The Audio Physic Avanti Speakers Conquering Inner Space

By Jeff Dorgay

One of the toughest hurdles to overcome in a small to medium sized listening environment is where to put the speakers.

So often, we’d love big speaker sound, but don’t have the room, and sometimes that rules out a subwoofer or two as well. Emily Duff’s “Needledrop Blues” kicks off the Avanti audition and these speakers immediately impress with their range and clarity.

Cabinet speakers are always at war, fighting physics, on multiple levels. You need a big woofer to move air, but a smaller front panel minimizes diffraction and helps to make the speaker disappear in the room – hence the popularity of mini monitors. Some manufacturers (Audio Physic included) work around this issue with side mounted woofers, yet I always find this configuration a bit tough to optimize. The Avanti solves this problem brilliantly with the 8-inch woofer integrated in it’s own cabinet inside the speaker that fires sideways but breathes downward thru the narrow opening at the bottom of the front baffle.

The usually loose, whumpy bass line in the opening of Anja Garbarek’s “Her Room” is solidly locked down, while Garbarek’s wispy vocals enter the mix, with violins and electronic ambient sounds everywhere. The killer is when the ProTools induced record scratches come in, they sound eerily real – and this nearly always sounds fake. Much like the complex percussive texture of hand claps, record surface noise is tough to fake. An odd test; but revealing of the Avanti’s capabilities.

Segue to setup

After a quick unbox, all that is needed is to attach the feet. Being that our listening rooms are concrete slabs with rugs over the top, the spikes are easy to use and make minute adjustments to get the rake/time alignment just perfect.  

The Avanti’s only take up about a 12 x 16-inch footprint (this includes the dimension of the base) and weigh only 52 pounds each, so you should have no problem moving them about in your listening environment. Thanks to that internal woofer, the Avanti’s were up and rolling in about 20 minutes. Starting in the spot where most speakers tend to sound good in room two, a slight bit of fine tuning rake angle and toe-in had us diving into the music quickly. These speakers have wide dispersion thanks to the soft dome covered cone tweeter. They even sound great way off axis, so all can partake in hi-fi goodness, you don’t have to be locked in the sweet spot.

AP lists the Avanti sensitivity at 88db/1 watt along with nominal 4-ohm impedance, yet on all the tube amplifiers we tried but the Audio Research REF 75SE, they performed their best with the 8-ohm tap, so feel free to experiment for best results. You can’t get it terribly wrong, but the difference between the 4 and 8-ohm taps will show up as better upper bass solidity and slightly more dynamic oomph with the perfect match.

Running a wide gamut of amplifiers from the 20 watt per channel tube Nagra 300P to the Pass XA200.8 monoblocks, there were no rocks in the road. Tubes or transistors both prove an excellent match as well as the stunning PS Audio Stellar S300, which is a class A/class D hybrid amplifier. Unless you need to play music at earsplitting levels, 25-60 watts per channel in an average sized room should be all you ever need. Again, emphasis on quality over quantity, because of the level of detail these speakers can serve up. A single pair of binding posts makes connecting to any cables a breeze.

Those needing extra details on the tech bits, please click here.

Lack of listener fatigue

These speakers tip the scales at $8,500 – $9,000, depending on finish, makes use of AP’s latest generation their proprietaryhyper-holographic midrange and tweeter, previously reserved for their top range speakers, with the appropriate tweaks done to the crossover makes for incredible clarity without any harshness or fatigue. AP claims to have lowered overall distortion dramatically with these changes, and they are certainly non-fatiguing.

Our review samples arrived in the rosewood high gloss finish, which got major style points from everyone that had a chance to audition them. Until you run the back of your hand across them in person, the photos don’t do justice to how stunningly smooth the finish is. I wish the paint on my BMW was half this good.

An enveloping soundstage and low distortion make for a pair of speakers that keep you glued in your listening chair. Some speakers are great for a short test listen, but are easy to lose interest in. The Avanti’s are weekend speakers. The Avanti’s are whole-album speakers. They strike such a nice balance of resolution, natural tonality, and low distortion, it’s a breeze to just play the whole album, rather than bounce around a playlist. Even when streaming from TIDAL, queuing up the entire album, or swimming in a particular artist for hours is wonderful. An extended superset of Neil Cowley’s delightful piano lasted well after the sun went down, as did a long day of Miles Davis. I suggest Loud, Louder, Stopand Bitches Brew, respectively to really show off what these mighty yet compact speakers can do.

Ticking the rest of the boxes

The Avanti’s resolution plays the analog card perfectly – helping you to see way into your favorite recordings. Tracking through Anne Bisson’s Four Seasons in Jazz: Live at Bernie’sis a superbly clear contemporary jazz recording, and having heard Ms. Bisson sing live a few times, the combination of the Avanti’s and her recent vinyl release is incredibly close to the real thing. Especially for a pair of speakers at this price. This is the kind of clarity you’d expect to pay much more for.

An about face back to some early Thievery Corporation, it’s clear there is no lack of deep bass, and a quick barrage of test tones confirm that the Avanti’seasily hit their lower frequency limit of 32hz with ease and strength. The Avanti images like a top-shelf mini monitor, yet offer more than enough bass extension to play any music with ease. And you won’t have to buy a pair of stands! Rounding out the picture, there are a wide variety of colors and finishes, making it easy to incorporate a pair of Avanti’sinto any environment, from traditional to ultra-modern.

Sheer audio ease

The Audio Physic Avanti’s have quickly become a favorite around here. Other than the last bit of super deep bass, which requires you to spend way more than the $8,500/pair asking price, they offer a level of clarity and resolution found in the world’s finest speakers at any price. The Avanti’s can work well as a building block or as a destination. Their only real limit will be the quality of components you use to drive them. They will deliver very good results with something as modest as a $900 Rega Brio amplifier and OPPO 205 disc player driving them, yet they will provide world-class sound with a stack of five-figure components.

If that’s not exceptional value, I don’t know what is. Consider the Avanti’s duly awarded for 2018. And one of my personal favorites. This is a pair of speakers I could certainly live happily ever after with.

The Audio Physic Avanti
$8,500 – $9,000/pair (finish dependent) (North American Distributor)  (Manufacturer)