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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ floor-standing

Avatar Audio

Manufacturer: AVATAR AUDIO
Price (when reviewed):: 39 800 PLN/pair

16-010 Osowicze 64a | POLSKA


Provided for test by: AVATAR AUDIO


images Wojciech Pacuła

No 231

August 1, 2023

AVATAR AUDIO - a company led by CZARIUSZ ANDREJCZUK, with their core products being loudspeakers. Their design differs from contemporary solutions, although - from the technical point of view - there is nothing unusual in them. These are ideas from the 1950s-70s taken to the extreme. We are testing the model Number 2 in the definitive version IV. It is a PREMIERE.

OLOPHONY NUMBER TWO Mark IV (No. 2 IV) is the new and last (final) generation of three-way speakers from Avatar Audio, second from the top in its price list. The last, as the manufacturer says, because it has finally succeeded in achieving the goals set out thirteen years ago - "a sound that is concertually alive, palpable, natural and absolutely musical, completely detached from the speakers, creating a large and orderly soundstage in the listener's room."

And we are talking about an unusual project on a global scale. Czariusz Andrejczuk reaches for paper cone NOS-type drivers that are difficult to apply. They are extremely sensitive to even small changes in the circuit before them, which, in addition, work in a wide bandwidth, overlapping significantly one with the other. But it is for this reason that the designer is a devoted fan and admirer of them, as he believes that only this type of drivers can render the subtleties of the musical signal in a way that would satisfy him.


IT IS RARE that we at "High Fidelity" test all subsequent versions of a given product. This is because in most cases the changes are either cosmetic or go in a completely different direction than one might wish. It's different with Avatar Audio products, completely different. Each successive version has been better, more interesting, and the designer's explanations completely satisfying. To be honest, I have deep respect for him for this very reason: he is as fanatical in his pursuit of his assumed perfection as Japanese manufacturers are, honing, polishing designs for years. In the case of the Holophony Number Two, it took seven years.

Initially, the changes were primarily related to the cabinets - the drivers in all cases are the same. Instead of the MDF boards in the original version (test → HERE) veneered with flock, he switched to bamboo plywood cabinets – this is how the Bamboo and Mk II versions were created and (tests → HERE and → HERE). Even then, these were not revolutionary changes. Indeed, the goal he has been pursuing for a dozen years was clear to him from the very beginning. As I say, in this he resembles Japanese craftsmen, who "envision" the result before they even get to work. And all the work is merely an attempt to achieve a given shape.

The Mk III version introduced significant changes to the crossover (test → HERE), which allowed for far-reaching changes its layout in the Mk IV version. Compared to the one in Mark III, it has been completely redesigned and simplified. It now consists of just 5 elements, with no capacitors, which is probably a world record in three-way designs. The signal is output through even higher quality copper terminals.

Since the Bamboo version, the shape of the speakers has not changed, although the construction details have. The upper module was weighted down with lead, because, as Czariusz says, the magnetic anti-vibration feet on which it stands work better with more weight. The woofer module, on the other hand, received another fifth foot, located in the middle of the rear of the cabinet. Interestingly, the price of the speakershas hardly changed since the test of the first version in 2016 - then it was 38,000 PLN, and now it's 39,800 PLN per pair. This means that Czariusz is offering them with an ever-decreasing markup of its own. Which seems particularly beneficial for buyers :)


˻ HOW WE LISTENED ˺ The Avatar Audio Holophony Number 2 Mk IV speakers were tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system. In this case, I used both the amplifier I use every day, that is, the Ayon Audio Spheris III tube preamplifier and Soulution 710 solid-state power amplifier, and the Leben CS-600X tube integrated amplifier. For the first time, however, Avatar Audio's speakers were not "aimed" at one technique or the other. They have very high efficiency, but that doesn't mean they have to be paired with a tube amplifier.

The speakers stood at a distance of 246 cm from the listening position and 255 cm from each other, counting from their vertical axis, exactly where my Harbeth M40.1 stand every day. They were 83 cm from the rear wall, also from their axis and from the rear wall of the woofer module (I took measurements with a Bosch PLR 50 C laser meter). They were connected to the Soulution 710 using Siltech Triple Crown cable, and to the Leben using Crystal Cable Art Series Da Vinci cable. The speakers were toed-in directly at the listening position.


⸜ BENNY CARTER, Jazz Giant, Contemporary Records/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA 24/96 (1958/?)
⸜ ARNE DOMNÉRUS, Jazz at the Pawnshop, Proprius/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (1976).
⸜ ART BLAKEY, Moanin’, Blue Note/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA Studio 24/192 (1958/?).
⸜ GARY BURTON & CHICK COREA, Crystal Silence, ECM/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA Studio 24/96 (1973/2017).
⸜ THE BEATLES, Revolver (Super Deluxe), Apple/UMC/Tidal Master, FLAC MQA 24/96 (1966/2022).
⸜ BILL EVANS, You Must Believe In Spring, Warner Bros./Warner Music Japan, WPCR-13176, SHM-CD (1981/2008).
⸜ BILL EVANS, You Must Believe In Spring, Warner Bros./Craft Recordings CR00455, Super Audio CD/CD (1981/2022).
⸜ MARK HOLLIS, Mark Hollis, Polydor 537 688-2, CD (1988).
Audiophile Analog Collection Vol. 1 + Vol. 2, 2xHD 2HDFT-C1143/1167, 2 x CD (2020).

I WANTED TO BEGIN THE TEST OF THE FOURTH AND, AS DECLARED, LAST version of the Holophony Number 2 speakers with balanced opinions, tidbits, maybe anecdotes. And it would have been fun. And yet, when I sat down in front of these speakers once again, this time with my laptop on my lap, ready to get to work, after a while I knew that none of this would happen. I wasn't able to enter this subject gently and thoughtfully. Because these are perfect speakers and the best Czariusz’ designs I've heard. In general - some of the most interesting loudspeakers that have visited my room, regardless of price, design type and country of origin.

It's still a product for a buyer who knows what he wants, as the drivers used in it set a certain direction, that's clear. But it's also the case that it comes with elements that I found somewhat lacking before. Let me emphasize, that I lacked, a man who listens to music on a daily basis using the powerful Harbeth M40.1. This was the price to pay for the incredible speed of the Holophony' speakers, for their immediacy and tangibility of sound.

This time the listening was a surprise to me. Because the tested Avatars delivered an excellently rich and natural sound. It is obvious that such low bass as from the reference speakers could not be obtained, because they are completely different designs. But also the bass and the breakthrough of this range with the midrange had such a fantastic coherence and energy that, except for obvious examples like DIDO or KNGDOM recordings, it was hard to notice. And even with them it was not annoying.

Thus, these are loudspeakers with a sound so fast that it picks out from recordings elements that by other loudspeakers are usually covered. Only the best designs with a wide-band drivers can do something similar. Even they, however, do not produce such a scale of sound, and are not as tonally balanced as the Holophony Number 2 version IV. Importantly, each recording had its own atmosphere, tempo, timbre with them. These are remarkably resolving designs, highly demanding for the audio tracks.

Under optimal conditions, however, they will show the differences between recordings such as BENNY CARTER's Jazz Giant and ARNE DOMNÉRUS's Jazz at the Pawnshop in an excellent way, without emphasizing midrange attack and without being overly analytical. And the differences are that Carter, with the microphones closely positioned, sounds stronger, fuller and more unambiguous. Domnérus' band, on the other hand, is put in perspective further away and is less "here and now." There is more air and "presence" of the room in the sound.

I talked about tangibility. Next to speed and dynamics, this is another very important characteristic of the tested speakers. The Czariusz’ designs sound a bit like big headphones, and in that they resemble JBL's largest Everest series speakers. They abolish the space between us and the drivers, as if they were connected directly to our ears. It's an amazing sensation that won't appeal to everyone, of course; we are, after all, different in our sensitivity to sound. However, those who find it to their liking will fall in love for good.

Indeed, when Lennon counts "One, two, three, four" in the opening track Taxman from the Revolver album by THE BEATLES, you could hear him as if you were sitting in the sound director’s booth with headphones on your ears. The vocalist had the microphone placed very close to him, and the Polish speakers momentarily showed this, as well as the differences in recording technique between Carter and Domnérus albums earlier. The same was true when I compared the two versions of BILL EVANS' You Must Believe In Spring, the 2008 release on SHM-CD and the SACD disc from last year. The differences were big, even very big. Which allowed me to determine exactly what was so different.

| Our albums

⸜ BILL EVANS You Must Believe In Spring

Warner Bros./Craft Recordings CR00455
Super Audio CD/CD ⸜ 1981/2022

THOUGH IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE, You Must Believe in Spring was the 70th studio album by jazz pioneer pianist Bill Evans (1929-1980). Recorded in 1977 and released in 1981, just five months after Evans' death, it is the artist's last studio recording with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmund. Evans was one of the most influential artists in jazz history and was known for his conversational interactions in trios. By the time he recorded the reviewed album, in August 1977, this particular iteration of the Bill Evans Trio had reached its peak, after three busy years of live performances and studio sessions (including 1977's Crosscurrents and I Will Say Goodbye).

The album was recorded over three days at Capitol Studios with the help of producer Tommy LiPuma (Barbra Streisand, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall). Together with the pianist, they selected introspective, almost melancholy material among which we find Evans' very personal compositions B Minor Waltz (for Ellaine), dedicated to his late partner Ellaine Shultz, and We Will Meet Again (for Harry), written for his late brother. In 2016, in an interview, LiPuma proudly spoke about You Must Believe in Spring noting that the album came at a great time for the trio.

