Vandersteen Model 5/5A Users

To those of you who have or had a pair of these fine speakers, I have a couple-o-questions:

1) Has anyone used anything under the speakers other than the stock cones? (I've only used the stock cones.)

2) How large is your listening room and how far out from the back wall and side walls do/did you have your speakers? (My room is 22' X 16'. My speakers are 88" out from the back walls and 48" out from the side walls - positioned along the short wall.)

3) What have you found to be the best setting for the subwoofer level Q settings. (Mine are at "0" and "5", respectively.)

4) What amount of toe-in do/did you find ideal? (Mine are towed-in about 1/2".)

4) Have you had the 11 bass contour settings adjusted using a tone and sound meter as described in the manual? If so, what difference did you experience? (All 11 on mine are set "straight-up".)

1. I use the stock cones.
2. My room size is 15'x 38'. I place them 76" from the front wall and 42" from the side walls.
3. Q set at 5.
4. About 1" toe-in. I found that give me a larger sweet spot.
5. Your dealer should adjust the subs for you. My dealer didn't so I bought a measuring program call ETF and spent a few weekends to adjust them myself. They really cleaned up lumpy bass.

BTW, you can’t use simple tone and sound meter to adjust the subs. The ETF program I used wasn’t ideal either. You really need a Real Time Analyzer if you want to do it right.
1. Stock cones. Until I am totally satisfied with the setup, this is the last thing I will experiment with.
2. 18'x33' with a cathedral ceiling peak running the long way, and with the speakers on the short wall, 5' from the side walls and 4' from the back wall.
3. Q is 7 on both. Bass level is +1 on the left and 0 on the right.
4. Less than 1/2" toe-in, as measured by sighting from the top edge of one speaker to the top edge of the other.
5. The largest correction is to reduce a 31 hz room resonance (set at ~9 o'clock). A secondary correction to boost a 40-50 hz suckout (set at ~2 o'clock).

The corrections are not exactly equal for each speaker, as you must measure them separately when setting the subs. Rooms are not symetrical in general, and even when they are, the furnishings usually are not.

I have both a RTA and a RS meter. The RTA is very quick and simple to use, and you can watch the changes as you adjust the subs. The pink noise will drive the room simultaneously into all of its resonance modes, and the ramdomness of the pink noise makes the readings vary slightly and continuously over time. Thus, it takes some visual practice to average out the variations and decide on the best correction. This method is convenient, but more expensive as you need an RTS, a calibrated mic., and additional cabling.

The RS meter requires more time to record a set of measurements, and they reflect only single frequencies or narrow warble tones. I like warble tones best, since they tend to average out narrow peaks caused by comb filering at higher frequencies. If you are patient and carefully record readings (taking into account the need for RS corrections or using a CD with the corrections built in), the RS meter can do just as good a job. If you have a sensitive ear, and learn what to listen for, the RS meter and some careful listening is quite satisfactory and very inexpensive.

PS, at one time Richard Vandersteen was planning to develop an RTA specifically designed for dealers to set up the 5/5As. He abandoned that idea and the RS meter is currently what he uses when he sets up these speakers in the field.