Can't get Acoustic Zen Adagios to sound smooth


I have owned a pair of Acoustic Zen Adagios speakers for over 4 years. They can sound very good, BUT also have a HARD AND UNSMOOTH sound when playing certain CD's. I have changed electronics from separates to an integrated amp, and recently purchased a Ayre CX-7e to replace a Rega Apollo. The Ayre easily highlights the limitations of the Rega player and outperforms it.

Nevertheless, the hard and unsmooth sound seems to prevail. It can also sound like an acoustic overtone, and (I think )the music looses its bloom or musicality. The current living space is well damped with maps,and rug hangings on the walls. I also have two 6 ft tall bookcases that contain only 70% less books than my previous apartment These shelves are in the corner, perpendicular to the speaker on each side of the room.

I encountered this problem before in a different and smaller living space.

I also recently changed speakers cables from a 4 year old pair of Audio Art SC-5 to a brand new pair of Grover Huffman which seemed to be slowly breaking in and are more detailed than the AA cable. I also replaced the standard wimpy power cord of the Ayre player with Panagea's new 14SE MKII power cord designed for just components, not amps. The Panagea PC is excellent, and has dropped the noise floor allowing for more detail to emerge. I drive the Adagios with the Rogue Sphinx hybrid integrated amp (100RMS)whose PC was replaced by an Acoustic Zen Tsumani Plus power cord.

I am beginning to wonder if there is another speaker that might provide a smoother top end performance and still have the taut bass, and detailed mids of the Adagios. Will appreciate all and any advice, even new speaker recommendations. Thank you
sunnyjim
"when playing certain CD's"

Are you convinced that it's not these recordings that are the culprit, rather than your Kit?

Lot's of edgy CDs out there.

John
Jim, I'll bet those Adagios could sing a different tune if you can drive them with a tubed output section. I'd try a new amp before I ditched the transducers.
try with tubes and try the acoustic zen satori speaker cables
First of all, I can't believe you lived with this for four years. They would have been gone from my house long before that.

Secondly, I agree with John. How do you know that the media is not at fault, and not the system?

BTW, not sure I even know what "unsmooth" means. And smooth in the context of music reproduction isn't always a good thing.

Shakey
I am bothered much less by edgy CDs after having moved from various audiophile speakers to PA speakers. Now it is rare that I play something annoying. Because they are front ported and don't go low enough to excite my worst room modes I can keep them fairly close to the front wall. Also they don't seem to produce as much side wall reflections so they can be placed closer to side walls. Even if I had decided to keep a pair of audiophile speakers out in the room, I would still have a pair PA speakers behind them for the not so well recorded stuff. Mine are half decent so they sound good with the good stuff too. My listening position is about 12 feet away from them. Never hurts to have a second pair of speakers around for an alternative. I would stick with either EV or JBL. You could also consider cinema speakers like the JBL 3677.
Agree with Thewizard. You might contact Mark O'Brian at Rogue and see what he'd recommend for tubes. He told me a while back there's a particular tube he likes with the Medusa, so he might have a recommendation for the Sphinx as well.

And Satori cables may also bring you a step in the right direction as well. Nicely detailed but without etch and also convey rich tonality when it's there. You don't say what you're using for interconnects, but in my system they make a bigger difference than speaker cables and could certainly be a source of harsh or hardness, so you might want to explore that too. AZ Silver Reference is worth a shot. I mean, the guy who built your speakers designed the cables sooooo. Buy used and you can try this stuff with very little risk as there's a good market for used AZ wires.

