Back in 1989, Martin Grindrod founded AVI. He had made his first radio at eight, designed his first hi-fi by twelve and was the youngest radio amateur in the UK by age sixteen. This hi-fi protégé decided to produce a stunning looking multi-room music system, complete with the maximum possible sound quality. The AVI Neutrons were tiny, powerful active speakers created in the 90’s and became their most successful product. By 2007, they introduced their real star, the legendary ADM9 active speakers (with a built in DAC and a remote controlled, multi-input preamplifier). These little active speakers continue to be a favourite in the hi-fi scene.
This glorious speaker has been revamped many times, the newest incarnation being the clever new DM5’s, which many consider the modern day Neutron. They are small in stature, but these deceptively mighty active speakers could outperform many traditional speakers that are twice their price. We are currently testing these against the similarly priced KEF LS50 wireless. With two Class D amps built in, ½ watt consumption on standby, and a smooth, clear sound, these speakers are well worth the hype. (Did we mention AVI were the first manufacturer to produce these types of inclusive active speakers?)
We simply plugged these into a computer, and they worked beautifully after a few hours to run them in. Compact enough to fit on a desk, but powerful enough to fill the whole room with the clean, sweet sounds of Daft Punk’s Discovery; it was a great balance I never thought such petite speakers could realistically achieve.
If we thought the DM5’s were good, we were blown away by the DM10’s. These are the slightly larger sibling with all the improved bells and whistles of the DM5’s, but also sporting a built in DAC. We ran these in over the course of a couple of days with the help of the Linn Sneaky DS. The surprisingly easy set up and user-friendly remote control makes them ideal for anyone, even a hi-fi beginner. Although it seems daunting that there is no user interface or LED display screen to show the effect the remote has, you won’t even notice once you get used to them.
Our demo room was bouncing with the help of their powerful bass driver unit, which complemented the sleek sounding mids without overpowering them completely. They really hit the sweet spot, which seems unlikely for the relatively modest price. They could certainly fit into any small scale hi-fi set-up comfortably, and could end up being a new favourite.
For those who are not looking for the traditional hi-fi separates set up, these active speakers are a great alternative. Both of these incredible little speakers are available for demonstration at our Edinburgh branch, so if you’re still on the fence, come and give them a listen.
Having an amplifier built directly into a speaker, if executed as well as AVI have managed, could very well be the future of all speakers.