Mods for Avantgarde speakers

I have had Avantgarde Trios for about eight years. They play music with the types of amplifiers that I enjoy, in a way that I like more than other speakers that I have heard. I would like to hear from others that have modified their Avantgarde speakers, what they have done, and with what improvements. Damping, x-overs, cabling, etc. are things that I am interested in.
My Duos (vintage 2002 or so) have - in addition to the Omega update, which is extraordinary and a no-brainer - the Cardas jumpers and Grand Prix Audio Apex footers.

The only speakers that would ever take their place are Trios w/Basshorns.
What did you find the improvements were using the Apex footers.
there are many modes I did to my duos from 2000.
Omega upgrade a few years back.
soldering all internal connections with silver solder
replacing the mundorf tweeter cap with teflon v-caps.
replacing the internal wire with audio note silver wire.
replacing the binding posts with nextgen copper ones.
filling the hollow stands with sands.
dampening the metal zylinders with some damping material
removing the rear cover of the midrange horn.
time align the tweeter with midrange
putting the speaker on harmonix rf 999 cones
putting the tweeter xo outside in a separate box

the single biggest tweak was the cap change followed closely by the time alignment of the tweeter.

recently an audio buddy came over who also owns omega dus. put the tweeter in it's original position and then back around 20 cm in it's time alignment position. he was shocked how much better the aligned position sounds and did the same thing to his duos.
Hi Guys, It's been awhile since I visited the high-end audio scene. I have a UNO 3.1 in my audio system but have not been used in probably a couple of years now. Been really busy w/ my work and new hobby (RC Helicopters) and tending to my growing kids. Anyway, I just put the UNO back in service and wanted any hints or basic tips on how to properly setup it up. I never did a proper setup when I first bought the speakers and was hoping for some assistance if possible.

My main question is regarding the adjustments to the sub, specifically, the Frequency, what are some starting values I should use to get started and also I just read about changing the phase of the sub, how is this done??

If you guys have any web reference on setup I sure appreciate it!!

Thanks all!!
I am considering the Omega upgrade, but it's so freakin expensive that I have wondered whether it would be worth it - I have Duo 3.1's.... DuoMike was your cap upgrade done after the Omega install?

I am using Cardas Golden PC's on my subs but wonder if anyone has experimented with other stuff in that regard?
yes cap upgrade was done after the omega upgrade
If I could add to duomike's list of great tweaks, decoupling
the screws on the tweeter front plate for a little more naturalness.

I made a very very thin slice of Sorbothane, by shaving a footer & placed it on the lugs where the tweeter screws screw into.

Silver wiring the speaker cables inside the sub if you can face it! Try solidcore cable.

I have found in my set up solidcore cables work very well on the Trio, especially if using flea power. Gives a little more focus & dynamic poise.

what kind of damping material did you use for the cylinders? I was thinking of trying the sticky back rubber damping for the cylinders. It is said to be great for damping resonance. Or are you using foam for the back wave?

Or is it about both?
I have built bass horns to replace AG 225 and AG bass horns. Adding proper match in bass is a large upgrade.

using some sticky black bitumen stuff for the dampening of the cylinders. Did that tweak some 10 years ago. don't remember the brand. it was stuff used in cars in dampen resonances. keep the original foam in place inside the cylinders. however, after removing the rear covers of the horns I removed the rear cover foam so I can see the driver when standing behind the speaker. this way the back wave doesn't bounce back and forth. sounds more open if you will.


using lyngdorf corner subs especially designed to be put into corners behind main speakers. not really bass horns but way better than the 225 subs imo. also mid and high frequencies improve when the vibrations from the 225 subs are removed.
My Trios Mods,

I used similar to Duomike, Car stereo damping inside the cans. Costed about $250 to do all six completely.

The tube frames. Taken completely apart first. I used liquid urethane rubber. It was an 8 on the 10 scale for density. To do this I had to plug all the holes. I used soap at the threaded ends, cleaned up easy. I used new bolts and washers for the other holes. For the speaker wire holes I used sticky felt for under furniture, this covered nicely and was easily removed. I will add that there was some spill over. It was no problem, it didn't stick and just rubbed off. The can and frame damping I did at the same time. My results were a result of both. The Trios were also taken apart for one month. The before and after listen was distant. My thoughts were that it did make an decent improvement. An example would be, loud percussive piano sometimes could have a ringing sound. This is very cleaned up now. Overall I think they sound better though the whole frequency range. It is difficult to describe exactly after so much time passing. Maybe similar results to Chadeffect when he decoupled the tweeters.

