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Avalon Acoustics Arcus
6 Reviews
rating  4.83 of 5
MSRP  6995.00
Description: 2-Way Speaker - 8.5" Woofer and 1" Tweeter


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Maprik a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 18, 2006

Bottom Line:   
The best speaker I have owned in every aspect: musicality, soundstaging, imagery, detail, tonality, smoothness, low level detail, rockability, etc.

Retail price was very steep but on the used market it's worth a try.

Quilted cherry has very high WAF.

Associated Equipment:
PS Audio PCA-2 preamp
PS Audio HCA-2 amp
Cary Rocket 88 tube amp
Cardas Neutral Reference ICs and SCs.
Dan Wright modded SONY SCD-333ES SACD
Rega Planer 25 w/Benz Micro Glider M2

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Used

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by David Camacho a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Sorry Doug, you get what you pay for with the Avalon Arcus.
Total coherence, correct tonality, transparency, a spectacular soundstage and unparalled craftsmanship. They are extremely musical, but also reward you for the use of better electronics. These are definately "decade speakers".
Maybe you have a problem with the value, but quality costs and in this case the sound delivers!

Associated Electronics:
Arcam FMJ CD23 player
BAT VK30 preamp
BAT VK200 amp
Tara Labs Air2 interconnects
Tara Labs Air2 speaker cables
Acoustic Zen & Harmonic Tech. power cords.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Purchased At:   Audio Unlimited

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by David a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 13, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Even though I have only owned these speakers for two weeks and they are not fully broken in, I can no longer resist singing their praises. The Arcus has changed the way that I think about home audio. I used to think that there were two kinds of sounds – home audio and real world. An audio enthusiast upgraded components to achieve the best possible home audio sound, but this could never approach real world sound. I do not think that way anymore. No longer do I ask how much better my system sounds. Instead, I ask how close to the real thing it sounds.

Let me provide some perspective. My wife and I are long time subscribers to the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera. We know what a real orchestra sounds like and how a real vocalist should sound. No matter how often we upgraded our home audio system, it never sounded like the real thing. This was not the fault of my old Hales speakers – they were terrific for their price. But the Arcus are in another league. When we play a Mozart concerto (or REM or Miles Davis, for that matter), we can close our eyes and we are transported to the live event. Singers are in the room with us (and choirs are filling the room from wall to wall!) The timbral accuracy of the instruments is astounding. Horns blare like horns, oboes have reeds, a violin section is a section, not a single loud metallic instrument, pianos really are percussion instruments, and timpani notes are distinct, rather than some guttural thunder. (These modest size speakers deliver bass down to 30 hz, with some bass energy down to 24 hz, thanks to support from the room).

The speakers are also very easy to live with. I have them just three feet from the front wall, with minimal room treatments (all household items). They are relatively small for speakers of this quality, so they fit right into our family room, rather than overwhelm the room. The speakers also sound good virtually anywhere in the room. (and their cherry cabinet looks beautiful too.) No matter where we sit, the soundstage is three dimensional and fills the room (just as the other reviewers promised!)

But the best thing I can say about the Arcus is that my wife the musician is finally listening to music at home. She loves the way they sound. Enough said.

Associated equipment:

Arcam FMJ23 CD player
Nakamichi CA1 preamp
Muse 160 power amp
Audioquest interconnects

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $6500.00

Purchased At:   Quintessence Audio

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gene a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2000

Bottom Line:   
After nine years of those dipoles you love to hate, the time had come for speakers less ruthless, less dry and less beamy. The replacements also had to be less demanding of placement and ultimately, provide hours of excellent listening without fatigue. They had to, above all, be musical.

After auditioning a number of speakers, we found the Arcus provided--overall--the sound we had unconsciously been looking for. While the speed and extreme transparency that makes ribbons more analytical--and drier--and in some way, attractive, was missing, the Arcus more than makes up for what is almost excruciating detail with its fullness--an honesty of musical presentation--particularly with acoustic intruments and voices, and its overall tonal truth.

The cabinet design was a new direction for Avalon. Instead of a sealed box, the bottom of the cabinet is designed with a U-shaped opening to the back of the speaker. This port acts to augment the bass from the 8 1/2" woofer/mid range speaker and must not be closed off. To this end, Avalon provides three proprietary spikes on which the speaker sits, either on a bare floor--not recommended--or carpet.
Speaker setup is easy, made so by the excellent owner's manual replete with a multi-page dissertation on room acoustics and sound wave theory. Avalon leaves nothing to chance.

Upon first listen, you are struck with the vast soundstage that stretches way beyond the sidewalls on many recordings. It's also deep, reaching easily to the back wall of the listening room and into the corners to define the size of the recording venue. The excellent dispersion of the Arcus also allows a generous sweet spot for more than one listener, a luxury not afforded by a good number of speakers. Focus and imaging are excellent. Even when listening well off to the side, the Arcus continues to provide a well-developed three-dimensional soundfield.

Some listening notes: Wind instruments are reproduced with clarity and finesse, brass rings and cuts with crispness and authority, as it does in a live performance. Drums and percussion sound natural as do strings, with cymbals, bells and other instruments in the higher registers presenting themselves clearly, cleanly and without negative artifacts. Piano can be glorious, depending on the recording. The Arcus is a dynamic speaker, warm without coloration, transparent without a trace of edginess. The speakers absolutely disappear and you hear nothing but music. They enjoy rock as well as classical or jazz, and like to played with gusto. The common thread here is the musicality of the speaker. They draw you in.

Designer Neil Patel has favored the Arcus with an excellent crossover allowing a seamless transition from upper bass to mids to highs, which are displayed without glare or hardness. While bass frequencies below 30hz are not an Arcus strong suit, the overall presentation doesn't leave you demanding a sub to make things work. On the other hand, if you're an aficianado of subterranean organ notes, I suggest you find another speaker.

The Arcus mates very well with SS or tubes and is not demanding of either components or cable, but the higher the signal quality, the more you may expect of the speaker.
I would not, however, attempt to mate the Arcus with a 5wpc SET. It likes to played hard and it will deliver. This is not to say it's not a fine companion for late night listening; at lower volumes the Arcus continues to maintain its transparency and ability to project inner detail.

An excellent speaker in every way, from the quality of the speakers and crossover, to the hand-worked cabinetry of selected book-matched woods and exceptional finish. I find there is little out there that would entice me to change.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Phil Barton a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Easily outperfoms those in its class of $5000 - $10000 (retails for $7000). Imaging and transparency at this price range is uncanny. Very tonally balanced and doens't apper too picky about room set up. Although doesn't have the ceramic drivers that its bigger siblings do (Opus and Eidolons), much of the sound is still there secondary to the crossover. Smooth top end and tight bottom end with very quick drivers. Another bargain, even at $7000.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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