I don't believe it is your equipment. I have demo'd Vienna Acoustics speakers and heard the same "muddy" sound. I believe it is a characteristic of the speaker that some would call "warm." I was not impressed with the line at all.
Yes, they are a classicly warm sounding speaker line. The new Grand series has the most beautiful cabinetry I've ever seen (especially in the warm, brown cherry finish) but VAs are a bit thick in the midbass/lower midrange and are rather dynamically constrained.
I owned the Bachs for a year or so. These were the older
series and not the new Grand Series. I agree with
the previous posts, the Bachs are warm sounding speakers.
I also found them to be very particular when it came
to postitioning. It took a while before I had them sorted
out. This could be causing some of the muddiness your hearing.
I agree with Yohjo's assesment of the entire VA line... I guess they were not my cup of tea either. Very lifeless speakers in general that are overly warm, IMO. I don't think it is your electronics either. They are definitely an acquired taste (and one that I never did acquire, maybe you will though).
I also agree with the previous posters. I haven't heard the grand but have listened to the older Bach including the Beethoven. IMHO they are all some what muddy in the midrange. The cabinets are beautiful..probably where most of the cost went to build them. Too bad they didn't sink more money into the design of the crossovers and drivers.
Good to know I'm not going to need a new receiver...yet! A couple more questions:
For those who have heard the line, does moving up to, say, the Mozart improve the midrange with the additional midrange driver?
Can anybody suggest another speaker comparable in price, footprint, and - maybe most importantly - WAF? I'm really liking the silk dome of the Viennas. Needs to be a floorstander.
I don't think moving up the Vienna line will make any difference. As for recommendations, they may be tough to find but the Opera Quinta are a gorgeous speaker around $3,000 new. I had them in my home and would have bought them but for my trip to Silverline Audio where I bought the Sonata III. These are expensive but there are some II's that can be had on A'gon, Sonatinas as well, for a good price. Alan uses silk dome tweeters. He uses the best drivers available for the price range of the speaker he creates. Mostly Dynaudio. Dynaudio makes wonderful speakers. However they are not bi-wireable (if there is such a word) because there is only one set of binding posts. Dynaudio is of the philosophy that their crossovers are so good bi-wiring would degrade the sound. They may be right. Let us know how your search progresses.
Just a tip from a fellow Vienna owner... spread them apart a little bit further than you normally would. This should lean out the lower midrange-midbass area. Vienna typically favor larger spacing than other 2 way designs. Also, moving them a little further out in the room may help(18" or more), rake them back a few degress using the spikes (you are using the spikes, right?) while getting them level, and toe them in about 15 degrees. I've found they need to about 7-10 feet apart for best results. The excess warth your hearing now, can translate into a HUGE, dynamic soundstage.
I've owned the older Bach, and currently own the Beethoven Concert Grand. A little time spent in setup yields great results. Don't underestimate that little guy- some of the best sound I've ever heard. The tweeter is made by Dynaudio, and the woofers are also assembled by them (using Vienna designs).
With VA's you have to go against the grain a little bit in terms of associated equipment set up etc. Much of today's electronics cables etc. work well with leaner more analytical speakers. With Viennas you need neutral electronics and arguably silver interconnect and/or speaker cables. As mentioned earlier they do need to be spaced further aprt than many other speaker brands to minimize the a thickness or warmth. Also they are very sensitive to toe-in; more toe-in = thicker sound. I have Beethoovens and a friend of mine owns the Mahlers all I can tell you is that our other audiophile friends are blown away with the sound of our systems.
Agreed with the previous poster. I have 2 pairs of the old Bach's and 1 set of Beethoven's. My Beethoven's are 10' apart at the outside front corners for a listening position that's only 9 feet away. They're a full 2' away from the back wall and toed in surprisingly little (not sure on the exact angle though). Both of these speakers can sound muddy when toed in too much or spaced too close together--and they can sound very muddy when too close to the back wall. I spent an enormous amount of time fiddling with the position, but it was well worth it.
Just to add some things: VA is using almost exclusivelly tweeters and woofers made by SEAS and Scanspeak. My VA Haydn Grand is using SEAS and some more expensive models are using Scanspeak.
I have/had models from the Hayden all the way up the Mahlers. I love VA gear. In the pre grand line the Hayden and Bach got diffrent tweeters drivers. I believe that still stands true with the grand line. So from Bach to Mozart is a big diffrence. And they just keep getting better the more you spend (isn't that always the case). If size is not an issue, consider a used set of Beethovens. They will cost you about the same, but the older Beethoven will still out perform the Bach Grand. I never had a big problem with placement of my VA speakers.
LI recently demoed the Beethoven Grands the Baby Beethovens and teh Mozart Grands. They were all in front of me with the Mozarts spread out the farthest on the outside of the other two sets. All I can say ils wow. The soundstage was huge and the bass was fairly taut compared to the other two. They sounded better than the other two expensive models.I don't want to hear the other two spread equally as wide I might be tempted. I am buying the mozarts.
