Vienna Beethoven Owners--I need your advice

I have the opportunity to purchase some very nice demo units in Rosewood for little more than typical used price with the warranty--probably because the Sumiko rep is bragging about the new totally redisigned Beethoven now trickling in. They are low hour and flawless. I heard some of their music, including Yoyo Ma. The cello seemed alive. However, when I returned with my own cd's I was surprised by a few things. There was plenty of base in Dire Straits--more than I expected, but the voice was so smooth and muted that it didn't sound real. I tried Stephan Grappeli and the high notes of the violin also seemed so smooth, without any timber. I then listened to some salsa, which sounded pretty darn good. As you can see, my tastes cover a broad range.

I should point out that the equipment wasn't too impressive, some Integra (Onkyo?) seperates that I am not familiar with. The cabling was high end though.

Was I auditioning speakers that weren't broken, inadequately powered, or both?

I remember auditioning Mozarts several years ago at another dealer using Mark Levinson seperates and they were most impressive.

Thanks for any feedback.

Look-up my member name and see my thread comparing VA vs. AP vs. B&W. It will tell you all you need to know about the VA's.
hi Gwoodall,
I ran into the same scenarios 2 months ago when i bought my beethoven at the sound so bad that i couldnt believe,but after some research and read alot of good feedback on the GON,i decide to give it a try because i have a 30 days full refund.when i took it home and hook it up to my tubes system,all i can say is is a totaly different the dealer,i think they run it through their top of the line denon receiver..i advice give it a all depend on your system at home.eventhough i like the sound,but it still not the avantgarde uno,so i am selling mine..hope this help..
I've owned Beethovens and currently own the Strauss. Vienna Acoustic speakers are very hard to audition because of poor demo conditions, in my experiences. When I first auditioned a pair of Beethovens, I was unimpressed. The speakers sounded bloated in the bass and stressed, or congested at higher levels. The room setup (at a Tweeter) left much to be desired. The speakers were too close to rear walls (being rear ported speakers). They were also being driven by a B&K receiver.

Once I was offered a demo pair to try at home. I figured 'what the heck', so I took a pair home. I hooked them up to some quality electronics (a Classe CP-60 and CA-200 if I recall correctly), and spent a couple hours playing with positioning and toe-in. I was surprised at how much the sound had changed. The bass had tightened up substantially. All of a sudden I noticed how warm and smooth the midrange and high's were. The imaging was very impressive also. Almost as good as the Audio Physics Virgo's I'd been listening to.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the Beethovens grew on me and I bought them. After a couple years I moved up to the Strauss. The main thing with VA speakers is they need room in the back to breath. Don't try to put these less than 2' from the rear wall. High grade electronics bring out better results also, just like with most speakers.

Try to tell the salesman that you're interested, but would like to demo at home. Maybe you could put down a refundable deposit or something. I would bet that the problems you mentioned are mostly from:
1) Improper set-up (boundries/toe-in).
2) Poor recording/source/amplification.

Good luck,
I use my Beethovens in conjunction with a Wadia 830 and Linar 250 amp connected by Transparent Ref Balanced and as of now, just some basic speaker wires and Michael Wolff power cords, I would definately say these speakers are
very natural sounding with lots of bass, before i bought them i had heard them several times in another room.
The bass is more prevailant in my room than the previous owners but i would never call it tubby or slow by any means.
As of now, the only real problem i am having is lack of pinpoint imaging, however, also in the previous system i heard them in, I have never heard a speaker with better imaging at any price, which leads me to believe i definately need different speaker cables and a bit more tweaking or setup.

All this simply leads me to one basic conclusion, with proper setup and components these are really fantastic speakers. With average components/cabling you may be able to find other speakers that are a bit more forgiving.

Hope this helps.
I've found that set up is critical with these speakers and will be purchasing some when I can afford it. It is my understanding that the US importer, Sumiko trains their dealers to set them up properly. If you don't live too far from the store, ask your salesman if he will come out and set them up as part of the deal. After they have been broken in of course. A reputable dealer should be able to accommodate you in this repect. When I purchase them my local sales guy will definetly be coming out. Set up with high end gear can really make or break a system.
I bought my local store demos after an in home audition. I listened to everything available in their price range. I never really cared for b&w's sound, probably because my amplification wasn't up to it. M-L's way to much information. I listen to cd. Aeriel ? the 7b's might edge out beethovens in your setup, that's what it came down to for me. I bought the beethovens, but those aeriels are rock solid contenders.