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Vandersteen / The Audio Alternative - Room 9026 / 9030




The system configuration included:

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Wayne's Impressions

My main listening impressions for the Vandersteens was for the Model 7's, and it boiled down to one word: TOGETHER. Everything was working for the Model 7's, all cylinders firing and purring smoothly. There was a keen sense of integration of all system elements - drivers, crossovers, time alignment, even a vertical tightness that accompanied the sharp imaging and wide soundstage. Tonality was right on as well. I was only in the room for a few minutes, but was well enough impressed that the Model 7's would be on my list of speakers to remember if shopping in the over-$40K per pair range. The striking color says Don't ignore me! So does the sound, but in that good, almost invisible way.

Dennis' Impressions

I auditioned the Vandersteen 7s in Room 9030 with LP. Not sure who was playing, it was Jazz with muted trumpet, piano, trap kit and stand up bass.

Buzz of the bass strings after the fundamental was played was easily made out. Imaging for all instruments was top notch, a hallmark of time aligned designs. Well balanced, perhaps a little light in the midbass, could be due to room modes and/or listening position. The lowest registers were well represented, nothing lacking here. Some of the most natural highs I have ever heard. I could be very, very happy living with these speakers.

Beautifully painted cabinets, as good to look at as listen to.

The Audio Alternative - Room 9030

 

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I have been a fan of vandersteen for quite some time even though I've never owned a pair. I've listened to a few different models over the years and was always impressed by their sound. This was partially the reason I voted for them in the speaker shootout and was disappointed things didn't work out for them. Your assessment of the speakers being "Together" is what I myself have experienced with the sound of the lesser models in their line up. This model looks gorgeous and I'm glad you enjoyed them.
 

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Mike,

Like you I also voted for the Vandersteens for the shootout. I have only heard the 1C and 2CE Signature models but was very favorably impressed with their sound.
 

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The Model 7's sure made an impression. Still have mixed feelings about those 2CE's we heard in August. Sonnie says he tried them off of their wheeled bases after we left and heard no improvement. But they have their adherents, no doubt about it. There was NOTHING not to like about the Model 7's. But for $52,000 a pair.......
 

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Just taking them off the wheeled bases isn't enough to set them up properly. Vandersteens are designed to be tilted backward to aim the tweeter at your ear. How much backward tilt depends on how far away from the speaker you are sitting and your ear height at that point.

This is necessary because Vandersteens are designed differently than most speakers. Most speakers have a wider vertical sweet spot than a horizontal one. Or to put it another way, for most speakers the horizontal off axis response degrades quicker than the vertical off axis response. With Vandersteens it is the opposite. They have a wide horizontal sweet spot but a very narrow vertical one. Their vertical sweet spot is only 6 inches wide and your ears should be in the middle of that. In the manual Vandersteen states that getting the correct amount of backward tilt to properly aim the speakers at your ears is critical because the sound quality of his speakers degrades considerably outside the sweet spot.

With most speakers you dial in the sweet spot by adjusting toe in. With Vandersteens you dial in the sweet spot by adjusting tilt back. Because of this it is very likely you never got to hear the 2CE's from their sweet spot.
 

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Just taking them off the wheeled bases isn't enough to set them up properly. Vandersteens are designed to be tilted backward to aim the tweeter at your ear. How much backward tilt depends on how far away from the speaker you are sitting and your ear height at that point.

This is necessary because Vandersteens are designed differently than most speakers. Most speakers have a wider vertical sweet spot than a horizontal one. Or to put it another way, for most speakers the horizontal off axis response degrades quicker than the vertical off axis response. With Vandersteens it is the opposite. They have a wide horizontal sweet spot but a very narrow vertical one. Their vertical sweet spot is only 6 inches wide and your ears should be in the middle of that. In the manual Vandersteen states that getting the correct amount of backward tilt to properly aim the speakers at your ears is critical because the sound quality of his speakers degrades considerably outside the sweet spot.

With most speakers you dial in the sweet spot by adjusting toe in. With Vandersteens you dial in the sweet spot by adjusting tilt back. Because of this it is very likely you never got to hear the 2CE's from their sweet spot.
Thank you for the detailed feedback. It sounds like you are experience with using Vandersteen speakers. It is always good to get input from users who have been through a lot of setups with a speaker brand or type.

As I recall, we did do some work with the vertical axis during set up. Also, Leonard has set them up many times in the past in his role as an audio dealer. However, it is entirely possible that we simply never quite got to that sweet spot, as you suggest.

Thanks again for the details. That is some info that I was previously unaware of. We are learning as we go, just like everyone else.
 
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