Initial impressions of my new Vandersteen Quatro's in Audi Havana Black


I will post pics when I get more time on them.  I had them delivered and set up by Johnny Rutan of Audio Connections.  He moved them out to the corners of the room and close up against the back wall. I love the look as does my wife.  I also LOVE the HUGE soundstage these things can now throw.  NO SUCK OUT either.  I was shocked at that aspect. I was scared to death when he started them in the corner of the room. I have a very difficult room for bass as it's an open floor plan. I lose a lot of bass on the right channel as it's by a stair case.  I'm putting up a temp wall by the railing.  I am using a screen right now, but I need treatment of some sort still. 

That said, it only has about 30 hours or so and it's already starting to sweeten up.  I'm hearing so many things that I haven't heard in the room before.  I'm hearing bass passages that hasn't been there before.  On one passage of a  Bela Fleck song, the room just moved.  The thing is that I've heard so many of these songs on Wilson's and Magico's and B&W"s and Focals, Paradigms, Legacy's and so many other speakers, but the tonality of the Vandersteen bass is just special.  It's so accurate. What so many don't know is that the way he designed the bass amp, you still have the same sound as YOUR main amp.  Not sure how he does it, but he does.  You don't hear the difference. 


I think that the reason some don't get the Vandersteen's at first listen is because it's not like other speakers.  We aren't used to hearing a speaker that isn't 'hifi' sounding.  Its very organic. To me, it's like analog vs digital.  Both can sound GREAT, but digital is still digital and that's why vinyl and reel to reel are still going strong after all of these years.  Kind of reminds me of a plasma TV vs the LCD TV's when I went to purchase mine.  I was originally taken by the brightest TV's in the showroom, but I keep going back and watching all the Plasma's in the darker room that Magnolia was showing them in.  I wanted the Pioneer, but could only afford the Panasonic's. I have two of them and love them.  People actually ask me why their TV doesn't look as good.  I first ask if they had it calibrated professionally.  The answer is always no and then tell them it's a plasma.  

Set up isn't fun for me, so Johnny does it for me.  I'm digging my new set up and will write more later, but i am Jonesing to go up to the loft to listen some more.  I'm really loving the organic sounds of my system right now.  All genres too which is just awesome.  Not taking any digs at others systems, just loving mine.  We all hear differently and I get that.
ctsooner
Glad to hear things are progressing so well. I believe your Quatros have the CT (carbon tweeter). My Treo CT’s carbon tweeters continued to open up to the 400 hour mark or so! Good news actually as I really enjoyed hearing that process occur.

For me at least, listening to a well recorded drum kit and hearing the brassiness of the cymbals just as they sound played live is a kicker! The "hifi" sounding speakers often yield cymbals that sound "plasticy". Ugh.

Can’t agree with the video comments however. Plasma TVs always looked like the real thing with a sunscreen placed ever so carefully over them. Side by side with a good LCD or OLED? Try watching a really well filmed nature scene from the "Planet Earth" series on your plasma and then look at your backyard. There will be your realization!

PS  John Rutan really does know how to get great sound from Vandersteen's.  Good call for having him do your set-up!  Can't wait to hear what you have to say about the sound a couple of weeks from now.
The OLED's are another story, lol.  That's what I would purchase if I was looking today.  No questions about it and that's another reason the plasma's are gone.

I have a hard time not gawking at the speakers as they are so beautiful.  I LOVED the wood Treo's.  They do such a great job on the cabinets, but paying the extra for this upgraded finish is WELL worth it.  For those who feel the Vandersteen's don't look as pretty as some other metal cabinets or polymer ones, you need to see a pair of painted Vandersteen's.  As pretty as any cabinet I've seen.  The cut and buffing looks even better than what Audi delivers, lol.  The cool thing is that you can have any color you want.

The carbon fiber tweeter is the sweetest and most accurate sounding tweeter I've ever heard.  The BE or the Diamond sprayed tweeters, to me, just are not as musical.  The all have extension, but the extension on these Quatro's is really starting to show what it's going to sound like.  There are always milestones in break in for any product.  I think that overall, 30 hours and then 100 hours are key times.  Then 250 and 500 are the others.  I am not timing my break in and I"m doing this on purpose.  I have an idea I guess, but I want to hear the differences daily.  What I'm finding is that I will start listening early in the day and then by night, I have a totally new system in the room. I don't notice that until I get away for an hour or so and then go back up to hear before I have to turn it off for the night.  