The material for the Craft Recordings reissue was entrusted to two separate teams: the 45 RPM LP version was prepared by Kevin Gray, while the SACD, CD and file versions were prepared by Grammy Award winner PAUL BLAKEMORE. While Gray works in an analog track, Blakemore works in a digital, PCM environment. The material was prepared by him using the Plangent Processes Playback System. It's a system that combines mechanical and digital audio processing, relying on reading the tape as closely as possible and then correcting the errors known as "wows." Only after the remastering was completed was the signal converted to DSD.

Let's start with the fact that the SACD layer of the new version of the album is some 5 or even 6 dB quieter than the 2008 remaster. So the first clue is obvious: the new remaster uses much lower compression. When you turn up the volume, you'll find that you get much more dynamic sound, a deeper stage and more reverb with it. The latter is important because the recording was done in Capitol Records' massive, high-ceiling Studio A. The SACD disc captures these nuances better.

What seemed much more significant to me, however, was the completely different treatment of the sound attack. I have quite a few titles from the series in which Evans was released in Japan on SHM-CD, and they always seemed to me to be quite angular, almost plaintive, so to speak. The Craft Recordings version is completely different. It is soft, it is round. The recording was made without a noise reduction system, so the noise is constantly present in the sound. With SACD they are much less annoying. And yet it is not at all because there is less treble on it. I would even say that it's exactly the opposite, that the SACD disc has a fuller treble, with better built harmonics, which seem to be extinguished on the SHM-CD.

At first I thought the double bass sounded better on the Japanese disc, as it was clearer, more dynamic. After switching to SACD, the piano sounded stronger, although less bright, and Eddie Gomez's bass was slightly withdrawn. As it turns out, this was not the case at all. Blakemore has prepared a release in which the bass goes much lower and there is, overall, more of it. Only that its higher range, emphasized on the SHM-CD, here has a smooth attack, and is tuneful instead of sounding the same all the time.

Craft Recordings' SACD disc is excellent and is, in my opinion, the best digital version of this title on the market. Now we are waiting for a response from the Japanese, who are expected to press an SHM-SACD disc from the same remaster.

THE TESTED SPEAKERS ARE FAST, resolving and produce a palpable sound. With them, you will have to get used to larger-than-usual differences in sound projection in a stereo body. This is because they are much better at differentiating the positioning of sound sources in both axes. While the sound of the vibraphone from the Jazz at the Pawnshop album was strong, as it's an instrument with a rather penetrating attack, it was positioned a bit further away on stage than the saxophone from the Carter’s album. But when MARK HOLLIS sang from his solo album, he was shown in front of the line connecting the speakers, close to me.

Indeed, the Holophony showed that the microphone stood close to the vocalist and that he was recorded not with the instruments, but separately. The high-pitched noise, coming from the analog part of this session (everything was eventually ripped onto a Mitsubishi X-800 digital tape recorder), clearly delineated the sound concept the artist had adopted. Importantly, the changes I'm talking about weren't unnatural, it wasn't about "pulling out" technical aspects of the sound. Rather, it was about showing them so that we could better understand the music. Because technique is part of the presentation, usually the key part.

And all this while maintaining a beautiful timbre. These are the first Avatar Audio speakers in which what fascinates many in this type of design - see above - has been combined with frequency equalization and sound’s richness. Both highs and lows are full and resonant in these designs. Slightly soft, but in a good way, resulting in a natural delivery. Which allowed the recordings from Nagra's sampler entitled Audiophile Analog Collection Vol. 2 to sound full, big, carrying.


HOLOPHONY NUMER 2 IV are large, floor-standing speakers. Their earlier versions had an identical design. However, the design changes, seemingly minor, have brought a multidimensional improvement in sound. Or rather - a transformation. All previous incarnations had something in them that many music lovers are looking for and not finding elsewhere. With each successive number after the name, however, their presentation was closer and closer to the so-called "mainstream" while retaining all the advantages of fast, high-performance paper drivers..

The Mk IV still celebrates primarily the midrange. With heavily compressed recordings, therefore, there may come a point where the sound is a bit bright. But, unlike before, this will not be problematic, and one will simply understand the essence of the recording in question. On the other hand, with high-end realizations, the Polish speakers will play a timbrally equalized, full sound with great scale. They lift the "glass" between the listener and the music, connecting it directly to our ears.

These are still designs to be accepted by potential user, their sound is different from 99% of speakers on the market. But not because it is "strange", but because Czariusz has his own idea for them and his own vision of what is most important in audio presentation. Listen to it, and you may find that you have been looking for just that all your life. So I won't be wrong in awarding them an award of our ˻ GOLD FINGERPRINT ˺, they deserve it.


Reference system 2022

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC