Luxman, Ayre, Arcam. :)
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My local dealer is big into Vandersteens, has been the 20 years I’ve known him. I’m shopping for a preamp, and just heard his Quattros with a Parasound power amp and Prima Luna tube preamp. Very impressive! Stage was well delineated, instruments stayed put and were individual in space, but the group stayed coherent. Rhythm was wonderful. Lots of detail in recordings I was familiar with, and heard some new stuff, but not overly analytical. Could have stayed for hours listening! Not sure if that helps, but it sounded like a good match. He carries other electronics too, and I’ve heard the quattros on other systems, but this demo really impressed.
I had an Cambridge 840A years ago on my Vandys and it worked very well; heck before that I had an old B&O receiver and even it sounded really nice. Can’t imagine anything not sounding good on Vandersteens. Tried an older Marantz Reference integrated and felt it was too laid back and went with the Cambridge. Would suggest not to go with something too laid back or soft.
Yes, they are very accommodating of a large selection of amps.
I’ve long held that on absolute terms the PSE and McCormack amps were especially good matches for them. That they were also an outstanding value combination was secondary. Regretfully these amps are getting old and will probably need servicing. I suspect that even with costly upkeep they will continue to be a good value combination.
I run a set of 2CE non-sigs with 2 vintage Mitsubishi DA15 amps each running a single speaker with a splitter allowing for each high and low to be driven by one of the four channels. I think it is called vertical bi-amping. These can be picked up for less than $450 each on the used market. I have replaced all the caps with higher end audio caps and the sound is incredible. I am certain newer amps are great as well, but hard to beat sub $1,000 and 150 WPC of really warm musical sound. A Bryston 8b also does a great job. I run them from a DAC with volume control and mostly CD- EAD T-1000. IMHO, Vandersteen’s are very musical and sound great with lots of amps but prefer adequate power and bi-amping. I have used them with multiple amps over the years- including a Vincent SV500 Hybrid. At low volumes- really low- the Vincent sounded fine but never could open the up. So a good question to consider is how loud do you listen normally ?
Even an ancient Mc 250 throws a big 6’ tall Diana Krall image with a properly setup set of II. Really just about any well designed neutral amp with decent damping factor ( to control the acoustic coupler) will do well. The mentioned PSE while rare has some history and merit w Vandersteen- Dick the engineer behind PSE is co designer on the new Vandersteen hi pass power amps.
Hafler, Bryston, B and K, Amber, Apt, Sumo, GAS, etc recapp and go !!
the Belles is wonderful as mentioned
for tubes Rogue and Quicksilver or a Music Reference RM-9 or -10
have fun, enjoy the music
I've owned Vandersteens for 25 years plus and nothing comes close to tubes........I've heard them with Quicksilver, Audio research and Rogue with magical results.......I've also powered them with solid states from Bryston,Jeff Rowland, Rotel, NAD and more with good but not magical results........stick with quality tube amps and you will be very happy......
Thanks all for great advice. With that in mind I will save up for the future and narrow my search to a tubed amplifier of at least 100 watts. That seems to be the sweet spot for these Vandersteens. In the meantime my wife pulled out her old Sony surround amp (I know) to use in the meantime. Maybe not magical yet but I now believe these speakers are good with most any decent 100+ watt amp that tends to the bright side. She was blown away with the sound. Upstairs are the Vandersteens while downstairs is a Unico SE amp with Opera speakers. Interesting to hear the very different sound between them but both are very musical. Perhaps I should sell one or the other setup but at this point I just love listening from one setup to another. Remember that it is the journey. Thanks to everyone again.
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9a513-quad-esl-2805-electrostaic-planars#&gid=1&pid=1((( Quicksilver, Audio Research, and Rogue with magical results..... ))) quoted from above Bob FR. Bob and I JohnnyR some time ago installed Quicksilver amps into his 9x12 room and easily made it work by hi passing the amps with both our choice preference 33 k Vandersteen x2
your choice may vary which brought his in-room bass response to ideal results allowing these full-range speakers to work in this room amazingly well and also discovered he didn't have to settle for a mini box.
Second the post above - Audio Research tube amp should be strongly considered. Buy the best newest one you can afford. Older ones are fine too if you are on a tight budget. Vandy's need a little 'waking up' in my experience as they are voiced on the smoother side of the spectrum. ARC amps will give you the tube magic but don't roll off much at the high end.
I had incredible success driving a pair with a Theta Dreadnaught 1 vertically biamped. It’ll be hard to find the pig-tailed cabling to do this now. I don’t think you can go wrong with Ayre, Theta Dreadnaught (First gen only), Quicksilver, McCormack etc.
I currently drive my 5A’s with a pair of Theta Citadel 1.5’s and love them.
I’ve ran my 2CE Sigs with an old original B&K 125.2, with about 135 wpc, and it was a great match. But, I wanted more, and found a vintage Belles 400A with 200 wpc that is as wonderful as the B&K sonically but with a lot more power and ‘grunt’. You won’t find a 400A easily, but you can still find a good 150A, or more modern Belles. As Tomic stated, look for high dampening factor.
I had always heard Belles and Vandy’s went together well, and that is why I sought one out. Ayre has also always been positively mention with all things Vandersteen.
But, listen to the recommendations by JohnnyR and Tomic. Both have a lot of experience with Vandersteen’s of all shapes and sizes.