The model 5 is the best Vandersteen ever made. The model 4A (very limited production) was the only other Vandersteen even close. The really great news about the model 5 is that it's subs are powered by its own enclosed amp. That means you can invest in a smaller and higher quality amp that only has to drive the (easier) top end of the speaker. One of the guys in my audio group uses the Vandersteen 5's, and is running them on a pair of mono bloc Bel Canto's (tube 845 based). he gets great sound, and plenty of headroom in spite of the moderate power. By the way, I was at the show, and heard the set up with the VTL amps. The CES is a terrible place to try to make a comparison. Imagine, if you will, countless hotel rooms, all electrically wired pretty much together, all using CD players and amps and preamps, all connected to a mutual power source, and playing into a listning room small enough to pass for a mini van. (Often with the head boards of the removed beds, still in place). Its much better to find a friend or dealer and hear them yourself. In over 17 years of going to CES, good sound is indeed rare.