Acapella vs. Avantgarde

I currently run a Cary CD-306, Cary SLP-05 preamp, and Cary 805AE monoblocks with a pair of ProAc D38's (see system). The combination is sweet and involving, but the combo just does not boogie when asked to play a large orchestral piece, by Mahler/Wagner/Shostakovich. When the volume is turned up, dynamics are poor and the system starts to sound compressed. I suspect that the 50W Cary's simply does not have enough guts to drive the ProAc's, so I am considering replacing them with a more efficient speaker. Since most SET afficionadoes love horns, this led me to look into Avantgarde and Acapella.

I live in Melbourne, Australia. Avantgarde is available through a dealer here, but he does not have any in stock. The Acapella dealer is in Sydney (a plane flight away). I am looking to spend A$30,000 - which will buy a nice Avantgarde Duo, or a secondhand Acapella High Violon.

I have read plenty about the dynamics of the Avantgardes, but my concern is if they have horn coloration. Also, how do they image? Are they sensitive to room placement?

Would the Acapella High Violon's be a better buy, considering the pair I can potentially get my hands on have been heavily discounted? I have read that Acapella's suffer from disjointed sound because of the three different driver technologies (plasma tweeter, horn mids, conventional woofer). How much is this a problem? And are there any room placement issues? Given that the Acapella's have lower sensitivity (91 dB/W/m) would I be achieving a real upgrade by moving from the ProAc's?

I have heard the avantgardes a fair amount, a good friend has them. The acapella I have only heard a few times. I know the carry gear fairly well and it is lovely stuff.

From a practical viewpoint, the acapella are unlikely to be a huge improvement in terms of sensitivity. They are from the website 91 db into 8 ohms and recommended amps are 100 watts us. In contrast the duos (I believe the omega version) have a sensitivity of 107 db - 50 watts will deafen you if you wish.

As for coloration the only way for you to tell is to listen. If you are serious the dealer should be willing to get some in or at least listen to the unos. They will give you a very good idea of the speaker in terms of coloration.

Good luck

Can't speak to the Acapella but can give you insight into the Duo, which I bought a little more than a year ago, after more than 30 years of Quad electostat (57/Crosby 63) listening.

The horn 'honk' is virtually nonexistent if the upstream equipment is chosen carefully. For example, I was running a Steelhead straight in, without a linestage, and while the purity of the signal was undoubted, and the bass incredible, it sounded a little bright on certain passages, and sometimes shouty. After installing a Lamm linestage, the bass seemed to recede and the mids and highs got softer and more mellow. But, I don't think I am missing anything in the way of musical information by this change. And, the point here is that it is not a question of 'bad' equipment vs. 'good' equipment, but rather matching to the strengths of the various components.
Placement- I have a odd room, and am barely far enough away from the speakers at my seating area, but they are properly set up, according to some tricks from Jim Smith, the former US distributor and the image is uncanny. There is still a 'sweet spot' though, where everything comes together in correct perspective. (The Trick has to do with visually aligning the bolts on the stand from your listening position as a guide to toe-in- I can explain in greater detail if you like). The speakers, with the upstream equipment I am using, have a very dimensional sound stage, and image well, but that is not even the half of it- those are hi-fi virtues that are intended to compensate for the otherwise 'reproduced' quality of most systems. The thing I have been experiencing lately has to do with a non-mechanical continuousness in the flow of the music which simply does not sound reproduced in a mechanical sense. Much of this may have to do with the equipment upstream, including the Lamm amps. But, even as originally set up and before lot's of fiddling with associated equipment, the speakers have an 'alive' quality that transcends most hi-fi criteria - in this sense they bring you music. Not suggesting that the Acapellas cannot do the same, just limited to my experience with the Duos. The latter are very revealing, and unforgiving of any anomalies in the signal, or AC power, given their efficiency. You will have to work like the devil to lower your noise floor, but it will be well worth the trouble. Good luck.
While I'm no expert on the Avantgardes (and have never listened to any Acapellas), I can tell you that when I auditioned a pr. of Duos I crossed them off the list because I could always tell when the sound went from the midrange horn to the woofers; it was not subtle. However, to answer another of your questions, they had no horn coloration, at least to my ears.
I own a set of Acapella High Campaniles and can tell you that that I have never felt as if the sound was in any way disjointed. I have owned several speakers which did have problems melding different technologies but not Acapella.
OTOH they require power. I am not sure if 50 watts will do it. I would suggest an audition with your amps if possible.
Room placement is highly dependent on room size and acoustics but Acapella is not a difficult speaker to set up.
I'm a longtime Avantgarde Duo owner (now upgraded to 108dB Duo Omegas) and can assure you that 50WPC is a great deal more than enough (my 18 watt Lamms are more than sufficient, power-wise, and I used to run 8WPC amps without power issues). The speakers are very directive, which eases setup in that wall/floor/ceiling reflections which plague cone speakers are not an issue, and if set up properly the driver integration is fine (the symptoms Billspecofc alludes to above are the result of improper adjustable crossover and/or level settings on the active subs; no such problems here). I hear no "shouty" horn coloration. For proper driver integration, you shoud sit at least 12 feet away (the speakers would then be 10 feet apart, toed in as Whart alludes to above). You'll be rewarded with (to my ears) the most lifelike power delivery and expressive ease you've ever known. I'm not personally familiar with the Acapellas, though it sounds as if their significantly lower efficiency may rob them of some of the specific virtues of horns.
I agree with Docsavage. My experience with the Acapellas (High Violons) is that although they can be driven even by 20 - 30 watt SETs, they need a minimum of 80 - 100 watts to really come to life. If you don't feed them with enough current, they will sound dynamically anemic and the bass will be rather soft and weak. With the right amp, however, these are some of the most life-like sounding speakers I have ever heard. The three different drivers blend seamlessly, it's really amazing. The midrange and the top end is absolutely to die for.
The Duos in many respects are similar to the Acapellas (particularly the life-like midrange presence and microdynamics), but they can't match the Acapellas' plasma tweeter refinement and ability to retrieve the smallest nuances. They are difficult to set up and if things are not right, there will be quite a noticable discontinuity between the midrange and the bass. This can be mitigated (if not completely eliminated) with careful positioning and the right crossover and gain selection on the powered woofers. Using third party subs can bring significant improvements too (for example the TBI Magellan VIII subs are so fast that they can match the speed of the midrange horn).

