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Loudspeakers | floor-standing


Manufacturer: AVATAR AUDIO
Price (when reviewed): 17 800 PLN/pair

16-010 Osowicze 64a


Provided for test by: AVATAR AUDIO


Images: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Marek Dyba

No 203

April 1, 2021

AVATAR AUDIO - a company run by CEZARIUSZ ANDREJCZUK, whose core offer are loudspeakers. Their design differs from the ones commonly used today, although - from the technical point of view - there is nothing unusual about them. These are ideas from the 1950s-70s. but taken to the extreme. We are testing the Number 3 in a Bamboo enclosure, in the latest version - the Mk II, with an improved crossover.

UMBER 3 (NUMER 3 OR NUMBER THREE - the company uses all types of notation) are small floorstanders. You can immediately see that we are dealing with an interesting proposition, both in terms of the cabinet material, its shape and the drivers used.

Attentive readers of the HIGH FIDELITY have probably noticed that the tested version is already the third one we listen to - the first one we looked at in 2017 (HIGH FIDELITY | № 153 ), and the second in 2018 (HIGH FIDELITY | № 171). The changes between the various versions consisted - first - in changing the cabinet material from MDF boards to bamboo plywood, and now time came for an even more perfect tuning of the crossover. The owner of AVATAR AUDIO, Cezariusz Andrejczuk, always keeps "searching" for a better solutions and is never fully satisfied. Hence the continual tweaks to its speakers.

The company's offer is clearly different than that of the vast majority of manufacturers - just look at the photos. Their designs are based on the NOS paper cone drivers from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. These types of drivers have a relatively small excursion and a negligible diaphragm mass. Their operation was about conveying an impulse as quickly as possible - this type of speaker is very transparent to everything happening in the system before it and to what is happening to it.

It is sensitive, for example, to the type/material of cabinet. Already with the first version of these loudspeakers, I wrote that it took Cezariusz a long time to chose the baffle thickness and shape, and then he experimentally determined where exactly a damping material, felt, should be glued to to minimize reflections. And then he spent as much time tuning crossovers. After changing the cabinet material, nothing changed, except that the whole work had to be redone - it is ultimately a completely different material mechanically .

After refining the cabinet, it turned out that the crossover could be refined as well. The designer spent a lot of time on the latter, winding or unwinding the coils even by millimeters. As he says, each such change brings different phase shifts to the system, and they "are responsible for creating an illusion of the presence of musicians in the room". It's a job that never ends.

A few simple words…

Owner, designer

⸜ AVATAR AUDIO’s owner checking setup of his speakers in the HIGH FIDELITY system.

HOLOPHONY NUMER 3 BAMBOO Mk II is a new version of the model that has been known for 7 years. The only difference compared to the previous one is only - or as big as - a completely redesigned crossover. As in last year's Holophony Number 2 Mk II model, an intensive work on equalizing the crossover’s bandwidth resulted in a significant enlargement of the sound stage with an increase precision of the location and separation of phantom images, greater tonal saturation, increased resolution and micro-dynamics. And because - as I have emphasized several times - the crossover is responsible for at least 2/3 of the sound quality of the loudspeakers, the Mark II version can be considered a new Holophony model.



WE HAVE MET WITH THE NUMBER 3 already twice. Constant upgrades resulted in significant changes to the sound, although the drivers used in them remain the same. Both belong to the group of NOS products, i.e. they are new, but they were produced many years ago and have not been produced for a long time. Both feature paper cones and both are cone drivers. They also have modern suspensions - the tweeter with a diameter of ø 100 mm, made of paper, and the mid-woofer with a diameter of ø 250 mm, made of rubberized canvas.

The Number 3 Mk II loudspeakers are two-way designs with a bass-reflex cabinet, with the port located on the rear panel. It is closed with plugs that - if we want to deepen the bass - can be taken out. However, Cezariusz believes that by doing so one worsens the impulse rendering, and thus the sound. The precision is also improved by decoupling the loudspeakers standing on four feet. These are magnetic ball feet with cork washers.

The crossover is extremely minimalist. It took the designer several years to reach this state; there are only three elements in it: a coil for the mid-woofer, a capacitor and a resistor - in the tweeter path. The crossover in these loudspeakers is closed in a separate box inside the cabinet, and the box is decoupled from it. In order for such a reduction to be successful at all, both elements are selected with a precision that could be called "exaggerated", if not for the effects: the loudspeakers are extremely resolving and each, even slight, inaccuracy results in a deterioration of signal processing.


