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Robb Design Portfolio: Immaculate Connection

Bailey S. Barnard

Horn speakers, most audiophiles agree, provide greater headroom, more accurate acoustic imaging, and better detail than do any other loudspeaker designs. The horns of Germany’s Avantgarde Acoustic (www.avantgarde-acoustic.com) are especially revered for their fidelity. The company’s $36,000-per-pair Duo Grosso speakers (single horn shown), for example, deliver 107 dB of sensitivity with a staggering 18-ohm impedance. These characteristics lend clarity and precision to the music, but they also make flaws in the audio-signal path more perceptible. Amplifiers usually are the source of these flaws, so Avantgarde developed its own line of amps. The new XA Series, which includes a $13,600 preamplifier and a $12,800 power amplifier, produces a signal path that is clean and clear and worthy of the company’s speakers. Like Avantgarde’s horns, the XA amps can be customized to suit a wide range of aesthetic preferences, for a sight as divine as the sound.

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