I replaced the jumper wire with Cardas Golden Reference. I haven't done the inside wiring yet.

The subs I use TG audio power cords into a Sound application line conditioner with my power amps. This really helped clean up the bass and seemed to be better integrated.

I tried Aurios under subs. Aurios are for decoupling. I didn't like this.

I have used Aurios under the Trios. I can't comment on this yet.
I have Cardas Golden Ref. power cords on my subs (as part of the 3.2 package). A while back a friend brought over a pair of TG Audio PC's and they offered a nice improvement - bass seemed tighter and a bit deeper.

I've been looking for a pair for sale since then, admittedly not too hard, and wonder if anyone else has experience with other PC's on the subs?
I'm using DCCA power cords- much better, that stock.
sdrsdrsdr, the avantgarde construction is a bit flimsy for speakers so expensive. the new g2 series looks more solid. no doubt any damping helps the sound. before you change the internal wire just make the effort to solder all internal connections, also on the driver side. makes a nice improvement in clarity and costs basically nothing. if you can try the harmonix rf 999 cones. once one of my audio buddies came to me place and asked me to remove the cones. he was shocked at the differences and said this is crazy and I'm not using the avantgarde subs at all. If you can try to find a way to put the tweeter 15-20 cm back for time alignment. this makes a huge difference!!
happy tweaking
I'll try the solder. I never did think the way the wire was fastened was adequate. Did you find moving the tweeter back you were able to sit closer. What is your seating distance. How did you support the tweeter.
I recommend reading "Get Better Sound" by Jim Smith. I just finishing reading this book and very much enjoyed it. Jim Smith was the original distributor for Avantgarde USA. He has probably set up more Avantgarde speakers than anyone. His would be another good opinion on proper time alignment of the tweeter.
sdrsdrs, look forward to hear from you about the soldering tweak. this clip on connectors are bad for sound, not only in speakers but electronics as well!
had some wooden blocks built for the tweeters which I have put on the 225 subs which allow me to move the tweeters back in small increments. half cm matters if you get to the optimum point. the closer you sit to the speaker the further you have to move the tweeter back (if you are sitting on tweeter axis). have a look at the last uno nano review in stereophile, the step response. at 1,5 meter distance the tweeter signals arrived 0,75 ms too early which is around 26 cm!!!
I think with the trios you have to build your own stands for tweeter and mid horns so that you can individually move them back for proper alignment. not an easy task but no doubt sonically very rewarding!

I have always wished that the factory speakers were time aligned. However, that discussion never went very far with the guys in Germany (whom I still greatly admire and count as friends, btw).

As such, it was a testament to how good they were in other areas that they could still be as musically involving with such disappointing driver alignments.

Over the years, I privately tried a variety of techniques to accomplish it (time/phase alignment of the treble horn to mid horn).

I managed to make it work, but I was never clever enough to completely overcome the additional issues of reflection from the treble horn, as more of its direct wavefront would be striking the bell of the mid horn.

Not only that, it was butt-ugly!

The general market would have been negatively impacted with my "solution".

So I finally gave up, because - even if it worked - even if it could be made to look less home-made, I couldn't get the factory to consider it as a serious discussion.

Probably because they'd been down that road many times previously.

One other observation - the closer you sit, the more noticeable this aspect is (sonically, and unfortunately - visually - as well).

At ear-to-tweeter driver distances of less than 10-11 feet, anything you can do to get these disparately placed drivers to "hang together" sonically is a good thing.

Certainly front-to-back tilt and/or speaker height become critical.
I am struck by this issue with AG time alignment. Has anyone tried to time align in the digital domain?

I know the issue then moves into multiple amps etc. I have seen many systems that could do this. The problem then becomes one of the quality of the amps & the digital crossover.

Is the improvement really that great? It strikes me that time alignment is a can of worms. Surely at some point you still run into phase problems? Or is it that to get the tweeter & mid closer in alignment is enough? My seating position is around 4.5-5m away.
Hornguys, I agree with your comment re butt ugly. my solution with the wooden blocks certainly is but I don't care. I don't have a problem with reflections from the midrange horn. have measured the response before and after time alignment and there is no difference.
I also find it amazing how much of a difference it makes to time align the horns with the subs. I'm using digital delay for that which I can adjust on the fly with a few a mouse clicks. even at a xo of 200 hz a few cm can easily be heard.
everybody who is interested in this subject should look at john atkinson's step response measurement of the uno nanos and read his comments!!

