From High-End Audio:

COINCIDENT SPEAKER TECHNOLOGY TOTAL VICTORY II- I've heard the original version of these speakers for three years now, in a number of extensive and thorough auditions, using equipment, software and listening rooms I am intimately familiar with, and with varying degree of break-in; from very little up to being fully broken-in.

I've been very impressed with them from the beginning, and in every subsequent instance, but I've held back from making a direct recommendation for two reasons:
1. I wasn't certain of the full extent of their most obvious, to me, sonic problem, and
2. I wasn't as impressed with them, frankly, as much as I thought I would be after I went back to my own system. (This is equally true of almost all the other speakers and components I've heard since then, but with the Total Victory I didn't know why.)
As of June, 2004, this is no longer the case, since both of the above reasons are now history.

There is a new (II) version of these speakers, which not only takes care of my primary sonic reservation, but also improves on their sonic strengths and, very importantly, even allows the use of a greater choice of low-powered amplifiers. Here are the details:

The Total Victory II looks exactly the same as the original version, meaning the cabinet and drivers are exactly the same. The changes are in the crossover, the tuning of the ports, the internal cabling (with their latest Extreme speaker cable-see below) and better floor coupling (with larger, heavy-duty spikes and "Extender Feet"). Unfortunately, I didn't hear the speakers with either the new spikes or the extender feet. Improved coupling should provide superior focus, bass definition and more precise transients. So I still haven't heard these speakers at their absolute best. (They weren't totally broken-in either, but they were reasonably close.)

I actually didn't expect much of a difference, and I was not given a "heads-up" of what to listen for by the person performing the audition, so I went into the listening session both skeptical and "blind". That perspective didn't last too long, because the improvements, while not "day and night" or "fundamental", were definitely easily noticeable and "significant", meaning the type of improvements that raise a component to a new level of performance.

The first improvement I noticed was in the area that bothered me the most in the past; overall cohesiveness and blend, or as many have described it; "sonics like a seamless piece of cloth". The improvement was obvious; the speaker was now as "seamless" as any four-way I've heard. This quality enhanced other strengths of the speaker; it was more natural; especially noticeable with male voices, which had less overhang and slurring, or body without fat.

Then I started hearing other improvements; there was greater phase coherence, allowing more musical textures to be heard and greater separation and intellegibility of the musicians. The noise floor was also lower; conveying more subtle details, decays, harmonics, micro-dynamics etc. The sound was cleaner, more precise and more immediate too. While one other change was made in the system (a cartridge), I still know some of these improvements emanated from the speaker, because of another comparison we made, but I just don't know how much.

Also important was the enhanced ability of low-powered tube amps to control the lower bass of the II. I heard this distinctly with the Coincident MP 300B, which has only 17 watts or so. The amp had good bass detail and even impact with this new model. This means amps with minimum midrange and high frequency compromises can now be used to drive this speaker.

So overall, from my perspective, the Total Victory II goes from being "excellent", though maybe a "near miss", to something that is now outstanding and highly recommended. I feel this way because it passed my ultimate personal test; by comparison, my own system, custom made for my preferences, was not much more satisfying. In fact, taking into consideration the differences in listening rooms, the two systems were competitive. This might not appear like much of a distinction, but in the last 8 years, only two speakers I've heard have been able to make that claim; the Total Victory II and the Avantgarde Duo. So what does this all mean?

At this point in time, the two finest speakers currently available, at least that I am aware of, without any considerations of price, are the Total Victory II and the Avantgarde Duo (and most likely the Avantgarde Trio). To make that statement clear; none of the mega-buck speakers I heard at the CES 2004 were as satifying overall*.

*Though it must be kept in mind that I heard those speakers in "show conditions" while I heard the Total Victory II in an all-out, optimized home set-up.

Now a comparison between the Total Victory II and the Duo:

Total Victory II Vs. Avantgarde Duo

Rules- Price is irrelevant for now and the reader must remember that I heard the Avantegarde Duo at the CES 2004, in a mediocre room and not close to its best, while I heard the Total Victory II had its near best. The results...

I believe that the Duo has greater ultimate potential than the Victory II. The Duo has a greater sense of immediacy, "aliveness" and is slightly cleaner and more seamless in the mids and highs, while also being a little more dynamic, at soft and loud volumes. They're both very neutral, with good separation and a satisfying soundstage. But while the Victory II falls noticeably behind in a number of areas, it also has two noticeable advantages, both more easily heard, and both involving the bass frequencies;
1. The Total Victory II's bass, below 160 Hz, is far superior to the bass module that comes with the Duo, in virtually every way.
2. Maybe even more important, the bass of the Victory is very cohesive with the rest of its frequency range, while the Duo's bass sounds different enough that it will probably constitute a serious problem to a listen critical in that area. (I'm not sure at this point whether I could live with the Duo's stock bass myself.) By contrast, the Total Victory II does not have any "serious problems".

So why do I put the Avantgarde Duo in "Class A", and not the Total Victory II? Because the Duo (and I also assume the Trio), with the addition of an "all-out" custom-made woofer system or, from what I've been told by many people, Avantgarde's own BASSHORNS, can reach the highest level of speaker performance in the world today. Of course, you're talking serious money for the custom made woofers or the BASSHORNS, but money is irrelevant at this point of the discussion. When money does matter, a different perspective is in order...

The Total Victory II costs $ 13,000 a pair. That is an increase of $ 1,500 over the original version, which is still available at $ 11,500 a pair. After hearing the Series II, I wouldn't consider the earlier version which, by the way, can be updated for $ 1,820 plus shipping. I recommend everyone who has the original to get the update, even if you have to sacrifice something else you've been planning to purchase. The improvements are too serious to ignore, especially at that price. They're a "refinement" yes, but they're a major refinement, and noticeable enough that I couldn't live without them after hearing them.

The Duos are $ 17,000 to $ 19,000 a pair, which isn't that much more, but they still may require expensive woofers to finish the project. The BASSHORNS are $ 27,000 a pair, and sometimes more than one pair is needed in a large room. That is a lot of money, many times the cost of the Victory, and is an accurate indicator of the comparative value of the Victory, which is still second best.

To summarize; if you are in the $ 10,000 to $ 15,000 range, and have no intention of ever spending more, I would look at the Total Victory II, even if you have to make a sacrifice to get there. If your budget is above that, and assuming you have a good sized room and horn speakers don't bother you, I would look for a used pair of Duos first, and then save up more for BASSHORNS, unless the bass problems don't bother you. If you have enough money to purchase everything new, I would take a trip to New York City and hear the entire Avantgarde line for yourself. You'll either buy them on the spot, or go back a more experienced and knowledgeable listener, with the realization that horn speakers aren't for you. At that point, I'd take a real close look at the Total Victory II, regardless of its much lower price.

Designed By Science Driven By Passion
391 Woodland Acres Crescent, Maple, ON., L6A1G2
Tel: 647-221-1834