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This review first appeared in the June 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Audiodata Avancé in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Audiodata - Ed.

: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog – deck - Acoustic Solid MPX; tone arms - Phonotools Vivid-Two, SME M2 12”; pickups - Denon DL-103 Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Zu Audio DL-103; phono pre - SAC Gamma Sym; digital – SACD - Luxman D-05 ; Computer & Co - Logitech Squeezebox 3, Readynas Duo NAS, Server HP Notebook; DAC - Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Preamp - Octave HP300 with MC phono; power amp -  Electrocompaniet AW180; integrated amp - Denon PMA-2010AE
Loudspeakers: Ascendo System F, Thiel SCS4
Various accessories, cables and racks
Review component retail
: €18.440/pr
Audiodata began making noise about two or three years ago when their Audiovolver processor made the rounds. That corrects for system/room nonlinearities of amplitude and phase. Precious few products at the time were covered as extensively in- and outside the hifi media. Needless to say fairaudio booked an audition as well. Boss Peter Schippers today confesses that some folks still ask him in surprise whether they also make speakers. "We do - but only have been for the last three decades" is how the man from Aachen tends to laconically reply. Cheers.

Enter his semi-active Avancé. It's the largest floorstander in the catalogue since a €50.000 flagship was retired. Not that the Avancé is exactly puny at 60kg, 1.25m height and with its claimed ability to energize even roomier rooms. Interestingly—-and this isn’t the norm for largely aspirated speakers—medium to small rooms are said to remain just as copasetic. How so?

There are two reasons. One, active bass is always adaptable. That avoids room boom. Two, closer listener distances as smaller rooms enforce often have vertical multi-driver arrays fail to cohere. That is not an issue with Audiodata’s core mid/treble coax driver which more closely approximates point-source behavior. Ta-dah!

To tip my hand early, fresh from the carton the Avancé sounded impressively right and a week later expectedly better still. But first a closer look at the actual product. The coax obviously is the heart of the design not least because it’s responsible for roughly seven octaves. That’s heavy lifting. Said duties are even optically underlined with a separate baffle that stands off and is color differentiated. This scheme has resonance suppression advantages and the beveled edges undermine reflections. Plus it’s a signature design element for the company.

The driver is exclusive Seas issue and was jointly developed with the Norwegians. The 145mm unit runs magnesium for the mids and fabric for the 2.400Hz-and-up treble band. Peter Schippers refers to it as a dual coax where not only the central axis is shared - which is the actual meaning of dual-concentric after all. Just as important though more rare, physical time alignment in the vertical axis is accounted for too so the tweeter's output won't arrive too early. Schippers is a vocal proponent of time coherence. It's a belief which already informed his development of the Audiovolver correction processor. The ‘dual coax’ to him is a big step forward toward perfect impulse response and with it higher musical realism.

This driver loads into a dedicated sealed sub enclosure. On chambers, there’s three in total, one for the coax, one for the twin sidefiring woofers and one for the crossover to minimize microphony effects. The latter may be additionally filled with quartz sand. Standard MO for Audiodata is box deadening. Here that's achieved with lookalike chocolate-bar sheets. Their squares are filled with microscopic steel shot. It's what securely lines the enclosure's MDF walls.

Each Avancé is fitted with roughly 1.500 pockets of 1mm steel spheres. This amounts to about a quarter million grains per box. The reason for this is best illustrated with a sack of sand. Fire a gun at it. The bullet is stopped after just a few centimeters of penetration. That's because the kinetic energy of the projectile moving through sand rapidly converts to heat via friction. In the speakers equivalent micro motions through the captive steel spheres convert undesirable cabinet talk to heat. This renders the boxes acoustically dead. The obligatory knuckle rap elicited an extremely dry tock indeed. An additional felt layer atop the steel liners completes this unusual enclosure treatment.