Mordaunt-Short Avant 906i Floor standing speakers

The second generation of Mordaunt Short's successful Avant range of loudspeakers hit the shops last year, with the 'i' suffix bringing about a number of improvements. These included new surrounds for the bass/midrange drivers and updates to the tweeter dome design to lower distortion and improve smoothness. The cabinets for each loudspeaker in the range also gained additional bracing to make sure the wobbly cabinet syndrome is avoided and sand filling a lower chamber for stability is possible too.

The Avant 906is are second from the top of the range and the middle floorstander. A two and a half way design, the 906is use a 1in (25mm) aluminium dome tweeter and two 5.25in (130mm) bass/midrange drivers that incorporate Mordaunt Short's proprietary aluminium 'Continuous Profile Cones' (CPC) and 'V-form technology' for the surround attachment. The surrounds themselves vary in thickness across their width for improved driver operation and this is an idea that has been carried over from the flagship Performance range.

Measuring 850x165x295mm (HxWxD) the 906is are slim but deep and weigh in at 12kg without any mass loading added. They also offer bi-wiring capabilities through two pairs of rear sockets, featuring new terminals, which have also 'trickled-down' from the Performance 6.

Having always been something of a fan of the old Avant series, I was pleased to hear that Mordaunt Short have successfully overcome their main failing, namely a tendency to become a little unruly treble-wise at times. The 906is are fantastically detailed and composed at the top end, with superb levels of treble articulation, but they never descend into fizziness when the going gets tough. Leading edges of steel guitar strings had commendable definition and cymbals had a beautifully metallic 'ting' to them.

Soundstaging from the Mordaunt Shorts was superb and they have the ability to generate a wonderfully stable image of bands, vocalists or orchestras that stretches well behind and, intriguingly, above them - they sound much taller than they are! Midrange was equally proficient, making singers come across with real emotion and clarity. The dip in the midrange response did have a tendency to push lead vocalists a little further back into the soundstage than the other loudspeakers in the test but, fortunately, this had the result of making them blend with the backing track quite well, rather than making them lost in the mix.

At the bottom of the frequency range, bass from the 906is is excellent, and shows that the work carried out on the cabinet and drivers has paid off. Bass lines were confident, weighty and detailed and the Avants were equally happy with the intricate melodies of a double bass as they were with the pounding out a sturdy synth bass beat.

Overall, the Mordaunt-Short Avant 906is have an assured, dynamic and exciting sound with superb levels of insight into all music.

Mordaunt-Short Avant 906i Floor standing speakers photo