Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofers with M5-HP crossovers - help needed


I have been happily using a pair of Vandy 2Wq subs with single-ended M5-HP crossovers for a few years now. My system was dialed in the way I like it (bass a bit on the full side, but still tight and defined). I just had my amplifier repaired and upgraded, and the new input impedance is 22k ohms vs. the 10k ohms before the upgrade. I followed the Vandersteen recommendation for the jumper settings in the M5-HP (6 and 7 only, "on" or not open), and the bass is just about MIA altogether. As per the Vandy web site, I disregarded the chart on the case of the M5-HP and followed the chart on the web site.  Because I am an idiot, I didn’t bother to mark down the settings of the jumpers prior to changing them. Anybody have any suggestions for me that will restore the bass? I am pretty sure the issue is the jumper settings. Thanks in advance!
bondmanp
My suggestion is to try to get Johnny Rutan to chime in!  (@audioconnection)
vandersteen open today
Richard answers the phone
@bondmanp  Unbelievable coincidence.  I just sent my primary away for significant upgrades and pulled out my 22k input impedance Adcom GFA-555 back-up amp.  I have two 2wq subs. paired to my Treo CTs.  I would suggest setting the crossover to 10k.  That means you want switches 2,4,7 ON.  

When I have my 100k main amp in system I have the crossover set to 75k.  Integrates beautifully.

Please try 10k  I really hope it works well for you!
+1 hifiman.
If you find the bass lacking, just move down a step. The M5-HP settings list is on the Vandersteen site.
And, you can always call Johnny Rutan at audioconnection. He is only second to Mr. V himself.
B
The 10k setting for Bondmanp's amp would be the one step down from his 20k input imp. Just as Hifiman5 stated. That should restore the bass. One has to be careful not to go to low below the input imp. as this can damage the subs internal amplifier. This is according to Richard V.
Correction. I see his amp is now at 22k. Was told you can experiment one or two steps down. Using caution of course...
Sounds like 10 K should work but confirm it .
 If you go to Vandersteen website under resources download the Vandertones make a CD or file turn preamp volume down.
 track 27 is 1000 hz track 31 is 80 HZ  get a Voltmeter set to AC Volts looks like a sideways  s snake and connect probes clipped to amps speaker posts Red is Plus Black is Minus
Play track 27 and slowly raise preamps Volume up till Volt meter says 1 V AC then play track 31 if your dips are set right it should now read.707
 once you get it set a few days of run in should sound great again.
  JohnnyR

Thanks, all!  Before I read your helpful suggestions, I decided to live on the edge and try the dip switch settings on the M5-HP cover (as opposed to the Vandy web site).  Using the 20k ohm setting, my bass has been restored to levels very similar to what I had prior to the amp upgrade.  Now, shortly before the amp upgrade, I installed new cables between my DAC and pre.  While they were overall a big improvement, the bass levels seem a bit reduced.  So, follow-up question:  If I want to goose the bass a little bit, am I better off monkeying around with the 10k ohm settings on the M5-HP or just dialing back the efficiency knob on the 2Wqs a bit?  I would hate to fool around with the Q setting - I love the tight bass I get with the current settings. 


@audioconnection Johnny - when you say to connect the voltmeter to the "amp's" speaker posts, are you referring to the main amplifier or the plate amps on the 2Wqs?  Thanks!

@bondmanp   Surprised you would be so cavalier as to use the setting on the M5-HP sticker! 😈 As I posted previously, you should realize ample bass and good integration with your main speakers by setting the crossover to 10k.  You can then adjust the efficiency dial on the 2wq to tweak the subwoofer output.🎼
@hifiman5  - Yup, I know, I live La Vida Loca.  But the Vandy web site does specifically say "when using the M5-HP with 2W series subwoofers, the sticker on the chassis should be ignored.  Set the switches according to the applicable chart below."  Unless what is meant is the V2W, I don't understand this.  Why would "2W series" exclude the 2Wq?
The following question and answer is from "Ask Richard" on the Vandersteen website.

Roger (8/12/15): HELLO, I have a couple w2 s paired with 3Asig and a set of M5-HP filters . My questions are, are the stickers on the covers accurate for use with the 3as and is "open" on the dip switches the same as "on"? Thanks Roger

HELLO ROGER, THE STICKER ON THE COVER OF THE M5-HP IS ACCURATE FOR A 100Hz CROSSOVER (MODEL SEVEN, 5A CARBON AND QUATRO WOOD CT SPEAKERS). WHEN USING THE M5-HP(B) HIGH-PASS WITH THE 2W OR 2WQ SUBWOOFER (80Hz CROSSOVER) YOU WOULD USE ONE SETTING LOWER. OPEN IS OFF.

What Richard probably should have been clearer on is that when using the M5-HP with the subwoofers to use the settings as shown on the chart as displayed on the website.  As he did say, the sticker settings are for Model 7, 5A Carbon and Quatro Wood speakers.

