I'm using a Thor Audio TA-1000 preamp with my Vandersteen 5s and am very happy. The Thor has great dynamics, a wide soundstage, great imaging and detail.
As far as amps are concerned, I'm using a Bruce Moore Dual 70 stereo amp drive the Vandys in a medium sized room. Bruce Moore makes a pair of 120 watt monoblocks which are just amazing. Contact Bob Bergner at www.rbaudio.com for further details. The Dual 70 can also be converted to monoblock operation if you don't need 120 watts.
Hope this helps.
I don't know about "best", but I have heard them with the ARC Ref 2, and VTM200s and they sound incredible. As I'm sure you know, these speakers are relatively easy to drive. I am using a VT 100 MKIII, and it does an admirable job. However, if you listen to complex music at high SPLs, the VTMs are more immediate and intense.
call up richard vandersteen and ask. he is a great guy.
Hmmm...the one time I spoke with RV by phone, I would say that "gruff guy" was more like it...
OK, lets not start that debate again. There was a series of threads a while ago that documented the various opinions about RVs phone manner. Lets just say that he is a great designer and accessible by phone and leave it at that.
I'll agree to that SW - the mere fact that he'll apparently jump on the phone with callers who aren't customers at the drop of a pin (I never asked to speak with him, I just had a question) puts RV ahead of quite a few in this industry...
Richard also does seminars across the country every year, and will hang around afterwards and talk for hours about what ever you want. He is trying to teach how to evaluate speakers from technical measurement data so us buyers can make better decisions. He was also very open to suggestions for improving the setup literature for the 5As (never bit my head off). I really liked the guy.
You should also give a listen to the ASL Hurricans, The VTL 450's and VAC 70/70....all great!
There are a lot of good products out there, mostly with one common factor, PRICE. There are several dealers I know of, myself included that have used $10k preamps as their personal reference best. The new Belles 21-A can actually replace many $10k plus preamps as the better sounding performer. At $2495 it allows you to buy one of the best power cords on the market to get even better performance. With a pair of 150-Reference monoblocks you get power, dead neutrality with no hard emphasis, a seductive tube-like character with no coloration, and the absolute tightest and controlled bass in the business. You'll know you've got qualities that can't be touched at far more money. The bass control and depth is so good that owners of the 3A's who used a subwoofer with them are finding no need for the sub when they use the amp. It has to be heard to be believed
It's not a monoblock but try the Rogue audio Zeus. I a/b'd it against a pair of ARC VTM 200's and found the Zeus to better the ARC's in every way. The midrange on the Zeus is killer in triode mode. I use a PSE HL1 preamp and the combination of these components with the model 5's is spectacular.
Holygrail, Regarding your comment on the subwoofer, is there not an improvment in the mids and his as a result of removing low bass out of the main box, and the freeing up of the main amplifier not having to drive the bass? I thought the use of VS subwoofers went beyond just producing deeper bass.
I'm getting incredible sound with the VAC Phi 220 monos.
I'm very happy driving my Vandersteen 5A's with Tenor 75wp monoblock amps. I also have to agree with Zargon- they also sound great with Audio Research gear.
Joule Electra monoblocks at CES made the best sound I've ever heard from andys. Not sure which model, but it might have been the Rite of Passage. Heard some nice vinyl via VPI Scoutmaster, Joule preamp, Elrod cables. One of better rooms at CES, IMHO. Cheers,
I talked with Richard at the show in NY and I told him I had quicksilver v4's he told me that was the same thing he was running. The sweet set up as far as I can tell is Quicksilver v4 paired with a asteix clyspo pre if you can get one.
Heard them with BAT VK 75SE and A'gon member "rcthorne" has a pair of the 150SE's.