Last thought is perhaps there's an issue with the speakers themselves. Not sure if maybe one or both of the ribbon tweeters might be damaged? Probably a long shot, but just a thought.
I had my AZ Adagios in my system with AC tube, battery tube/hybrid and SS amplification (integrated, power and monos). NEVER did they sound harsh when the recording was good. They were smooth, extended at both ends and grain-free with all amplification, albeit to variable degrees. I did, however, feed them via AZ Satori speaker cables which I still use (I like occ copper cables best) And my room is fully treated with sound panels and bass traps. But I understand that YMMV. I can only say that my Adagios never created a harsh, un-smooth presentation in my system/room unless the recording really sucked. Hope you find the cause to this issue. Regards.
I'm with John 100% on this - the first reply to this thread nailed it. You already know the cause of the issue. You said it yourself..."from certain CDs". This isn't about new tubes, new amps, or new cables with lapis lazuli-filled coating. If you're on a wild goose chase, changing out components and cables, just to try and make listenable a CD that is poorly recorded, I've got bad news for you...that wild goose chase ain't ever going to end. It's a shame, but there are a lot of horribly mastered CDs out there, and if you build a system simply to cater to those, that same system may not make you all that happy when you actually use it to play something that was recorded well. You're welcome to empty your bank account on new stuff, but there seems to be too much encouragement to go changing equipment when the problem likely comes from "certain CDs". I'd love to know the titles of those discs you're hating...some of us may hate the same discs for the same exact reasons as you.
There's a good chance its the recordings like everyone else is saying. I would also try it with the stock cord. Just put it back in and leave it for a few weeks. Don't be too quick to judge it.
I'm going to agree with the others who have already posted and initially guess it is poor quality audio on the CDs themselves. The Adagio's measure extremely well with low distortion so it is very hard to imagine it is the speakers introducing something undesirable. Switching to the Ayre also supports this theory, as its zero-feedback design would result in less distortion during music clipping.

If you really want to be able to listen to these CDs without hurting your ears, then grab a different DAC or tube buffer that will attenuate the high-frequencies and only use that during playback of those CDs.
My tube-driven Adagios sound great. And I'm using silver IC's and SC's. One good improvement was hooking up my digital components (transport & DAC) to a balanced power conditioner. Concur with others about poorly mastered CD's.
I agree with many of the above replies. "On certain CD's" says to me that you have some poor recordings, we all do. Some CD's will sound bad no matter what you do.
Have you heard these "bad CD's" sound good on other speakers?
"The Adagio's measure extremely well with low distortion so it is very hard to imagine it is the speakers introducing something undesirable."

It's not so much that the speakers are introducing something undesirable, its what they're not doing. For example, lets say that you have an issue with sibilant high frequencies. There could be several causes for this. One of them might be that the speaker doesn't have enough refinement to properly reproduce the correct timber of what's on the recording. I don't think a problem like that would show up in the specs.
(((I am beginning to wonder if there is another speaker that might provide a smoother top end performance and still have the taut bass,)))
Jim if you can get your hands on the newest Sig 2 Vandersteen
they are now packed with the Five As patented midrange drivers and networked accordingly.
Combining this with amps like Rogue Atlas and Ayre would put you into a whole new world even with stock power cords.
JohnnyR
I agree with Jdoris, the problem could quite likely be in the CDs/recordings themselves and NOT your equipment...

-RW-
Try a tube DAC or CD player. In my experience this can smooth out that CD sound.
Can't get Acoustic Zen Adagios to sound smooth
((Try a tube DAC or CD player.))
Jim spent thousands looking for magic and your solution is to to blur it up it with band aids for him.
Many folks have silver Plated cables from boutique types that impress for less but don't play with neutrality.
Borrow a pr of Cardas interconnects for your CD player
and see where that gets you.
I wish I could answer each contributor to this thread, because many have provided many good comments

But first, let me clarify something. I claimed that the speakers don't sound good on certain CD's. However, I don't buy crap recordings, even if the music justifies them. Many of these so called remastered CD are more hype than improvement. I have found the "Salvo" remasters are very good. A few Japanese pressings provide improvement over the original, but generally they are not convincing. Occasionally, there are some surprises. The re-mastered version of Hall and Oats Silver album is a definite improvement over the LP. The Salvo redo of Procul Harum's "Salty Dog" is excellent, and highlights the collective genius of these musicians. The Japanese remastered Beatles "White Album" is a wash and not worth the extra yen; The "Yes" Band remasters are generally good for Japanaese pressings, but not consistent. I have a few Chesky CD's which are very good, and Tom Jung's Flim and the BB's which are first rate.

One point that was made is that the Adagios just may not be the most current or effective speaker technology. Of course, these type of statements are open to ridicule because the design and execution of that design of speaker accomplishes everything the designer(Richard Lee)intended and then some. Remember AZ was basically a cable company whose target market is not speakers.

