Avantgarde Horn Speakers

Big Dog RJ

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2012
840
115
388
Melbourne
G'day fellas,
Greetings from Melbourne.

Just wondering why there is no section for Avantgarde Horn Speakers?

Well it seems like I will be going around the roller coaster once again. I have paused on the Sonus Faber Elipsa Red's for a while, ( I was talked out of it)...
They are still gorgeous speakers to just look at...

Although I really don't like horns much compared to the seductive sound of electrostats, I figured that most horn systems I have heard are either driven with high powered tube amps or ss state amps exceeding 300 watts. The last time I had experience with Avantgarde Duo's and the Trio Classico, they were driven with 400 watt tube monoblocks from Melos (no longer made). After a few years the owner got rid of the Melos monsters and drove them with SET amps from Cary audio (just 18 watts). Then I realised that I do have mid-power amps with just 60 watts, and may go for a MC275 having just 70 watts. I listened to one system where the horns can be tamed, without that massive after ring tone that hurts your ears...

If powered just right, then the sound off Avantgardes can be truly special because they already have 250 watt built-in ss amps for the subs. All that is required is something of just 10 watts for the mid/highs.

Has anyone here had experience with the Duo series? I am seriously considering these, and the great news is that the Australian importer/service centre is located in Melbourne! close to my town.

Let me know your thoughts/suggestions on the Avantgardes, and anything I should know before I make a decision. I will be going for a demo next week, and will have an extensive listen to all models, including the Trio's.

Cheers, RJ
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
11
585
New York City
G'day fellas,
Greetings from Melbourne.

Just wondering why there is no section for Avantgarde Horn Speakers?

Well it seems like I will be going around the roller coaster once again. I have paused on the Sonus Faber Elipsa Red's for a while, ( I was talked out of it)...
They are still gorgeous speakers to just look at...

Although I really don't like horns much compared to the seductive sound of electrostats, I figured that most horn systems I have heard are either driven with high powered tube amps or ss state amps exceeding 300 watts. The last time I had experience with Avantgarde Duo's and the Trio Classico, they were driven with 400 watt tube monoblocks from Melos (no longer made). After a few years the owner got rid of the Melos monsters and drove them with SET amps from Cary audio (just 18 watts). Then I realised that I do have mid-power amps with just 60 watts, and may go for a MC275 having just 70 watts. I listened to one system where the horns can be tamed, without that massive after ring tone that hurts your ears...

If powered just right, then the sound off Avantgardes can be truly special because they already have 250 watt built-in ss amps for the subs. All that is required is something of just 10 watts for the mid/highs.

Has anyone here had experience with the Duo series? I am seriously considering these, and the great news is that the Australian importer/service centre is located in Melbourne! close to my town.

Let me know your thoughts/suggestions on the Avantgardes, and anything I should know before I make a decision. I will be going for a demo next week, and will have an extensive listen to all models, including the Trio's.

Cheers, RJ

You may want to drop Bill Hart or Larry Toy a PM. Both use AvanteGardes.
 

zztop7

Member Sponsor
Dec 12, 2012
750
0
0
Edmonds, WA
CPC crossover

A little over a year ago I studied the Avantagarde systems.
The systems have been evolving & improving.
Very important that you make your source guarantee [in writing] that your system has the CPC crossover.
On the Duo this is used on the tweeter horn.
Do some studying & make sure you get the latest components [not the ones forgotten in the warehouse & brought out "special once in a lifetime"].

zz.
 

hvbias

Well-Known Member
Jun 22, 2012
559
22
365
US
If powered just right, then the sound off Avantgardes can be truly special because they already have 250 watt built-in ss amps for the subs. All that is required is something of just 10 watts for the mid/highs.
Cheers, RJ

Therein lies the crux. Some feel the bass module (direct radiator) doesn't integrate seamlessly with the midrange horn. A close friend of mine owns Duos and I have many hours of listening time on them. They are good speakers, especially for jazz; his original Blue Note LPs and reissues sound very good on them. But in my opinion two weaknesses are with the bass/mid integration and they are not free from horn colorations in the mids. He uses custom designed 300B SET amps, interstage coupled not RC coupled like most off the shelf amps.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,964
741
658
Interesting reading so far...hope more who have heard them will also contribute here...
 

Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
43
23
413
Hi,

I have been using Avantgarde Duo G2 for couple of years. Before them I have used many dynamic speakers and solid state amps, using speakers like b&w, sonus faber, raidho, harbeth and amps like pass, bat... I actually have sworn that I will never use horns and tubes at that time. But times change... I do think that Avantgarde horns can be your ultimate listening experience but you need to consider the following issues:

A) Amps: I have tried/owned many amps with my horns (pass, tom evans, leben, bat, audio note, lfd...) and in my opinion Avantgarde do need tube amps to get the best out of them. At the moment I am listening to the newest ayon crossfire iii and I am totally thrilled - I have never heard so homogenous, organic and lifelike music in my life. Also my experience with audio note jinro is very good. But you need to consider three important things when choosing the right amp: although horns have very high sensitivity and you can drive them with very little amps, they do need 20-30 high quality tube watts in order to maintain their amazing dynamics; noise (hum and hiss) is an issue therefore test the amp before buying. Noise can be many times omitted by tube selection, hum can be much bigger issue; gain structure of the amp is important in oder to be able to fully use the volume control. If the gain is too high you will be able to use only very little window of the volume control and music will be too loud right from the beginning...

B) speaker and listening position: be sure to be able to sit at least 3,5 m from the speakers. Although they have a sealed sub with many setting I have found they sound best if they have some space to breath: at least 0,75m from back wall and 1m from side wall. The speaker should be toed in to the listening position.

C) crossover adjustment: try to set the crossover between mid horn and active bass as low as possible in order to omit fuzziness and to find seamless transition between sub and horns. Good start according to my experience is low cut, freq = 5-6, volume =6-7 of sub settings. Try to fine tune by ear with female voices. I do this with norah jones :) but settings can vary with different rooms and amps... But the most important learning: rather seamless integration between sub and horn can be achieved!

D) wires between horn and sub do make difference and can influence the sound in a rather dramatic way. Also every other fine tuning in terms of speaker wires, power cords, cones etc can be very easily heard through these speakers. So, do experiment with this in final stage...

Hope this helps...

Kind regards, T
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,964
741
658
Hi,

I have been using Avantgarde Duo G2 for couple of years. Before them I have used many dynamic speakers and solid state amps, using speakers like b&w, sonus faber, raidho, harbeth and amps like pass, bat... I actually have sworn that I will never use horns and tubes at that time. But times change... I do think that Avantgarde horns can be your ultimate listening experience but you need to consider the following issues:

A) Amps: I have tried/owned many amps with my horns (pass, tom evans, leben, bat, audio note, lfd...) and in my opinion Avantgarde do need tube amps to get the best out of them. At the moment I am listening to the newest ayon crossfire iii and I am totally thrilled - I have never heard so homogenous, organic and lifelike music in my life. Also my experience with audio note jinro is very good. But you need to consider three important things when choosing the right amp: although horns have very high sensitivity and you can drive them with very little amps, they do need 20-30 high quality tube watts in order to maintain their amazing dynamics; noise (hum and hiss) is an issue therefore test the amp before buying. Noise can be many times omitted by tube selection, hum can be much bigger issue; gain structure of the amp is important in oder to be able to fully use the volume control. If the gain is too high you will be able to use only very little window of the volume control and music will be too loud right from the beginning...

B) speaker and listening position: be sure to be able to sit at least 3,5 m from the speakers. Although they have a sealed sub with many setting I have found they sound best if they have some space to breath: at least 0,75m from back wall and 1m from side wall. The speaker should be toed in to the listening position.

C) crossover adjustment: try to set the crossover between mid horn and active bass as low as possible in order to omit fuzziness and to find seamless transition between sub and horns. Good start according to my experience is low cut, freq = 5-6, volume =6-7 of sub settings. Try to fine tune by ear with female voices. I do this with norah jones :) but settings can vary with different rooms and amps... But the most important learning: rather seamless integration between sub and horn can be achieved!

D) wires between horn and sub do make difference and can influence the sound in a rather dramatic way. Also every other fine tuning in terms of speaker wires, power cords, cones etc can be very easily heard through these speakers. So, do experiment with this in final stage...

Hope this helps...

Kind regards, T

Great read...btw, i use Amos Lee (his Amos Lee album) to finetune my bass crossovers (Norah Jones features on this album as well)...and the Velodyne Distributor asked me for the album by name when i brought it over...he also now anticipates using it to calibrate/setup systems.
 

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
11,768
784
660
Manila, Philippines
I client of mine went from SETs to using 50wpc Class A Solid State monoblocks with his Trio w Basshorns. I wasn't surprised they would match well. The amp manufacturer used to make loudspeakers too and those loudspeakers were horns.
 

zztop7

Member Sponsor
Dec 12, 2012
750
0
0
Edmonds, WA
I client of mine went from SETs to using 50wpc Class A Solid State monoblocks with his Trio w Basshorns. I wasn't surprised they would match well. The amp manufacturer used to make loudspeakers too and those loudspeakers were horns.

