Avantgarde Duo vs Cain & Cain Ben ES

Any comparisons between these 2 would be appreciated -- particularly in the areas of soundstage, balance, coloration. Thanks.
Jeffrey, my experience is limited to owning single Ben Cains (essentially the same speaker minus 1 BLH) and listening to Avantgardes on a few occasions. To bury my opinion further, I've never heard the AGs fully set up or tweaked to the point where the owner/presenter told me they were strutting as they should. Couple that with the fact that every defender of AGs says they must be painstakingly set up, and you know my hit on how they sound is probably not worth much. So, I'll be brief: the AGs are dynamic and extended at both ends. In both regards, more so than the Cains. The Cains offer a much simplier, easier way to get coherent sound.

My room--see my System--is difficult and asymetrical. The Cains work well despite the trouble. As I was considering the AGs for this room, I can only speculate, but I'd guess they'd be a hulluva lot harder to get to sound of a piece. And that's where the Cains do well. That, and a good dose of microdynamics that give you that physical sense of musicans in the room and also convey the shadings and texture superbly.

Cains, as essentially single drivers, are a different kettle of fish in terms of mating electronics. No doubt either speaker will truly shine with good stuff ahead of it, but I think how they sound when less than optimal is different. Whether good quality signal or bad, the AGs I've heard all were similar in that they were extended and had strong bass with much more upper end energy that I hear with the Cains. Cains and all single drivers tend to sound like AM radios when the signal sucks. Plus no matter the electronics, when played hard the AGs retain their charachter while the Cains congeal and get shouty in the upper mids. It's pretty apparant to me that this is a byproduct of single vs multi-driver approaches.

To bring this back in, I'd say that at regular listening volumes playing most music they have some similarities: dynamics, speed, lightness, quickness, agility. And, then there are the differences as noted above.

Not exactly what you ask, but I hope it helps.

Here I pen this rather long response and didn't even address your particular areas of interest (I've been a bit foggy lately...)

Anyway, comparing the single BEN with Duos and other AGs I've heard: soundstage--Cains cast a deep stage that's only as wide as the speakers. Highly detailed and textured as I said before. AGs may have more detail and offer a wider stage that can come forward of the speaker but does not extend back as far. Balance--AGs have far more range and don't have the Cain potential for peakiness (the Fostex is a bit Lowtheresque this way--but no wizzer to make it worse), but from lower mid to upper bass the Cains are just one driver and don't rely too much on the BLH so they are better balanced here. The transition from mid to high on the AGs didn't stand out, but on the Cain's it's a sweeter range. Coloration--Cain has a few areas where it audibly puts it signature. Chestiness in male singers, and boominess in bass if near boundaries, and a definite sound of the Fostex driver that's otherwise hard to describe. The AGs from a technical standpoint are far less colored, but they too have a definite sound. The sound is more of a front loaded horn which puts the stage and singers front and center.

There's a reason why cliches are such--you really should hear both before you buy if you can. Best of luck.