.....BTW, sorry Audioconnection I have little to no interest in Vandersteen products. I had a pair of 1C about 10 years ago. Nice speaker, but disagreeable owner. In addition, the Vandy 2C's are too big and bulky, as are the Adagios. I often wonder if a smaller speaker. or monitor could possibly be at this point in my broken down condition be the better choice, and possibly almost provide performance similar to the Adagios.

(I had a pair of 1C about 10 years ago. Nice speaker, but disagreeable owner.))
Jim,
Maybe you caught the man with a question that was in the owners manual hey everybody has a bad day, try and get over it. Its my observation that most brilliant people that are self driven have little tolerance with redundancy, it boils them.
My own Chiropractor is the same way yet there is no one that I trust more with my spinal chord as much as he.

((In addition, the Vandy 2C's are too big and bulky,))

If you let vanity dictate over performance your missing the boat with true performance and could be chasing your tail for another 10 years.
The latest 2 CE Sig II is a mini monitor head disappears better than a box,connected to a sophisticated full range system with clarity detail magic and smoothness few other speakers offer even at 3 times the price.
You get what you pay for.
JohnnyR
I'll agree with those who say that the quality of a CD is inconsistent and may be your problem. But I would propose rolling the preamp tubes in your Sphinx. Have you tried using NOS tubes? There are many brands such as RCA and Mullard which have a classic tube sound and would remove any "brightness" from the amp.
"Maybe you caught the man with a question that was in the owners manual hey everybody has a bad day, try and get over it."

No, that's pretty much how he is. Not saying that there is anything wrong with it, but don't try to sugarcoat it. Richard isn't a pleasant person to talk to on the phone.

Shakey
((Richard isn't a pleasant person to talk to on the phone.))
Logic driven folks like to get strait to the point and deal with the facts,and find a solid solution,Done get it Done.
Thats the way his company works for 30 years and it works well.
Now Shaky put your self in his spot for just a minuet
an remember to be successful ya need to be efficient by not wasting time, curious George calls asking a question that's already answered in the owners manual and George gets told to read the manual knowing he was wrong but cant admit it. No big deal to a man who understands this logic
he is cool and moves on.
Jim, I agree with Lowrider and Soix that one of the first things that should be done is to try different 12AU7's in your Sphinx. FWIW, among currently produced tubes I've had excellent results, although in a completely different application, with the Genalex Gold Lion reissue.

Also, given that the Sphinx provides a headphone output (which I note BTW does not have the two tubes within its signal path), it may be helpful in diagnosing the perhaps multiple contributors to the issue to purchase an inexpensive pair of headphones. The Sony MDR-7506, which I own and which is widely used in pro audio and video applications, is surprisingly good in relation to its $85 price. Although as might be expected there is no comparison to my Stax's.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al
Jim, putting the manufacturer at fault, because you can't get them to sound good to you, is one of the funniest thing in this hobby I've heard.

Look, you've been struggling with those speakers for a long time. You obviously have a problem with choosing the right amplification, because they are everything but bright or harsh. 99% of the owners will confirm that.

I still probably have a few emails from you regarding Unison or Atoll amps for them, and you, if my memory serves me right, consistently come back to a class D stuff. You basically never enjoyed the Adagios. Why don't you want to Just get rid of them?
"Look, you've been struggling with those speakers for a long time. You obviously have a problem with choosing the right amplification, because they are everything but bright or harsh. 99% of the owners will confirm that."

I wouldn't assume that its the amp that's at fault. It could just as easily be something else.
Zd542 "I wouldn't assume that its the amp that's at fault. It could just as easily be something else".

Zd, you're free to assume whatever you want. Of course It could be anything, including the ghost in the closet.

Given his history - two different apartments in two different states with the same result, makes me think it's the amp...or... simply it's not his sound. Jim's current CDP is one of the smoothest around. Since he likes class D that much, it would be better for him to sell the Adagios.

Personally, I never had that problem, and I have tinnitus. As of today, my Adagios are in my bedroom, and an Audia Flight Three integrated is driving them. Sounds amazing.
.
The biggest problem people make when recommending components is looking at the problem from a personal perspective. And its easy to do. I'm not faulting you for it. But people tend to recommend products and solutions that they like personally, assuming that it will be the correct choice for the OP. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

"Jim's current CDP is one of the smoothest around."