Sir,

Would you share the MANUFACTURER of the 50wpc Class A Solid State monoblocks?

Thank you & respectfully,
zz.
 

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
11,768
784
660
Manila, Philippines
Hi zz the manufacturer is Valvet from Germany. There are some english reviews out there including one by our own rblnr. Not sure who the US distributor is. I know Keith owns or owned a pair and used them with his Zus. Nice thing is that they don't cost an arm and a leg either. Input sensitivity is on the demanding side, best have a strong pre. That's the only caveat I can think of. These small but heavy little guys rock. Detail retrieval is great and the tone and texture are great too. :)

My own love affair with SS Class As started with Pass Aleph 0s. I imagine the XA60.8 would be another great candidate for single driver and horn enthusiasts that are seeking alternatives to tubes. This is a pretty common thing in the EU but not so common in the US and Asia. Japan is another story though. Lots of horns on display with big SS when I went to their audio show.

Esoteric showed with AG and Tannoy to wonderful effect. I was rather shocked. You don't see that very often. I was even more shocked at how good these systems sounded.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,964
741
658
...My own love affair with SS Class As started with Pass Aleph 0s. I imagine the XA60.8 would be another great candidate for single driver and horn enthusiasts that are seeking alternatives to tubes. This is a pretty common thing in the EU but not so common in the US and Asia. Japan is another story though. Lots of horns on display with big SS when I went to their audio show...

Mine started when I first heard/compared the Forte 4 with the Forte 5 amps back in the very early '90s. I missed the whole Krell FPB thing (had just entered the tube amp world at that time)...and only came back to Class A SS with the Gryphon Antileon and have stayed ever since.

And I could imagine 50watt/channel Class A SS that is totally grainless, powerful and pure being a great match with horns, having heard the Cessaro Betas once before (I don't profess much experience in horns).
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
5,158
2,054
770
Utah
G'day fellas,
Greetings from Melbourne.

Just wondering why there is no section for Avantgarde Horn Speakers?

Well it seems like I will be going around the roller coaster once again. I have paused on the Sonus Faber Elipsa Red's for a while, ( I was talked out of it)...
They are still gorgeous speakers to just look at...

Although I really don't like horns much compared to the seductive sound of electrostats, I figured that most horn systems I have heard are either driven with high powered tube amps or ss state amps exceeding 300 watts. The last time I had experience with Avantgarde Duo's and the Trio Classico, they were driven with 400 watt tube monoblocks from Melos (no longer made). After a few years the owner got rid of the Melos monsters and drove them with SET amps from Cary audio (just 18 watts). Then I realised that I do have mid-power amps with just 60 watts, and may go for a MC275 having just 70 watts. I listened to one system where the horns can be tamed, without that massive after ring tone that hurts your ears...

If powered just right, then the sound off Avantgardes can be truly special because they already have 250 watt built-in ss amps for the subs. All that is required is something of just 10 watts for the mid/highs.

Has anyone here had experience with the Duo series? I am seriously considering these, and the great news is that the Australian importer/service centre is located in Melbourne! close to my town.

Let me know your thoughts/suggestions on the Avantgardes, and anything I should know before I make a decision. I will be going for a demo next week, and will have an extensive listen to all models, including the Trio's.

Cheers, RJ

Some of our clients had the Duos and Trios and we had a couple on trade in the past, they definitely need some power and aren't particularly SET friendly. The woofers don't do the horns justice, you're better off looking for good passive ones and a decent active crossover. IMO Avantgardes suck in the average listening room, they're nasal and incoherent but do come around and sound very impressive in larger spaces.

david
 

astrotoy

VIP/Donor
May 25, 2010
1,147
427
525
SF Bay Area
I have had my Duos for a little over 10 years. Right now I have 5 Avangarde speakers in my listening room. 2 Duos and 3 Solos as the main part of a dual stereo and 5.1 system. The Solos are self powered and the Duos are powered by Cary 2A3 SE monoblocks, about 4 watts a side. I have a pretty big room, and have had as many as 20 audiophiles listening in the room at one time. I think I've had the Duos for longer than any pair of speakers. They replaced Quad ELS63US Monitors, which I enjoyed very much. I don't have any problems with integration or funny sounds - very happy with the speakers and the SET amplification, which has been really addictive for me. I regularly get to listen to my consultant's system which for the past few years has usually been Magico's - Q5, Q3, and currently Q7's with Constellation electronics. We both have similar digital playback, with Pacific Microsonic Model Two's. Anyway, I really like his system, but when I get back home, I am very satisfied with mine. No real urge to upgrade.

You can PM me for more.

