Vandersteen 1Ci, Tekton Lore Reference, or Fritzspeaks Grove for a small room
I have not had the time to devote to listening to my system for a few years... Now that I am retired, I want to set up a system in a small room (12 X 14). I am leaning toward small floorstanders so I don't have to mess with stands. I am considering the Vandersteen 1Ci and the Tekton Lore Reference--but I see that the Fritz Grove is on special for $800, so they are also under consideration. My amp is a Cayin A50T EL 34 tube integrated. The nearest Vandersteen dealer is a couple of hours from my house, so I am able to listen to them. I sent an inquiry to Tekton over a week ago, and have not heard back--I had the same problem lack of communication with them several years ago, when inquiring about the original Lores. On the other hand, I have talked with Fritz several times in the past, and he goes out of his way to discuss his products. At one time I did demo one of his older products, a MTM design. I am hesitant to contact him yet about the Groves, until I am reasonably sure I would purchase them--He is so accommodating, that I feel guilty if I don't purchase something!
At at any rate, I am looking for something that would work well in my small (basement) room, that has a reasonably wide sweet spot (two or three seats). Thanks in advance for all input!
I heard the Vandersteen 1Cis set up at Audioconnection, and I was very favorably impressed. Johnny was playing Rosa Lee by Doug MacLeod and I asked him -- where's the sub? Really big sound from such small floor standers. He was driving them with tubes, so it sounds like you're good on that front.
I have to think that they have their dynamic limitations given the 1st order crossover and the relatively low crossover point....but if you're not cranking it, I don't think it will be a practical problem.
Coincidentally I heard the Vandy 1Cis at AudioConnection this summer with Quicksilver tube amps playing Doug McLeod as well. I was there to buy Treo Cts. I did purchase them and they are fantastic! The thing is, the most impressive, surprising event of the day was the Model 1s. John played them at volume and they had a clarity and especially presence to them that I could not stop thinking about well after the experience. I agree with cedargrover about their synergy with a good tube amp. It was over 20 years since I had heard a Model 1. The current production is a whole different animal. As is always the case, Richard Vandersteen keeps learning from his other designs and then trickles improvements down to his other offerings.
@pretender Hi Pretender.... I have sat in front of a few of the Tekton speakers... to be fair, I haven't sat in front of the Lore Reference, but I have listened to the Lore and Lore S... Even though these speakers do some things well, I would not consider them in the league of the Vandersteen or the Fritz.... Now to be more clear... I haven't sat in front of the Grove, but I have purchased 16 of the woofers used in these speakers and am very versed in speaker and crossover design and can tell you that this will be a very satisfying speaker. One of my current speakers is an MTM using this woofer and a Scanspeak tweeter.... Vandersteen... the 1Ci is a high value speaker. You did comment that you wanted a floor standing speaker, if this is the case, as long as your amp will competently drive the Vandersteens, They would be the way to go. Another thing is that the Vandersteens are 8 ohm 90db sensitivity with no crazy phase angles, they won't mind tubes at all. The Fritz use a HiVi D6.8 woofer, which even though HiVi spec's them at 87db sensitivity, I can tell you by experience that they measure 84. I have to assume that they were figuring a finished speaker and an in room response. So with these 3 choices, for me it would be a no brainer going with the 1Ci. I hope this helps, Tim
Though I haven't heard the Vandy 1's (I own the 3a sigs), I would not be surprised that they sound as good as hifiman says. To add a little grist to the mill, instead of Tekton, I would ask that you consider Zu Audio. I have a pair of Omen Bookshelf speakers for my office and find them very listenable. If you buy direct, you also have money back a trial period. The Omen's also come in a floor standing model.
As far as not contacting Fritz, I would say do not be shy. A good manufacturer will not be put off by an interested client.
I bought my Vandy's used privately, but when I contacted Vandersteen regarding an issue, Mr. Vandersteen called me back, spent time diagnosing a problem, and even called back to see if it had been rectified. Now that is customer service! And, though you hate to be a 'tire kicker', a good manufacturer understands that you have questions, and since they love what they do, will be willing to provide answers.
Thanks for all of the responses so far! As of now, I am heavily leaning toward the Vandersteens. Regarding the Groves, I realize that they are stand mounted, but I seem to recall that they originally sold for $1600, and now he is advertising them for $800--which is a heck of a deal, in addition to the almost universal praise that he and his products receive. Speaking of stand mounted, if I came across a used pair of Reynaud Twins, I would snatch them up--I had a pair years ago in a secondary system I had at the time. For the money ($700) they are one of my favorites--I sold them to a friend, and he still has them (and won't give them up).
