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.