I used a Bryston 14B SST with jumpers with my VR4 Gen III HSE speakers. I listen to plenty of heavy metal, and I've never felt I was missing anything. Now I use a VAC Phi 110/110 tube amp and still don't feel I'm missing anything. A search of the threads will reveal many owners of the VR4 Gen III speakers using as wide a spectrum of amplifiers as one can imagine with great results. Your comments make me wonder. Describe the rest of your system. Are the VR4 Gen IIIs new or used? Describe what you mean by "missing something".
40 responses Add your response
I initially ran my VR4's with an Aragon 8008bb on the bottom and Manley Neo-Classic 250 monoblock tube amps on the top.
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO BI-AMP THESE SPEAKERS!
I now run them with Parasound Halo JC-1's (bi-wired) and an ARC LS25 mk1 with XLR IC's between the pre and amps (XLR connection with these amps is absolutely essential).
This combo is a much better setup than the bi-amp scenario, IMO.
Thanks for responding. Im useing a Belles 21a tube pre to a belles 150a HR. Mid priced sony cd player, but mainly want to use them for vynle with my Nottingham spacedeck tt. It sounds Ok but Im looking for liquid, image float with more dynamics. Im prepaired to invest more at this time to achieve that, but wanted to get with you guys, and gails first to get some input. They are new and should be broken in about now. Had them about 5 months.
Belles 150A HR...is this the 150A Hot Rod amp? The Belles should
provide plenty of pure clean power to drive the VR4s, although the 150A
Reference is the better amp. What tubes are you using in the Belles pre?
Honestly, I'd look at your speaker placement first. This can have the
most profound impact on sound. Describe your room size, and
placement of the speakers...distance from rear and side walls...distance
to listening chair...distance between speakers.
Yes I mentioned that they were new and should be about broken in now as Ive had them for about 5 months. Dont get me wrong, I love these babies. But Im not getting the liquid image float I want. I beleive it to be the electronics which is why the ?. what is everyone else useing to get that.Its a pretty large room. Maybe 25x35 or so and I have moved the speakers around forward backwards, in out, you know. Im thinking of going with a tube amp on top and the Belles hot rod or Bel Canto on the bottom. It sounds like the tube amp you have is able to drive the entire speaker. Am I right?
You might want to try a pair of Parasound Halo JC-1's. A few of us have tried them with VR4's with great success. I also like the spectron musician II/III on these speakers alot, but I dont think taht is going to get you what YOU want (the liquid midrange was the hint for me). Also, I own the speakers and I do not biamp.
I hope that helps.
Sorry, I did re-read your post about the age of the speakers, then I revised my post and deleted the question.
My tube amp is able to easily drive the VR4 Gen III HSE speakers with lots of room to spare on the volume pot. Although your room is almost twice as big as mine. If you're looking to fill your room with heavy metal music at "live" volume, then you may require some more power. I don't know. I still maintain that your imaging issues are a product of speaker placement and not amplification quantity or quality.
Based on your room size, it would seem like about 6 feet from the back wall would be a good starting point. Do your speakers and listening chair form an equilateral triangle? This is key in my experience. How about toe-in? Adjustments of just half an inch make a significant impact. Start by pointing the speakers directly at the listening chair and slowly rotate them out a few degrees. You should find a point at which the image locks in and floats just as you describe. Sorry to hit on the placement issue so hard, but I don't believe your amplification is the problem. Sure, a better and more powerful amp will help the dynamics, but it won't help imaging in my opinion. Certainly to the degree you are describing. Member "Jtinn" sells Von Schweikert and has helped me in the past with set-up issues. He'd be a good resource. You can do a member search and send him an e-mail.
Good luck. Even though it's hard to resist, try to lock in your speaker and listening positions before you start dropping coin on new electronics.
