American Sound of Canada: Avantgarde Acoustics, dCS, VAC, Transparent, VPI, HRS

Toronto-based American Sound of Canada, with Angie Lisi at the helm, had a striking showing at AXPONA: Huge horns. If you saw and heard them, you'd remember them. It was a popular room, so I made an early first stop on Sunday when it wasn't crowded.

The German-made Avantgarde Acoustics Trio G3 horn loudspeaker system with separate Space Horn subs debuted. This latest generation of horns adds active amplification, though the speakers can still be run passively if desired. Each separate horn housing now has its own on-board current-mode amplification, which is neatly tucked away behind the design—as are the cables. (The bass horn subs already had been made with built-in amplification.)

Each Trio speaker's horn arrays are mounted to steel stands, with steel and aluminum back enclosures. These are co-planar for correct time and phase alignment—though the larger tweeter/supertweeter array can now be adjusted forward and backward on its rail to adapt to your room and listening position preferences. A built-in streamer option for Avantgarde's G3 horn speakers is also coming soon, Lisi told me.

The demo setup used the VAC's Statement Line preamplifier and Statement dual mono power supply in a second chassis. Sources included the new dCS Vivaldi DAC with their latest Apex technology and Vivaldi Master Clock and upsampler streaming Tidal through Roon. The electronics were placed on HRS equipment stands. Transparent Cable providing the cabling.

Also remarkable was how well the system "worked" in that 16th floor suite—not a small room but these horn speakers and bass horns are gigantic. These speakers can reportedly be adjusted to almost any room size (within reason, that is) with the new active technology. The system was positioned along the main room's long wall opposite an oversized black leather couch. Sitting there, I felt ensconced in a comfy, homey dream of a listening room. Listening to hypnotic tracks like Dead Can Dance's "Spider's Stratagem" made it hard to leave. Myriad percussion showed plenty of snap, space, immediacy, and clarity. Same for the Afro-Latin grooviness of Juanita Euka's "Alma Seca" on Tidal. Layers were sorted and seemed well placed within the mix, popping in and out of the ether in an airy yet full-bodied presentation. The bass on Kool & The Gang's "Summer Madness" was deep, punchy, and funky. Overall the sound was quick and nimble, unimpeded by usual driver material. They delivered music cleanly without coloration (so far as I noticed).

Herb Reichert's picture

These are active speakers using amplifiers with "current mode" outputs. Is anybody else doing this?

To me, this smells like the future . . .


windansea's picture

Kinda like the Jottenheim R that's designed specifically for the RAAL/Requisite cans?

Aleph5's picture

Current mode is probably way more difficult (and $$$) to implement. This was certainly a pricey system, though I thought it was probably my favorite sounding at this show.

Interesting I checked SPL levels in several rooms and almost always got something very close to 90dB. Same in this room except for the last time I stopped by on Saturday and they were playing something that sounded like it might have been the Afro-Latin artist referred to here. I then measured 100dB, which was well higher than I wanted to try to handle. The system was not sounding at all strained, of course.