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Avantgarde Zero 1 Floorstanding Speaker Preview

Avantgarde Zero 1 Floorstanding Speaker

Avantgarde Zero 1 Floorstanding Speaker


  • Product Name: Zero 1
  • Manufacturer: Avantgarde
  • Review Date: April 03, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $14,500/pair
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Frequency Response: 30Hz-20kHz

Sensitivity: 104dB

Amplifiers: 2x50 watts Class A, 1x400 watts Class D

Connection: 2.4GHz

Drivers: 1x1" tweeter (horn-loaded), 1x4.9" midrange (horn-loaded), 1x11.8" woofer

Inputs: 1xUSB, 1xOptical, 2xCoaxial, 1xAES/EBU 1xAnalog (optional)

DACs: 3 x 24 Bit Burr & Brown

Dimensions: 19.3 x 40.9 x 12.5 in

Weight: 88.2 lbs

Enclosure: Polyurethane cabinet with high-end soft-touch finish

If you've ever Googled "crazy expensive loudspeakers" or something similar, you've come across the name Avantgarde. While they have a number of speaker offerings, the one that you'll usually find on the "you won't believe how much these speakers cost" list are the Trio loudspeakers (Avantgarde sometimes refers to them as Hornspeakers or Hornloudspeakers). The Trios are as much art as anything else, and the six figure price tag certainly puts them well outside the range of all but the 1%'ers out there.

It is a sign that the economy is recovering when we see loudspeaker companies release new offerings. It is also a sign that the economy isn't quite there yet when those new offerings aren't flagship models. Avantgarde's Zero 1 speakers are new, and expensive, but they are far more accessible to the common man than their other speakers. At $14,500 a pair, you may be thinking we've lost our minds, but compared to some of the other esoteric speakers out there, they are pretty reasonable.

So, what do you get for the price of a Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Ford Focus (yeah, I looked it up)? Well, the Avantgarde Zero 1 speakers are tall, thin, and horn-loaded. They measure 19.3 by 40.9 by 12.5 inches and come on dedicated stands which tilt them back a bit. The polyurethane cabinet with high-end soft-touch finish is available in black or white.

ag01_front_back     ag01_exploded

As you can see from the images, the Avantgarde Zero 1 speakers have a very unique look. The top of the enclosure features a 4.9" midrange mounted in a horn, while a horn-loaded 1"tweeter graces the center, and the bottom sports an 11.8" woofer. The 3-way speaker is rated down to 30Hz, and is controlled by an active crossover. Each of the drivers gets its own amp, with the tweeter and midrange each powered by a 50 watt Class A amp and the woofer powered by a 400 watt Class D amplifier.

The enclosure may be polyurethane but it is well braced, particularly around the woofer. There is a "master" speaker and a "slave" speaker (their terms, not ours). The master has all the inputs which include a USB, Optical, an AES/EBU input, as well as two Coaxial inputs. The standard version of the Zero 1 speakers has no analog input, though you can have one added, along with a 24-bit 88 kHz AD converter, for $900. The master speaker connects to the slave via a 2.4GHz wireless signal (don't put these too close to a microwave). The master speaker is delayed by 2 microseconds to perfectly time-align the speakers allowing for transmission and decoding at the slave speaker. The wireless signal transfers data at 44.1 kHz at 16 bits and is bit-perfect. The volume is transmitted over a dedicated wireless channel, applying it only when it has arrived at the slave. The Zero 1 speakers have three 24 Bit Burr & Brown DACs per speaker and a Finite Impulse Response Filter giving the Zero 1 perfect phase characteristics, with deviations of less than 5 degrees. By comparison, according to Avantgarde, the average loudspeaker has maximum deviations of 500 to 1,500 degrees.

Of course, the price of the Avantgarde Zero 1 speakers will be a concern to many, but we are also worried about the height of the tweeter. Like many speakers that are made overseas, the tweeter looks low to us. At only 40" tall, the tweeter looks to be no more than 22" off the ground. While those with more contemporary (like what is popular overseas) couches that are low to the ground might not find this an issue, American's might be seated too high for these tweeters.


At $14.5k, the Avantegard Zero 1 speakers are some of the least expensive speakers offered by the company. That said, they are packing a lot of technology. With a frequency response spec'ed to 30Hz, a three way design with independent amplifiers for each driver, and a wireless connection between the speakers, these are not your average self-powered speakers. With high quality 24-bit Burr Brown DACs, a focus on phase and time alignment, and all the digital inputs you'll likely need, they aren't just a pretty box. Check these out at a local high-end store near you soon.

For more information, please visit www.avantgarde-acoustic.de.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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