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New Member System - Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT + JBL L300 Summit


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Hello, Vandersteen Forum. I just registered as a new member. Glad to be here.

I purchased my first pair of Vandersteen speakers, Model 3A Signature, in my early 20s while in graduate school. Admittedly I lacked financial wisdom at the time and likely should have deferred investment in high-end audio equipment until fully employed. It was a "had to have them" situation that snowballed into subsequent upgrades to amplification, sources, and room treatments, as is often the case with this hobby.  Those speakers served as an escape from mundane reality and a portal to musical thrills. I ran with a crowd of mostly musicians at the time, as I was a performing drummer and percussionist,  and I still recall the looks of surprise, wonderment, and engagement on friends' faces during a first listen to my odd-looking Vandersteen towers. Great memories.

My two-channel audio system continues to be a source of pride and joy. Currently my configuration allows me to relatively painlessly switch between two excellent speakers (Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT and JBL L300 Summit) as well as between tube and solid-state power amplification (Balanced Audio Technology VK-76SE and VK-255SE, respectively). The flexibility is great!

The Vandersteen's sound glorious powered by the BAT VK-76SE tube amplifier (75 watts per channel), but I do not push the volume above moderate listening levels. When powered by the BAT VK-255SE solid-state amplifier, the sound from the Vandersteen's is by comparison a bit less dreamy and dimensional, but I can increase the volume to achieve gripping room pressurization.

The JBL's were manufactured circa 1980 but perform like a very accomplished modern speaker. The unique driver array provides for an exciting listen with loads of body and dynamics.

I see KENTO Carbon's in my future but am in no hurry to disrupt the current state of awesomeness in my listening room.

Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT + JBL L300 + BAT Amps (v3-9-22).jpg

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4 minutes ago, ctsooner said:

Welcome. Great systems.  What’s the rest of the system?  Pre and sources?

Thanks.

The rest of the system:

- Balanced Audio Technology VK-33SE preamplifier
- MOON (Simaudio) 610LP phono preamplifier
- Rega Planar 10 turntable with Apheta 3 cartridge
- Bryston BCD-3 CD player
- PS Audio DirectStream DAC
- AURALiC Aries G2 streamer
- Naim Uniti Core server
- Bryston and Torus power isolation transformers
- REL 212/SX subwoofers (2)
- Room treatments and equipment isolation by Stillpoints, Acoustic Sciences, Shunyata Research, A/V Roomservice, and Herbie’s Audio Lab
- Equipment racks and stands by Quadraspire

I have enjoyed the PS Audio DAC for several years but am investigating alternatives with a slight leaning toward the Weiss DAC50X. Frankly the sheer number of highly competent DACs either on the market or entering the market soon has prevented me from replacing the PS Audio. Somewhat illogical, I know. 

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Lovely systems 🙂 Glad somebody else skipped the lectures in grad skool on financial responsibility !,,, 

How do you like the NAIM Core ? i am limping along on two very old and software obsolete Unitiserves… the CORe is a maybe for me…..

Finally, if you dont already have them you might try shorting the inputs of the unused pair of speakers, a pita if you leave them hooked up but worthwhile from a sonic perspective…

best to you

Jim

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4 minutes ago, TomicTime said:

Lovely systems 🙂 Glad somebody else skipped the lectures in grad skool on financial responsibility !,,, 

How do you like the NAIM Core ? i am limping along on two very old and software obsolete Unitiserves… the CORe is a maybe for me…..

Finally, if you dont already have them you might try shorting the inputs of the unused pair of speakers, a pita if you leave them hooked up but worthwhile from a sonic perspective…

best to you

Jim

Thanks very much.

Ha! While I rarely skipped lectures in grad school, certain lessons conveniently did not sink in until later in life.

Regarding the Naim Uniti Core, I like it very much. It has been reliable, quiet, easy to use, and enjoyable for playback. It is my least-used source, with the AURALiC Aries G2 streamer being my most-used source. I find the Aries to be an exceptional audio component both functionally and sonically.

I will read about shorting the inputs of the unused pair of speakers. I appreciate learning about all sorts of tips and tricks for improving performance.

