Vandersteen 7 mark ll or big Kef blades


I am considering a pair of one  of these.  Anybody have any suggestions , comments, recommendations?
digitaljoseph
Vandy's, always Vandy's.-Especially when considering how you can tune them to your room.
Seriously, if you are spending that much, why don't you audition them?
You are the only one that can make the decision, as everyone has different tastes, hearing ability, etc.

Bob
Post removed 
Lucky you.....personally, I would choose the Vandersteen, however only you can make that happy decision. I own Vandersteen and have been very happy with their support, I don't know Kef support....that might be put in the decision making.
yes, how blessed and fortunate. I am lucky to own several pair of Vandersteen, including the mk II. I get endless hours of enjoyment from them in a mostly all digital system. I use a Revox B-77 and Master tapes as an analog reference as well.
I have visited most of the USa dealers who display them, all quite competent and excellent support. They all carry IMo excellent ancillary gear, most are very analog oriented. I might be the blacksheep..ha
I have also heard the Blades, I never say anything bad - go listen, form your own opinion.

what room, music, volume level, upstream equipment? 

enjoy the journey !!! and the music

IF I may be of service, just let me know. IF you get to Seattle, you are welcome to hear ours.

Jim
At that price range, you do need to audition them both.  I can say that one of the two or three best systems I have ever heard was Vandersteen 7 Mk IIs with their amps and subs at Audio Connection.  I have not heard the Blades, though.
Never heard the Vandersteen 7 but owned  both the Vandersteen 2ci, 2ce signature and the 3A.  I did hear the big Kef Blades and found them exciting at first but fatiguing after about 30 minutes of listening.  Knowing Vandersteen, I would think that would be the better of the two but you really need to listen to them, especially at that price range.
I have heard the Vandersteens at a dealer and the Blades at RMAF and can’t put them in the same category. To me the Vandys are hands down better in every aspect. But as mentioned you need to audition them yourself.
Your ears period .With such a large outlay it's critical.
Per several dealers and people I trust the Blade 2 is the better speaker overall than it's big brother and it compares performance wise with the Quatro and maybe the 5A.  Don't think it is even in the ballpark of the 7 Mk II other than cost. But as most every other poster has said get out and listen for yourself as in this price range it is worth the price of a plane ticket if necessary.  
OP - You are getting sound advice from those posting above. Trust your ears, BUT... settle in and listen for a l o n g session.  Which speakers make you want to stay or keep a smile on your face.  

I have no experience with the Kefs but have owned Vandersteen's for the last 30 years.  I just go into my listening room and enjoy the music.  No "hifi" from them.  They just play the music.  Oh, and I smile a lot!🎼
With thirty thousand dollars of distance between (not considering the difference is typical amp pairing) them I have to wonder from a marketing perspective why these two particular models are of interest.
Tannoy Westminster Royal
Here is a perspective from a Kef dealer who has the Kef Blades and have used them at  a few area shows.

The Kef Blades will match of equil any $60k-$100k set of speakers if you set them up correctly and personally do not see the advantage of the Vandy 7 being much more expensive for a speaker with lower efficiency, less power handling, and a lower and smaller soundstage.

The Kef Blades were developed at a price tag of $4 million dollars, by some of the most respected engineers in the world, they are a true point source where all frequencies including bass emminate from the same point in space.

Our setup in the 2012 New York Audio Show with the Kef Blades, a $30k set of Chord mono block amplifiers, a $20k Chord preamp, a $22k Esoteric Dac with high end cabling etc the system's price was about $150k including turntable.

Down the hall GTT Audio, $107k YG Sonja, Solution amps $80k, Solution preamp $40k, Solution Dac and transport of similar very expensive digital, $40k turntable total system price $400k or so.

We were expecting the YG/Solution system to be better it wasn't it was different not better.

The combination of huge soundstage, very good image placement, good top end extension and deep tight bass for $32k makes the Kef Blades a bargain for high end loudspeakers.

Just consider that the huge $30k price difference between these two loudspeakes would get you  a pair of Blades and a really top notch amplifier and preamp. 

As per tunning yes the Vandersteen's do have tunning in the bass which is a fantastic thing, so does the Paradigm Persona 9H which can be totally tuned by Anthem's ARC program to cover way more frequencies than the 11 band parametric eq that Vandy uses.

Also for $25k you get the Legacy Aeris which goes very low in the deep bass and also comes with a dac, preamp, crossover with Bohmer room correction which compensates for both time and frequency issues.

The issue with the Blades is the same issue we have raised with the Paradigm Persona and B&W and Focal, these larger companies will allow dealers that may not have the right matching equipment or rooms sell their products not to mention at shows they don't necessarily use the optimal matching gear only from vendor partners that they have a relationship with so again the pairing might not be optimal.

