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Elevating the Vandersteen Fully Passive Designs


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Vandersteen aficionados: Would you be interested in and potentially purchase an elevated Vandersteen fully passive design at a cost significantly higher than the Treo CT?

I envision a model incorporating the best of Vandersteen's driver and crossover technologies, utilizing parts and assemblies on par with the Model Seven. As an owner of Quatro Wood CT's, I greatly appreciate the benefits of powered bass drivers and adjustability for in-room bass response, but I sense a market may exist for a speaker exhibiting the Model Seven's exceptional mid-to-high-frequency performance paired with non-powered bass drivers.

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At first thought this sounds like a great idea, BUT Houston, we have a problem! The Model SEVEN XTRM exists.  So, I do exactly as you say and make a passive version which only goes down to 42Hz, doesn't have any control of the bass quality, has no room EQ but does save $8500.00 and eliminates the high-pass!  Its existence would make a very powerful point which I think is lost with most people, but sales would be ZERO when the obvious comparisons are made.  I have thought of this many times but don't want to embarrass myself with my own products hence all of our more expensive speakers have powered bass and probably always will.  RV

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17 hours ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

At first thought this sounds like a great idea, BUT Houston, we have a problem! The Model SEVEN XTRM exists.  So, I do exactly as you say and make a passive version which only goes down to 42Hz, doesn't have any control of the bass quality, has no room EQ but does save $8500.00 and eliminates the high-pass!  Its existence would make a very powerful point which I think is lost with most people, but sales would be ZERO when the obvious comparisons are made.  I have thought of this many times but don't want to embarrass myself with my own products hence all of our more expensive speakers have powered bass and probably always will.  RV

Richard: Thanks very much for sharing your views, which I suppose negate the need for further discussion. 🤫  

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27 minutes ago, Schuesmp said:

Richard: Thanks very much for sharing your views, which I suppose negate the need for further discussion. 🤫  

Do you think there are potential customers that are sufficiently opposed to powered base that would accept that kind of sonic compromise for so small a savings?  I think the concept is valid until they compare the difference and discover how valuable these features are (as you have discovered with your Quatro CT's) and have proven for them there is no downside.  Another problem solved by powered sub-woofers is that controlling sub-woofers requires lots of feedback, but time and phase correct designs prefer amplifiers that have very little or no feedback for the mid-bass, mid-range and tweeter.  RV

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9 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Do you think there are potential customers that are sufficiently opposed to powered base that would accept that kind of sonic compromise for so small a savings?  I think the concept is valid until they compare the difference and discover how valuable these features are (as you have discovered with your Quatro CT's) and have proven for them there is no downside.  Another problem solved by powered sub-woofers is that controlling sub-woofers requires lots of feedback, but time and phase correct designs prefer amplifiers that have very little or no feedback for the mid-bass, mid-range and tweeter.  RV

Your response to my original post conveys clearly the performance and value disadvantages of a Model-Seven-level speaker without powered bass, as compared to the existing Model Seven offerings with powered bass. My sense is that market participants are not opposed to powered bass, but perhaps from time to time reach an unfortunate conclusion that integration of a Vandersteen with powered bass is too complicated or limiting. I am evidently not one of those market participants, but I have observed others seeking a high-performance speaker system exclude Vandersteen models with powered bass from consideration primarily because of a presumption that dealer involvement is necessary potentially several times during the period of ownership. The Treo CT appears a very popular model delivering exceptional performance for the money. The key takeaway from this exchange is that the value proposition for a hypothetical Vandersteen incorporating superior parts and assemblies but no powered bass is simply weak. Makes sense to me!    

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@Schuesmp,

Thanks for the clarification.

Though I am confused with your belief that not including the powered bass/crossover design is 'too limiting/complicated.

To me, the use of the external crossover in conjunction with the powered subwoofer is close to 'genius.

By doing so, you allow the amplifier to work more efficiently, while tasking the sub to do the heavy lifting.

