Von Schweikert VR-4,Jr.

Was anyone else as impressed by these speakers at HE 2004 as I was? I thought their performance was stupendous, and can only wonder what the bigger models sound like.
Yeah, I've been at this for 25 years and these may be the best smaller room speakers I've heard for conventional cones and magnets.

I thought they sounded spectacular but there were some very friendly room modes at work with many of the cuts. This is not a criticism of the speaker, just an observation about the demo conditions.
I purchased these speakers before the show and was initially underwhelmed. I have allowed them to break-in probably about 50 hrs. I did attend the show and do agree that they sounded great. I can tell you that since they have broken in some, that their sound in my room is now awesome. I do not have any room treatments and have not even insert the spiked feet and feel that my sound is close to the demo room. My wife even noticed the difference. Break-in period is 200 hours so I can't wait. These are definitely great speakers.
What ss amps work well with these speakers ?
What one was used at the show ?
I was just at the HE show in New York and it was great to meet Albert,Brian & Kevin and for us to match the voices to the faces.

The longest lines for demonstrations were at the Von Schweikert room on the 7th floor.2nd longest line I noticest (and not nearly as long)was at the Cinepro home theatre room.A vac amp/preamp was used and an exotic transport(do not recall)An electrocompaniet ecd-1 dac was also used.I purchased that dac by speaking to Kevin a few months ago about gear they are excited about.

The sound was holographic, detailed, natural,dynamic and bass was tight,deep and detailed.I own Vr-4 SE's for about 3 months now and am delighted with all that they do.

Had I had a chance to compare the JR's with the SE's it possibly would have been a tough choice which speaker to choose.The VR-4SE's edge is there and not by a big margin.

The JR's with their finished cabinets and smaller size,1/3 less cost,tunability and incredible sound are in a class of their own at their price point.At least IMO.
Saki70, the VR-4JRs were powered by the $19K VAC integrated amp with a substantial outboard power supply, Aero Caitole transport, Electrocompaniet DAC and impressive cabling.

I agree that the performance based on snippets of various recordings, was very good with $30K of electronics delivering the signal. It would be interesting to audition the JRs with electronics more in line with the cost of the speakers, which appear to be an excellent value plus very attractive.

Of all the rooms at HE2004, I thought the VR/VAC demo was the most contrived.

In some areas, it sounded good, but the very short blasts of having you hear exactly what they wanted you to hear made me wonder what the speakers really sounded like. It seemed to me as if they were trying to take advantage of the audience.
"It seemed to me as if they were trying to take advantage of the audience."

What? I am shocked, shocked!

Kal (who agrees to the extent that they chose favorable recordings for the system and room which, of course, does not distinguish their efforts from those of others)
I am using the Spectron Musician II to power the speakers with very good results.
Now, Kal--admittedly they did allow open requests from 4-6 each day. Would be great if you could chime in here, if you were able to do so.

I was stuck in video heaven, and never made it back upstairs!
Of course, I was able to play some of my own selections and that's how I realized that there were tricky room modes at work. On some cuts, they reinforced the bass to a wondrously impressive degree but, on a few, it was overblown and indistinct.

That said, I do not hold that against the speakers (which I did like) but offer it as an observation that there is more going in most demos than the performance of the components.
As I posted several days ago, I thought the VAC / VR-4Jrs were the best sound at the show.

Can't comment on the show but I bought these. And they are unbeleivable for there size and price point.

Elybry, Just like the manual says, don't make any critical judgements until they have 200 hours on them. These speakers need full break in. Until then they do not sound all that great. After about 100 hours the magic started happening. So you have a lot to look forward to!!
I have owned the VR2 for 9 months now. They are the most enjoyable speaker I have ever owned. I love them. Since I can never get enough of all good things audio, I am upgrading to the VR4jr's. My VR2's needed a minimum 100 hours before they started to sound great as well. Enjoy!
I just got a loaner pair of the vr-4 jr's. I just sold a pair of piega c-10 ltd and am looking for a new speaker. These little gems are amazing. Great bass and resolution. These are the most musical speakers I have had in my room. At 4k they have to be one of the best deals. These are supposedly an entry level speaker for Von Schweikert. I wonder how good the rest of the line is
These aren't entry level -- he has the vr1 and vr2 which also sound incredible at their price

then of course he has the vr11 I think $100k plus some change

ok compared to that the Utopia is a entry level speaker lol
How do they compare to the Totem Forrests, Innersound Isis, or Magnepan 3.6. All are speakers in the genreal price range ($3,000 to $4,500). I am considering all five of these. Thanks.
Elb - I have compared Magnepan to VSA, though not exactly using the VR4Jr. I owned MG3.6 for about 3 years. I really enjoyed them, but ultimately missed some of the "body" and "impact" of box speakers. Yet most box speakers sounded, well, "boxy". VSA speakers were one of the few that sounded almost as open as planars. I first tried the VR4-GenIIISE (in-home), but their bass overwhelmed my room. Ended up with the VR5, which I've been very happy with for the last year. I haven't heard VR4Jr, but I suspect it has a similar "house sound". In the end, comparing VSA to Innersound or Magnepan could be tough unless you can do auditions in different rooms with different electronics. By the way, a trusted audiophile friend of mine greatly prefers Innersound over Magnepan, so they should definitely be on your list (I've never heard Innersound myself). Also, I've never heard Totem products. Good Luck.
The VR-4jr's are better then the Totem Forest in mine and my wifes opinion. Of course very different from Innersounds (These are very different animals) The VR-4jr's are fairly effecient with what I thought was a pretty large soundstage. I auditioned a pair at Ears Nova in New York with Joshua Cohen. Of course his electronics are very good...better then mine that is....but after hearing and comparing everthing we could find (at the NYC show and outside) in the 3500.00-4,000.00 price range I am convinced that the VR-4jr's equal speakers in the 7000.00 to 8000.00 range. In a close 2nd we liked the Gibbon Eights, a speaker made locally here in NY. Good Luck
I once owned the Innersound Eros, big brother to Isis, keep in mind the sweat spot for the Innersound electrostats are about a foot wide. I kid you not. I also once owned Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III and thought they were great -- I'm sure the VR4 Jr's are excellent as well, although I wouldn't consider VS now that I've learned they are made in China.
Sedona, The computer you are typing on was made in China as well as all the components inside. You still purchased it... I could go on and on about what you have that came from China - so unless you are Omish good luck trying to make a real moral stance.

Quality is a non issue, as these speakers are as solid as any I have owned, if not more so.

So, not sure what them being made in China has to do with it.

The vr4 jr for my taste are better than the totem's in top to bottom, with no wholes they are much better than their price point as stated above.

The Maggies will sound thin in comparison.

At least, give the vr4 jr an audition to avoid later regret if you buy something else.

Good Luck,

Are you sure about the computer Sedona is typing on comes from China? I am a Taiwanese, and I am in semiconductor industry, I don't think China is capable of making the "critical" parts of a computer anytime soon.

Take CPU, it's most likely an Intel or AMD made here in US (Intel) or Germany (AMD). Hard drive is probably one of the Western Digital or Seagate from Singapore. Motherboard and chipset are from Taiwan Via or SIS, graphic card chip is ATI or Nvida which is foundry at TSMC (Taiwan).

You get the point I am sure. I am OK some of the times with China assembly, but I am not OK with China made products for quality and political reasons.

Therefore, I will avoid investing expensive items that are made in China.
Semi: Quite an intelligent reply to Rob, I agree with you, I will not purchase products made in China for both quality and political reasons, mostly political the truth be told.

And frankly, the folks at Von Schweikert can talk all they want about 'how much more their speakers would cost' had they been made in America, or 'the savings are being passed along to the consumer'. I don't believe consumers are gaining any financial benefit by Von Schweikert outsourcing their products to workers in a country that earn $1.00 an hour - probably less. If at all possible, I'll invest my money in products that are made in America.

Just my 2 cents - where others invest their money is their choice.

BTW: I own/use a Mac G-4 computer.

Best Regards
Funny how quickly a thread can digress. I hope we're all driving Fords and Chevys also.
I think all of your responses were very factual and mature (not always the case). I used to work at Cadence Design Systems - One of the top EDA software companies, so you are right about most of the chip designers and foundries not being in China. My point in making my general statement was that not buying Von Schweikert speakers will not make a bit of difference in toppling communism in China. Especially, since we are not all driving Fords and Chevys, and we all have electronic and other items made in China -- It’s unavoidable.

But how can I argue when your hearts are in the right place. That’s really what counts whether it makes much difference or not.
Have all of the VR4jr users biwired the speakers? If so, which cables were used? I have them powered by a McIntosh 2102 but not biwired, and there is some graininess. Thanks for your counsel!
I am expecting my pair in a few weeks. At least initially, I am not planning on bi-wiring. I'll have a single run o Kimber 8TC to each speaker and a pair of custom jumpers (made of 8TC) to replace the stamped metal plate jumpers they VSA supplies. Besides that I will use the supplied umbilical to connect the two sections of the speaker. I know biwiring is preferable, and bi-amping even more so. What are others doing?
I am biwiring, haven't compared it to single runs, but I think the most significant change in sound (and should be almost mandatory) is adding lead shot and of course, decoupling from the floor. I bent the supplied spikes all up, and bought more sturdy ones. But the difference was huge.

I have heard that biwiring makes a significant difference but haven't experienced it myself.

I am still trying to figure out the rear ambiance driver setting. I've been messing with it and it sounds good in different ways in different positions.
I added sand to the bass chamber of my VR-2's and will be adding lead shot to the bass chamber of the 4jr's when I get them. I believe this to be mandatory. It made a significant difference to my VR2's.
I have a pair of the Jr's on loan. Truth be told, these things took me completely by surprise. Having owned the Kharma Midi Exquisites--which cost many, many multiples of the Jr's asking price--I was shocked to discover that the Jr's outperformed the Kharmas in terms of dynamics and overall musicality (though the Kharmas were, not surprisingly, more refined). I'm not sure how Albert is able to pack this much performance into such a moderately sized, moderately priced (by high-end standards) package--outsourcing to China surely has more than a little to do with it--but he's done it. I'm on the list for a pair of the VR-9s, but I'm enjoying the hell out of the Jrs. while I wait. Frankly, part of me will be sad to see them go. They're that good. As many have stated here, adding lead shot to the bass cabinet improves performance considerably.
I ditto Hoopers response. I have the VR-4jr on loan too. These little guys are just super.
Was at the NY Hilton a few weeks back late Saturday afternoon.I was in every room that had serious audio setups and no room made me wish my system sounded like that.

When I went into the Von Schweikert room after standing in a long line for a worthwhile wait,I was extremely impressed.To me the JRs just did it all right.

I bought the VR-4III SEs back in Feb. and the JRs were the only speakers that captivated me at the show.

The SEs do it all a little better and not that you feel something is missing over the JRs just an added edge.Just my 2 cents.
I didn't like the show demo anymore than TRELJA in terms of style, but thought the speaker was superb. The speaker played music not geopolitical diatribes. Fortunately a local dealer has them, allowing me to listen for good long while with less expensive front end and amplification equipment. In addition to any music I wanted. I still liked them to the point were I would seriously consider upgrading my San Diego made VR2s because they had much cleaner sound detail and dynamics. For the price an even more captivating speaker was the new Hyperion which we said was the show's biggest surprise.
In response to which wire to utilize and bi-wiring options on the VR-4jr:

The best sonics will come from either bi-wiring or single wiring to the M/T cabinet then jumping down to the bass module.

This eliminates the extra connections when using the data-link cable and eliminates the jumper bar. These are very revealing speakers, those extra connections are audible even if the data-link and the jumper bars were the best cable available.

If you are already utilizing some very reavealing wire, the jumper bar and data-link will inhibit performance.

Now there is also a tonal balance difference between bi-wiring and jumping the cabinets. Bi-wiring may make the bass cabinet seem louder leaving you with a warmer sound.


These speakers are smoooooth. If you hear what you may describe as grain, it's extra connections using the jumper-bar and data-link. And always connect to the M/T first.
Products made in China have a little just a small part of how much a product retails for.

You know that coffee cup you bought in Starbucks for 10.99

You know that toaster you bought

Sunfire, Velodyne, Revel, McIntosh,all made in China
I have been told that the JR has a more recessed sound than the VR4SE, with voices sounding a bit back. Is this true? It sounds like a tremendous speaker, but I like a midrange with presence, and wonder what the presentation is like.
This speaker definately should be bi-wired, as it makes a big difference in the sound. The manufacturer clearly believes that this speaker sounds way better bi-wired.

I would agree.

I had a pair that I just sold because I wanted to change to Maggie 3.6R's (I hope I did the right thing!).

Anyway, I had Synergistic Research custom make a set of Resolution Reference .5 X2's by making the speaker ends longer than stock. What makes these cables somewhat unique, is that I had Synergistic custom make these with the 4 speaker ends (on each of the right and left cables) a little longer than standard so that they can reach between any speakers that have 2 seperate cabinets, in my case it was for the Von Schweikert VR4 Jr's.

These were pretty expensive (IMO) but they were awesome! I have them for sale on AG right now as the guy I sold the speakers to didnt buy the cables too.

The distance between the top cabinet and the bottom one does present some issues for an internal bi-wire.

There are several options.

* Buy mine ;-)

* Shotgun with 2 seperate sets of cables (excellent idea)

* Utilize the "Data Link" (not the best idea)

* Order your own custom made wires similar to the ones they were using at the HE2004 Show that feed the top cabinet and jump down to the bass cabinet, as somone has alreadt mentioned here.
I heard these speakers in Chicago(Decibel Audio) this past weekend, I was expecting this great speaker, what I heard was bloated bass that seemed to mess up the rest of the musicical spectrum. I was not drawn into the music as much as I would have wanted. I realize they are only 4K but I expected more. One note the salesperson said they were not filled with leadshot, and he didn't think that made that big of a difference
Don't blame the speakers because what you get at the front is what you will get in the end. Also, the salesperson needs to be replaced too as he surely doesn't know what he is selling. The leadshot is definitely an improvement as many who have them have gone this route.
Abruse. You should shop at a new place. Obviously an idiot works there and Lead shot and break in make a huge difference. Are you sure you weren't at curcuit city?

Just like it says in the manual "if it doesn't give you goosebumps, the set up is less than optimal" don't blame the speakers they need proper setup to sound right.

I just purchased the 4jr's last month and am in my 60hour or so of break in. In this short time the sound has improved significantly. Can any one advise the differece in the sound to expect once I reach 200 hrs? Hopefully a bit less edgy and bright in the treble,a more delicate midrange and a slightly more powerful bass.
To answer a question posted here, they are already forward in the midrange not recessed.

I currently using Conrad Johnson Premiere 17LS and Premiere 11a tub pre and amp- shotgun bi wired with Clearview excaliber cables(excellent cables by the way).

By the way I was told by my dealer, who was advised from Albert himself, that the cabinets are only made in China with the speakers designed and manufactured in USA or Europe. The speakers are assembled in USA.

China over the past ten years has solidly invested in machinery which is state of the art, in order for them to be a world leader in manufacuring ready for the quota elimination of 2005 and entry into the WTO.

In my industry(wool piecegoods) they have bought all the machinery from Italy, imported Italian engineers to teach them to make beautiful fabric. Their quality is on par with the Italians at a third of the price mostly due to cheaper(but not technically inferior) labor.

I would not worry about the quality. These cabinets are flawless and solid. Remember Von Sweikhert still designs and dictates the quality standards...

Just my two cents...

Rodney. You answered your own question. Yes mids will become more fluid, bass less bloated more extended. highs less bright. You will start noticing better sound mostly at about 100 hours on. But to reach their prime a minimum of 200 hours but probably more.

Good info on your post about China USA issues people are having.

Abruce, Utilizing at least 25 lbs of lead is a must in this speaker.

You're welcome hear the VR-4jr at my place. They do not sound bloated. I'm utilizing 50 lbs in each and driving them with tube electronics.

I'm the other VSA dealer and in the N/W suburbs.
Abruce, I too have been to Decibel Audio. The high ceilings, front windows, and brick walls, and road noise make listening there a waste of time. I know that they allow in-home auditions. if you are in the city, I would give that a try. Otherwise, see if Audio Buff will lend you a pair.
Thanks for everyones help, I drove five hours to hear these, then I find out there's another dealer in town.
Von S only told me about Decibel Audio, darn another road trip to the windy city
Rob,Thanks for the comments...back to the break in disk and out of phase wiring! 140 hours to go!

P.S- correction on my last post. My speaker cables ar Mapleshade Golden Helix Shotguns
Bloated is definitely the front end. If anything they become more fluid and less choppy sounding with time. My own VSA got enriched more resolved bass when lead shot was added but they were never "bloated". I think your salesperson was probably going overboard with the capabilities of the front end. Bloat is probably from from pushing a tube amp too hard and is just distortion by another name. They had plenty of slam properly powered.
If all goes well my Vr 4jr's will be in my living room in two weeks. I appreciate the discussion thus far. It has given me much to consider and prepare for. I will be adding lead shot to the speakers and at least initially will not be biwiring (I run my speaker wire under our wood floor and at this point can only tolerate holes of a certain size through the floor -- I use Kimber 8TC). It is nice to know that I have an upgrade path that is not a major component change in my future though. I will be driving my 4 jr's with a McIntosh 6900 integrated and am expecting a Exemplar Audio modified Denon 2900. Making a front end and speaker change at one time will not allow for an objective comparison to my old system but I have long since done away with objectivity as a worthwhile audiophile sensibility. Thanks again for the thoughtful discussion,
I received my pair earlier this week. I have about 50 hours on them. I am blown away. Great refinement in the middle and upper ranges. Great bass. They sound awesome at low volume! And to know that they are hardly broken in yet and that things are only going to improve...well......I am one happy man. I am working on positioning still and have not filled them with shot yet. THey are connected to my MAC 6900 integrated. These are great speakers!
are going to enter a whole new level of performance. I'd suggest you fasten your seatbelt at the 200 hour break-in point. Add lead shot once placement is optimized.