I would love to see a pic of your Quatros.  I bet they are darn handsome!
Once I get better light in the room, I'll take the picture.  I broke my phone and lost all that I had so I need to start fresh.  They have so much metallic flake in the paint, that it's amazing when I put the LED lighting directly on them.  It's a copper color, but black.  With the black grills, they just melt into the corners of the room.  That's why my wife loves them.  Anyone can get any color they want.  Very cool if you ask me.
Nice to hear that they are sounding and looking great. Get those pics uploaded ASAP.
PS- Your old Treo's are the love of my life.
Bob
Bob, i knew they would be.  I'm SOOOO happy. I told you I wanted them in a good home. 
An analogy that works for me since it relates to another hobby of mine, photography, is the difference between a printed version of a photograph and an image displayed on a digital monitor.  An image displayed on a good monitor/lcd screen can be remarkably bright, colorful and detailed.  It's like "Here I am...look at me...I said LOOK AT ME!!"  Many speakers are like that...."listen to me!".  My previous stand mount monitors were a lot like that.  Very impressive.  The Vandersteen is more like a print of the image, framed and hanging on your wall.  It becomes part of your environment.  It doesn't demand to be viewed but invites you view it as long as you like.  The longer you view it the more detail and nuance is revealed...your patience is rewarded.
+ 1 randyhat.
Excellent points and observations randyhat.

Ct, enjoy your speakers. I really need to hear the new line of Vandy speakers, it's been too long. Nice review and I connect with your enthusiasm and enjoyment, that's what I like!

Quatro CT = CT Sooner

Coincidence? Prophecy?

Congratulations, I am really glad you love your new speakers. I have followed your postings for a long time and can only imagine what a relief it is to have your dream speakers.


Glad to hear of another Quatro Wood owners satisaction as I'm amazed each and every time time I sit down to listen whether it's to music or movies. I must say with movies, the Quatro Woods are an absolute blast
and they shake the room with force and throw a huge surround sound like soundfield!

I would like to share a great upgrade one can do to the Quatro Woods that takes a great speaker to even further heights and that is to change the glass fuse in the subwoofer amplifier to a Synrergistic Research Black fuse. I did just that over the weekend and the changes are not subtle at all. Unfortunately, those Quatro Woods that are still under warranty should probably not do it as it involves removing the amplifier from the speaker but those that are out of warranty, such as myself, should defiantly give it serious consideration as the work involved to do it is worth the effort!!

For those interested, shoot me a PM and I'll relay what needs to be done and the fuse value.

Cheers
Sorry for the typos guys, wish we could edit after 30 minutes.
  "Quatro Wood owners satisaction". Should be satisfaction  

"should defiantly give it serious consideration as the work involved to do it is worth the effort!!" Should be "Definitely" not defiantly. 

" Synrergistic Research Black fuse" . We all know who I'm talking about here so no correction needed.

Cheers
@nmmusicman,
I wonder what Mr. V would think about your changing fuses? I know he is a bit dogmatic, but I think you should give him your opinion on the matter. Who know, he might just swap out the fuses in future models.
Bob 
Yes, I'm sure Mr. V, like most manufacturers, is very reasonable and understanding when it comes to fuses and, you know, things like fuse directionality, wire directionality, cables, power cords and such.

😬

CT aka Carbon Tweeter Pete !!!
congrats..I wonder when we will get an easy FB style Audiogon interface so we can easy share photos - oh well
the run in is going to be what it will but With the 7 was never a strain.. 
glad to hear they are working in your room - 11 bands of analog bass EQ is a game changer...
about the fuses - I don't think a guy like Richard is dogmatic at all - otherwise carbon/ balsa drivers and a host of other innovations would not exist!
i do think he would listen and measure IF you sent him a set.
good example is his binding post - his reference is a laboratory buss bar with gas tight connection. What makes it into production must do well against the reference AND provide good value.

gdnrbob and tomic601

I think you both are right about Richard.  If there is anything he has absolutely proven over time is that no design of his is ever final!  This can be frustrating for owners as he continues to refine his designs with numerous minute changes that over a certain period of time add up to significant improvements.  I went on the upgrade journey with the model 3s.  I started with the original 3, upgraded to 3A and then eventually 3A Signature.  Every iteration yielded a more refined sound. 
Yep
i am pretty sure he never sleeps
he works harder than me that is for sure !!!


