Incredible Loudspeakers: an Avalon Opus Review

The Avalon Opus review was one of the easiest reviews I have ever conducted. And for good reason. They were an absolute pleasure to listen to.

I had heard these speakers for the first time over 9 years ago at Progressive Audio in Columbus Ohio. They very quickly left a lasting impression on me that I couldn’t forget.

Played through a very affordable Audio Research SP16 preamp and an inexpensive Rega CD player, the size of the sound-stage was out of this world. In fact I’m not sure anything I’ve ever heard has surpassed it. A few have come close, such as the EbenLee Audio Instrument II speakers. Which offer better performance in other areas.avalon-opus-loudspeakers

But this midsized Avalon certainly has wonderful imaging and sound-staging. In fact, I don’t think any of their current models image like this old speaker did. Too bad they don’t make them anymore.

The Audio Research SP16 preamp that it was connected to was actually the product that I was interested in hearing at the time. But after hearing these speakers play I quickly realized these loudspeakers were the strong link, not the preamp.

I gigantic sound of space was immediately apparent from the first listen. Images were set from front to back with precision and the stage was the deepest I had ever heard. To be honest I’m not sure I have heard anything stage as deep as this combo since.

We took the speakers upstairs and played them on some much more expensive Audio Research gear in the big room. We hooked them up to the Audio Research tube monos that put out 100 watts per channel.

The giant soundstage that I had heard in the smaller room fell apart and collapsed.

So with this experience I quickly learned during this Avalon Opus Review was that these were some picky speakers. That’s okay, not such a bad thing! You will just need to invest some time to get them to sound their best.

I then had the opportunity to hear the Avalon Opus loudspeaker system with a McCormack DNA 2 amp. This also was a poor match for the Avalon Speaker.

Finally, settling on a Spectral 200 watt amplifier seemed to save the day. This amplifier paired with an Audio Research LS26 tube preamp was an incredible sounding system.

In this system the Avalon Acoustics Opus loudspeaker was one of the very best loudspeakers I have ever heard. But as with all things in audio there are compromises.

Performance limitations:

For some types of music this loudspeaker system is not going to get it done. If you prefer metal music played at jet fighter sound pressure levels you had better look to another design.

But if you prefer acoustical, jazz, orchestral music and live performances and listen at reasonable SPL levels I doubt that you could do better for the price.

The Avalon Opus seem to hold their value very well. On the used market they are fairly difficult to find. Look on www.audiogon.com for these but be patient.

If you give it a few months you may just find a nice pair to purchase. Just expect that you may need to do a little amplifier juggling to bring out their incredible performance potential.

Performathnce Breakdown:

This speaker is an imaging and sound-staging champ.

Speakers disappear incredibly well. Very transparent. Deep sound-staging…

Sound staging: 9 out of 10

Imaging: 8.5 out of 10

Transparency: 7.5 out of 10

Dynamics 6 out of 10

Neutrality: 5 Absolute neutral (neutral- 5)

Value: 6.5 out of 10
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