Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT Setup Questions


I just purchased a used set of Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT speakers that will be delivered in a week or so. I am going to be doing the setup myself (help of my brother also). The Vandy Quatro / CT manual has very good detail and I am reading, preparing and starting to really understand the process. 

Vandersteen recommends using natural instrument Jazz recordings because they say these offer the most realistic and accurate sonic reproductions. They even recommend using Ray Brown Soular Energy. Can anyone recommend any other similar reference recordings?

Does anyone have any general recommendations and tips for Vandy speaker setup? Any suggestions are appreciated, thank you.




pilrem
OP - Congratulations on a great purchase!!  As I already had two 2wq Vandy subs. I have the Treo CTs.  Basically the Quatros without the built in EQ capable subs.  

One thing for sure.  Vandersteen loudspeakers will reward you with attention to speaker placement.  Even fractions of an inch movement will audibly rewarded or punished.  Most Vandy placements involve little or no toe-in.  My Treo CTs are toed-in 1/4".

What are the dimensions of your room?
16ft. x 15ft. 8 in.

Speakers will be placed on the 16ft wall.

I haven't done the math yet.
Your dealer should provide set up. I know Johnny at Audioconnection does.
@hifiman5 
We seem to share the same setup. Though I only have lowly non-
CT Treo's, thanks to Ctsooner.
;)
B
@gdnrbob  Nothing "lowly" about your Treos!  You're right about John R. at Audio Connection.  He is known for going well out of his way to help with set-up.

I bought my Treo CTs from him.  I am 3+ hours away from Verona NJ so I discussed set-up and placement with him while I was there.  I had the benefit of 30+years of Vandy ownership so I had a pretty good idea where to put them.  It is amazing what a difference 1/4" or less movement has on the sound, especially as regards toe-in or lack thereof.
Setup is very important....even the slightest maladjustment will affect the ultimate performance.  If you are unaware, get back to John Rutan....a whiz at this procedure. You need a pen laser, an analogue sound pressure meter, etc.  You will not know how good the speakers sound unless you address everything.
First congrats - you will be rewarded and shocked with what your room does to bass and how you can tame it in the analog domain.
first verify verify verify amp input impedence!!!!!
otherwise you will need a good multimeter !
get the RS analog meter, verify it works
get a camera tripod to get meter at listening position ear level
get a Leica Disto for super accurate measurement of distance to tweeter ( used to set tilt !!!
get your chair OFF the wall
my Ears in the beater Treo CT setup are 40” off the wall
follow the instructions
the Vandertones disc has a nice bass recording made at Oceanway Studio
it is a good alternate to Ray
but Amazon has Soular Energy :-)
i also use  JD Souther Silver Blue on the album A Natural History - Victor Krauss plays bass
but I prefer Stanley Clarke on Black Rose version
enjoy
short of 7’s imo one of the absolute best speakers out there
ask ???????

OP
where are you located ?
Try Mastodon's "Once more round the sun" on vinyl.  Excellent tonal balance, timbral brilliance and killer dynamics. 
I ran the original Quatro's for 7 years and loved them.  They absolutely reward you for very careful work on speaker placement, and tomic601's list of needed tools above is spot on.  I can testify to the 1/4" claims.

One thing that amazed me was the importance of getting the correct tilt angle to hit you correctly at your listening position.  Richard Vandersteen underscored that to me on the phone, and when I dialed it in, "Shazzam!", there was that beautiful midrange singing clearly!  And don't try filling in dips in bass response too much - - I believe the manual emphasizes that, too, but I lived it.  It can suck the life out of things.  The 11 band bass equalizer is best suited to tame peaks.

Enjoy 'em!  I would have loved to have played with the CT versions!
I believe WI has a fantastic Vandersteen dealer
but there are many of us and of course the factory to help also
yes the point about trying to raise real holes w EQ is covered in the manual - in fact boost across all 11 bands is not equal to cut for that very reason
also
hopefully your pair will come with the excellent yellow Vishay screwdriver to adjust the bass
adjustment of bass is really a two person job
my guess is your previous owner will also have NOT reset all 11 bands to zero on each speaker - be sure to do that
a small high intensity led flash light is a godsend....
take your time.... you shall be rewarded
It looks like Utra Fidelis is in your state (I don't know how close they are to you...).
I would give them a call and see if they can give set up.
If they are anything like John Rutan, they will provide all necessary info.
If they aren't, give Johnny a call or email or PM (Agon ID-audioconnection). I know he will guide you through the process.
And, if you are still stuck, call Vandersteen and leave a message. Mr. V. usually calls back the next day. But, be concise, as he can be a bit brusque.
Bob
I would highly recommend Ultra Fidelis. That is where I bought my Treo Ct's from. The main guy there is a gentleman by the name of Jonathon Spelt. Terrific person and pro setup guy. Richard Vandersteen talks very highly of Jon. He won't steer you wrong.
@nrenter good thread for sure..i don’t seem to spend much time there....music calling I guess.....

