Audiovector’s R series loudspeakers represent the company’s core. Yes, there is the more affordable QR series and in-wall models, and technically the Big Three – the R11, R8, and R6 floorstanders – all stand apart from the core line. But the quartet of R1 stand-mount, R C centre channel, R Sub subwoofer and R3 floorstander tested here demonstrate many of Audiovector’s key values.
Finished in one of four rich – but not elaborate – finishes, the R3 is a two-and-a-half way bass reflex loudspeaker, the reflex port of which exits through the base of the loudspeaker. It has an unthreatening 91dB sensitivity coupled with a nominal impedance of eight ohms and not much in the way of nasty impedance dips along its frequency response. Which means, the R3 plays nice with a whole range of amplifiers and is particularly happy when in a relationship with a moderately healthy integrated design. Powerlifters and vast pre-powers are not rejected, but neither are they a mandatory part of getting a good sound out of a pair of R3s.
These Audiovectors are not big loudspeakers. They are the sort of size that flows well into a living room without the kind of form factor that marks you out as ‘that guy’; the “I’m so audiophile I have 3m tall monstrosities in my living room” guy. They aren’t small either; so you don’t have to compromise in performance in medium to large rooms. The R3s are made for modern living and modern listening rooms. Look, we’ve all had a bit of an insight into other people’s homes thanks to lockdown interviews, and many folk have come out of the woodwork as having a decent audio system in the background. And in almost every case, those decent loudspeakers are a pair of floorstanders, none of which are two-metre-tall behemoths. Based purely on this rule of thumb, the 103.4mm height of the R3s put them squarely in the crosshairs of domestic acceptability. Put simply, they hit the Goldilocks spot of domestic chumminess without too great a sonic compromise. Happy listening!
In the ‘basic’ Signature guise, Audiovector’s R3 features a pair of 165mm/6.5” carbon mid-bass units with a R Evotech soft dome tweeter. This has a clever rear vent that allows some of the high-frequency energy to escape to the rear of the enclosure, making the tweeter quasi-rear-firing (in fairness, from experience this is more significant when the dome tweeter is replaced by an AMT design). The cabinet is designed to be as non-parallel as possible, using the company’s familiar and elegant curved back.
As ever with Audiovector, there are two parts to the tale. The first is how the loudspeaker stacks up in and of itself. The second is the future of the product and its ability to be upgraded to Avantgarde or Arreté levels. This upgrade path – something that is both unique to Audiovector and has been a core part of the brand for years – allows a user to either allow the loudspeaker to move with the times and the upgrades brought to elsewhere in the system, or acts as a form of layaway; if you want – but cannot afford – the Arreté version, you can buy the Signature edition and upgrade as and when funds permit. While in reality the former happens with greater frequency (and, in the process, tend to skip to the full Arreté version than the intermediary Avantgarde step), the great thing about this upgrade path is that it means people tend to hang on to their Audiovector loudspeakers for a lot longer than many enthusiasts; if a part of being an audio enthusiast is ‘itchy feet’, then the change from Signature or Avantgarde to Arreté represents a change that would normally only be realised by a change of loudspeaker.