GR Research A/V-2 review

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by John Garcia, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Jun 24, 1999
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    I have had the GR-Research A/V-2s for about 2 weeks now, and I have spent many hours listening to them with a variety of music and movies, as well as having others stop in for an audition of them.

    My direct comparison is the Paradigm Monitor 5, my current speakers. The 5s are a somewhat similar design – a 2-1/2 way, dual midrange, large bookshelf. At just about ½ the price of the A/V-2s, they are not a comparable speaker, but they serve as my baseline. I also had a pair of v3 Studio 40s for a week, though not at the same time as the A/V-2s.

    My Monitor 5s have served me well, and I have never been disappointed with their performance overall, but I would like their musical presence to be a bit better.

    When I started looking, one of the most logical choices seemed to be the Studio series from Paradigm, so I went and borrowed a pair of v3 40s to audition in my system. They have bass extension, presence, clarity, great for all types of music, though still a bit on the bright side of my taste. I like a bit of forwardness in my midrange and a crisp tweeter. The tweeter of the v3 Studios is improved, and feels smoother, but the midrange still has a very in your face nature to it. It’s not exactly that I don’t like it, but I notice it; it is the prevalent character of this speaker. Sufficiently impressed, I was ready to purchase them.

    Having heard GR’s A/V-1s before, I let a friend of mine who owns them know that I was auditioning the 40s, to see if he would like to come by and hear them. He agreed and brought the A/V-1s with him for a back to back. As soon as we swapped them out, it was apparent to both of us that these little guys were more than able to keep up with the 40s. The A/V-1 has excellent midrange presentation, great depth, belying their size, and the soft dome tweeter is very pleasing to listen to. This is a slightly older pair, with the older midrange, a crossover that does not have the Sonicap upgrade, or Blackhole5 lining inside the cabinet. They definitely don't have the bass extension, but the clarity is pretty amazing.

    The following week, the audition pair of A/V-2s shows up. WOW, these guys are HEAVY. The crate is ~96lbs, and about 80lbs of that are the speakers. Very solid cabinets from Rutledge Audio Design and I can say that cabinet resonance will not be an influencing factor here. I quickly hooked them up, did a quick calibration check on them, and then started listening. A bit of placement tweaking and they were already sounding very impressive. Immediately I notice they have presence that I have not heard in many speakers, and certainly not many in their price range. Their amazing depth and clarity shines with female vocals and soft jazz. Small room recordings impart a good sense of the room size from just the two speakers.

    Initially, the tweeter in the A/V-2s sounded a bit too laid back to me. Compared to the A/V-1s, the tweeter seemed a bit “recessed”, but I was also noticing a new level of subtle detail in the upper midrange. My friend brought back his A/V-1s and we did a back to back with these two, just for comparison. To both of us, the tweeter of the A/V-1 sounded more forward. Enough so that I e-mailed Danny at GR, the man behind the speakers, to ask what might be responsible for the difference. He noted that the Sonicap and the new midrange driver are most likely responsible for some of the difference. Two other friends who listened to the 1s and 2s each said they preferred the detail of the 2s.

    Just for the heck of it, I swapped out an interconnect (Audioquest Diamondback for a Viper) from my 2ch system into my main system, and I noticed a moderate improvement in the highs. I suppose this was to be expected as the Viper is silver plated solid copper, triple balanced, silver plated connectors and a better dielectric vs. the Diamondback. Previously, I felt the Viper was a bit bright, but it works very well with these speakers.

    Note that the A/V-2 is a 4 ohm speaker. I was a bit concerned at this, but their fairly high sensitivity allows them to play loud without demanding too much from my amp even with the lower impedance.

    What it comes down to: I am ordering them. [​IMG]

    Last night I packed the demo pair up to ship to the next auditioner. I swapped my 5s back in, and noticed a definite decrease in the level of detail and depth, even with movies.

    *Edit*: Electronics used: Marantz SR8300, Sony SCD-222ES.

    Thanks to Danny at GR Research for your help and for putting out great affordable speakers!
  2. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

    Jan 28, 2003
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    Great reading...thank you very much.
  3. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

    Nov 21, 2001
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    Score another one for GR Research. The AV/2's were near the top of my list of speakers to audition when making a recent speaker purchase. And, without doubt, they'd meet of exceed the WAF in most households. Let us know when you get them. [​IMG]
  4. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

    May 29, 1999
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    great review. I bet you will be happy, I love my AV-1s with the caps and BH upgrade.

    Happy listening.

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