You have heard them with two of the best - might listen to them with the Rogue 150W monoblocks (do not remember the model number).
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As a dedicated Tenor Audio Pusher, and lover of the product, I can tell you that at CES last year, I lent a pair of Tenor OTL's to Richard to use with his 5A's in his room. It was easily the best sound I have heard out of the Vandersteen's. I have a number of customers using this combo and they have never been happier. The speaker is very OTL friendly.
This would be a very interesting question to pose to Richard.
You can get away with a less powerful of a tube amplifier since they use a high pass filter between the amp/preamp. Because of this, the amplifier is almmost entirely freed of supplying power for bass. A few years back I got along just fine with a 100 watt ARC vt100 mark II amplifier. No shortage of power whatsoever.
I've heard that John Rutan at Audio Connection runs the 5's with the Ayre V-1 or the Rogue Zeus. www.audioconnect.com He's been a Vandersteen dealer since the beginning of time and knows them very well. He's helped me with my Vandersteens quite a few times. I've heard Quicksilver V4's are also a great match.
Disclaimer: I am a Rogue dealer.
I don't know about "best", but I have heard them with the ARC Ref 2, and VTM200s and they sound incredible. As stated above, these speakers are relatively easy to drive. I am using a VT 100 MKIII, and it does an excellent job. However, if you listen to complex music at high SPLs, the VTMs are more immediate and intense.
Actually I heard the Vandy 5s with the Quicksilver Triode monoblocks (two big Russian tubes) and they sounded better than with the big Cary tube amps. The sound was more open and less forward. I asked the designer of the Quicksilver amps which he thought sounded better the V4 or the Russian tube amp and he liked the Russian Triode better although stated the Vandys play louder with the V4...Any comments???
Another one to consider might be 2 strapped Berning zh270's. I have heard that one works quite well with the 5A's although I haven't heard first hand. Two would provide more power than I could imagine you could ever use with this speaker along with ultra clarity. For complex orchestral and choral music this amp is completely unflappable. Of course if aesthetics are also a consideration, you may want to look elsewhere.
Hi, I know you are all talking tubes but Belles is the tube-like solid state with massive current reserves. It does what tubes do which is to deliver smooth and involving sound but goes where no tube amp will go at any price and that is to deliver bass detail and depth like nothing else. The difference in the bass control is immediately apparent when you try out either a set of the 350-A monoblocks or the new 150-Reference. Compared to brutally expensive tube amps they are superior, purchased as a "budget" audiophile sleeper product you get far more than you could expect at the price. I will put them up against AR, Pass, BAT, etc costing $15k more. I sell them with a money back guarantee for those with no dealer close enough to hear them. They run cool so they can be expected to last far longer than frying pan hot amps.