Chadeffect, aligning tweeter with mid horn would certainly be a major improvement. best would be to align all 4 drivers in your trios but this is a daunting task indeed

I have read a reasonable amount about time alignment & it strikes me there is little gain vs all other issues. Probably why AG do it that way.

It may be easier to time align a 2 way, but once you get to 3 & 4 ways it gets very tricky as off axis response, beaming at various frequencies, room interaction & positioning becomes very difficult deal with. It strikes me the only sane way to attempt alignment is in the digital domain.

I have a friend who has a DAC/Pre which has built in room correction/4 way digital xover. I will see if I can borrow it & have a play. My problem is a multichannel amp. 8 channels & all the cables... I will try & organise it over Xmas if I can & report back. Looks like a lot of work!

It looks like my friends room correction/crossover/dac/Pre in a box can be used as an insert on my DAC (computer FireWire into my Weiss DAC then out into room correction & back into my DAC then into the amp).

Also rather than getting into xover & multiple amps, it can still do the time alignment/phase etc into a single amp. So there won't be too many variables. So aside from the insert cables & the algorithm everything else will be the same. I will try & deal with it this week or maybe next & report back.

Sorry - I didn't put the butt-ugly remark in the right context.

If I listed all of the "zero-WAF-mods" I've done, it'd require several sheets of paper.

I was referring to the ability to manufacture a version that the public would buy.

It were left to me, I would have kept my mod, but dealers, reviewers and consumers visit my demo room regularly.

I never came up with anything that met marketing requirements and still scratched that itch to tweak that we have.

And they did sound good "stock", as has been documented lots of places.
How much further back would you recommend the Trios tweeter. I had thought about maybe building a welded stand to support each. Also in a 12.5' wide room should I move the mid/bass horns in and have the tweeter on the outside or keep the tweeters inside. I would be moving the tweeter away to clear reflections off the other horns. Maybe also fasten something like wool to the back of the horns to absorb reflections. Ideas?
Anyone replace the internal wire? If so what brand?. I am thinking of doing this. please tell me any trick because i have never open these drivers before.
When I was working with this concept, it was with DUOs, which have a lower crossover frequency, and also a different polarity. So I'm not sure how far back with Trios.

It'd be good if the frame you built had the provision for being able to slide the tweeter back and forth until the sound locks in.

If I was building new frames anyway, I'd seriously consider relocating all of the horns in a vertical line. Especially in a room that is width challenged.

That'll mean you'll have to to tilt the top horn down a bit.

I never heard TRIOs set up with the tweeter on the outside that sounded musically involving, no matter how large the room.
I was thinking about a separate stand for the tweeter. The vertical array is an idea. I thought that it wouldn't work though, too close and the reflection off the backs of the other horns. I thought moving the tweeter further away, to the inside, would avoid this reflection. Also this would allow better toe in, that is not possible with the Trios frame.
chadeffect, I'd strongly adv against inserting another box into the chain. beside that box you DO need separate amps and dacs . the improvement of aligning the tweeter with the mid is rather large. my friend who came over recently and who also owns omega duos listened first to my duos with tweeter aligned. hit pause on my transport, moved tweeter back in its original position and hit play. after a few seconds he said "oh shit"!

The idea of sdrsdrsdr to built a separate stand for the tweeter is a good one. I can imagine it would be easy to built something from wood.

Guys, don't worry about reflections from the other horns. whatever sound from the tweeter gets reflected will be reflected back to the front wall and causes no harm to the sound!

sdrsdrsdr, I would start moving the tweeter app. 15 cm back and then move them further back in small increments until you hit the right spot.

hornguys, agree speaker sound good stock but they can sound a LOT better with some tweaks! besides time alignment changing the tweeter cap also makes a dramatic improvements and moves the speaker to the next level. I'm using the teflon v-caps. Dueland cast would be another option. the stock mundorfs are decent caps but do not allow tweeter to perform at the level it is capable of!
Do you know of a way to pre break-in caps. Teflon caps take on long time.
At least, you guys can move your tweeters.
In my Duo Omega G2 tweeters are built into the sub. Cabinet,
Like UNO or Grosso.
sdrsdrsdr, chris of vh audio offered to put my 2 caps for 4 days on a cable cooker. guess this helped a lot. they still needed several hundred hours to reach their max performance. you can put some stuff in the tweeter horns like socks, disconnect the other drivers and play music 24/7 without bothering anyone in the house.

