How would you compare these two Vandersteens?

Hi Y'all,

How would you compare the sound between the Vandersteen 3a signature and the quatros?

Joe in Mobile
The Quatros are better in every way. If you can stretch to the 5A's you're really talkin'. Vandersteens - no matter which model, are a steal in their respective price ranges. The wood Quatros are a bit better than the cloth ones and are worth the extra expense.
To my ear, the 5s and Qs sound very, very different from the 2s and 3s. The 3s are what I think of as "classic" Vandys: Warm and musical are the first words that come to mind. The Qs and 5s are punchier and feel more tonally neutral (less warmth and more forward through the treble). Some people have commented on the similarities in sound, so this is only my take and YMMV.

Caveat, because the powered woofers on the Q and 5 are adjustable, the speaker will sound somewhat different depending on who did the set-up and where the speaker is located. Although the set-up CD is (I'm told) supposed to address this issue, it really doesn't. I've heard both the Qs and the 5s multiple times and the bass balance has been all over the board. The good news is, you can tailor it to taste.

Good Luck,

You are comparing apple and orange here. You really should compare Quatro with a pair of 3A sig + a pair of 2Wq. In that configuration, I would pick 3A sig + 2Wq over Quatro for easier positioning. The EQ for Quatro sub is useful only to a certain point because null cannot be solved by EQ.
Sidssp said, " The EQ for Quatro sub is useful only to a certain point because null cannot be solved by EQ."

That is incorrect. Ask me how and why.

I Owned 3A Sigs (later model) then added a pair of 2Wq's then added the M5HP (w/Sky pigtails). I listened to the Quatro Wood at the dealer in Santa Monica Ca. and thought they sounded leaner and faster but I preferred the "warm and musical" sound of my set up (agree with Martykl's assessment of the sound and system comments by Sidssp).

If you don't have the room for two subs or the inclination to fidget with subs the 3A Sigs are nice but the open effortless sound of the Quatro, the built in subs eases the load on your amp, would be my choice.
IMHO, the Quatros and the 5's maintain the Vandy signature sound, but are far superior in neutrality than the lower models. The bass eq's value shouldn't be underestimated. All of them are excellent values.
Thanks for the responses. I am going to have to see if can get a chance to listen to the quattros here locally in Mobile, Al.

Joe in Mobile
I've only had the chance to listen to these in the shop, and then with different amps, an all BAT system with the big tube monoblocks for the 3A, and an all CJ system for the Quatros. The Quatros had a more transparent midrange, with a deeper more layered soundstage, tighter bass, and more treble detail, but with less warmth than the 3As. The Quatros seemed to steer a mid course between the warmth of the 3As and the etched highs of so many hi-fi speakers. The 3As are taller, and that affects the soundstage height. The 3As have a looser bass sound that I rather liked, actually, giving them a warm and full sound. They seem to image easily with the "good enough" audio shop placement. I probably *should* have tried the 3As at home first, but I went for broke and the Quatros are on their way. Other than the sound, I like bass range EQ and the adjustable "Q" of the bass response. That will help with getting good bass response that, hopefully, won't also bother the neighbors.
How do you think they would sound with a NHT powered sub also being used?

Joe in Mobile
Joe, here's what the Quatro manual has to say:

"Can a subwoofer or subwoofers be added to a system
with Quatros?
The Quatros contain integral subwoofers and there
would be no benefit or advantage to adding separate sub-
woofers. When the Quatros are used in a home theater
system, program the processor to redirect the Low Fre-
quency Effects (LFE) and subwoofer information to the
front channels where it will be reproduced by the Quatro
subwoofers. Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofers can be added if
more bass is needed to accommodate a large room. Please
contact Vandersteen Audio about using parallel woofers."

Seems a bit contradictory to me: "No benefit" vs. "2Wq subwoofers can be added if more bass is needed."

The 3A manual does recommend a subwoofer for movie effects.

I'm curious to see how low the Quatros, with their four 8" woofers and two 250W amps, go in my 8000+ cubic foot room. With my NHT XdW subwoofer (dual 10" woofers; 500W amp) out in the middle of the room, bass drops off quickly under 50 Hz.

Daverz - that is so odd, because I just was discussing the addition of subs with Richard himself regarding the Quatros and 5A's and he told me that he likes even 4 subs in the system. The subs affect the meds and highs making them even more effortless, etc. I would contact Richard and get clarification on this point Magsterone.
I should have read the FAQ on the Vandersteen site before posting. He describes his speaker setup there. In my own defense, it's a looooong document. I learned a lot from it.

Also, this interview clarified for me why he prefers two separate runs of wire per side for bi-wiring (with each run separated by at least an inch) rather than 4 wires in the same sheath: