Just how good is the Vandersteen 5A?

The latest "Absolute Sound" is out with one of the most rave reviews I have ever seen of the Vandersteen 5A speaker. Has anyone heard it and compared it to the earlier model 5, or to other speakers like the Quad electrostatics or the Watt/Puppy 7?
You might find these interesting to read:


Hope that this helps. FWIW.
on a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a "B"
I like them a lot. Just got my pair last night (ordered weeks ago) and with only 18 hrs on them I can already hear a lot of good stuff.

I must admit that Buettner seemed a little over the top in the TAS review. But I agree and I can't think of anything he said that I could take issue with. BTW, Buettner also writes for the Audio Perfectionist. Check out the website and subscribe if you are serious about the 5As. They are big fans of 1st order time-aligned speakers (e.g. Vandys, Thiel, Dunlavy) they go in-depth about the sound of each of them. One of the few sources that state their philosophy and speak their mind. Its good even if you do not agree 100%

I have some exposure to Wilsons. The issue the guys from the AP point out is that the WP7 (6, or 5...) does not have a true midrange (their statement, not mine) and (by inference) it suffers vs the 5A. I must say that the Watt/Pup was on my list initially. Didn't seek out a demo though a retail friend that use to sell Wilsons said the WP7 was a "lot of fun, plays loud and has great dynamics". Its notable that he did not talk about how refined the WP7 are vs other top competition which matches my investigations. I don't mean to beat up on the WP7s, I have to think they are indeed very nice speakers.

I think the Quads are wonderful but its a different ball game. Bass, loudness and high level dynamics make it an apple and orange comparison IMO

Never heard the Vandy 5.

Good luck

I havent heard the 5A's but I did hear the "regular" 5's. Very good, but if you like their signature, you owe it to yourself to try and listen to another time and phase coherant design..............the Green Mountain Audio C-3's. They are more dynamic in the mids and highs, more resolving without being clinical and they are close to half the price. Give them a listen.
I am an owner, so I'm prejudiced. The Vandersteens replaced a pair of Audio Physic Avanti III. The Vandersteens are better. They have more detail, sound more natural and are completely full range. I think they strike a good balance between "analytical" and "musical". They also sound good with all types of music. I can crank them (I know they won't play as loud as some speakers given their first order crossovers, but they play as loud as I would ever want) or play them soft. I think they are an excellent long-term choice.
I got to hear Richard's personal pair at the show in SF a few months ago. I didn't get to spend too much time with them, but I thought they sounded great. He was playing Norah Jones on vinyl. I may be a bit biased since I have owned a pair of 1B's for over ten years. So I like the sound of his speakers. I have spent some time with some Wilsons and they are a different beast. All depends on your taste. I have always felt that Vandy's sound like music. Go out and listen for yourself.