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Vandersteen VLR Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 218 90.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 16 6.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 5 2.1%

  • Total voters
    241

PatentLawyer

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If this thread were an episode of Top Gear, James May would be saying “I think he’s referring to a gentleman’s sausage.”
 

Holmz

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Actually I've never heard 'organ pipe' refer to anything except, generically, any pipe that's part of a pipe organ (never capitalized), or, a type of cactus . So I've probably no idea what you are talking about...nor why it made you spit your coffee. Nor why the other guy kept writing "Organ Pipe".

I assumed you corrected it to “pipe organ”, as “organ pipe” looked like a possible male reference.

As I missed it the first time around, before your correction, I thought you were being subtle… hence the coffee spit.
 

krabapple

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I assumed you corrected it to “pipe organ”, as “organ pipe” looked like a possible male reference.

You mean a cock?

I've never heard one called, even jokingly, an 'organ pipe'. Double entendres about 'pipe organs' abound, though.

I corrected "Organ Pipe" to "pipe organ" because no one calls a pipe organ an Organ Pipe.

Maybe there are native language issues here. <shrug>
 

Holmz

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I've never heard one called, even jokingly, an 'organ pipe'. Double entendres about 'pipe organs' abound, though.

Organ is used as slang and medical term.
And Pipe is also a slang term.

In any case you deadpan correction, tickled my funny bone.



Maybe there are native language issues here. <shrug>

I am not sure what your native language is, but the other poster had their location as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so I assumed that American (English) would be the native language. Which could be wrong.
 

krabapple

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Not Wisconsin, but I got a chuckle out of this lyric from a guy in Minnesota

"The phone rings, it's Vicki calling
She wants me to come to the crib
She says conversation's better than being lonely
So I try my best to ad lib
I told the joke about the woman
Who asked her lover "Why is your organ so small?"
He replied "I didn't know I was playing in a cathedral"
Vicki didn't laugh at all"
--Prince, 'Vicki Waiting'
 

PatentLawyer

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Question who if any of you have actually listened to these speakers?
Well, listening alone without control for bias isn’t very informative. So while I’ve heard VLRs at a dealer (my dad, RIP, had 5a Carbons and regular 5s before that), their response is obviously colored in a way that other objectively tested Vandies are not.

The 5a Carbons are really very impressive, though my dad had them tuned for too much bass. He might strike me down if I adjust them!
 

Holmz

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Well, listening alone without control for bias isn’t very informative. So while I’ve heard VLRs at a dealer (my dad, RIP, had 5a Carbons and regular 5s before that), their response is obviously colored in a way that other objectively tested Vandies are not.

The 5a Carbons are really very impressive, though my dad had them tuned for too much bass. He might strike me down if I adjust them!

They have the process to tune them on the Vandy site.
One can download the “Vandertones” which has the tones you tune the pots to.

I think that the 5A carbons are probably a bit better than the VLRs, and for a bookshelf.
 

PatentLawyer

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They have the process to tune them on the Vandy site.
One can download the “Vandertones” which has the tones you tune the pots to.

I think that the 5A carbons are probably a bit better than the VLRs, and for a bookshelf.
The 5a Carbons are way better ( sorry, not sure if you are being sarcastic).

I know how to tune them; my point is that I don’t feel right changing how my late father liked them, and my mom couldn’t care less. I don’t use their music room much, anyway.
 
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Holmz

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I was being a bit sarcastic…and following the theme, those 5As “extra bass” is making up for a few VLR to create parity in the world. ;)
 

Bren Derlin

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Question who if any of you have actually listened to these speakers?


I have. What do you want to know? How much of an incoherent hot mess they sound?
 
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Well, listening alone without control for bias isn’t very informative. So while I’ve heard VLRs at a dealer (my dad, RIP, had 5a Carbons and regular 5s before that), their response is obviously colored in a way that other objectively tested Vandies are not.

The 5a Carbons are really very impressive, though my dad had them tuned for too much bass. He might strike me down if I adjust them!

I feel bad for posting this, because Vandersteen seems like a very nice guy and committed to the industry.

Having said that...

My reference speakers, for years, were Vandersteens. My local audio shop was doing a demo of Vandersteen's "Quattro" speaker, which costs more than twice as much as my speakers did.

