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Joe Whip

Vandersteen 3A Signatures

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I have been an owner of these speakers for what seems like forever. I purchased the pair new as 3A’s  shortly after they were released from The old Chestnut Hill Audio in Philly. I upgraded them to Signature status in 1997 and they have been providing me with total musical enjoyment ever since.  I know Steve McCormack used them for years to evaluate his designs and still owns a pair. Who am I to argue with Steve?  These speakers have great tone, rhythm, bass and depth. Sure they are now old in the tooth but I rarely ever hear other systems and think it is time to upgrade my speakers. In fact, several audiophile friends in visiting my room to listen have told me that whatever I do, do not get rid of these speakers. They are an awaesome value.

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I've been there too.  I lived in the 80's in San Diego for the Navy, but the ship pulled into Philly ship yards in '87.  I was already back in CT at that time, but started dating a woman from downtown Phllly the whole summer of 87.  Sorry, but the memories are with her, but I did get to Chestnut Audio more than a few times that summer, lol.  

As great as those 3's are, if you ever do get the itch, the Treo CT's are a big step up in refinement etc... Some like the volume of bass in the 3's better, so many do stay with them.  As value goes, the whole line offers that as they all scale and punch above their pay grades.  Heck, the new 2 sig 3's seem to be a GREAT speaker that has plenty of refinement and tight bass.  All the Vandy line has great tonal qualities as that's what Richard strives for.

 

It's one reason why many listeners may not be into Vandy's. at first listen.  they are not used to hearing what proper tone sounds like.  I was one of those just 7 or so years ago.  

 

What do you run them with?

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It is all about the bass. Can’t give that up. These babies put me right back into the jazz clubs where I have spent too much time over the years. I have been driving them with a McCormack DNA-1 which I have upgraded  to  GT 20 status with the phenomenal Gravity base. Working on an article at AudiophileStyle.com on it.  DAC is the Schiit Yggy 2 with Unison USB. Mr. Moffat understands bass too as well timing. It is funny when audiophiles come in here and can’t believe what these speakers are capable of. Perfect tone, pace, drive, open and detail without the brightness that passes for detail with far too many high end speakers these days.

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I moved to San Diego few years ago after living in Philly for 18 years and the mention of Chestnut Hill audio does bring back memories. Ironically, I didn't buy my first pair of Vandersteens from that place. I went to a Magnepan dealer with the intent of auditioning and buying the smallest Magnepan available back then and unfortunately the dealer (David Levitan @ Audiolab) didn't have them. He did however demo one of the bigger ones and when my wife saw it, she asked him 'do you have any speakers for normal people?' and he turned us towards the 1C and that's when my addiction to these speakers began. Several years later I when I wanted to upgrade, I learnt that Audiolab had stopped carrying Vandersteens.

It's a bummer that a lot of these audiophile places are either scaling back or have closed down. Stereo Design in SD is another example....

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I agree on the closing of stores.  I just spoke with a couple of owners I know just yesterday about this.  The Centerville, VA dealer, The Gifted Listener has now closed.  I just was in that store in Oct.  The owner said he was thinking of getting out of the business.  I guess he did.

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