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 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