The buzz about the big Avantgarde Acoustics room was thick in the air at High End 2022 in Munich. Also thick? The crowds in the big Avantgarde room. I think half the show attendees could be found in either this room of the big Nagra/Wilson room. Remember in the early days of high-end audio shows when a queue would form in front of these big rooms? They no longer queue up. They pile in, like it’s a Tokyo subway car.
If you’ve never been in a big Avantgarde room like this, it’s disconcerting at first. These massive horn speakers don’t sound like most other speakers, and fans of Avantgarde Acoustics tend to think this is “the one true sound” and that every other transducer falls short. Scot Hull fell under their spell at AXPONA 2022 last month, and I can understand why: I wrote about my first Avantgarde experience back in 1998 and I felt the same way.
That Avantgarde Acoustics Trio G3 system sound has a open, direct quality with seemingly unlimited dynamics, and that’s why it sounds so much like a live performance. It’s got energy and crackle and excitement that most systems can’t quite muster. In the big Avantgarde room, the tremendous Trios were augmented by a system of fairy-tale proportions: Wadax, SME, CH Precision were all there. (Someone told me that Wadax Reference DAC starts at $140,000 euros. For a DAC. But look at that thing.)
The prices of the Trio G3 are, as you might expect, a little daunting. The passive version of the speakers start at $91,000 pr USD, but the giant SpaceHorn, which contains folded 7′ horns, runs another $88,000 pr USD. From there you can opt for powered and wireless options and external crossovers. This shouldn’t surprise you. Again, just look at it.
How does it sound? That’s where I’m going to let you down. The big Avantgarde room was packed, almost impossibly so, and you know how hard it is to listen past all those warm, sweaty bodies. (Why is Germany always so hot and humid in May?) While the tremendous force raised goosebumps on a consistent basis, I did miss a lot of focus with the imaging. Again, that’s not the system’s fault. Maybe I should have arranged for a private after-hours audition, but the interest was way too high and the line would have been way too long.
That just means I can’t, with journalistic integrity, report that I heard something phenomenal. I did suspect it was there, just buried in the moist, quivering flesh of all those ecstatic show-goers. That means I need to spend more time in a big Avantgarde room, wherever that may be, and experience these one-of-a-kind speakers at their very best.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from HIGH END 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.