I'm very familiar with the Ayre 7. I'm one of the people that encouraged him to get it as an upgrade over his Rega. It is smooth, but its also very detailed, so it wouldn't be out of the question that the problem lies with his CD's themselves. Also, I don't see what class D has to do with it. Not all class D amps sound the same. Like you, I can only guess, and my best guess tells me the problem may lie with either the CD's themselves, or the preamp section of his Rogue. (No need to remind me that it's tubed. I know.) I admit that I could be wrong on this, but without hearing the system, that's my best guess. The only thing I'll add is that even though I didn't see the speakers as the problem, I have a lot of faith in John, so I'll always consider any advice he gives.
Shakey, Thank you for also pointing out to the phantom of Audio Conection out that Richard Vandersteen is not a pleasant or even nice person to deal with. For a minute, I thought Audio Connection was John D Rockefeller Sr. who routinely chastised his workers about inefficiency of operation and "redundancy" of questions.

A few years back, I recall a photo of Mr. Vandersteen assisting John Atkinson in the set-up of his latest mega-buck speaker. All smiles and good will; I doubt that even a hint of "questioning" redundancy on Atkinson's part, would have brought the session to Defcon 3.

As far as redundancy, the one page "blue" sheet of set-up instuctions provided with the Vandy 1C's was not sufficient in setting the so-called rake angle of the speaker. Yet, I was told (and bellowed at) that it took years of "hard work" to produce this masterpiece. It was almost laughable if not so insulting. Yes, I did react to Mr. V's splendid disposition by vowing to never buy his speakers again...... Let's move on, shall we!!!!

Mr. Shakey it seems to me that Audioconnection's rigorous defense of Vandy's work ethic and fortitude is evidence of a dealer shilling for his products. And as he noted to you about Vandy'd busy day by stating".... now Shaky put yourself in his position for a minute.....Curious George calls asking a question that is answered in the owners manual,and George gets told to read the manual KNOWING HE WAS WRONG AND CAN'T ADMIT"IT....( I GUESS I AM "CURIOUS GEORGE IN THIS TRUMPED UP SCENARIO)

Geez, I guess I interrupted King Vandy's afternoon nap. A respite while he feverishly worked on his next 2 page blue sheet of instructions. Well, AC if that is how you see the world of customer service in defense of that twerp, then you both can go fuck yourselves. Who the fuck do you think you are lecturing me, and even Mr. Shakey about "time spent or time wasted". I did not realize that the Audiogon membership produced a new Adam Smith educating us country bumpkins about the efficiency of work and the resulting "wealth of nations"
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To Mr Hasmarto, I don't recall e-mailing you about class D amps or any amp for that matter. Bel Canto and the new internet start up company, Red Dragon both use class D circuits to minimize the size of their amps, especially Red Dragon. I believe Nu-Force electronics used this technology also. As far as the compatibility of AZ's Adagios and class D amplification, Red Dragon uses the Adagios to demo their amps at the major shows. Lastly, either you misunderstood my statement,or can't read, but I was NOT impugning the reputation of designer AZ's Richard Lee,(A REAL GENTLEMAN) who created the brilliant design of the Adagios. I have gotten a lot of musical enjoyment from them over the last couple of years of ownership. Though, I always doubted the choice of the tweeter he employed in the design. that is, a Round Ribbon Kapton fabric membrane. I always thought he Spectron and Seas tweeters sounded the smoothest. Could be the Adagios's tweeter is more suited to tube amps, and not SS.

