Pre and power amp for Vandersteen 3A Signature?

Vandersteen 3 A Signature is one of the main contenders that I'm considering now for my rather large living room. For stereo as well as HT purposes. I know that Audio Research is the ideal amp for them but I would prefer solid state pre-power amp combo and of course preamp must have the HT bypass. My main concern with Vandies is PRAT and dynamics. Nobody doubts their incredible musicality but I want them to sound fast and tight when necessary (be it heavy metal or movies) and deliver the best bass they can as well as the most explosive dynamics they are capable of (I'll have almost 4 meters between my ears and the speakers). I know Krell is a good choice. What do you guys suggest?
Do you have a budget? G.
Antonkk 01-25-10
I know that Audio Research is the ideal amp for them but I would prefer solid state pre-power amp combo and of course preamp must have the HT bypass.
Audio Research also makes quality solid state amps. My brother uses an ARC 100.2 with his 3A Sigs and loves the results. Rated conservatively at 100 WPC into 8 ohms, the 100.2 produces 200 WPC into 4 ohms and a hefty 360 WPC into 2 ohms

Here's one that someone had for sale on Audiogon just a few days ago that didn't sell
Audio Research will give you the best sound with Vandersteen speakers.
How about the Naim SUPERNAIT or NAC 282 preamplifier/NAP 250 power amplifier if PRAT is your main concern? I think this would be an excellent combination with the 3's.
Ayre is an excellent match with Vandersteen and also matches your needs for HT bypass.
I agree that if you want to go SS, Ayre would be hard to beat with Vandersteen - that would be my first choice. But if price plays into it, McCormack DNAs would be do just fine.
You must have a really large room, that 13 foot distance from the Vandy's would require almost the same separation between the speakers to get the best sound from them (Wow that's large enough for an IMax screen). I second Unsound's recommendation because they are a very synergistic combination, plus its the same combination I use in my Vandersteen HT setup. I use a TLC-1 Dlx Ultra to drive a DNA-1 Dlx Gold for the 3A Sig's and a DNA HT-1 Dlx and DNA 0.5 Dlx for the Vandy center and surrounds. At one point I was vertically bi-amping a pair of 3A'Sig/2Wq combination with a pair of DNA-1 Dlx Golds that made the most awesome sound. Unfortunately they were removed from my possession during a recent move. Anyway McCormack makes a couple preamps with HT pass through or a feature that can be used as that, I just turn my TLC all the way up for the pass through. Plus the McCormack's offer an upgrade path through SMc Audio (Highly recommended) as your budget allows. Planning a pair of DNA-1 monoblocks myself. Try all the recommendation made here but try them used that way you have little to no lose when you sell something your not happy with. Good Luck in your search and above all else have fun doing it.
The best I ever heard was with Ayre or Audio Research.
I think you'll see Ayre, Audio Research and McCormack come up often in this thread.
I use a Cary SLP-05 preamp feeding Vincent ST-8 hybrid monoblocks with my Vandy 3A Sigs. The Cary is a fantastic tubed pre and the Vincent is a German-designed, Chinese-made tube/SS hybrid design pushing 200 w/ch. The combination is wonderfully life-like in tonality with plenty of power when neeeded.
I'm using Quicksilver V4 mono blocs and ARC SP16 with very good results. I know you requested solid state, but this is a most musical combination with tubed components.
If I had to choose between Ayre and Audio Research - what difference in sound should I expect? I mean Vandies are warm and not to fast, so I'm afraid that the tubes would not give them tightness and speed. Also what pre/power amp combo's of both Ayre and Audio Research should I try?
I did not mention the Quicksilver V4s because you did mention the SS, but as Tonyjack knows, the QS and Vandersteen are an really good pairing. Frankly, 100 watts of ARC or QS are going to make the VS sing. Richard has done shows with ARC and Ayre, but I think he has used QS at home. These amps are all going to provide a good listening experience, to the point where I might decide and ergonomics, where the differences are starker than any percieved superiority of one of these amps to the other. I would personally choose the QS for being monoblocks, very easy to bias, and very, very reliable.
I have heard the 3a signature at a local dealer with both the ayre 2ch amp (5xe?) and the parasound 2ch amp the a21, bith were using the parasound jc2 as the pre amp. For me personally I liked the parasound combo better. It was a transparent presentation. It really was clear as abell. The ayre was nice to no complaints but it was a tad warmer and I am one who likes transparency and I think the vandys really shined in that set-up.