Both speakers are great, but the Violons are overall a much better speaker.
As for your Cary 805C's, I'm afraid they would not be a particularly good choice for either speaker: not quite enough power for the Acapellas, and too soft in the bass for the Duos.
As regards the woofers, and integration on the Duos, I have had to fool around with this because, out of the box, I was not pleased. The horns, once broken in, sound very open and alive, but the woofer had two apparent shortcomings- (1)it simply sounded 'different' than the horns, without the same 'air' and tonality-- a matching problem, if you will and (2) while I could get some serious dbs going on dynamics, the bass just didn't have the same impact as a real live music situation in areas such as kickdrum. My reference here is a little rock, blues and folk club down the street from my house- as I've mentioned before, go into a place like this, even when the band is just getting ready and listen to the WHACK of the kickdrum. THen, try to tell yourself that your hi-fi is lifelike. The dynamics of this are incredible and may just not be reproduceable, at least on vinyl. (I spent my share of time hanging out in studios, too, and yes, those big efficient monitors can give you that kind of 'thwack' with power, but everything over them sounds 'amped up' and hyperbright- not real).
So, where am I at on this now- the blend/match is much better, partly due to amp change (Lamm 18 watt SET) and cables K-S Emotion, including the power cords on the Duo woofers. The bass has depth, air and tonality, and coheres more with the rest of the range. The dynamic THWACK- sounds very good, but still not real at lifelike levels, to my ears. But, so far, I'm not sure I've ever heard a hi-fi do that.
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Wow, that's why I love this forum ... thank you everyone for your detailed responses. So far most of you think that the Avantgardes would be a better choice given that I only have 50W of SET power to drive the speakers. Actually, I own a pair of 805AE's (not 805C's) which can deliver up to 70W when fitted with the 211 valves. It just so happens that I prefer the sound of the 845's, and in this configuration the amplifier makes 50W. Markxii, what amp do you think would be a good match for the Acapella Violons?

Tvad, you are the first to mention the "Avantgarde sound". I have spoken to a few other audiophiles who have heard the Avantgarde and they do say that it has a certain type of sound. I'm not the type who will insist on an absolute lack of coloration ... in fact I do not mind a bit of coloration provided it makes my type of music sound better. But my other sources also indicate that the type of coloration Avantgarde introduces is harsh and trebly, as you seem to indicate. As my room is already quite "live", I am concerned that this may contribute detrimentally to the music.

