Need Suggestions

Since Axpona 2016, I have replaced / updated almost my entire system, except Speakers. In the last 3 to 4 weeks I have auditioned. Rockport Atria I, Focal Sopra 2 & 3s, Paradigm ( I forget which models ), Wison Sabrinas, Yvettes, and Sashas 2s.  All were good in one way or another. None totally blew me away. Not one made me want to give up my Avalon Opus speakers that are going to be 14 years old this Thanksgiving.

Speakers last a longtime and IMO are the hardest to replace. 

I have never been able to get on the panel bandwagon. Took 4 years to switch from Thiels to Avalons. Due to health issues, I don't know if I have even that much time left.

I am a Vinyl guy. 3000 + records, 83 CDs (4 are test or burn-in disks)

My Gear is:

Pass Lab XA160.8s and XP 20 pre, previously Spectral Owner for 20 years.
Phonostages, Manley Steelhead and Pass XOno
Turntables, Technics SL1200G w/ Triplanar arm, Lyra Kleos cartridge
                 , Kuzma Stabi w/ upgraded platter and outboard power supply, 12" VTA arm, Dynavector XX II mk2

I did listen to some fine CDPs, Streaming (I guess Dacs) The digital just made me happy that I never jumped on that train and continued with vinyl all these years.

Appreciate suggestions for speakers to search out. 20 to 25 K is my target range. I would stretch to 30K if they Really, REALLY, blew me away. I missed Axpona due to health and weather issues this year. You really can't audition speakers at the shows anyway. 

This will be my final system.

Thanks for suggestions and best to All on this journey.

Hi nkonor,

Your Avalons are a VERY tough act to follow.  I was a SoundLab dealer for many years and Avalon was the only similar-price-ballpark "conventional" speaker that I really wanted to become a dealer for.  (Instead I ended up becoming a speaker manufacturer myself, but that does not diminish my respect for Avalon.)

Can you tell us a little about what qualities matter the most to you?

Any particular constraints imposed by your listening room?

Anything else that would be a potential deal-breaker or deal-maker?

I don't have anything in mind at this point but maybe a little more information about what you're looking for would jog my mind or someone else's.



Your Avalon Opus speakers are very hard to beat, very good speakers I wonder if there is any need to change them at all.
Agree with others above in that this could be a tough ask, especially since you’re so attuned to what the the Opus’ do well. That said, there’s no reason you can’t have some fun going out to listen to other speakers (health issues aside of course -- hope you’re doing ok BTW!). Haven’t heard Avalons in a while, but I remember them to be quite neutral and they image like demons with a great disappearing act. It would be helpful to know what, if anything, you’d be looking to improve upon or is this just more of a 14-year itch you’re kinda feeling the urge to scratch. I get that.

If you can find Joseph Audio Pearls they might be worth a listen as they do many things similar to Avalon but their unique crossover may or may not captivate you. Could be more of a sideways move, but worth a shot. For something different that may or may not impress are the Carver Amazing Line Source. The grand scale and effortless dynamics line source speakers are capable of may be different and impressive enough to maybe sway you if you have the ceiling height to accommodate them. Last thought, Nola might be worth a listen if you can find them as their dipole design might be different enough to be interesting to you. What was I thinking not mentioning Vandersteen 5A?  The additional bass of these speakers may be one reason to step up from the Opus.  I’d mention Boenicke, but good luck finding them. Just some food for thought.
Dear @nkonor : I love Avalon speakers and I don't recomend to change for a diferent speakers but to same Avalon kind of design like the Eidolon Dimond tht makes a better job and goes deeper in the bass range but I don't know which its price.

I think that before to think in a spekares change ( Avalon or not for Avalon. ) you can better quality performance with a better phono stage as is the XP25 instead of boths of what you own today.

The other area where you can improve the quality sound is to go for the Etna ( I own the Kleos and I really like it but the Etna is even better. ) and for the XV-1s or the vDh Colibri or My Sonic Labs:

I think that inside your budget you can get all those 3 items I mentioned, this is an example if you go second hand:

The 25 review:

Then after up-grade phono stage and cartridges then ( if I was you ) I think in the speakers, well that's me.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

If you replace your speakers you must be prepared to replace your amps too. Usually, one does not match speakers to amps, it is the other way around. Also, you would want to match amp and preamp and preamp and phono stage. I personally would not replace these Avalons if I was not prepared to replace the electronics. You might get lucky and have no need to change it but I wouldn't count on it. Yes, and cables too.
+1 regarding Duke's questions

Can you tell us a little about what qualities matter the most to you?

Any particular constraints imposed by your listening room?

Anything else that would be a potential deal-breaker or deal-maker?

Answering the above and sharing whatever you feel is important to you will be helpful.

Appreciate your responses. Yes, this is a hard speaker to replace. The thought, popped into my head Sunday night. Get another pair of Avalons. They don't come on the used market often though. Raul, suggested them and when I saw his post, I looked on A'gon. There was the pair of Avalons that popped into my thoughts Sunday night and was posted by Raul. Avalon Eidolons with diamond tweeter.  Must be an Omen ?

I emailed the seller. We are now in communication. Kriss, the seller is in Wasilla,AK. I am an ex-Alaskan. A flight to AK,I can inspect and listen to them, and wife and I get a trip to Alaska. ( Would actually be a vacation and a chance to visit friends in Eagle, AK.)  We would rent a u-haul truck and enjoy the trip back. Spring in Alaska and Canada and "Outside" would be very nice. Hard on me, but worth it. 

No chance of damage during shipping. I have plenty of miles for 1st class tickets. Except for size, you could hardly tell them from mine.

Thanks again and best to All

Still thinking about your Eidolons, I live in (Chicago) four0fiveseven6seven5. Let's stay in touch. I think that we communicated once before. If I remember right, you are on your way to retirement in Colorado. You were looking for MIT ICs at the time for your Spectral gear at the time.

My MIT SCs and ICs are a good match with my Pass Lab gear. The deal breaker for me, is the speaker terminals on the bottom of the speakers. My Avalon Opus are the same and my Thiels before them. A PITA, especially with my MS condition, even with my wife helping. Only clean the connections once a year, but would not look forward to it. Wife and I are getting up there in age too. 150 lbs. , I am not sure that she can handle them.

Are your Eidolons finished in Cherry ? The pictures look just like mine. Are you the original owner ? As I said above, we would fly to Anchorage, get a car, come to your place to inspect and listen to them. I would bring my MIT speaker cables. We will get them hooked-up. Are you a vinyl or digital guy ? I am a vinyl guy but do have a few CDs.

Can't think of anything else right now. Hope that you are able to figure out number. Calling would be best. Good luck finding a buyer for the Spectral gear. Just sold my Spectral gear to one guy, took almost 2 years.
Personally we wouldn't recommend this move. 

One of the best sounding speakers at Axpona is available at $36k which is the new Vimberg Tonda. The Tonda was extraordinary, in terms of both its musicality, and value for money. 

The build quality is off the charts, and the drivers are all the latest from Acuton and you can even get the speakers with a pure diamond tweeter which is a much newer and vastly superiror version to the one that Avalon was using years ago.

There is also a smaler version the Mimo for $29k.

Loudspeaker technlogy has advanced considerably. Used to sell Avalon's so know what you like the Vimbergs are very Avalon like with better fit and finish and for a very good price point for such a remarkable loudspeaker. 

The Vimberg were one of the best sounding speakers at Axpona and cost a fraction of the price of many of the crazy expensive speakers out there.

We are not a dealer but were so impressed we are trying to get the line.

So right now not easy to hear but the Canadian distributor Wynn Audio might be able to assist you with a demo. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