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Vandersteen's high end sub for perfectionists


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#1 of 28 LanceJ

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Posted December 30 2003 - 11:43 AM

Vandersteen "2W Series"

From a company who knows about quality.

LJ

#2 of 28 Kenneth Harden

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Posted December 30 2003 - 03:24 PM

That web site would be cool...

...if it was 1995 Posted Image

#3 of 28 LanceJ

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Posted December 30 2003 - 03:56 PM

And your point is.......?

It simply looks like Mr. Vandersteen spends more of his time/money on his products instead of a kewl website. Sounds like a good trade-off to me for that small but highly regarded company.

Britney Spears looks good too, but I sure don't depend on her for quality music.

LJ

#4 of 28 Dan Hine

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Posted December 30 2003 - 04:02 PM

And the bottom of the website has a 2001 copyright....
I strive to be the man my dog thinks I am.

#5 of 28 dave alan

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Posted December 30 2003 - 04:08 PM

Kevin C Brown uses that sub IIRC, and he's definitely a guy who has his wig on straight.

Maybe he'll see this thread and chime in, as he's had it for a good while.

#6 of 28 LanceJ

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Posted December 30 2003 - 05:34 PM

Surely no one thinks that just because a speaker is three years old that it is out-of-date? For example, speaker design doesn't share computer technology's fast-paced design cycle, where supposedly adding an extra .5gHz processor speed will change your life and make the world a better place. Posted Image

Sorry but from what I've seen over the past 20 years is mostly small, incremental improvements in speaker technology, with a few small new technology bursts here & there but nothing really earth-shaking IMO. There are good reasons why so many people still search for those old Advents and L100's from the 1970s & KEF Reference Series and Celestion SL6 two-ways from the early 80s and it isn't simply for nostalgia's sake. It's because they still sound as good or better than many speakers made now. I still remember hearing a pair of B&W 801s, the first time I heard front-to-back imaging from a pair of speakers. Amazing.......and this was the summer of 1983 (Audio Concepts on Westheimer/Voss in Houston).

To me, most of today's audio technology "improvements" are mostly flashy, gee-whiz bits of fluff that cost a lot of $$$ but ultimately do nothing to fundamentally improve the listening experience, except to make using the device they are apart of more difficult to use. Several times I've read where an engineer said a device had a feature only because "it was on the chip." Sheesh.

LJ

#7 of 28 Lewis Besze

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Posted December 30 2003 - 07:04 PM

Quote:
Surely no one thinks that just because a speaker is three years old that it is out-of-date?
According to your link those were introduced in 1984[!],no subwoofer building hasn't changed much,but subwoofer drivers did big time!
Quote:
Vandersteen 2W series subwoofers use three active eight inch drivers rather than a single large woofer. The three eight inch drivers equal the cone area of a fourteen inch woofer, but with much higher motor-to-cone-area ratio
Yeah, in 1984 I'm sure it was the case.
Anyway this is a good sub and it's fairly cheap too[@ $1200],and gets good reviews from users,like most other Wandersteen products.

#8 of 28 Doug Brewster

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Posted December 30 2003 - 07:08 PM

LanceJ,

While we may agree about many of the things you had to say, I truly believe that speakers have evolved considerably in the past 20 years; particularly in their ability to image. My suspicion is that the demand for older speakers is driven by one of two things:

1) Nostalgia
2) Environment

1) Many of us are more comfortable with hearing what we heard like we heard it originally. Older recordings were not mixed for today's components and sound more familiar with older equipment.
2) Most of the speakers you mentioned have the ability to be placed near or against the wall and still perform admirably. Newer models need to be out from the wall and into the room - intrusive and/or impossible if you don't have a dedicated room.

By the way: Missing from your list would be Linn Sara's.Posted Image
Turn It UP!

#9 of 28 Chu Gai

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Posted December 30 2003 - 07:57 PM

Nice sub. 'Course people having a better understanding of loudspeaker theory helps a bit there but then that's never stopped companies from misapplying it.