Docsavage, it will not be possible to audition the speakers with my amps. The dealer is in a different city, so if I want to audition the speakers i will have to fly there. Not that I mind, considering that the asking price is not small! But you can imagine the difficulty of lugging a pair of Cary monoblocks on a plane! If you think I am insane, the queue starts right there, behind my wife :)
I'm doing some diging regarding the Avantgarde horn and I came across this in the net....

'According to Avantgarde USA the horns are made with pure, already dyed ABS and are not painted. The same material is used for some toilet seats so any non abrasive toilet cleaner should be OK. Do not use it on drivers. And better check with Avantgarde.'

No wonder the horn looks familiar:) !!!!
No Amfibius, You are certainly not more insane than any of the rest of us in this hobby. In fact I think you are on the right road with your speaker choices.
Markxiii said it all. The plasma drive on the Acepella's is incredible.
Amps I have used with my speakers include EAR 519, Atma-sphere MA1 Mk2.3 with resister and power supply upgrade and Einstein Mk 60's. I have tried several others but they are not worth mentioning. I love OTL amps and they sound great with Acapella's. I believe the factory uses the Einstein OTL's for voicing their speakers. Good luck.
Amfibius, since your 805AE's are capable of putting out 70 wpc they may actually be OK. Are these Violons the "High" version with a single woofer or the more expensive "High Suboktav" version with two woofers?? The single woofer version is easier to drive, the "Suboctave" model has considerably better bass, but it needs more current to make these woofers moving.

Docsavage, do you mind sharing your thoughts on the Atmas vs. Einstein amps on your Campanilles?
Whatever speaker your considering against Duo's would have to be better than anything I have heard.
When I was at CES last month, I got to hear both the Avantgarde's as well as the High version of the Violons. The Avantgardes sounded good, but was not really my cup of tea. (I have never much liked the horns, either their sound or their looks). Until I heard and saw the Violons. They were impressive. (Too rich for my blood, but if it were my choice, I certainly would consider the high model of the Violons!

My two cents worth.

I wouldn't call the Avantgarde's "harsh and trebly". The AVG "sound" if you will, is revealing and VERY dynamic. I think whart does a good job describing things... If I can I'll add a little more to help you clear things up.

I came from big Martin Logans (Prodigy's) which were really nice. They threw a huge soundstage and were very fast and revealing..... But, laid back and polite.

Now, with the AVG's things are still VERY fast and VERY revealing. The main diffences are that these speaker are not laid back; I don't mean they are aggressive (although they can be w/the wrong front end or recording). They "jump". They are very dynamic; that drum thwack is gonna thwack man! It took me a little getting used to this "sound" after my nice sweet, polite 'stats...... Now there is no going back. Who know's where the journey will end, but I have to say, this horn thing is really cool.

More....... Take it as gospel that you will hear everything; cell phones, tube changes, the master-mix in the next room if it's on your same circuit, but like other have said; you can get it all sorted out with a little effort.

I'm not so sure about your room; it looks like you have your ProAcs pretty close to the front wall. You're going to need some space behind the AVG's (think 3-4 feet min.).

I'm not so sure about your amps with the AVG's either.... Transformer noise is an issue and you need quiet amps.

Hope all of this helps.

Markxii, the Violons I have the opportunity to purchase are the "high" versions. Strange, I thought that the next version up came with an active subwoofer. Maybe i'm wrong! (that wouldn't be a first!)

Whart - by the way, nice Lamborghini :) I'm a bit of a Porsche man myself though! Given that you had Quads before, I was wondering what you thought of the imaging/transparency compared to them? I have heard Quads and so far these are the speakers which have impressed me the most in terms of mids and trebles. The only downside of the Quads is that they did very badly with orchestra when asked to play at higher volumes.

Cmo, I have actually rearranged the room since I took a picture for A'gon. The system now fires down the length of the room, and it's a pretty big room - 8' high, 18' wide and 30' long. I can afford to pull the speakers 3-4' out of the wall (and in fact I have).

Kurt_tank, could you please explain what you didn't like about the Avantgardes?