 

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49 minutes ago, Schuesmp said:

I have enjoyed the PS Audio DAC for several years but am investigating alternatives with a slight leaning toward the Weiss DAC50X.

I have never heard of the Weiss units, until now. A quick Google shows them to be in the $10K range. As you are in that ballpark, I would also recommendlooking into the Brinkman Nyquist 2 Dac. I and @ctsooner, own it and are quite impressed.-Though if you do get the Weiss, I'd be interested in your impressions.

+3 on having a very nice system.🙂

Bob

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4 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

I have never heard of the Weiss units, until now. A quick Google shows them to be in the $10K range. As you are in that ballpark, I would also recommendlooking into the Brinkman Nyquist 2 Dac. I and @ctsooner, own it and are quite impressed.-Though if you do get the Weiss, I'd be interested in your impressions.

+3 on having a very nice system.🙂

Bob

Bob -

Thanks for the Brinkmann recommendation. Looks mighty fine. Unfortunately no Brinkmann dealers in my home state, but I may be able to organize a listen during a visit to either San Francisco or San Diego. Generally I find auditioning audio equipment in unfamiliar conditions dubious, but perhaps I can arrange for some A/B comparisons with familiar DACs.

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iF you visit San Diego, stop by you can hear my lowly NAIM Dac. I like the Aesthetix Pandora vs a Nyquist I, but the Nyquist II is formidable…Bruce at Stereo Unlimited / San Diego is a Brinkmann dealer …but sadly does not display Nyquist….  Enjoy the ride

Jim

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3 hours ago, Schuesmp said:

Hello, Vandersteen Forum. I just registered as a new member. Glad to be here.

I purchased my first pair of Vandersteen speakers, Model 3A Signature, in my early 20s while in graduate school. Admittedly I lacked financial wisdom at the time and likely should have deferred investment in high-end audio equipment until fully employed. It was a "had to have them" situation that snowballed into subsequent upgrades to amplification, sources, and room treatments, as is often the case with this hobby.  Those speakers served as an escape from mundane reality and a portal to musical thrills. I ran with a crowd of mostly musicians at the time, as I was a performing drummer and percussionist,  and I still recall the looks of surprise, wonderment, and engagement on friends' faces during a first listen to my odd-looking Vandersteen towers. Great memories.

My two-channel audio system continues to be a source of pride and joy. Currently my configuration allows me to relatively painlessly switch between two excellent speakers (Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT and JBL L300 Summit) as well as between tube and solid-state power amplification (Balanced Audio Technology VK-76SE and VK-255SE, respectively). The flexibility is great!

The Vandersteen's sound glorious powered by the BAT VK-76SE tube amplifier (75 watts per channel), but I do not push the volume above moderate listening levels. When powered by the BAT VK-255SE solid-state amplifier, the sound from the Vandersteen's is by comparison a bit less dreamy and dimensional, but I can increase the volume to achieve gripping room pressurization.

The JBL's were manufactured circa 1980 but perform like a very accomplished modern speaker. The unique driver array provides for an exciting listen with loads of body and dynamics.

I see KENTO Carbon's in my future but am in no hurry to disrupt the current state of awesomeness in my listening room.

Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT + JBL L300 + BAT Amps (v3-9-22).jpg

FYI, have you tried listening with only one pair of speakers in the room?  That big ported woofer will change the low frequency response big time.  All of the noise from the same position in the room will have a devastating effect!  If you do remove the JBL you will need to EQ the room again as it will be significantly different.  I understand the desire to have two very different sounds but it would be better to put them in the room one at a time with small marks on the floor for positioning.  If you have not tried this you will be shocked!   You have very fine equipment but it is a shame to throw that much performance out the window. 

RV

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17 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

FYI, have you tried listening with only one pair of speakers in the room?  That big ported woofer will change the low frequency response big time.  All of the noise from the same position in the room will have a devastating effect!  If you do remove the JBL you will need to EQ the room again as it will be significantly different.  I understand the desire to have two very different sounds but it would be better to put them in the room one at a time with small marks on the floor for positioning.  If you have not tried this you will be shocked!   You have very fine equipment but it is a shame to throw that much performance out the window. 

