Avantgarde Loudspeakers: Solid-State or Tube Amps

wil

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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.
I've really come to appreciate the way the W13's present music. They don't have a strong personality -- just great tonality, timbre, balance. They create a large soundstage without losing focus. They are of course very different animals from large horns. Though they fill my large room with no problem, they can't reproduce the native scale of the AG's -- just a matter of physics. Every speaker has compromises, but my subjective experience with the Boenicke's is that I just love their un-forced and un-colored musicality through a range of genres and recordings.
 

marslo

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Hear Here

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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.
This is rather contrary to reality. If you go to Avantgarde's own website and look at the "Customer Galleries" section, you'll see that more Avantgarde Duos (I've not looked at Unos and Trios) seem to be driven by SS electronics. This is amongst the AG users who send photos of their kit to AG, but it's indicative that carefully selected SS can sound every bit as good as tube amplification. AG themselves of course only build SS amps, so perhaps your findings are more influenced by the range of amps you had on offer when selling AG speakers. Many AG dealers are more into tube than SS and understandably promote tube amplification. I used valves for my first 12+ year of AG ownership, but determined a couple of years ago to find an equally or better sounding SS amp to counter the obvious disadvantages of tubes - and I eventually succeeded. I could certainly do better still - from both SS and tubes. I'm sticking with SS with my Duos.
 
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christoph

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I think I would vastly prefer your solution :eek:
 

User211

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Breaking news - new Trio G3 with iTron amplification . No more problem with external amps, fully active speakers with built-in amplifiers.

Good spot, nice video.

That's an excellent colour choice on the Trios that I could certainly live with.
 
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Rhapsody

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This is rather contrary to reality. If you go to Avantgarde's own website and look at the "Customer Galleries" section, you'll see that more Avantgarde Duos (I've not looked at Unos and Trios) seem to be driven by SS electronics. This is amongst the AG users who send photos of their kit to AG, but it's indicative that carefully selected SS can sound every bit as good as tube amplification. AG themselves of course only build SS amps, so perhaps your findings are more influenced by the range of amps you had on offer when selling AG speakers. Many AG dealers are more into tube that SS and understandable promote tube amplification. I used valves for my first 12+ year of AG ownership, but determined a couple of years ago to look for an equally or better sounding SS amp to counter the obvious disadvantages of tubes - and I eventually succeeded. I could certainly do better still - from both SS and tubes. I'm sticking with SS with my Duos.
"This is rather contrary to reality."

I only live in my own reality. No concern for any other reality:)

We are all different. It's great that you found what works for you! Don't forget that when I was enjoying my Trios/BH's it was 20 years ago. SS has come a LONG way in the last 20 years. If I still owned Trios though I know I would still be driving them with tubes. Different strokes for different folks. Just so everyone is happy with their choices that they make.

Also 20 years ago, there were not many people that had Trios/BH's. It definitely was not as popular of a choice as it might be now.
 

Hear Here

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Breaking news - new Trio G3 with iTron amplification . No more problem with external amps, fully active speakers with built-in amplifiers.
Marslo

Thanks for posting Terry Ellis's discussions with Holger of Avantgarde.

By coincidence I wrote to Terry about tuning my Duo XDs whilst he was at the AG facility. I was unaware that AG was moving towards Active speakers with streamer facilities built in. Although not mentioned, AG also build in-room correction into their bass amps, so we can expect something on the lines of a very up-market Dutch & Dutch system with their Generation 3 speakers. I'm sure it's the way many top speaker builders will be going over the next decade.

Unfortunately (from my point of view) Terry is a Dirac specialist engineer and tuner. Although he took a look at AG's XD software, he still would prefer to use Dirac to improve my Duo's performance. I've lost enthusiasm in all room correction systems that are built into full-range amps, such as Dirac Live (in my NAD and others), RoomPerfect (in Lyngdorf) and MARS (in Micromega), as they all require the ENTIRE full-range signal to go through an extra stage of processing and consequently the sparkle in the top end (one of the reasons we buy Avantgarde systems) is slightly tempered as a result. For this reason, I'd much prefer to use XD to adjust the bass response of the Duos as this involves SOLELY the bass signal to be processed. I'm hoping to get some meaningful measurements of my speakers' performance in my own room in the next couple of weeks, so I can use XD to make the adjustments required without any loss of top-end sparkle. Peter
 

bonzo75

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Breaking news - new Trio G3 with iTron amplification . No more problem with external amps, fully active speakers with built-in amplifiers.