Thanks for your input, docsavage. So far, people seem to think that the Acapella's have a markedly better midrange/highs, but the Avantgardes are more efficient and more dynamic. Seems like a good summary to me.
Amfibius: A comparison with the Quads yields what I like best about the Avantgardes (and probably to a good extent, horn speakers in general). The coherence of the Quads is hard to beat- to my ears the 57 is better than the later Quads. (I have not heard the latest crop, but my 'late' pair is a Crosby-mod 63, which improved the bass, and overall dynamics, yet is still not as natural in its see-through quality as the 57).
This exacting perspective becomes critical because the speakers cannot reproduce dynamics on any big scale- they sound congested on orchestral and rock- everything is in miniature on large scale works. (The speakers shine on simple, small scale performances, jazz combos, female vocal with less than a full orchestra behind it.)
The Avantgardes simply do not suffer these limitations. They are very dynamic, and bring an 'alive' quality to the proceedings which makes criteria like 'imaging' much less important. (Yes, they throw a very convincing 3d image across a wider spectrum of the musical bandwidth but at this point, you are not listening for 'imaging'- instead, you are hearing the instruments or voice, standing free of constraint). Are they 'transparent'?Yes, in ways that a lover of a good electrostat would be more than happy with.
Cars- have had a couple P-cars, 996 GT2 Clubsport and currently have a 993 C4 Cabrio. Judging by your name, the Amphicar must be on your short list. :)
Suggest strongly that you listen to each of these speakers before buying either. They have very different strengths and weaknesses. My personal prejudice would be to get the Acapella Violin Highs. A friend just replaced an older pair with the latest and the new ones are audibly better, particularly in the bass and a bit more efficient. I think that you will eventually want to change the amps if you go the Acapella route, but again that will depend on your listening preferences, the size of your room and how loudly you play the system. The Acapella High Violins are a speaker that you could live with indefinitely. By the way, the Einstein hybrid amps do a very nice job of driving them and the 60 watt OTL's are even better. Again, listen to both if at all possible.
I had the Avantgarde Duos and Trios, I now have LaCampanellas. I know you have an opportunity to get a used pair of Violons with their excellent plasma tweeter.

I must say that I could not get either the Duos or Trios to sound good in my room and think the bass is screwed up on both. I have a friend who has replaced the double woofers on the Trios with another woofer. It sounds quite good now.

I love the plasma tweeter but always find that it far outshines the rest of the Acapella speakers, regardless of price. I bought the LaCampanellas because they do not use the plasma tweeter but have a honk that extends down to 750 Hz and multiple small woofers below that. The sound is very well integrated. I have heard the new Violons and think the integration is better than in the older version.
Amfibius, Acapella never made a version with a powered woofer. There are three versions of the Violon: 1) Standard Violon, 2) Violon High, which has extra cabinet bracing, silver wire and premium crossover parts (I believe this version is no longer being made), 3) Violon High Suboktav (Suboctave) which has all the upgrades as in the High version and in addition comes with an extra internal woofer (it is not powered). The Suboctave version is the best of the three with deeper bass and more dynamic presentation.
My friend went from an earlier set of the Highs to the Suboctaves and they are quite an improvement over the earlier highs.
One other question, which is a cost/benefit one (how dare I?).
THe Duos, used are 7k dollars or so. A decent amp to drive them less than that. What is the ballpark cost-used- of the recommended Acapella set-up with appropriate amplification?
Whart, you cannot meet that price with any of the Acapellas discussed, which is not to suggest that they are overpriced. When I bought my Duos, they cost less than $20k and that was several versions and many years ago. Acapellas are relatively recent to the US.
I know it is unfair to bring price into the equation when we are striving for the uncompromised sound. Just wanted to interject a little 'levitation' into the proceedings, to paraphrase one of my favorite actors.
I'm another happy long time Duo owner. Set up is crucial. My dealer in the UK came to my home to set mine up - will your Melbourne dealer do the same? Set up correctly they are fantastic, with a few caveats about the bass as mentioned. My only concern would be about your Cary's. The Duos are so efficient that they will show up noisy circuits in amplifiers. With the AGs, you don't need many watts, and you need even less noise.