Just a note on power. The VR4 Gen III speakers are rated 89db/1 watt/1 meter. They produce 89db measured at 1 meter from the speakers with just 1 watt of power. Each doubling of power results in 3 db of volume gain, e.g. 2 watts produces 92 db. My room is loud at 96db...only about 6 watts of power. Keep in mind that I used to play drums in hard rock bands, and my definition of loud is based on that real world experience. Only 64 watts produces an ear splitting 107db. So, you see what I mean about power not necessarily being a problem for you. At 150watts, the Belles 150A should provide plenty of what you need.
Sounds like some good advice, and I appreciate it. I know its there with these speakers and Im even haveing fun with them trying to find it. If you dont mind what pre-amps have you been useing with yours? Im already starting to think that I dont have mine far enough off the back wall. Anyway, happy listening.
Generally, if you divide the length of your room into thirds or sixths, this
is where you should start. For example, you said your room is about 35
feet long. Let's assume 36 feet to make the math easier. 1/3 of 36 is
12, 1/6 of 36 is 6...so this is where I came up with the 6 feet from the
back wall. The speakers should be more than six feet or less than six
feet from the side walls. If you had them 4 1/2 feet from the side walls,
this would leave 16 feet betweeen speakers. You could then put your
listening chair 16 feet from the speakers and have your equilateral
triangle. I haven't done the math here for optimum side wall placement
and listening chair position, but it's a start.
I've used a First Sound Presence Deluxe II preamp with both the Bryston
and VAC Phi 110/110. Prior to that I used a Bryston BP-25. The First
Sound was a significant improvement.
Robert Harley's "Complete Guide to High End Audio" has an
excellent chapter on determining speaker placement. Plus, it's full of
other outstanding information. Highly recommended.
I've run in to the exact problem with my VR4 Gen III SE's. That is I have not been able to get that full, rich tonality. However, everything about this speaker makes me keep trying (I really love them).
One of my favorite amps to date on these speakers is the Levinson 334. I sold it for a pair of Electrocompaniet solid state mono blocks, that a dealer said would be great match. Well, like a dummy, I took his word and bought it (hook, line, sinker and all). Needless to say, it never worked out.
I then jumped into some tube amps. I purchased a pair of Quicksilver mono blocks. Beautiful midrange, top end, stage, etc...BUT NO BASS. Sold that one too!
I know have an Audio Aero Capitole stereo tube amplifier. Great amp, but I still don't have exactly what I'm looking for. However, it's brand new, so I'm going to give it about a month or so to break in, before I jump again.
Now, getting around to my point (finally)! A friend loaned me an Audio Research VT100 (Mk I vintage) to listen to until I received my current amp. It didn't do alot of those "audiophile things", but, and I do mean but, it made music. Big, rich, full bodied, tap your foot, get up and dance in a dark room alone kind of music. For some reason, I see a bunch of VT100 Mk III's for sale (I've been told they don't have that tubey richness that the Mk I did).
Needless to say I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a Mk II now.
I hope this gives you an idea. Go find one, and try it (Mk I or II).
Oh, by the way, I did try biamping with the Quicksilver on top, and a stereo Bryston on the bottom. Lots, and lots of bass...too much. Way too much.
Its hard when you feel like your so close, butyet not just there. your right there is so much to like about this speaker. The main reason that I emphasized Bi-amping is because Albert states it in his owners manual, that if your a metal head, and I can be at times, then you will need to bi-amp these speakers. To get theyre maxium potinual. Please dont grade on spelling. I have been bi-wireing from the amp, and also jumping them from the top down, I just feel like the sound thins out to much that way, and Im afraid I may clip the amp. But after listening to the person who bi-amped tube on top and ss on bottom then got way to much bass,now Im in another quandry, because that is exactly what I was thinking of doing. The ARC VT100 sounds like a choice as well as the JC1 halo . Some of the others that were mentioned as well. What do you think about the RM200 driveing the whole speaker bi-wired? That liquid image float sound is important to me, I still want dynamic foot stomping music though. Techs and specs mean something, but I want engageing, envolving, and musical above all. Yes I know ,its like ice cream. Everybody likes a differant flavor. Im hopeing some of you can help me find mine. I truely appreciate all the help so far. The VR4SEIII are here to stay for me, Im just getting a little nervous again trying to find that sonic nervana, before I lay down more dard to earn green in the wrong direction.