I believe the sticker on M5-HP has settings to accomplish a 100hz crossover point, whereas the settings page for the 2W series subs is for a 80hz crossover point. Correct?
@mr_m  Exactly!👍
@mr_m@hifiman5   Ah, that makes sense.  The 5 series speakers cross over at 100Hz.  So, I guess for now, I am living in sin.
Bondmanp. No. you're not living in sin. You would make Richard Vandersteen very angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry...lol

@mr_m - Yup, I’ve heard. But every time I’ve interacted with him, both by phone and in person (about half a dozen times), he has been nothing but pleasant and patient.


I left the screws off the chassis of the M5-HPs, so when I have the time, I will play around with the 10k setting for 80Hz.

@bondmanp 
When Johnny said to measure the voltage, he meant at the main amplifier not the sub.
And, yes, the settings for the M5 should be from the list on Vandersteen's website and not the crossover box. Those, as hifiman pointed out are for the Quatro and above.
Mr. V. can be brusque at times, but never angry. He's too classy.
B
@gdnrbob  +1  "brusque" is the perfect adjective to describe Mr. V.    
Please. Don't take what I said the wrong way. I have talked to Mr. V.  a few times and for the most part, he was very pleasant. We had this very discussion about the 2Wq sub I had just purchased and he got just a bit agitated about how I was going about integrating his sub with my amp. He asked me if I had read the owner's manual and I said YES. Twice! All turned out well after that.
@mr_m , 
We aren't putting words in you mouth/text in your post.
We just recognize Mr. V's personality.

B
Yes. Richard's personality is very colorful!
@audioconnection I am starting to lose it. Tried 80Hz settings recommended, 1 up and 1 down, and I get no sound out of 2Wqs. Upped efficiency control to 85 dB, no difference. Burned a CD of Vandertones, but my amp did NOT like being touched by multimeter pins.... triggered protection circuit repeatedly.

I set the M5-HPs back to the 20k settings and will try letting them and the amp burn in for a while.

FYI, I took the M5=HPs and 2Wqs out of the chain altogether and got much better low end from my speakers run full range. I really miss what the 2Wqs used to do. :-/
Did you try the 10k setting?

Bondmanp,
You mentioned dialing back one the efficiency knob back to 85db. Shouldn't you be going up to 86, 89, or 90db to produce more output from the 2Wq? That's what I did to mine to increase bass output. If I'm wrong, I have then set my sub incorrectly.
Bond,
  the instructions below
 the part you missed that engaged the protection
 If you go to Vandersteen website under resources download the Vandertones make a CD or file
((((((((((((((((((((((((( turn preamp volume down.)))))))))))))))))))))
 track 27 is 1000 hz track 31 is 80 HZ get a Voltmeter set to AC Volts looks like a sideways s snake and connect probes clipped to amps speaker posts Red is Plus Black is Minus
Play track 27 and slowly raise preamps Volume up till Volt meter says 1 V AC then play track 31 if your dips are set right it should now read.707
 once you get it set a few days of run in should sound great again.
  JohnnyR
What the sticker says is for 100 hz
one setting down is 80 hz
 The meter confirmes the above procedure.
Every time you change setting start again trk 27 with 1 v .ac.then use track 31 for 80 hz.
 Call me later if you're going nuts.
 JR 

@audioconnection - I started with the preamp volume set to zero, and the protection circuit still engaged, before I had a chance to increase the volume. I am one of those few who RTFM.


I began to think that there was something wrong with the M5-HPs, and they would have to go in for service (lithium batteries installed in 2012, so probably not two dead batteries at the same time). I retained the in-line 10K filters I had used prior to acquiring the M5-HPs for such a situation. I put them in and got more bass out of the 2Wqs than with the M5-HPs set to 10K. That is puzzling.


I raised the bass level on my preamp (those rarely used tone controls do come in handy!), and got sufficient, if not ideal in quality, bass output. I was able to determine that the 2Wqs are indeed working and generating sound. I got similar results with multiple source components.


What this means is that, I think, the new amp is not putting out much bass. Hopefully this is a burn-in issue, but I will confirm with the amp’s builder today. Of course, this does not explain why the in-line filters offered so much more bass output than the M5-HPs set to 10k.


If I am wrong about the amp, I will give you a call, Johnny. Thanks for all the assistance. Ditto everyone else here.

@mr_m - Oops, I think you are correct.  Brain fade, there.  I will dial the level control back up tonight.  Could be at least a contributing factor. 
@bondmanp   Be willing to bet you need new batteries in the M5-HP!  Your batteries may not be dead but could be too weak to work effectively.  The next time I replace mine, I am gonna send Vandersteen two Duracell Quantums.

