VA's have their own sound and you're going to trade some excellent spatial ques and sweet hi fq reproduction to get your slam. Im a ht setup for tv it may not matter but with music I think VA is one of the best at their price for delivering the goods. Stepping up to the beethovens would give you would more buy they're still not 'Rock speakers".
The Stereophile review of those speakers makes interesting reading, particularly the bit about the crossover implementation.It is quite an old review and yours may be different. How are you linking the binding posts?
Try without the isolation transformer. It’s not unknown for these to squash dynamics but not necessarily.
Have you a choice of transformer taps on the power amp?
I'm a former Vienna Acoustics Bach owner...a great looking speaker with a "meh" tone quality...The only criteria that elevates (or at least separates) any speaker's "dynamics" over the endless numbers of "drivers in a box" 88 to 90db efficient speakers has to be something designed to be much more efficient. I found a pair if Klipsch Heresy IIIs did that job amazingly well at 99db and sound great...I can use any amp to drive 'em and doubt I'll go back to inefficient speakers anytime soon.
@yeti42 They just have two posts in the back, not able to bi-wire.
Will try without the isolation transformer. My amp only has one link for each side coming out. No 4 or 2 ohm posts.
Efficiency is a curiosity to me. I've wondered if my amp doesn't have enough power to drive the Viennas.
Tekton Double Impact used. Dynamics for days and will play great with that tube setup.
I've got a couple pairs of VA speakers, including the Mozart grands, and they are definitely lacking in punch. Those little woofers aren't capable of a satisfying punch from more than a few feet away. In my experience you need at least an 8 inch woofer to get reasonably satisfying punch. I had the Mozart Grands in a room almost exactly the same size as yours. I replaced them with a pair of Thiel 2 2. The difference was huge. The Thiels had the missing punch and also interacted with the room much better. I considered them better in every way. This is somewhat of a matter of taste but I have a hard time believing anyone would prefer the Viennas long term.
The new Perfect Set speaker from Tekton looks interesting. $1800
I'd second the Tekton Double Impacts. They would be about the largest speaker to make it within your size limitations. The finish is OK if you pay extra, but the drivers themselves don't look as nice as other speakers. I've heard the Double Impacts, the DI SE's, and the best version, not available through just the manufacturer, is Bill Dion's highly upgraded model with better drivers, Duelund direct wiring to each driver individually, and an extremely outboard crossover. This exact speaker is about all anyone could want in sound. I get to hear it several times a year at a good friends' house. They are powered by the very small Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps with TDSS level 3 upgrades--put out about 225-250 watts per channel with the TDSS upgrade. There is nothing you could want in a speaker of this size that could sound much better than these. You might be able to talk Bill into making you a pair if you got the Tekton DI's first. He is grannyring on Audiogon.
The other in your size that would be very dynamic and more wife friendly in appearance is the ATC 40 speakers. They are pretty good looking, and about 60% of the size of the DI's. They have a very dense and heavy cabinet so they weigh about 70 lbs. each. Very dynamic speaker with outstanding mids, and dynamic, punchy bass. They are about $3500-4200 used or almost $7000 new. ATC speakers are used in several top flight recording studios. They would need more power also. Then DI's would like more power but would still play loud OK with 30 watts. I've heard the ATC 40's in a store with McIntosh electronics and they sounded pretty good. There is no question in my mind they would have been considerably better with the Nuforce amps my buddy and I have.
it might be the fact that you are overdriving the 30 watt tube amp. I have a 30 watt mastersound set amp and when it gets to a certain volume level it just levels out with no more dynamics, I just got in a 140 watt norma integrated and the dynamics are much more pronounced.
either get more efficient speakers or more power.
“You need more power!” (quoting Arnold, or maybe Lars Ulrich)
It's what VA's do well that attracts us to them, but I did find myself listening to more small ensemble jazz with them. Every other speaker since has it's favorite type of music tho'.
I second what Wolf said. Micro and macro dynamic responses improve rather dramatically when you jump to horns, especially in the 100 db efficiency range.
I made the change years ago (AG Trios) and have never felt the need to update my system. The nice thing about high efficiency is low power amplifiers are relatively inexpensive. Good luck!
The problem here is that horns won't fit the budget, unless you get lucky with something used.
I think you can find some ZU Audio speakers in that range. They are about 10dB more efficient (when you do the math, the sensitivity of the Viennas comes out to about 88.5dB; this is due to their impedance). That will solve your power issue.
Now impedance plays another role- that speaker has a lower impedance in the bass frequencies- which means the amp works harder to drive it. If you are using the 8 ohm tap, the output tubes are seeing a load impedance that will cause them to make less power and more distortion.
