I'd vote for Wyred4sound STI1000.
35 responses Add your response
I've heard the Vandersteen Treo's with the Ayre Integrated and it was wonderful. Ayre and Vandersteen are an ideal match IMHO. I have Vandersteen 3A Sigs and am hoping to mate them with Ayre electronics. I heard the Vandy/Ayre combo in NJ @ Audio Connection. Of course ARC electronics and Vandersteen is a no-brainer!
If still looking you'd be nuts not to get the Ayre AX7e if you can afford it. Get it used if you need to. I am saving for the Treo's and am using it in my system with my ProAc Supertowers that I am selling (just haven't listed yet) and it's magic with the MIT CVT MH 770 (highest MIT cable) and also for sale, lol. It's better than my Quicksilver silver mono's and full pre rewired with MIT wire to open the sound and improve the bass (both also for sale, lmao...lot's of stuff about to leave the house).
Honestly, the Ayre is just perfect and very tube like with the best of both worlds and it drives anything well. Much more powerful than it's 60w rating. Doubles all the way to 2ohms folks. That's rare and it has no feedback. Sorry but I LOVE it as does everyone who's hearing it. Almost made me keep the Proacs, but I want the Vandy's badly for many reasons. My loss is someone's gain,right?
I just got the Ayre ax7e integrated and love it with my proac supertowers and it marries really great with the Treo's. This is the system I loved in John's store. I just got the Music Hall DAC 25.3 with AQ Niagara cables. As soon as I sell my Proac Supertowers, 2 pair or Proac Studio 100 mk2 and my quicksilver preamp/silver mono's all with MIT MH 770 cables (I'll miss these as these are the high end wires that they used for Spectral and a few of theirs) I'll get the Treo's and complete the system for now.
Let me know when you go. I can get free during the week also (actually easier). I have three full systems to bring to JOhn for him to help me sell I think. I heard the Rogue with the Treo's and they were a nice feed. Then he put on the Ayre 5x and it blew me out the door. THAT is what I would dream to have. It was the first time I've really heard a SS amp sound like the best of both worlds. I'm a tube guy first and formost, but I miss tight, deep, musical bass and even the Jadis stuff i've had didn't give me that. The next time I went in, I heard all the Vandy's AND the Proacs ('m a Proac guy who's selling off three pairs right now). I then asked if we could do the Treo's with the 7xe and John set it up for me. I thought it would be underpowered, but it's not. There was plenty of reserve. I don't blast things, but like real levels. Words don't describe. It was set up in fully balanced mode and it was magic. It was musical and realistic. I loved how it sounded and it was through the Music Hall 25.3 DAC with a basic AQ XLR cable and the AQ Rocket series I believe. I'll be getting one of the Rock series speaker cables. I just got the MH DAC with Niagara XLR and WOW. it's almost burned in and it just keeps opening up. GREAT little DAC.
The Ayre gave the most realistic presentation and it got the full bass from that Treo. I was surprised about that part. The mids were very realistic. Piano was in the room.. It never grated or got annoying as it does on most SS amps (Even on very expensive amps I've heard piano sound like crap. I'm really sensitive to it I guess. Female and male vocals ere in the room. It was highly detailed, but clean and tuneful. Pitch was perfect. Dark dark dark background. It was silent and no tube amp is this silent. That adds to the experience to me. Even on my Proac Supertowers this amp is dead quiet. It's THAT revealing, without distortion. It's coherent up and down the scale. Very flat or so it seems to be. The highs are extended in a natural way. I love these highs vs any tube amp. The mids to me are better because of the low noise floor. Everything is cleaner. Now mate that with the amazing Treo's and you have quite a pairing. The synergy is special. I have heard Vandy's in a couple of places now with CJ tube gear and the Quattro's sang. It was magic and very expensive. That said, the amplification was different from the Ayre 7, but not better. The Ayre still did some things better than the CJ, but the CJ did beat it in staging but not imaging. The Ayre was quieter and I felt had better quality bass and lower base. I didn't think it would, but it did. If the CJ separates were in the Ayre's ball park, I would have gone that rout possibly,but that's also the CJ DAC vs the Music Hall DAC. I have a feeling if you had the same speaker cables (the CJ/Quattro used the top series AQ and two full runs to biwire) and the same source and the same speakers (remember this is Quattro vs Treo), then the sound vs the CJ reference separates would be much closer than it was and the difference wasn't a night and day thing.
