I auditioned them with T and A electronics and a Naim5 cd player. After reading HPs encomium I expected that they would be my next speakers. Did not enjoy them at all. Very dry sound, unexciting. As reference my favorite speakers are Kharma Ceramique 3.2 and Focal Utopias Diva.
go with a veena or the l'integral and save some dough. spectacular performance, and really should be paired with a fine amp.
Harry Pearson including Roy Gregory of Hi-Fi+ magazine are spot on with their comments and reviews of the Reference Grand Veenas.
I believe what you heard was an incompetant set up and mis match with the amplifier and speakers....
I know what the Kharma's sound like and what they sell for, go ahead, buy a pair.
The Grand Veena blew me away. I heard them last year at Rocky Mountain Audio fest in Denver. I had just walked out of a room after listening to a pair of $80,000 speakers that left me uninspired. After entering the Reference 3A room I had goose bumps before I even found my seat. I had never heard of Reference 3A before that day so had no expectations. After listening for an extended amount of time I asked how much? He said 79. I thought ok I just heard an $80,000 set of speakers and these are better so at a thousand less thats good. I was corrected it was not $79,000 but $7900. I was blown away. I returned three times that weekend only to confirm my original impression. In my second system I have a pair of Revel Gems. I plan to replace them with Grand Veena but at this time there is no local dealer.
I have heard the Ref 3A Grand Veena speakers with tubes (Art Audio Jota and BAT VK75SE ) and solidstate (Bat Vk250, T+A) and they are absolutely one of the best sonic bargains in all of audio. VERY refined, big soundstage, great imaging, able to deliver that illusive instrumental "texture", and are highly dynamic. If you have the chance to listen to a pair that has been decently set up, you certainly SHOULD.
There must be something terribly wrong with the setup, to these ears, after 15 years education in this 'field' of audiophilia,I sincerely believe that Grand Veenas has nothing missing compared to Diva or 3.2 but more in terms of transparency, musicality etc. I had a home audition of both the kharma and jm lab mezzo, also listened diva for many hours at the local distributor, speaking through such experience, Grand Veena is a winner to me.
These are among the best products in audio hell, go and audition them at your easiest convenience. Just make sure they are paired with quality components to be thrilled by their capacity.
I heard them at CES either last year or the year before, and they would have made my "top 10" list - and been among the least expensive loudspeaker systems on the list.
Very nice speaker in my opinion.
I just attended the Rocky Mountain Audiofest and was blown away by the Grand Veenas. I, too, went back to the 3A room three times just to make sure I wasn't imagining things. In my opinion, they were clearly the best value in the show and I plan on purchasing a pair soon. What was more impressive is that the electronics they were matched with were "reasonably" priced, as well. (Everything gets a little distorted at a show when systems can get well into the six figures!) I would find a local dealer and give them a listen. If there isn't a dealer in your area, Ref 3A will let you audition at your home- you can buy from them directly.
I also heard them at RMAF. They sounded pretty good, but at my local dealer's they were absolutely incredible. Credit the bad rooms at RMAF.
When I heard them at my dealer's place, I walked in with the notion that they were priced higher than they should. My first impression was they were a good bit larger than I expected. Then came the music. It was truly one of those 2 or 3 times in my life I came away rather awestruck. As I said, I walked in thinking they were overpriced, and but then I walked out thinking they were THE bargain in high-end audio loudspeakers.
Needless to say, not only do I recommend them. I recommend them with every fiber of my being.
I also really liked them at RMAF. Divergent had another room with a newer Ref 3A model (downmarket from the Grand Veena), which I did not care for. Would have been nice to hear them in the same system for a better comparison. The Grand Veenas are too tall for my room.
I heard them at the dealership where I bought my Ref 3A DeCapo-i speakers several years ago. They were being driven by Simaudio Moon Cd and Integrated amp. They were glorious. Fast, dynamic, detailed, cohesive. Great at low and high volumes. If I had room for them in my home, I would not hesitate to purchase them. Best I've ever heard, including a trip to major show a few years ago where I heard lots of great speakers.
Mine are just about two weeks old and are still breaking in but already I am very pleased with them.
They just replaced a pair of Merlin TMMX, and a pair of Tannoy Ardens, and I don't feel that I made the wrong decision.
I have been an electrostat fan for years, having owned the Acoustat 3, Quad 63,stacked Quad 57's, Martin Logan Sequel, and 2 pair of Martin Logan CLS11z.
Other cone speakers that I have owned were Mirage M3si,Rogers LS3/5a,Mission 770, Meadowlark Heron i,original VR4.
I really do believe the Grand Veena has all of the previously mentioned speakers virtues and none of their flaws.
