Best Speakers with a DNA-1?


I don't want to hijack the contemporaneous discussion of "Speakers costing range of 2500-3500 per pair" on another thread (question by @spendmoney), but I'm curious to know if any of the answers would have been different if the amp were a McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe instead of the Denon 4311-ci.  I'm using this amp to power a pair of Polk LSIM 707's now, and am contemplating my next move.  If any of the responders to that post would care to weigh in here, I'd appreciate it.
cheeg
I still say Vandersteen 2's need to be on your short list.  I use to hang out at a dealer adn he had them paired wiht McCormack all the time.  Just so musical.  So many options in that price range.  Thats' why I am always amazed at how Vandersteen has sold so many.  Just amazing value.  
I used that amp with Vandersteen 3A Sigs and a CJ preamp.  It was magical.  
I had Vandy 2Cs.  Fabulous.
McCormack and Vandersteen play nicely together!🙂
There was a reason CJ purchased McCormick back in the day.  I too owned a CJ pre as well as a passive pre.  Both sounded awesome with it.  Just well designed gear.  

So often we see dealers who carry Vandersteen also carry the same amps as the other dealers.  Same goes with Focal (they usually carry most of the Audio Plus Services line of gear) or B&W or .......

I always try to find out what gear companies use to voice their own gear. Helps me when auditioning products.
I’m sensing a trend here — sounds like a pair of Vandys may be in my future, and possibly a CJ pre, too. Thank you all for your input! Now I just have to figure out if the Sig 2 or 3 will work better in my room...
Steve McCormack still upgrades the McCormack line. In fact, if you can find a broken DNA, he will upgrade it to your specs at a very reasonable price.
He made my DNA-1 monoblocks last year. They sound superb.

Regarding the Vandies, I suggest contacting John Rutan (audioconnection) and getting his advice.
I started with the 3a sigs, added a pair of 2w subs, and then bought ctsooner's Treo's. They were a significant upgrade.
If I were to do it again, I might just have gotten a pair of 1ci's and a pair of 2w or 2wq subs-which should be around your budget. The 1ci's are a lot easier to position (esp. in small rooms) than the 3a sigs (which have huge Sound Anchor bases). And, you should get sound comparable to the 3a sigs, possibly better-the Vandy subs are really amazing).
B
Also remember that buying the most recent issue of the Vandersteen line is best, as Mr. V. constantly upgrades models as they are produced.
B
Vandys are great as are ProAc and Joseph Audio.  Depends on your particular tastes and what what sound characteristics are most important to you.  I'm sure they'd all sound fantastic with the DNA1.  Great amp. 

@gdnrbob ++1 Two great posts. My DNA-1 is arriving at SMc Audio early this week for a complete rebuild. I bought my amp back in 1997 so the motherboard is probably about shot as per SMc Audio’s experience with DNA-1’s of my vintage.

Steve, Patrick etc. with SMc Audio do great work. They put a lot of pride into their work. And yes, their price for all the work they are doing seems very reasonable if not a downright bargain to me.

My DNA-1 is is driving Vandersteen Treo CT. Any Vandys will yield great music. Don’t forget what gdnrbob said about getting a recent production model as Mr. Vandersteen is regularly upgrading his designs.

Good luck!
Funny as folks get mad at me when I tell them to try adn purchase his newest models as he really does upgrade constantly.  It's also nice to be able to get some of the upgrades after you have owned your speakers for a few years for a nominal fee.  