I wasn't going to get the amp until after the speakers, but my buddy got Ayre mono blocks and top preamp and sold me his for cheap. I had no choice. I even wanted to give John my business and he said to buy it. I"m SOOOOO glad I did. I now love my Proacs again, lol. Hopefully someone will give them a good home as I'll get around 1k for them and they are now sounding better than most of the new speakers I've auditioned under 5k and that includes highly rated Focal BE series and Paradigm sig series monitors.
I thought it was the Pharoah's. Those are the new integrated aren't they? If so, they had plenty of power etc... They sounded great, but I felt the Ayre gave me everything the Rogue did, but they did more. Both are great integrateds though and I'd be happy with either. To me the Ayre just did more and that's why I went that route as the Rogue was probably my runner up even though I didn't want tubes again.
Oops, sorry about that second post. I made it before you replied. Big thanks for this information on Ayre. I'm also interested in the V-5xe. I currently use old 2C's with a Unico SE. It's a fantastic combo but getting old. The Treo's are #1 on my list out of any new speaker currently out there.
I'll definitely have to make another trip to NJ at some point. It probably won't be until April unfortunately. I'll try to get in touch with you when I do since you are probably on the way (I'm in the Worcester area). Thanks again for this info, Ctsooner!
"Big thanks for this information on Ayre. I'm also interested in the V-5xe. I currently use old 2C's with a Unico SE."
I use the V-5. Its really hard to beat. Ayre has a very unique sound. I haven't heard anything else that sounds like it. Most people, I think, don't get the full picture as to how it sounds. They always say its very analytical. I understand why they say that because Ayre products do pass a great deal of information. What they miss is the complete top to bottom liquidity. There's nothing mechanical or typical SS about the sound. I call it purity. You really have to hear it for yourself to understand fully but Vandersteen is the best speaker to match with Ayre. (At least I think so.)
Do you actually have the 2C or just not the most current version? I use the 3's now but I have a pair of Sig 1, 2's. They're about 10 years old now. One of my good friends was yapping about how good his 802D's were and how I should upgrade to them. I put my 2's next to them with my V-5 and forced him to admit he overpaid about 6k for his speakers. So even if your 2's are not the most current, you can still get great sound from them. I think you can upgrade to Sig 1 if yours are older.
They are just the plain old 2C's circa 1986. I love them with the Unico SE b/c that amp has a somewhat forward/aggressive (and highly detailed)sound that brings the 2C's to life. Amazing match! I'm not sure I would like the Unico as much with the Treo's b/c from what I hear they are not as relaxed as the old 2C's. I would also like a system that I can leave on 24/7 for computer audio only. I am not comfortable doing that with the Unico (it's several years old, foreign,and has preamp tubes). As expensive as the Treo's are I think they will make a fantastic long-term investment (20 years?). Probably the same with an Ayre amp.
Yes, Im' in Berlin on the way down to Audio Connection. I"m going to get there next week probably as I have a three pair of Proacs, a couple of Onix integrateds, Krell Stealth DAC, Stax headphones and a ton more to sell along with my Quick Silver Silver mono's and full service pre amp. I want it all checked out etc..., plus I want a full day to play with teh Vandy 7, 5 and Treo's. I'll see what amps we can warm up to listen to. I too want to see about the power conditioner.
Zd, you nailed it on the Ayre. Funny as I just say it's fully coherent from top to bottom. The speed is the same and you get the pace and rhythem. Revealing to say the least. I am hearing things that I never heard with an NAD integrated I had as a stop gap to get a remote in the system for my wife.
You can only upgrade Vandy's if you are the original owner. Richard hates seeing his speakers being sold on the secondary market and he wants to sell speakers that we will keep for ages and ages so that they keep their value and for folks to feel they get their money's worth Yes, I think if you can afford the Ayre gear, it just makes sense. This really is a great thread.
Still haven't made it down to AC, but hope to in the next two weeks. Johnny sold one of the Proacs already and now I just have to wait for the other two pair to sell along with all the other stuff and then I can get the Treo's. Loving my Music Hall DAC running balanced AQ Niagara into the Ayre. It's sounding even better and I only use a Marantz Blue Ray into the DAC. I'm amazed at how far thing have come in audio.
People used to hearing "hi-fi" speakers without first order crossovers, often perceive time-aligned speakers as "rolled-off". Look at the measurements by John Atkinson In Stereophile on the Vandy Treo & Quatros, and his discussion about allowing for the proper tilt back on such speakers in verifying the position of his microphone.
Thanks Oldears. That's what I was about to post. Way too often folks think rolled off isn't proper, but the problem is that too often 'extended' is just distortion or not real. Go listen live and then listen to the Vandy's and you'll be surprised I bet. I have heard live music and then the Vandy's within a 24hour period and THAT's what blew me away. I have heard the Focals (1028 BE) right after hearing live music and it didn't sound 'right'. They just were a bit sharp on the top end when hearing piano. First order speakers are different and that's why there are tons of other options. Heck the Proacs at John's sound pretty awesome. I am selling off two more pairs of Proacs (John just sold one set for me already and I'm sure the buyer will be VERY happy). I haven't seen the discussion on Stereophile, but I'm about to head over there now. thanks.
Surprised that Wilson and Vandersteens would be mentioned as both having a rolled off top octave.
From my listening (5a and Sofia) in my system I would say that the Vandees have a very smooth and at some level extended top end, not fatiguing in any way. The Wilsons on the otherhand are fatiguing and to my ears very extended and bright at times
Tap, I completely agree with you. I think you are DEAD ON with both speakers. Jafant, the Treo's have no powered sub. they are the same drivers that the 5 uses, but with no powered sub so I will be driving them with my Ayre integrated with no Xover. Funny as the first order xover speakers I've heard seem to have magic that other speakers all seem to lack for me. There are very very few speakers as 'real' as the Vandy's seem to me. As for being extended, I think they have been the MOST coherent speakers I've heard in ages and that goes for panel types or ribbons. On those, the bass has never been fast enough to keep up with the top end. It all gets very lost on me when they try to integrate dynamic drivers. I used to LOVe the old Apogee's. I nearly got them years ago, but went with Proacs instead. I just didn't love their bass and it's integration. As for Wilson's and Thiels they've always felt fatiguing to me. I know that when I go listen to speakers, it gets old after the first hour or so much of the time. To me, tha'ts the red flag for fatigue. It's just my ears and not saying they are better than anyone else's, but if I go listen with friends or family, they are ready to leave or move onto another set of speakers the same time I am. That tells me that fatigue has set in. I spent all day at Audio Connection when Richard V. was there a few months back. It was awesome listening to his whole line up all day. I stayed til he closed the store listening and loving every kind of music and I was unfamiliar with most of it, but it kept drawing me in and not letting me go. I wasn't waiting on the 'next' song to hear what else the speaker can do. I actually was just enjoying the music, which for me is what it's all about. That's why I don't change my component like some people change underwear. I have three full systems I'm selling off right now as I've had them for a while and for various reasons just need only one main system now. I realize that my SS stuff is all as tube like as you could find in it's various price ranges, so I know I gravitate towards the tube sound, however I have come to realize that I must have full extension on both ends to enjoy music. I used on only love monitors since they integrated so well and I loved what they did for mids and top end (at least for the monitors I loved and purchased), but after hearing the Treo's, I realized how badly I needed the low end and that's the most expensive part of audio.
I just saw them online. I may be down there as I visit OK (I'm an OU grad hence the name ctSOONER). I'mheaded down for a couple of weeks the end of March.
As for the Treo's, I've heard them on a few amps and I've heard the Quattro's on a few other amps. They ALWAYS show the emotion. To me I believe that's what separates them from other speakers right now on the market. Plenty detailed, plenty extended and plenty of true bass. I heard the Quattro's set up with Conrad Johnson top of the line amps and top of the line AQ cabling. WOW...holy crap. Just amazing and they were the socked Quatto's that don't have the updated drivers like the Treo's do.
I love hearing what amps you guys are using. What about cables and source?
I heard both the Treo + Quattro w/ complete Ayre and Aesthetix set-ups. W/ the Ayre, the cabling was all Transparent. W/ The Aesthetix, the cabling was Silent Source and Signal Cable.
Strangely enough, both set-ups sounded (to my ears) precisely the same. One was not better than the other, I heard a slight roll-off in the upper octave as noted above.
Regarding the Quattro, I have read that its cross-over can be pretty problematic in any room- meaning- it must be set-up correctly by Richard's specs.
((I heard both the Treo + Quattro, the cabling was all Transparent))
Jafant I agree with what you heard.
Transparent cables offers a softer sound and are at their best with a brighter type tweeter.
With a Vandersteen a more neutral cable like an AudioQust would do the trick.
((Regarding the Quattro, I have read that its cross-over can be pretty problematic in any room- meaning- it must be set-up correctly by Richard's specs))
Jafant, Just the opposite,
Once you read the crossover set up protocol in owners manual,all one needs is vandersteen set up disc, a voltmeter,and you can be confident its done correctly.
Then room compensation offering a smoother in room bass response, which allows them to work well in most any room, in many positions, including 4 inches out from a wall.
This alone may even solve the problem with the spouse acceptance factor.
JohnnyR Vandersteen dealer