Vandersteen Quatro CT


This speaker has been available for several months and by some reports is quite special. Anyone have a chance to listen to one? Impressions compared to other Vandy speakers?

Thanks!
karl_desch
I have been interested in the CT Quatros since they were released a couple of years ago and have not seen any review of them in fact hardly a mention on agon or anywhere online about them. Where have you seen them reported on? I would like to hear impressions and comparisons.
They don't need a review when you hear them.
They are much better than Model 5A except in the deep bass.

Above is my opinion. Below I go into detail if you care to read:

Guys, take it for what it is, but I have recently redone my whole system. I have heard nearly everything from 100k down that you can find in stores, plus I've also heard a TON of the boutique home made speakers and even some of the mail order ones.

I was NOT leaning towards Vandys as I purchased Proacs over them over 25 years ago. My quest for speakers ended up at Audio Connection in Verona, NJ. They were the closest Proac dealer and Richard, the US distributor sent me there to get newer Proacs. I heard heard the Proacs D's and then Jonny, the owner put on the Vandy Treo's....I was in SHOCK as to how good they were. They did it all, but were more natural than the Proacs (which are very very good). I ended up getting the Vandy Treo's the same week the CT versions came out. I kind of wish I got the CT's after hearing them recently, but I LOVE mine.

I have been to the store many times over the last year and a half now (3 hr drive) and built a full system. I've been able to listen to the Quatro's (all versions, 5A's, 5 CT and the 7's. I've heard them all with Ayre, Quicksilver, Rogue, Audio Research, Vandy's own amp and Aesthetix gear. 50/50 vinyl and digital (redbook mostly).

I've never heard the Vandy's sound badly. The line gets better as you go up in price, but the Treo's still blow me away daily at home with awesome Ayre gear using Vinyl as well as digital. I'm still up grading and I hear everything that is changed in the system.

The difference between the carbon fiber drivers and the older ones (ceramic coated tweeters) is bigger than I thought it was going to be. I noticed that big time on the Treo's. I do regret not getting them as they are so refined. It's more relaxed (like the differences between vinyl and digital), but had much more detail. You don't even notice it until you spend time with it. The detail is startling. The Quatro's don't have the bass of the 5A's, however it sounds better (not the 5CT's)....Yes, I'll be looking at Quatro CT's over the 5A's if they ever come on the market used. I know that I can get back nearly what I spent on my Treo's and none of use get rid of these speakers unless we are getting the newer versions as they are so good. Even dealers I know well who don't sell Vandy's love them and respect them.

The bass on the Quatro's will be a deep as most people will want or can handle in their room, especially for the cost. To me they are a best buy.

Where do you live? Is there a Vandy dealer near you?
Sounds like I need to listen to a pair and hopefully arrange an in home demo. I had 2 ci's former many years and even had a Model 5 for a year. I could never get the 5 to sound as good as I thought they should. I had bought the 5 off Agon and probably needed a dealer to help get them set up.

Right now I'm really happy with the Legacy Focus SE sound. My only grip with them is their size! They really dominate the room. Which makes me think the Quatro CT might be the way to go. Can't affort the 5 CT.
Where do you live? I personally listened to the Focus speakers before getting the Vandy's....I like the newest model that goes for 18K or so, but they are huge. I still would take the Quatro's over them. It wasn't even close. The Vandy's give you everything, but it's so fast you don't even notice it. Their carbon fiber midrange units he hand builds are amazingly fast. Their sound is just so fast, but it's coherent. Very natural and the base is adjustable so you can put them up against the wall if needed. Personally, I liked them out a bit like any other dynamic speaker. The bass is used to adjust it to the room. I've heard the Quatro's set up in many different rooms now and they always sound the same. Have heard them with over 100k worth of electronics and they just kept getting better and better. My Treo's are the same way.
I live in south eastern Michigan.
Karl. isn't that the place where the NFL didn't want a team from representing in the Stupor Bowl ?
I'm a Packer fan, grew up I'm WI. Don't care for the Lions. Excited that my local university team just hired a new coach from the NFL...
My wife is from WI and loves the Pack.....Fun place to go watch a game.

