Avantgarde Loudspeakers: Solid-State or Tube Amps

Ron Resnick

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I am starting this thread to take the Avantgarde amplifier discussion off of the Magico M9 thread.

Jeff Tyo interestingly pointed out that Avantgarde itself likes to drive their speakers with solid-state amplifiers.

I personally find this totally baffling because, to my ears, I subjectively hear Avantgarde speakers across the board as being inclined to edginess and aggressiveness and brightness when driven by anything other than a smooth SET amplifier like a Viva Audio Aurora, let alone a solid-state amplifier.
 

User211

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I think they are fine with solid state. Slap a huge Vitus or their own amps on a pair of Trios and it is certainly world class. Whatever that means.
 
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Rhapsody

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Over a 15 year period I sold around 75 pairs of Avantgardes. 90% of them were used with tubes. I lived with Trios/4BH's from 2002-2010. Tried SS, including the AV SS electronics, many times, ALWAYS preferred tubes. I preferred the Lamm ML2s with AV's at the time. I loved it.
 

User211

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In all honesty whilst I have heard all Avantgarde loudspeakers, some models many times and usually at shows, they are virtually never featured with tubes IME.

I'm prepared to believe the result could be great. Plenty of great tube amps out there.
 

jeffrey_t

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I tried the following amps with my Unos:
-Pass Labs XA30.5
-First Watt J2
-First Watt F3
-Cyrus Brenneman Push Pull EL34 monos
-Einstein tube hybrid

my favorite amps were the Brenneman’s and the J2.
 
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wil

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I am starting this thread to take the Avantgarde amplifier discussion off of the Magico M9 thread.

Jeff Tyo interestingly pointed out that Avantgarde itself likes to drive their speakers with solid-state amplifiers.

I personally find this totally baffling because, to my ears, I subjectively hear Avantgarde speakers across the board as being inclined to edginess and aggressiveness and brightness when driven by anything other than a smooth SET amplifier like a Viva Audio Aurora, let alone a solid-state amplifier.
That’s definitely the conventional wisdom that I was advised with over and over when I had Duo Grossos and the Duo Mezzo’s over several years.

I tried so-called smooth SETS and ended up finding them too bloomy. It wasn’t until I tried an LTA
1 watt Microzotl that I was really happy with the sound on a wide range of recordings. And later, even better was a solid state Bakoon which I eventually settled on. I also demoed a Dartzeel which was excellent with the AG’s.

Sometimes it can be a mistake to listen to the experts.
 

jeffrey_t

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That’s definitely the conventional wisdom that I was advised with over and over when I had Duo Grossos and the Duo Mezzo’s over several years.

I tried so-called smooth SETS and ended up finding them too bloomy. It wasn’t until I tried an LTA
1 watt Microzotl that I was really happy with the sound on a wide range of recordings. And later, even better was a solid state Bakoon which I eventually settled on. I also demoed a Dartzeel which was excellent with the AG’s.

Sometimes it can be a mistake to listen to the experts.
How are you liking the Boenicke W13's. I heard a smaller versions of the Boenicke at an audio show and was extremely impressed.
 

Addicted to hifi

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I have heard avantrgarde at my friends house.the model was the duos and I cart remember the poweramp but it was solid state and very powerful as he had Maggie’s before the duos and they sounded fine to me.no hardness or brightness.
 

gajgmusic

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Interesting question. My business partner had Avant garde duos in various iterations for over 20 years, still does. We sold them for a long time, when we had our businesss. We heard them multiple times at shows. They almost always showed with solid state, particularly when they developed their own electronics. My partner loved tubes, Audiopax Model 88s (old ones and new ones). We also used various solid states, the best were 600 watt Karan Monoblocks. His wife, a much better listener than either of us, found the Karans to be be very nice. She preferred the solid state in many ways. I found both to be lovely. To be clear, no longer in the business so I have conflicts.
 
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Gregadd

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So I recall whe the 300b was experiemxing its' renaissance. Wher can we find a speaker to reveal the beauty of this low output beauty? Could it be we are putting the cart before the horse? The Avantgarde was such a great match DejaVu of Arlington,Virginia was, offering their house designed 300b free with purchase of Avant-garde Duo.
 

bonzo75

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Ron is right that the AGs are a bit bright when driven by their own SS amps, but AGs are generally on the brighter side. Plus, there are other SS amps they have used at shows on the trios like the Vitus which is not bright. I have also heard the trios with Airtight 300b integrated and Audionote 300b integrated. AN could not drive it while Airtight could. This was directly compared to the AG amps and while preferred, the difference is not that large like it would be on some other horns. Personally, I would like to try with a more power SET like Bob said with Lamm, or with a low watt push pull like EL 84, NAF 2a3.

