Frequently Asked Questions:

Which Avatar Audio product is the ‘best buy’, i.e., one that brings the greatest improvement in the system in relation to the price paid?

The Number Three anti-vibration platform and Number Three power cable.

Why are platforms and power cables so important?

Two main problems in High-End which we fight with are: vibration and ‘dirty’ power. Vibration damping and pure power are “sine qua non” conditions of good sound.

Electric current flows in the music equipment, not music. The higher quality power we provide to the system, the better sound quality we will hear from the speakers. Additionally, the sound may be clear or distorted by vibration.

Where to apply them to obtain the greatest improvement?

At the very beginning of the audio path, which is the signal source. The signal source requires special attention, because any distortion arising at this point is no longer possible to correct, and it will be amplified and compounded at next stages. The most popular source (unfortunately) is still a CD player; if it consists of the transport and DAC, you need two good power cables. It is also highly advisable to usea good power cable for power distributor. So a set of three DreamLink Number Three power cables is the cheapest “entrance fee” to the High-End.

Is the AC phase polarity significant?

The AC phase polarity is essential for the soundstage and tonal quality. You should choose the best phase separately for each component by means of a listening test. To do this, you need a power distributor with Schuko sockets (without a ground pin; the ground connector is on the opposite edges of the socket). When choosing the best phase, be careful, because it is the “worse” phase which gives a spectacular, wide, moved ahead soundstage. Artificially “inflated” it resembles the shiny surface of a glass hemisphere, with widely diffused, chaotic overlapping reflections (i.e., instruments). However, this shiny hemisphere, although it creates the illusion of a solid, is actually only a curved plane. This large stage, impressive at first ‘ear-glance’, actually is shallow and empty in the center. It’s hard to notice it, because the “reflections on the surface” make it difficult to look deeply inside – to do it a lot of experience or a long, repeated listening is needed. Our question to visitors to Audio-Shows and High-End salons is: doesn’t the above description remind you of the sound of many of the most expensive, most vaunted and advertised equipment?

What should the High-End sound-stage look like?

The proper power phase (and generally, a truly High-End sound) generates the stage shaped INTO: with a distinct LOCATION of instruments that are present more BEHIND the speaker line than in front of it. The soundstage should be THICK inside, but with instruments UNSTUCK from each other. The instruments on the stage should be SEPARATED SPATIALLY ( holophonic layering, in depth) and not linearly (stereophonically, in width).

The sound really detached from the speakers shouldn’t be thrown forward and splashed in front of and between the two loudspeakers. Instead, we should have an impression as if each instrument was played by a SEPARATE speaker, with totally DIFFERENT timbre and volume, situated in a particular place in 3D space in front of the listener. Every single one of those virtual speakers emits from its place its OWN sound wave which propagates INDEPENDENTLY of the others and gradually disappears in the space around the listener. Those waves overlap each other, but as if in DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS, as they remain clearly legible and don’t suppress each other, creating a sense of ORDERLY CALM rather than noisy chaos; not a massive wall of sound, but SEPARATE gentle voices. The arrangement of those virtual speakers should reflect placing of microphones with regard to instruments in one-room acoustic recordings or/and the amount and the mutual arrangement of tracks on the console in a recording studio. Important: the level of reproduction described here is available only to extremely transparent systems.

How does a Hi-Fi sound differ from a truly High-End sound? How would you describe the sound of Avatar Audio system?

Here pairs of metaphorical, opposing concepts (states) may help. The left-hand column refers to the sound which we have left behind (but one that is commonly encountered in Hi-Fi equipment, advertised and sold as High-End), and the words in the right-hand column describe the sound to which we aspire:

mechanical – alive

artificial – natural

lifeless – vibrant

stale – fresh

distant – palpable

dull – engaging

muddy – clear

colored – transparent

false – genuine

compressed – detailed

dry – saturated

cold – warm

rigid – bouncy

heavy – airy

sluggish – fast

harsh – smooth

garish – refined

nervous – calm

flat – spacious

stereophonic – holophonic

cramped – open, free

sticky – separated

chaotic – composed

blurred – focused

bloated – accurate

Is it worth using power conditioners?