I have not heard any Tekton or Fritz loudspeakers. I do own the Vandersteen 2CE Sig II and I think they sound very good for the price. I have found by listening many hours to these speakers that keeping them far apart and keeping 18inches to two feet to the back and side walls really allow them to shine. Placement is very crucial to the sound with the tilt and toe in.
I had both Vandersteen 2ce sigs and Tekton Pendragons. It was no contest, kept my Vandersteens and returned the Pendragons to the manufacturer. That was a couple of years ago, since then I moved on to Golden Ear Triton Ones and Twos (2 separate systems). The Vandersteen speakers are the kind of speakers you can listen to for hours on end without listener fatigue. The Tekrton Pendragons were a very large and imposing speaker with very anemic bass in my room. The Vandersteens in that same room and same spot had tons of very articulate bass, the Pendragons sounded like the woofers weren't connected. Beware of trials in your home as that is what I did with the Pendragons and when I returned them, it cost me 295.00 via FedEx. Never again.
We now have Fritz Grove Speakers... they are excellent. We have owned the Vandy's too(1B, and 2Ce) They are quite nice too. Both the 1Ci and Grove will offer plenty of extension with quite a bit of resolution. It would be hard to go wrong with either of them. The Vandy's have a lighter more articulate sound. The Fritz will shine with a slightly warmer presentation but can be just as engaging in a smaller room. Excellent choice from either IMHO. Even at full price on both speakers, I feel they more than justify purchase at at double or more of their asking price. Excellent companies and excellent people.
A quick Google for the Fritz website showed no Grove on sale. Are you buying these direct or from a dealer? Though Fritz's designs are intriguing, I think you really have to listen to them, or at least listen to both the Vandy's and Fritz's if you are considering them.
FWIW, I have only returned to Hifi after a 30 year hiatus. During the '80's, I heard the Vandersteen 2's and was awed by their capabilities. After all those years, I still remembered how they sounded. Last year, I decided I wanted to listen to music again and was so glad to find Vandersteen still held in high esteem. As I said, I now have the 3a sig's in my main room, and can honestly say that they are truly worth every penny. So, if you can't demo the Fritz's, I would say you would not go wrong with the Vandersteen. Heck, add a 2w sub or two and you will be in heaven.
Had a pair of Fritz Carbon 7's for a short time. Once I had the crossovers replaced they were fine, prior to that they were a very non-linear, fatiguing speaker. Cabinet quality was average at best, didn't care for the finish.
Some small speakers I've enjoyed over the years and can recommend: Aurum Cantus, Merlin, Von Schweikert, Talon, ProAc. I'll bet the Vandersteens are excellent.
I hear some negativity toward Tekton. Yes, They don't really respond to emails. However, if you call Tekton, Eric, the owner and builder will answer the phone and provide you all of the information that you need. They also are just introducing a few new speakers. This is not an endorsement of Tekton either way. It is just a way to really be able to discuss what Eric could possible provide for you.
In that list, I would HIGHLY recommend the Vandersteen 1Ci's. They are formidable speakers. I would also take the time to talk with Clayton at Spatial regarding his M4 Turbo S. They will be a better match for the acoustics in your small room. I have basically the same room size, and that hurts when picking speakers.
I did an audition of both the 1Ci's and the M4 Turbo S's back to back, with tube and solid state power. Tube is by far the best choice. Both of them sounded great.
To me the Spatials won with regards to good sounding bass, and they made instruments come alive. Both are time coherent.
I have owned the Vanersteen 1Cs as well as the Tekton Lores. Absolutely love the music the Vandies put out. Luckily I bought the Tektons used so when I sold them a couple weeks after purchase, I didn’t lose much. The Lores had a nice enough tonal balance but I could not get any image depth at all from them. Comparing them to the 1Cs which give as much depth as the room and recording allow.
Also, in a room that size, any of these speakers will give you all the volume you need.
There are many choices of speakers to include all models and manufacturers...and that is a good thing, since all audiophiles having different considerations and taste/preferences in sound. I say get what you fancy and be happy. Whatever you think is important, measurements, aesthetics, sound, warranty and parts or brand loyalty you can find something to suit your needs/wants.
Paying for a review could be a bad thing if there was extra incentive for the review to be positive. It could also be the designer was having trouble finding a willing reviewer. I own the basic Lore and to me it's a very good speaker, but it sounds alot different than traditional hi fi speakers. I also had them in a small 10x12 bedroom halfway blocked by a bed so they couldn't really breathe and open up. Currently I'm using Paradigm Atom v3 (paired with a 3w tube amp) in this space with great results.