Didn't even know Steve still upgrades and is building.  He is one of the forgotten builders I think.  I loved his amps as well as Brown Electronics Lab or BEL amps and a few others.  They would have been some of the first builders who would probably have sold direct back in the day if they really had that.
I too run a DNA-1 and am looking for speakers so this is perfect timing for me. Vandersteen has not been on my radar but looks to be a go to choice. I'm leaning heavily toward Harbeth P3's as I found an excellent dealer here on Long Island but will keep watch here for other possibilities.   I spoke recently with Steve McCormack about a worry I had and he was so friendly and informative. Very impressed.
Sorry Cheeg if this is a hijack,no offense meant. I find these forums
very helpful for info in order to help make decisions. 
@offnon57 — don’t worry about hijacking me; you are exactly the kind of member I had hoped would join in. I hope you get as much good info from the responses as I have, and please let me know if you do get a new set of speakers! 
@offnon57 ,
I live on Long Island, too. I suggest contacting John Rutan at Audioconnection(his name here on Agon, too).
He sells Vadersteen and is knowledgeable and a great guy to boot.
He is in Verona, NJ which isn't too far from the GWB. If you time it right, you can get some hotdogs at Rut's Hut before an early afternoon visit.
B

I'll share my experience:

I've enjoyed my DNA-1 Rev. A through  Magnepan 1.7's for a few years.  Last year I integrated a pair of  2WQ subs which improved the sound  with robust lower notes.

Two weeks ago I purchased a tube pre made by Don Sachs to replace a passive Light Speed Attenuator. I'm still exploring the difference with tubes, the clarity with a passive LSA is so impressive, but the tube pre has a buttery smooth presentation that I'm almost sure was not there with the LSA. I need more time to compare, this is my first tube experience; not sure my ears believe what they hear.

Anyway, my point is McCormack and Magnepan work well together. Hope this helps.

Agree about getting over to Verona, NJ adn Audio Connection.  The Vandersteen's mate great with those amps. I asked a couple of friends offline (they don't play in audio forums, lol) about their amps that weren't upgraded and how they mated with their Vandersteen's.  To a person they said that for a SS amp, you would have to spend major coin to get such a great match.  One runs the Treo original and the other one runs the 2's (newest ones with the upgrades).  

Yes the Maggies work nicely withe McCormicks too based on what I remember but was a bit ago for me, lol.  

4hannons, funny as I'm looking at the LSA or another remote relay volume control IF I get the new Vandersteen amps that are coming out soon.  I'd love to hear more about your thoughts.  Either on this thread or email me at [email protected]   
@ctsooner ,
Why do you need/want the LSA? I haven't heard about these before.
And, I think  'McCormicks' might be an ethnic slur.  ;)   
B
Where I'm at as far as speakers is: my current speakers are a humble pair of B&W dm303's (you might have to look them up)
and a single B&W asw 300 sub which I've managed to dial in fairly
well. They work well with the DNA 1, and since I've been checking out possible replacements the 303's sound better than ever.
Murphy's Law. I auditioned the Harbeth P3esr's locally recently
and they were quite agreeable to my ears. Plus their size agrees
with my living room listening room.However,after the P3's I listened
 to Lawrence Audio Cellos,in a different set-up/same dealer,and they offered a whole new world to me, as I have had limited listening experience to larger floorstanders. Once you get out of your zone it seems the possibilities become exciting and also daunting not to mention the financial stretch.I am going back for a second listen to 
the Harbeths and as it so happens this dealer also sells Vandersteen
so will try and get a listen to them as well.In the meantime I'll keep
an eye here to see if any more suggestions come in.As I mentioned
prior,I look to these forums for info and guidance, while knowing
actual listening is most important of all. cheeg,thanks for giving me a pass on hijacking and good luck with speakers. 
sorry,but wanted to thank fellow Long Islander gdnrbob for John Rutan mention and good to know you have much McCormack 
experience. If I decide to upgrade mine I'll hit you up for advice.
If it sounds like I'm practicing for my Oscar acceptance speech it's
just that as you can see I have much post catching up to do.This should be number 5. Thanks to all the Agon members,and to my
mom,who lovingly used to say I had a brain like a sieve.
Offnon, I promise you that if you go listen to some of the newer speakers like a Vandersteen or even B&W (Johnny also sells those so you can hear side by side) you will be floored.  

