Original Vandersteen Model 3


I have a chance to acquire an old Vandy 3 pair for $400-500.  I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet.  I have a set of Maggie 1.7 with nice electronics, just looking to add a little spice to my life with a box speaker.  Looking for opinions on these speakers as compared to applying the same $400-500 to something else in the used market - floor stander or monitor.   Would it be worth my time to follow up on these?  Thanks
abnerjack

I'll start off by telling you I have a bias toward Vandersteen speakers. I think they make the best speakers regardless of cost. Its only fair that I make you aware of this before I make any recommendations.

I put my 1.7's in the same room and system my Vandersteen Model 2 Signature 1, and compared them side by side. I can honestly say that I couldn't find one thing the Magnepans were able to do as well as the Vandersteen's. But that's just my opinion. Some people would disagree with me.

Here's a link to a free publication that covers Vandersteen speakers in great detail.

http://vandersteen.com/audio-perfectionist-journal

If you're new to Vandersteen, its a must read.

Thanks for the reply mgreen27.  I have a little experience with the Vandersteen line.  When I decided to get back in to quality audio equipment a few years ago, the first speaker i bought was the Model 1.  I have heard the more recent 3a Sig. and 2CE and appreciate them very much, but my concern is that the Original Model 1 is so old and outdated that it might not be a prudent purchase.
I am I am confused model 1 or 3 ?
the sound anchors are essential for 3 IMO
fair price is no surround or other issues
i had 3a sig for many happy years
i am also a very biased long term happy Vandersteen owner - running 7 mk2 right now

"I am I am confused model 1 or 3 ?
the sound anchors are essential for 3 IMO"

He's talking about the original version of the Model 3. The Models 1, 2 and 3 all come with the Sound Anchor stands. (At least that's how its been for quite a while now). Without the stands, you can't set the back tilt, and its very important if you want the speaker to sound right.

"I have heard the more recent 3a Sig. and 2CE and appreciate them very much, but my concern is that the Original Model 1 is so old and outdated that it might not be a prudent purchase."

I would call Vandersteen and see what they think. There's been many upgrades to the Model 2 and 3's over the years. Owners of these models are able to send them back to Vandersteen and have them upgraded. He'll give you an honest answer if its worth it to have an old pair of 3's updated.

I doubt that RV would want or be able to upgrade a pair of older 3s to current spec.  Almost every aspect of the 3s has been changed over time as all of RV's speakers are of an evolutionary nature.  If he could do it, it would no doubt cost more than simply buying a new pair of 3A Signatures.  If you get the chance to listen through the Model 3s that are available and are satisfied with their sound then the price you're talking about seems quite reasonable.  Having owned an early pair of 3s, I found their main weakness to be a bright treble leading to a bit of glare in the upper midrange.  If you are using "warmer" sounding components it could make for a happy marriage.


I owned the Vandersteen 3A's for years and they were sweet, warm and musical but with sluggish bass, no matter the amp, of which I tried quite a few.  I upgraded them to 3A Sig status (which only the original owner can do) and they're way better.  Actually decent with the additional bracing in the cabinet, upgraded crossover and new mid/tweet drivers.  I would not, could not own the 3A again.  The 3A was reviewed as a major improvement over the 3.  I've seen a few 3A's advertised for $800.  $500 for a 3 is probably fair market but no big deal.  
I also did not like vandy's because they're slow. They're great for orchestral music, but for small bands, rock and electronic instrumental music they don't do the trick.
The best Vandy combo you can get is by purchasing 2x 2WQ subs with 1C smallest floor speakers. 2WQ bass is substantially faster than in any integrated speaker they've ever built.

