Upgrade Vandy 3A's or get larger amp?

I'm driving a pair of Vandersteen 3A's with 65wpc; far below the recommended power of 100 wpc or more. They sound fantastic even with this limited power, but I know I can do much better. I'd appreciate hearing from those who have upgraded their 3A's to 3A Signatures. Is it a substantial difference in performance for the $850, or would I be better putting the money towards a larger amplifier?
First of all what 65 what amp are you using? If it is for example, a Levinson #29 or a Krell KSA 50 then you are getting much closer to 100watts (or maybe closer to 130) into the 3A’s 4-ohm load (a bit lower in the upper base). I you are using a less substantial amp then the wattage may be an issue.

For a time I used a Creek 4330 integrated on my 3A’s (45 watts or so, maybe 70 or 80 into the Vandies load). It worked fine, somewhat limited as far as dynamics, and caution was used at high volume levels. That said I think you will find that the Vandie 3A and the Signature model perform better with at least a 100 into 8 ohm and a 200 into 4 ohm amp. This implies a stiff power supply, and the ability to deliver current. Some recommendations: McCormack DNA 0.5, McCormack 125, Belles 150A regular or Hotrod (a great match). Tube amp wise there are less low cost choices, but you can get by with 60 tube watts.

Regarding the upgrade to the speakers. I personally recommend it. The tweeter opens up the 3’s high-end a fair amount. This contributes to a larger soundstage, and more defined imaging. Some might say that the Sig. Version has a less vandie sound i.e.: less dark. I do not agree with the “dark” description that Vandie’s get. I think the others are generally on the bright/aggressive side of natural.

To answer the question for me, the $750 upgrade was worth it, I upgraded my 3A’s to the signature model. The difference is significant (but subtle), and the improvement you will hear is dependent on the quality of the rest of your system. The other thing is the difference (to me) is 95% related to the tweeter change, a more powerful amp may effect the high end, but will more likely impact the bass range. So that is where what is important to YOU in the sound comes in. Good luck.
I upgraded my 3A's to the Signature version last summer, and was very glad I did. Ditto most of the comments above: cleaner, more transparent highs, and better balanced overall. I think both the 3A's and 3A Sig's clearly benefit from a larger power amp. I am using a Bryston 4B-ST, and it's turned out to be a great choice for the 3A Sig's. The 4B-ST is rated at 250 wpc, but actually puts out about 290 wpc. If you need less juice, you ought to consider the Bryston 3B-ST, which puts out about 150 wpc. The 4B-ST also does a terrific job of handling the bass, which really improves the bottom end of the 3A series.
I had 3A's but never did the upgrade before selling them :(

I agree with Tap3sap - it depends a LOT on which amp you have, in terms of power. It also depends a lot on your room size. In a mid to small room, the Vandy's don't need much power. But in a larger room, say 30' on one side, I think you need a rather beefy amp to get a full bodied and controlled sound out of the Vandy's. If you are bass-freak, you can never have enough power :)
Do you prefer solid state or tubes?I've owned Vandersteen's for nearly nine years before upgrading to Merlins.As good as the Vandies are,they overall are somewhat colored in respect to the Merlins.It simply is a matter choice vs dollars.If you plan on keeping the Steens,I'de consider an amp like the VT100mk2 or 3.Used they are a good deal and the Vandies love tubes.Just ask Mr.V himself........
I had my 3As up-graded to sigs a year ago and don't regret it. As noted in the above posts, it had the effect of opening up the whole upper music range, and the soundstage.

But really, over time and as money permits, I'd look to up-grade both. I can say that in a medium sized room that the McCormack DNA-2,1, and .5 all work very well with the 3As and all have a stiff enough power supply to control the bass well at reasonable listening levels. Good Luck. Craig

I own 2ce sig. driven by my audioprism debut tube amp 35w a channel;the amp is powerful enough to drive them nicely and loud enough to my liking;lying around I also have a pair of unused meitner mtr-100 monoamps at 100w,35a/channel,I decided to play with them and use it to passively biamp the LF of the speakers,the added current made the music amazingly more open and detailed,with no discernable distortion in the midrange either,without going into details with the bi-amping subject I think from my experience you certainly can benefit from added power for your 3As with just one amp of good quality;money wise you could as well spend the money to upgrade and from what the other reviews are saying it seems to sound just as great.
Don't think you can go wrong either way,eventually do both when the funds permits...:)