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?
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.