I had a pair at one time and found them to be quite good with excellent imaging.
I think Vandersteen offers upgrades for the 3's, but it isn't cheap.
For the price, I don't think you will be disappointed, but if you think you will be looking for 'the best', I would suggest either waiting for the 3a sigs or better yet, a pair of Treo's or Quatro's.
True, they are more expensive, but I though I was never going to have 'upgraditis', and ended up selling my 3a sigs and getting Treo's. I should have listened to Mr V. and just gotten a pair of Quatro's and been done with it.
Incorporating a sub (or a pair) is one of the best upgrades for the 1,2, or 3's.
Bob

"I also did not like vandy's because they're slow."

Mine aren't slow. If you screw up enough on the setup, you can make them sound slow. You can also make them sound fast.

"The best Vandy combo you can get is by purchasing 2x 2WQ subs with 1C smallest floor speakers. 2WQ bass is substantially faster than in any integrated speaker they've ever built."

In all seriousness, aside from the speed issue, that is a great setup. I differ a bit. I have the Model 1, 2  & 3's and think the 2's are a better value. It can do more.

Going back to the speed issue, I'm just guessing, but I think the reason you thought the 1's are faster is because they're very easy to drive. Also, speed isn't a quality that's only determined by the speakers. Every component in the system effects speed.

Model 3A to 3A Signature

  • Improved midrange
  • Improved crossover components
  • New 1" Alloy Tweeter
  • Critically matched components and drivers
  • $2,490 per pair

Model 3 to 3A Signature

  • Improved midrange
  • Improved crossover components
  • New 1" Alloy Tweeter
  • Critically matched components and drivers
  • $2,900 per pair
The upgrades are about half of what a new pair cost. If the speakers are in really good shape, the upgrade is probably worth it.

Since you can buy a pair of 3a sigs for about $2k, I think that would be the least expensive route. Though Richard constantly upgrades the upgrade, it may be worthwhile.
I would contact him directly for the most accurate info. And, yes, he does reply to questions left on the telephone directly.
Bob
Not the 3 but I have the 2CE Sig II I'm very happy with them if it's position and adjusted right you will appreciate the bass, the sound stage and the transparency. I know the 3s has the larger cab so it should give even better low end. I'm driving mine with the McIntosh monoblocks MC601 (600 watts per amp) and the vandys doesn't have problems handling it.  Just a great speakers.
Abnerjack, are you still here?
Hi Bob,

I'm still here and appreciate all the thoughtful responses.  Vandy speakers seem to be well thought of, but I'm thinking that with the age and relatively unsophisticated sound the old original Model 3 might not be the best way to go.  However, it would still probably be hard to beat for the price, can't get much for $4-500 these days.  I'm quite satisfied with the Maggie sound with a set of Rel T-5s, just looking for something a little different.  Thanks.
Abner, I think for the money, you will be impressed even though they are prior generations. I always loved Maggies as well as Vandy's- they seem to share similar characteristics. 
Even if you don't like them, you can always sell them again and probably for the same price.
Though I warn you Vandersteen's are addictive and you may well be on the road for a pair of Quatro's.
Bob
I found this quote from the master himself from 2012 and I think I will go with it, which means from Richard Vandersteen's point of view, pretty much any later model 2 or 3 would be better than the old original Model 3.  From what I have seen, I can probably find one of either of those for around the same money:

"Answer: HELLO MIKE, THAT ANSWER WAS COMPARING A OLDER MODEL 3 AND A NEWER MODEL 2CE. AT ANY GIVEN YEAR THE CURRENT 3 WILL BE MUCH HIGHER PERFORMANCE THAN THE CURRENT 2. THE CURRENT MODEL 2CE SIG II WILL BLOW AWAY AN OLD MODEL 3, AND THE CURRENT MODEL 3A SIG WILL BLOW AWAY A CURRENT 2CE SIG II.
Obviously true, but your original post was wondering if the 3's would be a good speaker for $400. And the answer was 'yes'.

If you want better, then it will cost you.
Your 1.7's are pretty new, so if you want to compare apples to apples, then getting a current Vandy is the way to go.
If you just want something different to play around with for a few hundred bucks, then a pair of 3's would do the trick.
b