BTW, class D amps tend to be less expensive. However, if you want to lend me $65,000, Soulution Electronics is having a fire sale on last year's amps and pre-amps.
"Well, AC if that is how you see the world of customer service in defense of that twerp, then you both can go fuck yourselves. Who the fuck do you think you are lecturing me, and even Mr. Shakey about "time spent or time wasted". I did not realize that the Audiogon membership produced a new Adam Smith educating us country bumpkins about the efficiency of work and the resulting "wealth of nations" "

I thought I was bad! You're way worse than me. Actually, you're way worse then me and MR. Shakey combined. If you ever move again, come on out to NYC. You'll fit right in here.
Changing speakers is a slippery slope, but you have hung in there for 4 years which is a credit to your tenacity and patience. I suggest to you that moving amps in and out of the home is a much simpler process than moving speakers in and out. Your speakers have a good and long reputation. If I were you, I would work at finding the proper amp for the speakers that will smooth them out. You could try asking Robert Lee of AZ and see what he suggests in the way of amplification. He is very cordial and accommodating in his communication. You may want to research online what AZ has used at the audio shows to power the Adagios too. My years of experience in changing out speakers taught me that I let some perfectly fine speakers go. And, the source (cd or cd player)makes all the difference in the enjoyment of the speakers. Don't blame the speakers.
Zd542; Sorry fellows, I occasionally lose my temper and don't like to use profanity on our blog. However, sometimes, it is necessary to drive a point home.

BTW, NO MORE MOVES EAST OR WEST, though I do miss Hawaii. I now live in Southern Cal where every one is just too laid back. I guess I may be asked by the governor to leave the state for failing the "good vibes" test
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To Almarg and Soix, you are probably right about changing up the two tubes in the output section of the Rogue hybrid. integrated. I almost bought the Rogue Cronos Magnum last year, but even on sale from a NY state dealer, it cost $900.00 more. and, though biasing was a snap, I did not want to get on the "tube rollers" merry-go-round I forgot who offered the advice about getting the Ayre CX-7e upgraded to the "mp" version. That will be put in motion soon. Thanks for the advice!!!
Though if you want smooth, the Vandersteen dealer's recommendation of Vandersteen and Cardas would sure get you there. I do not like the Vandersteen 2 or 3 series and do not like Cardas cable. Spoke to Richard Vandersteen years ago and he was extremely pleasant, friendly and helpful, and talked to me a long time.
Sunnyjim, there is absolutely no need to be rude. After all, you created this topic, because you need help. And others, myself including, are trying to make the right suggestion.

I'm only speaking from the perspective of my experience.
As for class D, it's not about their compatibility, it's how you like that particular sound. And seems that you are not.

I see you're getting upset, so no more words from me on the matter.
Wow, talk about a rude and mean thread. We all are emotional about our equipment. I get that. We all shill what we own and many of us will discuss products that have impressed us that we've heard. We all have ideas and if you are posting and asking a question on here, then you need to realize you will get a different answer from nearly everyone.

My first and only thought is that if you don't like your system as it's not giving you (you add what it's not giving you consistently) and you've changed other components around it, out, then change the component you don't seem to like. You have even said the AZ's are too big for you. Then look for smaller speakers, but as AC so aptly put it, you'll chase your tail forever. If you are looking for neutral and musical mids the AZ may not be what you want. I've heard three of their speakers over the years and none gave me the mids nor the flat highs that I personally enjoy. They had great bass though. Very strong bass in fact. Some folks love the highs and lows and hate Bose (sorry, this thread needed some levity) and AZ delivers that in spades.

As for Richard, I met him while in the Navy in SD at Audio Unlimited (still open). Bruce, the owner was an awesome guy and many of us bought gear through him. I was in there when Richard was showing off his 2's and they sounded really great for the price. He took his time and explained all about them as well as his company. He was a very nice person. He had a great sense of humor, but yes, he's to the point. I met him again in the late 90's (I ended up with Proacs instead of Vandys when I could finally get better speakers a few years later). Again, he was straight shooting and nice. Opinionated and passionate about his product??? YES....but not a jerk and he wasn't rude.
I now happen to own Vandy's and have met and spoke with him a few times at events and he's been more than gracious. If he really was a jerk, he couldn't turn it on and off like that. I know a few who know him well and they love the guy. He has passion. Wish more did. That's one reason I love this hobby ...folks are passionate about it.

I was once told that once you have to resort to using profanity in an argument you have lost. Jim, I'm sure you're a great guy yourself, but you have no need to swear at someone who has passion and is trying to help you. It's not like AC is getting the sale here folks.

