Avantgarde’s Trio G3 still offers a passive option – but does it make sense?
By Roy Gregory
Avantgarde’s Trio G3, fully active horn system is as Revolutionary (in terms of its amplifier implementation) as it is Impressive (in terms of its musical accomplishments). Only the very best conventional systems can live with the immediacy and clarity of its musical insight – and it’s no slouch when it comes to the hi-fi niceties either. All of which makes it both expensive and an enormous bargain. But in saying that, you should note that it’s not just the performance/value equation that’s sky-high. Anyway you slice it, the full Trio rig is BIG. The main horn arrays stand almost a metre wide – which is pretty much twice the width of the largest conventional boxes – and the dual-driver SpaceHorn subs ain’t exactly compact either! The picture above is definitely worth a thousand words, featuring as it does the full-six-pack of SpaceHorn Dual-driver subs, but even with a single pair of SpaceHorns, it’s an imposing sight. You can read the in depth review of that (mightily impressive) active system at https://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/avantgarde_trio_g3.htm
But what do you do if you want Trio performance but you don’t have the cash or you don’t have the space? You could buy a bigger place, but as Avantgarde don’t sell property, they’ve come up with their own, rather less dramatic solution, a system that from their perspective represents the first rung on the Trio system ladder but which I think of as Trio G3-Lite.
While there’s nothing you can do to reduce the size and visual impact of the main horn arrays, you do have options. The Trio G3 horn arrays will cost you €76,000 a pair, to which the iTron active drive modules will add another €26,000, with a second up-charge for the wireless connectivity module once that becomes available. I’m guessing that the thinking here is that there will be customers who want to keep a much-loved amplifier in their system and for that reason, don’t want to go active. But what it also means is that you have the option of driving the Trio G3 passively, from an existing amplifier, saving you a chunk of change in the process. At the same time, the product remains fully upgradable, so you could add active drive and even wireless connectivity later, if you choose, without any cost penalty.
The same issues of cost and size confront the subs, although in this case, there is actually something that can be done about their size and potentially intrusive presence. Almost every photo of a fully loaded Trio rig shows the horn-arrays standing either side of a centrally placed bank of sub-woofers. There are plenty of reasons for that, mainly related to the issues of integration and the fact that with somewhere between two and six active and horn-loaded subs, low-frequency extension and level simply isn’t a problem. But, if you want to make the subs less intrusive, then getting them out of that central location is going to be high on the list of priorities. In this case, moving them to the corners behind the horn arrays also means that you can exploit the increased room gain provided by the extra boundary reinforcement.