You need to come to a good dealer and here a well setup pair of Blades for yourself and if possible use a similar level of gear then what the Vandy 7 dealer would be using, so if the Vandy 7 are being played with $50k worth of electronics then you shoud be seeking a similar level of setup not a pair of $32k Kef Blades on a $5k integrated amp or just whatever. 

The Vandy's have a very smooth liquid sound and are very engaging, a well set up pair of Blades won't be quite a warm in the midrange, however, they will sound super clean and accurate with a gigantic image and when tuned appropriately will be very smooth and musical as well.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Kef Blade dealer


My ears pick the Blades in a heartbeat. My fav speaker. 

I have heard the 7's MKII a few times at shows and dealers.
Vandersteen 7 Mk.ll, hands down.....
I have not heard the Blade but the Vandersteen 7 is one of the best speakers I've ever heard, along with the Vivid Giya and TAD Ref One. At this price point, airline tickets to hear for yourself seem like chump change!
Fantastic event last eve with Richard Vandersteen at Stereo Unlimited in San Diego
7 mk 2 with Richards unique high Pass amplifier running along with Quattro and the more affordable m5 high Pass amp... fun
treo CT with sub 3 w 11 bands of analog EQ
HRS also represented by Michael Latvis, great sound, hospitality and 100+ people there till ten at nite.

the OP hopefully has had a chance to go listen

music is the goal

fun

@tomic601 ,
How did the Treo's with subs compare with the Quatro's?
Bob
😮Shocked that Audiotroy carries the Kef Blades.  Who could have guessed that?
@gdnrbob. Totally different rooms and systems... the Quattro in the largest room they have and powered by the new smaller solid state high Pass amp sounded very very nice.
i hung around dges giving others the great seats
the Treo were in a smaller room - about 15 x 15and had big time slam with the sub 3
i left wanting to somehow squeeze a sub 3 into the condo and squeeze the amps in budget also....
fun
i am back in Seattle tonite so I will fire up the 7’s and enjoy some music

@hifiman5 

I'm stunned.

OP, if you can afford the Vandersteens... they are absolutely outstanding.  In the uber expensive department speakers I've heard, properly set-up they are just unreal.

The Blades are OK.  I've heard them outperformed by lower priced speakers.  They are not bad, just wouldn't be my first pick in that price range. Frankly, I would to the legacy's over them on a pure sound basis. I like the Vandersteen 5a Carbon a lot better at that price point.

If I had a killer loft apartment in NYC, wanted something to look unique and sound decent, I could see getting the Blades, they certainly make a statement.  

If you go to the shows and meet with Legacy, talk to them.  They have always offered nice deals to show attendees I've found.  

But, if you are going to drop that much cabbage on speakers... ultimately I would make sure to listen to them.  
looks like the 5a Carbon is now out of production....used would provide stellar value.... before buying Blades seek out used 5a Carbon or talk w dealers about what Vandersteen model ( forthcoming ) will replace it..

Just my $ buck-fifty..

Jim and Dave
Global Vandersteen Fan, sometime not for profit vintage crack audio dealer....
@tomic601

Did not know that on the 5a Carbon, those are a really good speaker.... something to watch for used down the road. Wonder if a replacement is coming? 

Quattro CT is really a nice speaker, and all I probably need for my space. But they just never, ever show up used. Likely the sign of a good speaker.
 @dep14 There is a replacement in work for the 5a carbon - fall delivery

yes used Vandersteen with carbon are rare as hens teeth.....

owning both 7 mk2 and TREO ct
i can tell you how special they are....

enjoy the music, that is what it’s all about
Add my vote for the 7s.

I have 5A carbons. For 25 years my wife put up with my audio habit and its intrusion into our living room. She would listen but it was never a big thing for her. Three days after the 5A carbons were installed I came home to find her listening with the lights dimmed and a candle going. The first words out of her mouth were "you HAVE TO hear this song on THESE speakers." A complete transformation in attitude and interest. Now she listens to her favorite music after I upgrade or tweak and gives her opinion. Her latest text started off with "the system is sounding particularly amazing today" .... (this was after adding a couple of AQ Hurricane AC cables .... another story....) 

The 7s tunable bass, balsa wood drivers and stealth enclosure combine to make one amazing sounding speaker. I spent a couple years going shows and dealers before I pulled the trigger on the 5A carbons. There is only one speaker upgrade I want and its the 7s. This year hopefully.

speaking of music, just enjoyed 8:17 of Loggins/Messina - Same Old Wine at 39 volume on the ARC into the 1.2 KW a side 7’s w Vandersteen amps......holy cow......

big fun.....

also, so much for KEF dealer expertise......building a big speaker taller than ear height not needed.......

Jim and Dave
Local Axe dealer pissed at chainsaw dealer located a few miles away....


Ooooh, you bad man...
B
also, so much for KEF dealer expertise......building a big speaker taller than ear height not needed.......

What if the performers were on a stage?
 @jetter yes and what if the performers were the Dead with 60’ high wall of sound ?????

i do have some bootleg cassette from that era......will check after I build a 57’ tall stand for the KEF 105.2 I have lying around here...somewhere.....

all good.....

Gee Tomic so a speaker lower then ear height with an agreesive rake angle is better than a wide dispersion true point source which may be higher than listening height based on what? 

Listening height is dependent on couch height, listener height and distance from the loudspeaker as well as the dispersion of the loudspeaker.

You miss one super valid point for $30k less money you can get an pretty darn good set of amplifiers and a preamp to boot.

A properly set up pair of Blades is pretty awesome which loudspeaker is "better" is up to personal interpretation. 

We also sell the Legay Aeris and they are a ridiculous value for $25k you get a speaker with full active bass, full room equilization, and 96db efficiency, these are an even better deal than the Kef Blades as all you now need is a set of amplifiers and a streamer, the Aeris comes with a Wavelet processor which is a pretty good dac, preamplifier and room correction processor.

Your love of Vandersteen is admirable, but they are just one good choice out of a sea of great loudspeakers, which include the brands we sell and those that we don't.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Kef Blade and Legacy Aeris dealer






The whole notion of the singer must be at ear height is absurd . Why does the performer , singer , guitar player , drummer have to be at the same height as ones ears ? Makes no sense to me and actually seems unrealistic . Would a singer be sitting on a couch as to have the sound of their voice be at the same height as me . Seems more realistic if they would be standing , which means a foot or two higher than my ears sitting . 
lets start with the basic...

the spatial info  ( what there is horizontal and vertical ) is already encoded in the source. 

the waveform is complex and includes both fundaments, harmonics and the time and phase information in the waveform.. IF you have not spent anytime in a studio, page thru your album LP gatefold covers and look for microphones, ten -15’ off the ground...Rudy Van Gelder of BlueNote fame, famous for this....or look at symphnony recording microphone placement, especially well done stuff with less than DG 30 microphone stuff.....

so to properly reproduce this complex waveform we need to simulate a point source wave launch, would be good IF we do that at ear height, unless you want different arrival times...which is audible. The more drivers ya add the more different arrival times ya get
a coincident driver solves part of this problem and introduces other wavelaunch issues like bouncing HF off a lower frequency moving surface....ponder that as you invest in cabinets and footers that dont move....

The Vandersteen setup and engineering depend on an accurate measure of listening ear height, most other speakers will benefit IF you know this dimension.

they are not just a good choice. I would not hesitate to put Quattro CT up against any KEF product and there would be MORE $$$$$ left over for electronics, etc

listen to any number of great recordings w spatial info encoded...Live in Paris is one such IMO......does Diana Krall really need to be another 2’ taller..

Keep selling the reflections OFF a big tall box....

your admiration Troy for the brands you carry is understandable, you have a Vandersteen dealer a few miles from you. The world thinks they are more than a good choice. Your competitive urges cloud your thinking....Let’s meet on neutral ground, say in Munich where we can listen to both..my guess is Helmut Brinkmann will get great sound there with his 7’s

and yes for some people the KEF are a great choice.
Let's keep in mind it's your choice how to configure the speakers and your listening position.

For traditional TMW layouts (twitter, mid, woofer), the desirable range is usually between the twitter and midirange drivers. You should experiment if you haven't.


Myself and a speaker designer I really admire have both discovered that sometimes we may design for on-tweeter axis listening, but the best sounds are below.


Only your ears can tell.

Best,
E
I may just go on "Tweeter" and post "Twits" about this thread.😝
..just as an aside.....VPI's Harry W has KEF's in house as his evaluative system.
Speakers are like ice cream. So many flavors to pick from and ya know something.. they ALL taste good. I never get the same flavor twice in a row and really can’t tell you which one is best. Additionally, as pointed out by a couple posters the OP, if serious about buying, should make the time to have a listen to as many speakers as he can. I committed that effort for speakers at the mere $3500 price point.
Tomic the Blade is very narrow low defraction design, do you honestly think that Jack Oclee Brown and the engineering team at Kef didn’t think of all the issues with a concidental driver after Kef has made about 11 generations of these types of drivers?