@ gdnrbob,

As RV himself told me in an e-mail concerning my used pair of Quatro Woods that are long out of warranty, "You bought them, you own them". I really don’t think he would be opposed to using the fuses but like I said, if your pair are under warranty, I wouldn't do it as I think he would not be too happy for one to disassemble the speaker and would most likely frown upon it, but out of warranty, that is a different ball game.
The OLED's are another story, lol. That's what I would purchase if I was looking today. No questions about it and that's another reason the plasma's are gone.
I think it became cost prohibitive to produce high quality plasma tubes and just like VHS vs Beta what the masses don't know they'll buy for a feature they'll never use. As an Elite Kuro owner I find OLEDs have equally comparable off axis viewing and the 4K matrix will be nice when the media catches up but its still basically an LED with less depth dimensionality and that pesky motion blur.

Similarly, after living with your Quarto's you're listening will become accustom to proper time and phase characteristics and many high dollar speakers simply won't sound quite right.

Enjoy   
Guys, it keeps breaking in and getting sweeter and sweeter. I changed back to my Niagara balanced interconnect and the detail opened up in a huge way. I also have a much sweeter sound with that added silver in the path.  I eventually will try to get a pair or Wild Blue Yonder AQ interconnects and I may even swap out the CastleRock speaker cable with one of the top of the line tree series as I like an internal biwire and those are thicker gauge. I know  dealer with Quatro's who shows with Aspen and said that he may go up to Oak or higher.  Music is sweeter and more detailed with the better cables. It's like complete component upgrade and worth it if you can. 

What are you guys running your's with?
@ ctsooner,

I’m running my Quatro Woods with MIT Shotgun S3.3 Bi-wire speaker cables and AQ Panther IC’s from my OPPO BDP-95 to a Pass Labs Aleph 3 amp.
The Panthers are running 100vdc DBS which makes them sweeter, more open and tightens up the bass a bit.

I do have a pair of AQ Volcano Bi-wire speaker cables but need to send them back to AQ to get reterminated as they have bananas on the speaker ends. I also run these at 100vdc on the DBS.
@ctsooner 
I use a pair an old pair of Rockefeller's. 
I just can't justify the expense of some of these cables. Though, now that I am running monoblocks, I can use rather short runs. So, maybe they can be in my future.
@nmmusicman 
I agree with your stance, but I still think you should share your information with Richard. It might be something he will incorporate in future designs.- And help all future owners.
Bob
Eagle Eye from Server to DAC
Niagara balanced DAC to Pre and pre to power amp
filters have sky pigtails 
speaker wire is LFD ( internal) biwire
 - will do for now - waiting to get the wire with RV's amp
Tom, you are going to be stunned based on my listening as well as many friends who have upgraded to his amp.  IT's a SICK piece of gear.  I only hope that someday maybe we will see a smaller version for the other speakers, lol.  A guy can wish can't he?  Ha...

Cable do make a big difference.  I'm astonished at this, but they must be neutral with such a revealing speaker.  I don't understand those who match them with cables that run hot (many do).  Most companies don't use silver properly and they sound hot on top, but if you work it properly like AQ has learned as has Cardas, then you have a warmer cable than all copper.  That's the reality.

As for fuses, you can open up your amp and install an equal value fuse and you'll be fine. It will change the bass a bit, but honestly, for FREE you can use the pots on the back of your speaker's amp.  It's an EQ and it's made to be user friendly.  No offense to the fuse guys, but just play with your pots a bit if you want to change the bass eq on your speakers.  It's not even hard if you read up, use the Vandertones disc that came with said speakers and then use a meter.  Much easier to do with a friend helping, but it's not hard like some want to make it out to be.  PLUS it's FREE...

