Von Schweikert VR-33

Can anyone who has actually heard them offers some feedback on there sonic traits? I have speakers which I really love in a well thought out, emotional system, but recent room layout changes have reignited an ongoing speaker placement battle which I'm growing quite tired of.

The thought of placing these things a foot or less away from the wall without concerns about toe or anything like that is exteremly appealing.

Anyone with ACTUAL experience, please share your thoughts. I'd rather this thread not dissolve into crap like the prior vr33 thread.
Is there not a step up model from this 33 model that has better parts and cabinet for a few more $$$?

Try them for the 60 day trial run.

I'm aware of the VR-35s but the price difference is substantial. I have a pair of VR-33s which will be delivered to me early in the New Year, so eventually I'l have a chance to try them in my own room. In the meantime I'm interested in comments from people who have heard them as to what I might expect.

Theres a few professional reviews, a good bit of marketing and a couple threads on Audiocircle, but for the most part there is little to no feedback on 'em.

I'm traditionally a single driver guy and I have a hard time believing these will be better than my Soul Superflys under ideal conditions, but right now my listening room (aka family room) doesn't really allow for ideal or even VG conditions. Having something against the wall is a major plus.

My dad owns some earlier Von Schweikert design Clearfield Continentals which have sounded great under the right circumstances and I had a pair of VR-1s I never cared for much, so I'm not sure what to expect.
I am not able to help you, but I am in the same situation. I was about to pull the trigger on a pair of Vandersteens, until I came across these VR-33. I also tried to find info and agree with you on the Audiogon thread. Please let me know how yours sound when you get them. I find it interesting to be able to put them close to the wall.
I am curious. Since you already bought them and are awaiting delivery, what is the reasoning behind asking opinions now? You will be biased for or against them before they even arrive. I think any opinion expressed here will be potentially destructive to your enjoyment. Don't take offense, just wondering.

12-25-11: Tgrisham
I am curious. Since you already bought them and are awaiting delivery, what is
the reasoning behind asking opinions now?
might be able to offer tips on getting the best from them--placement, break-in,
amp-matching, room treatments, etc. so he doesn't prematurely decide against
them and send them back.
My preferences are pretty set and I frequently find myself dissenting from the majority in terms of gear preferences. I'm not worried about tainting the water but am quite curious as to what I might expect.

I'm also prettying concerned about my amps ability to drive them. I have a Decware Torii 3 I'm not ready to let go of but it puts out 26wpc and, though I've read some favorable things with 35watts, VSA seems to recommend a minimum of 50...

I guess time will tell.
If the 33 is anything like my former VR4 Jr, then it will want at least 100 watts for maximum output performance. That is not to say your amp won't work though because it might sound great at low to moderate... maybe even slightly loud volumes... so if you listen like a "normal" person, then it could be great. You may want to just keep a solid state amp in the closet for those days you want to rock out at insane volumes.
I have VR-33s. I have them 9" from the wall, which is a very nice thing indeed. In truth, I wouldn't have bought them if they had to be placed out away from the room, there just isn't space in my modest house.

Sonically, I like them very much and have no plans to change...maybe ever. I moved up to these from the VR-2, and they retain the same house sound, just have more of it in all facets.

Really, I haven't seen anything out there in the reviews that I would quibble with. They have a soundstage that fills the room, and are wonderful with live music tracks. Highs are extended and detailed without being harsh or etched (something I can't stand). Very natural mids, no coloration that I have noticed. Deep, full bass that can shake the house if desired. During the break in process the last nit I had to pick was a hint of tubbiness in the upper bass, but that is gone now. They are quite dynamic too.

They are just happy, natural-sounding, full-range speakers. I am completely satisfied with them.
I completely second Bigswede's comments. In spite of their close to the wall placement, the speakers have the ability to completely disappear within the soundstage.
I'm effortlessly driving mine with a vintage Marantz 8B p-p EL34 tube amp, about 35 watts/ch. The VR-33's are dynamic, musical, fullrange and non-fatiguing.
I initially set them up without spikes, moved them around a few inches week by week until I found the placement where they disappeared and bass/mid integration was optimal. Since installing the spikes I have not touched them. I've had no issues whatsoever. I think they are a screaming bargain and I'm sure I'll be keeping them for life.
So you buy a pair of speakers that you've never heard, and want to pair them with an amp that you are pretty sure won't drive them? Do you see anything at all wrong with this picture?


No problem with it at all. Ill have other amps at my disposal from local audio buddies and even my father. Doesn't change the fact that I'd love to drop them right into my carefully voiced associated equipment and hear what they can do.

I said I was concerned, not that I was pretty sure it wont work. The poster right above you seems happy with 35 Watts.

