially thinking of the Avatar OBXs, but I think they are an even worse deal. They cost 50% more that the Avatars and the only difference is he crossover and the tweeter. I don't think the boxiness has anything to gain from the more expensive tweeter and the problem of the lower frequencies will remain the same.
In any case, this is an expensive speaker (the OBXs even more) and after my experience I would sincerely suggest that you try these speakers in your living room with your setup before you commit to their purchase. The cheap finish will probably result in massive depreciation after a year or two.

I will shortly post a review of the Eclipses after I make up my mind on the KT88 tube rolling.
by Psam
Interesting. Quite opposite from the review I read in the HiFi+. They were even given some award that year. Do you still own the speakers?
I have used the Avatars for 2 years and enjoy them. I don't think they are perfect as many of the UK Hi-Fi mags seem to, but I have enjoyed them. I would say that coloured is the last thing I would call them, I find them very neutral. I would say they are a little too polite and laid back and imaging is not first rate. In the UK of course, they are better value. One clear advantage of course is high sensitivity, a good match for my SET amps. I am getting the itch to change and the Reimer speaker range is where I am heading for
I have just spent a weekend trialling the LV Avatars. I largely agree with David12's comments and I am mystified by Psam's review above. I found them very neutral with a very enjoyable and open midrange. I listen to rock music, and I found their weakness to be bass extension & weight and their ability to play loud. I quite liked them although their price downunder is also too expensive.
It sound's like Psam fed them with mid-fi equipment and processed pop/rock - not the diet the speakers are designed for, by a long stretch.

With acoustic music and the valve amps they are designed for these speakers are absolutely amazing. Nothing in my experience reveals shadings of tonality and microdynamics like them. (I should not say nothing - I think higher-end Audio Note AN/Es do too but it's been awhile since I've heard them and never compared th two.) They are also capable of quite startling macrodynamics - a benefit of the 'live' cabinet/high sensitivity.