I love my Vandersteen's but . . . . . . . .

Over the last 35 years I have only owned Four different speaker brands . In the 70”s Radio shack ,In the 80’s ADS L-990's and Vandersteen 2ci , In the 90’s to present , Snell B’s and then back to Vandersteen 2ce sig’s .. You can see my current system here on Audiogon.. Do a search In virtual systems for Stumpies System ..This will give you a lot of info on my system.

Ok ,, Here is my question … I love the sound from my current system but there are times I wish I could get a little more volume out of it . Most of the time when I listen the Meters on the McIntosh amp are bouncing around the 40 watt area with “peaks” around 100 W . But there are times I wish I could turn it up some . If I try to turn the Vandersteen’s up the sound starts to get “compressed” ,, Instruments loose there air around them ,, everything gets thin sounding so I always turn it back down.
Is there a speaker out there that will play “bigger” in my small listening room ?
Speakers I have been considering are B&W N-804’s ,, Von schweikert VR4jr ,,, Green Mountain Audio ,, NHT .
I listen to all kinds of music . Light rock mostly . Eva Cassidy,,James Taylor,,James McMurtury,,Lyle Lovett,,Mark knopfler,,Bob James,,Larry Carlton,,Lee Ritenour ..

What to do ??? Any help would be appreciated ..

I have a pair of 2CE sigs that I am running through a Tube Audio design 60 Amp and 150 preamp. The TAD puts out 60 watts a side. Prior I had a McCormack DNA-1 (185 watts/side), B&K 4220 (225 watts/ side)and a B&K 140 (105 watts/side)in that order. Each move was a huge improvement over the last one. The TAD-60 matched with the TAD-150 pre is by far the best combo. It throws a wide and deep sound stage and sounds more robust and open at higher volumes. I listen to classic rock almost exclusively. I have found that certain amps / preamp combos just do not work with certain speakers. I think that Mac equipment, IMO, seems to sound better with speakers that are more forward sounding. However, it is also a well known fact that Vandersteen speakers are very revealing of the equipment that runs through them. A well known Hi-end store where I bought my Vandys had a nice sounding powerful amp when I auditioned my speakers. A year later I brought a friend to audition the Vandys that I recommended to the same store in the same room. They had replaced the amp with an well known 80 watt amp. The sound was totally different than what I recalled when I first listened. No soundstage, lack of character, thin sounding. Nevertheless, my friend and I both agreed that this combo did not do justice to these fine speakers. Not trying to promote Vandersteen but, the point that I am trying to make is that amps and speakers are almost like a marriage. If the pair don't get along the marriage goes to pot. Just like amps and speakers

Oops! My mistake I confused the watts with the first post. But I must agree with Eagleman6722, there must be a marriage between the amp and the speakers. I have had Quicksilver M-60's ( 60 watts per channel ) matched with the Vandersteen 3's and you would have thought you died and went to heaven if you listend to them. I also know that Richard Vandersteen highly recomended Quicksilver for his speakers.

I also recall listening to McChintosh through a pair of Vandersteens one time at a audio store. And to my suprise the salesmen looked at me and said " this system sounds really boring " No I wont reveal the store or the Mac that was running :)

But if you ever do decide your going to throw away those Vandies..... Throw them my way!
Eagleman6722 ,

Thanks for the input.Very helpful and interesting story. I most certainly agree with you,, Getting equipment to work with each other can drive one crazy! This hobby can drive you crazy! , , But I love it .:)

Kt_88 ,

LOL ! Don’t worry . I won’t be giving up my Vandersteen’s . My wife likes them in the home theater system and wants them to stay there. So far so do I …

Thanks again for all the input . This IS a fantastic web site . .

A small, completly empty, room with bare walls. Gotta be some nasty reflections, peaks, and nulls going on. No wonder things get congested at higher volumes!

Before you switch speakers, amps, or whatever, try some acoustic room treatments. They will do more for your overall sound than any component at this point.

Bass traps, Wall panels, diffusers, all will do you some good, I bet.

BTW, I had my bother's old 2Ce's for about a year before I started my own system. He upgraded to the 3A Sigs with an Audio Research 100.2 solid state amp and LS-16 preamp. Anyway, I pushed those 2Ce's pretty hard with his Adcom GFA-555 amp. Can't say it sounded great, but did get pretty loud.
Stumpie -- It seems that you've found a sound you like with the Paradigms, but I'll offer some comments anyway. Different speakers do different things. I wouldn't get rid of your Vandersteens. They are excellent for small-group jazz, classical string quartets and vocal music. I have a pair of Vandy 1b's. I love their clarity, imaging and subtlety, and they're great for listening into the details of music at moderate volumes.

Vandys would not necessarily be one's first choice for listening to rock at volume, though. Amplification isn't the issue, either. I've got a 120 watt per channel NAD C-270 power amp hooked up to mine through a B&K Pro-10MC preamp, and even with the volume turned well up, the Vandersteens sound well-bred rather than gnarly. That's fine with me, because it matches best what I listen to most these days.

If what you're looking to do, though, is to put on some old Johnny Winter, George Thorogood, Stones or Aerosmith and crank it up to levels that will let you feel the thump of the bass drum, the grunt of the bass, the chunk of the rhythm guitar, and the sinus-clearing snarl of a Les Paul with Seymour Duncan pickups played through a Marshall stack, you might try something else. At the risk of being labeled a heretic, I'll offer a couple of suggestions. Back in the 1970s, I would have steered you in the direction of JBL L-100s, perhaps THE ultimate all-time speaker for listening to rock, but those qualify as vintage equipment and are probably hard to find in anything like good condition. These days, if you want some authentic rock sound without pretension, you might consider JBL 4410A professional studio monitors (available online for roughly $450 per pair, run a Google search for vendors). If you don't want to spend that much money, and don't want to have to hunt around too much, look for a pair of JBL Northridge E50 bookshelf speakers online (available for about $250 a pair), or check out Cerwin-Vega E78s, E710s or E712s at your local Rex or other discount store.

JBLs and Cerwin-Vegas are not audiophile gear by most estimations, but they'll probably be just fine for putting on some rock and cranking up the volume. Let's put it this way -- you sip fine wine from a crystal wineglass, but you pour back beer from a mug, and that's just the way things should be. As with everything else, your mileage may vary, but that's what I'd try if I wanted rock speakers with some bite.