My biggest motivator for buying these is that they can be placed uninstrusively in my room and hopefully deliver some serious sq while being out of the way.

My current loudspeakers are sounding damn good tonight, so they'll have their work.cut out.
I am very interested in your take on these speakers as I am a Zuiet.

Keep us posted.
Has anyone else noticed the similarities between the VR-33 and the GoldenEar Triton 2? Both are trapezoidal footprint towers wrapped in a knit sock, have an MTM array with cast frame midranges for the low mids on up, and use a special approach to the bass to get response down to the mid-20Hz region.

Differences include that the VR-33 is specifically made to be used close to a wall and uses a quasi line-transmission loaded woofer while the Triton uses an onboard class D power amp driving a pair of oval woofers augmented by passive radiators, and the VR-33 uses a concentric ring radiator tweeter while the Triton uses a Heil-style folded ribbon. The VR-33 is made in USA but direct marketed to come in at $3750/pair. The Triton 2 is made in China but is available at $2500/pair through a dealer network.

Has anyone heard both? I wonder if the Triton 2's imaging holds up when placed close to the wall, given that the bass can easily be adjusted for placement in-room. I've heard and was impressed by the Triton 2's, but I feel like I need to return with an armload of LPs for further investigation.
They are both towers but beyond that, I don't see much similarity in design or intended market.

I wish you the bets of luck with the speakers. I have owned three of Albert's designs, the original VR-4 (Silver Version), the VR2 and the VR4 HSE. I know he can make a quality product, so you will likely be impressed if your amp is up to the task.

I demo'ed both the vr-33's at a local audiophile's home (graciously arranged by Albert) and the Triton 2's at a local dealer.

The dealer's Triton 2 setup was far from optimal due to cramped quarters and the associated electronics were mid-fi solid state(I'm a tubes and vinyl guy). Even in less than ideal demo conditions, imho the Tritons are voiced toward the home theater market.

The in-home demo of the vr33's blew me away. Driven by a small Ampino class D amp and pc audio source, the vr33's simply sounded naturally musical and easily filled a large listening room driven by a few watts. I placed my order with Albert the next day.

In a head to head comparison, different demo conditions notwithstanding, I would give higher marks to the vr33's in all categories that we audiophiles value. The Triton's bass output is adjustable with its built-in amp, which may be considered to be an advantage, but I sensed a discontinuity between the low bass and mid bass which is seamless in the vr33's. The vr33 is a hands down winner in the critical midrange. That is one fantastic driver! The Triton tweeter may have an edge in terms of detail, but again imho there may be issues with integration with the mids and long term listening fatigue.
I've had a pair for 7 months and have been extremely satisfied. Your question about sonic traits is slightly difficult because I don't spend much time thinking about their sonic traits... I just enjoy the music. However, if I had to describe them I would say:

- very good soundstage and image
- non-fatiguing presentation; not overly warm but far from cold and analytical
- well integrated base
- Good dynamic range
- Can handle multiple genres of music well

Only downsides I have found are:
- They are very large. Although these can go close to the wall I wouldn't exactly say the WIF is high. I thought the misses was going to make me send them back (but luckily they stayed).
- I opted for the bi-wire option and the upgraded wood caps. I'm not sure of the sonic benefits of the dual binding posts, but I was certainly a bit disappointed with the quality of the upgraded caps. Very plastic veneer look and feel.
>well integrated base<

Is this something the speaker is mounted to, then coupled to the floor?

Sorry, I should have proofread my post... well integrate bass.
Well I guess those VR-33s aren't going to work out for you?


I've actually gone full circle on them. When I got them I disliked them. They were polite and boring with my Torii, though I heard potential. I tried a handful of solid state amps to try with them including an Alchemist Forsetti Signature (Tim de Parvinchi design), Pass Aleph clone, Virtue TWO.2, and probably something else I'm forgetting to no avail.

I finally resolved to get rid of them and actually posted them for sale on a number of forums but then mistakenly made a small change as to which power cord was on which component (flip flopped amp/pre without realizing) and heard more potential.

It inspired me to keep trying stuff and a buddy brought over an Music Reference RM-9 with some fancy 6550 tubes and EH 6ca7s and both made these speakers SING.

I'm trying to sell off a bunch of gear now, including my Zu Soul Superflys and Decware Torii to fund this upgrade and create a budget for a better suited amplifier for it and, in the meantime I'm borrowing the Redgum RGi35 solid state integrated I'd bought then sold to a friend... Son of a gun, this pairing is damn musical!! Similar to the synergy I found with the Redgum RGi120 and my Zus...

In any event, I like them a lot and could see loving them in the future. Placement is a dream plus theres an added bonus--I don't really hear much difference with my room treatments, so I'm selling them off, much to the wife's pleasure.

When the dust settles I should have a pretty good budget for a new amp, but in the meantime I'm in no rush with the Redgum kicking butt.
EDIT: I guess it was more 180 than 360, lol
Hi Gopher,
It sounds like quite a power cord you have there! How would you compare the VR-33's to the Zu's? What are they best at? In what areas are the Zu's superior?

I'm glad you're happy! Be well man:)

The power cords are good, but they aren't really the moral of the story. It was that a subtle change was able to make me realize the potential and keep soldiering on to find something I liked when I previously wasn't impressed.

In a quick nutshell:

VR-33s are significantly more laid back in character and not quite as dynamic, though they aren't poor in that regard--the Zus are just VERY dynamic

The VR-33s throw a much bigger sound stage, but with noticeably less precise imaging.

The Zus have a more harmonically developed, meatiness to them and capture texture of gruff voices a bit better (Gil Scott Herron, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, etc) but the VR-33 is still full bodied and pleasant.

The VR-33s tweeter is more relaxed but equally detailed, a bit more refined. Theres also a little more upper midrange refinement in the VR-33s

The Zus have more punch in the bass, but the VR-33s have more bass information going significantly deeper.

The Zus may have been a splash more engaging emotionally for me, but are a bear to set up perfectly while the VR-33s are 5 inches from my front wall and sounding darn good.

The Zus are more versatile speakers whereas the VR-33s are pretty good all around, but may err towards the polite. If I want to throw on indie or hip hop (which I do with the Zus) its less at home on the VR-33s.

For my current situation, I'm going to keep the VR-33s, they're perfect for a living room. When I move and get a home w/ dedicated listening space... well, hopefully Zu Def 4s will have hit the used market :)
Thanks for the update.....it is quite amazing how when you get just to a certain point, a few changes will turn the magic on or off. I'll send you a heartfelt wish to get that house and some used Def mk IV's. That's my plan too:).
Wow! sorry to see our Superfly leader move on. But I'm happy for u Gopher, glad to see u enjoying ur music again. That's part of the fun with this hobby of ours.
What are you powering your new VR-33s with?

I'm wondering if something with more speed and power such as the Red Dragon monoblocks would wake them up.
I owned a pair of the original VR4 Silvers back in the mid 90s. That was a great speaker and I was actually using a Music Reference RM-9 to drive them so it's no wonder you thought that amp sounded good on the VR-33s. Albert makes a good speaker and I think they shine with a good tube amp.


Right now I'm using a Redgum RGi35 I'd bought and sold to a friend and am now borrowing. It's doing a surprisingly good job for the cost and synergizes with the VR-33s better than my Decware Torii did.


It does feel weird. I made the decision a few days ago, but haven't brought myself to list them on audiogon yet. I did love them and they are terrific, but this solution is better for my room/life style. There will likely be Zu speakers (bigger and better) in my future.


You aren't kidding--I'm probably going to purchase the RM-9 if my buddy lets it go. VG amp with these speakers. I'll have to bring it to my dads house if I take it to see what it does for his Clearfield Continentals (early VS speakers).
I've heard that despite the advertising and specs, the VR-33s do require a bit more power than you would normally expect. What is the power of the RM-9, I have Manley Mahi Mahi and they push 25 - 40 depending upon configuration.
RM-9 = 100/channel.

i have owned vr 35s for 15 months. i think they may have kept improving during the 500-1000 hr mark. i have a wood rancher with a suspended floor and find placement close to walls to be boomy so i place them 44" x 33" into the room. If i had a concrete floor and walls that are rigid then getting away with close placement might be feasible. i use a 150w sim w7 but used to have a rm 9 mentioned above. my rm 9 had a switch allowing for 3 different feedback/damping options which greatly effects bass- a nice option
The RM-9 is a very nice amp, but after hearing an inexpensive integrated, its been removed from my list of considerations.

I'm presently on the lookout for a Rogue Cronus Magnum to mate with my VR-33s. It really synergized well to wake up the somewhat polite-ish Von's and bring dynamics, bass slam, greater texture--a quality more similar to what I missed with my Zu based speaker setup.

I suspect that integrated could keep me happy for a long time and hope one pops up here soon.

I'm using an Audion Preamp and Bella Extreme amp in the meantime with is very nice and quite musical, but I do want the adrenaline shot of the Rogue.
Has anyone ever compared the Von Schweikert VR-33's to a Pioneer S3-EX?
After several months of ownership I have come to the conclusion that, although this amp sounds great with smaller amps, they love some extra power.

I recently started using a Redgum RGi120 ENR amplifier with it and things really opened up nicely. The resulting sound is far more versatile too.
Gotta get around to hearing a Redgum one of these days. It's on the to-do amp list...