maril555, this the the main disadvantage of the G2 series imo. I like the looks of then G2 series. they are also more solidly build but putting the tweeter into bass cabinet is not a good idea. maybe its possible to remove the tweeter from the cabinet and put it on top for time alignment???
Removing tweeters from the enclosure sounds like a major "surgery", I'm not up for it, at least not yet.
I'm wondering, if Avantgarde had a good reason to change the design, other, than "to save" on not having to make a separate enclosure for the tweeter.
Maril555, you could be right, it might be a major surgery. Not familiar with the construction of the new G2 series.
Believe their main reason for putting the tweeter inside the sub cabinet is 1) aesthetics and 2) reducing overall size and make them more acceptable in a domestic environment. there are many other things you can do to improve the sound of your speakers. see my post at the beginning of this thread. happy tweaking!
Hi Duomike,

the inserting of this room correction box should be ok. It's all in the digital domain & still using my existing DAC as an interface/volume control & all clocked too. It's the best one could do. All the cabling is top notch. So the least compromised way to test the time alinement without cutting up the trios!

I will listen to the system before time alinement to make sure there are no changes in the performance. Then get into the alinement/correction.
chadeffect, you would need 4 dacs and 4 amps to time alignment all drivers. of course the 4dacs should have a delay function build in so that you can adjust each dac individually. this means big bucks, a lot of additional cables, component stands etc..
better spend a few hundred bucks and get some stands build by a carpenter.

My understanding is this correction device is very clever & flexible. Not only can it split the signal 8 ways & send to its various analogue or digital outs, but what is useful in this situation is it can also do all the splits for the xover internally & send that split & corrected digital information bussed to the main out. (so my system stays plugged in the same way. Only difference is a digi out into correction, then digi out from correction back into my DAC)

Im not sure exactly what happens with the microphone & room responses. I suspect you do them 1st. Then set the xover freqencies or types for each driver and it works out the rest & busses it to the main output.

Now this is probably not the best way of using it, but it is the most practical for my purpose, without the need for multiple amps etc etc.

But as they say "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". I will let you know but the guy is extremely confident it will work as I explained. I know one guy who has used it & he said it was perfect! I had that RP1 room correction device which is not as flexible, but it was very very good.
chadeffect, if this clever unit got 8 separate analog or digital out you still need 4 dacs and 4 stereo or 8 mono amps. there is NO way around it.
I have a tact rcs since '99. I'm not a fan of room correction at all. don't use it since several years. when you change the response in the digital domain the sound becomes a bit hard/ digital sounding. using dsp only in the bass to cut peaks. do not touch the response at mid and high frequencies at all. in my millennium I can switch dsp like a digital filter on and off while playing music per mouse clicks. this way you can hear in seconds the nasties produced by dsp!!
My advice to you is to get some separate stands for the mid and highs buildt!
Check out this system. User name Herman. He's using a digital x-over tri-amping his duos that look far from factory. It sounds like he's getting the results that he likes.

Chadeffect, can you borrow the gear without putting out the money. If so, definitely give it a try. I'd like to hear about your results.

Personally, I'm stuck on vinyl kept in analog only passing through tube amplification. If digital source was more important to me, then converting back to digital to manipulate the signal might be a good option. It's worth a try, let us know.
sdrsdrsdr, digital filters may sound better than the analog ones they are replacing, depending on the quality of the analog parts. I was shocked when I replaced the Mundorf silver/gold a few years back with the v-caps. Could not imagine how much music get lost in those mundorfs. With the mundorfs a digital filter might be the lesser evil.

The point I wanted to make is that digital xo is also not perfect. I once tried to put a 4th order high pass filters on my main channel. the duos fall off below 300 hz so with that filter I did not change the response at all. once I engaged that filter everything sounded a bit hard. I immediately removed it.

There are different ways to time align the avantgardes. one is to use a box with digital filters, several dacs and amps and the other is to built separate stands for the horns. Would like to hear from you about your experiences with the stands and about chadeffect's experiences with the digital xo route using several dacs and amps.

I any case both of your trios will sound a lot better. A good tool for time alignment is is to download audacity software, play 1 hz square waves and measure the step response with a high quality mic
It sounds like you've done your homework. I think Chadeffect needs to hear it for himself. Maybe be will come accross something that works the way that is good for him. I also heard the Tact many years ago. I thought it was amazing for about 10 minutes. I have come to learn for me that less digital anything is always better. I have enjoyed a digital source very much, but always wished it sounded more like my TT. I am still open to any insight to what digital offers to be beneficial. From my experience digitals benefits from cheaper costs of storage and playback equipment, and convenience. I assume digital x-overs to be the same, from hearing your opinion about this.

