Vandersteen 5a, 15 years old vs. new Vandersteen Quatro Wood (upgrade or downgrade)

I currently have a Vandersteen 5A purchased about 15 years ago in great condition. My  equipment  is Thor 150 watt  tube EL-34 monoblocks with a Thor linestage, Sony SACD player and a middle of the road VPI turntable. Was reading about the Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT which I believe retails for $15,000.00. The wood has the carbon tweeter, my 5A's do not. The Quatro also has a 250 watt amplifier for the built in sub while my 5A's have a 400 watt amp.  If I purchased a new Quatro Wood and sold my 5a's would the resulting sound be better overall in my 8 1/2 by 15 foot room?
 My rationale for considering this upgrade, is that I would be getting a speaker with all new parts and would obtain a new warranty.  Any thoughts would be helpful.  In short is todays' Quatro Wood CT a better sounding speaker than my old 5A?  Would this change be an upgrade and would it yield an improvement in sound to justify the cost?

Thank you. 


I don't think so.  I have 5A's and love them.  I heard the 5A carbon which has the updated carbon tweeter....  maybe a bit cleaner/clearer, but not by very much at all.  My wife could hear no difference. I'm using Ayre equipment...don't know your Thor so can't judge.  I would guess that Vandersteens work better with solid state ...Vandersteens have a somewhat rolled high end to begin with.  I don't know what a tube amp contributes to the overall sound.
The best person (besides calling Mr. V- and he will call back), is to PM John Rutan (Audioconnection). He is very knowledgeable about equipment and will probably know if you current set up will avail you to the benefits of upgrading.
That being said, 15 years is a long time, and Vandersteen has been upgrading their speakers all the while (this occurs within the model), so I would say a pair of Quatro's should be an improvement-albeit probably a subtle one.
If I had the space, I probably would have bought them from you, but, alas, I only have room for Treo's.😣
I use Ayre and Atmasphere (tubes for the winter).
Both have their signatures, but they (tubes) do work with Vandy's.
FWIW, I have a pair of 5A loudspeakers, probably ~9 years old, and would not think of ever trading them in, certainly not for a Quatro.  Like stringreen I love them, and while there may be subtle differences in the CT, I don't think its worth the cost.  Nothing is absolute, but I absolutely love these speakers.  Johnny might advise you to think about a purchase of vandy amps.
I have 3A Signatures, which have the same midrange and tweeter as your vintage 5a (if memory serves).  All I can say is that after demoing Quatros I wished I had spent the extra $9K for them, and it all had to do with high frequency clarity (not bass).

So my simple advise is to demo them.  If you’re in NJ Johnny Rutan has them set up with Audio Research amplification, to truly great effect.
Tough call. I am going to assume your DBS batts in the low pass and the crossovers are fresh. I think RV would question in your smaller room IF the 5a push pull bass driver is superior to the Quattro. In the right room it is. The carbon tweeter is super sweet, I have the 7 mk2 and the Treo CT. I listen for hours on end fatigue free. I had 5a and 3a sig for years w mostly SS power amps but arc and Mac tube preamps. Vandersteen often shows w arc and VTL tube amps, RV loves tubes. His big power amps have a tube front end.
give him a call, he picks up the phone.
the advice you got on considering his 5 high pass power amps is spot on, just heard them w Kento... they are so sweet:-)
best of luck in your journey, enjoy the music
Cedar - yes the 5a and 3a- sig do have common tweeter and mid. The powered bass takes so much strain off the amp that upper frequency benefits by an amazing amount, add in a better crossover, more ridged cabinet and its no contest. The 3a signature is a might fine speaker, my brother has my old pair w ARC pre and Threshold power - they sing
What everyone else said.
I'm thinking the other end, what phono cartridge are your using now?
in my 8 1/2 by 15 foot room?
 I hope that was a typo. If not, I'd say you are a prime candidate for a headphone only system........


Wow, that's tight, but if the 5a's work for you, the Quatro's will, too.
My room is 15 feet long by 8 and one half feet wide.

Well as long as you accept that you get about 60% of any speaker's potential in a room like that, you should be ok.

Actually no, he has 11 octaves of analog EQ to tune his bass and fix room node issues while placing the speakers for better imaging.

OP a phone call w competent Vandy dealer or Richard highly recommended, who is your nearest Vandersteen dealer ?


Actually, no to your no.

Even only allowing 8" (which is not enough room actually) between the speaker and the sidewall, you can barely spread the 5a any further than 5' apart. That is not optimal by just about any standard.

So agree that maybe they sound good in that room. Also agree that it's only a fractional percentage of what they were meant to do. EQ or no.

Is it ideal ? No, few audiophiles enjoy ideal
will he be more in the near field ? Ya
can he tune bass yes
can he tame some first reflection yes with toe in and absorption 
does he already own 5a yes
is better sound possible: always
how are you helping him ??????

No to your no, where did he say he had them on the short wall ?

Well let's consider the long wall option.

If he places them 3 ft. from the front wall, that would make his listening position 4 ft. away. Speaks for itself.

Not trying to be contrary, but just pointing out how far too many people shoehorn large speakers in essentially what amounts to a walk in closet and convince themselves they are getting great sound. The OP is not alone. He just happens to have the spotlight on him right now.

This is a very valid point to make in this thread so don't have a cow......