I use an Audio Valve Eclipse pre amp and Red Dragon Leviathan mono blocks, and the matchup with the speakers is very good.
I need better speaker wires and need some input please.
Final thought,get to a dealer and have a listen to his best most expensive speakers,then have a listen to the Grand Veena.
After another trip to the RMAF confirmed that the Grand Veenas are the best buy in speakers. Liked the Joseph Audio Pearls but that's a $20,000+ difference.
Can't wait to install the the new phase plugs, brass screws and and OCC jumper wires for the upgrade.
I heard them in a Bel Canto rig. They were incredibly holographic.
WRT tone, bass, mids, treble, & dynamics, how do the GVs match up with your stacked quad 57s?
FLA the stacked Quads did somethings very well,but other things not so well.
They were a system that drew you into the music.
I had different amplification then(Atmasphere MP3, S30)so I can't compare .
What I can say is that in the same room where so many speakers have held court, the GV aren't just contenders.
They have more virtues than faults, and they aren't yet broken in.I need another 100 or so hours.
A similarity to the stacked 57, is in coherence,and mid range clarity.
Detail, but not harsh or sharply edged.
No sign of strain,just effortless sound as did the Quads sound on most light jazz and folk, rock.
Vocals are spotlit ,much like I remeber the Quads did.
If anything, the GV ,with some music sounds very similar to a good stat, and I have had plenty of those.
I have never liked multi driver coned systems, when I tried them,I eventually let go of the increased dydnamics, infavour if the wholeness of a good panel speaker.
The GV get very close to that panel sound,and then go a bit further in other areas that count.
I am very pleased,because I know I could not afford the speakers that deliver similar sound.
My Grand Reference Veenas will be leaving my home in the very near future.
We have enjoyed them over the year that I have owned them and for the money spent, 2nd hand this was more then a good deal. Especially while shopping for speakers upwards of 20 grand...I would like to add, the Veenas had me coming back to the dealer for yet another listen and comparison to much more expensive speakers that I intended to purchase in the first place.
Like them or not the G.R.V. are not perfect however the dozens of speakers I did hear well beyond their cost will certainly make you think before spending your money.
Some important advice.
Before you start any fine tuning with set up and or amp swapping, "they need time to run-in".
2.5 to 3 solid weeks plus, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Amplifiers tried and used with very good results, Atma-Sphere M60's and the ASR Emitter One Exclusive.
Once broken in and you will know it, then start fine tuning set up.
They are fussy to set up so patience IS a virtue.
The Grand Reference's need room to breath this means out into the room and away from any walls. Also listening distance 10 to 12 feet or so.
To my ears, best set up in a good size room, main room is 900 square feet with vault ceilings.
Good luck and have fun.
Just curious why they are leaving and what is coming instead? And why of course?
Yes, my choice is to enter the world of low watt amplifiers namely Lamm and a high probability of horn speakers.
There is definitely something with Lamm used with high efficient speakers and uncomplicated cross overs that is beyond words for me at the moment.
Still waiting for the magic moment when my GV break in.
I have done some experimenting with speaker wires and so far the speakers are very revealing of differences.
I experimented with placement and have been quite satisfied with a wider separation and radical toe in so that the image is well in front of the listening seat.
I also have them 5 feet out from the wall and I sit 14 feet away.
I have found this sounds better than close spacing and minor toe in as reccommended by manufacturer.
The image is stable, tight and well focused and the room is taken out of the equation somewhat.
I would like to know how to distinguish between the newest improved version and the original ones.
Do the serial numbers give a clue?
OCC internal wiring
Mechanical grounding of drivers
Soft brass screws and washers for driver
Copper shorting rings on midrange
Larger brass cones and floor pads
5 way binding posts with tellerium copper
Occ binding jumpers
Don't know what # this started at but it is very recent.
Would assume that if it has the brass screws, it has all the upgrades.
I believe the screws are brass, painted black on tweeter and mid.Super tweeter is brass, woofers aren't painted,so they appear to be reg non brass screws.Also different screw heads.
The speakers have spikes,and they are black/grey,I can't tell if they are brass, but they don't seem like cones.No floor pads.
The speakers came with Cardas solid copper jumpers,not wires.
The binding posts are 5 way, with clear plastic I can't tell what they are made of.
Maybe I should check out the internal wiring and see what is inside.
I believe the improved wiring sheath is supposed to be clear?
I seem to have 6 of one and half dozen of the other
The list was passed out by Tash at RMAF. Those are the improvements.
The older versions don't have those improvements.
An easy way to find out what screws are brass or not is to take one out and hold it to a magnet. Pure brass won't attract to the magnet because it is non-magnetic.
Thanks for the help.
The descriptions of what's new and not are most welcomed.
