The Vandersteens are a good speaker and an excellent value. They are a bit veiled. I find solidstate brings out their best. The Belles would be an excellent choice.
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I would disaggree I think the tubes are better vansersteen are laid back and very detailed. I find with SS it makes them a bit harsh Tubes are just smoother and flow the muxic better. Then again I never had 3 I had 2cesig and now 5a's.
I would go out and listen to both, look at the pros and cons of tubes and then start narrowing your choice from there. It all depends on wht you like to hear.
How are speakers both "laid back and detailed"? I don't understand that description. 1, 2 a 3 Vandersteens are of a similar character. The 5 is a different class altogether. I still suggest solidstate to bring out the best the 3 has to offer but, if tubes are chosen, I would look for a modern design that is not as euphonic as most of the older amps tend to be.
I think Programmergeek means the detail is there, but without the harsh upper end.
There is a thing as too much "detail" to the point of driving you out of the room! My paradigm Signature S8s did that. The 2K cheaper Vandersteens simply sound better. Besides, I didn't care for the Chinese built cabinets! (they had a disclaimer about maintaining 40% humidity in your house or the warranty is void when the cabinet cracks!)
Personally, I have the 3a Sigs powered by a McIntosh MC275, 4 ohm taps. Pre-amp is a C22. Not only do they go very low, they also go up all the way in a natural, not overly aggressive presentation. I can listen for hours without fatigue.
I never had SS hooked up to them because I consider SS a step backwards. The MC275 DOES control the bass, goes l-o-w, has plenty of detail, extended highs. My MC240 did a good job, but the 275 a much better one.
As an extra note I have a pair of 1C speakers driven by a MAC1500 tube receiver. What an excellant combination for a smaller room!!
I don't think you can go wrong with a bulletproof Mc275.
Try a pair of Rogue M-150 Magnums, I've had a pair of the smaller M-120 Magnums driving my Apogee Duetta Signatures for around a week now...musical, musical, musical
I should mention...these amps can pump bass with the best of them...I replaced a Krell Kav-500 with these, (biggest difference?)...this bass is musical.
"Laid back and detailed" does seem superficially contradictory but well describes the sound I get from my 3A Sigs driven by Rogue M-150's in a well-treated listening room. All the detail is there but is placed naturally in the soundstage which is not thrust forward but instead pulls you into the music. It is not a gimmicky or splashy presentation; it invites contemplative, concentrated listening and is particlarly realistic for opera (my favorite) and operatic venues. I use a separate Blue Circle Music Ring 1200 for each amp which has improved the sense of precision and rhythmic accuracy of the sound. Finally, the addition of a REL Stadium III rolling off at 23hz has further enhanced the presentation, particularly on live recordings. I had previously used a Levinson 27 (admittedly not the latest and the greatest ss, but not shabby) with the 3A Sigs and I could not capture the emotion within the notes to the extent I do now -- that seems to be the gift of tubes.
I second Sogood51's suggestion for the Rouge 150's. I drive a pair of Vandy 2ce Sigs with them and they are very musical indeed. More than enough bass and plenty of headroom. They seem to keep "opening up" the higher the volume and even running them in triode I never feel like I could ever run orut of gas.
Over the years I have owned 1B, 1C, 2CE, 2CE Sig, 3A and 3A Sig speakers. I've always thought they were some of the best bank for the buck speakers available. I still do. However, once you move up in class (and spend more money) they are easily bettered, in my opinion. Once I owned my first pair of
Audio Physic Virgo IIs I've never looked back at Vandersteen.
I've owned Avanti IIIs for the last three years and they are easily the finest speaker I've ever owned and one of the very best I've ever heard. They are more transparent than Vandersteen could ever hope to be. They do a disappearing act that is incredible. My point being that Vandersteens are very good but, when budget is available, there is much, much better available. By comparison, every Vandersteen system I've ever heard (with the exception of the 5s) sounds
Laid back and yet detailed is a very good description of the whole Vandersteen line. Especially the 3A sigs and the 5As. Laid back in that you can listen to them for hours at any sound level without ear fatigue. In other words not colored on the bright side. Detailed in that you have no problem hearing the most subtle aspect of any recording. Music instruments and voices simply sound like what they are. It is the magic of Vandersteen speakers, and their curse. It is a curse for dealers because people give them a short listen and think they aren't hearing something special because they don't sound "differen". They simply reproduce sound the way we hear it all day long.
It's shocking that no one has mentioned Quicksilvers yet. They are a synergistic match with Vandersteens. I've used a pair of the old quicksilver kt88s on this speaker before, and I don't doubt that their current equivalent (the mid-mono) would be a great-sounding, trouble free match. The V4 is another strong possibility: Richard Vandersteen uses a pair.
I have a pair !!!!!
My setup is Audio Research LS 16 mkll pre,
BEL Canto EVO (gen2)amp,Audio Research Cd3mkll CD player,
Vandys like yours,MIT interconnects and speaker cables-
The sound is dead neutral and oh so spacious and musical-
those speakers are capable of magic !
I installed a dedicated line for the system and put a Shunyatta Hydra 6 and use their pwer cords - Power Snakes-Diamondbacks mostly and an Anaconda.Really superb!
I cannot say enough good things about The Bel Canto!!!