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?
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.

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.
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