Anybody else heard the Avalon Acoustics Isis?

I spent a delightful afternoon on friday listening to the Avalon Acoustics Isis speakers. These retail for $62000.00, so I was expecting a high level of performance, but was still surprised at how wonderful these speakers were at creating the sound of real music.

Even though this was in a store environment with electronics that are not my favorite cup of sonic tea, current Mark Levinson gear, the Isis's offered the following:

1) I'm quite enamored of the type of soundstage and natural layering that planer dipolar speakers provide, my home reference are MG-20's, the Isis was one of the few box enclosure speakers that offered this type of illusion regarding space. They just did not disappear, but offered this very natural 3D imaging without making individual players sound like "cutouts" against a background, but layering in a very natural way that sounds more like live music.

2) Great macrodynamics and resolution without sounding etched or in your face, and this was with electronics that I personnally don't find to be very musical! I would want to hear these speakers with a great tube pre and SS amps like Pass Labs XA's.

3) The whole sonic presentation was seemless, again reminding me of what great planer speakers have to offer, with a quick and rock solid bottom end.

I have listened to Wilson's, Kharma's, B&W's, Magico's, Dali's reference speakers on other occasions, and I was not as impressed as I was yesterday. Am I trading my MG-20's for the Isis's, no but if you have a chance to hear them I think you find it a very enjoyable experience.
The Avalon Isis was my choice for "Product of the Year" at PFO, three years ago.

I agree they are spectacular and I would have absolutely considered them if Avalon had introduced them a year earlier. As it is, I choose the Dali Megaline which I consider equal but different.

I would love to hear the Isis with tubes, I auditioned it with electronics that I dislike and still loved the speaker.
Hi,I own a pair of Isis and agree with everything that was said.I drive them with a pair of CAT jl3 mk2s and cat Legend pre-amp,truley a match made in heaven.I have had them for about almost 2 years and have enjoyed every minute.
Isis is truly SOTA loudspeaker. I like it a lot. Interesting enough I found solid-state amps to be better match with Isis then most tube amps(for example ARC REF210 did not sound right on Isis). CAT that Strapper211 use are probably best push-pull tube amps on the market with excellent bass(and Isis IMHO likes some control down there). Amps for Isis? Think Hovland Stratos/HP200 combo or something from Gryphon or Vitus... Pass X.5 or XA.5 could work as well...

BTW, I auditioned two loudspeakers that are better then Isis(to my ears) but, they also cost more...
I use to own a pair which were set-up in my designated room but sold them off aprox. a year ago, they actually replaced the Diamonds which I can say was a real improvement. I agree they are a great speaker but I had a few issues that I could not live with any more so I sold them along with the electronics and the room sits empty currently. I tried all kinds of solid state and tube combos and found they really sounded great with VTL 750's with the 7.5 pre, I also had Audio Research Ref 300 MK2 amps. which did not control the speakers properly. My main issues were that they would not fill my room to my liking along with not disappearing like I wanted them to which bothered me also so I sold them off after owning them for aprox. a year and a half. So what do I put in this room to now compete with my other set-up? huum!

Other current set-up being MBL 101E's which I have to say I prefer and the speakers were less costly, I have some CAT JL3 MK2 mono blocks ordered and on their way supposedly to arrive by year end and also the Berning Quadrature-Z mono blocks which are suppose to be special scheduled to arrive in Jan. so this should be interesting. I kinda wish I still had them so I could have heard them with these new pieces coming but I have to say that my new MBL's are doing things that no other speaker I have owned has been capable of doing which is absolutely amazing.

Branimar which 2 speakers are you referring to? As we all know that there are many combos available but nothing is perfect only different, it really all comes down to our own listening preferences along with associated component set-ups along with our rooms which can dramatically change the end result.