Conditioners are helpful in the case of lower quality audio systems, but from a certain level of system resolution they may begin to disturb. Good power cables offer a better, safer and cheaper solution.

Why don't you use anti-vibration racks?

We advice caution in the use of (audiophile) racks. Multilevel structures bring their own vibration or, at best, they are incapable of reducing it effectively. A better solution are low and – more importantly – standing separately on the floor anti-vibration platforms or pads only. In our system also power distributor is set on a small platform and the cables lie on the stands.

What is the point of using cable stands?

Our cable stands are constructed as follows: on a roller standing on three balls lies the cable which is pressed by the second roller. Their action is threefold:

a/ the lower roller isolates the cable from the floor surface to prevent deformation of the electromagnetic field around the cable;

b/ the balls absorbs vibrations of the floor;

c/ a heavy steel roller dampens vibrations of the cable.

Why there is no CD player in the Avatar Audio system?

Although for audiophiles a Compact Disc is the worst of sound carriers, we are still stuck with its use for practical reasons (unlimited repertoire of music). Luckily, it turns out that we may dramatically improve the quality of the CD sound putting it into an optical drive in a properly configured computer connected to the appropriate class USB DAC. Once these conditions are met, a simple optical drive which costs 15 EUR beats easily a 1000-times more expensive audiophile CD players/transports :).

Why don't you reveal the details of the construction of the loudspeakers?

We do not want to dazzle customers with marketing technical jargon, as our competition does. Any technical data other than the power handling, sensitivity and impedance do not matter and they are not of any other use but sheer marketing. Avatar Audio products are a transparent medium made to materialize music in a listener’s room. They are directed at music lovers, not audiophile fetishists-collectors of High-End furniture with branded logo.

Will the Holophony Number Two be sufficient for my system made of expensive components?

The Holophony Number One is designed to the highest quality systems, which are very rare. The Number One when connected to a random High-End system (its price makes no difference here) with details-killer-cables, without proper power filtration and anti-vibration accessories, but with a CD player as the source, won’t demonstrate its potential and will sound up to 20% of its capacity. Therefore, by default, not being able to listen to a customer’s system, we do not recommend the purchase of the Number One, advising the Number Two instead. We also suggest to spend the amount saved on a set of the Number Two cables – the sound effect will be better.

Won't the Holophony, which handle 15W of power only, be damaged when connected to a 50/100/200 W amplifier?

No, under the condition that the volume potentiometer is used carefully. Exceeding the maximum allowed power while listening is unlikely since 2×15 Watt from loudspeakers with effectiveness of 97dB is very high sound level at home. The risk exists only in the case of accidental turning the volume knob up while the amplifier is switched off and then switching the amplifier on without checking the position of the knob. Therefore, you need to mark the maximum allowable position on the knob, and before turning the amplifier on to make sure whether the position isn’t exceeded (or just before turning the amplifier on always set the volume to zero). You can also install a mechanical limiter in the knob. It is, however, only a temporary problem, because the Holophony’s owner will quickly develop a taste for natural sound and will want to get rid of his (solid-state) high power amplifier which he was so proud of asap…

What is the minimum size of the listening room?

There are no limitations. One of our clients uses the Holophony Number Two in his 9 sq. meter library. Of course, it doesn’t create there a large soundstage, but timbre and dynamics of the sound are similar to those in a 50 sq. meter room. Room size affects the size and arrangement of soundstage in directly proportional way (separation and location of instruments). In a small room the acoustic wave propagating spherically from the speakers hits the wall, yields and deformed reaches the listener, disorganizing and reducing the soundstage. The optimal distance of the loudspeakers from the walls is 1.5-2m (minimum: 0.5 m). Also a symmetry is important in the arrangement of the room, but most important is correct (i.e., strong) soundproofing.

Why do you recommend a strong soundproofing of the room? Won't the sound be too ‘dull’?

