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Granite under Vandersteens?


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I see that some members are putting granite slabs under their Vandersteens. In the Ask Richard section, he seems to give this a modest endorsement. Can someone speak to the benefit/theory of doing so? What did you notice over your previous set up? Big/small improvements?

I’m using Quatro Woods on a wood floor (built over a crawl space above the ground). Currently, I’m using Vandersteen spike shoes and have used Herbies pucks before that.

A couple practical questions:

Is anything placed between the granite and wood floor to prevent damage?

If the granite is polished, do the speaker spikes easily slide on the granite, or are they stable? 

Thanks for any insight!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was using 2” granite slabs under my Quatro cloths. As far as improvements, I think for me, it corrected a listening angle issue. I got some new chairs, and never recalculated the rake angle. Bass was probable tightened up a bit, I know I heard less of it from downstairs.

I recently got some Quatro CTs, and took them off the slabs for initial setup. I’ll be able to give a good comparison soon 

 

I used some of that drawer liner stuff to protect the floor. I’m also upstairs on hardwood floors.  The cones actually made small divots in the granite ,so they were fairly stable.  

Edited by Nutznboltz
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Thanks for the information and I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the CTs! I noticed you didn’t have the granite under the new speakers in your pictures. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on their effect when you reinsert them. That’s interesting about the cones digging in. I was surprised to hear ctsooner say that Richard said to use the spike shoes on top of the granite. I’m not sure what the effect would be one way or the other.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We picked up our granite platforms for the Quatro CTs this afternoon.

These platforms are made from two pieces of the standard 3 cm granite thickness used in countertops, glued together to get to 6 cm total.   They sorta make the Quatros look like Kentos, but without the cool Princess Leia subwoofer hair buns.  Sorta.

The difference in the speaker base height effectively put the listening couch that much lower than before, relative to the loudspeakers.  That required adding some washers to the rear spike.  As it worked out, that meant a total of nine washers.  The good news there is at that height and tilt, the distance from the speakers doesn't matter, according to the graph in the manual.  

To answer the obvious questions in advance, yeah, I made sure the speakers were in the exact same relationship to the walls as before, with three degrees of toe-in just as before.  The left-right tilt was made within a couple tenths of a degree according to the electronic level, and the front to back tilt is within a quarter inch on the back wall six feet behind the listening couch, based on the laser method of measuring such things..

The bases and speakers are currently settling in.  Bases?  Burn-in?  Nope, I mean actually settling in by squishing down the carpet they're lying on.  The Quatros were previously spiked through the carpet to the flooring underneath, so no settling was needed.  Here, it'll take a while.

My first impressions are that adding the bases brings out the midrange with a degree of clarity found previously only in loudspeakers costing twice to two point six times as much.  Imagine being in the ninth row of Carnegie Hall, three seats to the right of center, listening to Itzhak Perlman play a solo.  It is now possible to determine that he's using a textured cotton handkerchief under his chin instead of a paisley print.  The feeling is palpable.  The overall gestalt of the moment is similar to sitting under the stage at Woodstock all these many years ago while Carlos Santana was wrestling the mescaline induced snake that was his guitar during that day's rendition of Soul Sacrifice.  Michael Shrieve's drip, drip, drip of sweat was as bad as the interminable rain.

Nah.  Just kidding.  I wanted to see if I could sound like a reviewer.

Generally, I'd say that the sound is clearer from bass on up.  The soundstage is some better defined.  Like trading in the Quatros for a new pair of Sevens?  Nope.  But, I never expected that anyway.

I'll have to listen more and have my wife listen.  But, so far, so good.  Some fine tuning of toe-in and placement may be required.  Or, not.  We'll see how it goes. 

 

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I really need help setting them up.  I'll need to get the washers etc ahead in order to set them up all at once, lol.  Richards M5-HPA amps came yesterday. Waiting on my server/DAC to come back as they are installing an analog volume control.  

I enjoyed the first part of your review!  I was ready to just pick up my speakers and installed them myself, lol...(with the MS, I can't even lift them from the bottom properly, lol.  I really need the server back quickly now!!!!  

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OK.  The rug is squished down now, probably as far as it's going to squish.

Overall, I have to say that placing the Quatros atop the granite bases was a good step forward.  Pretty much everything is clearer and better defined than before.   For some recordings, that's a great thing.  For others, maybe not so much.  Such is the state of music recording, I think.  So, granite bases aren't a magical cure for everything.

I want to note here that none of this is a criticism of the Quatros.  Instead, it's an indictment of our floors.  

The resident music expert (not me, obviously) said that she now thinks pianos sound more pianoier, horns sound more piercing when played loudly, and that there's way better placement of musicians within the stage, at least on recordings that attempt to get that part right.

Now that some electronic flaws have been fully laid bare, I need to work on new electronics.  "Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it's always something — if it’s not one thing, it's another." - R. Roseannadanna

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to share my most recent upgrade experience.  My fabric Quatros live on concrete floor with laminate plank covering it.  I have been using Herbie's Audio Lab brass gliders under them.  Thanks to John Rutan, my set of Vandersteen footers arrived yesterday.  With the help of our daughter's boyfriend, the swap only took a few minutes.  