I love that word in audio, lol......Also, listen closely to any changes like that as they change the sound and sometimes it's not for the best in the long run.  I know of a few amp makers who purposely DON'T use the special fuses when they easily could.  Heck Richard uses tech from the Niagara power deals, HRS for vibration control and the built in DBS from AQ in his top designs.  That's a huge part of what separates his designs from others.  He aligns himself with the top designers of problem areas of an amp or speaker and then uses them to correct problems that others have in their designs.  It's what sets him apart from others and keeps Vandersteen on top of affordable great sound in all price ranges.  That's not easy and now you can customize your finish to whatever you want from wood to exotic car finishes and all the paint colors are the same price I believe.  :)
Ct.... There is a one meter pair of Audioquest WBY interconnects XLR, on Audiogon right now for $1550.
I had a pair of Vandy 1Bs years ago and sent them back for a speaker cloth redo (cat damage). I called when they got there and asked if they could "upgrade" them to 1Cs or whatever, and they put Richard on the phone who proceeded to lecture me on how insane I was to even mention an upgrade as the new version had upgraded every damn thing (except the look…grill cloth was the same). Hilarious, lesson learned, and man…I really liked the 1Bs but sold 'em as the cats could not be trusted to not destroy them again.
I too, fell to Richard Vandersteen's wrath....lol
Yup, me three.
Though I do respect his work and work ethic.
@ctsooner - congrats on the new toy!  I heard Johnny loaded your speakers into the corners :)  I get more impressed each day as the my Treo CTs continue to open up. Fun times ahead for you! Happy listening! 
Yup, was scared when he did that, lol.  I am enjoying it though.  I have to fix a wall in the room and then I'll listen critically.  Got home today and more wow.  Just love listening to them.

Richard has a deep voice and an opinion.  Many take it the wrong way.  Guys, he's a pussy cat deep down and a nice guy.  Passionate as much as anyone in the hobby/business.  He may have 'lectured' you, but it's the way he communicates. My take away has always been that here's a guy on the mount rushmore of audio and he takes our phone calls when needed.  WOW.  That's rare to say the least.  He wants everyone to have the best sounding gear they can afford and over time he's proven that he can do that. 

When you think about it, it's too expensive to offer upgrades to the lower priced speakers.  He has to charge a mark up to make money and if it takes a couple of hours to undress the speaker, unsolder and screw an older component and then put it all back in place, solder and reinstall the grill, that's going to cost at least 4 or 500.  HE only offeres his upgrades to the more expensive speakers.  Plus to offer an upgrade, there is shipping which isn't cheap as hey are all full size speakers.  What many don't realize is that anytime he makes a change in drivers, he must also change out components in the crossovers too.  That's two speakers he has to do it on and for a speaker that costs under 2k or so, it's probably not worth it for anyone in the long run.  He also only offers the upgrades to the original owners (you may or may not have been one) when they are offered.  Ayre is one of the few who don't have that restriction I believe.  There are a couple of others, but most don't even offer an upgrade path still.  JMHO
@ctsooner - btw on a side note, I love plasma TVs as well.  I'm not sure if you know this or not but Panasonic ended up buying Pioneers Kuro plasma technology so the last plasma TVs made by Panasonic are based on the Pioneer Kuro.  If you own the Panasonic VT series, it's basically a Kuro.  
He does answer the phone... but he expects you to have looked at the website first - he takes and answers hundreds of recurring questions there...
ugrades are not just driver and crossover swaps...IMO kind of amazing he does it at all.  The crowd he runs with do same: Aesthetix, ARC, Ayre..
CT he shares the DBS patent with Low.
i always look forward to his calls

