5A Vandersteen


I am finding it a near-tragedy that this loudspeaker has been discontinued. It is/was a masterpiece (in my opinion), and was "near-affordable" for many. There are many great speakers to choose from, and this one was near the top. I have a pair, and mourn the loss.
rpeluso
Why do you feel so bad? At least you have your pair. Others who might want them can buy them used. 
I also had a much much loved pair of 5a and they are from an admitted “ fan “ a towering achievement. The reality is the cost to manufacture the layered MDF “ head “ and the performance of it did hot keep pace with the superior cabinet and equal drivers in the Quattro, especially the CT. YES you do give up the FABULOUS push pull aluminum sub, still available in the mighty seven. I had a massive room and the 5a were a better pick, but when I moved the Quattro CT would have outperformed it in many ways, so I got lucky and bought a pair of 7.... spoiled yes I know...

but a used pair of five a, set up well are freaking amazing...especially in Rosewood....
also, get the 7 high pass IF you want to improve them..and get hyper nitpicky about setup w Leica disto and making sure floors level, running Vandertones late late at hight when noise floor is hyper low.....

have fun

enjoy the music


Jim
From RV:

The 5 series was discontinued because they would have to go to $45,000 a pair and that is too close to the Model Seven in price. The Model 5 series is very labor intensive and by using some existing tooling we are building the new Kento Carbon based on the Quatro structure with significant embellishments for apx $38,000.
Always nice to hear from the manufacturer.
As to the op's near affordable, for whom, most can't put that much down for a home or will buy 3 cars for that amount. 
I think that's one of the problems with audio, it's becoming a hobby of exclusion due to crazy prices.
I think my 5As were ~$19K when I bought them, the most I have ever paid for a piece of stereo equipment, then and now.  
Didn’t they make 5A carbon too would think that is best of 5a and quattro ct..
@johnto 

I think that's one of the problems with audio, it's becoming a hobby of exclusion due to crazy prices.

I have to disagree.  I don't think there's ever been a better time to get high-value & performance at a reasonable price than today. Look at the Bluenode 2i at less than $500 or a PrimaLuna Prologue Premium integrated amp new at $2,300 as some examples.  Just because a high-end/ultra-high performance market exists does not mean hifi is a hobby of exclusion by any means.  That's like saying that because a 2019 Porsche 911S now costs over $115K that buying cars has become something only the ultra-rich can afford. 
and for $3k you can get that carbon tweeter in the VLR-Sig
add a sub later

affordable audio is amazing, lots of great gear out there without spending mega bucks...
I’ve been running the 5A’s for a few years, and they are keepers. Definitely would go to Vandy 7’s if finances allow one day, although I’d have to go second hand, almost certainly, and it’s hard to imagine anyone upgrading from them.  Might be along wait, but things are great in the meantime. 
I've have always felt like the Quatros were the best value in the line, especially the Woods (CT or ceramic tweeter).  I am using mine with an Audiokinesis SWARM subwoofer array which eliminates the need to go up to a 5 or 7 to get the better bass or power response - the SWARM is better because it is distributed and by being so addresses your room modes.  (I have extensive room calibration data to prove it.)

It will interesting to see what changes Roger makes to improve the Quatro - he has an excellent ear and he really understands the phase coherent multi-driver design better than anyone else.  The only thing that compares is a equalized full range single-driver on an open baffle with a bass augmenter, like Pass's SLOB open baffle design.

Vandersteen has a new model coming out this year.  Kento???? if I remember correctly.  Anyway I think in the $38K range.


What's the best deal anyone's seen on used model 5As? Possible under 5K?
I love my 5A's.....beautiful in the optional Kowazinga wood.  A furniture repair guy who I had come over to repair some furniture scratches (not the Vandy's) told me the finish is as perfect as one can get. ...so is the music.
There's a pair of 5As on USAudio Mart for $6500 that has been on there for 4 &1/2 months.  I presume therefore there has to be some price flexibility.  Upgrading them will be 2 1/2 times his asking though (if RV consents to waive his official policy of doing so for original owners of 5s - not unlikely IMO). 

