E&OE Copyright 2010-
Loudspeakers above £10,000
The Zero XD Passive, is a new more affordable route into the wonderful world of Avantgarde horn speakers. From the outside this model looks near identical to the Zero 1XD (the all singing all dancing near standalone wireless speakers which combine on board DACs and multi driver amplification), and that’s hardly surprising, for this is the ‘passive’ version, ready for connection to any hifi amplifier and system -
It’s a three way design, with a sensitivity of 104dB, the 400mm diameter mid range horn handling frequencies over 300Hz, crossing over to the horn loaded tweeter at 4kHz. The low frequencies are covered by a 12” bass driver, fed from an onboard 500W amplifier with DSP crossover/equalisation, which can be easily adjusted from the rear panel or via USB connection to a computer if desired.
Above Left: rear panel showing display and connections, Above Middle: with rear cover in place
These are, frankly, some of the most impressive and exciting speakers I’ve heard recently -
What this means is that they simply sound ‘right’ and have a very live and life-
Naturally being so sensitive they are ideally suited to a purist design amplifier (i.e. a low powered Single Ended DHT valve), and as smaller amps always sound better than big ones (all things being equal), and are therefore much cheaper, it means you can use them with a more affordable amplifier than you might imagine -
With this in mind, and their overall range of abilities and strengths, I can’t help feeling these really are something of a bargain.
More information is available in the pdf brochure (opens in new window)
Dimensions: H 104cm, W 49cm, D 32cm
Finishes: Satin Black or White
Avantgarde Zero XD Passive speaker: £10,000
The Avantgarde Uno XD is a truly special, wide range, dynamic speaker system. It’s a three way design with horn loading covering the mid range and treble and a powered bass system covering lower frequencies. The result is a speaker with the remarkable benefits of horn loading but in a reasonably compact box, yet still offering a massive efficiency of 107dB and very wide bandwidth.
The key with any speaker is how it handles the mid range, and this is where the Avantgarde speakers are exceptional. On the Uno XD a large 500mm diameter horn loads a special non compression drive unit which features a paper domed surface. No crossover is used at all, the horn itself (and the chamber in front of it) effectively filter unwanted frequencies without the need for passive or active electronics. Above 3kHz a compression tweeter on a short horn is used, the crossover benefiting from Avantgardes CPC technology, which uses the audio signal to pre bias the capacitors meaning that they do not suffer from any dielectric ‘crossover distortion’.
Above Left: With the mid range horn removed you can see the domed surface of the driver
Above Middle: Substantial power amplifier board
Above Right: With fabric grille and Tweeter horn removed
Bass horns have to be massive to reproduce even relatively high bass frequencies, so here two ten inch bass units with stiff suspension and a sealed box help produce taught and fast low frequencies that are adept at keeping up with the lightning responses of the horn loaded parts of the speaker in a much smaller space. To drive these two 500 watt amplifiers feed them per channel (so yes, there’s a kilowatt per channel), and the low pass crossover is done with DSP which makes the speakers incredibly advanced, a small display on the rear enables the basics to be adjusted but things get really interesting when a computer is connected (via USB or Ethernet). Naturally not everyone will want to do this themselves, we are of course only too happy to install and setup the speakers. What the DSP brings to the party is not only the ability to fine tune the blend between low and mid frequencies (by changing crossover rate and frequency) to your satisfaction but also the ability to correct any low frequency room resonance's.
Enough of the boring technicalities, it’s the results that matter, and what Avantgarde have achieved here is seriously impressive. Across all frequencies the sound has incredible immediacy, dynamics and scale -
Unlike some of the breed, this isn’t a speaker that excels with a limited number of genres, it sounds believable with any good material, having the dynamic contrast, bandwidth and low distortion opens up recordings of all sorts as well as facilitating listening levels at both extremes and everything in between with an effortlessly clean sound. Colouration is pleasing low and the transparency great -
As one speaker that does it all, in a reasonably sized enclosure, this must be high up anyone's list of speakers to hear. What Avantgarde have achieved here is quite simply spectacularly good, offering a level of realism that really needs to be heard to be believed.