Do you also think that Kef after spending $4million dollars to develop this technology couldn’t produce a world class loudspeaker?

Some  of the worlds greatest loudspeakers are using a concidental driver to great affect the degree of engineering envolved is very difficult but it does seem both TAD and Kef have pulled it off.

As per comparing loudspeakers want to compare a set of Legacy Signarures to your Vandy Quattros CTs?

Sure the $7k Legacy has much deeper bass, a larger image, greater efficiency at $7k less money is a pretty spectactular deal but we forget that the only magical speakers are Vandy right?

Tomic there are tons of great speakers Vandy is one good choice, so is Kef, Dali, Magico, B&W, Paradigm, Legacy, Harbeth and a zillion other good loudspeakers, it all comes down to does the listerner prefer this particular set of attributes vs another.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


Audiotroy,
I don't know how you make a comparison with the Legacy Sigs vs. the Vandersteen Quattro Ct and say the Legacy has a larger image and much deeper bass.
Legacy Sig.- 22hz-30k
Vandersteen Quattro Ct.- 24hz-40k
Over the years, I have owned a string of Legacy speakers and while I agree they are very good loudspeakers, your assessment is somewhat inaccurate. The small difference in the low bass (2db.)  is of little consequence. Each Vandy Quattro Ct has 11 bands of EQ. and that bass is far tighter and more accurate than the Legacy. How do I know this? As i said before, I have owned many Legacy speakers and have compared them to the Vandersteens.  The Vandy bass sounds much more like real bass instruments with less bloat and boom. Don't even get me started about the imaging. The Vandersteens  have a wider and far deeper soundstage than the legacy. Efficiency of the Vandersteen, While lower, can be powered very easily by lower powered amps to loud levels with excellent clarity. I had a choice between the Legacy Focus SE, and the Vandersteen Treo Ct's. Even though I could get a better deal with the Legacy's, I chose the Vandersteens because they simply sounded more like live music. Need I say more???
Mr M whlch model Legacy what vintage?

The current Heil Amt and new midrange driver Legacy is now using  way better than their original series which were good but not world class what Legacy builds today is a vastly improved product.


We compare the $14k Quattros to the $7k Legacys Signatures.

The larger  Focus goes to 18hz and is 96db efficient and still costs 3k less

Find a nice current pair of Legacys and see for yourself.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Legacy Dealers





Audiotroy,
It was with the current Heil Amt. Wouldn't be fair comparison with older vintage Legacies. I know what the current AMT's sound like and I know "Legacy" type bass. I was probably versed with Legacy before you started selling them. Not my first trip to the rodeo.....
@mr_m 

It's simply, because no matter what thread Atroy gets in, he finds some way to spin how what he sells is better or a better value.

Like you, I actually do like some of the Legacy line-up, the Focus SE in particular is a good speaker, and a lot of fun as a rock and roll speaker.  Killer deals out there on them used, or barely used also.  Even new, if you talk to Legacy at a show you can usually score a nice price.

One of the things I like about Legacy - not afraid to let his speakers thump on the bottom end still.  No substitute for displacement sometimes... or I suppose powered woofers!

The Signature se is a nice speaker, but a properly set-up Quattro CT is simply going to be a lot more open, uncolored and articulate.  Even vs the Treo CT the Treo is likely better to most in the midrange and top end.  The Signature SE can probably out "thump" the Treo CT, though the Treo does a nice job.  

The Focus SE, or the Focus XD, allowing the amp to drive the low end, and tailor your top end with another amp would be a better comparison to the Quatto CT.

Room size would also be a consideration between those.  The Legacy's can move a lot of air and fill a big room quite nicely.

I really do like the Focus SE, I've almost purchased them a few times.  But given the choice I would take the Quattro CT all day long.  That said, deals on Vandersteen are hard to find, and the Quattro CT rarely shows up used.




see you in Munich with the Legacy

I suspect the Blade will be there without your help.

and you forget, Vandersteen makes a concident driver speaker, with first order slopes because it strikes me ( and others ) odd to physically align the wave launch and then @#$& it all away with a steep slope crossover that screws up phase...

there are lots of better than good choices on the market, as I said the Blade is a great choice for many people. As mentioned for competitive reasons, you struggle to use the word great for anything but what you sell.

back to the music. Dialing in a pair of Thiel’s today.....
I think some sales people think they have better ears than all the lesser people in the audio world, the consumers. If I wanted to listen to Legacy speakers, and I have, I would visit a dealer and listen to them. If I wanted to listen to Vandersteen speakers, I would go to a dealer and listen to a pair, which again I have. I would not go a a dealer and have him/her tell me what sound better..... never have, never will.
2psyop, we never said any of the loudspeakers lines in this thread are 
"better" then another, We have said that both the Blades and the Legacy's products are very competitive loudspeaker lines that challange much more expensive ones.

