VMPS speakers--Who has had great success in bringing their VMPS speakers to new heights?


The RM40's BCSE MLS speakers have become my ultimate speaker.  From the moment I heard the VMPS speakers with the ribbon drivers, I thought they were awesome.  I had been out of the hi-fi loop for a long time prior to hearing about Audiogon from a friend.  Therefore, after reading about other notable speakers and parts of systems, I tried many things to get a feel for different sounding systems.  During this time, I found out about system compatibility and how to take the sound to another level--also received many lessons in going the wrong way at times.

I actually had this exact pair earlier in my sound quest but was convinced by well meaning manufacturers that their speaker would trounce the RM40s.  Thus, I tried a couple different speakers and quickly learned that I had a winner in the RM40s.  I now will never make the mistake of selling them again--thanks also to a good friend who advised me of that when asked.  So, I became determined to see how far the RM40s could go.

It has brought me to the point that I thought they need a more organic sound with longer sustains to the notes--they were already very quick in their attack.  They've been sitting on Sistrum SP-101 platforms for a few years.  Brian Cheney told me to never put the speakers on points or in any other way lift them off the floor.  The Sistrums, after a week or so, made an immediate improvement to the live quality of the music, the clarity and transparency at all frequencies, the dynamics, soundstage clues, and it allowed me to take all bass traps out of my system--there was absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in sound, at that point, with them in or out of the system.  There had been prior to installing the Sistrums.  The only drawback to using them was the bass wasn't quite as strong as before--much clearer and more dynamic however.  

With the help of second opinions from friends who've heard my system many times on different occasions, usually after a major change, I began to finally voice the system through component upgrades and wire changes.  Getting the TRL DUDE preamp was a big improvement in bass power, dynamics and overall clarity.  I was very fortunate to have Dan at Modwright replace my MW 9100 Signature Truth which was having a problem in my system that after a few trips to MW to cure--never happened at their place all 3 times I returned it and yet it would do the same problem of a woofer not playing on one speaker while it was in my system each time.  Dan actually sent me a new, fully upgraded MW 5400 at N/C to replace the one I was having problems with.  Dan is unbelievable in customer service.  My digital section was now awesome sounding in all ways.   Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps were added later that brought more clarity and dynamics along with outstanding bass to the 40s.   A Whest 3.0 RDT SE phono pre came after that. Excellent clarity and transparency with a balanced frequency range.

At this point I added a TRL power cord to the DUDE with even more powerful sound in all ways and more detail too, including more grunt in the bass.  Also added a Core Power Technologies 150 to run from my Synergistic Research QLS-6 power strip with all my front end components connected to a dedicated Maestro outlet.  More everything.  The other power cords used are Dynamic Design Spirit II on the MW, Mojo Enigma on the power supply to the MW, Wywires Juice II on the mono amps, and Amadi Phil Reference on the Whest.  My heavily modded Lenco TT has its own PC for now.  The arm is a loaded Trans-Fi Terminator with a Benz Micro Ruby 3 w/ myrtlewood body.  

A couple friends brought over some ICs--the Teo GC and JW Reference.  I had very nice silver wired ICs but was looking for more organic sound.  The Teo's provided the organic sound and my friend let me use the JW's for awhile.  I now have Teo GCs on both my from end components with the JW at my preamp to amps.  The JW added more jump factor to the sound.  Having 2 Teo's running CDs or phonos was good, but adding the JW for one Teo was even better.

Synergistic Research added their fantastic UEF panels and dots to my room which is a must hear demonstration at the audio shows to know all they do in a system.

I have many other tweaks and parts upgrades in the near future that will put things over the top.  I could easily live with what I've got now forever, BUT...it's become a total quest to see where these components that I love the sound of as a system can ultimately get.  Parts upgrades to my amps and the DUDE along with high end fuses--NONE so far, making my Sistrum racks shorter, R/X tube dampers from Herbie's and the SBH for CDs, and finally, putting Quicksilver Gold on all the contacts.  The 2 components getting the parts upgrades will take the RM40s where no one has ever heard them soundwise.

Needless to say, I'm having the time of my life listening to all music with the absolute certainty of massive improvements to the sound with what's coming soon.  Thank you to all who've made the products and to friends and advisers that helped me get the sound to this point.  It couldn't have happened without you.  My desire to acquire new products is over, but I still have the drive to bring each of the parts I have to their potential best and see what it becomes.

Any other VMPS owners have a good plan leading to success?







dorkwad

dorkwad, congratulations on enjoyment of the "fruits of your labors"! Your enthusiasm is palpable.

Keep going, keep experimenting, as it sounds like you love to build systems, and this is a wonderful participation in the experience of being an audiophile. Love of the gear is as legitimate as love of the media.

When you are all done you will have optimized one system, among the potential thousands of variants that could be built with those speakers. So, stay humble.