I don't know the Vandy dealer near you. Give Jonny Rutan a call at Audio Connection in Verona NJ....he can help you out and let you know the closest dealer if there is one. He often is on this site too. Great guy. I bought my Treo's from him. He often helps posters over here set their systems up properly. The quatros are pretty easy to set up and dial in. I watched Jonny and his partner set mine up with a laser and ruler. Seemed pretty easy to me. Those Quatro CT's are really really special.
Very nice exchange of info guys-

I liked the Vandy 2C Sig and 3A models. But when it came down to the Treo & Quattro models, I just could not get their presentation. From the dealers/retailers, I got a reply that it is the 1st order cross-over that may throw off my ears. IME, Thiel CS 2.4 or 2.7 loudspeakers really does everything well for me. As above, I have demo'ed w/ ARC, Ayre, C-J, Rogue and Aesthetix gear.

I would challenge you guys to demo Thiel prior to buying the Vandy Treo or Quattro- you might be swept off of your feet.
Happy Listening!
Overture Audio in Ann Arbor just recently got a pair of Quatros in Zebrawood, a $2,000.00 option. They are gorgeous; works of art in that finish. My wife was with me that day and thought the same thing. I found her later that night standing in the living room, wondering if the Quatros would somehow fit.

I didn't get a chance to listen to them you really go check them out at Overture.
Jafant
((I would challenge you guys to demo Thiel))
Jafant decent idea but it goes both ways... we have taken many Thiel speakers over the years when folks hear Vandersteens set up correctly.
Vandersteens/Thiel are both Phase and time correct which means proper tilt back is vital.
The new Carbon Treo's and Carbon Quatro's which I doubt you heard is a pretty awesome improvement
Here's a recent 7 observation to check out that offers some of this technology.
http://www.theaudiobeat.com/ces2015/ces2015_paul_3.htm
Thanks Tomryan! I had no idea Overture was carrying Vandersteen. I will check them out and try to get a demo.

One of my buddies had Thiel 3.6 powered by Jef Rowland electronics when I had my Vandy 2Ci's. Never wanted to listen too much to the Thiels as in his system they were too bright. Made me miss his Spica Angelus!

I have not listened to latest (last?) generation Thiels with the coincedent drivers.

Thanks for the link John.

-Karl
You might not want to listen to the latest generation Thiels. They bear no resemblance visually or functionally to any prior Thiel speakers and are the product of a new designer. To me they look more like something Revel would put out. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but I don't consider a speaker with a "multi-order" crossover a real Thiel product. Why Jim didn't take the time to groom another engineer to continue his legacy is a mystery to me. To me Thiel as a speaker is gone (except that they presently apparently still sell some legacy models) and now exists in name only. Sad because there are so few true time/phase coherent loudspeakers left on the market.
Very nice point- Soix
yes, Revel is total crap indeed. The Vandy CT models are on my list, as, I am hoping they have been improved. Until that day comes/goes Thiel are still my reference. And yes, there are very few time/phase coherent loudspeakers left.

Happy Listening!
By the way, Karl, Overture has been carrying Vandys for many, many years. They will probably set up the Quatros with the big Sim Audio integrated. If you go there, check out the Blue Sound Audio equipment. I bought the Vault 14 months ago and it's the only source I use now. Ask for T.J. as he is the Blue Sound expert.
Yeah Tomryan, I contacted them yesterday. Keith told me they have been a Vandersteen dealer for a year and a half. I have not been to their new location. I was pretty turned off to Overture after an experience I had there trying to buy a Linn Akurate DS. But I need to re-engage. Having a local dealer could be a big advantage when it come to setting up speakers.

I will get to the new store soon to listen to the Quatros. I think they should match well with the Pass XA 30.5 I use, but I might have to haul that amp in as well!

Thanks again for the heads up.
It's a good idea to take in your amp. I remember going to Overture years (10-15?) ago and them having Vandersteen. Maybe they stopped for a while
and then started again. Or maybe I'm thinking of someone else!
Overture have carried Vandersteen for decades. I think it's more likely that they've been in their new location for a year and a half.

I listened to Vandersteen 3s and Dynaudio X38s there this summer. Driven by Sim Audio integrated. I wrote about this in another thread a while ago. They were very accommodating.

I imagine they picked up Dynaudio much more recently when Audio-Visual Showcase, that carried them before, was shut down by Big George's.
I auditioned the Thiel 3.7's vs the Treo's and as always the Thiels literally hurt my ears. I had to walk away. I have spoken to a few others who have done the same and no matter where we've auditioned or with what. Again, that's why they make so many different types of speakers as we all like different things.

