Edge,Symphonic Line or a used NRG Control 201/401.
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In the"great bang for the buck" category, consider the Odyssey Stratos Extreme SE monoblocs, expecially if you can find one of the pairs that Klaus did as an all out assault with components from the German Symphonic line , built similar to the "one offs" he built for himself. He did about 4-5 pairs of theses and they occasionally come up on Audigon. They can be had for about $2K used and nothing in my experience under $5K can touch them.
I would pick the bryston that best fits your power needs. At the lower frequencies I think anything else is a waste of money. If you buy it used at a good price that is. I had 7bsst monos and they sounded fantastic. I ended up spending a whole lot more to get 15% better highs and more colorful mids but the bass is better than Krell FPB's in my experience. The big stereo amp (14) is supposed to be rough equivalent. I would talk to them. Maybe you could get away with a 4bst etc. Good luck
I would second the use of Odyssey Stratos "Mono" Extreme SE's. I have a pair with a few extra upgrades Klaus did for me and they are fabulous! Lots of power and current, these should match really well with your VR4's. I use both a SF Line 2 SE+ (upgraded by Chris Johnson) and/or my stock Bryston BP26 and the amps work really well with both SS or tube pre's.
I also second your idea of using a SS amp for the bass. I haven't found a tube amp yet that does bass as well as the Simaudio W5.
I have VR4.5's with tubes (Thor TPA-60) powering the mid/uppers and a Simaudio W5 powering the bass modules.
The W5 has beaten out a lot of SS amps in my setup including the Parasound JC-1.
Why not simply buy a very nice sub? it should run you less money than some of these amps listed here and be an easier task to integrate, especially if the sub comes with any integration tools, eg., Velodyne, Phathom, Revel, etc.
I know I put my Krell KAV 250 on a pair of those speakers and in a room about 18x22 ? I was not impressed.I wasn't too impressed with those units anyhow, though their lack of bass performance was significantly noticed.
Another tact might be to sell the V12 and go with another amp altogether. As the mentioned Odysseys are pretty good value and have decent bass output, I've been more than suprised by this butler multi ch amp running in 2 ch.
The Butler simply outclasses my Odyseey Stratos Plus plus by some good ways. A good ways. Interestingly enough the initially most noticed area was in the bass dept. Remarkable. My sonata IIIs are reportedly more eff than the VSA 4's, but not as benighn as the 4s. Consequently, getting very good bass out of them means using a smallish room, or more power. The TDB 5150 in 2ch outputs over 200wpc into 8, and over 300 into 4, and remains stable into 2.
it's been an interesting enough exp so far, about a month or so, that I've actually thought of doing the TDB 2250, were I to pull the trigger on another amp for expressly 2ch operations.
If your running that Cary primarily in ultra mode, the TDB 2250 might be just the ticket for you and it's not an expensive amp... and no tubes to roll or bother with. Just throw a good pc on it and you're off! Articulate, resolving, powerful with fine extension on both ends and yeah, there's that significant bass impact too.
.. or there's that sub thingy.
I have tried almost all of the amps mentioned above and owned the VS speakers too. IMO, the VS are a tad dark, especially w/ tubes (in fact I had V12 's on them for a while). My experience is that the Edge SS amps are the best match. Find a used NL 10 or 10.1. Even an M8M from edge will be a great match. The Odyssey's are a good choice too and less $ than the Edge. The Symphonic Line amps (used) are a fabulous value and will sound more "tubey" than most SS amps.
I 2nd Blindjim's recommendation. I have VR4's and it's easier to get great bass with a pair of subs and place the VR's where you will get the best imaging and gigantic soundstage of which they are capable. they always sound best to me several feet out from the front wall. Also, the subs make the soundstage larger as well.
There are several models of VR4, and they perform quite differently.
It'd be helpful if each contributor mentions the specific model he is discussing.
My comments are regarding VR4 Gen III HSE, which I surmise is the model Russe41 is discussing as well (per his HSE comment). There were no other VR4 models with the Hovland Special Edition moniker to my knowledge.
The VR4 Gen III HSE go down to 16Hz. No subs necessary.
Yes Tvad, they are VR4 Gen III HSE's. I first thought I would keep both V12's and go with Quad electrostats instead of my VSA's. But I really think my rather large room (16w x 28l x 18h) with the cary not dumping current into the difficult load the bass unit produces is my problem, it's not enough power to open them up so to speak. I also should mention I want the SS amp to be high quality enough in case I sell the other cary and run all SS. Looking to spend under 3k used, hopefully.
16x28x18? Whoa! 8000 cu ft. plus! That's a lot of room. I'll presume it is closed off.
Not having those bass drivers in an enclosure isn't helping you much either. But then they have another sound all to their own.
Speedy fast subs... maybe even Vandy's? VSA & VDS are similarly constructed right? cloth wraps over enclosed constructs?
The VR4 Gen III I had my KAV 250 on was not that large as I said above but it was really big. Even in the nearfield I didn't care for the bass the Gen IIIs put out. Listening in the pre-arranged sweet spot, I thought to myself after about an hour... is this what one gets for over $6K cash!?
But then, I'm kind of a bass junkie. Kind of. It's not my end all be all but I prefer to have it as to not have it. And if 'had', I'd prefer it to have some impact too... as bass should in many cases.
Before leaving the dealership I was pointed into another smaller room closer to that of my own... about 15x19x8 and VR4JRs were playing already. the diff was night and day. So were the electronics... but far far, less power... only 30wpc tube monos were pushing the vSA speakers.
though it wasn't terribly tight bass it was surely more prominent and enjoyable.