Good luck

I only have experience with Trios. I used a Cary 805c. It was very effortless sounding on the Trios but on 92 db or lower speakers it was a little slow. I now use a Viva Aurioa monos (845 also). In comparison the Viva is a little leaner sounding, much better bass, more extended highs and cleaner sounding thoughout. The Cary thickness I like when listening to acoustic guitar though. I have had my Trios for more than three years. I felt when I got them they tended to sound at the time maybe bright, edgy and aggressive. I have heard others many times comment on this. Ananrgarde speakers are very dynamic and reveiling. Any imperfection in what goes to them seems to be more audible than other speakers. In average electronics comparing Avantgardes to dynamic speakers. The Dynamic speakers will probably be easier to listen to. Any harshness comes out more in the Avantgardes. Over the time I have had mine I have gradually changed equipment and tweeked it. My system is such a beautiful, natural sounding thing that would be hard to critised in anyway. Avantgarde speakers are very clean sounding speakers so when everything is right you can listen at decent levels as long as you want with no fatigue. Anyone who has negative comments on Trios have never heard them set up correctly with the right gear. I think with the duos it would be better to separate the subs. The best spot for the horns is not necessarily the best spot for subs. Doing this eliminates the discontinuosness people sometimes complain about with Avantgarde horn/subs. This also isolates the low frquencies from affecting the horns. My Viva is only half the power of your Cary and can play at concert levels if needed. Don't try this though it will damage your hearing. The Cary was a little noisy with my Trios. They are higher sensitivity though. It won't be as noisy with Duos. I think you might be happier with a ART PX-25, 300b or Audiopax. Many other possibilities too. If you purchase Avantgardes expect to put some work into your system, but when you do you will be satisfied you made the right choise. One more thing. My wife that I have ben with for seventeen years has never been interested in sitting down with me to listen for very long. She is a music lover and musician. For the past six months she has been, sometimes to three or four in the morning and I have to send here to bed. To me this means more than anything else. It's easy to get an audiophile to sit for hours and listen to almost anything within reason. But your non-interesed wife.
Sdrsdrsdr, I don't know how you can make the comment, "Anyone who has negative comments on Trios have never heard them set up correctly with the right gear." You may be more easily satisfied.

I managed to deal with the bass pretty well, but the standard four box woofers are really not very good, as my friend in Minn. has demonstrated to me. My major problem with the Trios, is their discontinuity. Instruments with a broad range moved at the frequency was cover by one driver and then another.

Also, the horns themselves vibrate which resulted in some smear in the sound.

If you have a room larger than my 18x28x12 foot room, perhaps you could get a more integrated sound.
TBG- noticed you are selling your Campagnilles. What's next for you? And, in fairness to Sdrs, the speakers do require critical set-up and associated equipment. Your point, that even with all that, they have shortcomings, does not suprise me, nor should it. None of these things are without limitations of some sort, some of which can be rectified. For example, what's up with the horn woofers that AvG makes? Never heard 'em, not that I have room for those, but AvG does make a better alternative to the monkey coffins. I have also heard a few people talk about the need for more rigid stands, decoupled from the woofers. Again, that kind of tweaking may be worth the trouble.
Avantgarde lovers and critics- I love the Duos and what it has demanded from the rest of my system, in terms of lowering the noise threshold, working on my AC, playing with grounding, experimenting with cables, and finding a synergistic, musical front end, preamp and amplifier components. I do think that the speaker has some shortcomings, but the level of musical enjoyment I am now getting is extraordinary.
Whart, one of my customers had Duos and tweaked them by having much more rigid frames built for them. He reported they made a substantial improvement, to a point. I think the comments about the woofers not integrating are accurate, which is I think where he gave up and moved to dynamic speakers.
I should be carefull how I say things here. The comment I was disageeing with the most is when people say that avantgardes sound edgy and harsh. This is totally untrue in my system. My system is so smooth and natural that I can listen at high levels for many hours with no fatigue. I have not found this in many other systems costing even more. I have been in this hobby for many years and this is just my opinion and taste. This system, the way I have it now, is the first time ever that I have been content with the sound. I have always had some fatigue, even with vinyl, and I find that I am more sensitive than others to this. When I first got the Trios I was not happy though, it took alot of work to get them to this point. I haven't heard Acapella speakers before. I bet they are very nice. I am very sold on SET amps and would not use anything else. With a large push-pull amp maybe they are the way to go. I agree that Avantgarde speakers don't have the best bass, but I think it is still very good and what you gain is worth it for my preferences. The amplifiers I have tried other than my Viva Auroras are Wavac 300b, Cary 805c, Vt-52 custom and Yamamoto A-08s. With these amps I found the subs to sound slow and disconnected. With the Vivas I find the bass to be very good and fast enough to keep up to the horns. Also placement is very important. Like I said before, the subs don't always work as good in the same position as the horns. Also, I use good speaker cable direct from the amps, not jumped from the horns, Also good power cords help too. I have some Aurios Pros on there way to put under the subs that I think might help tighten the bass up even more. What amps are people using that they find the bass not fast enough for the horns.
2 comments on the "shortcomings" sometimes attributed to the Avantgardes - 1) the current Omega versions are significantly smoother, less glary, yet simultaneously have more air, detail and power delivery in the lower mids/upper bass (having one's cake and eating it, too), and 2) with proper amps, cabling & setup the bass can be made to integrate quite well, ceratinly to a point where it's not annoyingly discontinuous - my Duos were absolutely transformed by switching to the Lamm ML2s on Grand Prix Monaco stands, and by installing the Omega upgrade.