Those of us who like the new Vandy's like a presentation that you may get when you go listen live. It's highly detailed and will give you everything it's being fed, but it's musical. The mid bass through meds are FAST...Panel like fast. Richard is heavily into live performance and goes often. He makes speakers that sound like live music and it doesn't appeal to some audiophiles.
I moved to Ann Arbor in 2001. Overture did not carry Vandersteens then, I drove out to Royal Oak to listen to them (Audio Dimensions). I'll clarify the timelines with Overture if I ever have time to audition the Quatros! I'll report back!
Sounds great let us know
@Audioconnection
"The new Carbon Treo's and Carbon Quatro's which I doubt you heard is a pretty awesome improvement"

I heard the Treo at RMAF 2013 and was very impressed. I think this will be my upgrade path when funding permits. Can you please describe the sonic improvements of the CT version?
Anyone hear the newest "CT" models at their fave dealer/retailer? If so, name your audio shop. Happy Listening!
Ruf, I got the ceramic version as the CT's were JUST announced when I got mine. I love them and have been working on other parts of my system. Eventually I may or may not upgrade the speakers, but I don't miss that much. The CT's are more detailed, smoother, just all around better from what seems like the mid bass up. It's got a bit sweeter top end for sure. If you can swing the extra 1500 for the upgrade (I think that's what it is), it's well worth it. Deep down I wish I had made that choice. If I could do it over, I'd go that route right now! I've heard a few speaker brands recently that I like a ton that I never used to like. I just think that better technology equals better sound, but to me Thiel speakers still hurt my ears and I can't listen more than a few minutes. I have a lot of friends who say the same thing. I brought a friend who isn't an audiophile to listen to the 3's (the most current model) and he was ready to leave after two songs. HE heard just what I heard. We then went to my house and listened and he said that my speakers blew the Thiel's out of the water. Granted I was using Ayre electronics, but it was through a Music Hall DAC and the Thiels were using top of the line Krell stuff. I'd love to hear them all side by side.
Definitely John Rutan and the Crew at Audio Connection in Verona New Jersey. I've heard all of the latest "CT" models extensively there. They are great speakers and John knows how to set them up properly and can help anyone interested in the brand. He's been a Vandersteen dealer for years and has had Richard Vandersteen at Audio Connection for seminars on many occasions. No Audio Store like it anywhere and no one as passionate about audio and Vandersteen for that matter, anywhere IMHO!
I too have heard them all at Johnnys....Tonyjack is dead on! I've been to 5 other Vandy dealers and they were all good, but not great. I drove 3 hours to get to Johnny's. I do wish he was closer as it's tough for me to get down there, but they are awesome. Heck, I've already sent my cousin there to get a nice Rotel integrated, lol. They just get it! Plus he's always on the boards helping anyone for free. That's hard to find in any industry now days.
I'm sorry, I just can't stand it. The Thiel 3.7's hurt your ears? What was the set up? What was the amp? Preamp? front end? What does that even mean? They can sound bright, if attached to underpowered amps, or inferior front ends..Tell me how a pair of 2.4's would hurt your ears..
I've had Thiel speaker since 1983 and I've never '"hurt my ears" with them, unless maybe they were turned up too loud when I switched inputs.
I'm listening to a pair of CS5's right now, as a matter of fact, playing a Mapleshade CD through a Krell Evolution 222 preamp on a PS Audio Lambda transport and I don't think it gets much better than this..Oh yes, and I found some power: a CAL 600.2 Amplifer. 1200 wpc into 4 ohms.....Now if I turned this up to about 72, THAT would hurt my ears!
I personally have never liked the Thiel speakers and yes every time I've heard them they hurt my ears. Sorry to disappoint you. I've heard them many times over the years in various stores. They've been played with Krell, Peachtree, Classe, NAD Masters along with many others. I know that one of the stores I've heard them in, loves them. The owner has used them in his personal systems for years now. I'm assuming that the dealers have them set up properly or they wouldn't sell them.