I listened to them... and basically everything I didn't like about my own Vandersteens was present in the Quattro. In particular, they weren't dynamic and their lack of dynamics made every recording sound "muted." They might be nice if all you listen to is smooth jazz, but that's not me.

I've been studying loudspeaker phase for over a decade now, and since Vandersteen's speakers are defined by their phase response, I was eager to bounce some ideas off of him. In particular, I wanted to talk about how it's possible to achieve excellent phase response by manipulating the slope of crossover filters and using physical driver offset to compensate for the delay that's introduce by higher order filters.

When I said this to Vandersteen, all I got back was a blank stare.

So I tried to dumb it down a little... then soon realized the dude really doesn't understand that there's more than one way to flatten phase response.

I agree with Vandersteen - phase is important - but I was floored that he seemed to be completely unaware that there are other ways of flattening phase than just "use first order filters for every driver."

John Dunlavy followed a similar design philosophy, but seemed to have a better grasp on crossover design. He used to get into flame wars about this stuff on rec.audio back before the World Wide Web even existed.
 

PatentLawyer

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Interesting; I’d never call the 5a Carbons lacking dynamics. My parents‘ music room is huge and there are giant Krell monoblocks driving them (against dealer’s advice!). So maybe that helps.
 
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The Quatro has a sensitivity of 83dB and it's output limited by it's tweeter, which can handle 50 watts:


So even if there's zero power compression, the max it can hit is about 100dB.

The Quatro is $7000 and there are $300 speakers on Amazon that are more dynamic. Vandersteen made some really odd design choices; the dynamics of their speakers are severely limited by:

1) drivers with low sensitivity

2) first order crossovers

3) relatively low power handling

IE, if you're going to commit to first order crossover filters, you might consider using a waveguide to increase the output on-axis. Even a small/shallow waveguide would increase the on-axis output by about 6db or so, and that makes a world of difference, dynamically.
 

Holmz

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I feel bad for posting this, because Vandersteen seems like a very nice guy and committed to the industry.

Having said that...

My reference speakers, for years, were Vandersteens. My local audio shop was doing a demo of Vandersteen's "Quattro" speaker, which costs more than twice as much as my speakers did.

I listened to them... and basically everything I didn't like about my own Vandersteens was present in the Quattro. In particular, they weren't dynamic and their lack of dynamics made every recording sound "muted." They might be nice if all you listen to is smooth jazz, but that's not me.

Mine seem pretty good and they are not new.
But many people toe them in a bit to brighten them up, or twist the pots on the back.



I've been studying loudspeaker phase for over a decade now, and since Vandersteen's speakers are defined by their phase response, I was eager to bounce some ideas off of him. In particular, I wanted to talk about how it's possible to achieve excellent phase response by manipulating the slope of crossover filters and using physical driver offset to compensate for the delay that's introduce by higher order filters.

When I said this to Vandersteen, all I got back was a blank stare.

So I tried to dumb it down a little... then soon realized the dude really doesn't understand that there's more than one way to flatten phase response.

I agree with Vandersteen - phase is important - but I was floored that he seemed to be completely unaware that there are other ways of flattening phase than just "use first order filters for every driver."

I think he understands, but he’s not a fan of the DSP approach.



John Dunlavy followed a similar design philosophy, but seemed to have a better grasp on crossover design. He used to get into flame wars about this stuff on rec.audio back before the World Wide Web even existed.

Dunlavy was pretty skilled.
 
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Holmz

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The Quatro has a sensitivity of 83dB and it's output limited by it's tweeter, which can handle 50 watts:

So even if there's zero power compression, the max it can hit is about 100dB.

Thank sort of assumes that the tweeter is getting the 50W, but with a typical spread of 50%/35/15 between W/MR/T then for the tweeter to get 50W, one would need a 300W… so I think that would be more like 108dB?
They get pretty loud on 100W channel.

They also have subs, which have a crossover, and that pretty much doubles the apparent power of the amp, as it is not needed to do the low notes.
So that is likely another 3dB.




1) drivers with low sensitivity

2) first order crossovers

3) relatively low power handling

IE, if you're going to commit to first order crossover filters, you might consider using a waveguide to increase the output on-axis. Even a small/shallow waveguide would increase the on-axis output by about 6db or so, and that makes a world of difference, dynamically.

The radiation pattern is not very disperse, so maybe a waveguide would not hurt??
 

PatentLawyer

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Supposedly unlisted YouTube video from RV on the importance of measurements:

 
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