RV

Richard - 

Thanks for the message and inquiries. The JBL's are a relatively recent addition to my room. Prior to adding them, the Vandersteen's were the only pair of speakers in the room, and they were masterfully set up and EQ'd by a Vandersteen dealer. While large and heavy, the JBL's are easy to move across the carpet. When I play music through the Vandersteen's, I slide the JBL's behind the listening couch. When I play music through the JBL's, the Vandersteen's stay put, like what you see in the picture in my first post. I also switch off and completely disconnect the power amplifier not in use. I've learned not to mess with the magic achieved by the dealer that spent practically four hours in my room experimenting with room placement and dialing-in the EQ.

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1 hour ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

FYI, have you tried listening with only one pair of speakers in the room?  That big ported woofer will change the low frequency response big time.  All of the noise from the same position in the room will have a devastating effect!  If you do remove the JBL you will need to EQ the room again as it will be significantly different.  I understand the desire to have two very different sounds but it would be better to put them in the room one at a time with small marks on the floor for positioning.  If you have not tried this you will be shocked!   You have very fine equipment but it is a shame to throw that much performance out the window. 

RV

Are they acting as bass traps?

Is @TomicTimemention of shorting the speaker to address back EMF related to all that?

It is starting reminding me of some work (Bose I think) was doing with active subwoofers driving an engine’s header. So setting up the resonances to scavenge when teh exhaust valve opened.
I believe that at the other end they were using active cancellation to “muffle” without needing a lot of back pressure.
But more like passive or semi active bass control depending on how the speaker is shorted, powered, or otherwise “held”.

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There are many great DAC’s on the market. Since you like Auralic, you may want to look at the newest Vega. It’s also worthy.  The lowest EMM is also a top player. Ayre recently did a major software upgrade and I was told it’s now in the conversation as another top DAC without going over 10k. What separates the  Nyquist is that they somehow convert to DSD and deal with the ringing issues and timing issues that are inherent to digital. I like the Pandora too. You just have to try and audition.  Bruce had Aesthetix and can get a Nyquist in I assume.  

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2 minutes ago, ctsooner said:

There are many great DAC’s on the market. Since you like Auralic, you may want to look at the newest Vega. It’s also worthy.  The lowest EMM is also a top player. Ayre recently did a major software upgrade and I was told it’s now in the conversation as another top DAC without going over 10k. What separates the  Nyquist is that they somehow convert to DSD and deal with the ringing issues and timing issues that are inherent to digital. I like the Pandora too. You just have to try and audition.  Bruce may have the Ayre and Pandora. Many Vandy dealers sell both lines and if Bruce can set up the Nyquist, you may be able to hear all three   

Thanks for the suggestions. The AURALiC Vega G2.1  is certainly worthy, and I can likely arrange for an in-home audition which is ideal.  I can also access locally DACs offered by Ayre, Berkeley Audio Design, Bryston, Chord, and MOON (Simaudio), among others that I'm sure are currently not on my radar. It would be great to experience the Brinkmann DAC, which would require proactive planning on my part. As I mentioned above in this thread, the Weiss DAC50X is alluring to me, in part because of a recommendation from a respected person locally. I may be able to try the Weiss in my system, but it would require removing it from the aforementioned person's post-production studio, which could be tricky and I in no way want to disrupt his work. I may ramp up my search in the coming months, but because I am in no rush I may also wait until PS Audio releases "MKII" of the DirectStream DAC. I currently have great sound in my room to hold me over until I am fully prepared to move on a new DAC.    

