Avantgarde Duos - right for me?

I just wanted some opinions on the Avantgarde Duos as an upgrade path for my system.

My system currently consists of Manley 300b monoblocks, Manley Shrimp preamp, Acoustic Zen speaker and interconnect cabling and Omega Superhemp single driver speakers.

Overall I have been pleased with this system and just love the strengths of an SET/single driver system. Very intimate, great speed and tone, fabulous midrange, etc.

What the system is unfortunately lacking still is big dynamics and deep bass. I have read good things about the Avantgarge Duos but I cant find a local place to audition these speakers first hand. At any rate, I would certainly be looking to buy these pricey speakers used on Agon.

Any opinions on how the Duos would sound with the Manley 300b monoblocks? How small is the "sweet spot" on the Duos? I ask this because I do a lot of entertaining and would ideally like a speaker that has a decent sized listening area. What sized room do the Duos need to sound right? My living room is 18x24. Are there any other high sensitivity speakers that would be better than the Duos?
Two things I would consider before switching to a high sensitivity design like the Avantgardes:

1) Sensitive horns are finicky beasts and may require other significant tweaks to your system afterwards to sound right. In other words, be prepared to have to tune your system to the horns more so perhaps than other designs.

2) For creating a large listening area, wide dispersion or even more omni-directional designs are needed. I'm not sure that these horns fit the bill for that. I could be wrong though. I'm sure others will correct me if so.

Thanks Mapman. Your first point is something I have read about in several reviews. You also need amps that are totally quiet with the very high sensitivity of the horns. My Omegas are 96db efficient and are silent up to about 12 inches away so I think horns would be fine in that respect.

The second point is interesting though. Sounds like a very small listening zone? While 90% of my listening is just me, it would be nice to have a speaker that could fill an entire room for when I entertain. Its all a tradeoff I know.....

What other speakers should I consider in the under 10k (used) range? I have read good things about the higher end Coincident speakers but havent heard those in person.
BTW, if I could afford another pair of speaks and had another room big enough, I would love to audition a pair of Avantgardes to add to my collection!
The Avantgarde ssounded great at CES in a small room, mae the room seem much bigger than it was, delivered stunning bass, and was very impressive using about .25 wpc...yes, 250 milliwatts, and they were cranking. Try first if you can, but they were winners. They were being driven by the Avantgarde SS amp which matched very good. Jallen
I own a pair of Unos, which have a slightly smaller midrange horn, otherwise they are about the same as the Duos. The sound is incredible, these speakers work in a small room and in large rooms, great for all types of music, work with 2 watts or 200 watts. Your electronics and cables are fine for these speakers.
Hi Mike,

I have heard that the Duos are a slight improvement over the Unos in terms of the lower midrange to bass transitional area. Have you ever heard the Duo Omegas? What electronics are you using with your Unos?
Have never heard the omegas, but I have had many great speakers and my Unos are keepers.I have a accuphase dp75 cd player and a accuphase c290 preamp, and a art audio Diavalo amp and mit oracle speaker and interconnect cables.Pure musical magic.
Have you considered a vintage horn design such as the Klipschorns, or the Altec A7's? Both are fantastic sounding, though for SET the Klipsch might be better.
Front-horns like the Duos are a way to get the dynamics you're missing but so are back horns - Cain & Cain, Carder, Lamhorn, Beauhorn, etc.

These designs retain the coherence of the single-driver but add the dynamics of a horn - though they're not really as dynamic as a front-horn system.

The weakness of front horns is that they do require multiple drivers and some room to gel. And the big Achilles heel is bass integration since bass is usually dynamic - this is a real problem with the Duos. (Now, it can be done, and sound great, but it appears it's hard.)
I have heard good things about the Cain and Cains but those dont go low enough to satisfy my tastes. A VERY knowledgeable AG Duo Omega owner wrote me about his experiences with that speaker and I have to say they sound like the hot ticket. I plan to audition them in NYC soon. The other speaker I want to hear is the Coincident Pure Ref or Total Victory IV. Those are supposedly excellent as well with SET in terms of dynamic full range performance.
I've never heard the Cain and Cains but I think they are just gorgeous regardless. If I had the time, space and funds to spend on another pair of speakers, I would want to own them just for that. Plus I suspect they sound quite distinctive and pretty good as well and thereis always the option of a sub if needed.