No doubt, the Jalo is a powerful, good sounding beast. When I went to CES this year this was one of the amps on my 'short' list to listen to. I was impressed, but again, I just didn't hear the shear musicality that I hear with the VT100.
Ok, so the VT100 doesn't exhibit the most ultimate highs, or the most accute transparency, or the tightest bass, or the fastest transients, or the utmost in accuracy, etc, etc. BUT, it is one killer of an amp. As I said earlier, it has balls, it boogies.
Full, rich, big bodied, textured, color, with air, air, and even more air presented in an absolute huge soundstage!! The VT100 just connected to me in a totally musically involving way. I found myself consumed in the experience (the goosebump kind), and for once not even giving a damn about all that audiophile stuff anymore. The VT100 gave me hot, wet kisses all night, and damnit, that's what I want!! Go find some reviews of the VT100 that the pros write, as they can probably explain it a whole hell of a lot better than I just did (or then again, maybe not).
After all, whatever it is that allows you to connect to the music is what this is all about. Don't get lost in the details, unless the details get you closer to the music, otherwise you've lost what it's all about.
Bottom line, I don't believe you have to biamp the VR4's to get them to do anything more than one great amp can. I know, I've heard one!
I reviewed my VR4 GenIII's a few yrs. ago & recently did an update here that you may find interesting.
With an amp big enough to deliver higher SPL's w/o distortion you don't need to bi-amp, although that gives you more headroom. I can easily play my system at 100+ dB at the listening position.
In addition to room & spkr positioning, I've found cables (power, spkr, IC) & isolation to have a big impact on refining the quality of the presentation.
Map1: You mention that you are bi-wiring and jumpering between the top and bottom, this could be dangerous to your amp, remove the jumpers when you bi-wire.
My friend bi-amped his VR4's with a tubes on the top end and SS amp on the bottom and they were extremely bass heavy because without using an active crossover the amps have different input sensitivity and watt ratings which causes them to ramp up at different volumn levels... what makes things worse with the VR's is the top and bottom have different impedences so that also causes the Solid state amp to double in watts making the the disparity even worse.. So look at getting a Bryston active crossover or something to allow the matching or just do what he did and get a Parasound JC-1 (and make sure to break them in 1400hrs to hear what they are capable)
I actually brought over my Music Reference RM200 over and we bi-wired it to the 8ohm taps (sounded more dynamic than the 4ohm taps) It was pretty amazing the control and the bass it had but the room wasn't as big as yours. The RM200 is an amazing amp but if you are a crank it fan, you can't go wrong with the JC-1's output, and then make sure to put a transparent tube preamp in front of it to get an excellent combo. My friend uses an ARC LS25 preamp. Or try a Rowland Synergy IIi (which is what I use and we tried at his place)
WoW, I want to thank all of you for your expeirenced suggestions.They were all thought out in a very careing way. Driver also had some very helpful info in his see here spot. TVAD, I did not know that the VAC amps were used for his demos. That in itselph has me leaning in that direction. Do you happen to know what pre-amp hes useing durring that time? LOUIS, I almost bought the ARC VT100MKII a while back because of all the great things Id heard about it. I had differant equipment then and decided to change speakers to the VR4SHEIII. Thats where Im at now an will keep my eyes open for another VT100. I here Brown makes a good amp too, thinking about that one also. The tube pre with the JC1 is at the top of the list If I do go the VAC direction, now your talking in the area of Classe CAM350, VTL MB450, and I doubt that my BELLES21A tube Pre is worthy of the VAC amp. I can do it at this time but want to watch out for deminishing returns you know. Heres a question for all of you that now or have owned th VR4 s Staying within my realist budget of about 10.000.00 for amp an pre-amp, If you had it to do over again bassed on your experiences with this equipment what would you get to run this VR4 system? Remember I now have the Belles 150 hot rod amp an the belles tube pre- amp. should I sell that stuff for better or add to it?
