Todd's AG Trio G3 System -- it's about time

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
1,149
1,262
290
If I look back at the progression of speakers that I have owned over the past 30 years they have become increasingly lifelike and dynamic in their portrayal of music. I have been looking for a presentation with a musical connection that my former speakers (Vivid Spirits and others) were not able to consistently deliver. So, I started on a journey to find what element(s) I was missing in the system and what components would be needed to deliver on my expectation. To make a long story shorter what was missing was timing and micro-dynamics.

I set out to find a speaker that would satisfy my lust for that emotional connection to music that was so hit or miss with previous systems. I had very few speakers on my list of candidates and interestingly the Avantgarde Trio G3 wasn’t originally on the list. I have never owned or seriously considered a horn speaker before because I had never heard a horn system setup in such a way that there weren’t compromises. But as fate would have it, about the time I was getting serious about a purchase the Tio G3 showed up on the scene. I listened at AXPONA 2022 and was not all that impressed with the sound. Sure the speaker looked cool but I was not convinced at that point. Knowing that one should never make strong judgements based on show conditions I contacted a few people to discuss what they thought was so great about the Trios. They said I really needed to hear them in a better location and that the Trio G3 is really a fantastic, world class speaker when setup properly. So, I contacted American Sound of Canada and arranged a visit to her place in August 2022. (I wrote about this visit in another thread.) The speakers sounded much better at her place but still not displaying the greatness I was expecting. What was obvious about the setup at American Sound is that the speakers were not optimized as they were not even on the spikes. But even with them not being very precisely setup they did not sound shouty or overly aggressive. I thought this was encouraging. Again after speaking with some industry experts I decided to take a leap of faith and purchase a pair of the Avantgarde Trio G3’s with the iTron amplifiers and a pair of Dual Spacehorns.

Other system elements are being put into place as well. I am looking for components with as little time smear as possible and are “quiet”. The component has not only the leading edge of the transient but also have lots of decay. With 109dB efficient speakers noise is a huge enemy of achieving realistic music. I spent a good amount of effort trying to understand the impact of the preamp and cables on timing. I purchased and L1/X1 to experiment with as well as playing with a few different cable lines. I will just say that not all preamps and cables are created equal when it comes to timing. I have ended up with an L10 for the preamp. I should get my new cables this week – Nordost Odin2. The digital also needs some work. (Sorry, no analog)

The speakers arrived in late January but there was an unfortunate shipping mishap and I didn’t get the full set of speakers in my room until mid-March. I have spent a good amount of time experimenting with placement and getting to know how the speaker responds to different adjustments. There is really no point in getting everything fully positioned until I get all of the front end settled, installed and broken in.

I am going to eventually post some videos I have done on install and setup of the Trios, but here are a few notes of interest. First, as Avantgarde points out in the manual you need to have your ear on the same equatorial plane as the tweeter. The tweeter sits at 43” off the floor and typical ear height is 36”-37”. In my system, the tweeter is right at 11’ from my ear so to achieve the proper ear to tweeter relationship requires a LOT of rake angle. I am currently at 3.16 degrees of forward rake. This can not be achieved with the provided spikes without putting the rear spike on some kind of thick foot. I had custom spikes make for the speaker that are from grade 5 Titanium and are M12X0.75. I had two spikes made that were extra long to accommodate the extra length needed to get the high rake angle. Problem solved. The second thing relates to what makes the Trio a truly viable speaker in my book. That is the fact that the tweeter distance can be adjusted to maintain driver time alignment as the toe-in is adjusted. I have found that the sound I get is very sensitive to the tweeter adjustment. It is pretty obvious when I have forgotten to adjust this after a small toe-in or azimuth change. The sound can get aggressive and shouty. But when I make a very small tweeter adjust everything gets right back in balance. The third major element is the spacehorn. These things weigh a ton so make sure you have plenty of help when it comes to moving them. I have positioned them on their side and on the outside of the main horns. These proved to not be that difficult to integrate to sound good. The bass is extremely fast and articulate -- no bloat, no overhang. After some adjustment of toe-in and rake they are coherent with the main horns. Of course it has built in DSP that can be used to adjust the crossover point and any EQ that someone might want. It is easy to use and adjustments can be made on the fly while listening.

