Vienna Beethoven, Spendor 8SE, Adagio or VS VR4jr

Hello Audiophile friends,

I am looking for advice on how the following speakers
compare for when playing only Classic Rock at medium
sound levels. I don't play loud but do enjoy a medium
volume level. I am looking for refined sound, that is
not "cold" but maybe warmer and a little rounded. (but
still very refined in the bass and mids) The music I
listen to is the likes of The Doors, Eagles, Journey,
Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, you get the idea.

I am looking to buy used and would like to hear opinions
of how the following differ in sound or whether they match
the characteristics I described above:

Vienna Beethoven Baby Grand
Spendor 8SE
Acoustic Zen Adagios
Von Schweikert VR-4jr

From what I have read these are all refined sounding
speakers that go for about $2000 used on Audiogon.

My room is 12.5' x 25' with 10 foot ceilings. Hardwood
floors. The Speakers are on the 12.5' wall and I sit
9 feet back from the speakers. My Equipment includes
Krell DVD Standard, Krell 400xi Int amp, and a Unico Int
amp. I haven't made up my mind which Int amp I like
better so I use them both depending on my mood.

Who has heard all these and can compare them for me?
Thanks so much in advance my audio friends..
I have heard, and owned the Vienna Acoustics Beethoven. I've also heard the Von Schweikert VR-4 JR. I have not heard the other two on your list.

Comparing the VA with the VR, I'd say the VA is richer, fuller, more musical, while the VR is more dynamic with powerful bass. Obviously, I chose the VA's, and have a friend who owned the VR's who really loved my VA's.

One more speaker you may consider is the Sonus Faber Cremona.

Can't comment on the other speakers, but I suspect Beethoven Baby Grands will likely give you what you seek. . . very slight warmth, extended and well pitched bass, overall refinement and staging. Glad you are using Krell gear, as VA seem to behave best with SS amplification with relatively high damping factor, lest they can sound bloted in the mid bass. I own a pair of Vienna Mahlers and adore them for the very reasons mentioned above. I hope DCSTEP chimes in. . . he uses Baby Grands with a JRDG Continuum 500 and has nothing but praise for his speakers. G.

Sounds like the Vienna Acoustics Beethovens are more
my kind of speaker than the Von Schweikert VR-4JR.

Were you referring to the "Beethoven Baby Grands"??
I read the older Beethovens sound much richer than
than the newer Baby Grands..

I've heard the Sonus Faber Cremona once and it's a very
pleasant sounding speaker but it didn't seem to "let go"
when I heard it. It seemed too polite and not very "alive"
to me.. I also heard the Beethoven Baby Grands once and
they were very nice. I may indeed go that route but I
wanted to see what people thought of the other contenders
I listed...

Thanks for the reply John..
I know you didn't ask specifically about amps, but it will be difficult to get the sound you are after by using the Krell.
I have the VR4JRs and they can sound as smooth as butter if matched with the appropriate gear.
I have owned Beethoven before. Yes, Beethoven is musical and sounds rich and full, but compared with PSB Synchrony one, which I currently own, PSB is obvious the winner. Stereophile rated Synchrony One Class A -- I think they are correct. Synchrony One sounds very musical and clear without fatigue, just like the REAL instruments playing.
I don't have first hand experience with any of those that you mention, but all of the Spendors share a family sound which seems to be the type of sound that you are looking for, that is refined and slightly warm. I can definately recommend the classic series SP100. It's great for classic rock, and most other music for that matter.

Mfsoa- The Krell 400xi is actually the warmest Int SS amp
I have owned. Only the Unico with 2 tubes is warmer. The
400xi is really not like any of the other Krells which sound
cold and bright. The 400xi is a total departure from the
typical Krell "house sound".

First Day of the post.. Hopefully someone has heard the
Spendor S8E, Baby Grands, and Adagios..

Thanks for all the replies thus far..
I haven't heard the Vienna or Spendor options but I did have the Adagios and VR4JR's at the top of my short list after listening to a good bunch of models in the same price range as these 2. I would say that it depends on what your priorities are, although I thought that both pairs were the best in the price category I was shopping in they do have a different overall character. The VR4JR are more full range so if bass is a priority then they will probably beat everything else on your list. Although I found them to be excellent overall, there was something in the top end that seemed to be not quite there as compared to some of the others that I listened to.

The Adagios are more open up top and are effortless and very musical once they have some good hours on them. They do not have thunderous bottom end especially in a larger room but the bass is respectable and not boomy or bloated at least in my room. The magic is in the midrange of this speaker and they definitely shine in this regard. Ultimately they just sounded right to me and without spendig a ton more I couldn't find anything that I liked better. They should work well with either amp, I have used mine with a hybrid integrated(DK) as well as solid state(LFD) and they worked fine with either.

I should also mention that I enjoy similar music to yourself and although I bridge off in all directions the Adagios handle anything you want to throw at them quite well. Not a speaker for metal and so forth though I wouldn't think.
Funny, I had the same question about a year ago. I have the same Krell 400xi and went with the Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Concert Grand. They went a little lower than the Baby Grand but still very much the same sound. They're a tremendous match with that specific amp. I listen to classic rock and jazz. The pair work together very well and while they sound great at medium levels I enjoy it loud when the situation permits and you if want to get that from this set up, you can. At high levels the music doesn't sound compressed. It pulls you in and holds you there. I heard three of the four speakers you mentioned. I didn't hear the VR-4jr. The ones I did hear all sounded very good as I'm sure the Von Schweikerts do as well. Having that same amp and after owning the VA's for a year I can tell you I'm really pleased with my decision. Looking back on it I'd also have to admit that the physical looks of the VA's probably swayed me as well. The build quality is superb. If you have any specific questions about the pairing feel free to send a note.
Lastly, as good as they sounded out of the box they're much better now that they've broken in. It really is a noticable difference.
Enjoy the hunt.

Audiojedi: "more open up top and are effortless and very musical" this is more my cup of tea. I like good tight
bass but not overpowering. I like a balanced, refined,
warm sound. I have pretty much ruled the VR4jr's out due
to my priorities..

It seems like Spendor S8E, Vienna Baby Grands, and
the Adagios are all close to what I am seeking. You
said you heard all 3... Oh please make my day and
contrast these 3 speakers for me.. I await with
bated breath...
Ndfan please come back and talk to me...

You heard all 3 (Spendor S8E, Vienna Baby Grands,Adagios)
and I need your opinions...

Now don't I just sound desperate..
Tom92602, why don't you PM Ndfan if you want his opinion so badly.

However, remember, as in all things audio, musical tastes vary, as does system synergy and room acoustics. You're relatively new here, but I would say to tread carefully when asking for opinions from others. You may find out that their reco is based on ancillary equipment, musical tastes, etc. that may vary from your own.

Search the archives, PM members whose opinions intrigue you, and find out their musical tastes and ancillary equipment. Then try to piece their tastes with what you are looking for to try and narrow your search parameters.


good plan... Everyone hears different and speakers
will sound different with different gear.

I did PM Ndfan after re-reading his note and seeing
he was open to being PM'd. I would never PM someone
without the invitation first..

I see several Adagios forsale so I wonder if this is
a bad sign.. Conversely there is only 1 pair of Baby
Grand and 1 pair of Spendor 8SE and they are both
pending sold so this makes me think they may be in
more demand...?
Hi there,

I own the Adagios and I agree that if you want an open, airy top end then they are great for that. The ribbon tweeter really opens up air. I use mine with a Sophia tube amp and I've heard that the ribbon tweeter can get harsh using solid state, but that's only what I've heard. Bass is certainly not a problem. Make sure that you have them shipped on a pallet as the tweeters are somewhat fragile and they need to have minimum vibration. Pick up would be better. Other than that, I think that probably the number on Audiogon only reflects that there were 1200 pairs there is bound to be a couple up for grabs at any one point in time.
Well I pulled the trigger today and bought a NEW pair of
Adagios. I wanted "Matt Walnut" so they were a special
order. I should have them in 2 weeks.

Now I just need to wait for a set of used Spendor S8E or
Baby Grands to come up on Audiogon for the bedroom system.

Adagios Owners: What speaker cables are you using??


These are being drop shipper directly from Acoustic Zen
so I have to think they will ship them adequately. How
will I know if the Ribbon Tweeter is damaged from shipping?
Will it sound harsh, buzz, hiss, or crackle???

No you should be just fine if Rober Lee is shipping them. He will ship them on a pallet to you.

My tweeters were clicking on and off...I bought mine second hand and they were not shipped on a pallet. It is very noticalbe....all the air collapses and you can hear that the upper registers are not there. But robert fixed my problem even without me being the original AZ's customer service is unparalleled goes well beyond the call of duty.

I'm using Alphacore goertz cables....MI2...takes a little while to burn in though. I use them because they are not so expensive, sound good and they are flat, which I need for my application. Other than that, I would suggest some of Robert's own cables which get pretty good reviews.
Any impression on your Adagios. Please do not abandon this thread. SOS!