I was an original owner but it was clear that "upgrading" meant replacing everything which really would have been silly…besides, the1Bs sounded great the way they were.  
Wolf, I totally agree with you.  For the price of the 1's you basically can get speakers that are very small and missing anything down low or floor standing speaker that just isn't musical or tight.  I've even heard the new 1's sound OUTSTANDING with top Ayre gear (yes and it was a fun experience)
The only thing I didn't like about the 1Bs was the fact that you can't see the drivers and can't tighten them or poke around at all. Plus the cat trampoline issue…besides those admittedly lame (on my part) issues, they were an astonishingly revealing full range speaker system. Back then (20 plus years ago or something) I talked Lyric HIFI in White Plains into giving me a great deal on the pair and along with the Sound Anchor stands they served me well for years, and I have ongoing respect for Vandys from that experience.
That's cool Wolf.  I get it about the cover.  I have Quatro's now as I stepped up from the Treo's as the title says.  It's designed to keep the grills on. I can honestly say that the Treo's I sold to Bob from these boards have NEVER had their grills removed since they were installed.  I have a strong feeling it will be the same for my Quatro's.  It's not lame to want to see the drivers, but I owned Proacs for years (many pairs at the same time...long story) and watched the surrounds dry rot on each driver on every pair.  I also had a problem with the mid/bass drivers bolts not being able to tighten as the anchors in the MDF became lose.  It was a nightmare.  I'm just glad that I will never have to worry about that with Richard's speakers, because he builds all to such high standards.  Most companies do these days I'm sure.  Glad Lyric isn't selling VAndy's anymore as I hate them after being treated so poorly and being told my Ayre AX5/20 sucks and can't compete with the lower priced Sim Moon integrated.  It was a wow moment for me in all of my audio listening.  I actually went in to hear the DCS Rossini and clock to see if I should save up for it.  I'm glad I found it dry compared to the Ayre as they are my 'local' dealer.  I'd never buy anything from them ever.
@ctsooner
The Lyric in White Plains always did right by me. As a matter of fact I purchased 3 pairs of Vandersteens from them.  But that was many moons ago!
Yogi, yes the old owners.  I dealt directly with the store own in Manhattan.  I was in the market for a new DAC and was a real customer. I came down to the city, but didn't call for a special appointment.  They made me feel as though they were doing me a favor just letting me in the store.  Years ago I purchased a couple of system from them along with a Jadis amp/pre.  I hadn't been in there since a divorce in 1999 when I stopped buying new gear.  

I told the owner what I was looking for and what I wanted to listen to (the DCS Rossini and clock).  He took me to the room on the main floor in the back and asked what gear I owned.  I told him an Ayre AX5/20 and an Ayre QX5/20 and Vandersteen Treo's, but I was also going to upgrade to either Quatro's or another speaker in that price range within the next 6 months (I did).  He had me listen to a Wilson, Sim Moon integrated and the DCS pieces.  It had Nordost cabling.  I don't like Wilson as it doesn't have the detail I like and it's not coherent for me.  Darryl has done a better job with the soft tweeter and the sound to me is much improved, but it still lacks detail although it's much much warmer than before.  I fully get what Wilsonites love about their speakers.  I actually understand why anyone likes the gear they own.  It's audio and there are no rights for wrongs.  Just our opinions.

I have never liked Sim Moon gear as for ME, it doesn't convey the warmth, pace and rhythm I love and need.  Again, that's just me.  He completely tore down my love of my own gear and told me how badly Ayre sucks and how he was a dealer and dropped them.  He trashed my gear during the second phase of the sales process (5 steps total no matter what 'guru's' want to call them) which is fact finding (which also builds the relationship).  WOW was I put on the defensive.  I know that many audiophiles don't deep down have the guts to listen to what they love.  I know many depend on being told what is good or bad and he surely is the sales guy who tells folks what to like.  Either way I still had an open mind to the DCS as I was told by good friends how great it is and that I should go listen again.  I have heard the full stack on many occasions and found it to be too dry for MY tastes.  Highly detailed and it does some stuff really well, but it hasn't been for ME.  I was serious about the Rossini/clock though as it seemed like a winner based on reviews and threads I was reading. Again, trying to keep an open mind (I never would have owned the Vandersteen's if I didn't have an open mind as I didn't like what I heard at my dealer in the 90's.  Bruce just never set them up correctly and didn't understand rake angle etc...).  

Well, I listened for a bit, but realized that it wasn't my cup of tea still.  I wanted to hear a few more things they had in the store and I was the only one there at this point (mid afternoon when stores aren't quite as busy as on a weekend).  He ushered me out in a hurry when I told him that the sound in that room wasn't what I loved. I was really nice when saying it and never trashed any of the units or anything.  He was just a total prick the whole time and made me feel like I was wasting his time.  I know some on this board think I'm a shill for Johnny Rutan at Audio Connections, but I'm anything but that. I have said repeatedly that I purchase from many different vendors. I almost always go brick and mortar though as I believe in that business model and in the end, I don't may anymore for the quality of sound that I have than I would if I went mail order or even used at times (although I do buy used too like so many of you guys do).

