AVANTGARDE ACOUSTIC Uno Fino

MJ22.01.2014

Floorstanding loudspeakers

Should your priority is to blend the speakers with your interior and make them visually disappear, the Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Fino is not for you. I am not in favor of color lacquers on speakers and prefer natural veneers where possible but I have to admit that Avantgarde Acoustic selections of color tints and its matching decors are among the most beautiful I have ever seen! Avantgarde Acoustic offers 10 metallic colors and they are all fantastic. My favorites include pearlescent white (Alkoya Pearl White), dark sapphire or light topas blues, striking deep red (Ruby Brilliant Red), and amazing matte antracite Stealth Nocturne Grey.

Function and form

77%
Ease of use
60%
Sound
92%
Appearance

There was only one objective with the Uno Fino project: squeeze excellent sonics of the bigger Uno into a more compact model. To achieve this the company had to develop new woofers and incorporate both the tweeter and midwoofer horns into one baffle. No doubt that Avantgarde Acoustic have made it in the end and the result was a 2-way speaker system with an integrated subwoofer in the package that is not bigger than a standard floorstander (124 x 59 x 50 cm).

Horn speakers have the benefit of high sensitivity (104 dB for the Uno Fino) so they can play very loud with just few watts of power.

I liked how the Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Fino solves the issue of feet adjustment. It is important to make the speakers like these tilted (depending on the acoustics of your room) due to their narrow dispersion so that the sound waves are beaming in proper inclination. The rear feet are fixed, the front feet can be easily adjusted with grip of your palm - no need to lay down the cabinets or to use any tool. The manipulation ends of the spikes are smooth operators and provide very precise anchoring to a floor.

There is a subwoofer unit above the base of the Uno Finos, that is powered by a dedicated in-built 250W amplifier. The same amplifier is used in all the models of the Uno and Duo range, with the exception of the Duo Grosso. If you plan to acquire the Avantgarde Acoustic please plan for the power outlet in their vicinity. The power-on mode is indicated by a small micro-LED that is placed below Avantgarde Acoustic's logo on the baffles.

 

Bass management

Weight
72
Slam
65
Articulation
66

The fact that the same amplifier is used across several speaker models makes it quite versatile in its settings - most of them will stay unused, like high and low pass extensions, as the size of the cabinets will not allow you to go as deep as 18Hz which is what the sub's amp is built for. I used Stereophile's Test CD 3 to estimate the Uno Fino's low frequency output and ended up at around 30Hz. That is why I suggest to use appropriate settings and filter-off the lower subsonic output to help the amplifier - it will reward you with fast and contoured bass. The rest is piece of cake provided that you are familiar with how to align a subwoofer with front speakers - if not please to our article The Gentle Art of Subwoofing to properly set the low pass, phase and volume. The subwoofer unit is an integral part of the speakers so you can skip the process of finding the right placement for it.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
71
Air
89
Transparency
80

The lower cut-off frequency of a horn loudspeaker is determined by the size of the horn. Like with conventional cones, the larger the horn, the deeper it plays. Below the cut off frequency of the horn the response rolls off with more than 18dB/octave. The 1st order crossover of the Uno Fino is set to operate to the cut-off frequency and does not require high pass filtering. At higher frequencies Avantgarde Acoustic uses a small trick: the small air chamber between the driver’s membrane and the horn operates as a low-pass filter and automatically filters off the frequencies above with 6dB/oct slope. Combining this effect with the same roll-off value of the driver the total attenuation reaches 12dB/oct without any low pass filtering system – the crossover can be as simple as it is.

The Uno Fino presented a little accented and sweet highs. They do not have the ultimate grain-free perfromance of the finest diamond or silk dome tweeters yet they are very lively, open and never aggressive. As a result the sound swings and rocks and leaves the baffles as fast as it can. The mids of the Uno Fino excel with acoustic music and posses almost planar qualities, no matter if you play soft or loud. They lend a solid base to sizzle of cymbals, like they did in Lovegood from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows soundtrack (Alexandre Desplat, Water Tower / Sony) - the sound of the cymbals was so nicely delineated in space and so real that it bordered a holographic experience in my room. Similarly, the smooth waves of London Symphony strings in Death Eaters bloomed out with understated presence and grace. Still, if you prefer to listen the "audiophile way" you remain delighted by soft clicks of bows and noises in the orchestra. I liked listening at high volumes with the Uno Finos - the monumental sound spiced with harp glissandos kept high resolution, perfect soundstaging and spectral eveness with the volume knob moving clockwise.

 

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
58
Dynamics
80
Temporal resolution
61

Songs From The Road (Columbia) of Leonard Cohen is a very fine collection of the pieces from Leonard's 2008-2009 tours that featured full 195 concerts around the globe. Every single track on the CD comes with a different atmosphere from a different stage. Bird on The Wire comes with beautiful sound of a bass guitar, deep, warm and rounded, that hangs in the air with afterglow, electrizing keyboards and fantastic saxophone that the Uno Finos render with stunning realism. The Leonard's voice in Bird on The Wire is emotionally charged and harmonically rich as well as it has urgent presence as if it the microphone was connected right to your ears. (Waiting for The Miracle the Uno Finos rendered the three dimensionality with pinpoint imaging yet with musical integrity. If you focus you can listen like an audiophile, if you just sit back you can just enjoy the stream of great music.

There is one important question to be answered: could I hear the speaker's waveguide? In principle, the waveguide is there to be heard, right? Yet it should leave as little imprint as possible and this is what the Uno Fino's spherical horn does. Also please realize that you trade a bit of 'horn sound sculpting' for high sensitivity, ultra fast response and great dynamics, that let you use SET amps, for example. In this context I find the slight horn coloration acceptable.

Spatial resolution

Holography
78
Soundstage width
59
Soundstage depth
78

There is another benefit of the Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Fino's design: the depth of the cabinets and the way of dispersion make the close-to-the-wall placement possible. Most speakers' soundstage tend to flatten or collapse within the proximity of the walls yet the Uno Finos worked surprisingly well even when pushed to corners.

On the other hand one needs to be careful about finetuning a sweetspot due to the directional dispersion. Your ears should be right amidst the speakers at the level (or slightly below) the main spherical horn waveguide. I got the impression that they needed to be placed at least 2.5m from each other - though this will be highly dependant of the room properties. The possible solution is to place them along the long wall of the room which also helps to minimize the remaining first reflections.

The versatility of the subwoofer settings invites a listener to experiment. I highly recommend slow down and listen well before any change in settings is accepted or declined. As usual, I found out that less was more and settled on very modest parameters that rewarded me with enjoyment for hours of listening.

Price as reviewed:349 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

HI-FI studio TYKON, Ostrava, tel. +420 723 449 894

Associated components

  • Sources: emmLabs CDSA
  • Amplifiers: Audia Strumento No.1 preamplifier, Audia Flight Strumento No.4 power amplifier, Electrocompaniet ECI 6DS
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Acrolink 8N A2080 MkIII, Acrolink 7N S1400 MkIII

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