November
2018

Country of Origin

France

C├ęsar

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, Fore Audio DAISy1, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref,  AURALiC Vega 
Preamplifier: Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000 and Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands 
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €13'000/pr, add €900 for optional super tweeters

Avantages. My French was a D at best and mostly Greek to me. Applying said 'd', I simply knew advantages when I saw them: pure omnipolar radiation for a realistic power response; and a low crossover point from compact widebanders, not conventional tweeters.

César might ring another 'D' as in Duevel of Germany but that rakish acute actually pegs him as a Parisian. In fact, he's the unexpected creation of acoustic resonator auteur Franck Tchang. In it our crafty Chinese emigré loads two 5-inch Alnico-powered widebanders into the mirror-imaged upper dispersion lenses; and one downfiring 10" magnesium/alu alloy woofer into the plinth's aimed-up reflector. This two-way is good for 25Hz-20kHz bandwidth but can still be extended to 35kHz with optional super tweeters. César puts 40kg on the scale, measures 126 x 57 x 35cm HxDxW and clocks 90dB on the 4Ω sensitivity meter.

"Our son Jonathan is now 6 months so we're still pretty busy taking care of baby everyday. Over the years the audio business has slowed down but I continue to work at it and came up with this very musical new speaker for which I registered the new brand name Avantages Audio."

Like all the best announcements, this hit out of the blue entirely unexpected.

Of course many prior reviews had me familiar with Franck's excellent ears and unconventional mind. Be it his resonators at right, his spliced multi-metal cables or the Tango speakers with their breathing bores, none had ever been by the book. Thinking outside the box is second nature to a man who as a youngster arrived in Europe with nothing, then built up a small empire at the Parisian diamond exchange which broke all the rules by launching sales of fine diamond rings inside French retail giant Carrefour's endless stores.

No wonder that his resonators fell prey to plenty of clones.

Against this background and Franck's resourcefulness, I fully expected that behind César's elegantly curvy facade hid more unconventional cleverness. Just how much thereof he'd be willing to share was the question.

"César's crossover is simplicity itself: a single inductor on the woofer to come in at 100Hz. That's it." If less is more, this was a lot more.