Avalon Tesseract

nombre

New Member
Apr 23, 2014
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0
Yes the picture was taken in one of the testing rooms of Avalon Acoustics in Boulder, CO. Neil, Dmitri and the rest of the staff where kind enough to let us experience the sound of the beasts named Tesseract. Several people involved in the global audio industry (Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc) where present to assess the quality of the reproduction. Consensus among the listeners on the Extreme transparency, all flabbergasted when they played a 1961 studio recording from a master tape of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. One of the people in the room made the comment that it was an experience of live music versus (dead) reproduced music. When playing Tosca, featuring Guiseppe Di Stefano, the audience discovered new depth in a voice they thought they knew. The presentation of Rossini’s Barber of Saville was amazing and left several people speechless before moving on to Pink Floyd’s the wall and other equivalents of the rock scene such as Deep Purple.
We also got some explanation on the background of the design of the Tesseract. Comments comparing the “Tess”, as the speaker is endearingly called in the house of Avalon, with the air intakes of the Lamborghini Aventador where made on location as well. In the case of the Tess the openings at the bottom are the exhausts of the folded and tapered Transmission line that directs the compressed energy of the woofers outward to the listener. The V-shape is not there to refer to Lamborghini but to refer to many other Avalon designs that have this shape at the bottom of the speaker.
Time alignment and exact constructed volume determine the dimension of each of the components. Where the facetted appearance is Avalon’s brand’s trademarks it is caused by material characteristics, structural integrity of the speakers housing and to minimize reflecting of sounds waves at specific frequencies.
The humanoid appearance of Tess is partly in line with predecessors like the Sentinel, which by the way we were told will be available with upgraded components. The shape, size and location are all constructed out of need for time alignment, volume and minimal reflection. Unfortunately the first customers had chosen for a dark finish that for many of us that see Tess for the first time gives an intimidating and gloomy appearance. Tess was designed as a two tone speaker where the front facets could be any color or even a painted artwork. This will make the volume look more elegant and emphasize the appearance of one of the ladies at the court of Lorenzo de Medici, or to throw in a more contemporary example the singing nun.
For anyone who is serious about audio reproduction and willing to travel to Boulder, Neil and his staff would be happy to showcase this experience to those who contacts them.
 
Dec 26, 2011
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Doesn't sound like the Tess is properly time aligned
 

south

New Member
Nov 4, 2011
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Yes the picture was taken in one of the testing rooms of Avalon Acoustics in Boulder, CO. Neil, Dmitri and the rest of the staff where kind enough to let us experience the sound of the beasts named Tesseract. Several people involved in the global audio industry (Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc) where present to assess the quality of the reproduction. Consensus among the listeners on the Extreme transparency, all flabbergasted when they played a 1961 studio recording from a master tape of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. One of the people in the room made the comment that it was an experience of live music versus (dead) reproduced music. When playing Tosca, featuring Guiseppe Di Stefano, the audience discovered new depth in a voice they thought they knew. The presentation of Rossini’s Barber of Saville was amazing and left several people speechless before moving on to Pink Floyd’s the wall and other equivalents of the rock scene such as Deep Purple.
We also got some explanation on the background of the design of the Tesseract. Comments comparing the “Tess”, as the speaker is endearingly called in the house of Avalon, with the air intakes of the Lamborghini Aventador where made on location as well. In the case of the Tess the openings at the bottom are the exhausts of the folded and tapered Transmission line that directs the compressed energy of the woofers outward to the listener. The V-shape is not there to refer to Lamborghini but to refer to many other Avalon designs that have this shape at the bottom of the speaker.
Time alignment and exact constructed volume determine the dimension of each of the components. Where the facetted appearance is Avalon’s brand’s trademarks it is caused by material characteristics, structural integrity of the speakers housing and to minimize reflecting of sounds waves at specific frequencies.
The humanoid appearance of Tess is partly in line with predecessors like the Sentinel, which by the way we were told will be available with upgraded components. The shape, size and location are all constructed out of need for time alignment, volume and minimal reflection. Unfortunately the first customers had chosen for a dark finish that for many of us that see Tess for the first time gives an intimidating and gloomy appearance. Tess was designed as a two tone speaker where the front facets could be any color or even a painted artwork. This will make the volume look more elegant and emphasize the appearance of one of the ladies at the court of Lorenzo de Medici, or to throw in a more contemporary example the singing nun.
For anyone who is serious about audio reproduction and willing to travel to Boulder, Neil and his staff would be happy to showcase this experience to those who contacts them.
Nombre,