the setup kit is in work for sure but probably not as comprehensive as suggested....the machined laser alignment tool is coming ala the 7 which makes toe in a snap.
spreadsheet good
i gave up that when i retired but i do have same w notebook...and i take a photo of each page and they are out there...somewhere in the cloud..no doubt the N. the wizard of Hanford about Vandertones and the Analog SPL meter.....i think, even after a massive teryaki burger bribe, I am going to have to do it myself....something about “ autocorrection for room gain”......
Jaclyn will mail you all the spike shoes you need, they are reasonable $$$$ imo
good advice on the 1hz sweep...

load the top of the antique chest up with ramdom stuff....natural diffuser......love the room.....
I've tried using Soular Energy to set the bass level, but I don't seem to be able to discern anything with this music.  I found it easier just to put on some familiar orchestral music with a lot of bass drum and then adjust the bass level until the bass thwacks are satisfying but not thumpy and the overall tonality is not hard.

As for the tilt, I found it easier to get a chair (Ekornes Stressless) that puts my ears at the right height and then use a good bubble level to get the speakers as level as possible.

I also replaced the cones and spikes with Soundocity outriggers, which was a huge improvement in stability on my suspended wood flooring + thick carpet.  This does add 1/2 inch to the height, about right for my chair.  The outriggers have limited height adjustability, though.

I also found that doing the bass EQ with the C-weighting is too much bass for my room and my taste.  I use the Radio Shack meter  to set the initial level only, and then use a flat measurement mic (miniDSP UMIK-1) for the EQ.  (I also wrote my own custom RTA to help with the EQ, but that's not the "canonical" way and a probably a story for another day...).
I think if your RTA centers are on the 11 bands vs the normal 1/3 octave that would be somewhat canonical...
the freq bands were based on typical room nodes not octaves

proof is in the sound !
RV uses 4 warble tones per octave, so I use 1/4 octave bands.  A repeating logarithmic sine sweep is played thru the speakers, and digital bandpass filters are used to produce the band levels.  Once you've set the right volume level, the software gives you the 25% target outline for adjusting each band properly.

You could probably do something like this with an off-the-shelf RTA (e.g. the one in REW), but you'd have to track the target levels yourself.

The program is written in Python, uses PyAudio to capture sound input, scipy for the bandpass filters,  and wxpython for the GUI.  This makes it reasonably portable.  I've been meaning to clean up the code and put it up on GitHub. 

I get excellent sounding results, and the EQ process is much faster when you can see the effect on all the bands at once.  But being the author, I'm able to deal with the idiosyncrasies of my own design.  It would take more work to make it generally usable.
Another question. My Audio Research Amp (REF110) has 4, 8 & 16 ohm taps. The Quatro manual says try 4 or 8 ohms. I know that Vandersteens were often demoed at shows using similar ARC amps. Does anyone know what taps RV uses? Any general opinions?


@pilrem they listen and pick best sounding tap but i would start with 8
your speakers are an easy load......
dial them in, get to know them and then try the other taps.....
@daverz dude...way beyond me...lucky for me I never had to write usable code !!!!! but a worthy project, no ?????
best !
jim
They were delivered yesterday in excellent condition. High pass filters batteries are dated 2022 and have QA Wind balanced connections; I am running AQ Niagara and Water, nice match.

In the week it took to ship the speakers I studied the setup manual and created another thread here asking for help. I followed all the advise and did my homework and had all of the proper tools. The setup took a few hours and all I can say is I am extremely happy. The setup is not hard but it takes time and the process must be followed. 

Thanks for all the great adviose and 
@tomic601 I'm cleaning up the code and will put it up on github soon.
@daverz thanks, this will push me to learn some new things !,,,,thanks for sharing
@pilrem wonderful!!!!!!! powered adjustable bass is really cool, glad to hear you are well setup and enjoying the music. I ran Niagria for years a very very neutral wire for sure.....

enjoy !!!!!
Vandersteen Quatro CT Setup Update

I decided to ask Jonathan Spelt from Ultra Fidelis in Milwaukee do a masters setup on my Quatro CTs. Bottom line is the difference is remarkable.

Originally I set them up myself. I was extremely detailed when I did my initial setup. I followed the Vandersteen instructions and really took my time. My system sounded better than it ever had and I was very pleased. After several weeks of listening, I decided to have Jon do the Masters Setup to see what improvement gains could be had.

