Why oil and not a traditional coolant like ethylene glycol mixed with water?
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I know there's a lot of guys here that like to stir things up tongue in cheek but let me remind you Vandersteen has been in the amplifier business since 1982 with the powered 2WQ subs, The lower bass section of the Quattro, Five series and Seven as well.
This is no difference here except, instead of an amplified speaker, he has given the customer a choice. Any amplifier can still be used with the Model Seven.
If the customer listens to them and prefers the M7-HPA for less money he can go for it. Nothing has changed except for having one more option. The M7-HPA has power conditioning internally, very high quality pure silver speaker wire and acoustic isolation built in which is included for 52K
Its a lot of money but brings a lot to the table and the consumer will decide. Vandersteen is no fool and I am sure he gave this a lot of thought and it sure must have cost a lot to develop such a unique amplifier.
JohnnyR Vandy dealer.
My take is its a unique product targeting Vandersteen speaker owners seeking no holds barred ultimate performance from Vandersteen rather than mixing or matching.
It might well work great with other speakers as well, but it seems the group most likely to pounce are wealthy Vandersteen owners. Lots of competition in teh SOTA amp market otherwise.
Its a win/win for Vandersteen and their customers, assuming there are enough out there willing to shell out the $$$s.
Not to say other really good amps might not work as well or better, but those will not come from Vandersteen.
eventually i will demo them at home vs. Twenty series Ayre..i hear from people i trust that they both sound great.
what I do know is Richard collaborates with a pretty tight circle of like minded and innovative people in the industry. He shares a patent w Bill at AQ, etc..no mystery that many a Steen dealer carry ARC, AYRE, Aesthetix, etc.
The guy from PSE directly helped with the amp.
will it have limited appeal? Sure.
I just saw this old thread and laughed. I just got done hearing the production amps with mk2 7's a couple of weekends ago at Audio Connection. Doug Gordon from ARC, Garth Powell and Steve from AQ were also in attendance. WE all had a great time and there sure didn't seem to be problems between ARC and Richard over amps, lol. Richard uses technology from the new AQ Niagara power filtering and you can tell. These amps are just rocks and typical over engineering like most amps costing this much. It makes the 7's a powered speaker. What most folks who don't fully understand is that the reason you rarely if ever see used Vandersteen 7's or even 5CT's on the used market is because folks keep them. They upgrade them when Richard has upgrades for them. If someone is going to get rid of this amp, they are probably selling the speakers with them and then it's a powered mega speaker that will most probably keep their value in the same way all his other products do. Richard has made some business mistakes in the past like everyone, but he gave us and continues to give us great value at all price ranges. I have yet to hear anyone say anything bad about this amp who have spent time with it. Richard love the SET sound in the mid bass up and with powering the 100k down with SS amps it gives you the best of both worlds. Some may still prefer the Ayre MXR/20's or the ARC Ref 150's or the Aesthetix Atlas Eclipse Mono's, but they have choices and that's a good thing for all audiophiles in the end isn't it? Interesting to read a two year old thread and see how the amp has progressed and how the production model sounds.
I have so far heard the Vandersteen 7's with and without the amps at a total of 5 audio shows, and once at a dealer and in all cases, I came away completely unimpressed...the sound was just flat out uninvolving especially in relation to cost.........and I am someone who has owned Vandersteen 2s in three iterations since the late 80s.......I now have Magnepans......
The whole notion of an amplifier that puts 600w into 4 ohms and needs to be liquid cooled seems absolutely bizarre to me. My Bryston 28BSST2's put 2 kilowatts into 4 ohms with my Magnepans and need no liquid or air cooling of any kind and are never more than warm to the touch......they also cost 1/3rd of the Vandersteen amps......
I'm keeping what I have.......
Stewart, I assume that you heard them with only a couple of folks in the room while sitting in the middle seat at the shows as well as at the dealer? Sorry, but it's bizarre to me that folks can make any decisions on how components sound from listening at a show or even at a dealer is there are a lot of folks in the room. Most dealers and manufacturers also hate folks making their decisions based on shows. You may get an idea how something could sound, but we all talk about the room being so important iRT sound, but regardless of what you do with a room at a show, you can't get the room to sound like it will at home in a well set up space. JMHO but I'm sure others find that popping into a room at a show or sitting with a group of other listeners is a good way to see what is good or bad. I may even be in the minority, but whatever
As far as design, I'm sure that if these manufacture's listened to folks call their ground breaking strategies bizarre, then we'd never have coated tweeters or carbon fiber cones that are stiff enough to give true pistonic movement which is what is needed to properly deliver non distorted sound. Folks have been working on that end since the beginning of speaker making. I wonder if folks would have mounted transistors in sold blocks of copper? I wonder how many folks would have bothered to mill solid blocks of aluminum to make better sounding cases for components? If the cooling system is silent and does a better job keeping the components working much easier, doesn't that lengthen their lives let along probably sound better? Not saying you have to say you like his products anymore. We all hear differently and if you fail to 'get' his amps after hearing them properly, then that's cool. Lot's of folks will never get them, but so far I've heard over 25 who have heard them properly (not at shows or during shop visits where there are too many in the room) and loved them even if they'll never be in their price range.
