Avalon Indra Loudspeaker

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Avalon Acoustics Indra
Avalon Indra Loudspeaker

“If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.” So said a rider at this year’s Tour De France, days after another dramatic recovery, days before drug testing was to prove him (all too predictably) correct. Such cynicism is well placed in modern sports; with several hundred highly trained and closely matched athletes all attempting the same feat, the sudden elevation of one rider or runner head and shoulders above the norm is both increasingly common and anything but natural. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that we tend to shy away from similar performance step-changes in other fields of activity, yet the logic that governs them is entirely separate.

We are all familiar with the over-used concept of trickle down, often coupled to the word “technology”, so much so that it too gets greeted with skepticism. “80% of the performance for 50% of the price!” is the stuff of marketing dreams, especially in fields where the taking of percentages is at best nebulous. But just for a moment I’m going to ask you to suspend entrenched disbelief and consider that if something is genuinely and consistently different from the run of the mill then there’s likely going to be a reason. There’s no question in my mind that Avalon’s Isis establishes new standards of achievement in musically important areas, a new shape to its performance envelope, if you will: But then, at well the wrong side of £50K so it should. Sadly, history tells us that such extravagant statements are generally more about show than go, and cynicism again becomes the order of the day. But interestingly, at the same time that the Isis first emerged, at the opposite end of the range we saw the NP2, a speaker at around a twentieth the price of its (very) big brother, but a speaker that nonetheless shared the same shape to its performance envelope, the same mix of virtues, even if they exist at a far less exalted level. There’s a definite, recognisable, shared achievement here, despite the difference in price, appearance and overall performance – and it’s equally definitely a good thing.

Which begs the question, what it is it that these Avalons are doing that other speakers aren’t? Well, actually it’s more a case of what they’re not doing – or to be even more precise, what they are not doing to the signal. In short, they’re not getting in its way. In reality that requires a little more explanation, but fear not, for the tools are at hand. Were I to say, “If you want but can’t afford the Isis, perhaps you should consider the NP2” – those that didn’t laugh would probably be outraged. Enter then the Indra, a speaker of such grace and elegance, such obvious physical parallels to the Isis that suddenly the suggestion doesn’t seem quite so extreme. But then its reassuringly expensive price tag probably helps in that regard as well…

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