@hifiman5 - it is possible, but what a coincidence that they both seemed fine when I pulled the main amp for the upgrade, and are both dead three months later upon the amp's return.  Also, even though I got better bass out the mains run full range, the level of bass was still way down from what AI have heard these speakers do when run full range in the past, before the amp upgrade.


But if all else fails, and after the amp has run in some more, I will have to try new batteries.  But with the soldering, that's a real PITA. 

Harbour Freight has nice big red 23 dollar Voltmeter.
 It sounds like your meter is shorting your amp's speaker outputs provoking it into protection.

You need to find out where this newly modified amps input impedance really is.
We have seen modifiers install transformers at the input stage,
changing the amps input impedance thinking they are making a masterpiece and muck up the whole picture.
  
Also, your older pre-owned Hi pass units 2012 batteries should be changed immediately and have the 10-year lithium Batteries installed by Vandersteen or a real tech,..and performance verified.
 Best JohnnyR
  

@audioconnection - Well, the amp was modded by the original manufacturer, so I will have a conversation with him about the input stage.

Once I have this conversation with the manufacturer, I will re-evaluate and look into battery replacement.    Thanks!

Yup, 2012 batteries are probably kaput. Don't they have the expiration year written on them? All the ones I have, have a date written in magic marker, so no question when to replace.
B
Are you sure the possible exhausted batteries can cause output level problems? I was under the impression that the batteries, like Audioquest's DBS battery packs had more to due with the dielectric of the signal thru the interconnects. More of an SQ problem. Not output.
@mr_m  What provoked me to open up my M5-HPs were a loss of output from my subs.  Once I played music with lots of deep bass and heard a lack of it I realized the crossover batteries were shot.

You may also be right about the batteries charging dielectric as Richard was in on the development of dbs with Bill Low.
The DBS battery has zip to do with output
they bias or form the dialectric and are not in the circuit

a dead battery will effect sound but not volume 

you have other issues


@gdnrbob - In 2012 I had Lithium batteries installed.  Date in Sharpie for replacement is 2022.  Batteries have expiration date of 2020, so I was hoping they would last past 2018.


@mr_m - I am sure of nothing.  This would be the first time I replace batteries since I bought the M5-HPs.

@tomic601 - (Atomic!  I get it!)  I tend to agree with you.  Here is a sequence of changes in my system:


I was really digging the sound of my system, including the 2Wqs, when I upgraded cables connecting my DAC to my pre.  This was in June of 2017, IIRC.  The cables were a definite improvement, although I did notice a slight reduction in overal bass output.  I chalked it up to cable differences and resolved to increase the output of 2Wqs as soon as I had some time (the controls are not that accessible, and I mass load the 2Wqs, so it is a bit of a project to move everything around).  Before I had gotten to adjusting the levels of the 2Wqs, my amp croaked on me.  After speaking with the designer/builder of the amp, I decided to send it in for repairs and upgrades.  The upgrades included almost all new interior parts (circuit board, transformer, wiring, etc.).  This took three months (don't ask), so for three months, the 2Wqs and M5-HPs sat unpowered and disconnected.


When the amp finally came back last week, I connected everything, and adjusted the M5-HPs to 20k (single ended) to reflect the change in input impedance of the upgraded amp from 10k to 22k (Johnny's concerns notwithstanding, I doubt my amp builder would get the input impedance wrong; he is a bit of a wiz at these things).  While the upgraded amp has much to offer over the amp as it was before, the bass is just MIA.  I know some additional burn-in time might be needed, but this is extreme absence of bass below ~150Hz.   If I max out the bass control on my preamp, I get an acceptable level of bass, but it lacks punch and extension.  Doing that did, at least, allow me to determine that the 2Wqs are functioning, as I could feel very slight cab vibrations.


OTOH, since the old in-line filters and my speakers run full range have marginally better bass (but still nowhere near acceptable), I do suspect the M5-HPs as well.


I am scheduled for a call with the amp builder tonight, who suggests that the amp may not be properly biased for my system.  Not sure how this could affect the bass output.  Once I have the amp squeared away, I will focus on the M5-HP battery replacements.

@bondmanp ,
It sounds like you are doing this the right way.
I, too, had my amps worked on and when they came back, I wasn't informed that they had lowered the impedance considerably (like 100K to 20K), so, of course, the M5-HP's needed to be adjusted. Unfortunately, they only go to 22K ohms in balanced. The bass is just a teeny bit shy, but acceptable. In conversation with Johnny, it seems Mr. V. doesn't want to go to any lower setting-I forget why.
If the batteries were near the end, and you disconnected them for a prolonged period, then they possibly were drained by not having another source (your amp) to keep the crossovers charged. 
Just thinkin'...
B

(((I doubt my amp builder would get the input impedance wrong; he is a bit of a wiz at these things))))
Bond
I believe that you are totally convinced that he is a real genius and
that he thinks its the correct spec.
Problem is many amps with a given input impedance may be using use a
 bipolar driver transistor instead of a JFET and have a varied Input impedance at some frequencies.
This then sends a leaner signal into the 2WQs feed forward design
This is why I have been trying to tell you
 You really have to get a new AC voltmeter meter and confirm the impedance with the directions I gave you above.
 Only the meter will know whats right.
 
