To Jeff Fritz,
Not having heard either speaker [Rockport Atria and Avalon Compas], I am looking for constructive input regarding the above models and how they would integrate into my room (14'W by 17'L by 8'H, rising to 10'). I'm using the latest Spectral DMA-400 amplifiers, DMC-30SS Series 2 preamplifier, and SDR-4000SL CD player. My taste in sound is detail and tight bass, but not so analytical that only a few recordings are listenable. If I err, it would be on the warm side versus dark and cold. Soundstage depth is extremely important. I would certainly appreciate any input you may have. I am currently using Avalon Eidolons (11 yrs. old).
Having heard many Avalon speakers at shows, and having tons of experience with Rockport Technologies loudspeakers, there is no doubt in my mind that the Rockports are superior speakers. So the short answer is to go with the Rockports. A bit longer answer is below . . .
I've never been that impressed with Avalons -- although I have heard them image pretty well, and throw a believable soundstage, their lack of real bass depth and power, occasional thinness in the highs, and generally uneven tonal balance have always left me wanting something better. In other words, I've heard them sound good, just not complete.
The Rockports, on the other hand, are quite neutral, but far from cold. Some have described them as warm, but I think this is primarily due to their full-range bass response. As for a direct comparison between the speakers, the Compas does have one more bass driver than the Atria, but the Atria counters that with what I believe to be better drivers overall: the Avalons use the ceramic Accuton drivers, which are good if a bit commonplace in high-end audio, whereas the Rockports use the company's own mids and woofers made from a carbon-fiber sandwich, along with the highly regarded Scan-Speak beryllium-dome tweeter. Both speakers have MDF cabinets, though the Rockports use constrained-layer damping in order to avoid enclosure-borne resonances. Ultimately, I believe the Rockport Atria to be the more thoroughly engineered loudspeaker, and I would put my own money there without question. . . . Jeff Fritz