Wilson Alexandria X2 and Rockport Altair. X2(now in Series 2 version) is most impressive in dynamics and room-filling sound. Although I am not big fan of Wilson house sound X2 is IMHO one of the five worlds best speakers. Rockport Altair is another amazing speaker. More extended at bottom the Isis(and more accurate down there as well IMHO), with more dynamic ease and shadings. Its midrange is most natural to my ears of any speakers. Soundstage size is as well huge with more depth. Both of these speakers are more expensive then Isis. So, they should offer more IMO...
And I agree with you regarding room-filling issues of Isis. Still, I found it the best speakers that Avalon ever produced. Auditioning any of these speakers by yourself is an imperative! Dealer support is another very important thing as well. And all these speakers require room of decent size...
IMO personal(music taste and sound taste as well as exterior design look) preferance will be here a key factor in final choice. For example I admire your MBLs but, their sound is not my cup of tea...
Simply said all speakers mentioned above are more or less SOTA and potential costumer will be(I am pretty sure of that!) more then happy with any of them...
I think the TAD Ref-1 is a nice alternative.Same price range too.It has the distinct advantage of a dual concentric midrange/tweeter,and constructed with berrylium.Stunning clarity and exceptionally coherent.Also,it employs two "ten inch" bass drivers(not beryllium here),which though smaller than the Isis' bass drivers,are constructed in a brilliant way.The rubber surrounds have multiple folds,and allow for very large excursions,with amazing linearity and detail.A MUST to audition,at this price range,and a brilliant design.
Good luck.

TAD Ref One? Sure, if you like very wide baffle loudspeakers... And shortcomings that such wide front baffle is bringing... I audition it in NY Stereophile show and although impressive, its voicing is not my cup of tea. Sweet spot is pretty narrow(look at toe-in in all TAD show presentation, they use more toe-in then Wilson) IMO.
TAD Ref One is indeed very impressive technical design but, musical and engagin?
Thanks Branimir for the info, a good friend has the X2's and awaiting to receive MK2's. I have to say it may be his set-up but they only impressed me short term and you need to play very load. Now the Rockports you have mentioned sound very intriguing as I have done some research but big bucks so I my expectation of their performance would have to be very high.

You mentioned in your thread you don't like the sound of the MBL's, just curious what is it that you don't like. I can't believe these, they sound scary realistic and the best over all that I have owned. I have owned Avalon's (Diamond, Isis), IRS Infinities (their flag ship speakers), Mag 20.1, Martin Logan, Apogee, Wilson, Eggleston, Revel, Quads, B&W,PMC BB5 active to name a few.

As any speaker it is important what you match them with proper cables and electronics including your room but nothing is perfect but these 101's WOW!. It will be very hard for me to listen to box speakers, my friend was over who owns the Wilsons and left in awe. He goes to shows allot which I don't and said he never thought of getting them because of what he heard but after hearing mine his thoughts have now changed 360 degrees and he realizes that his can't reproduce what the 101's can.

I'm not one of these guys if you don't like what I have or say something negative gets upset because all I'm trying to do is recreate the best I can in my own home for my own enjoyment and not for others but when guys haven't heard or only heard at shows start commenting please don't wast our time, I'm not suggesting in anyway that you are one of these individuals but allot of others do this. They have the attitude mines the best bla! bla!I read a thread recently from this guy about the CAT JL3 SIG MK2 amps pretty well suggesting they were crap in so many words, what a joke and thank goodness others jumped in setting the record straight. That being said I have learned allot over the years and I'm never shocked and will try about anything just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Teajay above has been great, his reviews very helpful and I have to say so far he has been spot on with reviewing some of the identical gear that I happen to have also. A+ for you Teajay we need more like him.

When I was at another members home and had the pleasure to hear the MBL's for the first time the image was not that precise and big but I don't seem to be having that issue, my image is just so slight less focused and in size (were talking about the size of the head of the performers along with the mouth size etc.) than my Eggleston's but with the added 3D holographic image going on it absolutely surpasses what the Eggleston's could do and the bass is the best I have ever had in this room. Putting these speakers onto Sistrum platforms just totally transforms them assisting in better base and more focused images.

Are the MBL's the best? nope, I don't think there is a best out there only different. Out of the speakers I mentioned above that I have owned previously the Eggleston's 1st and 2nd the Mag. 20's but two different images being cast along with other things going on but if I had a huge space the IRS Infinities were very impressive but need a very very large room to perform properly.

The Avalon Isis speakers are great but I have to say I really don't miss them and the MBL's are doing a marvelous job of allowing me to enjoy each and every performance.