Personally, I don't think an amp or a sub is your ticket now.
Try two subs.... and some treatments.
I eventually added a BAT VK500 w/BAT pk dual mono Ss amp to those VR4 JRs. Did it improve the bass output or presence?
Was it dynamic and naturally hard hitting? Nope. had to use a sub. Did it soothe the highs? Nope. had to add a tubed preamp.
Even with nearfield listening, if bass is important to you, I don't feel you will be satisfied with simply another amp. The room, I don't think will allow sufficient pressurization for any significant impact. Tone, perhaps yes. But that hit you in the chest feeling? Speed? Nope. I'd bet aginst it.
I'll stand by my note on the Butler TDB 2250 new for $3000. Nearing 400 wpc into 4 and stable into 2. But I'd sure be thinking of adding a pair of EQ'able subs. The Butler amps use the same output MOS FETs, Sankens, as do the Odyssey amps and it shows, as I have both amps... Stratos Plus + and the 5150 5ch Butler. yet the Butler does outshine the Stratos amp clearly, noticeably and with more slam down low. In other areas too, especially the upper mids and top end.
The past few nights I ran the 5150 sans sub. Hooked it up last night to see the diff... Slam. Impact. Pressure. Those were the diffs.
the Butler with sub, across the bandwidth it exceeded the Odyssey amp easily. Naturally it was also outputing more power I presume... and/or acted as though it were.
My room BTW is <2400 cu ft. Closed off.
There is indeed a diff from developing a signal of say 16 to 30 Hz so you can hear it... if you can... and developing a signal in that area wherein you can feel it. Personally, I need a Bass test CD to Discern tones accurately under 40-50hz.
Bass, really good bass is felt IMO, as well as percieved. One other attribute to it is it makes that above it better set, and more delish'. it does.. really.
As good as your 'Cs' are, your rooms cu ft is eating them up down low. Spending that $3K on a pair of Rels, Vels, JL's, Vandy's, etc. and a little work will be the short cut to a better bottom end. the addition of another (replacement) amp likely will help too.
If only one choice is made for that 3K, I'm gonna vote sub (s). Do one and see... Who knows? Hopefully....
Very good luck to you
Blindjim, I was not aware you owned VR4 Gen III. I thought you previously owned the VR4 Jr? The bass specifications differ between the two models. The subjective bass performance difference is not subtle, IMO.
The VR4 Gen III HSE I owned, when driven by a Moscode 401HR amplifier, produced excellent, deep, tight and impactful bass.
I once played the first track from one of Gordon Goodwin's CD's for a friend who is a professional motion picture sound recorder, and he commented that the music sounded "live" and better than many Hollywood mixing studios he had visited.
In many respects, I should have stopped the audio bus right there with that system, but life got in the way, and it was disassembled.
Review my post... I believe I said I previewed (auditioned) the Gen IIIs with my Krell KAV 250 amp, in a smaller room than the OPs. by a good bit.
I wasn't impressed. Partly that's why I went into the Silverlines.
Life for me too or maybe just me, got in my way and I let go of the BAT amp with intentions of using a hefty SET amp with mo' eff speakers. Alas... had I only changed the speakers... Oil well.
Sorry if somehow I misled.
Was/is your room similar to the 8064 cu ft of the orig posters when you performed this mentioned preview? At this point we aren't sure if it is still more with openings, or closed off.
That's a tremendous space to handle for attaining good impactful bass with but a couple speakers, IMO.
Blindjim, as I read a couple paragraphs further, I saw you mentioned listening
to the VR4 Jr before leaving the dealership, so I understand it was at this
dealership that you listened to the VR4 Gen III (HSE?).
My room is 19x24x8, and it opens onto a 12x12x8 room behind the listening
position. So, it's about half the volume of the OP's. The speakers were too
large for my room. That was one problem I had with them. The HSE edition
can handle 1000wpc peaks. They played loudly and cleanly up to 110dB peaks
(that's as loud as I ever measured), and satisfied the visceral whallop, and
loud volume this ex rock-n-roll and big band drummer desires at times.
Apples to oranges rooms, though. Point taken.
I'm going to step aside, as I've shared about as much as I can from my
experience with these speakers as it pertains to this thread.
Listened to both the Gen IIIs, and 4JRs at the same dealership... in differing rooms, with different gear driving each set of speakers.
No 'C' units were ever previewed. As I understand it and think you might have intimated to me the big diff from one another was the networks and/or the components comprising them... higher grade caps, etc.
I'm stunned still seeing the expanse of your own room however. I'd not have felt such results could have been atained. interesting for sure.
I'm done too. Subs are and have been for a while now, the path to improving upon a set system without making replacements en masse.
At near double Tvad's room parameters, I see no reasonable cost effective path for achieving better bass than to proceed with buying a sub (s). naturally, adding another amp of a different flavor/style, likely will help and certainly be a gain of sorts, yet I would be sufficiently fascinated to find out only another amp was enough.
In any case... have fun... and good luck.
The NRG 401 just popped up for sale:400W/ch.Will drive a 1 ohm load.Doubles down to 2 ohm/1600W.Had this under a pair of ATM 3s,driving subs.It was represented to me as being the "poor mans' KRAFT.I can't image going wrong with that beast.
How far are you from that dealer?? Shipping would be murder,as it is in the 100LBS+ range.