One may feel that the bass remains the weak point compared to the many profound things the speakers do amazingly well, but on balance they're hard to beat at the $28K price point. I'm permanently out of the speaker market...that is, unless I have the room/$$ to add Basshorns at some future date.
I've watched this thread for a while. Wasn't gonna get involved, but here I am...

I don't see the Acapellas and Avantgardes as a logical either/or choice. Not really different from, say Watt/Puppies vs. Avantgardes.

The lower end Acapellas are nice, a bit compressed, but nice overall.

However, the Acapellas at this price point offer no advantages of a horn design, whatsoever. The energy and life of the music is sadly compromised in all but the largest models.

So I'm unclear as to why the two would be selected for comparison, other than they both have a mid-horn from a visual standpoint. I've never heard one valid explanation for why they use the horn in a low efficency design. But it does look cool. And I do love their tweeter!

In over six years as the US Avantgarde distributor, I've had countless listeners, including well known reviewers, dealers, music directors, advanced audiophiles, etc. come to listen. NOT ONE could ever detect where the SUB 225 left off and the DUO mid horn began. That's ZERO.

So when people say they've heard the bass not work with the horn, I'm certain they're correct. Doesn't mean it can't. Just means they haven't heard it yet.

I no longer have Avantgardes here, and I have no horse in this race. But I do have substantially more experience than any poster here, and distributor or not, the Avantgardes can be awesome.

Best regards,

Jim Smith
Since this thread has attracted a lot of knowledgeable Avantegarde owners, I wanted to see if any of you have experience with a couple of mods available.
Ozhan Atalay designed these to decouple his tweeter and mid from the frame. Anyone tried them yet or something similar.

Audio Consulting's Wiring and Crossover mods
silver wiring, silver crossover coils, and paper and oil caps for the tweeter, plus the option of moving the corsover outside of the speaker. Any experience?
I'm not against mods. I personally know of some that actually improve the speakers.

But what has bothered me in the past is actually getting to hear some of these mods, on the (mod) designers' personal systems.

Unfortunately the basic set-up was ghastly, reflecting no basic voicing and set-up knowledge whatsoever. I guess they thought the mods would (or did) do something. And probably they did.

But mods from folks who have bad sound in their own systems?


Best regards,

Jim Smith
Question for Jim Smith , DUO (Omega) midhorn with no crossover, plasma tweeter from Acapella, and 2 JL Audio f113, how does it sound to you ? Thanks,
I have no idea how that would sound. Probably pretty poor.

Most woofers aren't linear to an octave or more above 500 Hz, which is required for the DUO system to blend properly.

A subwoofer of any kind would be a disaster, unless it was used to crossover to the DUO SUB 225 woofer.

The plasma tweeter would be interesting, IF it could be mounted and time aligned without diffractions off the mid horn. And IF it has sufficient sensitivity to mate with the DUO Omega 107 dB sensitivity.

Best regards,

Jim Smith
Thanks , sub was intended as you said to sharpen up the SUB231-G.
The highest setting is 220 Hz on them, not 500, but they are
well integrated with the midrange driver.
The Acapella tweeter , despite having its own xover and volume control is a bit difficult to integrate, but to my ears sounds sweeter than the "normal" ones, some claim however that ozone ( which is constantly generated) + the strong electromagnetic field can be potentially harmful.
Don't believe sensitivity is such an issue, due to self amplification ( and own volume control).
I'm using above concoction in one of my systems, the main one is still having 5 Permandur ALE drivers, including a quad P160 for the 50' long straight bass horns.
Now we can talk crossover quality to integrate them and time alignment ( like in Haas) of the bass , sadly there is no Jim Smith in Europe :-)
I know there is always a degree of subjectivity, but I like the Avantgarde Solo as well, as well as the DUO for its musical midrange, more than the TRIO that I also have ( with metal membrane), maybe the latter was not optimally set-up, who knows.
Enjoy the music and the weekend,
Sychdeli, can the Acapella tweeter be run directly from a preamplifier?? It has a built in amp, however the input impedance is specified as only 600 ohms. Seems low, but then why would it have an RCA input rather than a pair of speaker binding posts?