I will bring up terrible experiences and I know of many others who I'm friends with who can say the same thing about Lyric.  Just old fashion snobs that are in it for the money and not the listener, unless said listener has the bucks in their mind.  Funny thing is that I've made purchases of over 40k for my system SINCE that visit to Lyric and all from different dealers.  Some gear I've had in was returned or resold as I didn't like it once in my system.  He lost potential sales, but he obviously didn't care.  Big name, small heart.  Stupid business model.  OH well...

Loving the Quatro's. So happy I got them.  Just easy to go listen to music.
I when to the Lyric store in Manhattan to listen to a few speakers two years ago, I was not impressed with them at all.  I guess, they didn't smell the money, when I walked into the store.  Their lost, will never go back to demo or audition anything.    
NYC, YES....that's exactly what it was.  Sorry I wore jeans and a leather jacket into their store, lol.  
Yes! I got the same treatment from Sound by Singer. If you don't look affluent, then they couldn't give a hoot. That was many years ago, but I still have the bitter taste in my mouth.
Innovative Audio was a much nicer place to visit. They were in Brooklyn.
I don't know if they are still around.
Sad that such places can still be around after all those years.
Bob
"Loving the Quatro's. So happy I got them. Just easy to go listen to music."

Me too.  I never get tired of listening to them.  I am understanding and enjoying music like I never have before.  There must be something to this whole 1st order crossover thing...I have never heard a musical presentation from a set of speakers that is so cohesive, natural and pleasing to the ear.  Bass, treble, midrange, detail, sound staging...it's all there but in a sonic mixture that doesn't draw attention to any particular ingredient.  Three months in and I appreciate them more every day.
CTSOONER: re "My take away has always been that here's a guy on the mount rushmore of audio and he takes our phone calls when needed.  WOW."

I posted a question on the "Ask Richard" area of their website and instead of him replying online, he called me! It was a simple question about placing my ancient 2CEs in my new house, and he was awesome. I will be getting the latest 2CE Sigs or 3A Sigs soon I hope. You lucky dudes with your Treos and Quatros... I envy you!
Patrick
he is like that...
the new 2 sig are pretty special... i have heard them properly setup in San Diego and well driven by VTL stereo amp and the sound stage was amazing....
talking about staying up late..... listening to music.....
and enjoying fatigue free tunes !!!!

Thanks, tomic601! I am excited!
I have a pair of 2ce’s that I’ve had for a long time. They still amaze me.
Driven with a VTL 2.5 pre & Aragon 4004 amp.
The tube pre really does wonderful things with these speakers
Patrick,
I would ask that you consider the Treo's or Quatro's, They not only look nicer, they sound better/. The non-CT versions can be gotten for not and much more than the 3a sigs. Even Richard said it would be a better route.
And, yes it was on a call he returned when I had a question.
Bob
Back in the mid- to late-1980's, after the audiophile bug hit me hard, I picked up a used pair of Vandersteen IV's, his then-flagship. It was a revelation to me then, and in some has yet to be surpassed.

Every speaker mfr "voices" their speaker. Vandersteen certainly does, and I agree with his voicing more than most. But it's more than that. His consistent use of 1st order crossovers & fabric/soft tweeters gave the music an organic, unforced quality--power without brightness or hardness. It really sounded so much like real music from the symphony hall...I just relaxed into whatever I heard through those speakers,

It didn't hurt that I used tubes biwired to mids & treble + SS on the subs.

Several years later one of the technicians at my company asked me for a speaker recommendation, and I advised him to get Vandersteen 2C's. He did, but (very politely) complained to me that they weren't "forceful enough" for him. I understood that I'd made a mistake: this man came from the audio of lower-end Japanese & Korean manufacturers; he simply couldnt handle a sound that wasn't bright, assertive, dominant (he also adored early digital, which I thought was pretty miserable. What could I say? I apologized.

PS: I own and love a Pioneer Elite 42" (720p) which renders things in the most beautiful Rembrandt-like tones. Also have a 50" Panasonic 1080p model from 2012 (one of the last ones). Both caress my eyes, rather than assault them, as even the best LCDs do.
@desktopguy,
I would have inquired as to what your tech friend was using to drive his Vandie's. With the right equipment, they can be pretty 'forceful'. Though, as you say he may have been wanting something else.
And, I agree, Mr. V has a great ear and produces some fine speakers for a reasonable price-made with great quality. Those who fall under his sway, seldom leave.
Bob