Is there anything about the Avalon Eidolon's that you "miss" now that you have the MBLs? I own Eidolon's (non diamond version) myself and have been considering moving to the MBL's for some time. I have heard them at CES the last 2 years straight (and at RMAF), and can't pull myself away from them. Of course these are show conditions for better or worse. I have never been able to hear them side by side with Avalon's though, and wonder what I might "miss" about them if I make the switch. Since you have had the privilige of owning both in your home, I was hoping you could provide some insight.
Hi Sydsrig, Avalon's are great speakers. When I first owned my Diamond's and then replaced them with the Isis it most defiantly was an upgrade. If you were asking me; should I upgrade to the Isis from my Eidolon's would it be worth the extra money? My answer would be I never owned those but owned the Diamond's and the Isis most defiantly was a upgrade.

The MBL's are marvelous speakers and can do things that I personally have not heard any other speakers do. You your self have admitted that for the past 2 years you have heard them at shows and can't pull your self away from them so that must be saying something. All audio gear is personal and you are the one who needs to be satisfied and not me so you need to listen and make the decisions and not let others sway you.

All I can do is pass along is my experience's but you most defiantly need hear for your self prior to making decisions. I have not missed my Isis in anyway and even my good friend who is a die hard Wilson lover is absolutely blown away since coming over and hearing them the other day. I can't wait until I get these new amps in my system, I am anticipating that they will sound different than my current Pass X600.5's and anxious to find out will I prefer them ? won't know until it all happens.

I would recommend you refer to the MBL threads to get more info. from the other members regarding their thoughts who have owned them for years.
Branimir,firstly I happen to own,and love my own Avalon speakers.
That being said,please educate me as to what would be wrong with a wide baffle speaker,like the TAD(which isn't all that wide)in the appropriate room.
The HE2007 demo happened to be in a way to small room,but my observations take this into account.I simply assumed it was a seemingly nice design,that would be superb in the correct environment.

Why is sound of MBLs not my cup of tea? Well, I audition them twice-both times at lenght. First was all MBL system and they sounded artificial to me. I have to say that I attend classic music concerts regulary and sorry to say but Piano on MBL sound different then in real life. On Isis for example piano to my ears sound more real then on MBLs. Same story is with Rockports-they sound much more real then MBLs. MBLs sound excellent but, their sound is pleasing illusion-not repeat of the real music. I know that I am sounding rude about MBLs but, this is MY taste. I for example like MBL electronics a lot but, not their speakers. I respect them, just I could not live with them.
Hello Dev,

Thank you for your response and I do appreciate your insight and that of your friend who is (or at least was) a Wilson fan. I agree with you that the only way to decide is to listen for yourself and to not let others sway you. That is exactly how I built my current system over the years to begin with (spectral/MIT/Avalon). The only problem is that other than hearing MBL's at audio shows with flagship MBL electronics, I have no way to really compare them to my current setup to confirm or qualify my impressions.

That is why I look to you and others who at least have had Avalon's in there home and have done a direct A-B comparison. At the very least this is a way of getting some indirect evidence to help with the decision making process. Given that I can't do an evaluation first hand, the best I can do is increase the likelihood of making a sound and reasoned judgement for myself. By reaching out to people like you who have confirmed the MBL decision over the Avalons (I am quite familiar with the Eidolon Diamonds and the Isis as well) for themselves, that's one more data point to consider in valdating this for myself. I have also read all of the other MBL 101E threads on the forum as you suggested (I tend to read more than post).

Trust me when I tell you that if there was a way for me to do an A-B with the 101E's and my speakers (optimally in my system and my room), I would be all over it. Ufortunately, that has not proven feasable in Ft. Lauderdale, FL which is where I live.

I take it you don't live in the area by chance?
Hi Branimir Thanks for your response, that's fair to give your opinion and personal taste regarding the MBL 101's but I must say that I disagree with your findings 100% and I am most defiantly not experiencing artificial sound or when you referred to saying the Piano not sounding realistic while played on them. Total opposite in my findings so far.