Bert from Holland also provides his horns with active in built amps with the optionality to add an external amp if the owner chooses
 

Hear Here

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That's an excellent colour choice on the Trios that I could certainly live with.
I think the colour of those Trios is Diamond Crystal Silver, the colour I chose for my Duos.
 
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K3RMIT

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Sep 4, 2020
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what We need to consider is horns were made in the era of tubes. Now this does not mean tubes must be used , but tubes have a limit especially if it’s the set most use. take the same speakers on SS and it’s power many times more then tubes and as they approach clipping the sound is very different.
so in the end too much gets sold on the sound of tubes compared to SS. i feel it’s more about the ss being able to deliver far more power this leads to possible horn compression effecting the sound
 

Cableman

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Dec 27, 2013
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I used to own a pair of Unos. I believe I was the first person in the UK to do so ( or certainly one of the first). Think it was1995/96 when I purchased. I’d met the guys behind Avangarde at a hifi show. Thought they were lovely guys and the speakers looked amazing.
I first paired them with Cary’s and the sound was very good. But I knew there was better to come.
Then Avantgarde did a deal in America with the guys who subsequently distributed Audiopax. A ‘sound’ marriage made in heaven, which ironically nearly destroyed Audiopax when the Distributor insisted they colour match their amps to the Avantgarde speakers. A terribly bad idea economically speaking, for Aydiopax.

Anyway. Bottom line. Avantgarde and Audiopax is the best combo IMHO. Only problem? You will not be able to set the Timbre Lock correctly. It’s near damned impossible. But hey. You might get lucky.
 
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christoph

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Anyway. Bottom line. Avantgarde and Audiopax is the best combo IMHO.
I wouldn't say that Audiopax is THE SINGLE BEST combo with Avantgarde there is but it sure as hell is lightyears better than their (Avantgarde's) own dreck SS-amps they produce :eek:

Their own amps are by far the worst combo for their Horns.
Confirmed a hundred of times :rolleyes:
 
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iaxel

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During my “Duo days” I have owned various amplifications:
- Yamamoto A08s - very open and raw, but not enough power to drive the Duos.
- Vac Avatar - did not work.
- Leben CS600 - sounded lovely and warm, but too vailed on top.
- Shindo pre with Firstwatt J2 - good combination, lived with it quite a while.
- Audio Note UK 300B monoblocks - very good combination, it was my favorite until I’ve decided to let go of my Duos.

BTW, back then, I’ve heard the Duo Omegas (18 ohms 107(?)dB) with the Yamamoto A08s and it was a magnificent combination! (btw, mine was a “regular” Duo - 8 ohms 104dB).
 

Cableman

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I wouldn't say that Audiopax is THE SINGLE BEST combo with Avantgarde there is but it sure as hell is lightyears better than their (Avantgarde's) own dreck SS-amps they produce :eek:

Their own amps are by far the worst combo for their Horns.
Confirmed a hundred of times :rolleyes:
And of course it’s fine to disagree. You’re right about their own amps being quite appallingly poor. But again IMHO the combination of Avantgarde and Audiopax is unsurpassable. The elephant in the room is setting the Timbre Lock device correctly. You can’t do it. Almost no one can. Again, unless you get very very lucky.
 

Hear Here

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And of course it’s fine to disagree. You’re right about their own amps being quite appallingly poor. But again IMHO the combination of Avantgarde and Audiopax is unsurpassable. The elephant in the room is setting the Timbre Lock device correctly. You can’t do it. Almost no one can. Again, unless you get very very lucky.
I've not spent much time listening to AG speakers with AG amps, but a few years ago I helped Art Audio at a Heathrow Audio Show by lending them my then 5 year old Unos to demo their amps. A few doors away was Avantgarde's own room and Holger kindly visited to help set up my speakers. Almost everyone who visited made a point of saying how much better our room sounded than AG's own where AG amps were being used. .

However I've now moved away from valves to SS after a long home auditioning period with a dozen different amps and I'm now pleased with the Purifi Eigentakt Class D sound that, for me, trumps the valve ones I've previously owned. These included:
Audio Note stereo 300B - not their best amp
Graaf GM-20 OTL - sounds good but physically noisy
Art Audio PX-25 SET - best sound for frmale vocal, small scale music
Art Audio Carissaa 845 SET - Great amp for its price
Consonance Cyber 845 SET monos - my last valve amp and surprisingly good
 

jeffrey_t

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I would imagine that the SIT model could be quite successful given its triode-like characteristics.
Yes absolutely. I forgot that I demoed a pair of SIT monos on the Avantgardes and they were fantastic. Unfortunately one of them broke and I had to send them back to Reno Hifi
 
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Cableman

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I've not spent much time listening to AG speakers with AG amps, but a few years ago I helped Art Audio at a Heathrow Audio Show by lending them my then 5 year old Unos to demo their amps. A few doors away was Avantgarde's own room and Holger kindly visited to help set up my speakers. Almost everyone who visited made a point of saying how much better our room sounded than AG's own where AG amps were being used. .