Bob, I will need a preamp/volume control is I get the Vandersteen new mono blocks.  I was told they are as good as most of the 30-40k mono's out there. I wouldn't be able to afford a good Audio Research LS28 ((even used), Richard said to get a great volume control.  The only input I use now is a balanced from the new The Memory Player or the Ayre QX5/20 (if I decide to keep this and not take delivery on TMP).  Was told that Lightspeed is the best sounding, but it's not balanced and can't be. I spoke with the designer, who's in Austrailia, and he said there are too many small variances so balanced won't work.  '



@ctsooner Now that I’ve had a chance to compare the LSA to tubes, I feel like the LSA adds very little coloration to the signal. The design seems as simple as it gets, using light to attenuate the signal, a pure genius idea wouldn’t you say? And for such an affordable price! I don’t know of any other pre that might offer such clarity for such low cost.

I might sell it in near future, because at the moment I feel my ears might be enjoying tube coloration. Also, I like the idea of tube rolling to attain even more enjoyment. If youre interested I can take some pics and email to you. I had kept the LSA inside an empty aluminum chassis that I ordered new from Burson, this gave the LSA a better look having it encased in aluminum. I’m silly that way.
Sure, may as well send some pics.  I won't know for a few months since the amps won't be ready quite yet.  Have to move a few pieces before I can afford it. I also wanted to do balanced if possible as that's how the amps are maxed out and I have a lot of money invested in balanced interconnects, lol. I am speaking with someone who actually made a similar volume control years before this guy did and he said he'd see if he could max one out in balanced mode by matching components better.  Way above my pay grade lol.

@ctsooner ,
I think I will consider something like what you described. Now that I am basically using streaming to listen to music, I really don't need a full preamp.
Does this Memory Player allow you to use it a DAC, in addition to CD player?
B
Bob, I'm gettin The Memory Player by Sam Laufer's company.  You can get it with or without the DAC built in. I'll have the DAC built directly into it as they do it properly so everything is shielded and isolated properly.  They have totally separate power supplies for the player and the DAC. They have a built in transport for easy ripping etc...  It is one of, if not the best server/streamer in the world.  Constant upgrades included etc...  

You have been over and seen my system.  My end game (if I can get there) would be the new Vandersteen mono blocks with HRS footers, a 'best' volume control and then The Memory Player.  I have my Apple TV and cable box going directly into my TV.  I'd then do an optical out into The Memory Player or into my Synchro Mesh reclocker first and then into TMP.  Then go balanced out into a volume control or take the high output RCA from TMP into the Lightspeed control.  That would then to into the mono blocks.  Much cleaner system with fewer boxes, cords etc...  not quite a high end lifestyle system, but not far away.  All I'd have in my rack/tv stand would be TMP and a small box for the remote volume control.  TMP is controlled by an app on a touchscreen or from my TV and the volume would be from the TV remote (an all in one remote) so I'd only need one remote control out and then use the phone or the pad or the TV.  Just versatile and simple. Also Sam has total remote control into TMP so he can reset fix and install anything whenever it's needed.  

Bob, if you want to talk, I am selling my Ayre QX5/20 that is a complete digital hub with 10 inputs and streamer built in. You've heard it.  It's a SICK unit.  The volume control on it is as good as any pre I've heard under about 4k or so.  It's not quite as good as my Ayre integrated pre as that's in the range of a 10k preamp, lol.  The DAC is silly good.  We had it up against DAC's in teh 20k range and it's a SMIDGE below, but not that much. It actually has a bit more detail than the great Brinkmann Nyquist DAC (love this DAC), but not quiet as much bloom, but close.  

I also use the balanced outputs on the QX5 headphone amp and it's as good as any of the Woo headphone amps I've used.  sorry for the long post. 

Here's a link to The Memory Player:    https://www.thememoryplayer.net
@ctsooner ,
Thanks for the detailed reply. This is all new to me.
Right now, I am using the Ayre Codex with the Bluesound Node, and really can't find fault with it-especially the price.
I should probably try using the Codex as a volume control, but I am still playing with all my nice new amps.