I just had my Uncle over along with his son who are 6th generation Masters and world re-known piano builders and tuner's for the best of the best and could not believe how realistic the speakers sounded playing music especially Piano pieces so I have to say you have left me in awe with your overview and comments regarding this.

I have not heard the Rockport's but owned and lived with the Isis for almost two years along with others that I had mentioned in which I use as a reference for my own listening. Possibly your demos you had in length twice just were not right and that's why your conclusion is such and that's okay or possibly they just are not your "cup of tea" but I have to say they are the closes I have heard to realistic music. I am really appreciating what they can do and have never heard any speaker do what these can but I have not heard every speaker out there either, are they the best? nope. There is no best out there only different.

My friend who was over who owns the Wilson's could not believe what he was experiencing and said to me that if he had only heard this at shows and along with at dealers that his whole take on these speakers would have been the opposite and is now seriously looking at getting them but is awaiting the new Wilson's MK2's so he's in a bit of a pickel but then again he could buy a couple of pairs of MBL's for what he's paid for his new Wilson's.

I mentioned to him it should be real interesting when I get the CAT JL3 SIG. MK2's and Berning mono blocks to find out the sound difference, will I prefer it? don't know until I try it and that's what this hobby is all about.

When we refer to the Rockport's and their crazy list price, exactly how much do they list for? they better blow away the MBL's and almost every other speaker on the planet, will they do this? I would be shocked but if they do I'll be looking into getting a pair for my designated room.
Hi Sydsrig no unfortunately I do not live there but I'm a close neighbor in the Toronto Canada area so a return flight on your part would be very inexpensive. Once I sort out my new amp situation you are more than welcome to come, I'll even pick you up at the airport. I have some friends with just amazing systems that I would arrange set-ups for us to go over to listen so you would get a real flavour, Wilson's, my Isis speakers that I sold, Sound Labs, Mag. 20.1's, Assendo M's, to just name a few along with another members MBL 101 set-up.

Send me a personal email so we can look into doing this.
Hello Dev, Toronto - Wow, just around the corner I suppose...

I take it your friend that is waiting for the Wilson MK2's to come out, is waiting for the Alexandria II's? That's the only Wilson speaker that you could buy nearly three pair of 101E's for the same price.

I appreciate your offer to go on a tour of you and your friends systems in Toronto, and I may just take you up on it. I will be heading back to Las Vegas in early January for CES to have my fun and see what is new and exciting in our wonderful hobby.

When does it start getting warm in Toronto? My blood has thinned out living in South Florida and I may not survive the winter visit to Toronto...

I'll follow up with a personal note as well.

Hi Sydsrig, you are correct he is awaiting for the arrival of Wilson's Alexandra's latest and greatest version.

Regarding getting to hear different set-ups in actual home environments really is the only way to do it and anyone able to do this is very fortunate, well I feel fortunate to have met these individuals over the years. They all have excellent set-ups but have their own sonic differences and these differences are in the end what one actually prefers and will possibly sway which way you decide to go.

I will say the latest set-up I heard was the Assendo M's with CAT JL3 mono blocks and I really liked it, a speaker still on my list is the Rockport, MM3's and Dalhi.

I'm sure you will have allot of fun at the show and get to see allot of exciting audio pieces.

Regarding the winter weather here it most defiantly is not Florida weather and yes it can get nasty, burr!

When you go to the show check out Convergent Audio I will have their flagship JL3 SIG. MK2 mono blocks, I also have Stealth product through out my set-up. Also go and check out the David Berning set-up and get a chance to see and possibly hear one of only 24 pairs of Quadrature-Z mono blocks being manufactured, should be special as I have a pair scheduled to come in Jan.
As other speakers are being mentioned, have you auditioned the new Revel Salon 2. It might be very interesting to hear your comments.
Pascanli, you raise an interesting point with the Revel Salon 2. Given the gushing "cost no object" speaker award that TAS gave it in the latest issue, one can't help but be curious about what all the "hollering" is about with this speaker. I would still be surprised if it can duplicate the magic act that I keep hearing the 101E's perform whenever I hear them. But then again, that's what this hobby/industry is all about isn't it?

I also noticed your involvement in the "Game Over" thread in the digital forum. I have been way behind the times on this topic and really enjoyed reading your posts there.
Hi Dev, I think I heard the Ascendo's at THE Show this past January. If I'm not mistaken it's a lacquer finished black box woofer bottom with a second slimmer laquer finished black box top with a horn loaded (I think as it appeared to be recessed in the cabinet) ribbon midrange and/or tweeter? It had a very distinctive, albeit awkward, look to it if memory serves me correct.

In any case, if it's what I thinking it is, it sounded pretty darn impressive during the brief time I spent with it.

Regarding the other products, I will have to review my list with you before I head out to make sure I get it right!
Dev, One other question regarding the 101E's. Have you driven them or given thought to driving them with the Spectron Musician III Class D amplifier? There are a number of threads on this forum (as well as on that absolutely swear by this amp/speaker combination irregardless of cost considerations (except for the MBL 9011 reference monoblock amps).

What say you and your MBL bretheren?
I am not alone in my findings about MBLs... In fact very good friend of mine is Classical Music Piano Player(you probably heard about him but, I will keep his name for myself) and he told me that Bosendorfer on his own recording do not sound right on full MBL system(101, 9008, 6010D etc.). And this is his presonal system... He is now searching for something else after living with MBLs for over two years. Those two lenghty sessions were at his home and I agree fully with him. Interesting enough Rock music like Guns'n'roses sounded just right on this system...

Rockport Altair cost $89500(or $91500 in Titanium color) in US. Overpriced? Not IMHO. Just read Jeff Fritz review about them It is very honest and accurate description of their sound IMO.

Back to Isis... You find Eidolon Diamond superior to Isis. Well, I disagree big time here. IMHO Isis is a much, much better speaker then Eidolon Diamond. Freedom of speach I guess... Long live the difference in our ears and opinions!
Hi Sydsrig I actually sent you a email as I really did not feel it right to continue as the thread was getting hi-jacked.

Hi Branimir, Thanks for your reply back. The price for the Rockports aren't that bad and not as outrages as some others out there so I'll have to look into hearing these, no one has them arround here as of yet. Regarding your thoughts of the MBL's no problem and you don't have to defend you findings as they are yours but regarding your good friend the "Classical Music player" I'll stick with my Uncle and cousin findings as they go around the world making and tuning the pianos for such performers. We have had conversations regarding that some don't even realize that their Piano's are out of tune and most times never sound exactly the same, room issues, positioning, humidity, actual makes of pianos sound different and it goes on.

Regarding the Avalon Isis, you must have misread or I did not convey properly regarding my thoughts of the Diamonds and Isis, I first owned the Diamonds and replaced them with the Isis which I feel the later was a improvement and well worth upgrade. Hopefully this is clearer, I prefer the Isis over the Diamonds.

In the end all that matters is that we enjoy music and get to tell each other stories.
Branimir and Sydsrig,

May be the difference you are hearing could be due different to cabling? Cables do make difference. Something to think about.

That said, I also find an All MBL system to be overly mettallic and tad on brighterside. The 6010d and MBL 9008s on the other hand used in different pairings (like my Dunlavy V and Zanden front end, can produce ' believable' life like sound. With Zanden preamp everything goes few notches up.

Sorry to barge in on Avalon Isis Thread with MBL 101E opinion. To be relevant, I have heard only the EIdelons ( with mbl 6010d and 9008s) in fact and although I liked the sound, it was not my cup of tea ;-). Although the Isis could be better...
Branimir, Dev said that the Isis was a step up from the Eidolon Diamond, not the other way around. Regarding the MBL's, all I can say is that the first time I heard them was at RMAF 2 years ago, and I did not know what to think. The presentation was so different from what I was used to hearing that it startled me. After a while, however, I warmed up to them and could not stop listening to them for the rest of the show as well as the next 2 CESs in a row (where I listened to them for days on end).

The only major distinction between the MBL and more traditionally designed speakers that I heard which may be an issue for some (and perhaps what you and your pianist friend may be hearing) is the presentation difference in image specificity. The MBL's do not have the pin point/locked in/focused imaging of some the more traditional speaker designs. In retrospect, I realized that is what took me a while to get used to and what probably startled me at first. But then again, I'm not sure that laser like imaging/focus is all that it's cracked up to be after opening my ears up to the MBL presentation. Ultimately, it sounded more alive to me than anything else I have heard at any of the shows that I have attended.

