Unless your room is smallish, you should be thinking of more watts. Get the best amp you can since the Vandersteen 5 series is a true reference speaker. Have a Vandersteen dealer set it up properly.
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Are your Hi-Pass Filters SE or balanced? Most V-4's are SE!!! I've owned the VS-115 and the V-4's and preferred the V-4's "fuller" sound plus they are easy to bias, built like a tank(trouble free) and can run a wide variety of tubes types!!!! I used them with 3A Sigs and two 2Wq subs, a similar sound to the 5's.
I had the Phi 300.1, Quickie V-4's in SE and another pair in balanced all on the Vandersteen 5A's. I have owned two of Vac's KT-88 amps, the other being the Standard 220 Signature. IMHO, the Vac's are not warm for a tube amp. Not in any of my setups anyway. I have heard their Renaissance amps, and that amp has more of a classic tube sound. They are both very good amps, so it comes down to synergy. I think think the V-4's were a very nice match with the 5's. If it were me, I would go with the Quicksilver's, simply because of synergy. The Nines are waaay easier to drive than the 5's, so keep this in mind as well. If your room is on the small/medium, V4's should be enough. I would not use any less than the V-4, power wise. Just noticed your price range. Grab the V-4's if your room is not too big. Great support, easy to resell if you don't like them.
Thank you all for the feedback and recommendations. These speakers are part of a level of our house that is 28 by 32, it is an open floor-plan and the listening area is around 14 by 20, however it is open behind.
I currently have an ARC 100.2 and find it has plenty of power for the upper drivers and the bass is handled by the sub amp. I must admit it is unusual for me, however I don't know the impedance curve of this speaker. I've searched a few times but I can't find a good graph. From what you are all saying however they want upwards of 100 wpc.
I have been looking at the V4 but also the auricle monos or maybe even the Ayre SS amps. Summer is approaching here in NE so I'm not concerned about rushing into a large tube setup, but I always miss the glow and energy of tubes when they are out of my system.
Stringreen and Audiofeil, what would you go with at around 3k tube or SS?
Thanks again. I'd spend more but my Z-06 is in the shop.
I also have Vandy 5A's and they sing with the Ayre SS amp I use. But that's neither here nor there, given that your question is about tube amplification.
Within your budget, there is currently a pair of VTL MB125s on the 'Gon. I've heard other VTL amps work well with Vandy speakers and I think these might be a real match.
I have no relationship with the seller.
However you choose to go, enjoy those great speakers. Happy listening!
I am successfully using Atma-Sphere MA-1 amps with the Vandy 5A's and it is a wonderful combination. It has a rich midrange with tons of detail and texture, airy highs which float and decay a spooky realistic way, and bass that has authority, depth, and definition. All of this while producing a sound stage that is very deep and wide.
Putting all that praise aside, the most important aspect to me is that the Atma-Sphere/Vandersteen combination does an incredible job of drawing me into the music and allowing me to make an emotional connection to the music that other amps simply can't do. This translates into me wanting to listen more often and for longer periods of time.
I have tried amps from McCormack, Pass, Meridian, Sunfire, Moscode, Jeff Rowland, VAC, Cary, Rogue, Dodd, and many others and none have given me the level of enjoyment that the Atma-Sphere amps do - highly recommended.
I had v4 with my 5a it was a great match and low maintenance unless you are willing to invest about twice the money the v4 are a great match to the speakers and hard to beat. I could of got other amps on several occasions but the v4 are one of the amps I have had forever and outlasted almost everything else in my system. I have sevens comming so I upgraded my amps but I should have my v4 on audio gone in a couple of weeks keep an eye out they where just serviced last year as well and have upgraded triggers. Might be a little high for your budget though but anything lower is a pretty severe compromise.
Another big plus for the V-4's is they can run KT-88's, 6550's, EL-34's or 6L6's!!!!! Also there is some wiggle room with bias settings for even more versatility!!!!!! All that equals a lot of possibilities for you to taylor the sound to what you like, without having to sell your amps to try different tubes!