I played three of my reference albums.  I expected a slight improvement; but instead, I was quite taken back (more like blown away).  We've all those sessions when our system sounds better on some days than others.  This was dramatic.  Not only is the bass tighter, there is more clarity and definition, as well as meat.  The bass drum has never sounded more life-like and all the other instruments are just better defined.

I could go on and on with more audiophile superlatives that we're all familiar with, but I'm really pleased.  For you folks who employ granite planks under your Vandy's, I'm not sure if the same level of improvement would be realized; but, I encourage anyone with concrete floors to try them under your spikes / cones.  The greatest $132 upgrade you will ever discover.

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Today I replaced the Herbie's titanium Cone/Spike Puckies (not the glider things) between the Quatro CT spikes and the granite base with official Vandersteen spike shoes.  

Without going into all the sordid details, Vandershoes are somewhat better.  Here's how I'd rate them on a completely arbitrary scale:

Quatro CT's spike to floor:  80

On granite base with Herbie's: 96

On granite base with Vandershoes: 100

This doesn't mean that everything is perfect.  The scale can be rescaled at any time.  But, I must say it's all pretty darned good now...  😊

If nothing else, this experiment yet again demonstrates the importance of set-up and all the little details that take time to sort out.  These details aren't as sexy as buying new expensive gear but probably are more productive in the long run.  It also makes me wonder how much stock we all should place in reviews.  Just how much optimization can they get right in a couple weeks?

I now wonder how our old 2Ci's would've worked on a base set-up like this.  (I can't rate them on the above scale, since we've changed other system aspects since going to Quatro CT's)

There probably should be a law that if you purchase Vandersteen loudspeakers, they should be placed atop Vandershoes on a rock floor, or on a granite base if you have wood floors.  Of course, if you own 7's that means using Bedrocks.  That's according to me, at least.  😜

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Two things I forgot.  Yeah, I'm kinda slow...

Just a reminder - the Herbie's Puckies I used are made from titanium.  It appears that the Vandersteen Spike Shoes are made from stainless steel, but that's a guess by me.  That might explain at least part of the sound difference.  Dunno.  The Puckies are also available in stainless steel.

Second, the Vandersteen Spike Shoes have felt on the bottom.  The Herbie's Puckies have some sort of somewhat thin but firm elastomer on their bottoms.  This might also explain the sound, but there's also a pragmatic difference.  The Puckies tend to stick to the granite, or I'd presume, a hardwood floor.  The Spike Shoes allow for a certain amount of sliding.  Not "non-caloric silicon-based kitchen lubricant" slippery, but if you apply real force to move the loudspeaker they'll grudgingly but smoothly slide.  Either one might be a feature or a bug, depending on what you want.

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The felt is a special felt.  It's got characteristics that Richard sought and it's why he uses it.  He auditions in his living room and always on vinyl and with his wife.  He constantly refers to her listening thoughts when sharing.  The foundation is as important as anything.  Set up's are my personal nemesis.  I can't set up speakers for my life.  I think it's because I can't move things anymore. When I was younger I was physically capable of making the large and small adjustments etc...  I do wish I was better.  

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Interesting observations / insights guys.  The Herbie's I had allowed my to slide my Quatros fairly easily.  I still play with the degree of toe-in; sometimes very slight changes.  Since I've put the Vandersteen footers down, I have not attempted any adjustments; but, I'm guessing the felt would also allow those little tweaks to be accomplished fairly easily.  

Pardon me for repeating myself, but it's been a week now and I'm still taken back by the level of improvement from such a modest upgrade.

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It's often the little things that make a nice difference.  We live in a subjective land of minor changes and often times changes are noticed and assumed good until you really spend some time listening.  That's why it's so hard to believe anything from shows (I know Ricahrd often wins BOS etc... but I still don't buy into that too much).  

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

Just ordered a set of Treo CTs from Bruce at Stereo Unlimited. I feel like a kid waiting  for Christmas. Does anyone think the Treos will benefit from a granite slab on top of the carpet?

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Congrats.  What a great time Huang.  YES they will benefit in the same way all of Richard's speakers will.  I use a 3" slab that was glued together (2 1.5" pieces) with a typical polymer type of glue that may even be better than a solid block, but I don't think anyone will do a blind listening test to prove it, LOL...(sorry, had to go there for a smile).

 

Pics when you have them 

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Huang, congratulations on your Treo CTs.  Is this your first pair of Vandersteens?  If so, you are in for a real treat.  I don't know Bruce, but have heard many great things about his approach.  Set up is a critical element of getting the most from Richard's speakers; I'm sure Bruce will be helpful.

Make sure and post a picture of your system when your Treo CTs arrive!

Play on

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I used to buy from Bruce in the 80’s when I was stationed there. Met Richard there with the 2’s   Just amazing sound with the CJ amp and CJ pre amp if I recall.  Also a top Sota table with vacuum hold down 

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