Thank you for this report. It is good to know that Tesseract is, at last, a commercial product, since Avalon was low key about the previous outings of the speaker (Hanoi and Taiwan, I believe).
In an Italian site there is a reference to the fact that the amplifier used in the presentations in Boulder during RMAF was a design made by SI, an Italian small company specialized in OTL designs, and conceived by F. Chiappetta, a tube guru. According to that site the amplifier is quite unusual, since it has an output of 250 W from a single 300B valve. Is this the amplifier that you heard?
Many thanks, I would love to hear the big Tess.
South
 

nombre

New Member
Apr 23, 2014
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Just heard that Avalon's sales force will be on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest floor to hook up with interested customers to hear Tesseract playing at their music room in Boulder.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,420
70
48
E. England
Would LOVE to hear these w/tubes.
Just getting fed up w/plain awful combinations of statement spkrs/megaWatt SS .
If tubes can really mate w/Tess, ooh...
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,956
40
48
North Shore of Boston
Just getting fed up w/plain awful combinations of statement spkrs/megaWatt SS .
I know what you mean. Have you listened to a properly set up pair of Magico M Projects driven by the Pass Labs XS150s? This combination has changed my opinion of what is possible in audio today.
 
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ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,205
20
38
Boston, MA
@Avalon: so why the choice for powered woofers? Don't you think potential buyers would want to use their own amps to bi- or tri-amp, and use high quality analog amps, and not necessarily digital? It seems like you want tube lovers to not have to worry about the bass, but it also feels limiting as a decision - and why not make it optional, in the end.
 
Oct 15, 2015
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@Avalon: so why the choice for powered woofers? Don't you think potential buyers would want to use their own amps to bi- or tri-amp, and use high quality analog amps, and not necessarily digital? It seems like you want tube lovers to not have to worry about the bass, but it also feels limiting as a decision - and why not make it optional, in the end.
All elements in Tesseract are task specific and integral to the design. The powered low frequency section is fully analog with active manipulation of phase, damping, and frequency domain characteristics; no DSP is involved. The amplifiers are a fully push-pull class A/B output stage with switching mode power supply, so they are not digital. Switching artifacts from the power supply are non-existent as the amplifier “sees” only the limited bandwidth of the sub section, not the entire bandwidth of the signal. Modulation distortion is unmeasurable in this application which was specifically tailored for the closed loop load of each pair of woofers being driven. Feedback and EMF characteristics are idiotypic to the drivers under the load presented by the isobaric chamber/transmission line. An external amplifier which was not designed for the demands of these loads would likely be destroyed. Regardless, current delivery and control of 4 large voice coils could not be optimized without fixing the amplifier variable in the equation. By designating amplifier characteristics for the task at hand, we were free to create custom magnetic structured woofers specifically for this application. Each part of the low frequency section would, in a practical sense, be useless unless combined with the other elements within the chain.

This approach allows the user to purchase an amplifier that perfectly fits the sonic "cast" that the user wants to impart on the system...so I would assert that it is actually not limiting at all, it offers much greater flexibility in amplifier choice.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,205
20
38
Boston, MA
All elements in Tesseract are task specific and integral to the design. The powered low frequency section is fully analog with active manipulation of phase, damping, and frequency domain characteristics; no DSP is involved. The amplifiers are a fully push-pull class A/B output stage with switching mode power supply, so they are not digital. Switching artifacts from the power supply are non-existent as the amplifier “sees” only the limited bandwidth of the sub section, not the entire bandwidth of the signal. Modulation distortion is unmeasurable in this application which was specifically tailored for the closed loop load of each pair of woofers being driven. Feedback and EMF characteristics are idiotypic to the drivers under the load presented by the isobaric chamber/transmission line. An external amplifier which was not designed for the demands of these loads would likely be destroyed. Regardless, current delivery and control of 4 large voice coils could not be optimized without fixing the amplifier variable in the equation. By designating amplifier characteristics for the task at hand, we were free to create custom magnetic structured woofers specifically for this application. Each part of the low frequency section would, in a practical sense, be useless unless combined with the other elements within the chain.