On top of that, lower efficient speakers like this exhibit a phenomena called 'thermal compression'. This is where the speaker voice coil heats up due to the power needed to drive it. Its a measurable and noticeable effect. All lower efficiency speakers exhibit this phenomena; the greater the efficiency the less thermal compression. As well this particular speaker was designed to be driven by a solid state amp (this is revealed by the impedance curve which is low in the woofer region); IMO/IME you have a mismatch between the amp and speakers.
Atmasphere makes a good point. My Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grands sounds great but I am providing them with a 125 watts into 8ohm, 250 watts into 4ohms amplifier. I think they are a really fine speakers that I have heard many times in other venues and found them not to be set up very well.
Used or even new Klipsch Heresy IIIs should easily fit the budget...mine cost 1500 bucks new a couple of years ago.
Quite interested in the Klipsch options. I've heard the La Scala, Heresy, and Forte options are good. Zu also looks interesting but harder to find at an affordable price.
I may be able to borrow a SS amp from my dad to see it makes a noticeable difference in the dynamic response before going in on something. I'm currently using his old tube amp and would love to keep it as a heritage piece.
@atmasphere Thank you for your response! This is such good info.
I'm currently using his old tube amp and would love to keep it as a heritage piece.
@coburnerskine1 Oh? You might want to see if the tubes are good! If not, the amp can sound 'sleepy'.
The Vienna Acoustic Mozart Grand never impressed me considering the price range they are in. Perhaps check out Salk, though they rarely come up used. Joseph Audio is another alternatively, though again, they rarely are available on the used market.If you really want punch you should be using a sub and for those I recommend Rythmik.
@atmasphere I bought a new quad set of Gold Lion KT77's for the outputs and a set of Philips JAN 12AT7WA's for the driver/inverter tubes when I inherited the Debut amp. The original tubes were definitely old but still sounded good.
The Spatial Audio M3 Triode Masters are very efficient and likely much more dynamic that your VAs, and they can be had used for around $2k. The M3 Turbo S is still very efficient with deeper bass and is available used for around $1500. Best of luck.
Likely the 30wpc tube amp/Mozart Grand speaker combination is not the best pairing for dynamics. The SS amp will likely provide more. Bet your current pairing sounds lush with Jazz 3,4,5-somes and vocals however.
The problem is that by design they’re not going to rattle the windows so even adding a sub won’t fix it. I know what I’d get if I was you but I’m not and I’d probably change my mind after 6 months anyhow.
I bought a new quad set of Gold Lion KT77's for the outputs and a set of
Philips JAN 12AT7WA's for the driver/inverter tubes when I inherited
the Debut amp. The original tubes were definitely old but still sounded
Good- having covered that base then I'm going with ' a more efficient/higher impedance speaker will get you better impact'.
IMO your'e either looking at Klipsch or Zu. Your setup screams for high efficiency speakers. As often for most of us, getting what you want within a price point is the rub. Zu Soul Supremes probably fit your system but they rarely show up for sale. Definition IV will blow you away but are out of your price range.
Another thing of note, if you opt for high efficiency, reducing your line noise is pretty important.
Your original premise is right on; Vienna Acoustics speakers are generally understood to be refined, highly detailed, with a hint of politeness. My dealer strongly recommended a high current amp like a Hegel H190 to drive the Mozarts or the Hegel H390 for the BBGs. He said a low powered tube amp is the exact wrong amp to drive Vienna Acoustics; to get them to dance a high powered, high current amp is needed. My room is the same size as your room (15' x 15').
On the other hand, these speakers may not be for you. Every VA review I have read says the speakers are wonderful for all genres of music and for virtually all music lovers except for one small segment of audiophiles; if your favorite listening is rock music at concert level volume, look elsewhere.
Much like putting an employee in a position to succeed by observing their skill-set and matching that with a particular job, the only legitimate way to truly judge your Mozarts is by driving them with a high current solid state amp. Good luck!
Klipsch Forte III or JBL 4429 series or higher! Only if you want to smell the smoke and whiskey laced atmosphere of the Village Vanguard as Coltrane plays “A Love Supreme” ...gloriously burnished brass sweet buttery smooth and gritty with a tinge of sweat!
Features to look for would be higher sensitivty 88-89db or better (to work with your tube amp) and bluntly, something with more surface area than the 5.5" bass drivers of your VAs. Say 6.5" min; to go lower and have more punch in the midbass.
Would suggest looking at the used market. In the meantime, try playing with room placement.