The Sound so far has well exceeded my expectations and is delivering all the goods. Even with “cheap” cables and no tweaks it is crazy good. Dynamics are off the chart. Loads of low level detail and expressiveness in the music. There is none of this “cupped hands” or shoutyness or anything else I formerly associated with the “horn” sound. When I first moved them into the room I didn’t spend much time with positioning. Really just got them good enough to have a center image so I could begin the run-in process. They honestly sounded really good just like that and I could see how many might just love that sound and call it a day. It was a very “round” sound that you could just bask in its glow. It was still extremely expressive but it lacked in clarity, dynamics and of course the timing was pretty smeared. Once I got the left speaker dialed in with the current “cheap” cables etc, it is pretty much a WOW type experience. One example might be Paganini’s violin concerto No.2 from the album Paganini: Diabolus in Musica. There is no ear piercing going on with this violin. It is just articulate and extended with all of the expressiveness of a musician.

I know there are some out there that have a distaste for horns. I can understand your point as I would not say that I hated them in the past but it seemed there were some compromises I wasn’t really willing to trade this for that. I do honestly believe that a lot of this in any horn system is related to setup. But what Avantgarde has done with the Trio G3 is give me a zero trade off situation. I get all of the greatness of horns – high efficiency, dynamics, low level detail, musical expressiveness… – with none of the bad stuff I heard in the past – shouty, cupped, piercing, etc. The level of setup control is outstanding. Adjustable tweeter position to maintain time alignment, iTron current amp that allows control over spectral balance, adjustable gain to accommodate the preamp, DSP in the Spacehorn. If you have hated horns in the past you might want to give this new generation of Avantgarde’s a listen.

As the setup comes along I will post more and also post some videos of my comments during the setup process. I added the picture below because as the saying goes “It didn’t happen if there isn’t a picture”. As a note, I left the blue foam on while I was playing with the major positioning. The speakers aren’t in the front of the room any longer. I have pulled them back out to the middle.

Finally getting there.
 

Attachments

  • Avantgarde_Trio_G3.jpg
    Avantgarde_Trio_G3.jpg
    579.3 KB · Views: 559

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
14,587
5,388
1,278
E. England
Excellent work, Todd. If Roy Gregory's words on the iTron amping are reliable, you've snagged yourself something very special.
Seems a little strange to have the tweeter horn at 43" height. Too bad no simpler vertical adjustment for position.
 

hogen

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2018
136
100
148
Oslo, Norway
If I look back at the progression of speakers that I have owned over the past 30 years they have become increasingly lifelike and dynamic in their portrayal of music. I have been looking for a presentation with a musical connection that my former speakers (Vivid Spirits and others) were not able to consistently deliver. So, I started on a journey to find what element(s) I was missing in the system and what components would be needed to deliver on my expectation. To make a long story shorter what was missing was timing and micro-dynamics.

I set out to find a speaker that would satisfy my lust for that emotional connection to music that was so hit or miss with previous systems. I had very few speakers on my list of candidates and interestingly the Avantgarde Trio G3 wasn’t originally on the list. I have never owned or seriously considered a horn speaker before because I had never heard a horn system setup in such a way that there weren’t compromises. But as fate would have it, about the time I was getting serious about a purchase the Tio G3 showed up on the scene. I listened at AXPONA 2022 and was not all that impressed with the sound. Sure the speaker looked cool but I was not convinced at that point. Knowing that one should never make strong judgements based on show conditions I contacted a few people to discuss what they thought was so great about the Trios. They said I really needed to hear them in a better location and that the Trio G3 is really a fantastic, world class speaker when setup properly. So, I contacted American Sound of Canada and arranged a visit to her place in August 2022. (I wrote about this visit in another thread.) The speakers sounded much better at her place but still not displaying the greatness I was expecting. What was obvious about the setup at American Sound is that the speakers were not optimized as they were not even on the spikes. But even with them not being very precisely setup they did not sound shouty or overly aggressive. I thought this was encouraging. Again after speaking with some industry experts I decided to take a leap of faith and purchase a pair of the Avantgarde Trio G3’s with the iTron amplifiers and a pair of Dual Spacehorns.