I have heard duos with various sorts of low watt SETs but won't comment as they always sound poor to me
 

bonzo75

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It will be interesting to see at what point someone compares this to a Magico set up to link back the two threads
 

Chop

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I've had the Trios for about 20 years now and never had any desire to change them. As stated elsewhere they tend to brightness but like everything else in audio one tries to balance components to get an accurate sound, yes?
I've heard them with several different amps over that time and FWIW its tubes for me. I too would love to hear them with Lamm ML2's.
Having said that, I've heard them working quite well with a transistor based Grandinote Shinai amp, though it was less transparent than my PX25.
 

marslo

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I tried many SS and tube amps with my Duo Omega and Mezzo XD during over 10 years.
My personal ranking of best SS designs :

Vitus SIA 025
XA pre and power amp combo( XA integrated not up to this level)
ASR Emitter II


Best tube amps :
Amare Musica pre and monoblocs
Ayon Crossfire I, II and III
The Cube EL 84 monos

I did not like : Spec RSA, Arc Ref 150 power amp, Accuphase E 450, VTL ST series.
Good but too much gain: Einstein The Amp Ultimate, Ayon Crossfire Evo.

I had also the opportunity to audition with AG -but not in my system -Audiopax amps and Air Tight but still prefer Ayon Crossfire III.

My guess is that Audio Tekne or Lars SET could be a good match with AGs but there is no distribution in Poland, the same for SIT Pass and Lamm amplifiers.

The best presentation of Trios I have ever heard was in Munich 2014 with a tube pre and Vitus Masterpiece power amp.
This kind of amplification is the base of my second amp - Circle Labs A100 which combine a simple tube pre stage and SS amplification.

Still on my short list to audition : KR Audio and Line Magnetic amps.
 
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Sablon Audio

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I tried the following amps with my Unos:
-Pass Labs XA30.5
-First Watt J2
-First Watt F3
-Cyrus Brenneman Push Pull EL34 monos
-Einstein tube hybrid

my favorite amps were the Brenneman’s and the J2.

I would imagine that the SIT model could be quite successful given its triode-like characteristics.
 

Rhapsody

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It will be interesting to see at what point someone compares this to a Magico set up to link back the two threads
My experience with having various models of Magico, Diesis, Alsyvox, Bayz, Raidho and a few more in house is that I find that over the course of say 50 visitors that I encounter in a few months, no one ever thinks one speaker/system is better than the other.

Visitors find that they personally prefer one set up over the other not because one is better than the other, but it's the speakers and system that works for them the best. Also works for them with their room and living situation.

I personally really like them all, if set up properly, but they all have different presentations,. Wilsons, Avantgardes, Kharma, Wester Electric (Music), Living Voice, MBL, Bayz, Diesis, Alsyvox, Apogee, Tidal and all of the others ALL present the music in a different manner. I never feel like one is better than the other, they are just different presentations and even as my moods change over time I may prefer one speakers presentation over another or over all of the others. None of them are the same as taking the subway up to Lincoln Center.
 

Addicted to hifi

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My experience with having various models of Magico, Diesis, Alsyvox, Bayz, Raidho and a few more in house is that I find that over the course of say 50 visitors that I encounter in a few months, no one ever thinks one speaker/system is better than the other.

Visitors find that they personally prefer one set up over the other not because one is better than the other, but it's the speakers and system that works for them the best. Also works for them with their room and living situation.

I personally really like them all, if set up properly, but they all have different presentations,. Wilsons, Avantgardes, Kharma, Wester Electric (Music), Living Voice, MBL, Bayz, Diesis, Alsyvox, Apogee, Tidal and all of the others ALL present the music in a different manner. I never feel like one is better than the other, they are just different presentations and even as my moods change over time I may prefer one speakers presentation over another or over all of the others. None of them are the same as taking the subway up to Lincoln Center.
That’s why I think it’s a good idea to own more than 1 pair of speakers so you can have a change in sound when you feel like it.
 

bonzo75

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My experience with having various models of Magico, Diesis, Alsyvox, Bayz, Raidho and a few more in house is that I find that over the course of say 50 visitors that I encounter in a few months, no one ever thinks one speaker/system is better than the other.

Visitors find that they personally prefer one set up over the other not because one is better than the other, but it's the speakers and system that works for them the best. Also works for them with their room and living situation.

I personally really like them all, if set up properly, but they all have different presentations,. Wilsons, Avantgardes, Kharma, Wester Electric (Music), Living Voice, MBL, Bayz, Diesis, Alsyvox, Apogee, Tidal and all of the others ALL present the music in a different manner. I never feel like one is better than the other, they are just different presentations and even as my moods change over time I may prefer one speakers presentation over another or over all of the others. None of them are the same as taking the subway up to Lincoln Center.

Sorry Bob, I was just joking that despite separating this topic out from the M9 thread it will eventually link back, like all the WBF or any forum threads wander about and do
 

Rhapsody

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Sorry Bob, I was just joking that despite separating this topic out from the M9 thread it will eventually link back, like all the WBF or any forum threads wander about and do
I wasn't aiming at your post, just used it as an excuse to post my experience with how I perceive people thinking about different speakers....nothing more than that:)
 
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ICUToo

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The Audionet Humboldt is so good- so free of anything like solidstate glare and so quiet that I think it would be worth a try with the Avantgardes
 

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