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AV-1's vs. Emeralds


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 18 2002 - 01:03 PM

OK, Jeff Lam has been on me to provide a comparative review of my GR Research AV-1's vs. my ACI Emeralds. I sat down for about an hour and compared the two using my Dave Matthews Band "Under the Table and Dreaming" CD. I would have used more material but this was sufficient to choose which I preferred. First off, in case anyone is interested, I'll list associated equipment and state how things were set up. I am using a Sherwood Newcastle R-945 MKII receiver and Pioneer Elite DV-37 DVD player. They are connected via one of my own RAD Cables digital interconnects. I used DH Labs Silver Sonic speaker wires. The speakers were placed atop my dual 25.5" tall SV12 subwoofers that double as stands. For the test the subs were turned off and the speakers were set to LARGE. The speakers were placed approximately 9.5' apart center to center and the listening distance was also approximately 9.5'. Let's just cut to the chase. IMHO, the AV-1's won hands down. Bass was much more defined and natural. Highs were smoother. Everything just seemed more "airy". The music just seemed to float in space. There was more depth and height to the soundstage. Imagining was much more precise. I just had more of a feeling of being in room with the band. Also, I felt they blended much better with my subs considering my receiver's fixed 100Hz crossover. Conversely, the Emeralds just didn't mesh as well. Bass was more compressed. They just didn't seem to have the same dynamics. Highs seemed slightly brighter and somewhat smeared. On several tracks the opening is just vocals and guitars. The vocals were in the center and the guitars were coming from the speakers. But there was no blending of the sounds. On more complex passages it was slightly harder to place instruments as they seemed to cover each other up. Some of my issues with the Emeralds may come down to placement, but I don't have the luxury of experimenting in my room. Both of these are very good speakers and I think you'd have to look into something in the $1K range retail wise to find something equal. But considering the difference in price (the shielded AV-1's kits are $100 cheaper than the Emerald kits) I'd have to stick with the AV-1's. Well, at least until I get my AV-1+'s built! Brian
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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   jeff lam

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Posted April 18 2002 - 01:40 PM

Brian, So will the emeralds be demoted to the bedroom system (if you have one)? Are you building three AV1+'s for the front soundstage? That's my ideal setup. AV1+'s across the front with AV1's for the surrounds. Should be sweet!!! BTW, Did you ever post pics of the fully completed AV1's? Did you snap any pics of the crossover? I'm curious to see how you assembled it.

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 19 2002 - 03:34 AM

Jeff, Not sure what to do with the Emeralds yet. I already have a pair of Opals in my spare bedroom/computer room/warehouse as well as my little 3" full range speakers and mini-sub that I'm currently using with my computer. I will probably end up with 3 AV-1+'s and yes, I posted finished pics of the AV-1's in the original thread I started. I just haven't added them to my website yet. Brian
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#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Hank Frankenberg

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Posted April 19 2002 - 03:53 AM

You Georgia boys get up early, don't you? That soundstage was a bit narrow with the drivers just 9.5 inches apart wasn't it? Posted Image



Seriously, I do like the GR Research speaks. I heard a couple of pair at our last HT meet here in Austin. Three across the front sounds like a plan.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 19 2002 - 03:59 AM

Hank, I knew there'd be some kind of error in there! I typed that up yesterday evening before our trek to downtown Atlanta! Brian
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#6 of 19 OFFLINE   ChristopherD

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Posted April 19 2002 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for the post. As I am exploring potential projects at the moment it was very informative. I appears that AV-1+ is where I'm headed. CX

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Shawn Solar

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Posted April 19 2002 - 01:31 PM

Just wondering, how do you think they would compare to say paradigm reference 40's(if you've heard them). After I am done my 1503 based sonosub I would like to try my luck at speakers.But would like something comparable but with a little smoother high end.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   MikeAcc

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Posted April 19 2002 - 02:59 PM

Shawn, I have heard both the AV1 and Studio 40..not next to each other, but different days, differnt rooms. IMO, the AV1 is the better speaker. The Studio 40 may reach down a bit lower in the bass, but that is about the only advantage it had. I prefered the whole AV 1 package.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Shawn Solar

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Posted April 19 2002 - 03:05 PM

Low bass is not a concernPosted Image At least as soon as my sub gets built. What particulary stood out with the av1's. My musical taste varies from day to day but I might like to try a speaker that sits on the warm side of neutral.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   jeff lam

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Posted April 19 2002 - 03:19 PM

The one thing that stood out the most (to me) when I finished my AV1's was the imaging. The soundstage was so broad and deep that the performers sound as if they are right there. You can't tell where the speakers are like many others. View this thread for a direct comparrison between Paradigm mini's and the AV1's.



http://www.hometheat....threadid=59955



Also, you won't get as low a bass extension with the GR's as compared to say studio 40's but as I said before and will say again, "I would rather have the bass roll off very sharp and have no low end in the monitors than have a speaker that mucks it up with muddy/muffled bass...that's what your sub is there for".