Jon came to my house armed with music, tools and know how. His procedure was completely different from the one in the Vandersteen manual. I took notes on what he did but once he really got into the process I realized that my notes would in no way allow me to recreate the years of experience Jon has, or his ear... 3 or 4 hours later and my system sounds so much better that I was amazed. Probably the single biggest jump I could imagine for the money.

If you have Vandersteens, get Jon or someone like him to set them up properly. I took notes, I could elaborate on Jon’s process, but I would absolutely recommend a masters setup. Jon works closely with RV - and RV himself referred Jon to me; I am glad that I listened...



That is great to hear. I probably should have John Rutan set up my Treo's. (But, I hate to have him see my placement- there is only one place for them in my room).
Bob
pilrem,

Good choice on selecting Jonathon Spelt for your set up! When I lived in Wisconsin I bought my Treo Ct's from him. His store auditions were impeccably set up and is what convinced me to buy from him. Love my Treo's and also have a Vandy 2Wq sub. Couldn't be happier, unless I got a pair of Quattro Ct's!!!
wow cool
can you point out a few differences ?
the laser jig helps setup the 7
so i have worked out some of that math and use a laser when setting up the 5a , Q and Treo for toe in. I use the manual chart for tilt. Obviously music is the ultimate test
i do get the listeners chair away from wall effect.

so glad you are enjoying them !!!!!!!
You don’t need a master jig...only a pen laser you can get cheaply on line. Here’s how to do it... You need the laser pen, a post-it, and a pen. For one speaker, click on the laser, put it on the flat top of your speaker. I have Vandersteen 5A’s so I take the black shroud off. With the laser on top of the speaker, with the laser pointing at the wall in back of your listening position, rotate/spin the laser left/right for the red dot to be in the rear of your listening position. Put the post-it on the wall and put a pen mark on that laser spot which is now on the post-it. Do the very same thing as above but with the other speaker. One speaker’s laser will be slightly higher or lower than the original dot. Be careful that the laser pen doesn’t roll while doing this setup - if it rolls, it doesn’t accurately point to the same spot on the wall. Adjust either speaker - up/down so that the laser dot is right on top of the mark for both speakers. That sets up the height so that they are now level to each other...big difference in sound. The sound is now much more focused and halographic. The laser is not for toe in adjustment...use your ears for the sound you like best. I adjust mine so that the soloist is in the middle of the 2 speakers....just hanging there.....not spread out. The singers mouth has to be right there, and no more. I found that carpet right in front of the speakers reduces the 1st reflection point for a more stable image. Good luck - its fun to dial these guys in.  I don't mean to spoil your pleasure, but I would look askance at a setup that doesn't follow the Vandersteen model.  No one knows as much as the Richard himself (maybe John Rutan of AudioConnection in New Jersey.)..just one thing more.....   If all the adjustments are in their mid position, you very nearly have perfection for the vast majority of rooms.
 you have 5a not 7, i have owned both, spend an extra buck and get the laser with a flat base, the jig is for the 7 and adjusts toe in also, 

you are wrong @stringreen
also put your targets at ear height on the listening chair if you can, not a rear wall, hopefully many many feet distant..the rear wall s2nd choice

in general i end up aiming about a foot to 8” outboard of each ear.
your milage may vary


+1, tomic601

Jim has given me setup assistance along with room treatment recommendations and has helped me make my Vandersteen setup better sounding. He has vast experience with these things and knows Richard Vandersteen personally.
The Masters setup goes way beyond the setup procedures that come in the Quatro CT manual. Richard Vandersteen himself recommended this method and he and Jonathan Spelt use this method when setting up at shows like AXPONA. I exchanged several emails with RV and he absolutely recommended Jon.

I'll post notes on the masters procedure soon.
my apologies, I am sure all us Vandersteen owners are passionate about meticulous setup, tuning and the massive rewards....
as i seek to learn from the masters and
as a sometimes adobe hack and loudspeaker manual editor, I would love to see the notes on master setup....
i have been bugging RV about a simple, less expensive 3d printed laser jig that fits other models, i will bug the Wizard of Hanford again today....

best to all 

you are wrong tomic601...  I wrote my suggestion for those without 7's.  My words are suggestions, not demands.  Everyone here should buy 7's so they can avail themselves of the laser as you describe.  For those that will not, they can read my words and act or not. 
Some notes on the Master process. The setup took about 4 hours.

First off my system components FWIW. VPI Aries 3 - Single Flywheel Motor - Peripheral Ring - Super Plater - SDS - Balanced Output. Lyra Delos. ARC PH-8 Phono Pre. ARC LS-27 Pre. ARC Ref-110 with KT-120. Rega Saturn DC. AQ Niagara 1000 Power Strip. AQ WEL Signature Power Cable wall to Niagara 1000. AQ NRG 10 Power Cable Niagara to components. AQ NRG-2 Niagara to Quatro subs. AQ Water & Niagara Balanced IC.