Nilthepill, did you hear the Eidolons with any other electronics for compariosn? What was it about the sound that was not your cup of tea?
Hi Teajay sorry about this but I have to respond to these MBL questions.

Nilthepill I have never heard a all MBL system so I have no experience with that sound but hearing another members MBL system (no MBL electronics) along with my current set-up absolutely no metallic sound or brightness and every person who has come by has never mentioned either. Every person's response hearing them in my set-up so far has been very very positive saying I have never heard anything like this before and this is coming all from some heavy hitters and would not hold back if they did not approve or something was going on that sounded improper. I suppose from what I am reading once I get around to trying MBL gear possibly I will not like it, time will tell but how many people get the opportunity to have the amps that are coming to hear in their system?

I have to say I am really anxious to get the CAT JL3 SIG MK2 mono blocks along with the Bernings to find out what the over all sound difference is as currently I feel the Pass X600.5's are the weak link but I have to say they really are doing a fine job.
I understand you wrong regarding Isis vs Eidolon Diamond-sorry. I agree fully with you-all these speakers(Isis, MBL and Rockport) are world class without any doubt. I am sure that you are enjoying your MBLs-I respect them highly.

Yes, you are on something here regarding different presentation(prespective?) that MBLs are offering. Maybe I am just not used enough of this presentation? But, in all MBL system 101 sound occasionally too white in upper highs for my taste. I am more a dynamic speakers person I guess...
Dev, I have never auditioned the MBL Radialstrahlers but according to an audiophile buddy with very good ears they sounded a bit odd during a demo (recent VAD show in Holland): they sounded quite diffuse, midrange was almost absent, treble and bass were dominant. Another audiophile buddy said they sounded quite good with... Metallica! No kidding! That means they were very dynamic (which is a well respected virtue of the MBL's) and could produce SPL's to almost insane levels. If I'm correct, the designer of these Radialstrahler played bass guitar in a rock band. Could it be that he chose sound characteristics that remind him of the rock band?

For those hobbyists stating they feel the Isis is better sounding than something like the Eidolon Diamonds....what specifically are you referring to?
Are you referring to greater dynamics(room volume specifically influences which speaker would perform best,I assume)?Deeper bass?Louder?More palpable?...Most importantly,does the Isis actually "reproduce information that the Eidolon Diamond "DOES NOT"?Or better timbrel/harmonic info(amp/pre influences this alot,amongst other ancillaries)?
I believe that each speaker would serve a different room volume best.Unless the Isis reproduces "more" information than the Eidolon Diamond,than it seems it was designed to serve "music" better in a larger venue!Then and again,many folks prefer louder,and interpret "it" as better!MBL has always overpowered the room,with absurd volumes,and totally incoherent bass at all show demonstrations I have heard,yet many folks love the 101E's.Sorry if this seems harsh.I don't mean it as criticism of any person,in particular.
Just my opinion,and I am in no way trying to be disagreeable.
Dazzdax and Sirspeedy, I would like to address both of your comments about the 101E's and the rock concert volume levels they are demonstated at during shows. This is true, and I did voice this criticism to the MBL personnel doing the demo's when I was there. They were more than accomodating at playing whatever I wanted at whatever volune I wanted which I took them up on. The results to my ear were just as pleasing at low volumes. This really surprised me. I suspect it might surprise you if you had the opportunity to hear them at low volumes as I did. All I can say is that they sounded just as good on low volume intimate chamber music as it did on rock concert stadium volumes.
I have a system similar to Strapper. Tube amps and preamp. My room is 27 by 35 feet with 12 foot ceilings. The sound fills the room without any issues and the speaker disappears completely. The soundstage is 35 feet wide and over 10 feet deep. I have owned X1s and many other speakers. I have also heard almost everything else. These are in a league of their own. Very musical, non-fatiguing, natural and uncanny in the imaging and soundstage. The images are appropriately sized and placed and go 10 to the side of the speakers. They are shockingly good but they must be properly placed in your room. Placement makes a hugh difference. Once it is right, sit back and enjoy. I am completely happy with this product.
Hi,I would like to make a comment.As for the Isis vs the Diamond it is a whole different world,It does everthing better.I could fill a page with the differences but the only thing I would not do is put the isis in a room that is say 12x20 or smaller,it will play fine but you will not get the most out of them.Electronicbliss is right placement is everthing and also when they are in their final position and toe-in is right you should laser level them,it makes a big difference.I have heard most of the major contenders and none have tempted me to change the Isis,the only speaker that is interesting is the rockport altair,which I have not heard.All the big speaker have their strong points but to me none sound more like music then a properly set up Isis.
Hate to continue comments on MBL 101E but I think I need to respond to Dev adn Sydsrig's questions.

