unclepuncle

Avantgarde Zero 1 Pro - The End Game?

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There has been a lot of interest in my recently acquired Avantgarde Zero 1 Pro's so having had them for a couple of days now I thought would post some initial thoughts.

I bought them ex-dem from the Danish Avantgarde distributor ArtSound for what I considered a terrific price (well I wouldn't have bought them otherwise:P), especially as they were in the black finish rather than the much more common white. TBH I was surprised that nobody else on the Wam had bought a pair yet given their pedigree, the love of all thing 'horny' and the glowing comments from the Wam posse that went to the Munich show for the last couple of years. Plus there are plenty of glowing reviews online.

For those that don't know they are fully active with built in dac and preamp - you just add a digital source and away you go. I'm using a North Star Design 192 CD Transport which outputs a 96khz digital stream via AES/EBU (via a DH Labs cable), and a Logitech Transporter (via a cheap optical cable).

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As many wammers will know I have a relatively small room (12ft x 9ft approx with a chimney breast reducing the width to just 7.5ft in the middle section of the room). Having said that it has a high ceiling and decent room acoustics and every speaker I've had (which is many!!) has sounded pretty good in there.

Avantgarde recommend a minimum of a 10ft equilateral triangle between speakers and listener (they seem to have them about 20ft apart at shows) so obviously I am way short of that.

The floor of my room is pretty uneven and it rises towards the walls so the outside corner of a speaker is always higher than the inside - normally you would adjust the spikes to level them but there are no spikes on the Avanatgarde stand. Instead (as can be seen in the photo) I have used squares of Sounddeadsteel - one under the outside front corner and a stack of 3 under the inside front corner. This also helps tilt the speaker up slightly which helps direct the tweeter at my ear given my relative near field listening position. The only other option to tweak is to the volume of the bass response - a set of 8 dip switches (hidden behind a magnetically attached panel on the back which I only found today:oops:) enables you to adjust the bass volume in db steps from -4 to +4 . Now I have found the switches I have turned it down to -2db, though might try -1db later.

The system is then controlled by the remote - a large cylindrical metal device which is rather natty.:cool:

So how do they sound? In a word fabulous.:^

With the bass turned down to -2db they are very clean and transparent with tonnes of detail and little spatial clues. The lower end is still seriously crunchy and surprsingly tight for a 12" driver in such small room. The midrange, as you would expect from a horn, is fast and dynamic, yet seems to be very neutral.

Voices hang in space and seem to have more nuance than I'm used to. Strings, pianos and guitars have real attack but also plenty of weight and long decay which is something I really look for.

Considering what you get for your money (£11k rrp but available, if you know where to look, for £7k or less used) and what they replace (speakers, pre and power amps and dac) these really are a land mark product, and should be in far more homes. Superb build quality, ease of use and properly serious sound quality. Lifestyle without the compromises.;-)

Obviously if vinyl is your main source they might not be for you - there is an analogue-to-digtal board option but I doubt this would be acceptable to real serious vinyl nuts with their Io's.:nup:

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I'm one of the tempted.

But have restricted myself to a 'one in, one out' philosophy on hi-fi (cars....)

Plus, for now, my Ocellias take some beating.

But, as you say, removing all the boxes -and wires - is a benefit.

So, anyone wanting to swap a set for lovely handcrafted Ocellias......

(I did wonder if you'd bought a s/hand set.)

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Nice write up Paul.:^

I love the simplicity of them, and having heard a couple from the AG stable I have a clue what they sound like. Expansive, effortless and airy has been my experience thus far, but with a rock solid bottom end that drives everything along and involves you with the music.

I'm a big fan of big speakers for this reason, and this package is very tempting indeed. The issue of no analogue options is a pretty big one though, especially since the people that spend this much on speakers tend to have a hefty vinyl front end too. That's not an attempt to stereotype, but if you look at the profiles of the bigger spenders around the Wam etc...

I'd probably need to sell my vinyl rig to buy a pair anyway, so it's all win.:D

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Nice write up Paul.:^

I love the simplicity of them, and having heard a couple from the AG stable I have a clue what they sound like. Expansive, effortless and airy has been my experience thus far, but with a rock solid bottom end that drives everything along and involves you with the music.

I'm a big fan of big speakers for this reason, and this package is very tempting indeed. The issue of no analogue options is a pretty big one though, especially since the people that spend this much on speakers tend to have a hefty vinyl front end too. That's not an attempt to stereotype, but if you look at the profiles of the bigger spenders around the Wam etc...

I'd probably need to sell my vinyl rig to buy a pair anyway, so it's all win.:D

Rick it looks like there is an analogue input option

4EyleG8S4aZyxscX.jpg

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Rick it looks like there is an analogue input option

4EyleG8S4aZyxscX.jpg

But unless I'm mistaken this will still take your phonostage output and then digitise it - which rather defeats the whole point (or principle) of sticking with analogue playback.

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But unless I'm mistaken this will still take your phonostage output and then digitise it - which rather defeats the whole point (or principle) of sticking with analogue playback.

Ah I see what you mean, fair point :^

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But unless I'm mistaken this will still take your phonostage output and then digitise it - which rather defeats the whole point (or principle) of sticking with analogue playback.
That wouldn't necessarily bother me at all. Most if not all of the vinyl I buy will have come from a digital master. I buy it because the DR is usually better. As long as the ADC is transparent it's all good.

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Ah I see what you mean, fair point :^

A ot of LPs are digitally recorded so...?

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Been tempted a number of times so well done for taking the plunge. They seemed a perfect replacement for my Opals and gear but then went and bought Impulse Ta'us so twas not to be. Love to hear another pair though.

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