Finishes: A wide range of finishes are available for the cabinets and the horns, more details coming soon, but for the time being please visit the Avantgarde website
Dimensions: Height 137cm, Width 53cm, Depth 59cm.
Avantgarde Acoustic Uno XD speakers: £21,500
Custom paint colour option for the horns: +£2,900.00
Tiger Rosewood or Zebrano real wood veneer: +£900.00
Custom real wood veneers: +£2,900.00
The CN191 is a substantial corner horn which has its roots in 1949 when it was first designed, yet it can still offer a musical performance that is practically unmatched for speed, scale and resolution.
These speakers are two way horns, using massively built Alnico mid range compression drivers coupled to wooden mid range horns. Frequencies below 500Hz are dealt with by a 15 inch driver in a corner bass horn enclosure that uses the rooms walls to extend the bass response. The sensitivity of the system is an immense 105dB meaning amplifiers with just a watt or twos output will suffice in most circumstances, which results in ultra low distortion, maximum energy retrieval and practically complete dynamic contrast.
As standard they are finished in Walnut veneer, other finishes are available but may be subject to a premium
AxHorn is a family run firm based in Wales, which has been developing speaker systems for both hi end domestic and sound reinforcement duties for many years. The AxJet has been in development for several years, and has evolved into a seriously sorted design.
In my experience finessing horn designs takes a great deal of skill and experimentation. Horns by their very nature will cover a relatively small portion of the frequency range, which is why 3 or 4 way horn speakers are most common. In most designs multiple drive units are used with electrical crossovers in place to direct the frequencies to the appropriate drivers. Designing the crossover takes a lot of time to get just right, but is a relatively easy job to do if you have the patience, ear and plenty of inductors, resistors and capacitors to experiment with.
I would suggest that what has been achieved with the AxHorn is actually far more difficult. This is effectively a 3 way fully horn loaded design, but there is only one full range drive unit in use (a very high efficiency AER paper drive unit with Alnico magnet). The low frequencies are supplied by the rear of the drive unit, loaded by the smoothly flowing folded horn whose mouth exits in the lower portion of the speaker. The midrange, from circa 200Hz and upwards comes from the silver spun aluminium horn, and in the centre is the AfterBurner, which is a machined clear polycarbonate high frequency horn that effectively floats in front of the driver, collecting energy off the edge of the voice coil and whizzer cone.
Above Left: After Burner view head on. Above Right: from an angle, showing how it sits within the mid horn
The complexity of this sort of design is astonishing, the work to ensure that these horns work as acoustical crossovers ensuring a seamless transition throughout the ranges is almost mind boggling, with each change basically requiring a physical redesign, until eventually the sweet spot is found.
The cabinets are made from fibreglass that is reinforced and damped at various points with foam and glass fibre reinforced concrete. Their curvaceous cabinets are finished in an aerospace Supergloss ceramic lacquer that can be painted in any RAL colour desired.
As you’d expect of a horn loaded design these are very efficient speakers, with excellent sound being comfortably produced from a 3.5watt 2A3 valve amplifier.
The AxJet is a speaker that gets under your skin, a degree of acclimatisation is required as at first they do sound very different from most conventional speakers, but what they do well very few speakers can get close to. For a start the imaging is very impressive, being effectively point source in nature over the majority of the frequency range that matters. The treble quality is the best I’ve heard from a full range driver, the character remains consistent as you go up through the registers and it does extend remarkably well -
The Afterburner clearly extends these high frequencies very usefully, it does also reduce the beaminess normally experienced from a full range driver, but still you do want to be seated within a reasonably tightly defined listening area as moving away from this does add some shifting of the tonal balance.
They are particularly striking with simple quality recordings, those that are heavily compressed are revealed for what they are, but as a tool for hearing what is going on in the mix, they are well up with the best. You can swear you can tell when reverb is natural or electronically created, in fact all sorts of engineering tricks are revealed, not in a hyper analytical way, but there’s simply so little masking inherent in this design that you can listen to any aspect you want to or take the whole recording for what it is.