My suggestion is to go out to local dealers and audition speakers in your price range and see if there is anything that you do like. If you can somehow look past how any of them look, you'll probably find something soon. That Ayre is KILLER and deserving of a great speaker and amp with neutral cables to get the most out of it. Good luck, I'm sure you'll find what you are looking for with an open mind.
Jl35,

You are correct that if he wants "smooth", Vandersteen 2 or 3 is the way to go. Very bland, but not offensive sound would be his.

Shakey
(((Zd542; Sorry fellows, I occasionally lose my temper and don't like to use profanity on our blog. However, sometimes, it is necessary to drive a point home.))

Its Okay I LMAO.
Nice exhibition of elderly male Estrogen rage.

(((A few years back, I recall a photo of Mr. Vandersteen assisting John Atkinson in the set-up of his latest mega-buck speaker. All smiles and good will; I doubt that even a hint of "questioning" redundancy on Atkinson's part, would have brought the session to Defcon 3.)))

Yes you are correct that would never have happened
Unlike you JA is brilliant.

(((As far as redundancy, the one page "blue" sheet of set-up instuctions provided with the Vandy 1C's was not sufficient in setting the so-called rake angle of the speaker. Yet, I was told (and bellowed at) that it took years of "hard work" to produce this masterpiece. It was almost laughable if not so insulting. Yes, I did react to Mr. V's splendid disposition by vowing to never buy his speakers again......)))

One page sheet? no that was the instructions on how to fill the bases,you must of missed the well written manual,
or could it be you were so upset at yourself that you couldn't grasp it.

(( I GUESS I AM "CURIOUS GEORGE IN THIS TRUMPED UP SCENARIO)
Hey if the shoe fits in all sincerity I would suggest you loosen up a bit.

JohnnyR Vandersteen
dealer 25 Years
I have no idea what transpired between the OP and Richard Vandersteen, but, I would hazard a guess that the I-Don't-Suffer-Fools-Gladly attitude exhibited here might explain how that interaction went down.

I think I have the answer to the problem, but, my consulting fee is $10,000 for certain clientele (regular fee is less than $1).
Shaky, I have to ask you a question. In all honesty, when was the last time you sat down in a dealers showroom and listened to the brand new version of either of those VAndersteen speakers?

I too thought that was the case until I sat and listened with an open mind. I hadn't heard them in a few years and I listened to posters like you who bad mouthed them as bland, no excitment etc... Boy am I glad I listened to them. I went into the first audition NOT wanting to like them, but they were anything but bland or polite. They are natural and flat. They are time and phase coherent with no smear so you can look into the music. The detail is there, but it doesn't hit you like a Mack truck unless that's what is recorded.

Too many audiophiles think a speaker has to stand out and hit you, but that's not what live music is. With the correct system match, you hear everything and that includes the bite of the sax or the percussion of the piano. Strings sound real. I can easily tell the type of string used on the guitar or other instuments.

I heard a system of all Tidal speakers and amps with some outragously expensive pure silver cables and cords that were done right. The music was served up by the Aurender W2 I believe it was called. Doug White in Philly was the person who sells these products and he wins best of show just like Vandersteen does at so many shows. That system would be boring to you Shaky. You wouldn't like it at all as it's flat from top to bottom. The thing is, I put it in the same category as Vandersteen driven by ARC, Aesthetix or Ayre Ref gear. I've heard a top end pair of Rockports and also Avalon that I'd put into this class. Nothing was missing. Veils were lifted and all that was left was you and the music. Dougs room was in a built out garage and it wasn't too special. He just did it properly and it blew me away in the same way the 7's blow me away.

Shaky, I'm a mark for great sound and I don't care who gives it to me. I travel a lot and I hear a ton of gear that is discussed on these boards. Much of it I don't love, but it appeals to the mass market. The problem is that folks listen to people who haven't listened to a certain version of something and take it for granted. As much as I stand up for Vandersteen, Ayre, Tidal, ARC, CJ, Aesthetix, AQ and the list goes on, I actually have listened to most of the products discussed on the boards recently and can compare fairly. I also am the first to tell anyone asking questions that it's MY EAR and they need to go listen for themselves.

