a sideways move at best. the 3's are more than goo, they are regarded as classics
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Check out the Vandersteen Quattro's as they are visually much smaller and I perfer them over the more expensive 5A's. No matter how good those other smaller speakers are you will miss the huge soundstage the Vandy's throw. The other speakers will be more pinpoint in the imaging and miss out on the ambience you currently have.
So you will be changing sound flavors in a big way....Just as Jaybo says... "a sideways move at best"
One word of caution. Even though I have not heard Vandersteens I have often seen them described as warm, and maybe a bit forgiving. My experience with Green Mountain speakers is that they are very neutral and revealing. I like this (I own a pair of Europas), but I can imagine that it will not appeal to all.
The Europas are very detailed, with great micro dynamics (and macro dynamics as good as a bookshelf could be expected to have) and they image like champs, but they could be fatiguing in a bright system or room.
So I'd recommend a demo before purchasing anything to replace the 3As.
I've owned the Super Eclipse III loudspeakers for about 18 months. My amplification comes from Audio Horizons TP 2.0B (tube preamp) and VTL MB-185 Signature monoblocks (tube amplifier). I use balanced connections. I have both analog and digital sources. Here are some thoughts that may be helpful to you.
Like you, I searched for excellent loudspeakers which are not dominating. My room is about the size of yours and, on the new extender feet, these loudspeakers provide big sound without big size. I replaced Wilson Sophias with the Super Eclipse IIIs. The Sophias are beautiful sounding speakers but are a little too much (physical size and forward sound) for my room.
The Super Eclipse IIIs take time to break in (preferably 200 hrs). They are full bodied, well balanced, and detailed speakers. They are so revealing that I was led to upgrade my preamp (from VTL 5.5 to the Audio Horizons TP 2.0B). Now, I would say, my VTL monoblocks are the weakest link in my audio chain. Whenever Audio Horizons introduces a monoblock, I will upgrade to it. I believe the Super Eclipse IIIs will be worthy of that future system.
Fully broken in and with the right equipment, the Super Eclipse IIIs deliver beautiful music. I have listened to them through Levinson solid state; I prefer tubes. The sensitivity and impedance specs of the Super Eclipse IIIs make them a very easy load to drive.
I've met and dealt with Israel Blume on several occasions. I've found him to be honorable and committed to excellence. I'm so impressed by the Super Eclipse IIIs that I will audition them to you if you are near my area (zip code 95818).
One last thought: my loudspeakers are in a natural finish - not so dark as the cherry finish advertised on the Coincident website. This lighter finish also contributes to their more comfortable presence in my listening room (known to others in my home as the living room).
Green Mountain Audio speakers are the most enjoyable speakers I have owned in 30 years. The music flows and the soundstage is huge. Of course, the best way is an audition. With no dealer close to you, I would not be surprised if Roy could arrange an audition for you with a return policy. It never hurts to ask. Speakers are so critical and all the BS in the world has disappointed many an audiophile and cost us all alot of money. I have not heard the Quatros and would want to do the same with those.
Good luck to you!
