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Vandersteen VLR Wood Review

raindance

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I purchased a pristine used pair of these sealed box, supposedly time coherent, dual concentric speakers a year or so back. I sold them fairly soon after getting them because I didn't like them. They are well built and heavy. They have the usual silly Vandersteen binding posts.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Efficiency - these are the most inefficient/insensitive speakers I've ever tried. And I'm a Magnepan user! I'd suggest that they are around 82dB/watt. The specs are very optimistic.
  2. Low frequencies - low frequencies only exist when the speakers are placed right up against a wall, which is evidently by design. Any placement away from the wall results in shelved down bass all the way from upper bass on down. Even against the wall, stand up bass sound lacks any body, but there is some fairly deep bass present.
  3. Frequency response is lumpy. There is no high treble extension and voices and instruments sound off. Cymbals have no sheen or texture and are almost inaudible in recordings where they are gently brushed. However, these speakers do one trick really well. They play saxophone like it's live in the room with you. They're great for those 50's Sonny Rollins recordings.
  4. Dynamics - maybe in a tiny room these would work well? In my room I couldn't get enough volume with my large Parasound amp to "feel" any sort of snap.
These comments are from sitting in the near field, 8' from the speakers. My room is fairly large and well treated for first and second reflections and slap echo/ringing. I tried the speakers with varying amounts of toe in and height and the best results were with them elevated on my stands so that the tweeters were at ear level and pointed directly at my head.

I suspect that these speakers have strange interactions with the room (direct/reflected sound) and don't play well with a treated room.

I purchased these after reading a subjective comparison between them and KEF LS50 saying that they were better than the KEF's. I highly doubt this, although I haven't heard these KEF's, I'm sure that they have greater treble extension and more even handed mids, plus they can do bass away from the wall (I do own other KEF speakers).

I've also owned the Vandersteen 2CE speakers in the past, which are quite good, if excessively warm sounding, but give a glimpse of what a true full range speaker can do for a bargain price. The family resemblance between the VLR Wood and the 2CE just doesn't exist unless you reference the rolled off treble, but there's no similarity there; the 2CE did not have the lack of detail that these do.

My Magnepan .7's blow these away in every respect and they're not the most detailed speakers around.

I'd LOVE to see the VLR Wood speakers measured and compared to something else that is a benchmark product. I'd also like to hear other opinions, so long as they are polite :)
 

RayDunzl

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I didn't know they made something so small...

1573979535510.png
 

audimus

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They look like the 80s Korean made Radio Shack Optimus speakers when they used wood that sound and measure decent. Still have a pair.
 

Juhazi

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The unit looks pretty much like SEAS T18 with black cone and aluminium tweeter. These coaxials were very popular in Finland some time ago, and Gradient uses custom versions of this coaxial in several models too. I have made five diy speakers (with xo designed by others) with those and they sound good despite of wiggles.

Mine area all sealed boxes and used with subwoofers in HT systems. Hump around 2-300Hz is an artefact
Hifitalo AW-7-horz.jpg
 
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raindance

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These use a first order crossover which is probably a big part of the sound quality issues. I also couldn't get over the extremely low sensitivity.
 

SIY

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These use a first order crossover which is probably a big part of the sound quality issues.

That's a likely diagnosis.

Where are you located geographically? Several of us have good acoustic measurement capability.
 
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raindance

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I do too, now, but the speakers are long gone.
 
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