Other system elements are being put into place as well. I am looking for components with as little time smear as possible and are “quiet”. The component has not only the leading edge of the transient but also have lots of decay. With 109dB efficient speakers noise is a huge enemy of achieving realistic music. I spent a good amount of effort trying to understand the impact of the preamp and cables on timing. I purchased and L1/X1 to experiment with as well as playing with a few different cable lines. I will just say that not all preamps and cables are created equal when it comes to timing. I have ended up with an L10 for the preamp. I should get my new cables this week – Nordost Odin2. The digital also needs some work. (Sorry, no analog)

The speakers arrived in late January but there was an unfortunate shipping mishap and I didn’t get the full set of speakers in my room until mid-March. I have spent a good amount of time experimenting with placement and getting to know how the speaker responds to different adjustments. There is really no point in getting everything fully positioned until I get all of the front end settled, installed and broken in.

I am going to eventually post some videos I have done on install and setup of the Trios, but here are a few notes of interest. First, as Avantgarde points out in the manual you need to have your ear on the same equatorial plane as the tweeter. The tweeter sits at 43” off the floor and typical ear height is 36”-37”. In my system, the tweeter is right at 11’ from my ear so to achieve the proper ear to tweeter relationship requires a LOT of rake angle. I am currently at 3.16 degrees of forward rake. This can not be achieved with the provided spikes without putting the rear spike on some kind of thick foot. I had custom spikes make for the speaker that are from grade 5 Titanium and are M12X0.75. I had two spikes made that were extra long to accommodate the extra length needed to get the high rake angle. Problem solved. The second thing relates to what makes the Trio a truly viable speaker in my book. That is the fact that the tweeter distance can be adjusted to maintain driver time alignment as the toe-in is adjusted. I have found that the sound I get is very sensitive to the tweeter adjustment. It is pretty obvious when I have forgotten to adjust this after a small toe-in or azimuth change. The sound can get aggressive and shouty. But when I make a very small tweeter adjust everything gets right back in balance. The third major element is the spacehorn. These things weigh a ton so make sure you have plenty of help when it comes to moving them. I have positioned them on their side and on the outside of the main horns. These proved to not be that difficult to integrate to sound good. The bass is extremely fast and articulate -- no bloat, no overhang. After some adjustment of toe-in and rake they are coherent with the main horns. Of course it has built in DSP that can be used to adjust the crossover point and any EQ that someone might want. It is easy to use and adjustments can be made on the fly while listening.

The Sound so far has well exceeded my expectations and is delivering all the goods. Even with “cheap” cables and no tweaks it is crazy good. Dynamics are off the chart. Loads of low level detail and expressiveness in the music. There is none of this “cupped hands” or shoutyness or anything else I formerly associated with the “horn” sound. When I first moved them into the room I didn’t spend much time with positioning. Really just got them good enough to have a center image so I could begin the run-in process. They honestly sounded really good just like that and I could see how many might just love that sound and call it a day. It was a very “round” sound that you could just bask in its glow. It was still extremely expressive but it lacked in clarity, dynamics and of course the timing was pretty smeared. Once I got the left speaker dialed in with the current “cheap” cables etc, it is pretty much a WOW type experience. One example might be Paganini’s violin concerto No.2 from the album Paganini: Diabolus in Musica. There is no ear piercing going on with this violin. It is just articulate and extended with all of the expressiveness of a musician.

