The VR-2 is an amazing speaker. My 15wpc Cary SEI drives them with authority. The bass response is outstanding, and the musicality is pure. AVS himself wrote me a note stating that when the VR-2's are driven with SET's, the sound can favorably compete with his larger models driven with 200wpc SS amplification.
I would be truly stunned if any speaker under $10K could better the all-around performance level of the VR-2. They are uniquely special.
For reference, other manufacturers products I've owned or auditioned: Triangle,Silverline,Coincident,Thiel,Soliloquy,ProAc,Linn, Revel.
Now I personally wouldn't go so far as to say that they better every speaker under $10k, but they most certainly compete favorably in the $5k range and for their asking price of $2,500 they are an absolute bargain. Dynamic as hell, 3D soundstage, transparent, detailed and smooth and easy to drive. Sounds like a winner to me. My nearly two year search for the right speaker for the right price ended 2 seconds after I heard them. My pair in African Hazelwood is on order. Personally I think the rear firing tweeter (ambience retrieval system) was not necessary but some may like it and if you dont you can always turn it all the way off. This should be a BIG seller.
I agree with DMA. We are working with Von Schwiekert on other projects, but I have heard these and I am extremely impressed with performance/price ratio. I think Albert and Kevin are really making things happen from an engineering perspective at this company. It's so much harder to make a great affordable speaker--and I emphasize affordable.
I also agree with Dma except that I think that the rear ambient speaker is awesome. You adjust it according to how big your room is (totally up to your tastes) and you can get imaging like nothing I have ever heard in a speaker in it's price range. The soundstage is huge and best of all there is no sweet spot. You can walk around the room and the imaging does not collapse. I have had mine (in dark cherry) for two months now and am very satisfied. Just remember to fill the cavity with sand (line them with a small garbage bag so if the sand has any moisture it won't mold the inside of your speaker) or lead shot and give them 100 to 300 hours to break in properly.
I went up to the $10K range because Wilson's Sophia was the only speaker that performed in a fashion similar to the VR-2 in my listening sessions(sufficient bass,non-offensive highs,3D soundstage). I was beginning to believe there was no easy, or inexpensive ticket to sonic bliss with my SET amp.
I also questioned the purpose of the rear-ambience speaker, but it significantly enhances the soundstage.
I will be curious to see how the professional reviewers evaluate these speakers. I have owned a few "Class A" rated sets, and none have been as impressive in my setup as the VR-2.
I had high hopes for the VR2 but at the high end show on Friday the VR2's sounded extremely muddy to me. This was a shock. I've always liked the VR line and it seems to keep getting better . A good friend of mine tells me that the VR2's sounded much better later in the weekend.
These shows are really a crapshoot, you depend on the vendor to do an adequate setup, choose useful music, etc. One of my favorites system at CES - Pipedreams and VAC (amazing!!!) - sounded mediocre on Friday morning. Sure wish I could have attended Saturday and Sunday.
Did any of you hear the VR2's at the show? What was your experience?
I heard the VR-2's and on Friday they did sound muddy, but it wasn't the fault of the speaker. There were some interesting dynamics going on in that room (which I will refrain from discussing) and the PARC was not being used at that particular time. The room interaction was causing the muddy sound and I can tell you that when the PARC was connected the sound was much clearer with a far better soundstage. (yes, of course I'm biased to the PARC--but this isn't about the PARC--it's about the room) Keep in mind--if you have a good room you don't need a PARC, it's not compensating for the speaker, but for the room. In those hotel rooms with very solid plaster walls you do need a PARC. Speaker placement and cabling were also serious issues in that room. The cables being used had a PVC dielectric and really sounded bad (the muddiness you heard actually masked some of the cabling problems, but the cables still killed the soundstage that those speakers can deliver). I frankly felt pretty bad for Albert and crew because it was not the performance they are capable of.
This is a question for Rives... I know this might sound silly but what is a PARC?
PARC - Parametric Adaptive Room Compensation. It's designed to deal with bass modes. In some rooms, and particularly the hotel rooms at the Westin with solid plaster walls the room dimensions are not optimal and it can reinforce certain bass frequencies causing the bass to sound boomy and the midrange unclear. This is not the fault of the equipment, but the interaction with the room. One room at HE 2003 had 10 x 20 x 30 dimensions. It doesn't take much to figure out this will be a big problem. It had a 16 db bump at 114 Hz--almost unlistenable without the PARC. Great equipment in that room--but the room was the problem--not the equipment.
There is a forthcoming review of the PARC in the July issue of Stereophile. Until then, you can get more information on the PARC
on our website.
I listen to VR'2 at a friend house, the gear he is using,
monoblock VTL 5k, tube cd player I think it concidence
sorry guys ( Iam just guessing on the name of the cd),
The cd has a wooden cover on top, pre amp Bel canto,
wiring all audience a24, The sound is incredible,
3D holographic sound is intoxicating,imaging world class
soundstage huge......, I think this speaker is as good
as the audiophysics virgo,they have both disappearing
act.The palpability is close to my andra 15k specially,
when we replace the Bel canto with my audio art pre amp,
For $2500 this speaker is a winner, if you cant afford
5k plus speaker this VR2 is a good choice.Dont pay attention
what you heard in the show. Its a good speaker.
Thanks everyone. We have a dealer here in the ATL and he's got some in stock. I'm gonna give them a listen next week. You might see my Silverline Sonatas up for sale soon. :-)
I agree that the VR2 has good imaging and soundstaging, HOWEVER, I, like many others before me, have mentioned time and again that the bass is muddy and boomy relative to everything else. (The VR series is slower/less clear than the new Quad L series of this price range--if you like the VR series, try the Quads!)
It's a nice sounding speaker, but it's not worth more than its asking price. I have heard *many* speakers that outdo it at that price. At the top of my mind, the Odyssey Lorelei at the HE 2003 show this past weekend sounded fantastic!! It's the prestigious German made $7.5k Symphonic Legato cloned for the US market, btw.
I am a VSA DB-100 owner. For 6k it is the bargain of the VSA selection. I recognize it is a step up in price but I am shocked I never see it mentioned in Audiogon despite superior reviews. Having a 100db efficient speaker allows so much flexibility.
Don't allow horns to affect your opinions of this speaker before hearing it. Excellent bass and shockingly transparent. Plus, speakers like these don't force you into megawatt territory. My 42 watts in triode is more than enough.
They're only downside is their pedestrian appearance. But for me I'd rather have they're money put into the sound.
I can see how some people might think the VR-2 can sound boomy. But the proper amount of lead shot reduces the cabinet resonance, and the proper amount of toe-in can smooth that boominess out.
Also if they are too close together for the room, you can introduce some boominess.
In terms of footers. The stock spikes are OK, but Vibrapods on BDR "things" was much better. Stillpoints even better. BDR cones added a stiffness to the sound. This also helped in terms of everything. The bass is very springy, not bloated at all, and was reproduced with alot of natural drive. No hardness.
I also noticed that some cables work better thatn others (of course we all know this). The AZ Satori sounded outstanding, but was slightly muddy. The AU24, Analysis Plus and Audio Magic Sorceror performed much better without the mudiness.
I've been listening for a month straight on the VR-2's to learn the sound. I'll be switching to the VR-4.5s today. I'll update you on the comparison. I already have a good idea, I just want to verify.
As for the show sound. I always noticed that every system sounds better each day as the show goes on. It's too difficult to setup in those rooms. Each night the system's are re-tweaked based on what's been heard throughout the day.
Von's produce real, deep, full range bass output and move gobs of air, something that 99.99% of all speakers can't come close to doing in a real room, and in turn it is something that 99.9% of audiophiles have never heard nor have had the frustration of managing in their rooms. If one doesn't know how to properly setup full range speakers I can see how some could percieve boominess, but setup correctly and this complaint will vanish. Von's have always offered the very best bass performance in their price range of any speaker I've ever heard or owned, among many. No contest, really. Personally, I would choose the amazing VR4SE's over the $25K Wilsons, and the VR-2's aren't too far from their big brother.
We have a pair to audition in the Raleigh, NC area
Find info at www.audiobroker.net