I wonder if you need the Synchro Mesh? I think the TMP comes with all the software, which includes the Clock Mapper.
-BTW, Sam called me shortly after I left a message on the website and explained a few things. I was primarily interested in the software, but it seems the Mini might be something worth looking at. It has all the software, as well as the drive and storage at a really nice price. I have to call him and see how it can integrate with my Bluesound Node. I really like having wireless music throughout the house.
B
Bob, no a decent preamp will be better for volume control than the Codex will give you.  They spent a ton more money on the QX5/20 headphone amp and volume control.  

bob, send me your email again please. I can't find it.  Sam is the BEST. He's a good guy who cares.  Teh software and other updates he offers really make a huge difference.  That mini is a great unit too.  

The Synchro Mesh is an amazing piece.  What it would do it give me flexibility to use a sp/diff instead of the optical.  The TV only has an optical out, so I would need to use it if I want a different input into TMP.  Sam said he will turn on the optical input if I want but if it will degrade the sound at all, I won't do that.
hi cheeg...any closer to finding speakers ?
Whoops, sorry for hijacking the thread..
I, too, would like to know if you have auditioned any speakers.
B
@offnon57 — thanks for asking, but no — I did pick up a cheap TT, though!  If you or anyone listening know where I can listen to Vandys and Maggie’s anywhere near Pasadena, please let me know.

Getting back to the early thread for a minute, there is one thing I wanted to follow up on. I’m sure it’s true that Vandersteen keeps improving their line, but have they changed them enough to make them better than the Vandys in the used market?  For the price of a new pair of 2Cs, I can probably pick up a pair of Treos in very good shape; where is the price break point?  If earlier comments are true, the old 2Cs are ‘magical’ — how much more magical can they get?
@cheeg "I’m sure it’s true that Vandersteen keeps improving their line, but have they changed them enough to make them better than the Vandys in the used market?" The answer to your question above depends upon when the used speaker was manufactured. The older the speakers, the fewer design improvements they will have.

"For the price of a new pair of 2Cs, I can probably pick up a pair of Treos in very good shape; where is the price break point?" The Treos have not been in the Vandy line for a long time so if you can get a pair of used Treos in good shape at anywhere near the price of new model 2CE Signatures ($2700) go for it.
Cheeg, go see Randy at Optical Enchantment.  He's over near the 3rd Street Promenade I believe:  http://www.optimalenchantment.com
He has a lot of great gear and has been doing this for years and years.  I'm sure he'd love to help you.  I don't know him, but friends who have purchased from him over the years love him.  They say he is not high pressure at all and loves to teach.  

