Gershman Grande Avant Garde Loudspeakers, VAC Master Preamp, Nordost Cables

Look at that photo and notice the elegant wood grille on the Gershman Acoustics Grande Avant Garde loudspeaker ($13,000/pair). How good does that speaker look in person? I put a high value on imaging and what an orchestra looks like between the speakers. Therefore, I prefer speakers with grilles: Exposed drivers distract me from the sound and the illusion. With those grilles in place, the Gershmans have the most elegant, three-dimensional presentation! The Grande Avant Garde's images have a way of not simply floating between the speakers—instead, the sound feels grounded, and images rise up with a better sense of height information than most loudspeakers. These Gershmans are descriptive, but not hi-fi etchy-sketchy. Impressive.

Associated equipment included a VAC Master preamplifier and Nordost cables all around.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Those Grande Avant Garde loudspeakers may have high SAF (Spouse acceptance factor) ....... May be Stereophile could review them? :- ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

(Many) Speakers are one of those things that don't look good 'naked' :-) .........

RH's picture

Exposed drivers distract me from the sound and the illusion. With those grilles in place,

That is the first time I've ever seen a reviewer express the same sentiment I share regarding speaker drivers and grills!

When the drivers are exposed - and quite a few speakers feature particularly gauche-looking arrays of drivers! - the visual cue always makes me conscious of the fact of where the sound is actually coming from. A drum cymbal shimmer will "come from the tweeter" - hey isn't that a great tweeter!?? Etc.

With a good set of grills on, for me the speakers better remove themselves as obvious transducers of the sound. They become more like pieces of furniture around which the music just appears.

This is why for me it's optimal for a speaker I'm looking at to be designed sonically to work best with grills on, as well as aesthetically. One problem is that so many speaker manufacturers seem to expect audiophiles to listen with drivers exposed that the grills are offered more as an after-thought. And they look that way: sticking out in an ungainly way just plastered to the speaker.
Where some manufacturers do a better aesthetic job of integrating the grills in to the design. (My current Thiel 2.7 speakers are to me a perfect example. Sound great with the grills on, and look extremely elegant and coherent with the grills on).