...and I agree with both of the above and certainly 5 stars from me!
I auditioned several speakers, Aegis Neo 4's, the Aviano 6's, several Missions, and a range of castles, the Aviano 8 came out on top. I listen to just about everything, classical tracks or film scores have a fantastic natural, yet deep and powerful sound. They can be elegant, every instrument being seperated out, and within a split second change into a powerful yet detailed sound. They handle rock music well, the guitars and highs never being too much, some speakers can really scream and become harsh at volume with this type of music making them hard to listen to at volume - but not the Aviano's, they take it in their stride. For those that like R&B or other urban music the Avianos have bass in spades, but here is the thing, you don't just hear a deep droning - you can actually hear the note and instrument, there is a difference. I've been running mine in for the past 48 hours (I just can't turn them off!), and they are just getting better, they cope with any style of music I throw at them and are a fantastic buy (bought to replace my Royd Doublet's). My Royds have a fantstic natural sound, but these take audio to the next level. To truely get the best you need a decent CD source or FLAC audio running through them as I am sure most people will do, although with testing how forgiving they are on regularly encoded mp3's they can still strip apart the sound and give a great sound on 320kbps or even 190 suprisingly! You must pair them with an amp with enough oomph to drive them though. My old 35w NAD couldn't drive these, I also tried a number of the new Cambridge Audio and Marantz amps - anything under 75w was having to get up to three-quarters to get them to a decent level. I opted to pair them with a Yamaha A-S500, it seemed to match perfectly, it drives them effortlessly up to one quarter volume, something which the CA and Marantz struggled with, and you could tell in the somewhat harsher sound from them. The Yamaha makes the Avianos sound smooth and superb. Very good indeed and highly recomended as a pair of solo floor standers - just make sure you audition them with your amp or several others if buying one at the same time.
I agree totally with Jelk ...the Aviano 8 needs to be driven a bit harder to show its true authority ..then its bass slam as well as bass depth will rock you. (Compared to its smaller brother, the Aviano 6, which shows its character right from the start.) The main advantage of the Aviano 8 is that its smooth treble and rich full bodied mids will not scream at you when playing loud like most other metal dome speakers. So YES an amazing and a lot of speaker for the money ..a 5 star from me that is for sure! Tiens (audio enthusiast)
The Aviano 8's are a fabulous speaker, and although the 'What Hi Fi' team's review is spot on, I'm surprised they didn't award the Aviano 8's a fifth star. Mature is good and costs money to achieve, and yet the Aviano 8's can muster up a storm when playing harder and louder style's of music, be it metal, hard rock, grunge or full blasted symphony hits as in 'Sigfried's Funeral March' by Wagner. I won't argue the subjective notion of likeable sound, but other more tangible things can be noted and tested simply by using your ears. Playing Hank Mobley's 'Two and One' off the 24 bit remastered 'High Voltage' album, in a direct comparison with B&W 684's, using a Yamaha A S-1000 amp and the matching S-1000 cd player, the Aviano 8's show far more detail and clarity in the high frequency range and far more overall tightness when played loud ( about 4 on the volume dial). In my opinion, the Aviano 8's just about outperform the 3-way B&W 683's as well, despite the noticeable price difference. In Australia, where the retail price of all british speakers is ridiculously pumped up (B&W CM7's retail at more than 1500 pounds - AUD $3000!, while the B&W 684's are AUD $2000 - more than 1000 pounds! - China must be much closer to Britain than Australia?), Mordaunt Short have cut their prices to a point where the Aviano 8's, which retail at 750 pounds in the UK, are actually around 150 pounds cheaper in Australia than the B&W 684's. In this context, any person buying speakers in Australia should seriously consider the Mordaunt Short Aviano and Mezzo ranges over any B&W speakers in the 600 and 700 ranges, including the latest CM series - to which the Mezzo 8's are easily comparable but far less costly. To me it appears that B&W's trendy reputation of late clouds some issues as to tweeter performance and general instrument separation where Mordaunt Short constitute far more value for money in areas that usually cost a lot more to incorporate into a speaker's performance. While the Aviano 8's don't let their hair down, as the team suggests, believe me when I say that playing them through a Harmon Kardon HK990 high current amp, you will definitely have your own hair flying loose and all over the place...I might add that I also compared the B&W 684's to the Aviano 8's by feeding the Aviano 8's through a Yamaha A S-700 and CD S-700 while retaining the superior S-1000 amp and cd player for the B&W's; the results were the same: the Aviano 8's perform better and sweat less, and they are also easier to drive, despite B&W's so called 'superior sensitivity'. What B&W do well is mask the fact that the 600 series behave much more like 4ohm speakers than 8ohm or 6 ohm speakers, which is why they seem to need more amp power to work well than any speaker in the Aviano or Mezzo ranges. That 3 ohm dip in the lower end and the greater surface-to-air ration in the kevlar weaving might provide a clus as to why speakers with a rated sensitivity of 90db seem to sound less efficeint than speakers with a sensitivity of 88-89db made by Mordaunt short - whose speakers, by the way, don't dip into the 3 ohm area but stay above the 4 ohm mark all throughout.
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