It's not the speakers. I'm not familiar with any of your other gear so won't point fingers.
I would strongly suggest waiting on the remodel, work with spkr. placement & your room and also tweak the VR's. If you haven't already, replace the stock spikes & also use something between the modules. I use 5 of the 1" x 1" Herbie's Footers between ea. module. The new VR4 jr's use spikes, so whatever works best.
I'd spend the $6K on a set of Lamm 1.1 hybrid monoblock amps (used)
You'll keep that sweet tube mid range and highs yet get the authority and control that will make those VR's sing
I've got the top module seperated via Vibrapods from the bottom bass module (2 #5s and 2 #3s). The speakers sit on decent aftermarket solid brass spikes, on 1 1/2" granite slabs.
The JC-1s have 135 amps of peak current, so they should be able to control the 2" woofers with no problem.
They just don't slam like I thought they would. Can room / placement issues affect "slam"?
The effects of optimizing the speakers position in the room is CRUCIAL for extracting the best bass. This applies to ANY speaker in ANY room. This fact cannot be overstated!
That said, you do have a couple of 7308 tubes in the signal path that will soften the low-bass slam somewhat. I'm unfamiliar with your cabling, but that could also be a factor. Some cables are better than others at eliciting the most bass extension and slam.
If you got rid of the tube CD player and the tube preamp and went to good solid-state gear, you'd have greater bass extension and control. Using a nice tube or tube-hybrid amp on the midrange/treble modules, and a brute solid-state amp on the bass modules would be a way for you to get the most bass slam and still keep the sweet sound of tubes in the mid-top where it is most appreciated.
If you try all of the above and still can't get enough bass, there are some very good dedicated subwoofers that will pound you till your heart's content. But it won't all fall into place by itself -- you're going to have to go through some trial-and-error to get the exact balance you're looking for... Didn't anyone tell you that this quest for optimization was the fun part of audiophilia? Frank :)
If you have the room, you might look at a pair of used Dunlavy SCIVA's. They do everything you mention extremely well with a soundstage thats 9 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The bass will slam your chest in if its on the recording, Imaging is pinpoint, Dynamics and detail to die for and a slightly forward presentation. I run mine with a pass x-350 (which made a huge improvement in detail and the midrange from a Krell FPB-200). My price for these 6 foot marvels? $3250 on agon for a 1 yr old pair.
BTW , Preamp used is a sf line 3 with amperex 7308's in the output.
I have a similar set-up with the First Sound Presence Deluxe II and VR4 SE loudspeakers. I'm driving the speakers with a Bryston 14B SST amp. Before I put the First Sound into the system, I was using Bryston BP-25 preamp. There was a perceptible reduction in bass slam with the swapping of tubes intstead of SS. However, there was also a new naturalness with the First Sound that more than compensates for the reduced bass slam. The VR4's have never produced an especially tall or wide soundstage in my 19 x 14 room despite very careful placement (and re-adjustment), so I don't think amplification is the problem here. It sounds like we have similar experiences with the soundstage. I have used both Amperex 7308 and Siemens 7308 tubes in the First Sound, and you will undoubtedly get more "slam" with Siemens 7308 tubes.
You can upgrade your speakers through Von Schweikert. It costs $2500 to turn your speakers into the 7's. Go to the website and check the Mods. I believe the new 7's go for $25000.
BTW, my speakers are not biwired at the moment. Through the process of elimination, I have the speaker cables connected to the low module, and an AU24 1m jumper going to the top. I guess I can see what bi-wiring will do.
TVAD, I'm ok with the width, though it's not "wall to wall". It's the height that's rather shorter than I like, but it has grown higher with the addition of the First Sound preamp.
PLATO, I agree that I need to spend more time positioning. The Audience cables are known for their speed and bass extension, so I don't think they are a problem. I would love to biamp, but would be a little out of my budgetary means at this point. I knew I was going to give up a little "slam" going to a tubed front end, but I don't think the penalty should be this much though. I wouldn't get rid of the front end due to the naturalness and tonality I get from the tube gear.
I heard vr4-GenIIIs at a dealer once with classe 301 monoblocks in a room bigger than yours. That system had more bass then I though the room could control. I suppose in retrospect it didn't pound my chest in, though. But really I would think with jc-1s that you would have more bass then you would ever want. I'm not knocking your gear, I'm just a little surprised, that's all.
For sheer slamm and weight you would probably love the Zeus amplifier. It has much more authority than the Hurricanes on the VR4's, more authority in fact than many SS amps. The trade off is that the Hurricane is a bit better in the microdynamics area. Such is life.
In the case of the Parasound, the amp has great control but is voiced a bit on the lean side. The amp lacks "weight", which is really a function of what is happening in the mid bass. Gentle equalization would help alot here. The Avalon company makes extremely high quality equalizers for finish studio work. I believe it is tubed. Utterly transparent at any rate.
