Like the actual musical instrument, the Double Bass proportions clearly diverge from those of the Violin and Cello siblings. It is rather deeper, with the span from top to back proportionally far greater. My loaner pair forwarded directly from Munich inside two enormous wooden crates. The first challenge was to get these crates from the delivery truck to the ground floor. These crates were insanely big and heavy - the heaviest wooden boxes I have ever received at my home. They left no doubt about the level of protection they afford. This was serious stuff. By comparison, the seemingly massive flight cases used by Onda Ligera’s big Wave 168D floorstanders were lightweights. Once inside my house, the next challenge was shlepping the speakers upstairs to the first floor. It became obvious that the two imposing crates would never make it so we decided to uncrate the goods downstairs. Removing the screws on the front panel, we discovered a clever support base fixed to casters which made it child’s play to get the speakers out of the box.

Carrying the two Double Basses to the first floor was far from simple however. The lacquer finish, the absence of grippy walls, the unprotected drivers fore and aft, the additional facets on the bottom of the front and the overall weight made it very delicate work indeed. That must be my punishment for building a dedicated sound room on the first floor. For city dwellers, it’s important to consider the very real logistical challenges of getting these up to say the fifth floor if one's lift is too small. The Double Bass enclosure is made of MDF and consists of three distinct parts which also separate the drivers. Contrary to the smaller sisters with their exotic wood veneers, the big Double Bass has been primarily designed around black piano-gloss paint. The front face is mostly covered by a composite surface used in the entire range to which the drivers mount. The front sports seven vertical grooves which visually connect the two cone drivers in properly stringed DNA. As is true for all Avalon speakers, the polygonal faceted shapes and narrow remaining baffle width reduce internal standing waves and diffraction.

The narrow neck of the enclosure decreases diffraction for the midrange and treble drivers. From an aesthetic point of view, the slim top really ties the appearance to its namesake and minimizes the visual impact of such a big piece of furniture. Still, the Double Bass will impose its style and identity on your listening room no doubt. As a modernist cubist sculpture, it won’t merge easily with just any décor yet for a big multi-way remains an attractive alternative. The piano gloss finished achieved by Lawrence Audio is truly gorgeous and thus your amateur photographer’s dark nightmare. An unexpected fringe benefit of the geometry was its insensitivity to dust. It somehow undermines doubling as a dust magnet.

From right to left, the writer, his publisher and team Lawrence Audio at Munich 2014.

The Double Bass is described as a 4.5-way vented box. At first sight I thought it had to be a sealed box since the ports were rather discrete. Triangular bass reflex ports on both sides of the speaker’s bottom minimize airflow noise. Given their location, the Double Bass should allow closer front-wall placement than many competitors with rear-firing ports. Unlike the smaller Cello with its minimum 3.2Ω load, the Double Bass is a very friendly 8Ω chap who won’t dip below 6.4 Ω and manages a benign sensitivity of 89dB. This full-range design promises bandwidth from 24Hz to 40kHz. Its upper drivers provide outstanding clarity, resolution, impressive depth and heft. Looking closer at the six drivers per side, I felt in familiar territory with the Aurum Cantus carbon fibre cones used for the 8-inch midrange and 12" woofer whilst the upper bands showed themselves seriously enhanced with two AMT plus one ribbon tweeter on the front and an additional ribbon tweeter on the back. The mid/woofer sports an aluminium basket with a sandwich cone of non-woven carbon fibre with a 2" copper-clad aluminium voice coil. There's also a special magnet system with Faraday ring and demodulation coil. The woofer is an equivalent 12-inch version with a 3" voice coil.

The two mid/treble transducers are 5" long air-motion transformers. The high-frequency driver is a 3" ribbon 'aero striction' unit. An additional 4" ribbon tweeter fires backwards for ambience and soundstage depth. Powerful neodymium motors are used to excite the air molecules which couple to the aluminium diaphragms’ radiating surface. Since pleated AMT drivers move more air than classic ribbons for the same input voltage, they can be crossed over lower and exhibit higher power handling - not bad things considering. The AMTs’ output can be adjusted by ±1dB thanks to a two-position switch located on the rear between the twinned WBT binding posts.

Crossover parts include MKP capacitors, high-purity OFC inductors and military-grade metal oxide film resistors. In terms of network transitions, the woofer extends upward to 150Hz, the smaller cone handles 150-1’800Hz, the AMTs cover 1.8-30kHz. The frontal aluminium ribbon overlaps the two AMT drivers from 7kHz to 40kHz whilst the ambiance ribbons kicks in at 9kHz and hits the same ultrasonic 40kHz limit. At slightly more than 50kg/ea., the speaker’s actual weight is less imposing than its dimensions of 140 x 35 x 50cm HxWxD (55.1 x 13.6 x 19.7 inches) might let on. Once in its crate, weight more than doubles to 110kg however.