Vandersteen question

It's time to upgrade my speakers. I'm very impressed by the Vandersteen 3A Sig. but am concerned that I don't have enough power. I just got a pair of Quicksilver MiniMite monoblock tube amps that are 25 watts/channel matched with the Eastern Electric MiniMax preamp (20 db gain). Presently I've got Klipsch Heresys that are very efficient at 96db/1watt. I can barely turn the volume past the 9 o'clock position before the sound gets to ear bleeding levels.

My question relates to the active preamp with 20 db of gain. I believe there's a formula that everytime you double the wattage, this increases the SPL by 3 db. With this in mind, 20 db of gain in the preamp would equate to an amp having 6 2/3 times the wattage or 166 watts/channel matched with a passive preamp in my case.

I notice that Vandersteen recommends 100 to 200 W/ch with the 3A Sig while the 2Ce Sig recommends 40 to 60 W/ch. I find this confusing considering that the 3A is more efficient at 87db. The 2Ce is rated at 86db.

Vandy fans - Please enlighten me. Thanks.
I run my Vandy 3A sigs with Quicksilver V4 monos at 120W into 8 or 4 ohms. Richard Vandersteen recommended the amps. I can't give you a definitive answer on the minis, but I'd be concerned trying to run 25 watts into a speaker that dips to 4 ohms. The only way to know for sure is to go to the source -- Vandersteen himself. He'll take your call and give you his honest opinion.
After giving some thought to my original post, I realize that 20db of gain in the preamp cannot add 20db SPL (Sound Pressure Level) to the speakers. My calculation was incorrect with regards to the formula - everytime you double the wattage, the speaker SPL will increase 3db. If the speaker SPL increased 20db with a 25 w/ch amp, it would equate to an astronomical wattage - roughly 2666 w/ch. hooked into a passive preamp.

Note: the 3A Sig has an impedance of 6 ohms nominal, 4 ohms minimum. The 2Ce Sig has 7 ohms nominal, 4 ohms minimum.

Can anyone shed some light on how an active preamp with gain will effect the SPL of speakers?
I can't give you an engineering perspective on this...rather a practical one. You can only drive your amp up to it's ability to output power. Therefore, it's less important how much gain your preamp has as to how much power your amp can generate.

You will want at least 100wpc with the 3A Sigs. The Quicksilver V-4s are a great choice. If you want other options there are plenty out there. However, the absolute bare minimum I would use is 50wpc.

Good luck!
My Vandersteen dealer runs his 3a Sigs with an Audio research tube amp that puts out 50-60 wpc. Sounds perfectly fine and loud enough for me.
Don't know much about the issue you are dealing with. But before you get them. Make sure your room is large enough. First order crossovers need some distance between you and the speakers for them to integrate correctly. I have had 1Bs for more than ten years and have not had the urge to upgrade. Great speakers. Just my two cents.
Room size with the 3As is more a matter of giving them room to "breathe". I listen nearfield with mine and have no problems with integration. However, they do better in larger rooms so they don't over load it or run into bass problems. (Any full range speaker will have this room problem, just to be clear.)
Mikej- You cant listen nearfield with the 3A's and still get a time and phase accurate signal. The signal comes together at a point 8 feet from the acoustical center of the speaker.


I would say that 25 watts might not be enough depending on room size and your listening habits.
25 watts of power can play fairly loud, but you should try and take the amp to a Vandersteen dealer ahead of time so you can see if it sounds to your liking. Pairing a 2Wq subwoofer up with the 3A Signature might make the 25w usable...

Like someone else mentioned- call Vandersteen Audio and ask the man himself...


One more comment- sorry everyone for the triple post :)

I once used Klipshorns and LaScalas.
You will not regret switching to Vandersteen.
I loved the sounds from Klipsch speakers for a couple years, and then I couldn't listen to them anymore.. I realized that they were fatiguing me and I wasn't really even grasping that for a while.
Switching to the Vandersteens, I have never gotten listening fatigue, and I really enjoy music so much more, and hear so much more.
I hope that just because your amplifier might not mate with Vandersteens that you do not abandon seeking out the 3A Signature.
It will grow on you- it is an amazing speaker

It's matter of taste but I don't think the 25 watts will drive. I would go with at least 100 watts tube and 150 watts solid state for the 3 a sigs.

I found that my old 100 watt tube amp was not up to the task but my 160 watt monoblocks were quite a good match. They like power to show off their lower bass.
Thanks for all the responses. I plan on auditioning the Vandys at some point in my home but it sounds like 25 w/ch will certainly limit them.

Are there any other speaker recommendations that will mate well with my Quicksilver amps? I'm hoping to find a speaker with similar qualities of the 3A Sig for the same price. I assume most Vandy fans will give an emphatic - NO.

When I auditioned the Quicksilver amps at the shop with my preamp, they were driving the Vandy 1C quite well, although this is 90db/watt.
For me loud enough could be even with 15WPC SET but it won't be enough full range-wise which I do prefere. For this I'd go for at least 100Wpc amps.
8-9 feet for me is near field. Sorry...I wasn't specific.
The best I've heard them sound was from about 15 feet away in a HUGE room. Unfortunately, that room isn't mine...
;- )
The 3A Sigs reequire more power than your amps can provide. You may drive them into overload and clipping on crescendos without realizing it. That in turn can damage the speaker. I suggest working with your dealer to trade up to the Quicksilver V-4s. They're a great match and work very well with the 3A Sigs.
Has anyone ever tried extended listening to a Vandersteen 2Ce without grille cloth?. My grilles are getting a little long in the tooth thanks to loving attention from feline companions. I was considering stripping the speakers but was curious about how the sound would change.

If you stip them the sound will not appreciably change, however, the felines will certainly enjoy the driver cones. Not such a great trade off. I believe it is not hard to remove the tops and replace the cloth.

Are you a cyclist? Hence the Moots.

I am running Vandy 2Ce sigs with VTL MB 125s and I thought the Vandys sounded fine until I tried them with 200 watts per channel. What a difference! I am now a firm believer that Vandersteens do work best with lots of good power. In my oppinion without the power you only get a glimps of what they are capable of. I do have a fairly large room 14'x35'x8' tall. I am also using (2) Vandy 2WQ subs. Also in my room they sound best at 12' from the listening position and 7'off the back wall.