The Hurricane has nice weight but lacks the sheer power. The VR4's are just reporting the facts. Getting a good SS output cd-player would help alot too.
The VR4 is one of the more dynamic speakers out there when properly fed and positioned. Just keep at it!
Have you called Von Schweikert?
I had similiar bass deficiency in my VR-6 after carefully placing them according to the literature accompanying the speakers.
Their advice on the telephone differed wildly from the printed instructions. Bass improved dramatically when the speakers went into the corners as opposed to being out into the room.
I'm not sure what people saw when reading this question, but I don't see many answers to what you seemed to want!
I recently went through a similar situation, asking nearly the same question. I will relate my conclusions and you may do with them as you please.
I narrowed my list to four speakers:
1) The Sony SS-M9ES. Before you burst out laughing these $16,000 speakers are very good! There is really nothing they do wrong, although they might not be perfect in every area, or system.
2) B&W Signature 30's. Generally I am not a fan of B&W speakers but they did a very good job on this pair. They are not as bass heavy as some of the B&W models.
3) Wilson Watt/Puppies. They have more than thier fair share of detractors but most of those people don't have anything substantive to say. The comment is: "I heard them ______ with _____electronics and they sucked! Thanks for the info!!! I don't think they suck.
4) Kharma Ceramique 1.0. This is a very well made speaker that doesn't look like it has much for whistles and bells, but it sounds very good.
I looked at each of these and spent a lot of time trying to decide what to buy. I ended up with the Kharma's. If I could have found a pair of the Sony's (which I was unable at that time to do) I might have bought them instead, but it would be real close.
I hope that helps a little. Just remember that nothing in your room is as important as the room. A great system will sound lousy in a bad room where an average system can sound very good in a real well laid out and built room.
Nrchy, nice ideas, but 1markr requested speaker suggestions under $6k, so apparently you didn't thoroughly answer the question either. :)
I'm donning my absestos suit now...
I own the VR-4 HSEs driven by JC-1s as well, and have preferences in music that are similar to yours.
After living with both single wire plus jumper, and a bi-wire setup I find that the soundstage is wider and deeper, and the presentation more open and dynamic when bi-wired. I'm using Ridge Street Audio Poiema bi-wires, which are also fast and open, but have more weight than your Au24s.
I think it would be worthwhile to continiue experimenting with different spikes. The narrow body 1.5" Audiopoints helped to increase the transient response/speed and overall coherence of my VR-4s These were a big improvement over the slower sounding 2" Audiopoints I originally tried.
I would also recommend plugging each of your JC-1s into a dedicated 20 amp outlet. I haven't done a lot of back and forth comparisons, but did notice a slight softening on complex transients when two JC-1s share the same 20 amp outlet.
One other tweak, albeit an expensive one, is to sit your JC-1s on Sistrum SP-101 platforms. These help to produce a very balanced and open presentation, with great detail and extension. No leaness or lack of weight as rpl... suggests, and they do make the soundstage taller.
Hi Mark, I don't know if your JC-1s are broken in, but mine sure are and no lack of slam here... The comments about the preamp tubes sound valid, and proper positioning and spiking of the speakers are essential... If you're looking for more goosebumps I have 'em... Hope you got a receipt from an authorized Parasound dealer in the event you need service down the road, as there is no warranty otherwise...
Hi Brian, the JC-1s are a little over a year old, bought them preowned (but mint) from a fellow A-gonner for a decent price and no shipping. I realize there's no warranty for subsequent owners. I wouldn't have bought 'em new from another dealer knowing that you are in my area. This was a deal I couldn't pass up. Anyways, I still need to pay you a visit to hear the awesome setup you have.
I agree about positioning, and that's my next step. I need spend a bunch of time in positioning the speakers, and then some room treatments might be in order. I really like the VR-4s.
Tvad he wanted them used, each one of these can be bought for that price used. I guess you didn't think before posting!
Touche, Nrchy. Back to my apple sauce and drool cup...
Wow, I better be careful what I wish for next time....Stella Got Her Groove back, and I got my bass back! Bass up the wazoo (I need to reposition my speakers now as it's almost too much), and great slam!
I'm still going to try some of the tweaks mentioned above, but after talking to Emmanuel Go at First Sound, he solved my problem. It turns out that my power conditioner sucked the life out of the First Sound preamp, along with it some the bass and all of the "slam". Sure enough, taking the preamp off of the conditioner and plugging in directly to a dedicated outlet, set the preamp free! Mind you, I used this power conditioner on 5 other preamps with great success.
The First Sound is best plugged into the wall, per Emmanuel and now, my experiences.
Thanks for all your help guys!
My experience with the First Sound is also that it sounds best direct to the wall. Kinda nice to be able to fix the problem without having to buy new speakers, huh? Emmanuel's a fine gentleman, and extremely giving of his time to those interested in the First Sound preamps.