Vandersteen 2WQ Subs and ARC Power amp


Just purchased a pair of 2WQ subs in very good condition.  However, the variable crossovers that came with them were single ended, so elsewhere I purchased the fixed balanced versions, marked with "150K".  The seller assured me that was the proper value for my ARC REF 150, which has an input impedance of 300K.

I have very little, if any, output from the subs when I use these crossovers.  Do I have the wrong values for this amp?
Ag insider logo xs@2xscottwsmith
Vandy subs are very subtle in performance.
When you plug them in, do you hear a 'Thump'. If so, good! They are working.

150K crossovers should be giving you noticeable bass, considering the amps 300K impedance, but perhaps your room needs a bit more 'punch'.

When in doubt PM John Rutan (Audioconnection).
Mr. V will also respond via phone iquiries. Just call Vandersteen and leave a message.
Either can give you the best information.
Bob
Another thought...
Which taps are you using with the ARC?
Bob
I do hear a thump.  And if I disconnect the main speakers and just listen to the subs, I do have very low level output.  This is beyond subtle though, all the way to nearly dead.  Unless I just need to get used to these....
Another piece of info, there seems to be little difference in output level with or without the crossovers.
The bass from the 2Wq's should really be loud, boomy and obvious without the crossovers. In fact be very careful doing that because you can damage the subs internal amps if you turn up the volume too loud. I had bought a 2Wq new, and it works very well. I bought another 2Wq used, that looks almost like new, but when I powered it up in combination with the other new sub, it doesn't sound very good at all. I am going to send the amp in (taken out of the sub) to Vandersteen to be rebuilt. I also think the two adjustable pots on the back of the sub might also be damaged due to age.

First and formost,, make sure you get the right crossover values for the input impedance of your amp. Contact Richard Vandersteen for all your concerns. Cost for repair of plate amp starts at $225 plus shipping. Good luck.
You probably do have the wrong values...also, when were the batteries changed?
@stringreen 
Excellent point.

@mr_m ,
My subs have never been loud or boomy, in fact very subtle. I can only 'hear' them if I disconnect the speakers and play the subs separately.

@scottwsmith ,
Though mr_m gave you a caution, I would be hesitant with hooking up the Subs without the crossover.
Like I said, PM audioconnection, or leave a message with Mr. Vandersteen.
Bob
The crossovers are X-2B, fixed values no batteries.

Scott...don't you have batteries in the silver box where you change the input values?
This is a long story, so bear with me.  The subs came with WX-2 variable crossovers, with batteries and switches as you suggest.  But, they were single-ended with RCA plugs.  That is a non-starter with my REF 150, which is balanced input only.  So, I got "clever" and tried to skip a step.  I located a dealer who assured me that his pair of 150K fixed value crossovers (marked "X-2 BAL", no switches or batteries) would work well.  I purchased those, and here I am.

So to summarize, I have very faint bass from both subs when I have the main speakers disconnected, with high-bass content recordings and moderate volume settings on the preamp -- nowhere near the volume of the mids and highs from the mains. The forum contributors say the Vandy's are "subtle" but I have to believe thay should be louder. It is very, very faint. Strangely, when I tried without the crossovers, I got the same result.

I tried connecting them using the method suggested by REL for ARC tube amps, red to 8 ohm tap, black to 4 ohm tap (on an ARC tube amp, the 4 ohm tap is ground, I verified this with an ohmmeter). But that didn't improve things. I also tried connected the subs black leads to physical ground, same result.

I tried switching the phase, I tried different speaker cables, nada.

Are these things 100 lb weaklings? I just get very little sound out of them. When I place my ear next to them withe the mains on, I cannot hear or feel bass. I can't even tell they are powered on.  

Some folks have suggested calling Vandersteen, OK, but he's a busy guy and I figure he will just suggest going through the process specified in the manual, using the variable WX-2B's (which, at the moment, I don't have). The first dealer I called yesterday wanted to sell me the top of the line crossovers (X-5??) which are about $ 1400 and can be adjusted. The second dealer I called (the one that sold me the fixed value crossover X-2 BAL) thinks I have the right one now.

The amp has a 300 Kohm input impedance, balanced, and the second dealer assures me the 150K values he sold me are the right ones. He says I could go down to 100K but wouldn't expect a dramatic difference.  
I think my next step will be to do an internet search for some WX-2B variable crossovers and go at this problem that way. If any one has a pair of these they want to loan or sell, let me know.
@scottwsmith , 
Good info.
When I separate the subs from the speakers, yes, I hear a very faint sound from the subs. So, I suspect they are working. Moving to a lower impedance should provide an increase in bass response- at least it does for me.
What sound you do hear is the from the frequencies of about 100 to 80 hertz- there isn't a lot of music being made there- even with bass heavy music. Though it does 'flesh out' the upper frequencies.
This one of the beauties of the Vandersteen sub and its' implementation.

