Vandersteen 3a sigs/ 2wq vs. 5a or 5

I currently have a pair of 2wq's with the model 5 crossover and am considering buying a pair of 3a signatures. I have heard this is 80% or even 90% of the performance of the model 5a's. I am a little skeptical of that though given the cost. Can someone who has compared these setups give me your impressions. Is it close or not, and what are the sonic differences. Thank you for your input.
I own 5As and would look at it this way; In a 3 sig / 2w system with components that one might expect, IMO inserting 5As would be something of the difference you have above with redbook CD and HT. But the "gap" would widen if one upgrades the rest of the system (likely spending a lot more)and adds a really good vinyl setup.

If one has an Ipod as the source, who knows, we may be talking about only a 95% dif.

I have owned multiple Vandersteen speakers and heard many of them in different rooms. IMO, the 5As, properly driven and set up, are head and shoulders above all of the others. No contest. The 5A simply reveals more information with less distortion than the others and is the most coherent multiple driver speaker I have ever heard. That being said, the 3A Sig/2WQ combination is very very good. Try to find a way to listen to both in the same room before you decide.
I would say that a more accurate description, when comparing the Vandy lines would be:
The 2 series is 90% of the performance level of the 3A series.
The 3A series with two 2wq subs is maybe 80% of the 5s, and not very close to the 5As.
The 5s are about 80-85% of the 5As.
I think Agaffer comes closer to the truth in my opinion. The 3a Sigs are a very good speaker. Paired with the 2Wq subs, they are maybe 85% to 90% of the Model 5's (using superb electronics.) The 5a's are probably 20% better than the 5's. I have not heard a better speaker than the 5a's IMO.
The new Quattro's offer up a very similiar sound to the 3a Sigs and 2Wq combo. They may be a hair more transparent but I wouldn't give up the 3A sigs w/ 2Wq's for them.
If I was looking to buy new, yea, I'd give the Quattro's a look.
The 2Ce Sigs are a good bit behind their bigger brothers although one hell of a speaker for the money. IMO, one of the best all time buys in audio.
i own the 2c3 signature with the two Q subs and love the set up....for the money they can't be beat , if you have the room and cost vs. music reponse. i just listened to the new quatro speakers last week and found them to be ofcourse outstanding, but for the money they were not four thousand dollars better, the only way i would spend the four thousand more is, if i was fifthly rich, then i would buy the 5's , or just wanted them for what the quatros do...vandersteen sound from top to bottom with two speakers that i think even look better than the five's and that because of footprint size and interior design look, if you have a room where the two subs and 2ces doesn't matter then stick with the 2cesigs.subs and buy music.....they are great with tubes because you rolloff the lows to the sub amps and then the highs and mids are for the tubes...heaaven...
I'm a Vandersteen dealer and I think Agaffer and Bigtee have it just right.
OK, if you're looking for percentages... (Only valid with appropriate associated equipment):
100% = 5As
70% = Quatros
60% = 3A Sigs with subs, big amp, big room and a meticulous set up...(employ Richard Hardesty for best results...No, I don't work for him ;->)
50% = 3a Sigs with meticulous set up, a big amp and a bigger room.
50% = 2Ce Sigs with subs, regular amp, regular room.
40% = 2CE Sigs
30-35%% = VSM Signatures (Yes, they're amazing! Add subs and the 2s are not necessary...for HT.)
25% = 1Cs
All that said... YMMV! Percentages are not what you hear. Also, your room, electronics and taste may make one set up far better than another choice.

My only warning is that if you really want to get the best out of the 3s you will need a serious amp, a huge room and Richard Hardesty to set them up for you. For the money, effort and results you'll be better off with Quatros.

If you have the $$ you won't be disappointed with the 5As. They are MUCH better than the old 5s and are still a significant step up from the Quatros.

Good luck, I hope this helps. BTW, this is just my opinion. So take all I've written with a grain of salt and go listen at your local dealer!