Let us know how that goes. I don't know his full product line as I just did a search in your area.  I just got back from Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.  I used to spend a week or two a month in the 90's for business.  There was a great high end store off Colorado that had Avalon's.  Closed now, but in the day they were awesome.  
Oh, used Treo's are going for about 4,800-5,700 or so and they are rarely on the market. Right now there haven't been any on the market since October 2017.
+1 ctsooner, 
I bought yours.
I'd say that the prices you quote would be for the CT model, and those are as rare as hen's teeth.
If earlier comments are true, the old 2Cs are ‘magical’ — how much more magical can they get?
As has been said before, Mr. V. just keeps adding newer bits and pieces to his speakers, so the closer you come to current production, the closer you are to buying new. The differences are slight, but noticeable.
B
Actually there are none for sale right now.  The prices are for the regular and not the CT.  The only CT I saw that has sold went for around 6k
@ctsooner — I was referring to the Treo, not the Treo CT. Used Treos have selling for ~$3000, which is about what a new pair of Vandy 2Cs would cost. I can also get used 3Sigs for much less than a new pair of 2Cs; wouldn’t both of these options make more sense?
There is no absolute answer there.  It literally depends on what iteration of speaker you are getting.  If you can afford the 3k, I'd probably get a new pair of 2's and a new integrated where you buy them that mates great with them.  As I told you, I'm always a bit Leary getting used speakers.  The Yamaha amp won't give you the magic the the TReo's or any speaker in that range will give you.  It will drive the 3 or lower, but still a new pair of 2's driven by a Rotel, Nad or one of the other integrated amps that AC sells will sound better IMHO.  Funny as I did a search on regular Treo's and noticed selling prices from 3800 (they had scratches on them) to 4500.  None are even on the market right now that I could find and only a couple have been sold in the last year.  Either way, you will get much better sound with 2 to Treo.  
This is where I tend to disagree with CT.
Though I understand his reticence regarding 'used speakers', I haven't had any issues buying used. (In fact, I bought his speakers). As I pointed out, buying a recent iteration is a good way to get the most current 'sound' that Vandersteen offers, it also means the speaker hasn't been used or sat around for a long time, either.
In my humble opinion, I would get a pair of Treo's over the 2 or 3 series, as it is a more recent design that has benefited from the design of the Quatro, 5 and 7's. Also, it looks much nicer and takes up less space (especially, when compared to the 3's).
If monies are limited, then a pair of 2ce sigs. I had the 3a sigs and hated the outrigger Sound Anchors. They took up so much room and made them difficult to position. 
With any Vandy below the Quatro, it would behoove you to add some subs, like the 2w or 2wq. A very subtle but definitive improvement.
Bob
Geez, another big +1 for gdnrbob.  I agree with everything he said as long as you buy a recent iteration of whatever Vandy speaker you decide upon.  RV does too many upgrades to his designs over time to go with an old version of any of his models.  Good luck.  If you go with Vandersteen's you will have a musically satisfying system as long as you feed them a clean signal.
Thanks for everyone's input -- I now have some listening to do! 
Post removed 
I agree with Bob and Hifiman.  As for used gear, there are some great stories and some not so great ones.  As long as you have an idea of who you are getting it from and or can see/hear it first (Bob came over and listened for a bit before taking them).  I have been burned a few times, so I get a bit skittish on speakers.  I'd never get a used pair that used foam surrounds.  The only problem with older drivers is that the materials on them wear out after a period of time.  The newer materials won't do that and if they do, the life span will be much much longer.  For components, caps and things do dry up and fail over time, so that's also a concern.  That's one reason I alway send out older components to be looked at and upgraded as needed.  Even on the Onix integrated I'm going to sell, I had someone check it out a couple of years ago and install some new caps etc.. as needed.  It's just a buyers beware deal. 

I know on used Vandersteen's, I've seen guys send them back for the upgrades (if any are offered) and pass that cost along to the next owner as he will only upgrade if it's the original buyer.  I've seen that set up in the past and then the person purchasing them, knows they are getting a speaker that is latest and greatest AND has mostly new components.  Works out great for all.  Just another thought.
+1 for CT.
Buying used equipment can be fraught with problems, but buying something of recent production, and being able to visit the seller, help a lot in preventing unforeseen issues.
Also, buying equipment from reliable manufacturers who offer upgrades to their equipment, makes thing even better. 
That is why I like Vandersteen, Ayre, McCormack, Atma-Sphere & Schiit.
I never have to worry that I can't repair a damaged component.
FWIW.......I'm on last of three day in-home audition of Harbeth P3s.
As I've mentioned,my current speakers are B&W 303s. Long story
short,since I just posted a lengthy post on another thread.....I  found the P3s to be everything they are said to be on the many,many threads and reviews I read . A speaker I could easily live with for a 
long time, just a beautiful sound to me . My B&Ws have held their 
own quite well though so I will keep them and let the Harbeths go,at
least for now.Who knows what the future will bring. Once the bug hits
it's hard to quell. Glad to find that the 303s present themselves so 
well against such a well regarded speaker as the P3. Lessons learned......audition at home if possible. I've bought my amp used,the McCormack DNA 1 (of original subject of this thread) without a listen,and more recently a Modwright 9.0  ss rectified ,also
without hearing first,and both have been stellar performers.But I think
the nature of speakers calls for a listen first,and like I said,a home 
audition is very helpful. This audition has also showed me first hand
that you are the best judge of what " sounds good " . Not always 
easy to decide for yourself . Kind of like sticking your neck out a bit.
  With that I'll sign off. Love the P3 sound but will sit tight for now
with no regrets.