Avantgarde Trio G3's at Angie's

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
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Since before their debut at AXPONA this year I have had an interest in the new Avantgarde speakers. The idea of current amplification directly coupled to the drivers really piqued my curiosity. Well, this past weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Toronto to hear the new Avantgarde Trio G3’s setup at Angie’s house. As if that wasn’t special in its own right, Angie had a party!

The weather was fabulous – mostly sunny and 76F (or 24C for those that use the correct system of measure). This was a welcome relief from the 100+ degree weather we have been experiencing. Angie had everything arranged. There were three systems set up. System 1 was the Avantgarde Trio G3’s being fed from the new DCS APEX stack and a VAC Statement preamp. System 2 was the Rockport Lyra’s being fed from the WADAX reference server/dac, the VAC statement preamp and the Boulder 2160. System 3 was the Estelon Forza being fed by Audio Research. The representatives from Avantgarde, Rockport, Estelon and Transparent were all there to answer questions or to chat about your favorite topic.

I was there to hear the Trio’s. Jerome from Avantgarde met me and my wife and we proceeded to dissect the trio’s. He was a super nice person and very patient. He was able to answer all of my technical questions about the way the speakers are constructed and details about setup. I will post some of that information here for anyone interested in the Trio G3s. The conclusion is that the trios are very well constructed with a lot of thought given to the details. They also offer amazing flexibility in setup. The major highlights for setup flexibility are 1. The tweeter distance is adjustable to ensure time alignment. 2. You can choose passive and use your own amp or go active with the current amplifier that is tuned specifically for each driver. 3. There is global gain adjustment so that the gain of the preamp can be matched to the speaker 4. There is low, mid, high gain adjustments so that the spectral balance of the speaker can be better matched to the room. 5. Spacehorns – single driver version, dual driver version and stackable. This allows the user to add bass drivers to suit the size of the room, damping and how much bass one wants. 6. The space horns have DSP capability. There are two options. The easy way where AG has an app to set two PEQ’s, Gain and a couple other items. This has limited flexibility but would probably cover 80-90% of the needs. Or the advance mode where one can access the full DSP function and program crossover slopes, Crossover type, up to 10 PEQ’s, gains, delays etc. 7. You can even add a module with steaming and dac so the only thing you need to do is plug the “speaker” into the wall and use your phone to play music if one is looking for a "lifestyle" system.

For aesthetics, they have given a lot of thought to making the speaker look “neat and tidy” while standing in the room. There are cable chases that conceal the cables for the speaker as well as subwoofers. This allows the user to hide most of the cable mess. The speakers come standard in a range of color finishes from high gloss to matte. They can do any color you want as a custom order. I did ask about the potential to recolor in the future. They can do this. You have to send the 6 horns back to the factory to have them repainted. As for packaging/shipping, the speakers come fully assembled. In the past the user had to “connect” the bigger horns but not so any longer. Tip the crate up and slide the speaker out. The horns will unscrew so they could be removed if needed to fit through a door.

The sound was much improved over what I heard at AXPONA. The vocals were clear with none of the “cupped hands” sound reported from AXPONA. There was no harshness, brashness, brightness or “shoutyness” to be heard. The speakers are very fast as was heard when I played Dave Matthews “Stream” from Live at Luther College. The bass was very full without boomyness. To me, when he added the second set of woofers in it was a bit much and I preferred the sound with the single set of dual woofers. Was the sound perfect? No. But they had just setup the speakers a couple days before. There was still quite a bit to be gained from careful setup. For example, they were resting on the stands and not the spikes. I think the new Trio G3’s have a lot to offer.

I also listened to the Rockport Lyras. But I did not spend nearly as much time with them. The sound of these were much different than the Trios. They sounded very refined. A lot of detail. Nice texture. I very much enjoyed their sound. My only nit to pick was that the music sounded like it existed in a bubble between the speakers. Again, playing with the setup would fix this. Hard to fault anyone as he didn’t have a lot of time to dial them in. As in the case of the G3’s it is much better to commit a sin of omission when in a hurry to get things running.

I didn’t get to listen to the Estelons directly. I only heard them as I was coming and going in the room. Of course they sounded very different than the other two systems. They had a very clear, open, spacious, punchy sound. They really filled the room with sound. I did hear these at AXPONA and they sounded similar there as well. They do grab your attention.

Choices, choices. I am sure most would listen to these three systems and find a favorite.

After all of the listening we retired outside to eat Lebanese food and snack on pizza made in an incredible pizza oven. Couple that with great wine and fun conversation and it was a wonderful day. I would encourage any serious audiophile to make the trip to Toronto and spend some time in Angie’s store. It has so much gear in it your head will spin.

I will post some pictures of the Trios with some detail that you won’t see in the brochure.
 

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
701
551
205
Pictures...
 

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caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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Hi Sbnx,
Excellent write up! Thanks for sharing this. Did you tease additional setup information in your post that you were going to share? If so, please do.

One of the most interesting things about this speaker, applying the analogy of the envelope of music, is that it has the most realistic Attack I have experienced from any gear. When I heard it at Axpona earlier this year, i was so impressed by the attack, I ignored pretty much everything else.
How were Sustain and Decay? How was the rest of the audiophile vocabulary?

Also, it seems they used a tube preamp. Does Avantgarde also sell a preamp module for their amps? Seems like they wanted some tubes in the path, with all the solid state gear…

did they mention noise if people were to use SET amps or other solid state amps instead of Avantgarde amps?

also, I found it interesting they chose to use dcs instead of the wadax dac. Any rationale for this? Less noise possibly? Or just their preference?

Thank you again!
 

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
701
551
205
Hello Caesar,

Certainly one of the strong advantages of this speaker (or probably all horn speakers) is the speed of attack and settling time since the drivers are barely moving. The fast settling time leaves that important space between note silence. This, in my opinion, is where that art of musical expression lies.

They did not offer any significant setup advice. He just showed me all of the details of how the DSP for the woofers work and we discussed different possible locations for the woofer modules. He said the best he ever heard the system was with the woofers to the outside and behind the mains. This is how I would set them up (if there is room to do so). I mentioned that he did not have the spikes engaged. To me, this is an indication that there are a ton of sonic benefits being left on the table. Without the spikes the speakers are sitting at whatever angle the floor is. Once the spikes are engaged then the rake and azimuth of each speaker can be optimized.

We only listened to the speakers in active mode. Later that evening a group of people went to the store to get some tube amps (I don't recall which ones) to hook up to the Trios. Unfortunately, I had to go and did not get a chance to listen to them. I am certain the speakers work and sound fantastic with a good tube amp. Avantgarde does sell a solid state preamp. It has been out for a while and was not designed for the Trios. I did not detect any noise issues with the equipment during the demo. The VAC statement seemed fine. I also don't know why Angie chose to connect the DCS stack to the Trios and the Wadax to the Rockports. Perhaps it was just a coin toss as to which system got which electronics.

As for the rest of the audiophile vocabulary...it was all good. The soundstage was big. The system had imaging and the images were not overblown. Tonally it sounded great. I listened to Joe Jackson's "Heart of Ice" at one point and the other people in the room were pretty blown away by it. Sorry I can't be more descriptive. I am not a writer. All of my college professors said I was very terse. Hard to argue that one.

I don't see how anyone could go wrong with this speaker system as long as you have enough room for it to breathe. Hope this helps clarify.
 

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