Finish Quality of Von Schweikert VR4jr's

I have had a pair of these for about 6 months. I am very happy with the sound quality, but not so thrilled with the durability of the cabinet finish. The scratch extremely easily. I have several fine scratches in the finish, and they look like crap compared to my former Thiel speakers. Those could be wiped off without fear of scratching, unlike the VR4jr's.

Gues the Made in China finish is the reason they are so inexpensive. Too bad, these will not hold value as they will look like old speakers that had a family of kids living around them.

Great sound, poor finish!
I agree. The finish leaves a lot to be desired. Nothing more than stained birch veneer with a very light coat of lacquer. However, I don't beleive that $4000/pr is inexpensive.
Which Thiels did you have and how would you characterize the sound differences?
Prpixil, You are right ...$4000 is not inexpensive. I was speaking in the context of the sound quality one gets for that price.And in that respect, I think they are a good deal.

Bundy, I have a pair of 2.3's , and was looking for a bit more output level wise, as well as trying to tame the top end a bit. Not sure if I've totally succeeded in the second aspect, as poorly recorded music still sounds a mite shrill at times, but I am happy with the balance of the VSA speakers as a whloe. I think the Thiel's image better, much better in fact, but it may be a result of my setup. I would love to try a high-current amp with both these speakers, something like a large Pass, for example....maybe when the finances are better.
What do you expect for something that costs all up including the cheap labor about 300 bucks + shipping. Rest is profit. They should be a lot cheaper.
How is the VR4jr better value than say the gallo ref which is substationally cheaper.
BTW, I used to own the made in USA VR4.5's. The laquer (seemed like only one layer) they used cracked, the wood veneer finish started to almost peel off the cabinet so the finish was like having small waves of veneer.

My Vienna speakers are real grade furniture and still look brand new after 2 and half years.
I have the VR2's, and agree that the laquer is easily scratched. I've had to be very careful around the binding posts to avoid marking them, especially if using stiff speaker cables.
As far as high current goes, I'm finding that while they sound good with average powered amplifiers, the bigger the better. I was surprised at how power hungry the VR2's amp with lots of current will bring the speakers alive. Couldn't believe what I had been missing when I bought an amp that could deliver the goods.

I have VR4jr's in black powered by a Parasound Halo A51. One of the reasons I selected the black finish is it appears to be more durable than the other finishes, although perhaps not as attractive when new. This is not a high gloss lacquer; in fact, it looks more like paint than a stain or oil finish.

The Parasound Halo amp with high current capability and 250 watts per channel is a good match for the VR4jr imho.
They are fine to me. When I buy audio equipment, I'm not looking to pay for furniture. I want the best sound shoved in to a budget package. I'll put the lead shot in to save a little more. That's why it is "jr" (just right). If you want everything top of the line quality, then take a look at Von Schweikerts $100,000 speakers.

Plastic coat finishs just suck ,sound bad ,look bad but are cheap and easy to apply .I will stick with french polish, better sound, looks ,easy to repair.But takes time so no manufacters except the small guys will touch it.
My Epos M15 were a lot cheaper than your VR4jr's, but I'm still surprised how sensitive the finish is (read my thread on Epos finish).
In your opinion, is it worth taking the speakers to a good furniture maker for retouching (it's what I'm thinking of doing)?
I love it when people say that they dont pay for build quality but only pay for sound quality. The fact is that you still have to look at these speakers when you listen to them( unless you like listening in the dark), but the speakers should have a certain amount of prestige to them. I think that when you invest in a speaker ( especially $4000) they should have used methods so that the cheap build wouldnt show. Havent any of you like the admire the build of your loudspeakers? the fabulous veneering and the smoothness of the finish. The way that the drivers sink into the cabinet and how the veneer is perfectly matched with no imperfections? These engineers who design these loudspeakers should also work visual wonders with their sonic ones, in that regard they will be seen as the best money can buy. I dont think that Von Schweikert is in that league, sure they make expensive and great sounding speakers but a companies talent has to show with their less pricey ones( like a wilson sophia, avalons, sonus faber, proacs). If Von Schweikert could offer this loudspeaker with a great finish and made in the US with quality materials, then it would be a world beater. Anyone else have opinions on this?
I have to agree that the satin poly finish and the veneer quality could be better, but I have to disagree that finish quality determines whether a speaker is a 'world beater' or not. The jrs compete effectively with some heavy hitters way above their price point. Whether they compete aesthetically or not is another matter.

A quality speaker designer won't necessarily have any aesthetic refinement or sensibility. Certainly the cost of furniture quality covering and the additional personnel required to develop/apply it would be a major consideration and would be reflected in the price of the product.