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The shorting idea is a “ cheat “ on removing them from the room but cannot completely tame the very delayed energy storage and resonances inherent in both the large diameter paper woofer AND the tuned port. I know it’s a compromise……

On the DAC question, what fun and sorting thru them w careful attention to level matching can be such a great listening skill enhancer… Do be sure to do a listening fatigue test as well….a hyper resolving detail dac might be obnoxious at the 2-3 hour mark….

i have 3 principal in use, NAIM, Aesthetix and Lampizator ..all have strengths and weaknesses, none are fatiguing to my ears anyway…

wishing you all the best !,,

Jim

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4 hours ago, TomicTime said:

The shorting idea is a “ cheat “ on removing them from the room but cannot completely tame the very delayed energy storage and resonances inherent in both the large diameter paper woofer AND the tuned port. I know it’s a compromise……

On the DAC question, what fun and sorting thru them w careful attention to level matching can be such a great listening skill enhancer… Do be sure to do a listening fatigue test as well….a hyper resolving detail dac might be obnoxious at the 2-3 hour mark….

i have 3 principal in use, NAIM, Aesthetix and Lampizator ..all have strengths and weaknesses, none are fatiguing to my ears anyway…

wishing you all the best !,,

Jim

Jim -

Fascinating information from Richard and you regarding the adverse effects on the Vandersteen's performance from placing the JBL's nearby.  I will continue the practice of sliding the JBL's behind the listening couch when playing music through my Quatro Wood CT's.

Also, excellent advice on performing a "listening fatigue test" when auditioning DACs. I would certainly like to be impressed by the DAC that I ultimately select, but it matters greatly that I can listen to music for lengthy sessions without discomfort.

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3 hours ago, Schuesmp said:

Jim -

Fascinating information from Richard and you regarding the adverse effects on the Vandersteen's performance from placing the JBL's nearby.  I will continue the practice of sliding the JBL's behind the listening couch when playing music through my Quatro Wood CT's.

Also, excellent advice on performing a "listening fatigue test" when auditioning DACs. I would certainly like to be impressed by the DAC that I ultimately select, but it matters greatly that I can listen to music for lengthy sessions without discomfort.

Sliding the JBL's behind the couch is better than their noise coming to the listener from the same location as the Quatro CT's music.  This causes significant masking of information.  They will still cause a 6 dB suck out at the resonant frequency of the woofer system similar to a tube trap.  Most of the time removing any form of bass traps from a room before tuning the room EQ of the Quatro will give better results.  If you ever have the room EQ redone, try it with the JBL's placed exactly where they are parked when listening to the Quatro.  You should also try removing the bass traps for better results.  Don't do any of this unless you are prepared to redo the EQ!  

RV 

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24 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Sliding the JBL's behind the couch is better than their noise coming to the listener from the same location as the Quatro CT's music.  This causes significant masking of information.  They will still cause a 6 dB suck out at the resonant frequency of the woofer system similar to a tube trap.  Most of the time removing any form of bass traps from a room before tuning the room EQ of the Quatro will give better results.  If you ever have the room EQ redone, try it with the JBL's placed exactly where they are parked when listening to the Quatro.  You should also try removing the bass traps for better results.  Don't do any of this unless you are prepared to redo the EQ!  

RV 

Richard, this is all very helpful. I have significant floorspace at my disposal, so can move the JBL's a substantial distance from both the Quatro Wood CT's and the listening position. I will do this in the future.

I am fairly certain the Vandersteen dealer placed and EQ'd my Quatro's with multiple Acoustic Sciences TubeTraps and Stillpoints Apertures in the room. I will not fret about it too much, as the system performs beautifully. In the event I pursue redoing the EQ, I will follow your guidance.

I am possibly opening a can of worms, but this beauty shares the same open space as my listening room. You can see my listening couch in the background. Am I a negligent Quatro CT owner for placing a drum set anywhere near the speakers? 🤨  

Yamaha PHX and Craviotto Private Reserve Drums + Paiste Cymbals (v3-9-22).jpg

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13 minutes ago, Schuesmp said:

Richard, this is all very helpful. I have significant floorspace at my disposal, so can move the JBL's a substantial distance from both the Quatro Wood CT's and the listening position. I will do this in the future.

I am fairly certain the Vandersteen dealer placed and EQ'd my Quatro's with multiple Acoustic Sciences TubeTraps and Stillpoints Apertures in the room. I will not fret about it too much, as the system performs beautifully. In the event I pursue redoing the EQ, I will follow your guidance.