TVAD Im very interested in going in that direction to with hopefully findig a vt100 as a back up. Is it possable you could send me a way to get in touch with VAC an First Sound ? Im down here in Florida and am pretty much comming up empty on were to go, and the web sights havent really helped . Finding some of this stuff is crazy sometimes, let alone trying to listen to it first.
Its nice to know Im not the only one going through this. The ARc MK1-MKII sounds good, but heres what Ive done latley. I purchased two Bel-Canto EVO200.2,s that were entended to go into my seperate home theatre system for My AVM20. I thought I would go ahead and try them with the VR4,s first in my music room, because thats where my ultimate goal is. First I hooked up ONe Bel-CANTO in bi-wire, sounded ok but nothing special. Uhm, ok so next I bridged them, very powerfull that way up to 8oo watts short term. Sounded good but still NO magic, Uhm, then bi-amped them one for top one for bottom that way they seemed totally out of balance. Finally, last attempt with these amps. I vertically bi-amped them. Bingo, 3-demintional I finially started to realise that these speakers could really live up to all the hype. Best Ive ever heard them to date. I knew I was at least on to something. However once I took them up really loud, more than my nomal listening level I noticed that the tops took over and was loseing bass on the bottoms, so I cant live with this eather so those amps, which due sound great by the way are going to go to the home theatre room after all. But If I wasnt getting magic from these speakers with 800 wt mono blocks bi-wired and before I go out and by the big VAC amp that Im thinking Of it still seems like bi-amping is the way to go. But I think you said you got way to much bass that way. I wonder if anyone has tried to do this but with useing an outboard crossover to balance the tube top and SS bottom. Im getting alot of suggestions to use the power of the JC-1 or the big tube VAC, BUT.... if two 800wt mono blocks didnt get right Im just not understanding how one bi-wired stereo amp is going to be able to do it. Can you or anyone reading this maybe clear this up for me?
The JC-1's will control the bass a whole heck of a lot more then the bel canto 200.2's, even when they are used as monbolcks. I have owned both (by the way, I liked the 200.2's..taht is not a knock on them). The JC-1 has a grip on the bass unlike a any amp I have heard in its price range. It is pretty incredible. You won't loose bass control with the JC-1's on the VR4's, even at incredibly loud volumes (I also own the VR4's).
Drhst20, thanks for the input. I checked out your system by the way, very empressive. You are one of many that suggest the JC1, must be a great amp, if your famialer with my threads, what Im searching for is liquid so thick you could cut it with a knife. Image float correct soundstage all while maintaining detail through all the frequencies, not much I know but I know its out there. I want goosebumps. Is the Jc1 going to do that? I know your very happy with your system, and since all this is a little like ice cream, every body likes a differant flavor. So what Im asking is your system giveing you that thick rich 3 deminsional sound that Im talking about? Yes I do want the amp to take over and drive the speaker, and get that kind of bass control that you have. Take over might not be the right words, but it will or will not make your speakers disappear into the kind of soundstage that your looking for. Would you still recommend the Jc1 for liquid goose bumps over power?
I do not think you will get "liquid so thick you could cut it with a knife" our of the JC-1's. I can only think of one amp that will give you absolute control with that kind of midrange..and that is the Lamm 1.2 Ref (a great but expensive amp). Other less powerful amps may do that, but you need some power to drive the VR4's. It really sounds like you are going to need some tubes. I prefer a less tube like sound in favor of absolute transparancy. And you are absoultly right, everyone likes a different flavor. Good luck on your search.
Drhst20: based on the "liquid so thick" quote I will have to agree LAMM M1.1, M1.2, as a Lamm owner I can attest because I'm willing to listen to a Class A amp in Phoenix during the summer!
There is not a cheap high current option here to get what you want but there is Agon to buy it used.