It's refreshing to see authentic gratitude to the industry members. Having gotten to know many of them, at the core of their efforts is a desire to give fulfillment such as you have.  :)

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Doug, thank you for the pat on the back.  This will be my final system to enjoy unless stuff breaks or wears out.  I just have to get in enough shape to lift the 260 lb. speakers with the help of a friend.  The other option is I don't ever move and they just carry me out of the house.
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Hey Doug,

I just read your review on the landscape orientation of the Ulysses by Daedalus Speakers.  I am very interested in your thoughts after 5+ years.  Do you still think it was a good thing putting the speakers on their sides at about ear level?  I have THE VMPS RM40 BCSE MLS cabinet pair of RM40s that were the pair Marty DeWulf at Bound For Sound used as his references speakers for several years until his health wouldn't allow him to move the 260 lb. beasts.   They would be near perfect speakers for this orientation.   My room is 17.5 ft. wide and has a trapezoidal shape as the rear wall is 20 ft. long.
It would require me to make 4 speaker stands so I could have 2 under each speaker.  You mentioned the RM40s in that piece you did so I imagine you've heard them.  Do you feel I'd get a similar gain in sound that you experienced?

Thanks for your replies.
Bob
Bob, ah, you saw the unorthodox application of the Ulysses! A lot has happened since then. I have had three distinct runs at the Landscape Orientation method. The second was with the Magnepan .7, and frankly it was disappointing overall, not nearly as overwhelming as I was expecting. That was a surprise to me, for I had thought it would be much better. It was revelatory hearing an open baffle horn hybrid in comparison to a magnetic planar. 

The Magnepan trial gave way to the stunning PureAudioProject Trio15 Horn1 speaker used in Landscape mode. This is a slice of Heaven! The PAP Trio15 made the Magnepan .7 seem dynamically hindered and relatively lifeless in comparison. I consider the Trio15 Horn 1 the realization of my expectation for performance of Landscape orientation. I am quite happy I kept up at the project and feel vindicated for it. Feel free to read my review of the PAP Horn 1 for further insight. You will see pics of it in Landscape mode. 

Re: the RM40, yes I think they would be quite interesting in the Landscape application and I likely would try it if I owned them. I would consider making rudimentary stands, i.e. cinder blocks covered by a thick cloth, or similar, to try it so as to not incur too much cost for the trial. A more robust effort could be done in follow up. You will need to work with the front baffle slope, too, but that shouldn't be too difficult. It's as easy as wedging something underneath the back of the speaker's cabinet along the length of it. The advantage of the Sound Anchor stands on casters is the mobility. I am able to move the entire affair, stands and speakers, as a unit. Height of the speaker and angle of toe in will be critical to overall satisfaction. Much experimentation may be needed. 

Note that the "gain in sound" you are seeking is a reorientation, not an absolute conversion of the speaker's capabilities to a different level. For me the variety of experience was, and continues to be, well worth the effort. So, not only am I pleased five years later, I'm expecting to continue use of Landscape for a long while, as long as I can heft speakers onto stands! If you give it a try I would be interested in hearing about it. 

Thanks you for the detailed reply to my inquiry.  Did I get this right, you said I should experiment with the angle of the front by slightly raising the back side of the speaker so it would be angled down slightly?  

I figure I can build a strong enough set of stands out of wood to experiment with the landscape orientation of the sound.  If I like it enough, then I may either build 2 more stands or have Sound Anchors build 4 stands to support the speakers.  2 would just make the potential for a bump and spin to disaster too easy.

Doug, I will let you know how I'm enjoying this style when and if I actually do it.  The system is sounding so good now, it's going to be hard to want to deviate from what I have.  But, I do have a couple good friends who come over and either would help me get these beasts into position.

I do love reading your reviews and posts.  You have a very open mind and are willing to try stuff that is unconventional.  John Casler, a friend of mine through VMPS, is also much like that.  Both my close audio buddies are tweaks and tinkerers.  We all enjoy something new and interesting.

Thanks again.
Bob
Bob, thanks  again for the kind words. I enjoy exploration of the sonic landscape, so to speak. The Landscape orientation is used quite a bit in studios, so it's not such a radical idea. I always turned monitors/bookshelf speakers sideways over the years just to see how it sounded. Sometimes the most pleasing results, or at least a lovely diversion for a while, is right under our noses. 

Yes, you want to avoid the two stand option; too unstable. If you are not going for the huge single stand, then definitely you need four points of support. I had to be very cautious even when using the Ulysses on smallish stands. You don't want a 200# plus speaker falling. 

You have a blank slate to operate if you do not yet have stands. I would plan on being able to conveniently raise or lower the stands. That could be done as simply as adding another layer atop the stands to elevate the platform more. You could anchor them with screws, etc. This would be just for experimentation, and you would get the majority of the sound of a properly� designed stand for Landscape system. 

Yes, you want to be able to change the baffle slope of the speaker. The stands I have from Sound Anchors are able to be raised or lowered such that I can have either the baffle raked back on the top if the speaker is sitting lower, or the baffle raked forward on the top if the speaker is raised above the ears as I'm in the listening chair. I strongly prefer a speaker which is slightly elevated and firing downward as opposed to situated lower and firing upward. A lower speaker is not terribly convincing to me. If you do the calculations you can get the stands and speakers at about ear level. Then experiment with a slight baffle change. There are endless ways to have a new experience. 

The Landscape orientation is wondrous for live recordings, i.e. symphonic, live rock concert, etc. In most ways I am a conservative guy, but I like experimentation with audio. Variety is what satiates my need for sound. As I have done more varieties of systems my satisfaction is at a level I never could have achieved with a single system or one method. There is simply too much wonder and experience to be had in the world to not chase after it, imo. Do not expect the world, expect different, and you will be pleasantly surprised. :) 

A stereo is a play gy�m that can be reconfigured and enjoyed endlessly. 
Thanks, Doug, for that discussion.  I think I will build a wide version of a strong stand--maybe 2 ft. wide at the top and wider at the bottom just to try this orientation out.  I'd make the bottom 2 ply thick of MDF and also make it deeper in the other dimension. Depending on what Sound Anchor says on the cost of a wide version one stand under each speaker vs. 2 slightly smaller versions under each speaker, I'll make a decision if I find it is worthwhile to change to on occasion.   It will be like having 2 different speakers to listen to at separate times with different qualities of presentation.
Just spend a lot of time thinking through what you want, how it will operate, how to move it about, where the amps will go, etc. You have to take into account the placement of the rest of the system in the room. That's partly why I integrated amp stands into the Landscape speaker stands. I would go so far as to physically lay out a mockup of the system. Plan, plan, plan... or else!  ;)
Thanks for the tips, Doug.

I'm a compulsive list maker--seriously.  And I also like to draw to scale pictures of my system, just because.  Jim Smith's book Get Better Sound says the number one thing that most folks do is put their equipment between the speakers.  In my room, there are 2 support poles that I've covered with a decorative pine hexagon shaped pole covers, BUT...if I were to put the stuff on the side wall, like Jim says, getting around and to the equipment would be much more difficult.  So it's behind but between the speakers.  I'll have enough length on my cables to reach the speakers fairly easily.  My amps are right by the ground in my Sistrum racks.  I'm getting the rods of my rack cut in two by Star Sound so I'll have 2 racks and the top the the highest component will be about 29" off the ground.  I have the equipment stacked on the floor and am not currently using my analog set-up, so the top is only about 18" off the floor, but an old cheap rack still holds some stuff and is 28" off the floor in that area also.  Putting the equipment down low caused a major improvement in the soundstage in all ways.  I'm hoping it will be at least that good when the racks get reassembled.  The Sistrum racks together with the RTS couplers used to clamp each component to the shelf make a very large difference in the sound in all parameters. 
Very live, dynamic, and transparent with more detail.
Hi dorkwad,
I also own a couple RM-40s, and have enjoyed their capabilities for 6-7 years. I am powering them with two Ampzilla mono blocks, on a recommendation from Brian Cheney before he passed.

In reading your comments, I can see you are much more willing (and able $$) to plumb the depths in our ongoing search for audio nirvana than I. But I have a question for you...I listen to jazz most of the time, and I have regularly noticed a ringing hollowness in the midrange, especially on guitar solos. It doesn't occur with all music, but when it occurs, it's impossible to ignore. I am using a Parasound preamp, an OPPO BDP-95 for playing CDs, and Clear Oval speaker cable. Also using Mogami Balanced XLR Cables between preamp and amplifiers.

There aren't too many owners of the RM-40s out there, and I'm hoping you may have an idea or two for me to try.

Best,
Scott
Hey Scott,

I wrote this about 20 months ago.  I've had quite a few changes in my system since then.  The sound becoming increasingly more involving and organic with each change.  You will also hear much deeper into the recording.

1.) Changed speaker cables to Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme with CTGE jumpers--sound is much more organic and less mechanical.
(I have a pair extra if you would like to try them in your system).

2.) Did the Schroeder method of using 2 sets of identical ICs with 4 sets of splitters for between each of my components.  The change is very large for the better in all parameters of sound.  If you buy used, the cost is not too bad.  The good news is, the change with this method is larger than doubling the cost of the same brand of ICs.  

3.) I added Perfect Path Total Contact enhancer to all contacts including tube pins, spade lugs, IEC contacts, the blades on an AC plug, cartridge pins, RCA male connectors.  There is some difference for the better right after doing this, BUT..there are large jumps in performance near the 4 week mark from application and the 8 week mark.  You just can't unplug anything while this is going on or you will lose some of the benefit.  It is a bit of a pain to do a large system--took me about 5 hours to do mine with both analog and digital setups.  There is a huge amount of info and user's reviews in the Forum.  Disregard any grumbling from those that haven't tried this since THEY DON'T KNOW PERIOD.  Did the end caps of the fuses also, but wouldn't suggest it--very little improvement and it can get a little messy putting the fuse back in its holder.

4.) Perfect Path now makes Alpha-E cards and Omega-E mats that will also help make your system MUCH more real sounding.  All as you have to do is just locate them under or inside the component or speakers.  I haven't done this yet, but will soon.  

Any of these will make significant improvements to your system.  If you did all of them, Lord help you--you will think you died and went to heaven when you listen.  

Let me know how it's going if you try some of these things.

Bob