Ascendant verses Quatros


I currently have the 2 Ce Sig II and will up grade when I return back to the states. I have fond memories of a pair
of Eclipse's I heard ten years ago, very deep and large soundstage. How does the Ascendant compare to Quatros in terms of imaging and soundstage?

I'm assuming you're talking about the Avalon Ascendants, and I can only offer comparisons between the Ascendants and the Vandersteen 3A sigs from having had both in my home (though I've listened to the Quattros at my dealer's and considered buying a pair). The Vandersteen sound and the Avalon sound in some ways may have more similarities than differences. Both image quite well, although I've found the Avalons to be more holographic, generally. Both manufacturers are concerned with time-alignment, and seem interested in trying to build a coherent top-to-bottom picture. The Avalons do one thing in particular that I like--they seem to respond to different equipment fairly readily. With some gear I had, I thought they were a bit too revealing for my taste (which is a problem I have with Vandersteens can be seen in some of my earlier posts--and I recommend Michael Fremer's review of the Quattros in Stereophile from perhaps 18 months ago in which he describes an interesting concept of "too much information distortion"). For reasons I don't really understand, I've been able to "tune" the Avalons more easily by switching around equipment, and have gotten pretty darn happy with them. I never got happy with the 3A sigs, though I know many people have. I listen to a lot of classical music, and I'm not as excited about the Vandy's upper mids (where the strings of the orchestra live) as I am about the Avalons. I think maybe the Avalons do "subtlety" better than the Vandy's (to my ear). However, for chamber jazz, the Vandy's did a great job of doing the "you are there" thing with the right recording.

Overall, they're both very fine products. Bottom line is, I got happy with the Avalons in a way that I didn't with the Vandy's. But that's just my ears, in my room.

Avalon will be in my next system when I return to the states in 2010. I hear they will offer two new speakers in the range of $5K and $8K, so this will be a perfect time to buy.

Thanks again,
Wig - Allow me to mention some equipment I like with the Avalons: I've used a BAT VK31 and VK75, neither SE's (which allowed me to try NOS tubes, which the Avalons like). Good combination. I'm now using a CJ Prem 14 pre with Mullards and a Prem 11 modified by Bill Thalman, which I think I prefer to the BAT gear (but it's all good). I wasn't that fond of ARC gear or VTL (at least the ST-160 amp) or transister gear with the Avalons. I think the Avalons sound best with "warm" and "forgiving" gear, personally, because they can be quite detailed and revealing (even amazingly so)...but it depends somewhat on your tolerance for knowing everything there is to know about recordings you are hearing (and I have some issues with that).

I've found that the EMM CDSA SE works really well with the Avalons, especially for classical music, but I also have a Great Northern Sound-modified Wadia that I tend to prefer for anything else. Both have very smooth top-ends and, again, I think that is good stuff for the Avalons (for my ear). Finally, I use simple Cardas Cross cable for all of my cable, including power...not their most expensive, but a very nice blend of revealing and yet warm.

Since I gave up the Vandersteens, I've run through 2 pairs of Harbeths and a pair of Spendor 1/2e's, all of which are very fine, but the Avalons, with the equipment described above, seem to give me the best combination of holographic detail-thrill, with musicality. I should add, though, that I also use a modest subwoofer made by Essex, which I got for use with the Harbeths/Spendors and didn't expect to use with the Avalons. Most people probably wouldn't use a subwoofer with the Avalons, but I got addicted to lots of bass, and find that a small bit of sub dialed in, even with the Avalons, is quite nice.

Best of luck!
Thanks for the update. I will be using Belles 150A Ref, 21A pre and Rega Apollo with all MIT S3 Shotgun wire.

It would make good sense here that folks are awear of the fact
that the new Vandersteen Quatro Wood Signature II not mentioned is more in line as a comparrison than the 3995 Vandersteen 3A sigs
This new design is more much closer to the Vandy Five As than the 3A sigs.
Best John