Avatar Acoustics

In his Avatar Acoustics room, Darren Censullo put together a system featuring a Feickert Analogue Blackbird turntable ($7495) with Feickert’s DFA 10.5 tonearm ($1000) and Lyra Kleos cartridge (review to come from Michael Fremer), Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) CD-77.1 CD player ($10,995), AMR PH-77 phono preamp ($11,995, recently reviewed by Michael Fremer and John Atkinson), and AMR AM-77.1 integrated amplifier ($9995). Speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords were Acoustic System International’s LiveLine ($995/1m interconnect; $2100/2.4m cable; $1195/1.8m power cord). The gear was supported by an Acoustic System 3-shelf rack ($3500) and Acoustic System International Top Line feet ($750). Power distribution came from an Avatar Acoustics Mach 4 ($1995) and Avatar Acoustics Afterburner 8 wall outlet ($80). Acoustic System International Resonators were carefully placed around the perimeter of the room, near where the walls met the ceiling.

Censullo seemed most excited, however, to introduce the attractive Rosso Fiorentino Volterra loudspeaker from Italy, a compact floorstander utilizing 6.5” and 8” Nomex woofers held in place by a vibration-damping system; 1.125” soft dome tweeter; and an interesting crossover circuit housed in a isolated and damped box at the center of it all, effectively separating the cabinet in two halves. In addition, the speaker’s front panel is designed to allow the user to insert a Murata supertweerer, responsible for frequencies up to 100Hz.

Censullo explained that he had an extraordinarily easy time setting up the Volterras because their acoustically suspended woofer meant he didn’t have to worry about positioning for clean bass response. Of course, he added, the Acoustic Resonators also helped in that regard.

We listened to some sweet soul courtesy The Staple Singers and some driving rock and roll from ZZ Top—Censullo couldn’t contain his smile or his dancing feet—and I was most impressed by the system’s outstanding spatial effects—it was almost as if I was listening through headphones—and the clarity and speed of the attack. Good stuff.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

The Rosso Fiorentino Volterra loudspeaker from Italy, which was introduced at Axpona Jacksonville by Koetsu, helped win that room my best-of-show. I'm very eager to hear its larger brother, which is not yet available.

Nick's picture

I love that Feickert turntable, last time I heard it was at the Salon de Montreal and it was playing a 30 year old beat up old vinyl record and surface noise was non existant. Well made, just have to save up for one now.

Trip's picture

Bravo to the Rossos and the rest of the room. I was helping out inSjofn HiFi's room right next door, showing off their new monitor (the clue), and I ended up going into Avatar's room a few different times to listen to the Rossos. This room was clearly one of my favourites at the show (along with Sjofn HiFi's "Clue", of course!).

Chris's picture

I felt that Darren presented the best sound he has ever had this time. That is saying alot considering that his room always sounds good!Brovo, Darren

Erick Lichte's picture

What's the price on these? Sound interesting.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Hi Erick,I will be extremely jealous if you get the opportunity to review them. But, by all means, go for it. When I first heard them at Axpona, I played the start of Ivan Fischer's recording of Mahler Two. Combined with the electronics on display in that room in Axpona, the timbre of instruments was uncannily like what I hear when I sit in a good prime orchestra seat in Davies Symphony Hall to hear San Francisco Symphony perform.When I returned to the room at Axpona for a second listen, Darren was in there, considering picking them up. I urged him to do so. I'm so happy they're in the hands of a good distributor. On Monday, right after RMAF, I ran into Darren in the Denver airport. He reported lots of dealer interest in the speaker. Once he gets pairs in the hands of five dealers...jason

Erick Lichte's picture

Jason, keep me posted on the dealers if you are still in the loop. I've reviewed so many amplifiers lately that I want to do some speakers in the coming year.