Dev, Looking back on the auditions at two different set ups many time last year, I am not sure which components of all MBL system contributes to my perception of Mettalic or excessive upper mids/low highs sound. Digital front end or the 101Es. In any case at times, with right material, the system sounded uncannily life like, err in a lively amplied way. But alas with only select few cds. The strongest suit of MBL 101Es was the bass/mid bass, so much filled with life like nuances, definition and dynamics. Another aspect was the unusually high soundstage of this system. Same system when heard later this year in well designed 'large' room sounded easily acceptable and less metallic. Trust me I love MBL electronics(preamp/amps) and am not trying to bash MBLs. In fact I am thinkibg I may be able to get in to 101Es, with right front ends. The smaller MBLs 116 (?) did always sounded good to me.

The other amps auditioned was Pass Labs X250 and sounded equal or little better than the MBL 9008 in stereo mode(not monos). I found the set up lacking in lower freq range and sound to be rather boxey. IMHO of course.
Do you have experience using conrad johnson electronics with the ISIS? I am particularly curious about the cj premier 350, that seems an ideal match.
Sirspeedy, good question. The finest single malt in a decent 4 oz shot may be found by some to be wanting, compared to an 8 oz shot-but the drink is identical. In fact the Eidolon has an irrefutable advantage in the size of the midrange driver.
Strapper, when you say the Ises is a "whole different world" it would be helpful if you could describe the differences-perhaps not the 'full page' you mention but enough meat that we get the flavor.
Good point,first off my room is 15x25 and the Isis throws a soundstage about twice as wide and twice as deep as a diamond.The Instruments in that soundstage are layered and seperated with much more blackness between them.It added another octave to the top and bottom over the diamond,It can move a lot of air and the top really fills the room.It is much more transparent in the midrange believe it or not and it has outstanding impact that the diamond was lacking and lastly it is much more coherent or should I say involving.I also forgot to mention that it is 3 db more efficent and will play very loud and dynamic,also I was told the new price on them is 65,000 for standard finish.
I have had them almost 2 years now and I have yet to find their weakness,before that I had the diamonds for about 3 years.If you cannot afford still take a listen it will amaze you what they can do especially for a speaker with their size.
Branimir, you say that you prefer the Rockport Altair than Avalon Isis ; where have you compared them ?

Because I don't know a place where you can find both.

So I can imagine you have compared them in differents rooms with differents electronics and with your auditive memory : quite tuff to have an opinion with all this parameters, non ?

By the way with which amp/pream have you heard them ?

You forget to mention the problem with the omnidirectional MBL : music is recorded with microphones so the illusion can be restitued with directional speakers, so with mbl this trick doesn't work anymore -except if walls are far, far from the speakers- so the image stereophonic is quite problematic.
There is a dealer that have both Avalon and Rockport. Goodwins in Boston. Another dealer for Rokport is Ultimateaudiovideo in Chicago(they have both Arrakis and Altair).

I audition Altair with Boulder 2060/2010 and Wavestream V8(this amp was used in HK Show in August last year). Isis with Boulder 2060/2010, Krell Evolution One/Evolution Two and CAT JL2/SL1 Ultimate.

Regarding comparison them from auditive memory: Isn't this a usual audio reviewers habbit as well? I liked Altair more then Isis. But, I can live with both.

Regarding MBLs I fully agree with you.