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 had the good fortune to hear ATC SCM 100 active monitors at the house of a guy a bought an amp from last year. He played (amongst other things) traditional Chinese drumming tracks that were awe-inspiring. I have never heard such clarity, power, and dynamics from non-horn speakers. The giant kettle drums were "in the room" and rim-strikes "clacked: with the reality of wood against metal.

In the most hectic, swirling, passages of the traditional Chinese music, the ATC's did a fabulous job of keeping instruments and performers distinctly seperate while building enormous sound.

I consider them to be some of the most incredible speakers I have heard in a very long time.
Thanks Darkmoebius for the supporting comments, which help to emphasize that a great speaker should be able to play any kind of music well. It sounds like you were impressed with ATC 100 actives even though the Chinese drums might not be something you are very familiar with or your preference in music.

Some believe that you only benefit from a very loud playing speaker with huge dynamic range if you play rock or, as you mentioned, something akin to those heavily percussive Chinese drums. Some believe that you only need a very loud speaker with huge dynamic range if you have a very large room.

While it is true to say that strenuous rock music can certainly show off a speaker's capabilities to play undistorted at exceptionally high levels, the above beliefs, which are often based on this kind of observation, are in fact quite erroneous.

Greater dynamic range has tremendous impact on any music; it allows your ears to pick up more details by increasing the contrast in various sound levels within the music.
I think some people have the impression I listen at extremely high volumes all the time. I don’t . I will have to take the blame for this. When I started this thread I stated something wrong. What I should have said is; “ Most of the time when I listen the Meters on the McIntosh amp are bouncing around the 4 watt area with peaks around 40 w ”…When I had the Vandersteen’s in the room most of the time the slp meter would never peak past 94 db . Normal listening is high 80 to low 90 db range. When a system is working right and the music stays behind the speakers and gives you a big soundstage this is not that loud to me .

Ok .. Some songs can play bigger (notice i said bigger ) than others. Let me name a few ,, 1. Dire Straits , “Fade To Black” and “You And Your Friend”. 2. Chris Isaak , “Can't Do A Thing To Stop Me ” and “Waiting”. 3. dada , “ Moon” . 4. Lyle Lovett , “ She's Already Made Up Her Mind” and “ North Dakota“. 5. Olu Dara , “Bluebird”. . . I could name many more but I will stop there. These songs can hit the 101 to 104 db peaks and have a huge sound stage . I’m not talking “In your face blowing your hair back volumes" . IF a system is working right these songs will knock your walls down , speakers disappear and the sound stage will extend outside the speakers. The ambiance in these kind of songs can wrap all the way around behind you! The Vandersteen’s fell apart on these kind of songs. I don’t blame the Vandersteen’s . . Why ?? Because I use to have a pair Many years ago (2ci’s) with different equipment and most important a different room ( much bigger 25x17 ) that could play that “BIG” . . .

I hope this helps everyone understand what I’m trying to achieve with this system in my small room. Since I put the Paradigm’s in the room I can play song’s like I described above and I feel like I’m back in my old 25x17 room. If any of you live close to me you are welcome to stop by and have a listen . . .

Darkmoebius ,
Room treatment and pictures are coming soon to my room …: )

02pete ,
Thanks for the info but that’s not really what I’m after. I do like all those old groups. I just played “Toys in the attic” in its entirety. It sounded great. Slp meter was bouncing in the high 80’s with peaks of an casual 91 db .. When one can put in Aerosmith ,,, have the speakers disappear and be able to pick out all the instruments in the soundstage something is going right . . .

Shadorne said:

As far as I am concerned, it is all music and a good speaker should do it all well ...as softly as you want and as loudly as you want...whatever type music you like....and all with accuracy and low distortion.

Shadorne , , I couldn’t agree with you more . . . .

Thanks everyone , , All your comments are very much appreciated . .

Tom . .

If you like "Toys in the Attic" CD then you will be blown away by the SACD. The sound engineer did a fantastic job on the 2002 remaster....unfortunately I don't think their is a CD layer on this SACD.
I think 02Pete is on the right track. If you truly want to rock out on 40 watts and don't want to change your amplifier, seek out a pair of old JBL L100's. They are virtually indestructible. The woofers used a paper surround so they don't rot like rubber surrounds on old Advent woofers and consequently never need reconing. They do come up on Ebay from time to time. I got a pair about a year ago for about $400 for my bedroom system and it can rock the house with my ancient Yamaha CR820 receiver. Sensitivity is about 91db 1w 1m. Pete Townshend of the Who still listens to his JBL 4311's which are of course the studio version of the L100.