It also needs to be said that finish and build quality are two separate and very different things. The jrs are VERY well built. At least in this case, you are paying for performance, not furniture. While $4,000 is a lot of money, in this incredibly price inflated hobby, it's not often that you can expect to get a Porche at Toyota prices...
Could not agree more. I want best sound for my money. I don’t want to spend extra 2K for furniture grade veneers etc..., some might, I don’t. I unlike many others on this forum don’t think the quality of the veneer or thickness of the varnish will affect the sound of my speakers. Besides, I have no problem with my speaker’s surface finish, and in my experience (6 months of auditioning before settling on my speaker choice) they smoke most ‘furniture grade’ speakers I have compared them too, even ones approaching double the cost . It seems to me that Von schweikert is more interested in the sound quality. If you want prissy, pretty speakers to justify spending more than a few grand or in order to impress your friends be prepared to spend some primo dollars for the sound and looks. Its funny, Vandersteen makes some ‘butt ugly’ looking speakers (IMO), big sock over drivers and cheap looking veneer but they too sound F%%^ing amazing, don’t see anyone slamming them, and at 15+ grand for the 5A… yikes, one would expect fricken hand polished Argentinian teak or some other exotic wood at that price point As far as the folks complaining about the finish on their VR4jr, what the heck do you do to scuff/damage up your speakers? I have had mine for 4 months and moved them around lots, moved them from my old house to my new one, moved around to 3 different rooms while decorating in my new house and adjusted this and that to optimize their final positioning and they still look mint! They are in a far from dedicated audio room too with kids and pets. I still have folks over that say the African hazelwood finish on my speakers is amazing looking. I don’t know the history of Von schweikert too well but they sure must have pissed off quite a few people, given all the negativity and nit-picking against them around here. Its hilarious. Instead of encouraging manufactures and praising them we slam them at every opportunity. I guess the old adage of ‘success breeds contempt’ is alive and well.

Comparing the Wilson Sophia, sonus faber, Avalon full range speakers…... to the VR4jr is a very poor analogy. All those speakers are approaching 10K+, of course they will have amazing finish. Lets compare some 3-5K speakers to the Vons and see what we come up with? Again, for 4K perhaps the veneer on the 4Jr could be a bit thicker...who cares?
As far as the ‘prestige’ factor… This is a hobby… listening and enjoying music, not to stroke my ego or impress my friends. As far as not being assembled in America...I wish people could get over that… most audio is not. Next you’ll be banning the 50+ audio manufactures located in Canada and the UK.

Lets keep things in perspective.

Good listening
The difference in price between birch veneer and cherry veneer is about $0.10 per square foot. So, we're talking about $5.00 more for the better veneer. Going from 1 coat of lacquer to 4 is about $10.00 in material and about 1 hour of labor for a light sanding after the first and third coats. In the US were talking $50 more in material and labor. In China you can divide that by for for a total cost of $12.50. So, if the abinet shop, in China, doubles that charges VSA $25. VSA doubles that and charges the distributer $50. Finally the retailer doubles and charges the customer $100 more. I would be more than happy to pay the extra $100 for the more durable and better looking finish.

I agree that the jr's are great sounding speakers for the money.

BTW - I purchased a pair of 4jr's, matching center and dipole surrounds for a friend and only paid $4800 cash. He let me break in the jr's for about 3 months; I enjoyed my time with them.
Personally I don't consider $4000 units like the VSA or Gallo III's a "bargain speaker" just because there are suckers out there paying wildly inflated prices for Watt/Puppies, Talons, JM Labs, Martin Logans, etc. It's like telling the motorcycle cop that you weren't really speeding at 80mph because other people were passing you at 90mph.

$4000 in China would hire a fast and good cabinet maker for 6 months! Look here at reviews of a five speaker set that is made in China and sold on Ebay for $249, that's right $249 for 2 floorstanders, 2 rears and a center channel - and they're making money! :

I'm not suggesting that these are in the same league as VSA's but it shows the cost structure of manufacturing in China - shockingly little.

So the DIFFERENCE in cost between an ultra-high quality finish and a mediocre finish when we're talking "Sprayed In China" is totally insignificant compared to the final price here. So it's just plain silly to provide a product with an inferior lacquer. Dealers' demo units start to look past their primes very quickly, which translates into lost sales.

Used JR's are showing up pretty frequently with resale prices fairly low (for some reason). Some sellers have priced them under $2000 already, and at that price I wouldn't complain. But hey, if you still object, there's always Fluance!
I couldnt agree more, finish quality is different than build quality. And it was also a good point that the veneering and finishing has no effect what so ever on the sound of the loudspeaker. I have auditioned many beautiful looking speakers which sounded horrible, and most people have. Maybe I am not giving the vr4s the respect they are due, most likely because i have never heard them before. By the way, does anyone know where they source their drivers from? Im just curious? As far as comparing 3-5k speakers I am positive that many companies will have better build quality than the vr4s, especially the british and even some american ( meadowlark, joseph, aerial..), but they might not match the performance of the vr4jr, even though its a matter of taste, not just pure performance numbers. Somehow i cannot get by the fact that picking a better veneer can cost so much more, wouldnt all the people who are constantly scared of scratching and blemishing your speakers opt to pay a couple hundred more for an better finish? And if anyone disagrees just think of the resale value, even if there is one scratch on a loudspeaker it needs and 8/10 on audiogon, and that makes the seller lose money. Fine loudspeakers hold their value, not saying that VSaudios higher end loudspeakers arent nicely finished, but i doubt they are up to standards of the best, of which i mentioned before.
I beg to differ. My Hyperion 938s are extremely well finished, shiny mirror black and quite resistant to scratches. Sound is personal but I believe 90% who have heard the Hyperions up close and personal must agree that they are musical champs. Heck, the drivers are of patented pedigree and completely built inhouse.

That was the whole point of my post. I lovve the sound, but the damned things are way too easily scratched. I wiped the top of one with my shirt to remove the dust, and my shirt button left a scratch!..Just a durable coating to protect the finish is all I ask. And at this price, I feel that is a reasonable expectation.
Mine are in the Dark cherry finish, and a scratch shows perhaps more than on the lighter finish.
I beg to differ, as well...My VR4JRS are well finished, look & sound great and have no scratches.This thread tries to make them sound and look cheap - These are just as nice as my previous Thiel 2.4 or Legacy Focus -If they appeared as cheap as whats been advertised here I would have sold them long ago - Their sound is major league and would hold up against many more $ models...Let the flames begin...
Yes, the Cherry veneer is way too revealing of flaws, and I think the speakers should be finished better, particularly the Cherry. My pair is African Hazelwood, and they were a handpicked pair. My finish is quite good, but I do agree there could be more coats of a better urethane.

I will admit that I admire the speakers that have topnotch woods & finishing, but I don't know that I could find a speaker of the sound & driver quality level of the VRjr for $4000 retail. Let me know if there is....
Slightly off topic, but with this many 4jr owners on the thread it's a perfect opportunity. I just picked up a brand new pair of the jr's and love them. They are just about broken in. By a bad twist of fate and an accident on my dealer's part I ended up with a non serial matched pair. In case there are other owners out there that didn't know this, the speakers come in matched pairs with matching L and R serial numbers. Once I noticed that mine weren't a matched pair, I really noticed the difference between the two speakers. Both look great on their own, but the grain on the African hazelwood is dramatically different between the two. My dealer told me that even his pair with matched serials don't match exactly between the two speakers. All you owners out there, how do yours look compared to each other?
Despite matching serials, the veneer on my pair is fairly amateur work. Not only do the L & R cabinets differ, but the top/bottom within the same channel are poorly matched.

I'm not losing any sleep over it at their price point.

With all due respect, what was written above about the pittance it would cost to produce the jrs with a 'high-quality' finish just ain't so. A couple extra coats of cheap poly will not look any more impressive and will scratch as easily as one (there are already more coats of sealer and top coat than what you might think.) The cost of some better urethane is cheap enough, but the element of cost is time. A quality several step finish cannot be applied in an hour. No possible way. You're talking days. That costs money.

One species of veneer is only a couple pennies more than another, but when you take into consideration the cost of a higher grade of veneer (one of the major problems here), sorting, waste and hiring someone who knows what they are doing to do the matching, you're talking money. I don't have specific dollar amounts here, but just a jump from 'B' to 'AA' veneer is going to triple or quadruple the cost. That ain't hay.

If VSA could magically transform a cheap finish into one of high-quality at the cost of a lousy $100 to the end user, they would do so in a heartbeat. They would be stupid to ignore a simple, cheap solution to one of the model's greatest weaknesses.

By the way, take a look some Chinese furniture next time your out shopping. None of it I've ever seen is what I would call 'furniture quality.'

I got the veneer cost from My mistake was not taking into account the quality of veneer VSA is using. They are most likely using an inferior birch veneer. The finish on the jr's is lacquer according to Kevin at VSA. I spray lacquer all the time. Dry to the touch in 15 minutes; can be sanded in 30-40 minutes. I don't count drying time as other things can be done; ie you don't get paid to watch paint dry. Thinking about my estimate maybe I'm a little low. So, even if we double it were still talking about $200 added to the final retail. Remember, we're working in China where labor is dirt cheap.

From my post above, I had a pair of 4jr's in my room for about three months. I was in the market for a new pair of speakers at the same time to replace my B&W N805sigs (hated the finish - loved the sound). I ended up purchasing a pair of soliloquys. Like some of the posts above, I have to look at my speakers every day. I thought the fit and finish was better on the Soliloquys. As far as the sound goes, it was a toss up; just a matter of personal preference.