Step 1 - Remove spikes and place speakers onto furniture slides
Step 2 - Zero all 11 sub EQ channels
Step 3 - Leave the subs powered on when positioning the speakers. Jon wanted to "energize" the room while seeking placement. "the speakers need to work with the room"
Step 4 - Play cd Rob Wasserman & Jennifer Warnes Duets - Ballad of the runaway horse. Very loud (61 on the LS-27) to energize the room.
Step 5 - Starting with speakers very close to rear wall and very wide apart... Hours of successive approximations finding the proper location and toe in while replaying track over and over. Listening, small and fussy adjustments, more listening, small and fussy adjustments - all by ear.
Step 6 - When the final location was reached, Remove furniture slides and insert speaker spikes.
Step 7 - Set speaker tilt. "listen to Jennifer’s voice" - and that placement needed to be recreated. I was told that Jennifer was standing when this song was recorded. As tilt was adjusted, Jennifer’s voice raised from low between the speakers to about 5 ft above the floor, pinpoint, right there so it felt as if you could grab it. "This is the final of setting a 3D sound stage I was told.
Step 8 - Set the Bass EQ similar to the procedure in the manual however the lowest setting was left at zero and ignored.

The speakers are now much wider apart and closer to the rear wall, more toe-in.

On to test listening via vinyl. Gomez - Bring it on. Original pressing. Get Miles, Who’s gonna go the bar, etc.

Notes on the sound compared to the old placement (carefully using the instructions in the Quatro CT manual). My system seems to play louder and more dynamic at the same volume level with the new placement. Louder may not be the right word, perhaps more immediate? Bass is the best I have heard; level through all bands. Dynamics are way up. I wasn’t expecting this. I thought that soundstage and imaging were the only things that would be effected but the overall sound is even more natural, extended, dynamic and as good as I could ever hope for in my room. The 3D soundstage is giant and the speakers have finally completely disappeared. Stable imaging and instrument/voice placement. Very emotionally involving.








Point of clarification: the 7 do not come with a laser jig, that is part of the dealer kit for setting up the 7

A Leica Disto ( or similar ) should help you document exactly where the speakers and your chair should be.... my blue tape on the floor never seems to survive long....

@pilrem 

"Step 7 - Set speaker tilt. "listen to Jennifer’s voice" - and that placement needed to be recreated. I was told that Jennifer was standing when this song was recorded. As tilt was adjusted, Jennifer’s voice raised from low between the speakers to about 5 ft above the floor, pinpoint, right there so it felt as if you could grab it."

In the studio the microphone has no idea whether a performer is seated, standing, or lying on the floor. The engineer also has no way of encoding vertical information into the recording. They have pan, which will locate an instrument from left to right, and will use track levels and reverb often times to give the impression that instruments are located closer or farther away. But to the best of my knowledge, there is no way to encode vertical information into a recording.

I'm very happy to hear that you got your system dialed in though. I wish I could afford Quattros at the moment. Enjoy!


In the studio the microphone has no idea whether a performer is seated, standing, or lying on the floor. The engineer also has no way of encoding vertical information into the recording. They have pan, which will locate an instrument from left to right, and will use track levels and reverb often times to give the impression that instruments are located closer or farther away. But to the best of my knowledge, there is no way to encode vertical information into a recording. 


Interesting. I must admit that I am not competent to answer such a question but my ears can hear 3d imaging when it is present. My question is How does this explain single mike recordings? I am specifically thinking of Chesky Records - The Ultimate Demonstration Disc - Track 23 - Festival to Deum.

I am not trying to be a smart ass in any way. When I think of clean single mike jazz or similar recordings the soundstage can be amazing.

I can also tell you that when this adjustment was made, it locked everything in. 
"My question is How does this explain single mike recordings?"

Typically, the mixing/mastering will run the entire two channel mix down though a stereo processor and this will give a 3D quality even if the track was mono. Another technique often used is that, unless live, many vocalists double track the vocal to thicken it. A small panning L/R of these two mono tracks will create a huge 3D effect. Some are better than others at achieving such vocal reproducibility. In the digital world, one can also copy a mono track and then provide slight reverb or delay with different settings to each of the two mono tracks and then, again, slightly pan L/R each mono track to create the 3D effect. I’m sure there are many other methods (tricks) that are commonly used to create such depth.
Even with my big vocal ribbons in a larger space there is floor and ceiling bounce which get encoded
easy to hear
but reverb and other tricks can get things out of control also... I call it Ten feet Tall Diana Krall....