#10 of 28 Joe Casey

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Posted December 30 2003 - 11:56 PM

I've got a pair of 2Wq's in a music only system. Took a while to set them up right, but they're now seemlessly integrated with the mains.
Q

#11 of 28 Stephen M

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Posted December 31 2003 - 02:42 AM

Doug:

I assume you know nothing about Vandersteen speakers based on your post other than what you have read. The models have been frequently updated over the years. The Model 2 has been in production for over 20 yrs, but has frequently been updated with new drivers, crossovers etc. If you have ever heard a properly set up Vandy system, you might change your mind regarding how it sounds. (have you heard one?) Your comment stating that new speakers image better than old models intrigues me. What technical breakthrough has occurred in speaker technology in the last twenty years to improve imaging?? I have not read or heard of such a breakthrough. I owned a pair of aluminum Celestion 700 bookshelf speakers and I have never heard better imaging since though Proac and Thiel are right up there today. However, the same could be said about Proac and Thiel 20 yrs ago. This is not nostalgia, just fact. IMO, newer technology has allowed better speakers to be made cheaper so that more people can enjoy them today. On absolute terms, I do not think speaker technology has progressed that far in the past tweny years. That is especially true for subs. The Vandy sub works great now just as it did when it was introduced. If you have not heard one, I suggest you do so before you assume that any people who admire this system are motivated by nostalgia. PS: The Saras were never considered to be great imagers. Their recommended placement of one foot from the back wall compromised their ability to image while improving tonal balance and bass output.

#12 of 28 Scott Pierson

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Posted December 31 2003 - 03:42 AM

I have a Vandersteen set-up with 2Ce's in the front, a VCC-5 in the center, VSM-1's in the surounds. I have four 2Wq's (one in each corner, for full range front and surround channels) and a V2W for the LFE channel.

Anyone who thinks these subs are "outdated" has never heard one.

You'll be hard pressed to find a more musical sub that can also make you feel the house is falling around you during Das Boot or the Mines of Moria.

Even before I had my dedicated room and added the four 2Wq's, I had the V2W doing all of the bass. No complaints.

#13 of 28 Lewis Besze

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Posted December 31 2003 - 07:00 AM

Quote:
Anyone who thinks these subs are "outdated" has never heard one.
Posted Image The "golden line"
I would say they're very competetive,especially the original[the one that doesn't use the PR],their marketing is dated however as I pointed out.I wonder when they last updated the drivers themselves.

#14 of 28 Scott Pierson

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Posted December 31 2003 - 07:34 AM

Not sure, but I would guess when they went from the 2W to the 2Wq. I know the electronics were updated at that time, but I'm not sure about the drivers.

Still, if they sound great, why mess with it?

#15 of 28 Lewis Besze

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Posted January 01 2004 - 08:58 PM

Quote:
Still, if they sound great, why mess with it?
That's not the point.Speakers are not "prefect",they can always use improvement.

#16 of 28 Scott Pierson

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Posted January 02 2004 - 04:24 AM

And if you've never heard them, how do you know?

#17 of 28 Dan Hine

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Posted January 02 2004 - 04:28 AM

Quote:
And if you've never heard them, how do you know?


Because he has a solid concept of reality where nothing is perfect. Posted Image
I strive to be the man my dog thinks I am.

#18 of 28 Jason_Me

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Posted January 02 2004 - 04:50 AM

Quote:
On absolute terms, I do not think speaker technology has progressed that far in the past tweny years. That is especially true for subs.


Maybe you haven't seen this? Posted Image
Jason Mertz

#19 of 28 Chu Gai

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Posted January 02 2004 - 05:45 AM

I think it might be helpful to step back and take an objective/subjective look at matters here with regards to the Vandersteen V2W and to subwoofers in general.

The general goal of a sub is to reproduce the low frequencies. Now if a sub can go low enough in frequency and smoothly enough with adequate output at those levels then it'll be quite adequate at reproducing the signal whether it came from music or from a movie or from me sticking a tuba up my ass and playing the Star Spangled Banner for a chance to get on the Gong Show. My general observations with companies that promote their subs as being musical is that this is often a way of saying or selling you a sub whose low frequency output is lacking. They may try and use words like fast, delicate, and the ubiquitous musical terms, but in reality they are saying that in one of those goals I mentioned above, there has been a failing. Often this failing lies in the areas of extension (the ability to reproduce low frequencies) and output (insufficient SPL coupled with low distortion). Call it a compromise if you want to be politically correct.

The question then becomes that we must objectively look at the sub, musical or otherwise, and determine if this sub should be considered by us for purchase. IOW, we must define what sort of low frequencies are going to be in the program material we listen to, how loud we want them to be, and get a handle on the size of our room.

Most rock, jazz, easy listening, and classical genres don't have much musical information below 40 Hz. In situations such as those, one has a wide variety of subs to choose from and well made subs whose claim to fame has been reproducing HT will handle this with ease. OTOH, some music does indeed have pronounced low frequency output and some films, with their special effects, can even go below 20 Hz.