Larry
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
11
585
New York City
I have had my Duos for a little over 10 years. Right now I have 5 Avangarde speakers in my listening room. 2 Duos and 3 Solos as the main part of a dual stereo and 5.1 system. The Solos are self powered and the Duos are powered by Cary 2A3 SE monoblocks, about 4 watts a side. I have a pretty big room, and have had as many as 20 audiophiles listening in the room at one time. I think I've had the Duos for longer than any pair of speakers. They replaced Quad ELS63US Monitors, which I enjoyed very much. I don't have any problems with integration or funny sounds - very happy with the speakers and the SET amplification, which has been really addictive for me. I regularly get to listen to my consultant's system which for the past few years has usually been Magico's - Q5, Q3, and currently Q7's with Constellation electronics. We both have similar digital playback, with Pacific Microsonic Model Two's. Anyway, I really like his system, but when I get back home, I am very satisfied with mine. No real urge to upgrade.

You can PM me for more.

Larry

Got pics?
 

astrotoy

VIP/Donor
May 25, 2010
1,147
427
525
SF Bay Area
Got pics?
Between my Front Duos is my system. Sitting next to each Duo is a Cary 2A3 SE Amp. The Pacifici Microsonics Model Two is lit up on the left (I am currently ripping). The VPI HRX is playing. To the right of the center Solo is my CJ MET-1 multichannel preamp with the Exasound E28 sitting on it. Below the CJ is my Herron stereo preamp and at the bottom is BADA2 DAC. My Bottlehead modified Technics 1506 R2R with the Bottlehead PrePro is to the left of the right hand Duo. Behind the Right Duo is my big Velodyne DD18 sub. The rear picture also has my EMI classical vinyl collection - about 3000 records between the two rear channel Solos. All the speakers and amps were bought used.

Larry

Avantgarde Duos and front Solo.JPG Avantgarde Rear Duos with my EMI Vinyl Collection.JPG
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
11
585
New York City
Thanks Larry! Noticed the EMIs. Thought I had a few :) You put me to shame! :(
 

Big Dog RJ

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2012
840
115
388
Melbourne
Thanks a lot for all your messages, and sound advice gentlemen (hope I didn't miss any ladies...)

Yes, totally agree with specs on system matching is very crucial for Avantgardes, along with tubes, room and placement. Probably way more fussy compared to Quads. I have heard the Trio Omega system and Duo's before, and they really didn't sound that great for the money spent. Other than a dam good blast of thunderous sound in all directions! Then I did happen to hear these properly set up in Singapore and Thailand. Driven with low-mid powered tube amps from (c-j, Audio note, Cary, and Golden Tube Audio) overall performance was very open, high impact of dynamics and truly live! The bass was also balanced quite well and did not over-hang to the point of annoyance.

Hence, the sound can be right in your face sort of, and give you headaches the first few minutes, yes absolutely.

I am not going to rush into these, plus my Quads give me the most palpable soundstage I have ever had so far...
What I will do is wait a while, probably a few months towards end of June, and see what more information I have gathered.

The person at Avantgarde also asked what amplification I was using, and was very particular to know that. He was pleased that it was a mid-powered 60watter from c-j, with an original ACT2 preamp. He did mention that several customers came in after having pre-power matching problems with their Avantgardes. There was either far too much hiss/hum, or some other annoying background noise that got amplified as the horns powered up. Most customers were using far too much power having couple 100 watt monoblocks on hand. The problem is that they couldn't get rid of them because no one was interested in buying used monoblocks since most already owned one or the other. The other problem is people who originally bought big 100w monoblocks were using them in a completely different type of system that required big power. And now with horns they realized that this is a major problem.

That's why I remember my mate's Trio system had a noticeable annoying hiss on one channel and a bloody annoying hum on the other, because he was driving them with massive 400 watt Melos tube amps. After a few years he changed over to SET's from Cary with much better results.

Thanks a lot once again gentlemen, it was very informative. I will certainly look forward to more information in the coming months...
Cheers and have a good one.
RJ
 

microstrip

VIP/Donor
May 30, 2010
17,325
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720
Portugal
Between my Front Duos is my system. Sitting next to each Duo is a Cary 2A3 SE Amp. The Pacifici Microsonics Model Two is lit up on the left (I am currently ripping). The VPI HRX is playing. To the right of the center Solo is my CJ MET-1 multichannel preamp with the Exasound E28 sitting on it. Below the CJ is my Herron stereo preamp and at the bottom is BADA2 DAC. My Bottlehead modified Technics 1506 R2R with the Bottlehead PrePro is to the left of the right hand Duo. Behind the Right Duo is my big Velodyne DD18 sub. The rear picture also has my EMI classical vinyl collection - about 3000 records between the two rear channel Solos. All the speakers and amps were bought used.