Thanks for all the great input. I'm not going to make any changes, at least not for a while without further thought and possibly some auditions. My listed alternatives may very well result in a lateral move, and therefore not worth the hassle of selling and shipping the large 4 speakers I have. I was thinking about Quatros a month ago when I saw a pair at a local dealer and really liked the look of them, so much smaller than the 3A Signatures. Seeing them is what got me thinking about a speaker change. And now there are two pair for sale on Audiogon. I'll listen to them before making any decisions, however I've never found listening in a showroom to provide the definitive answer since nothing sounds the same in your own home, but it helps of course, as does talking to dealers who know what they are talking about. This would be the case for the shop here where I am. Maybe an in-home demo is possible but I doubt it. At any rate a month ago the Quatros seemed to costly, then I saw a used pair of Coincident Super Eclipse speakers (not the latest version) and called Israel Blume about the difference and he convinced me at the price he would deliver a new pair to my door (a nice discount from full retail) these would be the way to go. I enjoyed our correspondence, nice guy and he assured me I wouldn't have the one "problem" I described with my Vandersteen setup. This is the narrowness of the sweet spot, both vertically and horizontally. Not sure how his speakers are able to have the wide sweet spot he described or if they really do. I also asked how he makes them time aligned since most speakers that are have a sloping baffle while the Coincident speakers do not. The answer is the way he implements the D'Appolito alignment. Another nice feature of these speakers is they can be driven by low powered SET and OTL amps since they have such high sensitivity at 92db and nominal impedance of 14 ohms, never dropping below 10. Then I spoke with Roy Johnson of Green Mountain and was equally if not more impressed by him. His description of the Pico Mideo, how it sounds and the science behind it had me thinking of spending more again, but at least less than the Quatros. The Pico Mideos cost $6,500 plus shipping compared to $7,695 I believe for the Quatros with crossovers. And a home demo is possible. You can buy them and return for the cost of shipping both ways. He believes the Pico Mideo will sound much better than the Quatro and explained why but I am unable to remember the details. I'm speaking from memory and aware of the danger of misrepresenting what he said, as well as leaving out most of his explanation, but I think his design is simpler than the Quatro in terms of crossover and the 11-band room compensation controls in each Quatro is problematic from his point of view because of complexity. I apologize to anyone reading this (especially Israel Blume, Roy Johnson and Richard Vandersteen) if I've got it all wrong re: their designs or speaker design in general. I'm just an enthusiast trying to decide between competing speaker implementations who is also a strong believer in phase and time aligned speakers.
(((You can buy them and return for the cost of shipping both ways.)) Ask yourself how much would shipping be both ways and add that up
I bet you your local Vandersteen dealer would be glad to bring Quattros out and trial set up for the same amount.(( Israel Blume about the difference and he convinced me at the price he would deliver a new pair to my door (a nice discount from full retail) these would be the way to go.)) Did you ever wonder why he doesnt sell thru dealers? could it be this is the only way he can sell them? Do you think you were the only one who has the special discount treatment off retail?
Could it be this is the street price they are sold at? (((Not sure how his speakers are able to have the wide sweet spot)) D'Appolito drivers above and below smear/will have a wider sweet spot but so does other speakers 901 different ways.
((but I think his design is simpler than the Quatro in terms of crossover and the 11-band room compensation controls in each Quatro is problematic from his point of view because of complexity.))
What If you purchassed a perfect full range speaker but your room mesures a 12 db Bass lift right ch at 80 hz left ch say a 9 db lift at 67 hz? What can you do?
Room compensation allows a more ideal room response.
This solutions to me makes the most sense.
If your room mesures a 12 db Bass lift right ch at 80 hz left ch say a 9 db lift at 67 hz, get some bass traps or other room compensation to tame the sound. What if you move to a spot with no similar problems? You have a speaker with extra circuits in the signal path, not to mention the large amount of parts in the crossover. This would not be a "sideways move at best", but an upgrade.
My Green Mountain Audio Callisto's (if I remember correctly) have 6-9 pieces TOTAL in the crossover; other manufacturers use 20 or more to tame the anomallies in their design. Aside from the low bass, I would put my Callistos up against the 3A's mid/tweet performance anyday, and be confident of their sound-quality superiority. I can only imagine what the Pico's would do (I need to see the dealer for an audition...).
(((What if you move to a spot with no similar problems?
With over 200 measurements done I have never seen a room that has not improved with their tuning not even 1 in 200. ((You have a speaker with extra circuits in the signal path)),
If you knew anything about the Quattros you would know their eq is not in the signal path....
Tube traps are fugly women wont have em and they mess with the mids ((My Green Mountain Audio Callisto's (if I remember correctly) have 6-9 pieces TOTAL in the crossover;
Thats alot of pieces in the x over for not having a midrange... Cheers Johnnyr