@Richard Vandersteen.

42 minutes ago, Schuesmp said:

controlling sub-woofers requires lots of feedback,

Does this mean the Vandy sub amps use feedback? Or,. are you referring to using a 'Passive' system?

Bob

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41 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

@Schuesmp,

Thanks for the clarification.

Though I am confused with your belief that not including the powered bass/crossover design is 'too limiting/complicated.

To me, the use of the external crossover in conjunction with the powered subwoofer is close to 'genius.

By doing so, you allow the amplifier to work more efficiently, while tasking the sub to do the heavy lifting.

@Richard Vandersteen.

Does this mean the Vandy sub amps use feedback? Or,. are you referring to using a 'Passive' system?

Bob

Bob, the amplifiers in our powered sub-woofer use tons of feedback.  RV

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5 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

@Schuesmp,

Thanks for the clarification.

Though I am confused with your belief that not including the powered bass/crossover design is 'too limiting/complicated.

To me, the use of the external crossover in conjunction with the powered subwoofer is close to 'genius.

By doing so, you allow the amplifier to work more efficiently, while tasking the sub to do the heavy lifting.

@Richard Vandersteen.

Does this mean the Vandy sub amps use feedback? Or,. are you referring to using a 'Passive' system?

Bob

I do not view integrating a Vandersteen with powered bass as prohibitively complicated or limiting, although it is certainly more involved than simply connecting the speakers and amplifier(s) with speaker wire. The configuration options and performance enhancements made possible by Vandersteen's use of a high-pass and adjustable powered bass section are vast and pretty darn cool - a work of genius! I sense that unfortunately many in the buyer market view these design and integration elements collectively as a barrier to entry. Setup of my Quatro Wood CT's required more time and effort than setup of any other speaker in my system, but the results are unmistakably rewarding and awesome.

If not coming through in my posts, I am a Vandersteen fan!

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1 hour ago, Schuesmp said:

Your response to my original post conveys clearly the performance and value disadvantages of a Model-Seven-level speaker without powered bass, as compared to the existing Model Seven offerings with powered bass. My sense is that market participants are not opposed to powered bass, but perhaps from time to time reach an unfortunate conclusion that integration of a Vandersteen with powered bass is too complicated or limiting. I am evidently not one of those market participants, but I have observed others seeking a high-performance speaker system exclude Vandersteen models with powered bass from consideration primarily because of a presumption that dealer involvement is necessary potentially several times during the period of ownership. The Treo CT appears a very popular model delivering exceptional performance for the money. The key takeaway from this exchange is that the value proposition for a hypothetical Vandersteen incorporating superior parts and assemblies but no powered bass is simply weak. Makes sense to me!    

You are correct, I have heard this from time to time but if you simply unpack any of our speakers with powered subs and use them as they come out of the box you are basically where you are with any passive speaker.  The speakers will play very well and will be no more difficult to place than any of them!  Having said that I do think it would be foolish to not play with the many features over time because it's not difficult.  The manuals are complete and videos on our site allow any individual to get dealer like performance over time with diligence.  Some in this hobby love to be dissatisfied because they want to sample more equipment.  You know the old saying "You can bring a Horse to water, but .....................!  RV

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11 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Some in this hobby love to be dissatisfied because they want to sample more equipment. 

This made me laugh out loud and also ponder the state of the audio industry if it did not occur as frequently or at all. 🤔

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As a guy with Treo CT ( now with a sub 3 ) and Model 7 mk2, i am acutely aware of the differences…. and amazed with what Treo are capable of for the $$$. Having said that..never underestimate the effect of the high pass of the mid bass and up amplifier and the glorious improvement to midrange 😉

I am always amazed w many audiophiles who fail to maximize what they already have; setup tools, careful experiments, an SPL meter, free Vandertones download, etc…… but i guess, that’s a different topic…

Best to all

Jim

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21 minutes ago, TomicTime said:

I am always amazed w many audiophiles who fail to maximize what they already have; setup tools, careful experiments, an SPL meter, free Vandertones download, etc…

I hear you, Jim. I recently remeasured the optimal tilt for my Quatro Wood CT's. Evidently my listening chair had drifted away from the speakers over time. Moved the chair - better sound. Felt like a huge win.