Larry
(...)

Great pictures. I posted this on Avantgarde some time ago in WBF

"Avantgarde Acoustics also manufactures an amplifier optimized for their very high-efficiency horns. I listened several times to their horn speakers, but was never an horn enthusiast. However the first time I listened to them using their own SS amplifier I was stupefied - they did not sound like an horn, it sounded dynamic and fluid - like real music. I still regret not having had the time to re-listen to such combo. "

We can not experience all types of systems in our listening rooms - I should say tried a lot of them :), but still regret never having brought a pair of Avantgarde's in my room.
 

Big Dog RJ

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2012
840
115
388
Melbourne
How's it going gentlemen;

Well it looks like I've experienced a valuable lesson after receiving the Quads back from a service, and small fix up. Also installed new tubes (complete tube replacement) in both pre and power amps, and oh! my golly; Now that's what I call music! Seems like I was missing some great dynamics, plus the lacklustre in soundstage until I did the tube replacement. Perhaps I should have read the owner's manual more closely, I remember them saying somewhere around the 3-4 year mark may require a tube change...

Ok, now it seems like everything has fallen into place with the Quads and c-j amps; full of dynamic impact and outstanding soundstage. I guess Peter Walker didn't put those concentric ring anodes just for nothing. The soundstage is probably one of the best from the Quads, which they're known for.
I also had the joy of auditioning new c-j monoblocks with the new KT120 tubes, which I must say are a far margin ahead of 6550's. The smooth airy highs and low level detail is of class A standard, and of course that ESL midrange is in a league of its own.
Seems like I have finally come to really enjoy one amplifier combination as much as I have enjoyed the little MV60SE.

So there we have it, I will definitely aim for tube monoblocks once again, as I clearly remember someone saying in this forum that going for a McIntosh solid state would be down-grading specially after coming from a c-j platform. If it had to be McIntosh, then the better choice would have been a McIntosh tube amp itself. Such as the MC275 or the 150 watt commemorative amplifier from Gordon Gow, (limited edition) no longer made.

I have also decided to park the decision on the Avantgardes for a while, as I am enjoying the Quads so much at the moment. I strongly believe 125 watts of c-j monoblock power would be a classic match with Quad ESL's. Looking forward to this combination very soon.

Any suggestions or advice is very much welcome by the forum experts. Always willing to listen and learn from you all.
Cheers, RJ
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,964
741
658
How's it going gentlemen;

Well it looks like I've experienced a valuable lesson after receiving the Quads back from a service, and small fix up. Also installed new tubes (complete tube replacement) in both pre and power amps, and oh! my golly; Now that's what I call music! Seems like I was missing some great dynamics, plus the lacklustre in soundstage until I did the tube replacement. Perhaps I should have read the owner's manual more closely, I remember them saying somewhere around the 3-4 year mark may require a tube change...

Ok, now it seems like everything has fallen into place with the Quads and c-j amps; full of dynamic impact and outstanding soundstage. I guess Peter Walker didn't put those concentric ring anodes just for nothing. The soundstage is probably one of the best from the Quads, which they're known for.
I also had the joy of auditioning new c-j monoblocks with the new KT120 tubes, which I must say are a far margin ahead of 6550's. The smooth airy highs and low level detail is of class A standard, and of course that ESL midrange is in a league of its own.
Seems like I have finally come to really enjoy one amplifier combination as much as I have enjoyed the little MV60SE.

So there we have it, I will definitely aim for tube monoblocks once again, as I clearly remember someone saying in this forum that going for a McIntosh solid state would be down-grading specially after coming from a c-j platform. If it had to be McIntosh, then the better choice would have been a McIntosh tube amp itself. Such as the MC275 or the 150 watt commemorative amplifier from Gordon Gow, (limited edition) no longer made.

I have also decided to park the decision on the Avantgardes for a while, as I am enjoying the Quads so much at the moment. I strongly believe 125 watts of c-j monoblock power would be a classic match with Quad ESL's. Looking forward to this combination very soon.

Any suggestions or advice is very much welcome by the forum experts. Always willing to listen and learn from you all.
Cheers, RJ
Hi BigDog,

Great stuff...great stuff. You know what you like...and that is more than many can say. You have been utterly consistent as long as I have been observing your posts. Aside from the new CJ monos...you may wish to monoblock your mv60. I somehow suspect you can do the following and get maximum bang for buck: kt120s, CJ Teflon capacitors and monoblock. If you have CJ do these things...I suspect you will have one helluva set of monos for not much money compared to new monos.
 

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