My audio friend has a pair of Duos in a large room approx 30'-20' fully treated.He added another pair of duo subs in the system..Running highend SET amps w/ complimentary components upstream..AMAZING!!..Truely amazing.Ive owned older horn loaded Altecs/JBLs for years and never had the success he has obtained..Ive heard the Cains and they are not in the same league.....or even in the same sentance IMO..just my 2C
i am buying a duo next week , for me nothing else would do,
its a big improvement over the uno
ok you will have to position the speaker well , but hey dont believe the hype , some people make it out to be like a piece of civil engineering by using words like "tuning " , but its a piece of cake if you have a friend around
i personally dont believe that the avantgarde need a valve amp , its more like some valve amps need a speaker like the avantgarde to perform well
i discussed the speakers from avantgarde at lenght with mathias the designer over several drinks !!!
if AG thought they could do better with a valve amp they would have made one , ever wondered why they only make solid states
altec a7, a5, 419 and 406 ..... give us a break , i had all of them , nowhere near
they are not perfect though , all you need is to upgrade the crossover .(i went mundorf gold on the uno) awesome
I used 300b amps on my duo 2.2. All the SETs I tried worked well. AG is good but for the cash you can do better in front horns. You can set up a front horn in most any size room depends on design. They dont need as much room as most think but some designs need more room or they do not integrate so well.

I currently own a pair of Duo 2.2 and a pair of Omegas. I also own a pair of abbeys. I have owned the Unos and the Oris horns. Email me and we can talk on the phone. Not much for typing.

Kindest regards
Oh I forgot I owned a pair of omega super hemp speakers as well. The Omegas mentioned above are the Avantgarde Duo Omegas. I have both sets of Duos side by side.
I have very little experience with horns. Some years ago I tried to listen to some Avantgarde, but as the dealer setup was poor I was not impressed and gave up the idea. However at the 2008 Lisbon Hifishow I heard a pair of Nano's driven by a small low power transistor amplifier developed by Avantgarde and it was really the best horns I ever heard - dynamic, sweet and musical. The system was really coherent!
Unhappily I do not remember the details of this amplifier.
I currently have the Avantgarde Duo Omegas and I use them with a second pair of the 225 woofers. I find that while there is a sweet spot these speakers do an amazing job of making the music accessible to everyone in the room. I do have a fair sized room (20x25x9) which certainly helps. I've owned the Unos which are wonderful speakers, but there are significant positive differences as you move up the ladder to the Duos and then to the Duo Omegas. I've tried a number of amps with both the Unos and the Duos and I prefer a good tube amp and preamp.
I own a pair of duos. The bass integration issue is mute if you sit at least 12 feet from them. They need the space to integrate properly. I sit 14 feet from them and the sound is seamless. The do have a small "sweet spot" which usually is not a big issue. You also have to be concerned with the noise of the amplifier you use. Being so sensitive these speakers will magnify any background electronic noise in your amp so your amp needs to be very quiet when not playing music. I have no experience with Manley but they do have a good reputation. You can always call them to see if they recommend the amp with highly sensitive horn speakers. If dynamics and bass are what you are looking for I think you will be very happy with the Duos. Along with detail retrieval that is there forte. Another issue is their size. They do dominate a room so WAF can be a factor. Good luck.
Since you'll be doing some entertaining, I'd pay particular attention to their placement. Despite their glorious intimate musicality, they can sound rather honky at wrong height listening level ie.sitting too close or too high (or when standing). Integration of their horns to bass modules is the key issue, and can usually be resolved through finding correct /sufficient distance. Whereas, width dispersion (spread) out of the sweet spot imo is not as much of a concern and are more tolerable.
By chance, I use Acoustic Zen Adagios and am looking for the next step. I bought a TW accustic Raven one from the UK importer, who also imports Avantgard Duos and spent a few hours listening to them. I'm sorry, but I could'nt live with them. I can see what the exitement is about, dynamic, transparent etc. Even with excellent Tron ampifiers, there was an edge, or harsh tone to them which I found wearing after even a short listen. Maybe thet will suit you, but have a good long audition first. My next choice may well be Coincident, but the Super Victories, which suit my room better.
Bass integration is not mute at 14ft maybe in your room or its just not a problem for you. But in my rooms distance didn't mater sit to far image suffers sit to close integrations worse. Duos design is a comprise and sometimes the performance shows the design limitations. Still over all I enjoyed my time with Duo 2.2. Nothings perfect.
The Duos would be fine in your system and room. They would be difficult in a room much smaller than yours. I use mine (DUO 2.2) in a room 35x18 feet with 12 foot ceilings. They fill the room with sound and have been my best ever upgrade. Mine are used with a TRON Meteor tube preamp and Quad IIs. Your Manleys should be fine as they're have pretty quiet circuits. You'll have to play around with the subwoofer roll-off freq and gain as well as positioning - get those right and you'll be very happy.

Good luck,

You need to make sure your living near the Hi-Fi shop that you purchase the Avantgarde Duos from. I purchased a pair last year and live 1,000 plus miles from the Avantgarde dealer.

I paid extra from the dealer to come to my home to set-up the entire system which I purchased from a single dealer. The speakers were faulty fresh out of the box. Several weeks latter and close to an extra $1,000 dollars I was forced to pay both speakers were finally working.

Since then I have sent Avantgarde three letters with not one reply! Also beware of the cheap packing of the speakers. They are not packed anything like the quality of an apple product.

Hope my experience helps and good luck.