What part can't you understand? The fact that I don't like them and you do? If you said you hate the Vandy line of speakers or Proacs or some others I've had over the years (yes theProacs were also too hot for me and that's why I finally changed lines) it wouldn't bother me at all. We all hear different things. I have hated Wilsons for the same reason I didn't like the Thiels, however recently I've heard them with top of the line Ayre gear and they sounded great. Not sure they are my cup of tea, but I liked them. I didn't like the older Vandy's, but I love the new ones. I keep an open mind when listening and have often changed my mind to the tune of putting my money where my mouth is. I gave the Thiels a shot when I recently changed speakers and I wanted to like them. The dealer who has them is a couple of miles up the street from me and I love giving him business when I can, but I just didn't like the Thiels nor did I like the Focals. I couldn't go with Utopias, but I didn't like what he was showing. I owned and loved Focals before they were known by that name. I would have loved to purchase a pair of them, but the Vandy's blew me away with the Ayre gear.
Congrats on loving your system. I'm happy for you, but how can anyone tell someone what they hear? I'm not talking about playing speakers at ear shattering levels either, I'm talking about high freq distortion that some say is 'extended'. I'm very sensitive to this and find many speakers fatiguing.
So before you put me down, please remember that we all hear things differently. Thanks.
Here's an update. Bought a pair of demo Quatro (not-CT) from a dealer in OH. They are getting settled in and already sound great. I'll use the Vandertones test files and my SPL meter to adjust the subs.

Wonder if Vandersteen will offer an upgrade path for Quatro Wood to Quatro Wood CT?
They may, but if I doubt it as it would be very expensive as even the xover is different between the two. I just got the new Ayre AX5/20 and it took the Treo ceramic to a new level. It's not even broken in and it's just SICK. To me that's teh sign of a great speaker. If you can hear such a huge upgrade in all your components it makes it fun to upgrade.
Thanks! for sharing- Michaeljbrown.
we all have our likes/dislikes. When listening to speakers at your local dealer/retailer make certain that the speakers are set-up to maximum performance, as most operations, do not have gear set-up correctly nor for maximum performance. Certainly, not all time/phase coherent loudspeakers are the same. Keep me posted & Happy Listening!

I got a chance to listen to the large Theils. I assume they are still selling them as he had them in the showroom. I didn't listen to their new stuff as I wanted to give them a fair shake. The owner set them up wth top of the line Krell. I honestly tried to hear what Michael and many others swear by, however I could not. Maybe Krell is a bad match also, but I asked said dealer to set them up so they sound their best and he said he did. The room is actually a bit dead and he has that 60 hz wall vibrating node that you often hear in stores. That wouldn't make a speaker sound hot. I then asked a few folks I know in the industry and was told that they boost the treble 1-2 DB,s so that they stand out in showrooms. Many folks like that sound and feel it makes their speakers sound alive and clean. B&W does that also. I just am very sensitive to that. It's my weakness I guess.

I tried as I learn a lot from this forum, both good and bad.
I listened to the 5A's and the carbon 5A's and the difference was marginal to me. There are those who say you have to live with them for awhile to appreciate them (Richard told that to me)..... oh well.
I also fee it depends on what else you are running. The thing is that like with many things you don't miss it until it's gone. I heard the treo CT at audio Connection and they blew me away with larger stage and much better imaging. I heard it with Ayre AX 5 and Ayre digital. I love my regular Treos but I clearly heard the smoothness without losing detail. Actually there seemed to be a bit more air as well as detail.
Not everyone will even realize what they are hearing but it's there. Personally I like that they aren't hyping it too much. Just letting folks enjoy the music and pointing out why they are a bit different than others. JMHO
Well I'm putting the Treo's on the market as I want the Quatro's. I can't wait to get them in zebra wood. Heard the Theils again and they sounded better with Boulder gear. Not my cup of tea but they were better than what I heard in the past. It was a 3.7
any updates ? CT
WAs out last week and heard some Wilson speakers again and I just can't get into them. I heard them with AR ref, Mac and Ayre Ref/20 stack. Aurender and Esoteric provided the Ayre gear. Mac CD provided that source and the NAD Masters CD player/DAC provided for the AR gear.

I thought my Treo's sounded better overall and were more engaging than any of the Wilson's. That just me not getting emotionally connected to the Wilson sound. For those who want that sound, I felt you couldn't beat the Aurender feeding the Ayre through the Alexis I think they call them (about 55k).