JohnnyR
 
 PS pop into the store and ill show you how to do it in 3 to 5 min
   
 

Ok - Progress!


Last night I spoke to Richard V.  It was very worthwhile, as he explained a number of things to me about the M5-HPs.  In particular, he told me that a dead battery will not result in diminished bass output, and that the the problem did indeed seem to be the amp and the input resistance.  It was a great call, and took place before I spoke to the amp's builder.  Richard felt, as I did, that it was just too coincidental that both the M5-HPs would have their batteries die or fail at the very same time, and at the same time I put the amp back in the system.


Prior to my call with the amp's builder, I snapped a few pics of the inside of the amp and sent them to him.  Well, that was the problem:  The amp was knocked around a bit by UPS, and stuff had come loose (I had very little idea what I was looking at, but the pics showed everything).  Specifically, the transistor bridge was no longer connected to the heat sinks.  These of course overheated, and caused a chain-reaction of other issues.  So, the amp is going back to have the damage repaired and everything reattached properly.


So, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Diagnosis is 90% of the battle.  Now, who do I speak to at UPS to get compensated?  ;-)

Hmm, do you think it is worth it? Will the repair cost that much?
Knowing how these things play out, I bet UPS will blame the amp builder for not packaging correctly. 
Though I never had an issue of a box being so roughly treated that the internals were knocked apart. Was it double boxed?
When I sent my amps to SMc Audio, Pat recommended that I double box and put lots of extra packing to absorb a shock should it drop 5 feet.-Which is the worst case scenario if your box is the first being deposited into an airplane cargo hold with no other boxes to cushion the blow.
B
@gdnrbob - It won't cost me anything.  The amp's builder is covering shipping and the repairs.  He is a stand up guy.  If I had to pay for the shipping and additional repairs, you might have a point, although, based on what I heard with the broken amp, I have pretty high expectations for the repaired one.  The only thing I might pay for is to have it double boxed this time.
@bondmanp 
That's good to hear. Was the packaging damaged on the amps when you received them?-Like somebody dropped it?
If you don't go the double box route, at least have him get some triple wall cardboard boxes. Those Home Depot double wall boxes are just too thin.
Also, if the amps are unwieldy (heavy/large), have him add strapping and/or corner bracing.
When manufacturers put 100lb items in thin cardboard, and expect UPS to move them gently, that is when problems happen. After all, if you are carrying boxes all day, the last thing you want is an unwieldy box.
That is why I like strapping. It give the delivery man a way to hold onto the box.
B
great call talking to RV

have to triple emphasize gdnrbob input on double boxing !
@gdnrbob - (why doesn't your handle ever show up when I type @?)  The box was intact, but could have been tossed about a bit without destroying the box, and there is no strapping or heavy corner guards.  That's why I offered to pay the difference for double boxing.  The amp is en route.  I will report back when it is returned to me.  If all goes well, I think a full review of the upgrade is in order.
@tomic601 - Turns out, RV was on vacation the week everything went wrong.  I had called Vandersteen Audio and got accurate answers to the questions I asked, but it wasn't the same as getting the complete story from The Man Himself.
Great thread.  I learned the multimeter method from John Ruttan to setting my M5HPs.

i have a related question.  If a reading of .707 is the target with track 31 (80 has tone for 2WQ), would a reading above that (say .800) result in more or less bass?  Just curious.
more voltage = more bass


BOOyah!  Progress!  After many months of head-scratching and curse-muttering, I can finally see (hear?) some light at the end of the tunnel. 

Last night, John Rutan of Audio Connection stopped by, and he worked methodically through my lack of bass issue.  In the end, it looks like it might actually be the M5-HP crossovers themselves.  He installed the X-2 temporary crossover and, using the 33K jumper setting, my bass was back!  All of it!  So, as per John, the next step is to send off my M5-HPs to Hanford for a thorough checkup.  Perhaps, John suggested, the caps in the M5-HPs have failed.  Since I purchased these M5-HPs used in 2012, I have no idea how old they actually are.  There also is some confusion over the jumper settings for the M5-HPs when used with the 2W series subs, as the settings were apparently revised, most likely after my M5-HPs were produced.  So, we shall see.  I hope to ship the M5-HPs out tomorrow.  But at least I got the system up and running again with the X-2 John was kind enough to lend me.
John Rutan's the man.....   always so helpful and knowledgeable.....  one of a kind.  (though kudos to Richard V as well)