My only concern is that I ordered the latest improved model yet some of the descriptors don't match what I received.
The screws to the mid and tweeter do look to be painted , a bit of brass shine in spots.So if the screws are brass, then it's the new model?
However,the speaker was supplied with spikes not cones and it came with Cardas solid copper strip jumpers two per speaker.Not copper wire jumpers.
So I guess I am left with the chore of taking the rear panel off and examining the wiring.
Call Tash at Reference 3a. I'm sure your serial # will tell you if your speakers are the upgraded version or not. Either way, I'm sure the speakers sound great.
They do, but Ipaid this years money I want this years speaker.
If it is old stock it , it should be priced accordingly.
I have been reassured that any GV speakers built after May 2009 are the latest revised units.
I would be 100% reassured if there was a date of manufacture somewhere on the speakers.
Anyone with the latest version that would like to chat PM me.
Give Tash a call or email. Great guy and I'm sure he will answer all your questions about the updates.
I can tell you with that these are the finest speakers I've heard. I had the opportunity to listen to them at Front Row Center in Pompano Beach, FL. I first listened to them in a dedicated room with proper acoustic treatment and I can tell you that this is the closet thing to a live performance I've ever heard from speakers. The amplifiers used were MC2301 monoblocks and a PerfectWave DAC/Transport.
I listened to a wide variety of acoustic and live performance CDs and it was truly extraordinary. I left there absolutely sold.
I came back about a month later and the Grand Veenas were moved out of their dedicated listening room and onto the open show floor which had no acoustical treatments or many walls to speak of. This time it was hooked up to a Audio Research solid state amp (can't remember which) and the same PerfectWave source. Totally different experience.
If you read Harry Pearson's article, you will see how he mentions that these speakers are sensitive to almost everything. Room placement, toeing, amps, source, etc. Of course this is obvious, as the upstream matters for every speaker.
If you had a bad experience with the Grand Veena, let me tell you that it was not the Grand Veena. Look upstream, and look around the room.
These speakers are extremely clear to the point that when closing my eyes and listening to them, I don't think they exist in the room. Instrument placement, depth, dynamics, is just spectacular.
The Grand Veena,reminds me of a few electrostats that I have owned.
The speakers are revealing of tweaks and mods elsewhere in the chain, yet they aren't fatiguing or hyper detailed.
They don't thump like some cone speakers do, but they do go deep.Perhaps it's a speed thing.I find the GV speakers to be fast, but still warm.
Proper room placement is a must.
I have mine set up in my room in a diagonal configuration, and this works to make a small room less of an influence.
In fact I like the sound in the small, sound treated room better than in the large untreated room.
They also sound very good with the 2 watt DecWare ZenSelect.
They lack for nothing paired with this amp.
Do you think the 3A are better than the Avalon Ascendants or Vandersteen Quatros? How you you describe their sound in ref to the two listed above?
The only direct comparison that I've had with the Grand Veenas were the Vandersteen model 5 speakers at the same dealers.
The grand Veenas shared some characteristics with the big Vandie, and truth be told, if money wasn't a factor I would have gone with the Vandy 5.
But for a lot less money, it wasn't that much of a let down.
At least the differences are ones that I can live with.
I think the GV for the price ,performs close to speakers that cost more.It gives you a feel for what those costly speakers can do.
I've owned lots of stats, so I've a preference for speakers that sound like good electrostats, which is fast and free of boxy colourations.
For me the Grand Veena comes close to electrostat speed and clarity.
If I ever feel the need for more bass I'll just use my Depth sub.
Glad to see a few new posts to this thread. I have had my GV's over a year now and it has been a real struggle. Placement, room, amp, placement (again). Wow!I have them in a medium size room with a couch, three tables and 2 side chairs. They are not crowded but the room is not at all lively. There is carpeting and it has a high ceiling (12'). I read all of the reviews, talked to Tash, bought his speaker cables, moved them around, moved them again, moved them a 3rd time, toe in 19 degrees, toe in way more than 19 degrees, no toe in...UNTIL...I am almost there. Gosh don't you love this hobby? My associated equipment is ARC tubes. I am beginning to wonder if the amp is the problem. So you say, what problem? All you have talked about is your neurosis. The amp is the VS55. Now one of the earlier posters say he uses a 2 watt DecWare ZenSelect!!!! This is hard to believe because my entire point of this post (which I am coming to, honest) is how I can't get any life out of the GV's. I finally have placement ok (for now). I always have the feeling that the amp is having one heck of a time driving these things. Years ago, (80's) I had the same thing going in a perfect listening room. I replaced my tube ARC amp with that behemoth D300. End of problem. Headroom,spaciousness, sweet life. Gotta do something. Anyone in the market for a VS55?