I get that you have it out personally for Richard Vandersteen because he wasn't friendly to a buddy of yours or maybe it was to you. I can't keep folks biasis straight. If you liked him maybe you wouldn't make so many incorrect statements about a product you probably have never even heard.
JMHO...flame on guys

Back to the real topic at hand. Anyone who's been around audio will tell you that if you aren't happy with a product after all of these years, go audition something new and get what makes you happy rather than chasing your tail for another 4 years. There to so many products to chose from now and with all the new advances in materials, there will be something that you will like I'm sure. Go listen to some live music before you audition and give all brands a fair shake (see what I did there Shaky, lol). Let us know what you are hearing. You have some really great gear as a foundtion. Have fun with it.
"I get that you have it out personally for Richard Vandersteen because he wasn't friendly to a buddy of yours or maybe it was to you."

Oh Please! To suggest that I "have it out for Richard Vandersteen" would suggest that I give a good s&*t at all. Which is really not the case. Just because they aren't my cuppa doesn't mean that I have a vendetta against Vandersteen and am conspiring to keep anyone from purchasing his speakers. The OP, and you for that matter, are free to buy and listen to any loudspeaker you wish. I am not "out" for anyone.....

Shakey
Sometimes it seems Vandersteen owners and dealers cannot accept that others don't like or don't prefer Vandersteen speakers. It's always poor set up, wrong electronics, bad room, never that they just don't like Vandersteens, or merely prefer other brands.
The Vandersteen 5 is one of my favorite speakers. Do not particularly like the 2 or 3 series. All Vandersteens I have heard were set up by very good dealers.
To Johnny R,
Well if it makes you feel better that the famous one page "blue sheet" of instructions included in the IC speaker cartons was to build speaker stands....Fine...but, I did not find a owners manual you claim. But too often rabid devotion tends to exclude the facts of reality. , if you want to look like an ass to the membership that is your business. At least, we "officially" know you are Vandersteen dealer "tried and true"

Next time, I run into John Atkinson, I will mention that you qualified his so-called "brilliance" at my expense.
That is usually the knee-jerk reaction of a person who has gone from "admirer" to "worshipper" in the cause of product.

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To Shakeydeal....Good come to Ctsooner's comment about your unpleasant experience with RV, though I honestly believe that Ctsooner provides good points based on his experience in high-end audio, and not offering us another lecture. I am sorry you got dragged into this pissing contest by sharing your own thoughts on RV's personality. Nevertheless, there are plenty of members who have offered good advice, but I am beginning to feel this is becoming a game of one-upmanship.

Let me point out that it was Audioconnection's JohhnyR who got his back up when I claimed that the Vandersteen 1C was/is a nice speaker, but....etc.etc (Ironically, I recommended the model to a few friends after I had sold my pair) However, that being said, I will take the positive advice from those members who offered it, and try a few changes. But it is time,(at least for me) to close down this thread.
Sunnyjim
I just got a response from RV and he asked me to
post this, Hope this helps to some closure.
Best JohnnyR

There is never a good reason to not be polite to a customer but I am human. One can download the owners manual or ask the dealer. Margins are based on the fact that the dealer does the interface with the consumer. If only 10% of our customers needed help from the manufacture the price of the product would have to go up a lot or the dealer margin would need to go down. It can't work both ways. In many other industries people have to pay for customer tech services especially when the customer bought the product used. Anyway 38 years of service and I still try to help everybody myself in a friendly but efficient way.
I bought a used pair of 1Cs a few years ago for my GF (now wife). They arrived pretty beat up with one woofer not functioning. I contacted a dealer but was instucted to call RV regarding repair.

I'm not saying he was a horse's ass, but it wasn't a pleasant conversation. I did send the driver in and it was repaired and returned. No harm, no foul. But friendly is not how I would describe him. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn't be described as such either.

So as I stated before, I don't care one way or the other. That's just my experience.

Shakey
Shakey, I'm honestly not trying to be snarky, but if you don't care, why do you even bring it up? We have all had bad experiences in our life an often times those turn into great experiences for who we meet etc..