HOW WE LISTENED The tested loudspeakers stood in the place where the Harbeth M40.1 usually stand, 236 cm from each other, counting from their center, and 258 cm from the listening position, counting from the center of the tweeter. They were toed in in such a way that the tweeters were aimed directly at the listening position. The speakers were set up personally by the owner of the company.

I used two amplifiers to drive them - a separate system, consisting of the Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier (tube) and the Soulution 710 power amplifier (transistor) and the LEBEN CS600X integrated amplifier (tube). For the Leben, I used a Western Electric speaker cable from the 1940s (NOS). As it turned out - it was a much better match.

Recordings used for the test | a selection

AUDIOPHILE ANALOG COLLECTION Vol. 1 + Vol. 2, 2xHD Fusion 2HDFT-C1143/1167 | 2 x CD (2020);
FILIA PRAECLARA, Ensemble Peregrina, Divox CDX-70603, CD (2008)
IL CANTO D’ORFEO, wyk. Il Trionfo del Tempo, Et’Cetera | Klara KTC 4030, CD (2009)
LUDI MUSICI, wyk. Hesperion XXI, dyr. Jordi Savall, Alia Vox AV 9853, CD (2007)
OKIHIKO SUGANO RECORDING WORKS, Stereo Sound SSSA 1, „Stereo Sound Reference Record”, SACD/CD, (2007) w: Mori Shima, Okihiko Sugano Recording Works Discography, Stereo Sound Publishing Inc., Tokyo 2007;
⸜ FRANK SINATRA, Nice’N’Easy. 60th Anniversary Edition, Capitol Records/Universal Music LLC (Japan) UICY-15883, CD (1960/2020)
⸜ GUILLAUME DU FAY, Diabolus in Musica, Antoine Guerber, Alpha 908, CD (2007)
⸜ PATRICIA BARBER, Companion, Premonition Records/Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDSACD 2023, SACD/CD (1999/2003);

THESE ARE THE BEST CEZARIUSZ LOUDSPEAKERS I've listened to. Not the most expensive ones at all, not the most complicated at all, but still, it seems to me, the best. Where did it come from? After all, I listened to a more expensive model and it should have been the better one, right? - Yes it's true. However, we are dealing with a designer who constantly improves something in his designs and it may happen - as it happened this time - that the sum of the corrections introduced to the cheaper model resulted in a sound of this class. And this probably means that soon, after introducing similar changes to the higher model, the balance will be restored and it will be the better one.

The class of these speakers relies on flawless sound coherence. I could hear that with the powerful Soulution 710 amplifier, but it was even more obvious with the Leben CS600X. Maybe it wasn’t very resolving sound, but it was more even - with the Soulution the vocals were heard a bit as if the signers had formed a tube in front of the mouth. There was no trace of it with Leben. And this means that this particular Avatar Audio loudspeaker model must be driven by an amplifier with the lowest possible feedback, and preferably with no global feedback at all.

We will then receive a presentation of extraordinary colors and resolution. And, it's extremely important, with a very wide bandwidth. I started the test by listening to the Patricia Barber’s Companion, because there is such a beautiful bass on it, and an excellent treble that it allows you to "feel" the loudspeakers and define their "range" in a short listening session, so to speak. I didn't do it out of spite, i.e. to show that the cone drivers cannot reproduce the upper treble, or to point out that paper, almost stationary woofers cannot play bass. I was just curious.

Avatar Audio loudspeakers driven by Leben sounded low, sounded high, and above all sounded natural. Even in extremely difficult elements, such as the Hammond organ, they showed their true timbre, that is, penetration and saturation. The bass extended very low, and the cymbals and percussion instruments, so important in the cover of the Santana's Black Magic Woman, had a proper shine and density.

But most of all, these speakers showed a fantastic energy transfer. The Barber album is a live recording, and in addition, a technically perfect one. Loudspeakers of the Holophony Number 3 Mk II’s class are able to really take us to the club, they are so fast that we can hear not only timbre, not only dynamics and space, but also the energy of a live performance. This was confirmed by the recordings from the 2x HD sampler Audiophile Analog Collection Vol. 2, puristically recorded on tape, using two microphones. This is what the tested speakers like best - the truth.

Avatars fantastically deconstruct the space, putting it back together in front of us a moment later. I mean, they show a lot of layers in stage’s depth, albeit a little less in its breadth. To accommodate all this, they bring the foreground closer, especially those elements that are on the listening axis. But not all at once, because they do not pull up the back layers that are directly ahead. No - the rear layers remain far away, further than with most loudspeakers, and simply the foreground, like Barber's vocals, is at listener’s fingertips. If something should be further away, like the cymbals from Lights of Barcelona, it will remain there and it will be shown in a large space.