I am possibly opening a can of worms, but this beauty shares the same open space as my listening room. You can see my listening couch in the background. Am I a negligent Quatro CT owner for placing a drum set anywhere near the speakers? 🤨  

Yamaha PHX and Craviotto Private Reserve Drums + Paiste Cymbals (v3-9-22).jpg

Drum set appears to be far enough away.   I don't think behind the couch is a bad place and the Apertures are no problem.  If you do the EQ again just have everything in place.  You say the sound is very good so all this can wait for another opportunity and another buzz!  RV

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29 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Drum set appears to be far enough away.   I don't think behind the couch is a bad place and the Apertures are no problem.  If you do the EQ again just have everything in place.  You say the sound is very good so all this can wait for another opportunity and another buzz!  RV

Good to know that the Apertures generally do not interfere with properly setting the EQ.

This forum is great!

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23 hours ago, TomicTime said:

The shorting idea is a “ cheat “ on removing them from the room but cannot completely tame the very delayed energy storage and resonances inherent in both the large diameter paper woofer AND the tuned port. I know it’s a compromise……

On the DAC question, what fun and sorting thru them w careful attention to level matching can be such a great listening skill enhancer… Do be sure to do a listening fatigue test as well….a hyper resolving detail dac might be obnoxious at the 2-3 hour mark….

i have 3 principal in use, NAIM, Aesthetix and Lampizator ..all have strengths and weaknesses, none are fatiguing to my ears anyway…

wishing you all the best !,,

Jim

Yes, this forum is great. The people make it that way. Glad Richard has this set up thanks. 
 

as for DAC listening, it’s hard unless they are all in one place and listening g to fatigue isn’t always easy either. I have found that for me, it’s easy to tell within a few sings if I will like it or not. Then I whittle down to two or three choices and then listen and see which one my notes seem to like best.  When I listen and stop critically listening, then I know I’m on to something special. It takes a lot of time, but I haven’t made tooo many mistakes over the years. I keep most gear for a long time and when I move up, it’s often within the same company. 
 

I learned to stay with established companies IRT digital. It’s not always easy as some of the best gear is made by companies of one or two people s d sound incredible. I just get scared about support s d all digital needs support over time. I keep my server, be sure it’s that good, gets updated weekly and my buddy owns the company, but it was a bitch when it was t working and that was over a year. Now it’s working with no glitches and about to be rebuilt with new cabinet etc.  if it wasn’t a friend, I would have sold quickly after purchase. 
 

You just have to find who continues to support and upgrade software regularly to stay ahead I. The arms race. JMHO 

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9 hours ago, ctsooner said:

Yes, this forum is great. The people make it that way. Glad Richard has this set up thanks. 
 

as for DAC listening, it’s hard unless they are all in one place and listening g to fatigue isn’t always easy either. I have found that for me, it’s easy to tell within a few sings if I will like it or not. Then I whittle down to two or three choices and then listen and see which one my notes seem to like best.  When I listen and stop critically listening, then I know I’m on to something special. It takes a lot of time, but I haven’t made tooo many mistakes over the years. I keep most gear for a long time and when I move up, it’s often within the same company. 
 

I learned to stay with established companies IRT digital. It’s not always easy as some of the best gear is made by companies of one or two people s d sound incredible. I just get scared about support s d all digital needs support over time. I keep my server, be sure it’s that good, gets updated weekly and my buddy owns the company, but it was a bitch when it was t working and that was over a year. Now it’s working with no glitches and about to be rebuilt with new cabinet etc.  if it wasn’t a friend, I would have sold quickly after purchase. 
 

You just have to find who continues to support and upgrade software regularly to stay ahead I. The arms race. JMHO 

Lots of wisdom conveyed in this post. I am and always have been very satisfied with the performance of my PS Audio DAC. It has some flaws, but they seem to work in favor of my music preferences. I can listen to early 90s alternative rock recordings, one after another, without fatigue or the perception of midrange hardness, which was an issue with the DAC it replaced. I somewhat question why I am seeking a replacement! 😄 

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