I started writing this blog while on a flight to CES in Vegas. What occurred there was just such amazing timing. You’ll need to get to the end, but it’s a great story.
A True Classic
For a couple of decades, the Vandersteen Model 2 (in all of their various renditions) were our best selling speaker. Originally released in 1977, I can remember more than a handful of Saturdays where 6 or more pairs went home with happy music lovers.
If you’re reading this, you may be a long-time friend of Audio Advice. If you’ve been around from the beginning, there is a high likelihood that you still have a pair of Vandersteen Model 2’s you can’t seem to part with, or you sold them off when flat panel TVs made them look like dinosaurs in your living room. For me, and probably many of you, it’s really hard to find a speaker that can portray music quite like the Vandersteen Model 2.
Well, lucky for us, Richard Vandersteen didn’t sit around. Not only did he continue to create speakers that sound even better than the Model 2’s, but many of them also have modern styling that will look great in any home.
Vandersteen Model 5 & Model Seven
The 5 while still fairly large has a much more elegant shape and the sound it produces is just unbelievable. Richard continued his quest for the perfect speaker and introduced the Model Seven, which is their current flagships speaker. Not only is it better than the Model 5, but surprisingly, it’s also smaller! Many reviewers think the Model Seven is the best speaker on the planet.
The Model 2 became famous because it was a great value, pairing an incredible sound with a reasonable price. While most would consider the 5 and Seven to be better than their competition at the same price point, at $30k and $62K a pair, they are certainly not inexpensive for most of us.
Those who know me know that I’m always been on a bit of a quest to get the best sound in my personal listening room at home. I've had home speakers from just about every vendor Audio Advice sells over our 38 years in business. Around two years ago I decided to take home a pair of Vandersteen Model 5a's we had been using as demos in the showroom. I paired them with Vandersteen’s top of the line but reasonably priced VCC5 center channel. To say it’s the best sound I've ever had in my house does not do them justice. I just love these speakers.
Richard Vandersteen is a great speaker designer. With the Model Seven, he realized he could actually make something look pretty good and sound fantastic at the same time. Using what he learned during the development of the Model Sevens, he developed the Treo and Quattro Wood Carbon lines.
When the Model 2 first came out in 1975, it was $1195/pr plus $125 for the stands. It was considered far and wide to be the best speaker value for the money. Jumping forward 40 years, if you account for inflation and include the cost of the stands, the price of a new pair of Vandersteen Treo’s is within 5% of the price of the original Vandersteen Model 2. Of course, the new Treo’s are miles ahead of the Model 2’s, having benefited from 40 years of improvements!
Like all Vandersteen speakers, the Treo is a time aligned design. This means the voice coils of all the drivers are on the same plane. In lamens terms, this increases the likelihood that the sounds reach your ears at the same time and totally in phase, making it sound much more like real life. It actually has the same driver complement as the Quattro, even though the Quattro is twice its price! Plus, unlike the Model 2, the Treo is slim and beautiful. For $6,900 a pair, you just cannot beat their full range sound.
Vandersteen Quattro Wood CT (Carbon Tweeter)
Like the model 5 and 7, this guy has a powered woofer system with a series of potentiometers on the back that allow us to fine tune the speaker to your room. Every room is going to cause any speaker to have big spikes and deep valleys in its bass output simply due the physics of the room.
With the Quattro, 5, and 7, we are able to, using a series of test tones and test equipment, adjust the speaker to account for the room issues. The result is bass that is much faster and cleaner. Every musical note has harmonics above the actual note. If you have a large bass peak, the harmonics from that peak will reach into the critical mid-range area, which our ear is very sensitive to. By taking those peaks out, we not only improve the bass but also greatly improve the mid-range clarity.
We currently have the Quattro Wood CT's set up in our Audio Research room in our Raleigh showroom. The sound is just spectacular. I have found myself spending more time in there listening than I have in a long while.
I know a lot of you reading this probably miss your old Vandersteen 2’s. They were probably sold off due to their not-so-room-friendly look. Well, I would like to invite you to visit our showroom and check out the Treo or Quattro. Heck, if you let me know when you are coming, I’ll do a demo for you! I think you will find the look very elegant, plus you will get that classic, honest Vandersteen sound. And better yet, it will be miles ahead of what you used to know and love.
And now… my story from CES
So are you ready for my CES story? It was my best CES experience ever!
Way back when I was in high school, I used to love to put both of my dad’s speakers from our first stereo on either side of my head, lay on the floor and contemplate life. Heck, this was 1969! Two of my favorite albums were Crosby, Stills, Nash and later Déjà vu from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. There is some background.
I got to Vegas for CES around 3 PM, made my way to the hotel and headed over to the Venetian hotel where the good stuff is all on display. Levels 29-35 had exhibits so I decided to start on 29. I stepped out of the elevator and ran into an old friend and started chatting, and then Brad O’toole walks up and says I need to see the new HRS racks.
So we go in there and I am hearing all about them when Shane from Vandersteen Audio walks in and says he needs Brad’s help. Apparently, Brad had set up HRS racks and their computer audio system. I follow Brad down to the Vandersteen room.
There were only a few of us in there, but one of the people was Graham Nash! He had his upcoming album on a computer and wanted to hear it on the Vandersteen system. We listened to a few songs and got some comments from Graham Nash, who seems to be a great person. Needless to say, I was a little excited.
If you're interested in listening to some of the new Vandersteens, contact us and let me know. I'd be happy to do a demo for you!