The multi-track recordings featuring many layers, with various reverb on - say - vocals and instruments will sound slightly different. Frank Sinatra from the Nice'n'Easy sounded nice, dense and coherent. But the loudspeakers also showed that there WERE different sound layers, separating the violin on the right from the brass on the right and the voice itself. On the musical plane it was a beautiful, fantastically rhythmic ride, while in the tonal aspect I could hear more strongly than before that they were slightly different beings.

This does not destroy the pleasure of listening to music, but also makes you look at the recordings with a slightly more critical eye. Avatar Audio loudspeakers did not sound bright or sharp with any disc, but with some, especially those strongly "produced", they sounded real. You can hear a slight emphasis of the midrange and less saturated bass. But let's go back to something outstanding, let it be Barber recordings, the Il Canto D'Orfeo disc by Il Trionfo del Tempo, and we will get coherence, density and pulse again.


KOLUMNY AVATAR AUDIO HOLOPHONY NUMER 3 Mk II są bardzo uniwersalne, to znaczy zagrają z równym zaangażowaniem zarówno jazz z lat 40. i 50., jak i współczesną elektronikę. Mają szerokie pasmo przenoszenia i znakomitą spójność. Ale też zwracają naszą uwagę, czasem mocno, na nagrania dokonane w najlepszy sposób, najbardziej na te, w których, wynikające z postprodukcji, przesunięcia fazowe są najmniejsze. Słychać je wówczas tak, jak wielkie słuchawki założone na nasz pokój.

Mimo swojej uniwersalności to nie są więc kolumny dla wszystkich. Nie ma z nimi „jędrnego” basu, ani „roziskrzonych” blach. To kolumny grające całym planem, a nie poszczególnymi dźwiękami, dlatego też nie zwracamy uwagi na takie detale. Avatary proponują holistyczne podejście do nagrania kosztem lekkiego podkreślenia części środka. Proszę ich koniecznie posłuchać, niezależnie od gustów i upodobań, bo nawet jeśli okaże się, że „to nie to”, będziecie państwo przynajmniej bogatsi o wyjątkowe doświadczenie.


AVATAR AUDIO HOLOPHONY NUMBER 3 Mk II Loudspeakers are very versatile, that is, they will play with equal commitment both jazz from the 1940s and 50s, as well as contemporary electronics. They offer a wide frequency response and an excellent coherence. But they also draw our attention, sometimes strongly, to recordings made in the best way, especially those in which the phase shifts resulting from post-production are the smallest. You can hear them then like big headphones put on in our room.

Despite their versatility, these speakers are not for everyone. There is no "firm" bass with them, nor "sparkling" cymbals. These are loudspeakers that play with the whole plane, not with individual sounds, so we do not pay attention to such details. Avatars offer a holistic approach to the recording at the expense of slightly emphasizing the middle part. Please listen to them, regardless of your tastes and preferences, because even if it turns out that "it's not for you", you will at least gain a unique experience.


HOLOPHONY NUMBER 3 BAMBOO Mk II from Avatar Audio are floor standing, two-way bass-reflex loudspeakers. Their shape is not rectangular, because the front baffle is slightly sloped and the back has a rounded top. Tilt helps with speaker time alignment, while rounding minimizes standing waves inside the cabinet and helps disperse the sound wave. The tweeter is embedded in a wide horn, the surface of which is covered with black felt. There are no visible screws anywhere except the bottom panel - that's because the drivers are mounted from the inside, through the hole on the bottom panel.

Nothing has changed in the fact that the designer of the tested loudspeakers believes that the crossover results in 70% of the sound quality of the loudspeakers and he pays the most attention to them. The circuit used in the Bamboo version consists of only three elements: a ribbon, waxed coil, a resistor and a capacitor. The latter is a combination of several smaller ones (from the 1960s and 1970s) to achieve an accuracy of 0.01 μF. The elements of the crossover are enclosed in an internal housing, which is decoupled from the main cabinet.

The drivers are carefully selected and matched so that they differ in parameters as little as possible. Even though these are NOS type drivers, so they are old, they were made in a way not to age, unlike many modern designs. Both come from Germany from the 1970s - the midwoofer from the beginning of this decade. This is a shortly produced version with a power handling of 35 W, with an AlNiCo magnet, and therefore rare. The good news is that Cezariusz has enough supplies in case a replacement is needed.

The loudspeakers look sleek, nice and will fit perfectly into the modern interiors, decorated in the style of the 1950s and 1960s.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Power handling: 20 W
Impedance: 4 Ω
Sensitivity: 92 dB
Frequency range: 30 – 18 000 Hz
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1030 x 290 x 300 mm
Weight: 20 kg/pc.