Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Series Two loudspeaker A Dilemma

Sidebar 2: A Dilemma

From early on during my time with the Unos, I started thinking that here was a speaker that had what it takes to dethrone the Dunlavy SC-IV/A as my reference. Continued experience reinforced this notion, but, as I thought about its implications, it became clear that the selection of a reviewer's reference speaker has to involve more than personal preference.

In addition to delivering sound quality, a reference component also has to be suitable for reviewing purposes. Alas, the Uno's design—high sensitivity, integral powered subwoofer—makes the speaker too different from the type of loudspeaker owned by most Stereophile readers, so that reviews of electronics (especially amplifiers) done with the Uno would have limited generalizability. The speaker's size and shape are such that shifting them in and out of the listening room to accommodate other speakers would not be practical. And yet, I didn't want to give up the sound of music as presented by the Unos. What to do...what to do...

Could I set up a second audio system in the living room as an alternate reference? (I already have a home-theater system in the basement.) You'll recall that's where I first set up the Unos, and they sounded pretty good there, too. But that was on a temporary basis. Would my wife, Beverley, accept them as a long-term part of our living-room décor? I knew that she really liked these speakers, but did she like them that much?

Her response: "Only if I can play my records more often!"

Jim Smith is getting a check. The Unos are staying here.—Robert Deutsch