I heard them at Definitive a couple weeks ago. insanely good. insanely expensive. probably not having the $ is a good thing - if you hear them you'll want them.
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Unfortunately, I have not heard the 7s as yet. However, all of the reviews and comments from CES seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. I believe only a couple pairs of the 7s currently exist, as Richard is still gearing up for production, so it may still be a while before they get out to dealers and customers. The 7s should have a similar sound to the 5As (as they share basically the same design), and its hard to imagine in what dimensions they will be better.
I thought this was one of Fremer's better reviews. It was quite well focused, straightforward and well written. The discussion about adjusting the speaker to match his preferences in his room was very revealing of advantage of the contouring controls. I was also pleased that he stuck to the review and managed not to drift off subject with seemingly unrelated storytelling.
I heard them after listening to a set-up with Wilson Sashas and the 7s (IMHO) blew them away. obviously different everything, front end + amlification-wise, but I am lusting now in a bad way...
they just seemed far more 'human', made the Wilsons seem artificial-sounding (and I own sophias...) - not an easy thing to do.
I've heard this 80 percent figure before in reguards to how close the upgrade will bring the 5A to the performance level of the 7s. I have a couple problems with this.
1. As I recall even the upgrade is over $20,000 and involves sending the speakers back to California. For that expense and trouble I'd want to be a lot closer than 80 percent there.
2. This has to be an inaccurate estimate. I would think the 5A in it's native form would be closer to 90 percent as good as the 7s given how much we normally pay for audio upgrades for ever shrinking reurns.
It will be interesting to hear comparisons of the upgrade versus the 7s versus the 5A but it will be some time before that's even possible. For most of us, sticking with the 5A will likely make the most sense. Here's hoping I'm among the sensible ones, though I'm sure I will be tempted.
02-16-10: MusicslugI was there for their "Music Matters" open house too. The Vandy 7's have a very natural tonal balance and energize the room similar to live music. I heard reference to their high price, but didn't catch what that price was.
I also heard the new Wilson Sashas there; I think the Wilsons and V-7's are excellent speakers but reflect different philosophies. The Wilsons are extremely fast and high-rez. They require the right electronics and meticulous room setup to sound right. My impression was that the Vandy's give you all the music and would be easy to live with.
Then I heard the new B&W 802D (diamond tweeter) in a third room. These rather impressed me. Tonally they sat in between the Sashas and V-7's. With the 600w Classe amps driving them they had good transparency and lots of slam and bass extension. B&W pointed out that with their economy of scale the 802D's only cost $15K but are competitive with more expensive speakers. I'd have to agree. They put out like a $25K speaker.
I also need to post over in the analog forum about this open house because the DPS turntable/tonearm tweaked, regulated, integrated, and marketed in the US by Ayre just kicks @$$. It's about a $12K rig that sounds like a $30K SME.
All this talk of Vandy 7's/ Maxx3's has gotten droooool all over my keyboard but hey that's what paper towels are for.
I was up to Weinhart Designs a couple of weeks back and the Magico 5's were playing.
I was there for cables---After a short listen I asked David to turn them down---After all; I had to go home and listen to my system.
I for one enjoy Sam banter;'cause he always has back-stories. Sort of like fruit and cream with my cereal.-- Much like reading the different opines,here.--It's all audio chat and that's good
>>>I guess Michael in fact did compare the Maxx 3 to the 7s. He mentioned the 7s were not the last word in dynamic slam and also the stage height wasn't the best in class.
That's also how I read it - Fremer implicitly compared the two. He also said that, other that 'stage height, the 7s had the best (most focused, wide, deep, delineated) soundstage and greatest resolution of any speaker he's heard.
So, it sounds like a tie until you get to the part where he says the 7s are the most enjoyable, non-fatiguing speaker he's heard. *That*, I think, is why he doesn't explicitly mention the Wilson.
Those of you who own 5A's.... I tried switching out the original power cords with home made ones....Oyeida plug and Accrolink wire.... I know that Richard says there is no difference, but to these ears and in my system it was a WOW. Not only did the bass change to cleaner and clearer, but so too did the mids the highs, and everything in between. Be wary though that you cannot use Oyeida or similar high end plug for the Vandersteen amp side, since the fins of the amp wont let the plug be fully inserted. Also....make absolutely sure you use the ground - serious damage to the amp will result if it is not grounded (3rd pin).