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I can understand @Schuesmp's point  about many not wanting to invest time/money in utilizing Vandersteen's crossover to work with either the integrated sub or external sub.

Though I know/understand/preach the benefits of this system, many on Audiogon feel that it is not worthy of consideration, due to price/effort, and will just get a REL or SVS sub and call it a day.

Yeah, I know that most don't have deep pockets to indulge in this 'hobby', but when something works, you should pay attention.

 

FWIW, I use my VLR's with Hsu Subs. It sound very good, but it doesn't have the 'integration' that the Sub 3's have with my Treo's. (And, yes, I do like to kick up the bass sometimes on the Hsu Subs, but the Treo/Sub 3 combo is seamless).

Bob

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forgive me..but..many waste a bunch of $ and effort “ majoring in the minors “ quoting Johnny R, imo squandering $ on power cords for subwoofers ( listen to just your sub ! ), fuses, magic potions, $4 k Ebony root record weights….. Focus on the transducers people !

rant over, i have a hot listening date w The Wailin’ Jennys this eve….

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OK - I have a question…

Has anyone used a Bryson 10S or a Marchand archive XO?
Both are not DSP jobs, so no preringing,..

(I believe that) The obvious thing needed here is the 1st order design to stay “in-line” with the speaker design and the timing/phase that matches up with where the speakers are offset in the fore-aft direction.

Or am I off base?
(and yeah… one would need 3x the amplifiers.)

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On 6/6/2022 at 5:30 PM, Schuesmp said:

I do not view integrating a Vandersteen with powered bass as prohibitively complicated or limiting, although it is certainly more involved than simply connecting the speakers and amplifier(s) with speaker wire. The configuration options and performance enhancements made possible by Vandersteen's use of a high-pass and adjustable powered bass section are vast and pretty darn cool - a work of genius! I sense that unfortunately many in the buyer market view these design and integration elements collectively as a barrier to entry. Setup of my Quatro Wood CT's required more time and effort than setup of any other speaker in my system, but the results are unmistakably rewarding and awesome.

If not coming through in my posts, I am a Vandersteen fan!

When someone becomes familiar with the finer aspects of Hi-End audio we are not talking about "some people" any more because they have knowledge!  Most "some people" are very happy with Bose that's why they sell more speakers than all high-end companies combined.  Its not easy to be part of a specialty group because it takes thought, effort and money so for many popping a Bud Lite is good enough.  For those who think the effort to set up a pair of Quatro's is too much I defi them to get that level of performance from another even with years of experimentation.   The need for a proper High-Pass should not be considered a barrier because for the cost of a M5-HPB no other investment will lower the system distortion (improved sound) for that kind of money.  RV

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26 minutes ago, Holmz said:

OK - I have a question…

Has anyone used a Bryson 10S or a Marchand archive XO?
Both are not DSP jobs, so no preringing,..

(I believe that) The obvious thing needed here is the 1st order design to stay “in-line” with the speaker design and the timing/phase that matches up with where the speakers are offset in the fore-aft direction.

Or am I off base?
(and yeah… one would need 3x the amplifiers.)