In the case of the Blades vs the Vandy 7 they are $30k difference between them. 

In the case of the Vandy Quattro CT vs a pair of Legacy Signatures again you are at a $7k difference in price for a loudspeaker which plays louder and is more efficient, no you don't get tunable bass but for that you can get a Wavelet and do full room correction.

The point is that we have said is not to glorify any brand, the Vandy guys here are much more in the "only our product is the correct one because it is time and phase aligned camp" and only Vandy produces purely pistonic drivers therefore everyone else produces intrinsicly flawed products.

To which we have replied there are many fantastic loudspeakers that are beloved by those listeners, Wilson, Rockport, Magico, KEF, B&W, Focal, etc that are not time and phase aligned, 

If Wilson's midrange driver is not purly pistonic and the listener likes it better who cares it is the persons money. 

Our philosophy at our store is to find very high value for the dollar lines from class leading companies. Legacy represents a fantastic amount of performance for the dollar are they perfect no but they are great if you like what they do. 

The Kef line is also a fantastic overall line of loudspeakers we think they are less of a value then the Legacys, but there is no denying how realistic a set of Kef Ref 3 or 5 or Blades can sound. 

Yes the Vandy 1C are a fantastic loudspeaker in that price range, so it the 2Ce, you just have to like what they do vs the competition and what they do differently, we have found the Quad S and Z series to be unbelievable in this price range with  a totally different set of atttributes.

Long story short, go and listen to comparably set up products and decide which product is for you. They are all great in their own way.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Legacy, Quad, Kef dealers
Jim and James
current owner / operator of the following non-vandersteen speakers....

Klipsch Cornwall, Apogee Stage, Real Quad ESL 63, Thiel CS 2.3, and Dynaco A-25......

got to go flip the LP.....


on chasing your tail because you like out of phase cone breakup....there is no moving forward there just endless flavor changes......might as well buy a crappy equalizer and really mess stuff up.....

the german company that builds the $40 K scanning machine to identify cone breakup modes and out of phase behavoir did not do this for just Vandersteen, there will be plenty of real designers who care, versus flavor changers......
Tomic how unexpected of you, really chasing our tails?

Don't know about you but look up ATC most of the worlds top  recording studios and mastering house  use ATC  loudspeakrs, which don't have pure pistonic cones or open non reflective midrange drivers now do they?

I guess ATC speakers are not good now are they? By your admission chasing tails is that only Vandy speakers are correct.

Tomic you really need to go and talk with major loudspeaker designers like Lawrence Dickie of Vivid who was also B&W top engineer, about first order slopes and what they do wrong vs what they do right vs harder slopes and what they do right. 

I guess Kevin Vockes and Floyd Toole of Revel don't know what they are doing either, nor does Jack Oclee Brown of Kef fame, or Andrew Jones of TAD and Elac doesn't know what he is doing either?

Guess Peter Walker and Gail Sanders of Quad and Martin Logan didn't know jack either.

Tomic all loudspeakers have their strengths and weakness, for a $70k price tag I would take a set of Scanea Line arrays in a heartbeat over your Vandy 7s,

The Scaena lines arrays  had the scale and scope of live music we stopped selling them because the company was wonky, but the speakers were amazing.

Lets just agree to disagree, I will go back to listening to my Kef Blades, Legacy Aeris and Paradigm Persona 9H and keep chasing my tail.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Kef, Legacy, Paradigm dealer
Also Mr, M, how do you know how long we have been selling Legacy? When did you get a set of Legaxys, and what vintage, also what cables and equipment were you using? Was it the same setup you are now using with your Vandys? I am willing to bet you Vandy setup is not the same as your Legacy setup was?

We are not saying that the Legacy's are perfect they are a remarkable buy for $7k for a speaker that has so many attributes: deep bass, high efficiency, beatutiful cabinetry, advanced Heil AMT midrange and tweeter, custom midrange driver, if you like warm and full bodied sound which is what we hear with both the Legacy and the Vandys then both of these speakers would be for you.

If someone prefers more detail and a more upfront presentation then the Paradigm Pesonas will be even better although they sound a bit smaller in size. 

As per bass if you use a set of Isoacoustics isolation footers under the Signturatures the bass gets tighter and more articulate,

Enjoy your Vandy's not saying they arern't good.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Legacy dealers
I wish I could go to Munich, not just to compare the Kef vs Vandy’s, but also to finally listen to a pair of MBL’s.
Unfortunately, my gardens need my attention.
B