In our opinion the entire acoustic information in a listening room should come solely from the speakers’ diaphragms, without any participation of the enclosures and walls. The reverb is already included in the recording and one shouldn’t add reverberation of the listening room to it, because then we lose the feeling of being in a room where the recording was made – we destroy its original acoustics and the natural and precise location of instruments. However, to fully obtain information about the recording’s space, both the real space (acoustic music recorded with two omnidirectional microphones) and the virtual space (created by the engineer in a console for multitrack/multimike recordings), the audio system (especially the drivers’ diaphragms) must have sufficient resolution and transparency. A popular opinion, that in an over-soundproofed (too anechoic) room sound becomes “dull” or “flat” is a result of listening to speakers whose diaphragms are:

a/ too thick to vibrate precisely enough and to render micro-details (the subtle information about the relation of each instrument to one another and to the nearest wall in the room where the microphones were situated);

b/ too heavy and suspended too softly to react to the impulses quickly enough (especially when suppressing them) and to render the nuances of articulation of the musicians and microdynamics of the recording;

c/ made of materials which distort the timbre of instruments (sounding “synthetically”).

Indeed, in loudspeakers with such drivers (practically all produced nowadays, as one of the most important features of whom is their ability to provide power of a few dozen/hundred Watts) the sound gets stuck and needs to be supported with the reflections from the room walls. Nonetheless, these reflections distort the tone of the sound (harden it and cool it down) and deform the recording’s space (they add false information about the location of instruments).

Have you ever thought why headphones render the tone and location of instruments so impressively? They simply eliminate reflections from walls and provide low power, so they may have light diaphragms :). Before the age of audiophile purchases I used to listen to music only on headphones, as the sound coming from the speakers was like a distant and cooled magma. However, headphones have one disadvantage – they create a virtual soundstage in the listener’s head instead of in front of him. Years later it turns out that I listen to music through headphones again… that is through the Holophony. In a properly soundproofed room and with the system transparent enough they sound like giant, ideal headphones…

Won't such old drivers, unused for 60 years, suddenly begin to deteriorate?

Their excellent condition after such a long period only proves their durability and robust design – they come from times when production was small and quality high… The suspension made of the same piece of paper as the whole cone is virtually indestructible – in contrast to rubber or foam used nowadays, which years later get unstuck or deteriorate. Exchanging the drivers should only be taken into account in two situations – after delivering a signal with a power much greater than 15W or…after pushing the finger into the cone. To avoid the latter damage (a small child left alone in the listening room), we can equip the loudspeakers with covers for an additional charge.

However, if the drivers are damaged, even after 5 or 10 years, what guarantee do you give for their availability?

After all, they were produced in the middle of the last century, and they are fewer and fewer.

A: We have stocks which are continually expanded. In the end, however, once they become scarce, their price will increase – up to a level at which resuming their production or drawing equivalents up will become profitable. Such drivers already exist and there are more and more of them, just as more and more audiophiles realize what is going on and replace their synthetically sounding LOUDspeakers with those with noble paper drivers, e.g. the Holophony.

Why is the Holophony's price so high, when the old drivers aren't more expensive than modern ones'?

The high (compared to current prices of speakers) price of our products takes into account this expected increase in the prices of components and the cost of servicing our warranty obligations. Other reasons include: the cost of cutting-edge research, manual process of production, small scale production and – last but not least – the price/quality ratio, especially in the context of prices of competing products.

If my system lacks a good inter-connect, which model do you recommend?

Generally, we advise buying the cheapest Number Three, and to more expensive systems – the Number Two. The purchase of cables so transparent and free of any compression as the Dreamlink Number One in a system of too low class doesn’t make sense, because they won’t sound better than the 3 times cheaper Number Three.

If the Number One line / speaker cable is so perfect, why does it sound worse in my system than my old cable?