Not to belabor the point, but maybe what we individually consider a 'furniture quality' finish isn't comparable?

It's quite possible they could apply a 'better' quality finish than what they currently offer for a small increase to the end user, but we'll just have to disagree that the jump from mediocre to furniture quality is too great to be accomplished for pocket change.

Yes, I agree that you can not do something like a French Polish, but a think they could do a "better" quality finish.

I guess there are many different definitions of "furniture quality" finish; depends on how much your willing to spend.

I know in my own shop I use about 8 different finishing techniques from simple sprayed finishes up to more advanced finishes such as French and English polishes or “layered” finishes.

Loonytunz: Thanks for the response on your speakers. Mine differ in the individual tops and bottoms match up exactly, just between the two they are much different. Only time will tell about the finish. I had a pair of VA Bach's before these and they definetly appear to have a much "thicker" finish after three years in my living room the only knicks on them were a pair at the bottom where my girlfriend (soon to be wife) hit them with the vacuum. I have made it very clear she is not to go near these w/the vacuum...we'll see if she listens, cause I plan to have these for a while. They have everything that I felt I was missing in my previous speakers. Anyone know how difficult it is to get the wood refinished down the road?
Anyone know if the scratches can be buffed out and then repaired buy additional coats of urethane, or another process?
I have a pair of VR4Jr and the finish is fabulous! The sound quality is wonderful, musical and all the reasons I have a pair.

The bass units to MT units are beautiful and the pair are nicely book matched.

I believe persons complaining about products being made in China are not forthcoming with their real intentions of posting a complaint in this forum.

I believe persons complaining have too much time on thier hands and should simply enjoy the sound and be happy they didnt pay "full pop" for , B&W, Velodyne, Onix, Vienna Acoustics, Gamut, Usher, Dunlavy, and many other products of which are made in China but have inflated retail pricing.

The "cost of goods" value compared to the retail value have nothing to do with each other!

Wilson Audio, Thiel, Vandersteen, Martin Logan and many many more have speakers that are assembled in Denmark or China and the units are stuffed in an enclosure in the US.

Von Schweikert is forthcoming with what products are made in China and what is made in the USA.

Audi A6, Mercedes CK 230 are made in China!

Vienna Acoutics is made in China!

Dali is made in China!

Where a product is made is not as important of the quality systems in place to make the product as the raw materials come from China.

Do people complain that the US flag is made in China! Or your fireworks on the American 4th of July holiday!

Please offer intelligent reasoning when complaining about something instead of quoting somebody on a subject you have no experience or working knowledge of. Thank you

You can sand and recoat but you will not get as smooth a finish as factory sprayed on.Also veneers are natural wood ea has its own look you can kind of match but it will never be perfect because its wood not plastic.Many folks are so used to vinyl fin they think wood should look the same it doesnt .Natural fin on wood is best as it ages it looks better and better plastic coats just suck I will never purchase a loudspeaker new so finished.
Trueanalog, Please reread my posts!..I love the sound of the speakers, but am annoyed that the finish is so sensitive to scratches. Period.
Dude - Vandersteens aint made in China! Made right here in Cali.

If the scratches don't go into the stain, yes they can be removed. Sand lightly with some 320 grit sandpaper. Be real carefull not to sand through the lacquer. Remove the dust with a tack cloth and recoat with lacquer. Spray lacquer can be purchased in a can at Lowes. The problem is going to be blending. It's going to be easier to just recoat that entire side. Remember, you have to spray in a dust free environment.

If the scratches are minor you might be able to get away with just applying a light coat of wax. I use BriWax. Put on a very light coat and let it dry for 24 hours. Then, buff off with a clean cotton cloth. I use cotton diapers (new). Be very careful not to put swirl marks into the finish. Briwax actually softens the finish a little that's why you have to let it dry for 24 hours. It actually smells like kerosene when you open the can. The BriWax can also be applied with 0000 (four 0) steel wool, but unless you are familiar with that technigue i'd leave it to somebody with experience. The problem is the finish is so thin that you might damage the wood under it.

Another idea is to have a professional repair the scratches. Look under furniture restoration in the phone book. Some of these guys are so good that they can just about make scratches disappear even if they are in the wood.


According to the windows sticker at my local Audi dealer, the A6 is made in Germany. According the MB the CK and CLK are manufacturered in Germany. They also told me that they do not manufacture any cars in China.

I emailed Dali and they assured me that their cabinets are made in Denmark.

I really think that you need to reread the thread. Nobody is fualting the sound or design of the VR4jr's. I'm sure that that China is capable of doing and excellent finish.

Thanks for the great advice. I'll try to get someone with experience repairing furniture locally to have look.
Your reply was greatly appreciated.