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 many Trios in my room, at others' homes, and at shows. Only once have I heard good integration of all the drivers and good bass. This was at a home in Minneapolis with a very large listening room designed for audio and not using the woofers provided by Avantgarde.

Having often heard compression drivers with horns, I only wish both Avantgarde and Acapella would using them. With the exception of the Acapella plasma tweeter, I think both companies' speakers sound slow with inability to provide the sharp leading edge of compression drivers.

I am saying all of this not to knock either companies' speakers but to long for the magic of quick, efficient, well integrated, and affordable horn speaker systems.
Tbg, you make a good point about drivers.

I know Avantgarde's position is that compression drivers do produce the leading edge, but it can sometimes be too aggressive, resulting in bleeding edge... :)

That's not to say I agree, only to point out their philosphy.

Best regards,

Jim Smith
I used to place my subs beside my Trios with about four feet of space behind them . I now place them about a foot from the front wall, almost right behind the Trios. I find this to work better for me. It seems to integrate better, has more extention and more impact. Where are others finding the best placement for the subs in there system?

Any placement behind the horn will exaggerate time arrival issues.

Most often shows up as cancellation (dip in freq. response) somewhere between the woofers and the horn, based on distance as well as the chosen crossover point.

Technically, from a timing standpoint, the woofer should actually be forward(!) of the horns.

Since the woofers are crossing as high as the do (shorter wavelengths), too much time offset will detrimentally affect the sound hanging together from horn to sub.

That said, I've placed them futher back on occasion because the bass was so abysmal where they "should" have gone, that the correct time arrival was offset by truly bad bass...

So it's almost always a trade-off...

Best regards,

Jim Smith
Jim, are you agreeing with my sub placement as an acceptable trade off. How do you set your subs and horns in your room. Could you please include dimensions. As others have stated earlier I really appreciate hearing your recomendation and opinions. Are you enjoying the audio world at the user level more now than you did at the business end of it. What a crazy fun hobby. Couldn't go without it.