It just cemented me on the Quatro's to be honest. I have heard so many of the 30k and under speakers and most don't do it for me . Lot's of great sound and I see why you guys like many of the brands out there, but even within brands (Dynaudio) I like some, but not all. I rarely like the large top of the line 100k plus speakers from companies. When you speak with designers they will tell you that they make these behemouths because folks want large speakers for the price they are paying. They want the big sound even if that sound isn't as real or engaging as some of their other offerings. I find this to be very true based on many of the speakers I've heard. Again, that's just me. I will be interested in hearing the B&W D3 speakers. In the past I haven't loved their sound either, but the last diamond coated tweeters they used were their best offering so far (for me).

I really liked what I heard with the Aurender. I liked it a lot!. The interface as well as the sound and the look. I have liked in in every system I've listened to. I've heard the Ayre and Wilson's enough to know their sound, so I think I have an idea of what they were fed. I will be selling my rebuilt Mac Mini with Haynes linear power supply (including Amara, a professional ripping program and all the high rez songs to get one I think. I do believe it's that's good. Another friend of mine, who's a well respected poster on Audiogon has the exact opinion as I do too. He also is using a heavily modded Mac Mini. the is the first server I've heard that I like better.

So unless I can find another speaker under 15k that will beat the Vandersteen Quatro's, I'll be getting them. Still will need to move the Treo's though to be able to pay for said speakers, lol.
a bit off topic but I have found it hard to beat Unitiserve w Pardo linear PS but Aurender is on my short list as I am TIRED, very TIRED at lack of NAIM support and server has been in for service twice in 4 years..A trip to Canada for a comms board fix is just not cutting it.
I thought you would maybe leap on te 5 a carbons in walnut...?
that is on topic CT
best to you man
Which speaker designers told you these things?
First off why would I ever give the name of folks who share things in confidence ? It's been more than a few folks who have mentioned it. Others have spoken about liking the model below the top of the line in other threads.

Tom. I can't afford the 5CT lol. The quatros are the perfect size and price for me lol. Living the Treos even more since the upgrade to the Arye AX5 twenty. That's an amazing piece of gear.
I missed the part where you said these things were said in confidence. My error?
Why would it be an error? Maybe that was sarcastic, but I don't think so. What designer/manufacturer would want their name attached to what I posted? I've heard it from more than one designer/owner. It's not that their largest speaker isn't worth it or isn't a great speaker. Personally I've heard some folks largest offering an not liked it, but I have liked their 60k or so offerings better. Very few people or dealers have a room that can even handles many of the larger speakers offered. I was with a dealer last week who spoke about the sore spots in his room and how much it would cost to rebuild it and that most of his customers don't even know it. Very few dealers I've been to around the country don't have a problem with that 50-60hz reverb. Most rooms also seem over damped or don't diffuse early wall reflections so you get a lot of ringing. Again, we all have different takes and maybe you have never heard these things.
I don't think it's fair to simply call the Quatro CT just a speaker (and to compare it to other speakers). It's part of a system with many components that aren't required / included with other speakers.

Yes, it's a 3-way speaker. However, it also includes a powered sub (one in each speaker, actually), a bass management equalizer (as part of each sub) to address low-frequency room issues, and it requires bi-amping though high-pass filters before the primary amplifier (and inversely addressing that low-end rolloff with the integrated sub amps). All of these features add to the Quatro CT's greatness.

So when you listen to a set of Quatro CT's, what are you actually hearing? An excellent time and phase coherent 3-way speaker? An amplifier releaved of low-frequency reproduction duties? Stereo subs? A bass management system? Trick question. The answer is "All of the above".

I'm driving mine with just an Ayre AX-7e. All I can say is "Wow!" (and I probably only have them half broken-in).
Agreed nrenter.  

I started this post with the typical fever of someone looking to get a new piece of gear.  I ended up finding a pair of almost new Quattro Wood (non-CT) in Ebony about 12 months ago.  I've been really enjoying them.  I really liked my previous speakers, Legacy Audio Focus SE but they were too big looking.  Shallow?  Perhaps but it was like having two soldiers standing guard in the room.  The Quattros are so much more discreet, even five feet our from the front wall.  Like the Focus, I am driving the Quattros with a Pass XA 30.5, the difference being 94 db efficiency for the Focus SE vs upper 80's for the Quattros. It does take a little more dB's for the Quattros to really open up compared to the Focus SE.  But I don't think they are a more difficult load for the XA 30.5 due to the reduction in low frequency duties.  