Have driven my GVs with a Mac275,a Mesa Baron, and Bel Canto Ref1000s with great success.
Here's the amps I've auditioned with my Grand Veenas-
Mac 275,Pass Aleph3, AtmaSphere S30, Bell 2418 18 watt tube integrated from 1961,,Grant Lumley tube integrated,Art Audio Carissa,Red DragonnLeviathan signature mono blocks.
All these amps worked well on the speakers.
I chose the DecWare,because for me it had less of a sonic signature than the other amps did.
I have found in my room(21, x 11 x 8)that setting the speakers up on the diagonal works best.
I don't toe them in , and they are about 98 inches from my listening chair and the speakers have 52 inches between them at the moment.
Perhaps not ideal, but it works for me.
I also replaced the spikes with BDR cones,and my room has a mix of absorption panels and some live surfaces.
The Grand Veenas are no different than any other speaker that sounds good just about where ever you place it.
The difference is that they can sound much better than most speakers, when you take the time to place them correctly.
And they can be driven more than adequately with the 2 watt DecWare ZenSelect, the amp I chose over all the others that I tried.
There is no lack for anything with this combination of amp and speaker, in my room.
Lacee, thanks for taking the time on your post. A question or 10 if I may...? What is the approximate gain setting on your amp at "average" listening levels? My concern is when using the ARC the gain setting on the preamp reads 70/100 before it reaches a point where I consider it loud. I seldom listen at that level but any setting under 50 seems lifeless, less real. That is why i broached the subject of headroom. Do you think the tube approach best as often remarked upon? I really have a hard time grasping the fact that you are finding such success with these tiny amps. Not doubting you, just amazed I guess.
Yes, indeed a few years ago when I was using 1000 watts on the speakers I too would have had my doubts about what a single 2 watt amp could do.
I also read about the synergy og the Grand Veena with tubes, so that's why I set out to listen to as mant different kinds of tube amps, and one good class A solid state amp, just to shake things up a bit.
The DecWare came with a 30 day trial offer.
I was just looking for a tube amp for the winter months.
The DecWare met and surpassed all my expectations of the sound I was looking for.
There is a certain rightness in a SET design that I find pleasing to my ears.
Now as far as gain goes.
The amp has a volume control, but because I run the Steelhead using it's variable volume control knob, I run the amp at near max or unity gain.
The DecWare give you the choice to run with or without a pre amp, and sounds great either way.
Using the Steelhead to also control my cd player is a bonus.Two inputs compared to the DecWare's one at a time set up.
Just lazy, but I feel it's a pain in the but to wait for the wires to settle after they been unplugged.
Now the volume on the Steelhead is at 12 o'clock, or mid way.
The gain is at the lowest setting of 55.
In my room I don't need it any louder, and the sound level is the same as when I was using(or underusing) the 1000 watts of the draggons.
In other words the lack of wattage does not mean there is a lack of volume.
Or tone, or bass.
All I could say that is lacking is that I can't tell you what type of tube I am listening to.The el 84 derivatives, really don't have any tube sonic that I can put my finger at and say "that is the sound of a 300B".
The grand Veenas will let you know what tubes you are using to drive them with.
They do not make all amps sound the same.
But in the same breath they don't seem to be a finicky speaker that need mega watts of hot and nasty to make them sing.
To sum up, I liked the sound of the DecWare so much, I didn't send it back, it became my main all season amp.
JFD11, have you tried switching from the 8 ohm to 4 ohm taps (or vise-versa) on the VS55? If this doesn't work, I can only believe there is some odd impedence mismatch between speaker and amp, or something else buggered up in your system. My VS55 has been effortlessly driving a pair of Verity Parsifal Encores for 6 years, in a fairly large room. This amp is a winner and so are your speakers, so something's amiss.
Can you borrow a couple amps from a local dealer to try out?
Ladok, thanks. I have changed taps. First thing I thought of. Goatwuss,thanks as well. This is a possibility. I will let you know.
Has anyone tried the Grand Veena with Leben amplifiers, particularly the CS300XS or the CS600?
I'm very happy to see that Lacee is reporting good results with the DecWare 2 watt SET amp. The Leben CS300XS is 15 watts and the CS600 is between 24-32 watts depending on tubes. Any experience with these would be appreciated.
I have reference 3a Episode ( old Muratta Supertweeter and acoustic lens) with Leben CS300XS. ( with Mullard El 84 Tubes)
And this combination works really good for me. Lots of air, and timbre projection really surreal and attention grabbing. Word can't explain but I felt like the music communicate with me well every time I put the records or CD. It transport me to the room where the musical performance was recorded.
I believe you will be benefit more with CS600 extra power if you have big room.