I asked a friend to read some of your posts to see if I was off base and he said the same thing, that you seem to have it out for the guy and his products. I'm glad that you have the passion that you do as that's better than apathy in my book. I do post about Vandersteen or Ayre or anything else I own and love because all too often people make posts based on their thoughts and not facts. I know that at least one poster emailed me to apologize about their less than positive comments on Vandy's upper line speakers as he admitted he never heard them. He was going off of what other posters have said about them on forums and he took it for fact.

When I hear folks make a comment about the sound of a product and not one reviewer or person who actually owns the product has said anything close, doesn't that make you think that the poster probably hasn't heard the product or at least not in a fair setting? I think that's a fair question.
Anyways, it all seems good and I'm impressed that he took the time to explain himself and that a dealer cares enough to try and help.

If you had brought your damaged speaker that you bought through another dealer to Johnny, I know for a fact that he'd work with you as if you bought it new from him. I've seen him do that and his posting on these boards shows that's the type of stand up guy he is. He's a true throw back and the industry needs more guys like him. JMHO and I'm sorry if any of my comments seemed over the line as I try not to use profanity or make personal attacks on the boards (however I will passionately stand up for products and companies that I've had incredible experiences with like Vandersteen and Audio Connection and Take 5 Audio and the list goes on).
I auditioned the Adagio's a few years back and I can honestly understand feeling brightness or lack of smoothness on some recordings.

Their presentation was quite forward, and while it provided an immediacy to the sound, it also made for a bit much over an extended session. Hot recording, its very much right in front and center with every wart on display. The sound stage was wide, but was more diffuse than delineated and somewhat short in depth.

I don't think any various tweaks will totally resolve your issues as its more significant than a minor occasional bite. Always best served with a speaker that is close to your ideal and adjust for minor niggles. If you do go out to listen to new speakers, take your time and experience a variety of deigns.

Dealers can be challenging since they often want to make a sale and become ridiculous in the process. I once plainly explained to a dealer about good and bad things about the speaker I just auditioned and that I had preferred something from a line he didn't carry. He went on an aggravated rant and I wished him a good day and said goodbye. A few days later, without any contact by me, the manufacturer of the speaker reached out after the dealer decided to explain how he might have gone overboard. Today, this dealer doesn't carry any of the speakers auditioned that day and actually has the brands that he insulted! Lets not forget my own hearing while he was at it :-). In the end, I came out realizing I only need to trust what I prefer as its the only thing that matters.

We all perceive things quite differently so there is little chance we are all going to like the very same thing. I know people who can't tell the difference from MP3 320kbps and CD. We also found that he can't hear above 14khz, so it explains things a little bit.

So take the music your familiar with, all the experiences you have with your current setup, and go out there and find what works for you knowing what you do today.

What was the original post?
"03-31-15: Marqmike
What was the original post?"

The OP made a slight detour.
To Mmeysarosh, Your comment exactly described what I am hearing and have heard over the last 4 years. It is not been painful, just overall disappointing.

At the same time, let me say. the Adagios provide a wonderful accuracy in the mid-range. However, the music DOES NOT sound either real, natural,or organic The few Chesky CD's, I own in many ways show what the speaker is capable. Dynamic range is off the scope. Nevertheless,I have ran out of solutions, and there are so many(if not too many) aspects that factor into good, convincing, hold the listener's attention...sound.

Interestingly,,another member shares the same opinion as Mmyersarosh, that any tweak will make only a marginal difference. Nevertheless, I will try Soix and Almarg advice of changing the output tubes of the Rogue Sphinx hybrid integrated amp. Rogue suggested the Mullards 12AUL which are available on Generalex Gold Lion site. According to the tech at Rogue, this should smooth out the top end with out rounding it off.

The recently acquired "used" Ayre CX-7E is a given in the system, and I was going to have it upgraded to the "mp" version which is the most current design. FOR THE RECORD, I was going to have this done to bring the player to peak performance, and not as a potential cure for the hard edgy sound when playing CD's. This was evident to vary degrees with my former Rega Apollo. Now, I may just hold off until I have these other issues resolved.

Nevertheless, thanks to all those who participated in this "beerhall" rumble.
I went through the same years ago with my Vandersteen 3 series, though in reverse as I found them too smooth. Wanted to like them more because of what they did well, but was never satisfied. Finally gave up, and been listening happily ever since.