First order Time and Phase Correct speakers require the crossover to be "dialed" individually while getting the acoustic result at the listening position.  If we had perfect drivers (we don't) we could use an electronic crossover 6 dB per octave, stager the drivers precisely set the levels and we would  be in Heaven!  NOT!  One must make the crossover inaccurate the inverse of the inaccuracy of the induvial drivers so the two give exactly what is desired at the ear height.  No way this can be done and is the reason so few do because most companies are not going to take a designer level employee put him in a chamber and spend 3 to 24 hours manipulating the crossover values to get the results you can see in our measurements.  The only other way would be to put the drivers in a box and zap it, correct with DSP, burn an Eprom and ship the speaker.  If you think that would be an improvement I have a bridge for sale.  That level of processing is not free nor transparent enough for the specialty market, IMO.  RV 

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1 hour ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

When someone becomes familiar with the finer aspects of Hi-End audio we are not talking about "some people" any more because they have knowledge!  Most "some people" are very happy with Bose that's why they sell more speakers than all high-end companies combined.  Its not easy to be part of a specialty group because it takes thought, effort and money so for many popping a Bud Lite is good enough.  For those who think the effort to set up a pair of Quatro's is too much I defi them to get that level of performance from another even with years of experimentation.   The need for a proper High-Pass should not be considered a barrier because for the cost of a M5-HPB no other investment will lower the system distortion (improved sound) for that kind of money.  RV

Richard: I agree, but I also think it would be cool if more "some people" transitioned to "specialty group people" (i.e., Vandersteen loudspeaker owners) so the company continues to prosper, reinvest, improve, and release new goodies. This transition is a hard nut to crack and may require tolerance of Bud Light. 

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39 minutes ago, Schuesmp said:

This transition is a hard nut to crack and may require tolerance of Bud Light.

Or worse, tolerance of Icehouse, which I was consuming regularly with friends (why!?!) around the time I purchased my first pair of Vandersteen loudspeakers (Model 3A Signature), followed by more Icehouse and a passionate pursuit of Model 5's.    

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11 hours ago, Schuesmp said:

Richard: I agree, but I also think it would be cool if more "some people" transitioned to "specialty group people" (i.e., Vandersteen loudspeaker owners) so the company continues to prosper, reinvest, improve, and release new goodies. This transition is a hard nut to crack and may require tolerance of Bud Light. 

We are growing at a rate we can manage and will continue to design and produce products that are "outside the box" including electronics that are unique!  It has been said many times that the ultimate answer is a powered speaker with electronics designed, not as a compromise but specific for the task at hand.  Installing these amps will suffer from the energy in the speaker especially the amplifier for the higher frequencies, which is not good.  Best place for the sub-woofer amp is in the speaker with lots of feedback and an optimized high frequency amplifier with no feedback outside the speaker with short speaker wires.  This way we give the customer the option to purchase which ever sounds best.   I have little interest in doing what has already been done.  RV

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8 hours ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

We are growing at a rate we can manage and will continue to design and produce products that are "outside the box" including electronics that are unique!  It has been said many times that the ultimate answer is a powered speaker with electronics designed, not as a compromise but specific for the task at hand.  Installing these amps will suffer from the energy in the speaker especially the amplifier for the higher frequencies, which is not good.  Best place for the sub-woofer amp is in the speaker with lots of feedback and an optimized high frequency amplifier with no feedback outside the speaker with short speaker wires.  This way we give the customer the option to purchase which ever sounds best.   I have little interest in doing what has already been done.  RV

At least consider renaming the M5-HP(B) High-Pass Crossover to something amusing like the Super Bass-O-Matic. Fans of '70s era Saturday Night Live could be an untapped market for Vandersteen loudspeakers.

Kidding aside, I selected Balanced Audio Technology pre and power amplifiers to feed my Quatro Wood CT's in part because of their zero-feedback topologies. The system delivers and focuses my attention on music, instead of components.

Thanks for taking the time during and after business hours to post in this thread. 

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21 hours ago, Schuesmp said:

At least consider renaming the M5-HP(B) High-Pass Crossover to something amusing like the Super Bass-O-Matic. Fans of '70s era Saturday Night Live could be an untapped market for Vandersteen loudspeakers.

That is why I suggested 'V Material'. Nothing like a sooper dooper name for something to get those audiophile juices flowing.

Jeepers Mr. Wilson😜.

bob

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