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This review first appeared in the June 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the Avalon Transcendent in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Avalon.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player
: Ancient Audio Lektor Air
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III with Regenerator power supply version II
Power amplifier: Tenor Audio 175S, Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom version
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2
Audio stand: Base
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD player, Pro Audio Bono platform under CD player
Review component retail in Poland: 68500 PLN standard veneer | 84000 PLN optional veneers

On their website Avalon writes that the Transcendent uses a combination of different technologies created by the company during the last 10 years and used before in the models Isis and Time. And further: "Never before has such a compact system utilized the sophisticated dynamic control technologies found exclusively in our most advanced designs. Octave-to-octave energy balance is equivalent throughout the bandwidth envelope and developed without compression while critically damped, thus delivering a spatial presentation that is faithful to the recording. The result is a dynamic system that focuses images palpably within a panoramic sound stage without sacrificing transparency or low frequency solidity." I remember well how the Ascendant performed which I reviewed not so long ago. That model was the basis for the Transcendent which to a large extent could have been described by way of the precursor.

When the new loudspeakers were shipped to me, then unpacked and set up by the Polish distributor, I expected that they would be a further development on the theme first heard with the Ascendants. Those are closely related loudspeakers after all – three driver two-ways with concave tweeters using ceramics and mid/woofers with diaphragms from woven Kevlar-Nomex fiber, a DuPont material developed to protect firemen. In audio the material is called hexacone. It is very light and rigid with very good internal damping. Drivers based on this material are manufactured by Eton. The Avalon speaker enclosures too also similar. At the base we have a "lossy hole" resembling but not functioning as a traditional bass-reflex port. As will become clear, these similarities are external only. Apparently small changes like the fully ceramic tweeter in place of the composite, slightly different mid/woofers, a larger enclosure and a single lossy opening instead of two all combine into a completely different product.

Selection of recordings used in the test:
Tron Legacy, OST, muz. Daft Punk, Special Edition, Walt Disney Records, 9472892, 2 x CD; Arimasa Yuki & Hisatsugu Suzuki, Duet, Sony BMG Masterworks/JVC, UNACD-10-01, XRCD24; Bill Evans Trio with Monica Zetterlund, Swedish Concert 1975, Jazzhus Disk, JD-7606, CD; Bill Evans, Everybody Digs Bill Evans, Riverside/JVC, JVCXR-0020-2, XRCD; Brian Eno, Craft On A Milk Sea, Warp Records, FLAC 24/44,1; Carol Sloane, Hush-A-Bye, Sinatra Society of Japan/Muzak, XQAM-1031, CD; Charlie Haden & Antonio Forcione, Heartplay, Naim Label, 24/96 FLAC; David Munion, Pretty Blue, Stockfisch Records, SFR 357.6072.2, CD; Depeche Mode, Enjoy The Music, Mute/Sire/Reprise, 921490-2, Maxi-SP CD; Diorama, The art of creating confusing Spirits, Accession Records, EFA 23450-2, CD; Don Friedman Trio, Circle Waltz, Riverside/JVC, VICJ-60258, XRCD²; Frank Sinatra, Sinatra At The Sands, Sinatra Society of Japan, UICY-94366, SHM-CD; Freddie Hubbard, Open Sesame, Blue Note/Audio Wave, AWMXR-0012, XRCD24; George Michael, Faith, Epic/Sony Music, 7753020, 2 CD+DVD; Grabek 8, Polskie Radio, PRCD 1372, CD; J. S. Bach, Solo Suites Nos 1,3&5, Mischa Maisky, Deutsche Grammophon/ Universal Music Company [Japan], UCG-50085, SHM-CD; Laurie Anderson, Homeland, Nonesuch Records, 524055-2, CD+DVD; Metallica, Master of Puppets, Vertigo/ Universal Music Company [Japan], UICY-94664, SHM-CD; Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve, 24/96 FLAC; Stan Kenton & June Christy, Duet, Capitol/Toshiba-EMI, TOCJ-9321, CD; Wynton Kelly, Kelly Blue, Riverside/JVC, JVCXR-0050-2, XRCD2.