I know there are some out there that have a distaste for horns. I can understand your point as I would not say that I hated them in the past but it seemed there were some compromises I wasn’t really willing to trade this for that. I do honestly believe that a lot of this in any horn system is related to setup. But what Avantgarde has done with the Trio G3 is give me a zero trade off situation. I get all of the greatness of horns – high efficiency, dynamics, low level detail, musical expressiveness… – with none of the bad stuff I heard in the past – shouty, cupped, piercing, etc. The level of setup control is outstanding. Adjustable tweeter position to maintain time alignment, iTron current amp that allows control over spectral balance, adjustable gain to accommodate the preamp, DSP in the Spacehorn. If you have hated horns in the past you might want to give this new generation of Avantgarde’s a listen.

As the setup comes along I will post more and also post some videos of my comments during the setup process. I added the picture below because as the saying goes “It didn’t happen if there isn’t a picture”. As a note, I left the blue foam on while I was playing with the major positioning. The speakers aren’t in the front of the room any longer. I have pulled them back out to the middle.

Finally getting there.
Heard these in München last year. In my opinion these speakers with iTRON amplification is the speaker system with the biggest potential I have ever heard. Would love to have then (but don't have the space for them).
 

Germanboxers

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2015
89
138
165
Beautiful room, Todd and thank you for the detailed write up. Looking forward to your followup comments as you move toward your final setup.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
22,315
13,322
2,710
London
If I look back at the progression of speakers that I have owned over the past 30 years they have become increasingly lifelike and dynamic in their portrayal of music. I have been looking for a presentation with a musical connection that my former speakers (Vivid Spirits and others) were not able to consistently deliver. So, I started on a journey to find what element(s) I was missing in the system and what components would be needed to deliver on my expectation. To make a long story shorter what was missing was timing and micro-dynamics.

I set out to find a speaker that would satisfy my lust for that emotional connection to music that was so hit or miss with previous systems. I had very few speakers on my list of candidates and interestingly the Avantgarde Trio G3 wasn’t originally on the list. I have never owned or seriously considered a horn speaker before because I had never heard a horn system setup in such a way that there weren’t compromises. But as fate would have it, about the time I was getting serious about a purchase the Tio G3 showed up on the scene. I listened at AXPONA 2022 and was not all that impressed with the sound. Sure the speaker looked cool but I was not convinced at that point. Knowing that one should never make strong judgements based on show conditions I contacted a few people to discuss what they thought was so great about the Trios. They said I really needed to hear them in a better location and that the Trio G3 is really a fantastic, world class speaker when setup properly. So, I contacted American Sound of Canada and arranged a visit to her place in August 2022. (I wrote about this visit in another thread.) The speakers sounded much better at her place but still not displaying the greatness I was expecting. What was obvious about the setup at American Sound is that the speakers were not optimized as they were not even on the spikes. But even with them not being very precisely setup they did not sound shouty or overly aggressive. I thought this was encouraging. Again after speaking with some industry experts I decided to take a leap of faith and purchase a pair of the Avantgarde Trio G3’s with the iTron amplifiers and a pair of Dual Spacehorns.

Other system elements are being put into place as well. I am looking for components with as little time smear as possible and are “quiet”. The component has not only the leading edge of the transient but also have lots of decay. With 109dB efficient speakers noise is a huge enemy of achieving realistic music. I spent a good amount of effort trying to understand the impact of the preamp and cables on timing. I purchased and L1/X1 to experiment with as well as playing with a few different cable lines. I will just say that not all preamps and cables are created equal when it comes to timing. I have ended up with an L10 for the preamp. I should get my new cables this week – Nordost Odin2. The digital also needs some work. (Sorry, no analog)

The speakers arrived in late January but there was an unfortunate shipping mishap and I didn’t get the full set of speakers in my room until mid-March. I have spent a good amount of time experimenting with placement and getting to know how the speaker responds to different adjustments. There is really no point in getting everything fully positioned until I get all of the front end settled, installed and broken in.