One thing that was surprising was the different nature of the the low bass between the two speakers.  The Focus have 48" of woofer staring at you (2 x 12" per speaker)  and you just assume it can do anything in the lower frequencies. But with the Quattros, the bass is bigger!  Much more forceful feeling.  Nice impact without sounding unnatural. The Focus never locked into the room like the Quattros.  I'm sure that some listeners would prefer one presentation over the other but for me the Quattros are better. 

The only aspect I miss about the Legacy Focus sound is the tweeter.  Those ribbons really sounded great in my room. Not that the Quattro is a slouch but it is not the same level of clean, crisp, natural sounding as the Focus SE.  Which is why I still think about the Quattro Wood CT!  Would it match or surpass those AMT ribbons?

I think what's most interesting about the low end is the articulation. I have a home made test disk that goes from 10 Hz to 300 Hz in 1 Hz steps. From the mid-20's up, the change in frequency is EASILY discernible. They don't produce chest thumping bass, but that's just because of how I have them set up. It just sounds right. Top to bottom. 

I'm an imaging freak, and the Quatro CTs present a crisply defined soundstage. Twice while listening today I turned down the volume because I thought I heard something I the house. Nope, it was in the recording. At another point, the dynamics startled me. So much fun. 
Yes the Vandy's are dynamic as well as tuneful.  Not just thump as even some great speakers really are.  When you listen to true subterranean cuts, you realize what you have or what has been missing.  Heck, Richard stopped trying to get a model 9 to the market, because he couldn't get multiple bass drivers to sound as good as the 7's or better.  They were just bigger.  Many companies have that problem and when you hear bass done correctly, you realize it.  Richard isn't the only one who gets great bass out of a speaker.  There are some, but not as many as some think. It's the most expensive part of the spectrum to replicate.

As for the treble, yes I think that CT tweeter would change things greatly.  I've heard the Focus tweeter.  The newest one I like, the last version did't do it for me in any of their speakers. I heard them locally as a dealer before I got Vandy's.  

Tom, update, I have my Treo's posted on one website, but I turned down a low ball offer.  Still selling them, lol.
You will sell them ! CT

i just replaced the AQ Type 6 shotgun Biwires for an LFD cable out of the UK..very nice el cheapo upgrade while I wait to do the Vandy amps.

On topic..I think I have heard Quatro CT at 4 dealers now...pretty consistently good in far ranging rooms..FOLLOW the excellent setup instructions and be precise and you will be rewarded..

BTW the 7's freaking sing with the Opus3 master tape copy whizzing by at 15" per second...

DARN you!!!  Reel to Reel?  Really?  Thanks a lot, lol.  Yes the Quatro's are what I want.  Like you I've heard them at a few places and they never ever disappoint.  No matter the room or the gear, they just do what they do and that's revealing music and bringing you in emotionally.  That's what all that detail will get you...emotionally attached. I have a thread going on VAndy 7's on Audio Asylum. I invite you guys to join in.  I have some guy trying to discredit my feelings on Vandy's by tell me that B&W C series speaker is better than the Treo and that he uses a Marantz integrated and it's better than my Ayre AX5 Twenty.  

I understand speakers will polarize.  That's the reality when we all hear so differently. Either he's trolling or he's serious and if so, he needs a trip to the audiologist, lol.  Hope to see some of you over there and feel free to share opposing views etc....Love the discussion.  No speaker does everything right regardless of cost.  You just can't or you'd have LIVE performances in your room daily.
CT...not much I can do to help you..I wonder IF he knows the Best Buy Marantz is SS ?
...people hear what they hear.
I find recentering myself with live, unamplified real music every week helps..
i did see Rickie Lee Jones last week in a smallish venue...amplified, two glasses of Vino sublime...even thru a PA. she still has it...IMO

Sort of related..the OP's dealer in ATL took my 5 a in trade..he coulda had Rosewood..oh well. Quatro CT vs 5 a is tough.. RV said nod to CT in mid in my room, not even close in bass weight, drive, etc..he did know I was not shopping for CT.





Nrenter..setup right the Amused to Death disc will have you looking over your shoulder...