For the last couple of years, the Avantgarde Acoustics room has been one of the most crowded at High End in Munich. And why not? Gigantic horns in a big room are a big draw–as I found out in the ESD Acoustic room. This year, instead of their flagship Trio speaker with the big bass module so large you could walk around in it, this German company brought their smaller Avantgarde Duo GT speakers and a slightly pared down system that included Esoteric amplification.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
Not that the Avantgarde Duo GT is your typical pared-down speaker. It’s still big, it’s still dynamic and it plays louder than just about anything I’ve heard. That’s why the room is so popular at the Munich show–it’s where you go to get your face blasted off. So that brings up a conundrum, at least for me.
I really like Avantgarde Acoustics. I first heard a pair way back in the ’90s, and I knew how special and how different they were. Other speakers, ones that you probably think are among the best, can sound a little flat and lifeless after a listening session with something like the Avantgarde Duo GTs. I believe that’s why Avantgarde endures year after year–this is an energetic transducer that immediately impresses most of the humans out there. Our founder and publisher, Scot Hull, is obsessing over them right now. These might be endgame speakers for him.
I’m getting to be an old guy. An old guy who still loves to crank up Tool and System of a Down and the Mars Volta, but also an audiophile who is getting to the point where he listening at more serene volume levels than ever before. And it must be way too tempting to present a pair of speakers like the Avantgarde Duo GTs without succumbing to its destructive allure. As my dad used to tell my older brother and me back in the ’70s, “Turn that crap down!”
I’m glad I got that off my chest. I still dig these speakers, and I wouldn’t say no to a pair in my living room. But this room is THE gathering place for show attendees who want to feel their pant legs flap in the wind, and I’m starting to avoid rooms where they just want to remove your recalcitrant nose hairs with a flame thrower. I’d love to sit down with this otherwise exquisite system and maybe listen to a small string ensemble or somethin’. It’s not you, Avantgarde, it’s me.
I will say one thing about this pair of Avantgarde Duo GTs, and you’re probably already figured it out from the photographs. Those textured gold horns are shockingly beautiful in person. Many large speakers qualify as visual works of art, but the Avantgarde Duo GTs are sculptures that wouldn’t be out of place in a museum.
But if I come to Munich next year, I’m going into this room to ask them if I can have about five minutes of serenity. I know they can do it.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from Munich 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 latest collaboration – a solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800g of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top which also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.