Finding non-aluminum tweetered Vandersteens used is always a rarity & there are none on AG just now, but there is a Treo Carbon & a Quatro CT (on 50 days) on US Audiomart.  All of the above in the U.S.


What's deal with non-aluminum tweetered Vandys?
I bought a used pair of 5As to replace my Quatro woods, there is no question the 5As are vastly superior and they are better than the Quatron CTs as well. I’m in a 38’ long room so there is plenty of room for the waves to develop. Sad to hear they have been discontinued.
If I had the cash and a big first-floor room in a detached house to put them in, the 5 carbons would be a top choice.  I remember playing a track from "Time Out" on the 5 Carbons at Stereo Unlimited and then going home and trying to get that deep kickdrum sound with my Quatros.  Was not going to happen. 
So the Kēnto has been released to the wild.  Rick had an amazing set up at the RMAF from what I was told by a few who attended.  Heard that the new push pull aluminum woofers mated with the same carbon fiber drivers of the 7 is a killer combo.  

Can't wait to hear them myself, but those of us with Vandy's already have a great idea how they will sound considering it's the 7 in a bit smaller and easy to place cabinet.  With the right paint job or wood veneer, they will look super to boot.
It does not have the 7’s tweeter, it has the 5A Carbon’s tweeter and midrange. The midrange is the same for all three. This is based on looking at all the specs on the Vandersteen website. Not mentioned for the Kēnto is if the crossover’s are battery biased. I’d like to understand better how exactly the side firing woofers allow for better room integration. I can only surmise that in the upper bass, say band 9 - 11, that you’re going to get less left side for the left and right side for the right potentially unwanted side wall, as well as rear wall reflections as opposed to the floor firing arrangement, but I’m not really satisfied with that idea. Bass is supposed to be omnidirectional up to a certain frequency, so maybe that’s key in understanding this.
I upgraded form 5s to 5As because my 5s that I purchased used were cosmetically in poor shape.  I had a guy lined up to redo the speakers for a very reasonable price but found a great pair of 5As for cheap, not $5K but close enough.  I really never did a side by side comparison but if my memory is correct the 5As have a little more detail as mentioned already and possibly in ways more separation but that can also sound a little thin.  I have not had the chance to really adjust them so that could be a simple change.  So for what others paid new for the 5As, you can get them relatively inexpensive.  Properly set-up they will sound better than most $30K & under speakers today.  I know that Audio Connection will be the first dealer to get them in so I hope to hear them soon.  I heard the 7 MKII and fell in love with them.  I just cannot justify spending that kind of coin because I just don't listen as much as I want right now plus I'm too cheap.  If someone wants to sell me a pair cheap, I am interested!

Happy Listening
I just spoke with two folks who spent considerable time in the Audio Alternative room with Vandersteen.  Both were amazed.  They do use the same top drivers as the 7's and also use the 7 amp.  they have the same type of HRS vibration control and that 3" granite integrated plinth is beautiful (I think it is).  

They both said that the sound is much much closer to the 7's than the previous 5's.  Full notes with plenty of air around them.  Both said they are the best under 50k speakers they heard at the show.  I found that interesting since neither is a Vandy fanboy.  
look the 5 and the 5a are and always will be towering achievements of sound and value. BUT the carbon drivers are pure water clear !!!! i know this AFTER living with 7 MK2 and the magical 5 parts in signal path model 7 amps. Yes the 5a will outperform the Quattro CT to about 100 HZ, after that all bets off, so it is a matter of taste and room...and your tuning...I continue to obsess with placement, vandertones, noise reduction, power panel grounding, etc.....fun...and the music just gets better!!!!! fun...BTW, the TREO CT is a real hoot....40 wpc NAIM power, drop dead easy....
just a friendly reminder i have owned and loved the five A...in rosewood.....with 7 filters...try those for grins sometime