The 5A and/or the quatro, can be placed closer to the front wall. As close as 1 foot. With the Vandy Eq's in both types of loudspeaker, you have plenty of room for adjustment. Probably not optimum in every scenario, but It works for me as I have the Treo Ct's in close proximity of the front wall including two Vandy subs.
lets shift gears, what speaker are you recommending that does much ( or anything) to change the distances ?

for what it’s worth many of the studio control rooms I spend time in are not much bigger, with lots of bounce off the board. The near field and powered bass can be a wonderful thing ;-)

Crickets Tomic
I spoke to OP and we scheduled a dial-in. There are always folks that know a lot about what they don’t know a lot about. When Vandy’s are tuned 4 inches from the wall ""couldn’t believe it myself "  taught over 20 years ago by RV can then spread speaks wide apart adjust 22 pots, analog room compensation pull-down excessive bass bloat at room’s resonance, perform correct tilt-back address first reflections they are truly awesome. Best JohnnyR
I really have to get those Sub 3's for my Treo's. I think the equalized bass is going to be a game changer.
Hi Johnny R

i am so so glad the OP called you for a tune up ! I woke up in the middle of the night running his room node calculations in my head - I know you know this, but for others, max cut on the bottom 2 potentiometers can be a great trick also !!!!

wishing you well brother 
Also send me or post up the post EQ results, which will shock even the rational :-) big fun
Crickets indeed.

No, I am no vandersteen set up expert. I don't even play one on tv, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

But I want either of you to tell me that you can get 100%, hell even 90% of what the 5a is capable of in a room that size? 

I don't doubt you can make it sound good. My only point is that that is a challenging room for ANY speaker and you won't get all of what you paid for as opposed to having them in a larger, more rectangular room.

Best of luck to the OP. And carry on.............
A firm grasp of the obvious is always helpful, 

where did the OP say it was an option to change the room ?

and owners of ANY speaker and Room combination would find the Vandersteen setup manual helpful for a math based placement of the acoustic center of a speaker, vs an arbitrary 3’

i hope to always be learning, I am sorry IF I have offended you in some way.
Also, any of the powered bass model Vandersteen can be run with high pass filter in place with the sub off - this approximate a super high quality mini monitor - dial in placement and imaging and then turn on and adjust the bass.

all in the manual, free download 
Greetings TomicI remember we were in a NY Hotel show in a pre-war building think Cement Bunker 18-inch steel girder going through the room with Vandersteen 5As ARC gear one of the rare times RV wasn't settled with measurements. We went out for a burger,fries10 min in says let's try one setting up, meaning changing the standard 100 Hz x over to120. then re-ran the in-room analog compensation settings after tweaking the contour Viola, I remember I went from shaking in boots to confident holy smokes playing the record 4-way street CSNY  Live and learn!
Best JohnnyR
Vandersteen has mastered how to make a speaker play deeply, loudly and in many different rooms. The bi-amplified, EQ compensated set up is amazing.
So I had regular Quatros and I did my best to hear the difference between those and the Quatro Carbons. I upgraded to a used set of 5As and whoa boy, what a difference.

Mind you, I have a room that’s 38’ in the long dimension. I’d be interested in the 5A Carbons, but they’d be worth a few thousand to me, not $15,000 more or whatever extra I’d need to shell out for them. As for the Kentos at their price point, I just don’t get that either. I know, hi-fi costs a lot more than a few years ago, but that’s not making that much sense to me. Maybe I’ll upgrade my turntable or something.

Also, yeah, the OP and anybody else should listen to Johnny R. He knows what he's doing and he's a good guy. There's a reason Richard Vandersteen does seminars there every year. 
@intermediatic you might consider the model 7 high pass filters on your 5a, not a megabuck upgrade, gets you WEL signature pigtails and better sound - Johnny R can help. In your big room that 5a push pull must sing ! I had my 5a in a massive room and they were eye watering with Ayre power.

have fun, enjoy the music.
@tomic601 ,
I was wondering what the model 7 high pass would do to affect the sound vs the M5HP?
@gdnrbob I made the change when I changed from SE amplifier to balanced so I cannot make an exact comparison for you. I sold my filters when I got the M7 amplifier which has built in high pass. I think Johnny R could comment on a direct comparison between the 5 and 7 filters or give RV a call. I chatted briefly with him today - he picks up the phone!!!

new builds of the 7 filter include Fire Audioquest wire.
@tomic601 ,
I asked Johnny, but he didn’t seem to think the 7’s would make a difference with my Treo’s.
But, I may have misinterpreted him.
@tomic601 Been a while but I'll talk with JR, sure. Now he did have the option of selling me the M7 high pass when I bought it and he didn't, so I suspect he'll say it's not worth it. Yes, the sound in that room is phenomenal. I went to another dealer the other day to purchase something JR doesn't carry and the sound was nothing like the system he put together for me. I do wish the system got a wee bit louder for action movies and such, but it is one of the best systems I've ever heard for listening to music and ***it's all mine*** bwa ha ha ha. 
How wonderful to hear this :-) enjoy the music !!!!! Say hello to Johnny for me
BTW just drove 1,300 miles to hear a pair of 7’s ( mine )... ha, big fun

geace, peace and health to all

Just got my Quatros. I've been dreaming about these for a while. Holy Cow they are great. I have been an audiophile for about 20 years and also used to do pro audio. I have heard some very resolving systems. I am super pleased with how these sound in my home. I now understand what people mean when they say it is involving. It's a natural sound, not hyped, but still very revealing of the music. I am hearing recordings that I have heard all my life and finding characteristics and qualities that are newly unveiled. I am a musician and understanding the subtleties of arranging and recording on these great records is very meaningful to me. 

@prefab ,

As a Vandy owner, please join us on the Vandy forum. Just go to the Vandy website and click on the link. You will see all the folks who have chimed in on this thread, and if you are a good boy, even Mr. V. will post.😜