I am going to eventually post some videos I have done on install and setup of the Trios, but here are a few notes of interest. First, as Avantgarde points out in the manual you need to have your ear on the same equatorial plane as the tweeter. The tweeter sits at 43” off the floor and typical ear height is 36”-37”. In my system, the tweeter is right at 11’ from my ear so to achieve the proper ear to tweeter relationship requires a LOT of rake angle. I am currently at 3.16 degrees of forward rake. This can not be achieved with the provided spikes without putting the rear spike on some kind of thick foot. I had custom spikes make for the speaker that are from grade 5 Titanium and are M12X0.75. I had two spikes made that were extra long to accommodate the extra length needed to get the high rake angle. Problem solved. The second thing relates to what makes the Trio a truly viable speaker in my book. That is the fact that the tweeter distance can be adjusted to maintain driver time alignment as the toe-in is adjusted. I have found that the sound I get is very sensitive to the tweeter adjustment. It is pretty obvious when I have forgotten to adjust this after a small toe-in or azimuth change. The sound can get aggressive and shouty. But when I make a very small tweeter adjust everything gets right back in balance. The third major element is the spacehorn. These things weigh a ton so make sure you have plenty of help when it comes to moving them. I have positioned them on their side and on the outside of the main horns. These proved to not be that difficult to integrate to sound good. The bass is extremely fast and articulate -- no bloat, no overhang. After some adjustment of toe-in and rake they are coherent with the main horns. Of course it has built in DSP that can be used to adjust the crossover point and any EQ that someone might want. It is easy to use and adjustments can be made on the fly while listening.

The Sound so far has well exceeded my expectations and is delivering all the goods. Even with “cheap” cables and no tweaks it is crazy good. Dynamics are off the chart. Loads of low level detail and expressiveness in the music. There is none of this “cupped hands” or shoutyness or anything else I formerly associated with the “horn” sound. When I first moved them into the room I didn’t spend much time with positioning. Really just got them good enough to have a center image so I could begin the run-in process. They honestly sounded really good just like that and I could see how many might just love that sound and call it a day. It was a very “round” sound that you could just bask in its glow. It was still extremely expressive but it lacked in clarity, dynamics and of course the timing was pretty smeared. Once I got the left speaker dialed in with the current “cheap” cables etc, it is pretty much a WOW type experience. One example might be Paganini’s violin concerto No.2 from the album Paganini: Diabolus in Musica. There is no ear piercing going on with this violin. It is just articulate and extended with all of the expressiveness of a musician.

I know there are some out there that have a distaste for horns. I can understand your point as I would not say that I hated them in the past but it seemed there were some compromises I wasn’t really willing to trade this for that. I do honestly believe that a lot of this in any horn system is related to setup. But what Avantgarde has done with the Trio G3 is give me a zero trade off situation. I get all of the greatness of horns – high efficiency, dynamics, low level detail, musical expressiveness… – with none of the bad stuff I heard in the past – shouty, cupped, piercing, etc. The level of setup control is outstanding. Adjustable tweeter position to maintain time alignment, iTron current amp that allows control over spectral balance, adjustable gain to accommodate the preamp, DSP in the Spacehorn. If you have hated horns in the past you might want to give this new generation of Avantgarde’s a listen.

As the setup comes along I will post more and also post some videos of my comments during the setup process. I added the picture below because as the saying goes “It didn’t happen if there isn’t a picture”. As a note, I left the blue foam on while I was playing with the major positioning. The speakers aren’t in the front of the room any longer. I have pulled them back out to the middle.

Finally getting there.

Good to know you moved to horns too, no one in their right mind would ever recommend a speaker that was shouty, cupped, piercing, etc. You should stop reading reports from those who have very little exposure to horns and only to AG duos or unos and such, which are very poor brethren to the trios.
 

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
1,149
1,262
290
Thanks Germanboxers and Ked.

although my thoughts on horns come from my own experience. Mostly at shows.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
22,315
13,322
2,710
London
Thanks Germanboxers and Ked.

although my thoughts on horns come from my own experience. Mostly at shows.