This approach allows the user to purchase an amplifier that perfectly fits the sonic "cast" that the user wants to impart on the system...so I would assert that it is actually not limiting at all, it offers much greater flexibility in amplifier choice.
Still, for a statement speaker like this, which you claimed will not be surpassed (or something along these lines), why not use a linear power supply? And what about acoustic feedback to the amplifier? Wouldn't it be best to house it externally - ditto for the crossover? Or are they already externally mounted, or otherwise isolated
 
Oct 15, 2015
20
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...why not use a linear power supply? And what about acoustic feedback to the amplifier? Wouldn't it be best to house it externally - ditto for the crossover? Or are they already externally mounted, or otherwise isolated
Thanks for the follow up questions on Tess. Design decisions like this were based on a huge number of factors…all very carefully weighed.

A massive linear power supply to drive a 3.2kW amplifier circuit in each speaker would actually be counter productive since those amplifier circuits are exclusively driving signals below 100 Hz. Putting a massive power transformer (with all the trade-offs that go with a big transformer) and huge filter caps which are highly prone to microphonics into this design would be a highly inefficient way to do it. It absolutely was an intentional and well thought out decision to use a switch mode supply to drive the completely custom Class A/B MOSFET amplifier design. The bottom line is that switch mode power supplies have some serious advantages in this application and the disadvantages that they do have just aren’t an issue in this application…at least not in the way this design was implemented.

The amplifier/power supply sections are housed/mounted (with vibration sensitive components damped) in the shielded chambers outside of the sub cabinet. Doing it this way prevents acoustic feedback issues that you would most certainly have if it were done inside that cabinet. Keeping the amplifier circuits close to but outside of the cabinet we could keep the DC resistance of the wiring to a minimum.

The crossover is in the upper (head) cabinet and a lot of attention went into how and exactly where that circuitry was mounted to avoid exactly the issues you mention. Putting the crossover outboard has trade-offs of it’s own and again it was determined that the best performance could be achieved with DC resistances kept to a minimum. Creative locating and mounting of course was critical to housing the crossover internally…as with any Avalon.

4 years of development went into to asking and answering every design question that could be conceived. The list of “What if’s” was practically endless.

For me it’s been really interesting to be a part of Tesseract listening sessions for people who have never heard it before. Prior to the listening there is generally a whole host of questions asked about the design. You name it, it’s been asked. However once the listening begins, the questions fade immediately. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone ask a single question about literally any aspect of the design once they hear it. The experience itself answers all the important questions. It did for me, and I had as many questions as anyone before I heard it ☺

Respectfully,
Steve
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
1,903
0
36
In his latest contribution on super loudspeakers Jeff Fritz of Soundstageultra website writes inter alia the following: "Avalon’s new top model is the Tesseract ($325,000/pair), designed by Neil Patel (shown). I was recently amused by a thread on the What’s Best Forum, in which an apparent Avalon representative stated, “it’s my belief that Tesseract is the most advanced and highest performing loudspeaker system that has been made . . . and I really don’t think it will be surpassed in the future.” This is, of course, preposterous. What’s more troubling is that the technical claims -- also listed in that thread -- read as if the company has created the perfect loudspeaker. If you believe their hype, they’ve solved all the problems. My problem with this is that I’ve seen nothing -- no technical measurements -- that back up any of Avalon’s claims."

It is not my intention to bash Avalon Acoustics in general or their Tesseract loudspeakers in particular but as my previous posts to this thread show, I totally agree with with Jeff on this. Enthusiasm is ok, but let's keep our feet on the ground.
 
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BlackPR

New Member
Mar 17, 2016
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I had gone to Avalon's factory in Boulder and listened to the Tesseract the week before Thanksgiving 2014. I took with me, my nephew (in his 20's), who had never heard anything probably even in the mid-fi range, much less something like the Tesseract being driven by a pair of Jeff Rowlands. I only wish I had been allowed to video his reaction and post it as one of those Youtube reaction videos. Maybe it was mean to start him at the top and send him down the path of finding something he can live with after hearing something he most decidedly cannot afford.

Much of the talk about hyperbole and overstatement? Pedantic. It's a bit like, say, creating a shaving instrument and declaring it, "The best a man can get." Lets stay grounded, Gillette!

How about this one... "B&W Nautilus | The perfect speaker" -- sound familiar? It should. It's what they call it.

Or maybe it's as sinful as claiming that I've baked "the tastiest cookies conceivable" (which happens frequently in my home -- you shall never know). If you take those things literally... the problem isn't the claims: it's you, your grinder and your axe.

But I DO make the tastiest cookies conceivable, man -- their equals shall never be made.
 

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