Joe in Mobile
I hope I'm not coming in too late here.
Richard Vandersteen used Audio Research at the shows more often than not and horizontal bi-amping was a common method using smaller amps. Horizontal bi-amping gives a very big relaxed sound.
Audio Research is not the typical tube sound. Vandersteens are on the warm side of neutral, but Audio Research is not real tubey. All can be adjusted with associated equipment and cables. Audioquest works well with both Vandersteens and Audio Research.
Some of the most enjoyable sound I have had was with Audio Research and Vandersteen speakers with Vandersteen subs. The method used for incorporating the Vandersteen subwoofer into the system relieves the amp of having to handle low frequencies and also relieves the main speakers of bass energy. The result is a powerful, extremely open relaxed sound. In fact, I would probably have Vandersteens now except I got tired of their styling.
I use TAD 150 signature and the TAD 125 monos. Very satisfactory combo. I had a Mcormack DNA1 and the TADs are much better in my system. I imagine a higher end McCormack might be close or surpass the TAD.
Rrog wrote:
"Richard Vandersteen used Audio Research at the shows more often than not"

I agree that's true and ARC certainly makes great gear. I've never heard ARC paired with Vandersteen but don't doubt it's a good match. But check out what RV uses in his living room to drive his 7s:

Scroll to the bottom.
Rufipennis, Very nice set up.
You mentioned wanting more midrange resolution. Words can never describe the improvement of adding a Vandersteen subwoofer. It is not about the bass. It is about a top to bottom improvement.
By relieving your amplifier of having to produce bass and removing the bass energy from the 2Ce cabinet the sound improves dramatically. This is no small improvement.
I have owned much more expensive systems, but one of my all time favorite systems was the Vandersteen Model 2 and 2W (not V2W) subwoofer.
>>>Very nice set up.
I assume you clicked the link to my "System" (sorry everyone for taking this thread OT).

>>>You mentioned wanting more midrange resolution
When I first got the Vandies, the midrange, especially voices and acoustic instruments, sounded somewhat veiled. This problem was more or less completely mitigated when I lucked into two demo pairs of Ayre speaker cables. I don't believe I wrote that my system lacked midrange resolution (but of course, I always want more!).

>>>adding a Vandersteen subwoofer
Thanks for the suggestion. I've actually considered this option for several years dating back to when I had Thiel 1.6s and really loved them other than their lack of response below 50Hz. If ever have $$ to upgrade, I'm thinking of the Quatro, Aerial 7C (if it ever is released), and Avalon Aspect. But another option is to simply add a stereo pair of 2WQs. In the meantime, I'm plenty happy with my current rig.
Ruffipennis...Isn't that interesting.... I have Ayre V1xe/K1xe with Vandersteen 5A's...had the Ayre cables in my system which was absolutely horrible. They are built by Cardas, and anything Cardas attached to my system is a definite downgrade. My dealer was amazed that Cardas/Ayre stuff didn't work. The best I found was Audioquest Everest/Sky, and Anti-Cables.
Stringreen, that IS very interesting. Another example of how one size does not fit all in this hobby. I've not tried many different cables but I am *very* happy with the Ayre's. AFAIK, the Ayre is essentially a Golden Reference but with a different jacket. I believe the material is less expensive than what Cardas uses on his own label. I almost pulled the trigger on the Anti-cables (I think I may have read your endorsement) but happened upon a screaming deal with the Ayre's.
I've just swapped out my Quicksilver V4 amps for my Bryston 3BST. WOW!! Very nice indeed. Much more defined edges and bass slam, not to mention clarity. Maybe not as deep of a sound stage, but very good. More of a forward presentation.
Wondering if switching out the JJKT88's for KT90 or Genelex KT88's would give me more clarity?
Ruffpennis...Just for your own enlightenment...get some anti-cables and just return them....they give you a money back guarantee.
How do you connect 2 subs to one amp? And does Vandersteen provide a manual how to blend the subs with 3A Signature?