Now, I recommended calling Mr. V.
Mind you, I bought my 2wq subs second hand. When I called and left a message, Mr. V. called back the next day to discuss the issue.
I, too, had a problem with almost non-existant bass with my subs. 
It turned out I was using the wrong impedance measurement.
What I was impressed with was that Mr. V. called back the next day to see if I had corrected the problem.
Now, that is service above and beyond!
I also suggested PM'ing John Rutan(audioconnection). He knows just about all the brands and can give you great information, as well.
And, don't think he is going to try to sell you something. He is way too classy for that nonsense.
Though I might be wrong, I think your amp might have a diiferent impedance than listed. 
Perhaps contact ARC to make sure. Also, ask them what they think would be proper connection for a Vandy sub.
HTH 
Bob

Bob, I agree, not to run the subs without the crossovers. I was just explaining to the OP what the sound might be like without the crossovers hooked up. I have mine connected to my integrated amp"s processor's ins and outs. I one time forgot to engage the processor loop and the bass was boomy and bloated. In other words, that's the way it sounds without the crossovers. I did this quite by accident and would no way tell anyone to run the subs continuously without the crossovers.
Cheers,
Tim
 {Input impedance and getting right}
What the input impedance spec in the owner's manual reads doesn't matter, its what the voltmeter reads plain and simple.
The reason this is misunderstood is some amps use
J fet drivers, some bipolar which measure slightly different at 1000 vs100 Hz or 80 Hz
The absolute only way is to confirm proper settings is with an AC Voltmeter, not an owners manual or what the salesman tells you
Install red and black voltmeter probes in amp speaker binding posts turn down the volume in pre amp play Vandertones CD track 27 1000 Hz with Voltmeter set to AC millivolts adjust pre-amp volume slowly up till it reads 1V AC then play track 30 for 100 Hz Vandy five, seven, Quatros, etcWhen doing a 2WQ or Sub 3 This means you Scott ((((track 31 for 80 Hz Vandy 2W 2WQ or new Sub 3))) if X5 dip switches are set properly or installed at amp factory it should read.707 If not start from the beginning adjust dip switches until you have it set properly. If you are using other speakers that are out of time alignment flip the subs 180 degrees by inverting the speaker wire inputs and see what serves your preference.Best,JohnnyR, Vandersteen Dealer
I did exchange emails with Mr. V yesterday, and along with John R of audio connection the suggestion is to purchase some X5 crossovers so I can adjust the impedance matching and dial in the bass using the procedure that John outlines above (thanks John).  Guess you can add my name to the list of guys who has been initially fooled by these subs.  I will check back again once I have (hopefully) made some progress.
Mr V, BTW, was very skeptical about using the subs without the crossovers.  I did that only at low levels to verify that the subs were working.
Richard Vandersteen told me that operating the subs consistently without the crossovers will damage the internal amps in the subs. He very sternly warned me from doing this. Said, "Don't come to me with a warranty claim if you do this!"
I probably should have pointed out Mr. V. can be a bit 'brusque'. Best to have all your information at hand, as well as well thought out questions.
But, hey, he is doing this for free. How many manufacturers actually answer the phone to answer questions?
@scottwsmith ,
Like I said plug in the subs, if they thump, they are working- Or, just play the subs without speakers and listen to the grumbling.

I really hope you solve your issues with the Vandy Subs. They are, in my opinion, one of the best buys out there. And, though they aren't the cheapest, they are built like tanks. I just sold a pair of 2w subs that must have been 30 years old, and they still functioned like new.
BTW, I also use a pair of HSU subs in my office with a pair of VLR's.
For the money, they are quite good, but not as good as the 2wq's in my main rig (soon to be replaced by a pair of Sub 3's). The HSU can give me big boomy bass, but the Vandy subs just disappear.
Bob
Audioconnection... you are a wonderful  asset to the audiophile community

Thanks
After another few days of listening, I am on board with these.  The system just sounds better, some voodoo stuff working here.  Mids are clearer, imaging much sharper, and when there is bass content, it's there, although understated.  Much different from any sub I have heard.  When I get my adjustable crossovers I will have more to report, but my system is sounding really great, better than it's ever been.  
ya man, Vandersteen powered bass is different and IMO better, your REF150 can now really shine !!!!!
also, Johnny is a true asset to the community,,,
finally all roads don’t have lead thru RV, ask for Nathan also.....team Vandersteen is more than one person deep