Drhst20, It sounds like youve heard exactley what Im talking about.Im not real sure alot of the fine people who have been trying very generousley to help me have. This is not a veiled muted, or in any way phoney sound,and I know first hand that you do not have to have all tube to get it. Ill explain later. This is dynamic foot stomping live you are there bliss. Image float. You can here the guitar string plucked, and then it will expand depending on the amount of sustain the musician is useing. The soundstage is in front rather than pulling you on stage with them. Yet you are enveloped into almost a bubble of the entire event, and yes delicate when needed also.Point is the bass will come up off the floor and kick you in the chest, and the music seems to push itself right out of the speakers that arnt there anymore and right through your soul.Some notes feel as if you could actualy reach up and pull them out of the air. Like liquid music, and no Im not on drugs right now> If I tell you what I experienced this on your all going to want to hang me! I had this bliss for two weeks on my then system, and was never able to get it back. Thats why Im here now.I have to close now but Ill kiss anyone who can figure out how to help me get it back at anywhere near what that system Im talking about retailed for. Less than 4000.00 Anybody want a kiss. Im looking at 5 times that in front of me right now so you have a headstart, getting closer, but still not there yet. Thats my mission in life now.HA-HA, its really not funny though because its driveing me crazy.
Map1, if you're still out there, I'd like to know if you've reached a resolution regarding your dilema?
Your last post seems almost a bit incoherent but I would to suggest first that I doubt your speakers are at issue.
How about your amps? Amplification is probably your first area of deficiency. There are certainly better amps than the LAMM or the belles. Have you tried the Nuforce Reference 9 amps?
Next you mention the Notingham TT which is a fine TT. But what about a better digital source? One of the modded units such as Exemplar or the APL 3910 should help address your concerns.
No kisses please. I'm just doing my job.
Just an idea, dnapster or i mac/book some priest or iron maiden into your system. Try turning up the volume on the notebook or source. I personally have very good components, probably better than necessary for the Black Sabbath. Bel canto Amps Bridged to 400 wpc with Bel Canto pre-pro, and jolida tube cd. Although you may not get the exact imaging so popular in classical you can determine whether or not you really need to spend more $$$ on gear to drive the speakers etc. Also if you get some really good downloads, buy a device from Harmon Kardon from e-bay for the incredible price of $4-$12 yes that is $12.00 significantly less than one ben franklin which allows you to go from Computer to usb, then get a DAC (with USB), you will probably have to buy a non recognized audiophile brand, something more along the musical line, go to your local guitar center, (they probably have the unit I am speaking of for $150.00.
Still need more volume, duplicate your speakers, (buy another pair same manufacturer and make with matching amps). If you really are a black t-shirt guy then you know that the late Steve Clark (awesome guitar for the leppard until he rock, rock, till he dropped), and Mick Mars use more than one Marshall Amp. I guess what I am trying to convey is that if you want live metal kick, then wire the system like a concert not the San Francisco Phil Harmonic (spend the money where it counts). Many audiophile experts will criticize this post with all sorts of advice on what they would do, but utlimately what is important is how your system sounds to you. They also probably don't know that Motleys Too Fast for Love was produced for less than 50K, in fact I think it was recorded for less than 12, (what I am saying is that the original masters and live music will never have a controlled room jazz feel, most gibson, fender, or ibanez hard rock guitars are wired to Marshall(my guitar center friend calls these the kings of the distortion amps), thus for metal or anything in my opinion louder than Bryan Adams,to buy speakers with ridiculously expensive tweeters, which you may replace later due to blowout from super loud guitar solos might not be the thing to do. If you must amp how about two bel canto ev0-4s used, bridge them to 400 and then bi-amp, yes that is 800 watts per speaker, just be careful with the volume or you will be buying new speakers, or just buy one and use it for the bottom. It could be a versatile solution if you decide to go to two speaker pairs. I also agree with the db explanation for speakers. Let me know what you find out through experimentation. FYI, I have never had long hair, am a college graduate, and drive a ultra yuppie m3 beamer. I just know what I like to listen to when my wife attorney leaves the house on Saturday to go to the grocery. Rock On and please don't hesitate to respond if you need more help.