The answer is already present in the question, in the words “transparent” and “in my system.” In many systems the DreamLink apparently sounds worse than other cables. Such a situation takes place when we introduce an element of much higher class to the system with a stable equilibrium at a certain level. Especially the Number One, depending on the degree of distortion of the signal generated by the system, may reveal a metallic timbre and sharpening of treble previously masked by so-called “musical” cables which are suppressors in fact. On the contrary, the Dreamlink may remove the distortion introduced by the cable of “technical / analytical” type, e.g.:

a/ simplifying tonal range (contour), giving an illusion of a high resolution and dynamics. In a compressed system (and it is really hard to find others) the sound of such cables compared to the sound of the DreamLink Number One is like comparing a poster to an oil painting when looking at them on the smartphone’s screen – the poster will be apparently clearer, sharper;

b/ lack of quantitative and qualitative control of bass manifesting itself in parasitic piling up information, with the result of the illusion of deep, expressive bass;

c/ multiplication (false, redundant information) of treble manifesting itself with the seeming accuracy and width of the stage;

The sound of such cables is like the photograph sharpened in Photoshop, which is such a common practice that rough, unprocessed pictures seem at first glance blurred and unremarkable and may only be appreciated after longer time with the aid of high-resolution equipment. What the above-described cables aren’t able to create, is an impression of DEPTH of the soundstage, that is: separation and localization of instruments on the stage, their interrelation in space. The illusion of depth is being created by huge amount of information about the INDIVIDUAL reverb of each voice and instrument present on the stage, completely INDEPENDENTLY of each other. Every instrument gives OTHER (qualitatively and quantitatively) reverb, and is situated at a DIFFERENT distance from the walls (each of which has a DIFFERENT coefficient of sound absorption) and from the microphones (each of which captures reverb OTHERWISE). Additionally, intensity of reverb is DIFFERENT in each millisecond, since it is constantly changing with the intensity of sound produced by a musician and his movements relative to the microphone and acoustic barriers, from which every…. etc. All these varieties of reverberation propagate in space and overlap each other, and the instruments, while being completely peeled away from each other, interpenetrate as though in OTHER DIMENSIONS. We are not describing here the impressions from the first row on the acoustic concert at the philharmonic hall. An equipment that is capable of getting such nuances out of recordings really exists! One condition: good (i.e., uncompressed neither at the stage of recording nor mastering) Hi-res files (preferably DSD) or vinyls (but only those made from analog tapes).

The greatest loss of information takes place in the cables (perhaps due to their length). In order to minimize the loss, they must have great resolution and transparency. The DreamLink Number One seems to possess these qualities in an exceptionally high level, but one can only hear it in an equally transparent system.

 

What warranty terms do you offer?

We offer a 3-year warranty. We also offer our customers a home installation of our audio systems and proper computer setup for Hi-Res PCM & DSD streaming. All of our products are available for home testing.

How is it possible that such a small and new company is able to create - as it claims - better products than great, well-known manufacturers?

Big companies are indispensable in the production of Hi-Fi gear (commonly considered to be High-End). A true High-End (especially in its highest incarnation State-of-the-Art) is an area where technology meets art. The factory is not the right place to create art, is it? There only Products of the Audiophile Industry are come into existence. At the moment when the company wins its (big) brand name, its sole purpose is to ensure the maximum (and safe) profit to its shareholders…

The main advantages of our company are:

- passion, creativity and independence of the designer;

- fresh and unconventional approach of the person from outside the industry, and without an engineering education;

- choosing acoustic (really unplugged) concerts as the highest standard of sound;

- frequenting the philharmonic concerts for over 30 years;

- doing research mainly on the basis of listening tests rather than on measurements;

- uncompromising nature, speed and freedom of research (independence from accounting, management and shareholders allows us not to count the cost and time, and radically shortens the decision-making process);

- recognition of mistakes made by the audio industry (thanks to a 20-year long, financially unlimited audiophile practice) and the ability to avoid them;

- courage to swim against the current of the dominant trends;

- discovering the great value of forgotten vintage technologies and products;

- a successful combination of cutting-edge technology with the best achievements of the audio industry.

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