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I can't give you any input on FF-1 but I do have a pair of the older S/T III and the S/T R. I've been very happy with both. The VMPS speakers are well known for their extended Bass output. In MY OPINION the lower end models do lack alot in the midrange and highs. I'm using a SF Line 1 and a pair of LLano Design 300 watt mono's and it seems to work well with the ST III speakers (FYI, the FF-1 replaced these). I also had a Melos MA-333 before I switched to the Sonic Frontiers and it worked real well with the VMPS (bass hit harder and was more detailed)I am still trying to fine tune the system with cables. Brian Cheney is great to deal with and very quick with responses. He will also stand behind his product. Hope this helps.
Bioman, I have had lot's of experience with VMPS and have visited with the designer Brian Cheney often. He is an interesting guy, a little tempemental, but detailed in his design and his product. My neighbor was a reviewer for the Absolute Sound and reviewed a VMPS speaker recently and I was there to set-up, listen and critique. The speaker reviewed had the ribbon attached to the inside of the cabinet and from what Brian told me, he bought the order of ribbons Arny Nuedall (SP?) of Genesis decided not to accept. I believe the model reviewed is the one you are looking at, but you may want to read the TAS review by Mike Kuller. The first night the sound was okay. Later Brian came back and added larger magnets to the woofers, played with the positioning and changed the solid state amp on the low end. The adjustments were amazing....the sound incredible. All the depth, speed and imaging of ribbons, with the incredible low end VMPS is known for. No subwoofer needed here. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Brian would probably come out and set them up for you and make any adjustments to get the best sound. For the money spent, you will have a difficult time finding a better sounding loudspeaker, especially in the low end. My brother has the older Tower II's and the criticism of that design is the tweeter is too high and the sound goes over your head in a seated position. Brian changed the configuration on the FF-1. The speakers my brother owns were bought from a woman whose husband passed away (also a friend of mine) and he powered the Tower II's with Meitner M-101(100wats/ch) monoblock amps to very loud levels without any problem, so the speakers Cheney designs are VERY efficient. By the way, VMPS reproduces classicl music wonderfully with great top to bottom dynamics and all frequencies reproduced. The only drawback is the size. Like the Dunlavy's (Have you considered Dunlavy's 5's? Also a great speaker for the money)VMPS really are eye sores. I hope my two cents helps.
Audionut, I think we are talking about the same speakers, they can currently be viewed on the VMPS website. I am curious, do you know if the changes to the subwoofer magnet structures have been integratred into the latest release of this speaker system? Also, it kind of sounds like the way the ribbons were obtained was a chance occurance, which leaves me to wonder where support will be in the future in terms of availability of the ribbons if one were to blow?
Yes, I am also looking at the Dunlavy V's; The way speakers look aren't much of an issue as far as I am concerned, the wife has yet to like the looks of any speakers I've owned..so I tend not to worry about that too much.
Thanks for the information.
bioman, i suggest you go to harmonicdiscord.com, a discussion forum where vmps has its own thread for folks interested in the product. brian is very responsive there also...
i believe the 52" ribbons are sourced from bohlendeer-graebener, but i'm not sure - ask brian, he'll give ya the straight poop. i *do* know that there were relatively recent changes to the magnets for the ribbons on ff1 & ff3 (the sre-version is what you're considering.) also, i tink the *mega-woofer* option, that you're talking about, has been in use for some time now - again, brian will help w/info here.
i've always thought the ff3 would mate well w/my pair of larger vmps subs (older upright style, which i upgraded w/the megawoofers) - i obviously don't need the better bass response of the ff1's! :>) but, brian has recently released a new model, the rm40 - ~5'6" tall, 12" wide, ~250 lbs, that's much less a visual distraction, due to its not having the *sre* ribbon panel affixed to the side. and, according to one of the vmps dealers that has posted to harmonic discord, its sound is better than the 1st version of the ff3-sre, at ~half the retail price. and, dealers *will* haggle on price... :>) there's a dealer local to me that carries vmps & has the rm40's (where i got my subs), & even the wife is buggin' me to hear them! i'm afraid to go until i know i can cover the costs... ;~) but they offer it in a kit version for a bit less, so w/a decent dealer price, i just may be able to swing it! :>)
If you want a great ribbon speaker that looks as good as it sounds and is built like a tank look at Piega.Read Absolute Sounds review by Valen on recommended systems or search for Piega.Also read Stereo Times review by Lew something.The Vmps look like they are built in a basement and have shoddy quality control.
audionet, while i agree that the vmps' don't have the outstanding finish of a proac, piega, or sonus faber, i've seen 'em, even their older pre-ribbon models, & i think *utilitarian* comes to mind - definitely not someting banged out in a basement, or w/shoddy quality control. brian *has* had issues w/his cabinet-makers, but how he deals w/it is very telling - see a recent thread on harmonic discord, about the rm-2's where a customer mentioned a small problem w/one of his cabinets. brian offered to ship out a new one at no charge, no questions asked, & he'd pick up the *defective* one. he also went into some detail explaining the specific difficulty he's had w/his soundcoat dampening material causing problems, & how he's addressing it.
sure, if you have the means to pay three times the cost (or more) for no better sound, but finer cabinetry, then by all means, go for it! :>)