The tweeter stand and v-cap? I haven't had time yet. I will let you know. Thanks for the tips.
Jim, what is the recommended distance to move the tweeter back - 20cm? Seems like it could be easily accomplished by drilling 3 new mounting holes in the tweeter tube housing, then filling the old ones with rubber grommets.

I understand this might cause an issue with reflections off the rear of the mid horn, but if there's a clear net gain in coherence...also, my horns are all in the highest mounting holes, so perhaps tweeter housing could be vertically dropped one position to increase vertical distance to mid horn housing, thereby minimizing such reflections.

PS - thanks for all of your continuing helpful tips to the faithful!
Hi guys,

I still haven't managed to go pick up the box of tricks yet. I got bogged down in Xmas/work/family commitments.

I just wanted to add that the RP1 room correction which is a later & reworked version of the Tact worked well in my old set up.

At the time I was running planars & large power amps in a complex system with up samplers, clock,DACs & all that nonsense. The room correction did fix a few details I would not have noticed otherwise. It had to go due to low sample rate capabilities. I tried the integrated amp/room correction which was a sterile sounding affair, but not bad for the money.

Maybe today with Trios & SET digititus may well set in with the RP1 & render it insulting to listen to. Its only a matter of time before that kit sounds natural I am sure. Digital gear does keep getting better.

Duomike, just for the record I am trying the magic box to get an idea of the alined sound. If its great then fine. If its great but I lose naturalness due to the magic box, then I take a drill to the trio frame & deal with the measurements.

I replaced the mundorfs in the Trio with duelunds. Any idea of the differences between duelund & Vcap sonics? I must admit the duelund is very organic with a solid presentation. Not fizzy like the mundorf. Fizzy may be the wrong word Hyped is probably better.
Triode, my name is not Jim but would like to comment anyway. Don't drill any new mounting holes into the tweeter housing. Believe you are using Duos. If that's the case you can do as my friend did: hang the tweeter with some belts underneath the midrange horns. This also helps isolating the tweeter from the vibration of the other drivers. push the tweeter 20 cm back as a starting point. Move them forward/backward in small increments like 0,5 cm. You will know once you hit the right spot!
sdrsdrsdr, agree,less digital anything is always better. As an alternative to v-caps Duelund cast are also supposed to be excellent. Someday I will try their cast inductors in my tweeter xo.

Chadeffect, try the magic box if you like but I'm sure it will f..k up your glorious set sound! Not sure it's a good idea to drill the frame. You need something that allows you to slide the tweeter in small increments backwards!
Have not heard the Duelunds so can't comment on them. Guess it is system and personal taste dependent as to which cap is the better choice.
It seems Avantgarde makes a special capacitor. This is from a 6moons review. "Matthias Ruff designed the CPC with a DC bias voltage to create an unidirectional electric field. The special capacitor does not have to -- cannot -- change polarity. Its bias is far higher than the musical signal voltage will ever be. The Avantgarde capacitor is built up of multiple conductors instead of the usual two halves. The inner conductor is biased with 100 Volt DC."
that's true. it's a mundorf cap with a 3rd wire which is connected to the cpc circuit. still a teflon v-caps without that circuit sounds a LOT better than the biased mundorf cap!

This thread is getting very quit. is everybody busy tweaking their avantgardes?
Chad, Duelund and V-Cap sound are very different. If you like the organic nature of Duelund caps, V-Caps are not for you.
To clarify, the CPC charged cap is part of the new crossover included with the Omega driver upgrade; does not have to be added if you've already done the Omega upgrade, or bought Omega version to begin.
Hi Face,
thanks. It had Mundorfs in before which i suspect are in the ball park of the V-caps in a slightly hyped sound. I'll probably be shot for saying that, but hopefully you understand my point?

I like the Mundorf silver/oil & the silver/ gold in oils even more so, but the Duelund has a naturalness & image density I really like. It has all the detail but without shouting it. I would call it a grown up listen! I am sure the v-cap is excellent too as many swear by them. I have never seen a shoot out between these fine caps.

I have noticed that a mix of caps brings dividens in some equipment. Maybe not so much in a crossover, but I found in my tube amp the mundorfs shoved or preserved detail to make it further down the chain where some duelunds as coupling caps acted as a naturaliser making sense of everything. Best of both worlds I would like to think.
I have the Duo Omega G2. What if I simply remove the bass cabinet from the stand frame and put it on the floor, adjusting it back to time align the tweeter in the bass cabinet with the midrange horn? Has anyone tried that? The tweeter horn will then be totally free from diffracting off the midrange horn. One could also angle with ease.