So where does the V2W from Vandersteen fit in here? Well let's put aside the semi-slick advertising (more on that later) and look at what we have. We have 3-8" drivers. Generally this is done because each single driver does not have sufficient excursion (xmax) to produce a decent SPL. I'm assuming that Vandersteen has done their homework and that all the drivers are separated by distances that are quite a bit smaller than the wavelength they are trying to reproduce. One cannot though state that a sub made with multiple small drivers is faster or has better transient response than one with a single driver. The transient response depends upon the signal that the drivers are being fed and crossovers due to their nature do indeed place various limits on the transient response. Although the moving mass in the two scenarios is approximately the same it might even be worse in the scenario with multiple drivers since we do have to factor in the mass of the voice coils. Multiple small drivers also have issues with total excursion and since things like the spiders and surrounds are smaller, heat disipation will suffer. I don't know if this is an issue with the Vandersteens. It's my understanding the subs roll off @ 12 dB above 150 Hz and as such function a bit as woofers. Doing so in effect introduces a directional component into the sub and may make placement more problematical (not impossible) for the owner since the sub can be located by the listener. I've no idea if the drivers themselves have significant audible break-up modes due to their construction. These were indeed issues with many composite drivers which have been tamed with various degrees of success by different manufacturers. Otherwise it's notch filter time.

Unfortunately, we (maybe it's just me) know little about how the V2W sub performs. No one's taken it out on a test drive and posted any performance numbers. The reviews I've read largely tend to reparaphrase what's on the website and I've not seen any technical measurements whatsoever regarding distortion, FR, SPL, etc. While some may say measurements aren't everything, to me, their very absence is disturbing as now we rely on our interpretation of the reviewer's comments. Human nature being what it is, we'll tailor it to fit our particular needs.

Yes the advertising is very dated. Reading it I couldn't help but thinking that someone was spending a little too much time with old Crutchfield catalogs and tossing stuff out.

As Lewis and others have stated, driver technology continues to evolve. Sometimes for the better too. If we couple that evolvement with proper engineering and application of acoustical theory we hopefully come up with better speakers. As to whether the current crop of speakers, whether mass market or high end, takes full advantage is debateable as the placements of many drivers in speakers suggests a desire to go for the wow factor as opposed to getting better sound out. Vandersteen's a reputable company and if I was considering them, I'd be looking for more information to see if it matched my particular needs. Hopefully the company can supply this as opposed to the reviews that I saw. As a first guess...it's a guess on my part...I'd say as long as my needs weren't those of powerful 20 Hz reproduction, they'd be worth an audition.

#20 of 28 Scott Pierson

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Posted January 02 2004 - 08:40 AM

Chu-

I hear what you're saying, but again, you and Lewis are both assuming that there are major weaknesses in a product you have not heard. Also, you are talking about the V2W, whereas Lewis was mostly referring to the 2Wq. The difference between the two is that the V2W also has a passive 12" radiator for a bit more slam.

When I ran only the V2W for all bass and LFE, test tones at 20Hz were down only 3dB. With the setup I now have, 20 Hz test tones are flat and easily capable of 120+ dB.

I agree with the notion that driver tehnology has evolved, but I do not agree with the notion that just because the technology has evolved will necessarily mean that more "current" subs will automatically sound "better."

Companies like Vandersteen who are very careful from the get-go about how they design a speaker, matching drivers and electronics and crossovers and whatnot to get it to sound optimal are not trying to compete with the companies who come out with a new model every season with some questionable new feature designed more to get people to upgrade than to make it actually sound better.

Vandersteen upgrades their products once every few years, when they can make them significantly better, as evidenced by the evolution of the Model 2, to the Model 2c, to the Model 2Ce, to the 2Ce Signature. Also, the Model 3, to 3A, to 3A Signatre. And most recently the Model 5 to the Model 5A. Each iteration of these speakers has been a significant overhaul.

Again, the most important "spec" to me at least is how it sounds, not how flashy the product brochure is. To my ears, the Vandersteen sound is phenomenal for both music and HT.

Of course, YMMV, my only point is that your criticisms would mean more if you have actually listened to the product in question rather than making assumptions based on only the printed specs and brochures.

(One qualifier for that last statement: I concede that one could, and probably should criticize products before listening if it is obvious that the science behind the design is flawed in some major way or seems like snake oil, but I have never heard or read of anyone questioning Richard Vandersteen's grasp of the science behind designing speakers.)

Best wishes!
Scott


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