I also owned the Bach Grand model and was amazed just at how huge of a soundstage they produced. I then decided to upgrade wondering how much better it could get. I went to the Beethoven Concert's, but not the grand's the older version. I bought a pair from a friend instead of the newer one's I think they actually sound a notch better, and more laid back, amazingly huge soundstage. Like everybody said, it's all about placement with VA which is a fun process anyway. Mine are almost 10 feet apart as well. I am using wireworld 100% silver top model interconnects and speaker cables. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW
I, too, have aqcuired a pair of Beethoven Baby Grand recently. I haven't broken them in as yet (requries at least 100 hours...heh, getting there), but the sound is simply stunning for piano, female voice and other classical instruments. I have audition Beethven Concerto Grand but I felt the bass was a bit too emphasised(though, the room/placement setting was not the ideal at Singer).
And YES, the placement is very crucial to VA lines and certainly my Bees Baby Grand is no exception. Currently the distance btwn the speakers is about 240cm (8 ft) and I am very satisfied with the result. Also, I have about 120cm (4ft) away from the backwall.
Quite frankly, I have audtioned many speakers below US$5000 and couldn't find a single pair of speakers which performs female voice better than VA lines. Although, I must admit the bass in Beethoven Grand, Bees Baby Grand, Mozart Grand and Bach Grand doesn't have - relatively speaking - much precense but I dont' listen to bass heavy sound so I can get by (though my Baby Grand performs Wagner like the way it should be performed!).
The tremble in my BBG is like 'uber-crystal-velvet-smooth' and never fatiguing like some B&W I experienced (it was exciting sound but I don't think I can listen to B&W all day long).
VA Beethoven Baby Grand (BBG perfomrs better, to my ears, than Concerto and Mozart)
YBA Integre DT 50W (nice mating with the VA!)
Music Hall CD25.2 (very good for the price)
Oyaide XXX outlet (what a difference a piece of outlet makes!)
Oyaide Tunami GPX PC (amazing performance!)
Kimber PBJ IC (will be Kcag very soon... I was advised use silver cable for my VA)
DYI SC (so far so good)
Slightly OT: I have read what I could find on the Mozart Grands (being more in my price range of ~$3K/pr). I get the impression that they are a warm speaker, with underdamped bass. However, my intention would be to cross them over to my Vandersteen 2Wq (a pair) using Vandy's 1st order crossover at 80Hz. In the opinion of VA owners, would this make the bass issues of the VA towers a non-issue? Also, in your opinion, are the VAs so warm that they color the music with an overlay of unnatural warmth? I do want musical truth, but I also seek to avoid listening fatigue and etchy sound. Current mains are Vandy 1Cs, and I am seeking a warmer, more detailed presentation. I do not have the room for Vandy 2Ces; I need slim towers. Thanks!
Quite frankly, VA lines can be warmer but not always. I, for instance, use YBA Integre DT with my VA Bees Baby Grand. As you know, YBA Integre DT has got a very detailed, airly, clean, smooth, musical presentation. Besides, The YBA has two differrent output options, and one of which is super detailed and very forward sound(relatively speaking) while the other has a more bass-emphasised 'warmer' presentation.
If I use the former output option on my YBA into the 'properly' placed VA Bees, it doesn't sound 'warm' at all. In fact, the reason why I am using the latter option is the former sounds, relatively speaking, too forward for piano music. The latter option presents the piano sound as piano sound (I have a Steinway in-between the Bees and their sonic quality, nuance and timbre are VERY similar, at certain volume, it's difficult to tell whether the sound is coming from Bees or Steinway).
At any rate, VAs are, like Sonus Faber, warm speakers in general but can be less-warm-forward. I liked, by the way, Sonus Fabers but ones I like are much more expensive than my VA Baby Bees. In fact, I have auditioned Sonus Faber's less expensive models such as Grand Piano Home, but VA outperformed them. Though, once you get to Cremona, I think Sonus is better (I listened to Cremona and Amati with YBA passion Monoblock, YBA cd/pre and they simply blew me away!). Anyway, what amp/source are you using, Bondmanp?
As for Vandersteen - I cannot say a word about it as I have never heard of them:)
Thanks, Ipous. Chain is as follows: Thorens TD-166 MkII/Ortofon Super OM10, Rotel RCD-02 CDP - C-J PV11 pre - Odyssey Audio HT3 - Vandy 1Cs, each with a 2Wq subwoofer.
I am in a quandry as whether to upgrade the CD player or speakers first. I don't spin enough vinyl to upgrade the TT. And, I love the 2Wqs and want to keep them with whatever speaker I end up with. Along with the Mozart Grands, I am curious about the Gallo Ref 3.1, Spendor 8SE, and Silverline Audio Allegro (all very close in price). The form factor on all of these works for me. If I had the $$$, I'd also look at the Vandy Quatros, which would fit in my room and save me from buying another center channel speaker. The VAs are at the local Magnolia/Best Buy, and I have Spendor and Gallo dealers nearby. Silverline is crap shoot unless I fly out to CA to hear them, but I love the Bolero (too expensive), and liked the Prelude (but not enough to replace the Vandys with them). If you know of any other ~$3K alternatives, I am all ears.
I am pritty picky regarding the sound ... and I bought those speakers, Vienna Acoustics Bach. They sound excellent. I am afraid the amp is too weak for those speakers. I have tested those speakers on a HK AVR435 (80w/channel in Stereo Mode) and it sounds good. The bass is not the bass you hear on Mozart but I love those speakers. I am planning to buy sometimes later the Mozart and use the Bach in the back.
I would sugest at least 100w/channel for those speakers would make it sound totally different. Impecable quality for Vienna Speakers ... my dream was B&W - what I can say is for now I don't want to change those to B&W.
OMG.........it's your amp. As we say garbage in, garbage out. They need to be run by at 100 watts of high end power....I run a set using the Xindak 6950 integrated at 130 watts of high end bliss and the speakers really respond....no midrange muddiness! this is an old thread but if anyone reads this please take note. I would run the HK with cerwin vegas.....you get the point.
Little late in this thread. But I agree with the amps. I picked up the Bach Grands on an impulse when they were on clearance at the local BB. To get them rolling, I quickly purchased a HK3490 which are going for a steal. It sounded good and for a novice, i should say great. However, since then hunger for power, has taken me from the 3490 to a marantz pm8004 and now a Cambridge Audio 840A. Spectacular improvement in sound quality. Now, i am mulling a primare- about the same price as a 840a but apparently the VA personnel themselves pair the speakers with primare amps.
Branon, I'm curious how the Bach + Marantz PM8004 combination worked for you?
I guess, not so well, since you moved on to the cambridge; still there's not much info out there on how Marantz PM8004 sounds period -- I'd be curious to know.
I also have Bachs with a HK3490 in a small room setup. I find the bass a bit bloated and muddy as has been said.
I'll probably be upgrading to an integrated tube or SS in the $1000 range (new or used) once I save up some funds, so I've been researching for good amp combinations with these speakers. I think i've settled on trying a YBA Integre, Primare i21, Naim Nait5i, or Primaluna Pro1/2 -- I'd go tubes without hesitation if I wasn't living Florida.
I had the CA 840A V2 and although it was a powerhouse it was tricky to pair speakers too. I am now pondering the Marantz PM8004...probably less harsh than the CA, a tad warmer and easier to match
The Marantz was fine and a distinct improvement over the HK3490. The main improvement that i recall was musical instruments really coming into their own.
But there is absolutely no doubt - the bass sounds clearer and better with the cambridge. The only thing i dont like about the cambridge is that it gets hotter than the marantz. The marantz never got beyond lukewarm.
There is not much info on the Marantz PM8004 but check out the whathifi review of PM8003. I believe the marantz product numbering ends with 3's in Europe and 4's in US. Or at least thats what i could infer. Its a beautiful looking receiver too. Indeed, my initial plan was to upgrade to a pair of Marantz separates. However, the Marantz reps were very coy about the 4 ohm capabilities of the MM7025 and i abandoned the idea.
One qualification- The speakers are located in a large room about (19'x18'x9) with openings into a study and a large kitchen. This might be the reason why I have had problems with bass. But i am not an expert on acoustics. Anyways, bass is quite good now.
Just breaking in a pair of Bach Grands starting today. I was feeling like the upper bass/lower mid-range was a bit overwhelming. then I read this thread and spread the speakers further apart. Tomorrow I will experiment more with fresh ears and an empty house. I do love these, though. FWIW, when I tested them out a while ago they were barely toed in and spread quite far apart.
My general sense with the bass is simply that they produce a lot of it - they are listed down to 35 HZ and that's easy to believe. That's almost the bottom of a piano, by the way. I think they themselves aren't boomy so much as by producing more low end than a lot of small towers (like my old B&W CDM7SEs,) they expose the low resonant frequencies of an untreated room.
The detail on voices and guitars mixed with the strength of percussion and remarkable detail and soundstage really make these things stand out in their price range. They are truly remarkable, IMHO. But spread 'em.
Well, I spread my Bach Brands and changed the toe in. They sound pretty good, although the volume is low right now. Interestingly enough (or not) I moved them without taking any measurements. I ended up with the centers precisely 7ft apart, the center of the back exactly 3 feet from the rear wall and the toe in at about 15 degrees. There might simply not be sufficient volume to produce the mid-bass standing waves but I think they sound pretty damn balanced.
Finding the right amp for Vienna Acoustics Bach Grands was pretty tough. After spending about 13 months with 3 different amps (CREEK Evo; MATANTZ 2235B; ATOLL IN100 SE), I would have to agree with several people who have responded here; these speakers need power. Without enough power, the VA Bach Grands can sound a bit boomy in the mid-low range. I have settled on the ATOLL IN100 SE for several reasons: (1) its a bright and lively amp, (2) its a dual-mono amp, and it gots lots of juice-power, and (3) its not too expesive (1500 Tx-included). NOW... whoa... these speakers sound boss! So my advice is this: these speakers can sound amazing, but you need to try out some lively and powerful amps.