VSA VR-3 Upgrades. Has anyone done them? Results?

Hi all!,

I was wondering if any Von Schweikert VR-3 owners have ever performed upgrades on their speakers. I am considering this and I was hoping someone can share with me what that experience was like? Did you ship your speakers back to the factory? Or did you perform the modifications yourself? What upgrades did you opt for? Were the results worth it?
These are older speakers but, they are still sounding great! I am running them with a McIntosh MC275 IV. I am wondering if the driver upgrades will increase the overall efficiency of these and possibly, open up the lower mids a little more. I feel vocals could be a tad fuller.
Please share your experiences with me. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

Below is the description of the upgrades as per Albert:

"The upgrade consists of two different modifications. You can choose to install any of them individually or do them both if you have the time and money.

a) New drivers that we designed to work with the existing crossover and wiring. In order to hear the increased detail and clarity, you will also need to install a set of damping blocks on the inside of the cabinet, which are supplied with the drivers. The damping blocks are to reduce the cabinet vibration and resulting coloration. They are made from artificial stone and are easy to glue onto the inside cabinet walls in the bass module. The upper module, if sand filled, will not require the damping blocks since the sand does the same thing. Our new 10” woofer has higher efficiency, for increased dynamic range and more bass weight when played at low volume levels. The new 5” Aerogel midrange driver has increased clarity and smoothness, while the new 1” silk dome tweeter offers an extra octave of “air” at the top end and also has far smoother detail in the upper midrange/lower treble. At the rear, our new horn-loaded Ambience Retrieval Driver with 1” silk dome and horn loading enables a far bigger and more dynamic sound stage. Just the addition of the new drivers is a huge upgrade and can be installed in about 2 hours per cabinet. The cost of the complete set of 8 drivers for both speakers is $1,200 and comes with silver solder, new gaskets, stone damping blocks, adhesive, and full instructions. You will also receive factory help on the phone if you require.
b) You will need to remove the cloth socks and reinstall them. If you socks are a bit worn and you would like new ones, they cost $100 for a pair.
c) New crossover boards with far superior parts is an option. Although not difficult to install, the boards will help you get to the next level of audiophile sound quality. The parts are very expensive and are from Europe, while the new wires attached are made from Single Crystal lab-grade copper, sourced from Delphi Aerospace. This wire costs $80/foot when the US Government buys it, but our price is less since I went to college with one of the guys at Delphi. The cost of both crossover boards, including the Delphi wiring, is $1,400/pr."
I've done bypass caps last year and 2 weeks ago replaced all the internal wiring with the singe-crystal copper on my 7's. I also changed out the midrange drivers, per Albert. The difference is amazing - like new speakers. I didn't really need damping blocks because my speakers are so massive anyhow. We did it all ourselves, but I had a pro do all the soldering, etc. It was a long process, but worth the effort.

I would do as much as you can afford. If you like your 3's, you'll LOVE them after any of these upgrades, IMO.
If you REALLY like the way Von Schweikert speakers sound, and can work out the logistics of crating and shipping them back to the manufacturer this is a real no-brainer. For example,
the VR-9's are currently very expensive, if you want a new pair, but the UPGRADE is $8K to $12K, which
is a relative bargain. the research-based methods of determining what works and sounds best is similar to what many of the most respected brands on the market claim they have implemented.
Perhaps the only downside is that VSA speakers are unfortunately not the most attractive line of of loudspeakers (IMO). but there are a lot of speakers out there that look strange, funny, ugly, spacey, and so on. So you too might reach a fork in the road where you have to accept the fact that what your ears are telling you to get may not agree with your sense of style.
@fplanner - Thanks for your comments! That is encouraging. After posting, I decided to give Albert a call and discuss with him why I wanted to upgrade. I was pleasantly surprised to find him completely down-to-earth and extremely informative. We talked and he helped me choose a reasonable upgrade path for me based on my objectives. I will post again when upgrades are performed.

@French fries - I own these speakers already and have no desire to shop for new. I will admit their are more attractive speakers out there than my VR-3's but, for the money, I haven't found a speaker I prefer sonically. The VR-3s' black sock look works for our decor and, more importantly, for my wife! Black goes with everything! Thanks for your response!
Glad I could help. What are you going to get done?
I became aware of a deficiency in the low mid/ upper bass region. I contacted Albert, convinced that he would blow me off and suggest my room, or something else, was the problem. To the contrary, he validated my observations and explained that the drivers had all been re-engineered to correct the very things I was describing. Thus, I am anxious to move forward. I will begin by replacing the woofers which are more efficient and more dynamic. And then...we'll see if I need to do the others. I will do the work myself. Wish me luck!
Wouldn't more efficient woofers necessitate changes to the crossover?
Not necessarily, Drubin. AVS has engineered the replacement drivers, at least my new mids, so they will work with the existing crossovers. I had been a bit skeptical of this, but Albert's managed to keep the specs similar while vastly improving the sound quality of the replacement drivers. My new mids are much more efficient, musical and powerful.

Good luck with the driver replacement E !