Hi Flying; I also have 3Asigs-- great speakers IMO. I haven't tried a sub in my 14 X22' room, but I have done quite a bit of room treatment and some vibration control of components-- all to good effect. I use five 11" ASC tube traps, one in each corner and three centered between the speakers and up against the wall. I also use three ASC floor standing panel traps to control wall reflections. My 3As are 4 1/2 ft. from the wall behind, and about three ft. from side walls. I think the combination of good speaker placement (I used the Vand. manual), and room treatment has given me very good bass-- tight and articulate. I don't think the 3As are the quickest speakers around, but bass is solid, satisfying, and rhythmic in my room. I use Townshend Seismic Sinks under my tube pre-amp and its power supply-- this tightened up the bass some more, and also cleaned up the midrange. I also think that the amp/speaker combination is really important, and I use a McCormack DNA-2DX, which has excellent bass-- quick, and tight (well as quick as the 3As allow). Happy Listening. Craig.
You could hardly do better than to add one (ideally two) of the Vandersteen 2WQ subwoofers to your system; perfectly matched, phase coherent full range sound, and the functional equivalent of the Vandersteen Model 5, for thousands less. You will get cleaner, faster, deeper sound, and minimize room problems and standing waves in the bass at the same time. These are crossed over at 80 hz, and when the main speakers no longer have to reproduce below 80hz, that's where you get cleaner and faster, with an amazing ease to the sound, and lowered distortion overall. The increase in dynamic range will be very very satisfying as well. IMO, there is nothing else that you can do that will improve a system so much as adding a good sub, and Vandersteen makes one of the best for music. If you want a fatter base for HT, you can adjust the "q" of the subwoofer to taste; you just can't lose with the 2Wq. Good luck
Gasman; even though I didn't start this thread, your post was of great interest to me because I have 3As but no subs, and have actually been considering Vand. 5s. But you make the 3As with subs sound very attractive, ie another option. Thanks. Craig
Thanks Garfish and Gasman. Actually, I had a chance to talk to Richard Vandersteen. He says having 3A sig + 2w's would be 70-80% performance of Vand 5. Reason: Vand 5 is much more "inert" Looking at the sub option...you also have to buy quality wires and cross over. This would cost over $3000.00. Now I am really confused, should I do the subs, or save a little longer to move to Vand 5's ? That is the question.
When I had 3aSigs, I found the following made significant differences:
1) Using a McCormack DNA amp with them really brought out their way powerful bass & helped alleviate some of the slowness.
2) Using biwire speaker cables made a big difference.
3) Following the setup instructions to a T. Use the room mode calculations provided & the forward/rear tip-in charts for listening heights. It seems all vandersteens are sensitive to proper setup/tweeking.
If you are just using your 3A's in a music setup, try to find (2) used 2W's instead of the 2WQ. They can generally be found used in the $500-$650 range. This eliminates only the adjustable Q feature which according to my conversations with Richard is not necessary in a strictly music system. It is not necessary to use the same wires to connect the subs as you use with the 3A's. I have tried several that I had lying around as well as standard HT installation Monster 16-4 and Soundking 12ga. I found no significant difference with the wires including the ones Richard includes with the subs. Once you determine which crossover is appropriate for your amp you are only talking $125 new. Many of the popular values e.g. 100 ohm are readily available used from other users who have changed amps. This makes the sub option come in at less than $1500 and for me this made a great improvement with the 3A's
Hi, Flying: all good suggestions so far. I also own Vandy 3A Sig's and love 'em. I think mine are clean, fast, and very dynamic -- properties you seem to want more of. It seems to me that there are three possible factors that could affect your speaker performance: room interaction / acoustics; need for a subwoofer (depending on your listening tastes); and need for a different amp. I can't provide much help on the room interaction problem, since I don't know about your listening area. I can say, however, that my living room is a suspended wood floor above a 3-foot crawl space, and I had a lot of room resonance which tended to make the deep bass sound rather tubby and slow. To address the problem, I made several baffles from a mass-loaded foam material called Sonolead, glued them to a 2'x4' piece of Masonite, and placed them against the wall behind my speakers. They work very well and reduce the "muddiness". Second factor: subwoofer. The only way to go is the Vandersteen sub -- either 1 or 2 of them. Home Theater Guide recently published an issue that re-capped several years of subwoofer tests, and one of the 5 highest rated subs was Vandy's 2WV (I think I've got the nomenclature right -- it's the "video" version of their sub). Last thought: your amp. About a year ago, I upgraded my amp to the Bryston 4B-ST, and it does a SENSATIONAL job of provided deep, powerful, controlled bass from the Vandy 3A Sig's. Since the Vandy 3A Sig is capable of pretty good bass extension (26-28 Hz), it really benefits from an amp with a large, tightly regulated power supply, and the Bryston amps have that in spades. The newest issue of Stereophile has the "Recommended Components" list, and the Bryston 7B-ST is rated "Class A", and the 4B-ST is rated "Class B". (I personally think both should be "Class A" picks, but that's my opinion). Hope you find a satisfactory solution to your problem -- when the Vandy 3A Sig's are really dialed in to the room, there are very few speakers even come close in full-range performance.
Thanks to everyone for the input so far. For room acoustics, I have just ordered some RPG foam to place behind my speakers. Will let you know how it worked out. Also, I just tipped my speakers a little more forward...it seemed to help some. I am now tilted back only .5". The Amp I am using is ARC Vt 130. I imaging this would be slower than a bryston...or even Mccormack ?
Flying; IMO, you are right about the tube amp producing slower and more bloated bass than a good solid state amp. I auditioned an SF Power 2 (110+ wpc) for about a month, and it's supposed to have good bass "for a tube amp", but it could not even come close to the quality of bass I got from my McCormack DNA-2DX.
I personally think that if bass (and PRT) are really high on your list of favorite music characteristics you might consider a good SS amp such as McCormack, Bryston, and many others. I sold the Power 2 partly for bass and PRT considerations. It had a nice mid-range though. Cheers. Craig.
I had both the mccormack dna1/revaGold and an arc vt100m2 on the van 3aSigs. I thought the mccormack was a much better match for the 3aSigs. I found the vt100 sounded great, but was a little slower than the mccormack - as you would expect for a tube vs solid state. I also had some 160Watt sfm-160 tube monos on the 3a signs. Less resolution, warmer, but with more power than the vt100. The mccormack was head and shoulders the best amp for the 3aSigs. It brought out the bass & quickened up the speakers. Vandersteens are inherently warm sounding. I think this is why they don't really need a tube amp (imho) to sound good. Steve mccormacks hot-rod outfit actually uses the 3aSig to voice the revA,b,c modifications to the dna series amplifiers. A match made in heaven imho.