As far as the ozone issue goes, a friend of mine rented an ozone detector to see how much gas is being produced and surprisingly he couldn't detect anything about baseline, even after the speakers were running for 6 hours straight in a closed room.
A bit off topic question here: the Acapella system is a "mixed" system, consisting of three totally different concepts (dynamic for bass, horn for midrange and... the incomparable plasma tweeter). This should give lots of problems regarding coherency of sound. What is your opinion? If I'm going to spent that kind of money, I would like to have a speaker that behaves like a "one piece" speaker sonically, not one that sounds like a gathering of different units (no matter how expensive they are), a sort of Lego construction.

Thanks , sub was intended as you said to sharpen up the SUB231-G.
The highest setting is 220 Hz on them, not 500, but they are
well integrated with the midrange driver

It's not about the available settings.

It's about the ability of the driver, if left to run full range, to do so linearily quite a bit higher than its intended crossover point.

Which is why I always disliked the "subwoofer" label on the SUB 225s, 231s, and even Basshorns.

All of them have to work quite a bit higher than a typical high quality subwoofer.

Best regards,

Jim Smith

I know this is a bit of a general question that has a lot of variables that need to be considered...... But, do you have a baseline/starting place for crossover frequency on the AVG/Sub 225's? I think the manual suggests 220Hz or something crazy (and I think this is where the integration issues come from), but I am getting VERY good results with a setting closer 140Hz.


The indicated frequency on the SUB 225, 231, or Basshorn is not correct, IMO. Or at least, using the recommended setting reults in a less-than-satisfactory outcome.

For DUOs, I start at an indicated 140 (specs indicate 170).

For UNOs, I start at 190 (specs indicate 220).

I think the speaker simply rolls off higher/slower than the Sub amp indicates.

And because the slope is 2nd order, 12 dB/octave, the polarity of the SUBs re the horns may have to be inverted. You never know from installation to installation.

With a 1st order crossover (6dB/octave, the polarity is the same through the crossover region. With a 3rd order (18 dB/octave crossover, the polarity is inverted.

For TRIOs, more often than not the setting was in the region of 90 Hz.

Please note that I am NOT saying that these are the correct crossover frequencies. I AM saying that these are the correct INDICATED frequencies to use as a starting point. In fact, I hardly ever varied too much from them when all was said and done.

Bass level is whole 'nother ballgame, however.

Hope that helped.

Best regards.

Jim Smith

Thanks again for taking the time to respond here..... It's selfish I know, but man I wish you were still involved with these speakers.


I got no dogs in this furball either, but it's always good to hear from you. (If I did have a dog in it, it would be the big round one with the moves!) You changed the industry, man. You taught me about dynamic contrast, why it matters for the conveying of emotion. Thanks to you, "horny" isn't necessarily a dirty word in audio circles anymore. I think you did more to help other hornspeaker companies (like Acapella) be taken seriously in this country than anyone else.

We miss you, and we'd welcome you back if you ever want to work your butt off and not make much money again.

Jim- nice to see you on this thread. You certainly made a difference in my audio life, and I had been around the block a few times myself. My travails with the bass integration issue may speak more to issues of set-up than to any real flaw in the design of the speaker. I originally set the woofer frequency range too low, based on my past experience with subwoofers and the Quads. But, as you point out, these woofers are supposed to play higher than a true subwoofer. Having said that, though, is the setting you are discussing as an approximate starting point, eg 140 hz, equivalent to 10- 10.30 o'clock on the dial?
(The manual contained a little card, showing the setting at noon).
Be well, and the invitation still stands if you get to NY.
From a European perspective I'd have to say people from north america seem to be obsessed with low frequency, Almost at the expense of everything else !. Jim mentioned that his customers found it hard to distinguish the sub crossover, well I have to agree that the Avantgarde systems that I have heard also had very good intergration.

However even if they didn't the dynamics of those horns would make up for nothing below 100htz. Totally tunning speakers.
I think I remember that 140 Hz is at 12 o'clock.

It should be marked.

Best regards,

Jim Smith