Being a well sorted horn design it goes without saying that dynamics and speed are beyond comparison to almost anything else out there. Low frequencies are not hugely extended but within their range the punch is very impressive (the next generation of AxHorn, effectively the mk3, which is undergoing final development has apparently resolved this issue with the bass extending much deeper). They can also let their hair down, stupendous volume levels are of course just a twist of the volume control away, and there’s no sign of strain as the levels rise.
Dimensions: H 132cm, W 93cm, D 71cm
Weight: 60Kg each (120kg each in supplied flight cases)
The Trio XD is Avantgarde’s state of the art statement. speaker system. A multi way horn speaker with exceptional bandwidth, efficiency (109dB!) and an effortlessness that makes most other speakers sound strained and compressed in comparison. The speakers feature three horns which cover the majority of the audio range, the tweeter horn is 18cm diameter and crosses over at 4kHz to a 57cm diameter upper mid range horn which then crosses over to a massive 95cm diameter horn at 600Hz. This runs down to 100 Hz.
To support these horns there are two frames available, the standard one is a straight vertical arrangement that is very space efficient (as pictured above). An optional upgrade is the Classico frame, which positions the horns around a gloriously sweeping ark but at the expense of adding some extra width (130cm instead of 95cm). Sonically they are considered to offer the same results.
The horns are available in a wide range of colours, with custom colours available for a premium.
There are various options for dealing with the lower frequencies within the Trio range, the model you chose depending upon budget and spaceconstraints. The bass systems are available separately, so you could upgrade as and when required, please contact us for details.
The most compact bass option is the Sub231 XD pictured below, effectively the same bass system as found in the Duo XD -
Above: Trio XD in Ruby Brilliant Red with Sub231XD with Ruby Brilliant Red panels
Next up is the SHORT BASS HORN XD pictured below, which improves coupling of the air to the driver membrane and further improving the presence and dynamics available whilst simultaneously not being too much larger. Like any of these bass systems multiples can be used to get an even more effortless, dynamic and room filling sound. Dimensions are: Height 74cm, Width: 60cm, Depth 60cm, weight 90kg each. As standard the cabinets are finished in Ebony-
Above: Trio XD Classico in Sapphire Burma Blue with SHORT BASSHORN XD in Ebony Wenge veneer.
Then ultimately we have the BASS HORN XD pictured below, and these can be stacked in either x2, x4 or x6 (the only limitation being your ceiling height!). The more added the lower the horn loading frequency, making the bass even more effortless and dynamic. Each bass horn houses two 12” drivers which play through a 140cm/55” expo-
The dimensions are: Height 74cm, Width 102cm, Depth 107cm, weight 100kg. As standard the cabinets are finished in Ebony-
Above: Trio XD in Shiny Citrine Orange with BASS HORN XD in Cherry veneer (custom finishes).
Below Left: Alternative BASS HORN XD positioning (Trio in Light Topaz Blue with custom Cherry veneer bass cabinets)
Below Right: Alternative positioning of BASS HORN XD when using a single pair (Trio Classico in Light Amber Bronze with custom Cherry veneer bass cabinets)
Avantgarde Trio systems with subwoofers:
Avantgarde Trio & Sub231XD: £54,600.00 (options:£900 for Zebrano or Tiger Rosewood fronts on sub or £1,500 for custom veneer).
Avantgarde Trio & SHORT BASS HORN XD: £64,500.00 (option: customer specific veneer to sub cabinets +£3,850)
Avantgarde Trio & 2 x BASS HORN XD: £68,500.00 (option: customer specific veneer to sub cabinets +£3,850)
Avantgarde Trio & 4 x BASS HORN XD: £98,000.00 (option: customer specific veneer to sub cabinets +£7,700)
Avantgarde Trio & 6 x BASS HORN XD: £127,000.00 (option: customer specific veneer to sub cabinets +£11,550)
Classico curved frame horn supports: +£1,925.00/pr
Special customer chosen paint colours for the horns: £4,350.00