The Alexander Suite at this year’s AXPONA was a real treat. It featured one of the new offerings from Avantgarde, the Duo GT, a fully active horn speaker. In case there’s any ambiguity forthcoming, the Avantgarde Duo GT is is the best active speaker I’ve ever heard.
Words and Photos by Matthew Partrick
I have a penchant for horns to begin with, and Avantgarde makes some of the best horns around. Admittedly, they start around $85,000, so I suppose one had better be impressed, but I’ve been underwhelmed by crazy expensive speakers before, some of them at this very show. Like a lot of horns, these Avantgarde Duo GT speakers were just effortless, no strain whatsoever. So crystal clear, with seamless integration. They require a bit of room, however, and a patient spouse.
If 85k is too eye-watering, the Avantgarde Duo GT was also accompanied by a smaller version, the Uno SD, which is partially active and starts at $30,000, with a $16,000 upgrade for fully active features. They’re a little smaller, and cuter too.
The digital source for the Avantgarde Duo GT was the dCS Vivaldi APEX stack, the DAC, upsampler, and master clock. The APEX is dCS’s new DAC topology, the most recent hardware upgrade to their
existing Ring DAC structure. The sound was unparalleled. I think dCS has reached the point where digital is indistinguishable from analog. It’s that good.
Speaking of analog, the disc spinning in the room was provided by the Esoteric Grandioso T1 turntable, starting around $85,000. It features the MagneDrive system, a contact-free magnetic drive that synchronizes the magnetized drive and platter, providing for a virtually friction-free movement that is –extremely- quiet. This is the quietest turntable I’ve ever heard. It is magical.
The cartridge was the Phasemation PP 5000, starting at $20,000. Living up to the standards set
by the other components in the room such as the Avantgarde Duo GT, I was extremely impressed by this cart with which I was relatively unfamiliar. The combination of the TT and cart was dead silent. Like, the tonearm isn’t sitting on the record and the platter is turned off, that silent.
In a room of superlatives, I was extremely impressed. The Avantgarde Duo GT is extraordinary.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 2023, 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.
Also don’t forget to check out our collaboration to commemorate the event with our solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800 grams of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top with also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.