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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I currently have Avalon speakers paired with a Paradigm Sub 1 for some bass support and home-theater use. After many years of ownership, I am considering replacing them. I recently heard the Rockport Atria, a natural and wonderful-sounding speaker that is a very tempting upgrade. Unfortunately, its single 9" woofer just does not generate enough bass to give the true impact and realism that I would expect from a speaker of this price. The Avior would likely be everything that I am looking for, but even the $21,500/pr. for the Atria is a lot of money for a hobby.

I recently purchased an Integra processor for home-theater use and spent some time playing with Audyssey. The shocking improvement it made left me in a quandary as to how to proceed. The change in sound is a large step up over the minor improvements I have heard from expensive DACs and electronics. Even though my room is well treated, room correction still makes a significant difference.

There has been quite a bit of press recently regarding the Legacy Aeris. They seem to take room correction to the next level. I am wondering what you think of these speakers and the concept of room correction within high-end audio. For someone who does not have a professionally engineered room, might the tradeoffs in a speaker like the Aeris outweigh similarly priced products such as the Rockport Atria that perform best in a near-perfect room? I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Thank you,
Jeff

While I agree that room correction has come a long way -- and I've tried a number of different commercially available products -- I've ultimately come back to listening without it. I know opinions vary on this subject -- heck, some of our own writers swear by it -- but it is just not for me at this point. There is always something "not right" about the sound. I'm going to keep searching though.

I have heard the Aeris at audio shows and quite liked what I heard. That's certainly not a definitive opinion on them, though, as I have not had a Legacy speaker in my current room. In fact, the only real in-my-own-room experience I've had with Legacy was a pair of Focus speakers about 20 years ago. There is a misconception regarding the Atria and the type of room it will play best in, though. The Rockport Atria is precisely the type of speaker you want if you do not have a perfect room. Andy Payor designs his speakers for smooth off-axis dispersion, meaning that the sound that reflects off your sidewalls will closely mimic what is arriving directly from the speakers. When the direct and reflected sounds combine at the listening position you will be left with an essentially neutral tonal balance. Contrast this with a speaker that has ragged off-axis dispersion and you end up with sound that is unpredictable at best, really low fidelity at worst.

If you are concerned over the bass output of the Atria, why not keep your Sub 1 and pair that with the Atria? I think that would make a terrific combination, especially for home theater. If it were me, I'd choose that option over the Aeris, though I know it appears that the Aeris offers a lot of bang for the buck and I understand only having so much to spend on this hobby. Could this be a question of quality over quantity? I simply don't know. Please do keep me informed on what you decide, and good luck. . . . Jeff Fritz