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 19 2002 - 06:13 PM

My findings mirrored Jeff's exactly. Also, the way they produce the attack when a drum head is hit with a stick is great. I know I focus a lot on how drums sound with a pair of speakers, but this is really important to me! Posted Image



Brian
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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   MikeAcc

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Posted April 19 2002 - 07:33 PM

Shawn,



here is a bit more detailed review on the AV1's I did for a guy on Audio Asylum.



http://www.audioasyl....ges/83761.html







http://www.audioasyl....ges/83759.html

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Shawn Solar

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Posted April 20 2002 - 07:40 AM

Whoa! its hard to believe such an inexpensive speaker could best so many high priced ones. Even to buy and ship them to Canada is still only about $450-500/pair. It may seem like a worth while investement, especially if I can sell my paradigms for a $1000 after.(studio 40's in veneer)

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Martice

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Posted April 20 2002 - 11:49 AM

I'm waiting on Brian to finish building my trio of AV1+'s this weekend. However, I loved the automotive finish so much on the GR Research site so much that I've decided to have a local autobody mechanic paint mine with a metallic black chrome finish. I gave up a pair of PSB Goldi's inorder to get a custom finished trio of these speakers.
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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   MikeAcc

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Posted April 20 2002 - 12:59 PM

Martice, if you do not mind me asking, how much is the paint job going to run??

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   SteveF

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Posted April 20 2002 - 01:47 PM

Martice, I found those PSB speakers to be pretty phenomenal. Have you compared the AV1+'s to them and found that AV1+ audio quality (other than bass extension) came out on top for your personal preferences, or are advantages such as custom finish and size major considerations in your switch?

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Martice

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Posted April 20 2002 - 04:15 PM

[quote]

Martice, I found those PSB speakers to be pretty phenomenal. Have you compared the AV1+'s to them and found that AV1+ audio quality (other than bass extension) came out on top for your personal preferences, or are advantages such as custom finish and size major considerations in your switch?

[quote]


I loved my PSB's as well. However, my present room is quite small and my sub is quite big. It is a 5ft tall Tempest based Octosub. I really couldn't justify having both the full range PSB's and the Octosub at the same time, especially when I've come to appreciate the sound of my system when the PSB's were set to small setting on my processor. I realized that once I calibrated my sub and equalized it with the BFD, the bass coming from my sub was cleaner and tighter than the unequalized bass from my PSB's. Placement limitations played a major role in my decision to 'hook' my PSB's.



After hearing how well the PSB's sounded while playing on the small setting, I began to look at bookshelf sized speakers. I didn't want to go Paradigm because I've been there and any other commercial speaker would be in the same ball park as far as performance goes for the money. I wanted to take the price performance leap I did with my custom sub that cost me about $650.00 but with performance that rivals some of the most expensive subs on the commercial market. That's what brought me to 'turn key' custom speakers & GR Research in particular. After doing research on the company and talking with Brian Bunge extensively, I decided to roll with these speakers on a chance that I would like how they performed without hearing them. I've taken chances like this before and have no problem about striking out at the plate with a choice that may not be my cup of tea. Regardless of the chance that I'm taking with these speakers, the PSB's or any other speaker that size in my room would have to go.



*** I will listen to them before I have them finished so that if by some slight chance I don't like them, I can sell them unfinished so that whoever purchases them can still have them finished anyway they like. Worst case scenario? I sell the GR Research AV1+'s and get me a used pair of PSB Stratus Mini's. I wind up paying a little in the name of experimentation but in the long run, no harm, no foul.
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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   SteveF

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Posted April 20 2002 - 04:28 PM

Thanks for the info Martice - best of luck with your new set of speakers. For the record...

[quote]

I loved my PSB's as well

[quote]I didn't mean to imply that I own GOLDi's - I've demo'd them but am much further down the family tree with the PSB 300i's. I expect a nice upgrade whether I go with the GR AV1+'s or the Adire Kit281's.

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Martice

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Posted April 20 2002 - 05:09 PM

[quote]

I didn't mean to imply that I own GOLDi's - I've demo'd them but am much further down the family tree with the PSB 300i's. I expect a nice upgrade whether I go with the GR AV1+'s or the Adire Kit281's.

[quote]



Well I spoke to someone who is in the know regarding the Adire Kit 281's and for movies, they give the 281's the edge in dynamics. However, they give the AV1's (not the AV1+'s) the edge in clarity and detail. I've had chance to audition a pair of kit 281's and they were awesome even before break in! Did they outperform my PSB Goldi's? I can't say but they did remind me of my Paradigm Ref 100's I used to have before I bought the PSB's. They really didn't remind me of the PSB's at all though. Totally different sound IMO.



Basically as they summed it up is for music, the AV1's (not referring to the + model with 2 5" drivers)may be better and should be compared to Adire's HE-10 model. However, the 281's are more dynamic for movies. I've decided to go with the "punchier" AV1+'s as a 'best of both worlds' alternative.
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