I'm just glad there are some great products we all get to chose from that push the bounds of engineering. Pretty awesome in my humble opinion.
I agree with most of your positions here, that shows and dealers are not optimal, but in a lot of people's cases, shows are the ONLY option for hearing a good cross section of gear because all the brick and mortars in cities even with a million plus people, like where I live are ALL GONE!
So manufacturers don't get to play the "I can't make a hotel room sound good" card........any more.......
Too many folks in the room......doesn't play anymore either.........
Lots of manufacturers seem to be able to make their stuff sing at the shows.......
I've heard the 7s with several people in the room and with no people in the room, from the center and from front row and everywhere else......and they sounded boring to my ears........conversely, every time I've heard the quatros or treos, they sounded much more alive and engaging........commentary in the rooms from others seemed to agree with what I was experiencing......
I am a Vandersteen fan, owned Vandy's most of my audiophile life and indeed, if I ever decide my Magnepans are too large visually, I will likely look at Quatro CTs
But never in my life will I consider paying 50 g's for a pair of mono amps that can only pump 600 watts into 4 ohms.......I don't care what novel fluid technologies are inside it..........there are a whole bunch of world class amps that punch way above that in terms of headroom, sound quality EVERY bit as good or better (yes I've heard them) and their components will last a lifetime too........Ayre, Conrad Johnson, Convergent Audio, Bryston's Cubed Series...Constellation....Pass Labs...I can go on and on.......
Does that mean 7 owners won't buy these? No.......they will.......
but for me it is still BIZARRE that for that kind of coin, they don't pump out 3000 watts into 8 ohms of the cleanest and most musical power on earth.......as they should as one of the most expensive pairs of mono amps in audioland.......and comparatively one of lower powered ones.....
I get that you think it's bizarre. Not knocking you on that and I hope it didn't come across that way. it's just novel technology and thinking outside the box. I bet others will eventually try the same although the patent may hold them back. The are built for this one speaker for the most part. My own personal is that I don't really concern myself with how many watts or heat an amp puts out. I just listen for the sound. There is plenty of head room in these amps. When they were playing digital that night we heard them go extremely low. I have an Ayre and love it. I've head CJ, ARC, Quicks and a few more. I don't change my system too much unless it's a major upgrade. Have I heard amps that are as good or better? depends on the situation of course. These are so specific with their high pass, I can't honestly say something is better or worse as I've only heard the Ayre mXr twenties, the Atlas and the ARC ref against it. Richards amp has given me the best sound so far, but as I always post, that's MY ears.
As for show sound, we will have to agree to disagree. If you hear something you like or love, then the bones are obviously there. If not, then I fully get that you may not want to give them or can't give them a chance elsewhere. I"m blessed in that I live near enough to NYC and I travel a lot and am not shy to go listen. I have purchased items or systems all over the country as I don't waste folks time. That's the only way I met the folks at Audio Connection and ended up with Vandy's. I went in to purchase a new pair of ProAcs. lol.
As for engaging, I've heard more than a few say they liked the 5ct's better after hearing one after the other. Set up plays a huge part and the rooms are in the same building but totally different. For me, I've found that the 7's are just so revealing that it takes time to 'get' them. Not making excuses, but Avalon's were the same for me years ago. I LOVED some of the lower priced ones and didn't get the upper priced ones until I spent time with them. It was the subtle nature as they did things I wasn't used to hearing in other speakers. That's what the 7's do for me.
they may not engage you right away or ever and that's fine. Hey, I'm buying a pair to Quatro's as soon as I sell my Treo's. I totally get it and I have listened again to anything from 30k down that I was able to in order to make sure I wanted Quatro's over the others. They do engage me, so I understand, but I'd still happily trade for a pair of 7's and be more than thankful, lol. Great discussion, thanks.