Which two horns sounded similar, especially to trios?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jim Smith

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
14,352
2,476
1,398
Spectacular! Congrats. I have heard these with Emm Labs MTRX (their ultimate ref monos)...there were elements that were shocking...and yes, I agree, I said to the people on site that it did not seem optimally set up (who kindly agreed and said it was a tough thing to do in a store with regularly moving equipment). But what I heard did impress me with the ability to fill a big room (35' x 45' x 11' high). Not many speakers could fill that room the way the Trios and basshorns did. Enjoy!
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 24, 2015
15,872
13,049
2,665
Beverly Hills, CA
Thank you for starting this thread, Todd! The speakers and the room look amazing!

I am very, very happy for you that you are achieving such satisfying sound so quickly! Congratulations on a fantastic set-up!

It was great to meet you in person at AXPONA!
 

adyc

VIP/Donor
Jan 5, 2013
856
383
973
Congrats of this supersb speaker. But the preamp in the photo is CH L1 and not L10.
 

adyc

VIP/Donor
Jan 5, 2013
856
383
973
Good to know you moved to horns too, no one in their right mind would ever recommend a speaker that was shouty, cupped, piercing, etc. You should stop reading reports from those who have very little exposure to horns and only to AG duos or unos and such, which are very poor brethren to the trios.
Have you heard G3? Very interested to hear your opinion on G3.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
22,315
13,322
2,710
London
Have you heard G3? Very interested to hear your opinion on G3.

I heard the previous trios in two visits to the AG factory, which I liked, with their own amps, and with Airtight 300b (we also tried the audionote 300b but that did not drive them well). Ron joined me for one visit. I subsequently heard them later in a 6m x 5m room and they were enjoyable as well. The bass, immediacy and dynamics are excellent.
 
Last edited:

nirodha

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2010
669
290
975
which are very poor brethren to the trios.
even though there can be only ONE… (the Trio iTron) the new iTron Uno (which I heard) and Duo GT iTron (which I am going to hear very soon) are certainly no longer “poor brethren” of anything.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hogen

nirodha

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2010
669
290
975
I heard the previous trios in two visits to the AG factory, which I liked, with their own amps, and with Airtight 300b (we also tried the audionote 300b but that did not drive them well). Ron joined me for one visit. I subsequently heard them later in a 6m x 5m room and they were enjoyable as well. The bass, immediacy and dynamics are excellent.
The previous generation trios have little to do with the SQ of the new iTron versions. If you have the chance, check them out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mtemur

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
22,315
13,322
2,710
London
The previous generation trios have little to do with the SQ of the new iTron versions. If you have the chance, check them out.

I liked the previous generation, I am sure I will like the newer for similar aspects. I am not saying I did not like the older ones.

Btw I did not like duos for many generations, each generation someone told me you will like this one, check it out. Uptill the XD, it was equally bad.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
12,402
11,239
4,410
hi Todd, great write-up. very happy for you to have made this leap. pic looks great in your fine room.

i too heard the G3's with i-Tron at Axpona 22' and parts of it were amazing. you heard a glimpse of what it might be. not been a horn guy but it made you think about it. nice to see someone take the plunge. i'll be following along your progress.:)
 
Last edited:

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
22,315
13,322
2,710
London

nirodha

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2010
669
290
975
I liked the previous generation, I am sure I will like the newer for similar aspects. I am not saying I did not like the older ones.

Btw I did not like duos for many generations, each generation someone told me you will like this one, check it out. Uptill the XD, it was equally bad.
Only saying that if you liked the old Trios you will very probably go crazy when you hear the new iTron versions. About the older Unos, Duos… I never felt any inclination to hear them and I trust your ears. In fact, I never seriously considered any horn speakers at all until I heard the latest Avantgardes with iTron. They are game changers. If the Duo GT iTron does what I think it will do… I am foreseeing hard financial times ahead:oops: o_O
 
  • Like
Reactions: tsaett and mtemur

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing