Von Schweikert VR4JR & Tube Amp???

So...without boring you with too much details, I've been FORCED to move my rig into a small dedicated room in my basement. I currently have the above speakers, Marantz SA8260 SACD/CD, Marantz PM7200 (95wpc), Kimber Silver Streak, Audioquest Montblanc & CV-6. My room is only about 12x10 and it's in a corner of my finished basement so, I have two walls that are poured concrete behind the paneling. Obviously, the sound sucks. Since the room is fully enclosed and mine alone, I literally had to surround the room with R-15 Insulation covered with heavy felt moving-blankets and built some baffling in the corners. Ceiling is typical foam drop-ceiling tiles. Floor is carpeted. After some experimentation with speaker placement, I have ACCEPTABLE sound accross most frequencies except the bass (too boomy). Now here's the question: I'm hoping to make the following hardware changes as final adjustments since I might be here for awhile: Replace the PM7200 with a Primaluna Prologue 2 or Manley Stringray and the Audioquest cables with Kimber 8TC. I don't have the experience with or the ability to audition the considered new gear but, what do you wise and insightful folks think???

I also had my VR4jr in a 10 x 12 or 10 x 10 or something close, and first of all I feel your pain. Be careful not to over dampen the room. but I know it is necessary to absorb more than a typical room otherwise the high frequencies will blow you out of your chair. It is a balancing act. If you have the ability a diagonal speaker placement will help a lot with the bass. Anyway, I'll let others chime in on the equipment question.

Personally, before reaching any conclusions about changing amps I'd want to address the bass boom you describe. Assuming you can't or wont find speakers that will work better in those dimensions, and the present locations of the speakers and listening position are the best you have been able to do, personally I'd invest in a good 1/3d octave or a parametric equalizer to get that done. If you follow that course you will need either seperate amp and pre-amp, an integrated with a tape monitor loop, or one that has a pre amp out/amp in feature of some type to accomodate the insertion of an equalizer. Much as I like the Primaluna stuff, its not going to help your bass problems disappear a whit and it doesn't have either a tape loop or a pre out/in. Can't speak for the Manley. Hope that helps a bit.
Check out rives' equalizer. It's exactly what you need to kill the bass.
Newbee & Leftistelf, thanx for your thoughts. I considered your solutions but decided to go this route because 1) The worse case would be the bass problem still exists and I have a nicer sounding amp (I listen to mostly acoustic music e.g., jazz, classical, bluegrass. 2) I always heard that one "disadvantage" tubes have compared to solid state amps was that the bass was not as pronounced and 3) I thought about the equalizer but was hesitant to add something else to my signal path that might fix the bass problem but degrade the over all signal. Comments??
Bass from tube amps is often different in quality from SS amps, but not necessarily quantity. In my view the correction of the bass is far more important to the listening experience than the minor (if any) changes or distortions you might add from using a good equalizer. From a purist point of view adding an equalizer might introduce changes detectible when you do an A/B comparison, and some might hear the effect of these changes when actually listening to music, but that bass boom you will always hear and it is inappropriate and disruptive to the remaining music, for me at least.

Of course no one has asked you the degree of bass boom you are experiencing. If its on the order of 6db I wouldn't consider it a big deal - it would be something I would be albe to live with (and do). But if your are talking 12 to 15db I would find that too much. Have you actually taken a SPL meter and a test disc and checked out your room and the best available listening and speaker positions with it? If not, its worth doing.
Hi Pawlowski6123
I agree with the above posters who are advocating getting your room correct, acoustically speaking.

Try Bass traps to tame your boomy bass problem. Every room has built in sonic charastics. It's physics. Every frequency has a certain length to its sound wave. The size of your room has a direct effect on either, cancelling out certain frequencies OR accentuating certain frequencies. It all depends on the length of the wave (frequency), and the distance they are given (inside dimensions of your room) to travel.

The beauty of "bass traps" is, they will do both. That is, they will absorb a targeted frequency while redirecting (diffusing) other frequencies. I know that bass traps are expensive BUT, you can make them yourself if you would like. The link below is a description as to how to build your own.


Just remember - the larger the DIAMETER of the trap, the lower the frequency that will be absorbed.

I am using 18" 16" and 9" tubes In my room. They are SYMETRICALLY placed around the room. The correction is real and not subtle.

Of course building your own traps will require some time and effort on your part. But, you will save $$$.

bets of luck in taming the boom in your room.
Sorry - I forgot:
Here is a very helpful link showing HOW to use tube traps.


Getting/making them is one thing, but knowing how to use them, is what will get you to where you want to be.


I have been using a "true" bi-wired set of Kimber 4TC (tweeter/mid module) and 8TC (woofer) cables on my original VR-4's (and which I had previously used with my Vandy 2Ce Sigs). Though I have occasionally flirted with bouts of "upgrade" obsession, I realize that there is no rational need for me to spend any more $$$ on different speaker cables. Not that I'm saying their isn't something "better", but I believe the Kimber are very balanced, coherent, and a great overall performance/value, and moreso just wanted to offer my recommendation based on my actual use of them with VR speakers.

On the other hand, I also previously auditioned a set of the AQ CV-6 with my former Vandy speakers, and which I found to also be a very good speaker cable (and also for the $), so keep in mind that in your case, switching from the AQ CV-6 to the Kimber may only be a "lateral" move, (maybe even depreciative?). Note that I did not use the AQ cables with the VR-4s since my audition of them was at a time way before I made my change from Vandy to VR speakers.

I understand you're trying to "tune" your system, and I'm inclined to agree with the others about room tuning as a primary focus, and I'm not sure if the change you're considering of your already better than decent cables is prudent towards your objective.

Just my two cents.

To answer your question of whether the VR4jr's sound good with tubes they most certainly do. I am running a BAT VK60 that I am considering selling. It was fine in my smaller room but now that I have moved into a larger space it is just not enough. The fear that I have is if I do in fact get rid of the BAT, what can I possibly buy to replace it that will sound just as good for similar money?

A close friend of mine ran a stingray with his VR4's & loved it except for the fact that it would also strain trying to fill his large listening room at what we like to call "drinking levels" We both listen to clasic rock & at normal levels have no problems with tubes & VSA.
Thank you very much. I am between a pair of Cary SLM-100s or ARC Classic 150. Any epxerience with either of these? thanx again
If the 4's are booming this is addressed in the manual isnt it? Stuff the ports with dacron a bit at a time this will help at the speakers end Thick carpet on the floor maybe some carpet on the walls throw rugs. If done properly those walls are more solid then dry wall. Use pink noise to set your imaging. Heres how schweikert does it with the vr-8, Place a speaker at the listning position, then walk around the room and find the best place for bass responce. use that for speaker placement.
Excellent advice and yes, I just re-read the manual and saw the part about the Dacron. Thanx much.
I'm not sure CV-6/Mont Blanc to 8TC is a step forward...
Drew, I agree, I just wanted more balance in my system. I had a $450 amp and $1000 worth of cables !?
Sounds like your basement has horrible accoustics. I'm no engineer but I worked on building a recording studio, and I have built 2 practice studio's of my own design. I have read enough about room acoustics to understand its importance.

Few audiophiles spend enough or any money at all providing a good acoustic enviorment for there music/theater room. The panelling is probably acting like a drum skin and the area above your drop ceiling is amplifiying your bass. The concrete walls and floor are much too ridged and standing sound waves are being amplified. Reflections aren't bad but need to be controled and excesive bass needs trapping.

Your existing gear isn't even revealing what is possible. We all need to some time and money on your acoustics and our entire system will be more revealing. Please don't buy more equipment to act as tone controls.
Thanx Mjcmt; I would agree with our assessment 100% and am working on the room as we speak. I did not know however that drop ceilings would accentuate bass? I thought bass was controlled or affected more from corner treatments. Can you expound on this a bit. It might help me. Thanx

My experience shows that the area above the drop ceiling and between the floor joists acts like a drum. The area is hollow above the panels. The bass becomes boomy in there and is magnified. Insulating above the drop ceiling makes a big difference to absorb aggressive bass. That is how a bass trap works.

Also, the drop ceiling grid is thin metal and can resonate. Remember the drop in panels, drop in fixtures, and grid are loosely attached. It is more expensive, but a insulated D/W ceiling is much better.
The best I've ever heard VS 4Jr sound was with...don't flame me...the DK VS1-mk2 integrated using Mullard NOS tube in the preamp section.
I have been curious about the DK VS-1, I read somewhere on this site that it sounds great with the Jr's but can't recall if it was a dealer's claims or not.
Permit me to chime in here thuogh all may be settled at this time... I've a pair of the JR's. All BAT gear, vk5i, and vk500. I currently love the sound I'm getting though I've still a ways to go... acousticaly speaking, myself.

#1 thing I did to improve things along the lines of bass and overall sound was repositioning the speakers.. for the umpteenth time... my carpet looks like a shooting range if you get close to it... John at Cardass told me the following: and it coincides withthe info posted at their website... Draw a rectangle (with some masking tape or the like), one of two ways... either 5 feet from the side walls, and eight feet from the rear wall, or three feet from the side walls, and five feet from the rear walls. #2 Then strike the diagonal from the corner of the room to the corner of the rectangle. Setting the JR'S along that line with the bass driver dead center on it and parallel to the other speaker. Big, Big, help. that procedure addresses 'two' room nodes. My speakers were off a just a couple inches from that diagonal line to begin with... Far better now! Far better. Though not only do they need to be right on that line... but 'EXACTLY' the same distnace from the rear wall... remember, '..time and phase, coherent." My room is only 13.75 ft. wide. (the units are 7.5 ft. apart with no toe in)... and could possibly move further into the room but as they do they get closer together... so only a few more inches perhaps... The above sure helped me and agian I was only about 2 inches away or so... It all got more coherent, and more resolution in the bass, gaining quality to the notes with more discernability... way more differeniation and way less boomyness and one note sounds with smoe bass notes almost non existent... It ain't the 'fix all' but it is/was immense ehlp.. and I haven't loaded them with shot or dacron either. Just spiked with oversized spikes, and home made biwires/shotgun cables. replacing the spkr. cables is probably next on the list... so what was said about the Kimber's & AQ is good to know... Good luck.
I have VR4 JR's as well and have experimented with placement, tube traps and acoustic room correction ( PARC ) long enough and still bass is not controlled enough.
Could you please clarify? When you say : "Then strike the diagonal from the corner of the room to the corner of the rectangle. Setting the JR'S along that line with the bass driver dead center on it and parallel to the other speaker"
First of all:
You only giving coordinates for the 2 out of 4 corners of the triangle.
Do you draw the line from the room corner to the corner of the rectangle, which rectangle corner should it be?, the closest to the room corner?, or the farthest?
Where it says "You only giving coordinates for the 2 out of 4 corners of the triangle.", I really meant "rectangle"
All great responses.

I was able to overcome room problems and tuning the JR's. Beleive me the manual and setting up the global axis nextwork to integrate with the room is a must to get what these speakers can do. I think some people don't realize that and change speakers. The bass, rear ambiance driver and toe in all have to come together. Then you will get the transparency that the speakers are capable of.

Room treatment is a must also. More than some other speakers, because the JR's are designed to include the room as part of the soundstage. Although other speakers obviously take this into consideration as well, my experience with the JR's are that they can sound horrible in a bright room (more than some speakers) and like your case boomy, but if you take the patience setting up the speakers as explained in the manual and treat your room. You will come to fruision as I have (in my case 2 years), but it took that long because I didn't "get" the whole integration thing and treated them like typical speakers.

Hope this helps,
What other tube amps have people used with the JR's? Assuming, of course, room tuning and placement are all sound, it seems that 60WPC tubes is a minimum?
I'm using a Premier 11A. Sounds sweet. Sounds even sweeter now bi-amped with an MF2250 on the bass cabinets and the P11A on top.
Unfortunetaly the vr4j got wonderful reviews, but, it has a boomy, sloe and fat bass, and roll offed highs. The best I have heard it was with the Manley Stringay. But only at moderate sound level. At higher level, the music has collapsed. Now, the dealer had a trick to 'calibrate' the vr4j. He half filled a small bottle (like one for medicine) with various small pieces of minerals. That made the sound 'harder', less boomy and gave more sense of top extension. They acted like the well reviewed acoustic resonators, but for nothing. Try it.
What utter nonsense...My bass is fast and articulate. Highs are sweet and extended. Something is terribly wrong with the setup(s) you heard. These speakers are by no means the last word but they are excellent for 4K and well beyond. The better the up front electronics the better these play. Tubes will certainly make them sound even better. But Bass issues ??? hardly...

good listening
Well said, Arkio. One mistake people often make with the Jr's is to not fill their chamber with shot or sand. Most who know about these consider this essential to set-up. As with any speaker attention to set-up and room acoustics is vital.

VR4jr has the best bass at it's price point of any speaker. Unfortunately, for you it recieved outstanding reviews, but for the rest of us living in the land of reality, we were thrilled to hear it. Go back to your sad bass lacking system and continue to be jelous ;)
Rob, and merril,

The Best sound I've heard in a number of years came as recently as two years ago or less... with the Jr'S DRIVEN by Thor TA1000 mkII, and 30 wpc mono blocks... new tag = 19K. ...but 30 wpc! I didn't rail the volume though. average to above average levels.. Everything was there... though the bottom end could have been tighter a bit... no shot in them according to the dealer. Also, i think he was using a Chang Light speed unit too.... can't say for sure but likely. Sweet a sound as I've yet to hear in reproduced music. Organic, natural,solid, and full. No abbberations, top to bottom. Au24 wire too, as he was big on that then. 30 watts. Amazing. and not the most efficient speaker either. Wow.

the diagnol extends from the corner of the room behind the speakers to the corner of the rectangle closer to the center of the room... sorry I was obtuse. Stand in the corner behind the unit with your back to the 'rear' wall and one shoulder against the side wall... step off eight feet, (five in a small room), then turn towrads the center of the room, or the opposite side wall, or jsut the other speaker... and step off five feet, (three in a smaller room), at that point look back to where you began.... that's the diagonal line to which the units are placed on... just centering the bass onto the line.. keeping the units parrallel to each other.. and the adjacent walls, both rear and sides... will eliminate or almost eliminate two of the three room nodes... (whether in fact this is an absolute or not, I can't say...), and it is a tremendous step in the right direction. As others posted, room treatments are necessary all the time.. though often dismissed... as it's just so murky a deal. IMO. Wher to hang what? How much? etc... Almost need an alchemist... or seance. Shot, and isolation are my next or actually, a curent process for me... a very slow process.. Likely it'll be curtains and foam diffusers behind the curtains... but I thinhk I'm also gonna close off the two halways, and replace the dry wall with 5/8 inch instead of the thin junk I got now...adding some center braces offset between the 16" OC STUDS, ALONG THE WAY.... gOOD LUCK...

Good information blindjim. I agree with all of it. I actually bought the program CARA and read books about room treatment, but I feel like I don't know much more than I did. However, I am happy with placement and treatment. I used compressed fiberglass panels (like Owens - but a generic from india with almost same absorption spec's) - I use them on the back wall and side reflections and book shelves behind me. A bass trap in the corners.

I use a 50wpc amp (30wpc) in triode. In triode it is a little slow. At 50wpc in pentatode it is fast and has good bass.

I think the best set up would be a triode 30 wpc on the mids and highs and a solid state 100wpc + on the bass. But that's just a theory - one day I will try it.

I've a similar idea in that I would like to add a tube amp, just one time on top to find out aobut it... I spoke with Albert V a few months ago on the phone... he did most of the talking... I was having some difficulty with setup and such... there were some issues which i'll not go into here, but on the whole he made mention of some of his experiences in the speaker line he has and bi amping them... He singled out a combo that in his opinion was as good, or the best, (can't reember which), he said he had ever heard.... BAT VK60 & VK500, with BAT vk5 driving them... well, I'm by chance, two thirds there... I would however rather a 100 wpc doing the work up top, balanced, naturally... but that's just me... gotta juice up these babies as their efficiency ain't too great... were it say, 90, or so... perhaps a mite less would suffice. IMO. ...we'll see what the New Year holds for me. Though this coming year I've plans to do treatments, speaker cables, and finalize the iso tweaking I'm into now...

So just where did you manage those wall treatments from, apart from India? Someone had told me about 'sound board' at Home depot... the threads here led me to another notion of using the Owens Corning insulation in a DIY deally. Did some research, and then decided to avoid the DIY part, as I think my lack of decent vision might get me in a bit of trouble working with insulation materials first hand... Also, in the process of doing the research, I found a spot online, called Guilford of Maine..(http://www.guilfordofmaine.com/).

These folks make a cloth covering that many speaker makers use for their grills... as transparent as you'll find, according to a couple 'Acoustic engineers I spoke with about the country. Patterns, colors, prints, etc, are all available. I figured to cover whatever 'treatment' went up on the wall with something from them.... no clue what, just something other than the limited choices most panels come in... perhaps you might want to check them out. Another spot that has much in the way of 'audio' stuff and room treatments is Parts express..(http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage.cfm?&DID=7&WebPage_ID=215), several makers of other peripherals I have spoken with use these folks regularly. Plenty of links about info surrounding the products they sell including 'types, how to's, associated items, etc.

I would like to know about the rear wall & first reflection treatments you found and how much diff they made for you, if you'd not mind of course.
So, do you guys think a BAT VK-55 would be powerrful enough to drive the JR's fully? I am curious about tubes and listen at pretty low volumes -- but I like to have full sound a low volumes.
Geoff Poor of BAT had originally recommended the 55 to me as a bi-amp option... One at first, add one later on…so actually two VK55... and run them bridged to 110 wpc. "Well, sure thing, Geoff!" If I had Geoff's money I'd throw mine away... but he's a great guy and has provided me a lot of good insights along the way... and by the by, their head of sales... go figure... Having heard the JR's with less power, though not at high volume levels, "Drive them?" Sure. Drive them at high levels I'd think so but can't testify to it. With 87db efficiency the JR's, as many others with that level of efficiency, can be hungry for power to develop signals in the upper ranges of the volume happy end of things..and provide a vibrant, and dynamic presentation that will approach a live recreation.

I too listen 90% of the time to levels that allow conversation, or slightly above.... BUT there are those time... and the only thing that controls the volume is my fear of damaging the JR's... as I have sufficient power with the vk500, to get them up there. Another thread here about tube power v. solid state power, addresses that question in general. For I posed the same Q, with some great insights... I've talked with folks that are running N802's with 60 wpc tube amps... heard the JR's on 30 wpc... so it will work... Albert V. designed the JR's with the notion to get the very best sound out of them with bi-amping in mind... but not the rule, and solely optional. Personally, I am thinking to add a vk60, or vk75 up there, and they ain't but 5 to 15 wpc larger in current development than the VK55. Remember the top end of the JR’s is an 8 ohm load... the bottom is 4. that's where Albert gets the 6 ohm overall. He also intended them to be at least bi-wired.

I'd think there are plenty of tube amps driving the JR's...and am curious why more haven't contributed in this particular thread to that extent, indicating their current or past matchups with various amps & the JR’S…. some of the reviews on the JR’s did exactly that…. Good luck!
Thanks, Blindjim. I suspect the 55 would drive them as well. I really do listen at low volumes 90% of the time and even when I turn it up its not that loud. I do have my JR's biwired right now but the amp ends of my wire are joined together as I only have one set of taps on my amp.

For the part of the thread that concens tube amps, I am driving my VR4JR's with the SQ-88 integrated tube amp, with KT-88 tubes at 55 wpc. This makes for a very musical combination,it sounds great at moderately high levels and low levels as well. Very interested in all the comments on room treatments, as my system will be moving to my converted basement in a 13X14 or so size room. Haapy listening and happy New Year to all.