Upgrade Von Schweikert VR-4 to Dunlavy SC-IV?


I own a pair of the original VR-4’s that I bought from Ambrosia A/V many moons ago. I had them mated with a Sumo Andromeda III for a long time, and they sounded sluggish, and lacked mid-bass impact and dynamics. I lived with them this way for 10 years. I recently bought a new amplifier (Parasound) which really livened up the VR-4’s, but they’re still not a speaker with the dynamics that I crave. I just contacted VR to see if they still offer the VR-4 to VR-5 upgrade, and unfortunately it is no longer available.

At the time I bought the VR-4’s, I auditioned the Dunlavy SC-IV’s, but I simply could not afford them at the time. I even visited the Dunlavy facility in Colorado Springs, and was mightily impressed with the effort that went into these speakers. I now have the opportunity to purchase a pair of the SC-IV’s at a reasonable price, so I’m thinking of “upgrading”.

I haven’t listened to the SC-IV’s in over 12 years, and never was able to compare them side-by-side, so I was wondering if any that has done so could give me a brief overview of the differences. While I like my VR-4’s, I would really like some marked improvement in the areas of dynamics and mid-bass “punch.” The VR-4’s sound too “studio,” and less “life-like” due to their lack of dynamic contrast, and I’m wondering if the SC-IV’s will fill that void.

I would say its time to upgrade to the Dunlavy. The Vr-4's crossover at 120 or so much of the energy that radiates from the woofers on other speakers comes out of the midranges on the schweikerts, this is for low coloration on certain types of music, on rock my soud anemic in that range. instead of going on and on, why not try the dunlavy they make an ecxellnt speaker. Better yet Aerial 10T..
Have you heard the VR4 Gen III HSE? Dynamics up the wazoo...fast...and clean.

A used pair might be a good upgrade from your VR4 without breaking the bank.
Go for it - the SC-IV is a classic in a league of its own, although your VR4's are an excellent speaker too.
I'd just like to add that I have been an Aerial Acoustic fan for yrs. I have 10T's and I don't know a better bargain on Agon than a used pair of these. Try to get the latest version possible as there have been upgrades. I am just waiting for the opportunity to get the 20Ts.
I had both 10t and 20t. Put Aerial on your shortlist.
Pipedreams here now, however the Aerials kept my foot tappin' for quite a while. I would have kept the 20t's however the bedroom the second system is in is too small to realize their full potential so off they went. I'm in complete agreement with both Hiend2 and Kenbo.

Good luck!

Paul :-)
Thanks everyone....

I listened to the Aerial 10T's, and they were on my original short list when I bought the VR-4's. I liked them nearly as much, if not the same as the Dunlavy's, but they too were out of my price range at the time. I've got a big room (20x30), so I'm afraid the 10T's may not cut it.

There are so many incredible speakers out there that I can't afford, and it kills me. I used to own a pair of Altec Model 19's, and they would startle you in the dynamics department. What I really want is a pair of PMC monitors, but again, way out of my price range.

The 10T's typically go for $3K used (at least the one's I've seen), and I can get the SC-IV's for under $2K.

Decisions, decisions.....These VR-4's have really grown on me, especially with the new amp, and even my wife is questioning why I'm considering a change. Funny thing is, she was a real trooper, and went to nearly every audio store in LA to audition speakers with me, and it was the SC-IV's that she liked the most.
If you're talking about going to a pair of the original SC-IV's, my opinion is that you're not upgrading to anything life-like.

I owned a pair of the original Dunlavy SC-IV's (bought them when they first came out) for eight years. For the first three years they were on my stereo, for the last five they were on my HT.

I replaced them in the stereo system with a pair of B&W Silver Signature's. They didn't have the bass of course, but they were much more realistic and natural.

The SC-IV's will easily slap your chest with the bass, but the midrange is not as natural as many other speakers.
I agree with Krell man on the transparency issue. They did make several up grades to help the situation. These are big speakers that sound their best in a fairly big room and placed on the short wall. If you don't have the room Tvad had a good idea to upgrade to the vr4 genIIIhse. A good idea
Having owned the Dunlavy SCIVs for a few years and also now owning VS VR4SRs (4JRs before that) if it were me, I would upgrade to the 4Jrs. They are better in every respect than the Dunlavys in my opinion. The bass is rather disapointing for such huge boxes and they just aren't nearly as dynamic as the JRs either, plus if it matters they are a huge eyesore as well (sorry if you actually like the way they look) The JRs are just plain awesome speakers, I sold a pair of 20K speakers in favor of them. I did upgrade to the SRs, which are better, but for your dollar I think it's pretty hard to beat the JRs.
The VR4 Gen III HSE are better than the VR4JR. The Gen III HSE were considered the reference before the VR4SR was released.
>The Gen III HSE were considered the reference before the VR4SR was released.<

And to my ears, they may still be the better speaker.

Everyone has really brought up some very valid points, and actually, opened my eyes....

I guess trading one 10 year old speaker for another 10 year old speaker is not going to move me forward in any way. Basically, I'll just be trading for another speaker that sounded different than my current VR-4's the day I bought them. I have to assume that technology has moved on!!

I bought the VR-4's for a reason; their captivating imaging and midrange qualities. I felt that was a fair tradeoff for their somewhat warm presentation and lack of "kick," but if Von Schweikert has maintained his design philosophy, how nice would my VR-4's sound if they were supercharged, with more dynamics and punch, all the while retaining the midrange qualities that give you goosebumps?

I'm going to take a step back and think about this before I jump. The SC-IV's are a really good deal price-wise, but how good is a deal if your enjoyment will be short-lived?

I'm sure I'd love the SC-IV's, even being 10 years old, because I liked them from the beginning, but again, if my VR-4's were "faster," and had more dynamics, I'd be set for life.

By the way, aside from the usual suspects (Aerial 10T for example), what other speakers are considered good competitors of the VR-4 Gen III? I don't recall every seeing a pair of these on the used market.
By the way, aside from the usual suspects (Aerial 10T for example), what other speakers are considered good competitors of the VR-4 Gen III?

If you want more dynamics, and DAL SC-IV is your reference (I assume you have lots of space), you may wish to audition larger ATC's...I recall a review somewhere (mix magazine I think) comparing DAL SC-IV with ATC SCM 300's....rock engineers preferred ATC's and classical engineers preferred DAL's (according to the review). Telarc uses ATC which is mostly classical ....so ATC are not just a rock speaker although they can play very loud (so an engineer can play back to the rock band what the rock band just played at the levels of live music). ATC use a short coil in a long magnetic gap and therefore suffer much less compression/distortion at higher SPL's than standard consumer designs (long coil in short gap).

However, I would not call them a competitor to VR-4's as the larger ATC's are found more often in professional studios (as mains) rather than as domestic speakers....like the DAL's they are big, imposing and score low on the WAF evaluation....but they would almost certainly give you that extra punch/dynamics (like live music) that you appear to be looking for.