However I've now moved away from valves to SS after a long home auditioning period with a dozen different amps and I'm now pleased with the Purifi Eigentakt Class D sound that, for me, trumps the valve ones I've previously owned. These included:
Audio Note stereo 300B - not their best amp
Graaf GM-20 OTL - sounds good but physically noisy
Art Audio PX-25 SET - best sound for frmale vocal, small scale music
Art Audio Carissaa 845 SET - Great amp for its price
Consonance Cyber 845 SET monos - my last valve amp and surprisingly good
Art Audio make fine tube amplifiers but I don’t think they swim in the same exalted waters as the Audiopax Model 88 monos. Maybe an Japanese original Audionote Ongaku does. But not an Art Audio.
 

Hear Here

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Art Audio make fine tube amplifiers but I don’t think they swim in the same exalted waters as the Audiopax Model 88 monos. Maybe an Japanese original Audionote Ongaku does. But not an Art Audio.
Things go in phases and the Audiopax was "flavour of the month" for 3 or 4 years and was for a while a favourite choice with AG owners. Why has the gloss been lost? I don't know, but perhaps its price has risen too much, or service deteriorated, or rivals are now recognised as as good or better. Whatever the reason, their sales have dropped catastrophivcally and sadly most countries don't even have distributors.

Also, as Class D has improved so dramatically since Audiopax was popular, perhaps more of us are looking at alternatives to these environmentally unfriendly tube amps. Certainly I made a concious decision to move away, but only if I could equal or better the sound I enjoyed from tubes. Job done - I'm now listening to far more music and I don't need AC to keep my home confortable in summer.
 

Cableman

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Things go in phases and the Audiopax was "flavour of the month" for 3 or 4 years and was for a while a favourite choice with AG owners. Why has the gloss been lost? I don't know, but perhaps its price has risen too much, or service deteriorated, or rivals are now recognised as as good or better. Whatever the reason, their sales have dropped catastrophivcally and sadly most countries don't even have distributors.

Also, as Class D has improved so dramatically since Audiopax was popular, perhaps more of us are looking at alternatives to these environmentally unfriendly tube amps. Certainly I made a concious decision to move away, but only if I could equal or better the sound I enjoyed from tubes. Job done - I'm now listening to far more music and I don't need AC to keep my home confortable in summer.
The price when they started with the Model88 was ridiculously cheap $9800 for one of the greatest amps in history. Yes $9800!!! And with its unique timbre lock device unbeatable at 10 times the price IMHO

Why has it fallen out of favour? Simple. No one knows how to accurately set the timbre lock. Get that spot on and you have the bargain to end all hi fi bargains. Oh and it didn’t help the designer Mr de Lima dying a few years ago. RIP.

No amp at similar prices even now holds a candle to the Audiopax Model88. Get the Mk1 it’s better than the mark2. Or try the new Reference Model3s.
 

remdeck

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Breaking news - new Trio G3 with iTron amplification . No more problem with external amps, fully active speakers with built-in amplifiers.

This is some great news! Matthias Ruff told me at the club meeting at Avantgarde factory in November 2019 about these new versions they were working on. (I had to keep this to myself, as it was deeply secret )
I think tube (or very good ss) is the best way to drive AA, but very curious how the G3 will sound.

Matthias also told me, why they started building their own amps. They started distribution in Asia (Taiwan or South Korea, I can't remember) and were selling very very well. But they were contacted by customers that the speakers were not sounding very good.
Actually the dealers had close contracts to the distributors, so they combined AA with electronics from these distributors who were selling not this high quality products.
So the easiest way for Avantgarde Acoustic was to sell their own amps and because of reliability of SS being better and AA being a small company not able to do service overseas.
I did hear a lot of AA with their own amps and I liked them. I think they actually sound better with very good Tubes.

My Uno (2004) sounded great with Unison Research, MC Intosh MC7300 (never ever a hint of sharpness), but I travelled to very high spheres with the KR Audio VA 350 purity....
 

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