Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3

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mgsboedmisodpc2

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Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« on: 17 Jul 2017, 05:01 pm »
I have been powering my vandersteen Model 3 with a Prima Luna 5 power amp.
The Prima Luna is rated at 20 watts using KT88 or 6550 tubes.
I am using KT120 power tubes currently and so I figure the wattage rating is higher.
Recently I decided to purchase a vintage power amp and have it referbushed rather than purchasing a new amp. The amp was purchased in "not working order" from ebay. I was able to send the amp to a outfit whose specialilty was repairing this brand of amplifier once with NOS surplus stock now with the best available appropriate parts due to NOS surplus being used up.
This amp when new was rated at 350 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo). The rebuilt amp's specs should also be similar.  I have always felt I was not getting the most out the Model 3 bass wise. I no longer have that opinion when using the refurbished amp. The new amp has such grip  over the bass that I can feel each bass note individually not just hear it.  I guess pressurization of the listening area is what I am trying to describe. Currently I feel I do not have a need to use the 2WQ sub. But I am sure that will change once I listen to some DNB (Drum and Bass) tracks which has a great deal of electronic sub bass energy which the model 3 may not be able to produce as well as the 2WQ and in fact might even be damaged by a 350 watts amp.

ctsooner

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #1 on: 20 Jul 2017, 01:58 pm »
Thanks for sharing. Yes, any of the Vandersteen speakers will sound better with better amplification.  Sounds like you have found a better amp and also a more powerful one. Congrats. That's really cool when you get better sound by upgrading your other components.  Too many folks don't realize that you can run better and better electronics on the Vandersteen speakers and hear how great the amp is.  That's why I tell folks to buy new and get the model lower if you need to. That way you get the 5 year warrantee and any upgrade path's in the future.  Then take any extra money and upgrade the electronics.  Cables can be done AFTER all of that is done.  The 3 surely can move air in a room.  Personally I feel it needs a powerful amp to control the bass. 

Keep doing other upgrades and you will get better and better sound.  I just upgraded to the Horizon (WEL) balanced interconnects and it was a HOLY CRAP moment.  Betters the Odin's in my system by a country mile.  I've had many top cables in the system to audition, but this was the first and only time I said that I needed to do this.  I got them used from a friend, but it was worth every dime.


mgsboedmisodpc2

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #2 on: 20 Jul 2017, 03:33 pm »
Even listening to FM radio the sound is so much more punchier with 375 watts of magnetic field power on the model 3's than with just 20 watts of tube power at a perceived volume level.

ctsooner

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #3 on: 21 Jul 2017, 06:57 pm »
No surprise at all....Other than moving tightening up the low end, do you notice differences in the rest of the spectrum?  I personally have noticed major differences when adding more current to the mix.  We all know that often you can double the tube number when going against SS amps.  My Ayre doubles down to 2 ohms.  Most amps can't do that.  I have noticed a big difference between the Ayre vs some other big name (and smaller ones) amps that can't double into 4ohms.  I am getting much more control over the whole spectrum and the speed is so much better also. 

I am very interested in this thread as folks are always asking, is my X wattage tube amp enough.  Usually it is as most of us don't listen at concert volumes and many don't have huge rooms.  Many aren't talking about an amp controlling the drivers, but it's a big deal.  Again, are there any other noticeable differences?

mgsboedmisodpc2

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #4 on: 23 Jul 2017, 02:11 pm »
"are there any other noticeable differences?"
Staying with the bass topic I have also noticed the Model3's slight bass resonance not existing with the model 2.
There are other differences which I will try to point out for example the prima luna 5 with KT120 tubes has a more delicate mid range

ctsooner

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #5 on: 23 Jul 2017, 02:54 pm »
Shows how detailed the speakers are.  It also proves how much your amplification means.  So many just talk about their wattage (not even the current and doubling capacity).  Almost as though my D9ck is bigger than your's, when in fact it's a ton of things that enter into a great sounding amp.

This is one reason I love my Ayre.  It's not tube, nor is it SS sounding per say.  Full bass control as you are taking about, but it also has a delicious and delicate high end along with the speed in the mids to show off how fast Vandersteen's mid range unit really are.  There are plenty of great amps, both SS and Tube (or hybrids) that will show off how great even the 2's can sound.  I once had a dealer drop a set of 2's into his high end room.  He brought in a cheap NAD system that had decent power. 

He then played the 2's with both systems.  He used a top table set up as a source.  I've done this myself at home as also at other dealers when auditioning less expensive speakers to see what their top sound could be.  All the speakers I've ever done this with have gotten better and most much better.  That said, there were only a handful that really showed themselves off and the 2's certainly were on that short list.

Keep sharing the differences.  Pretty interesting as I think we will find out the short comings of each amp, lol...as well as how great they can be.

tipatina

Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #6 on: 28 Sep 2017, 10:34 pm »
I've been happy with Bryston 4B SST and 3A Sigs. More than enough power, great detail and bass.

mgsboedmisodpc2

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #7 on: 28 Sep 2017, 10:39 pm »
what really amazes me is the dynamics which the low powered prima luna 5 with kt120 could not provide in the low bass and mid bass

006.9

Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #8 on: 28 Sep 2017, 11:08 pm »
I have a set of 2Cs purchased in the late 80s. I think one of the reasons I've never been tempted to switch is the amp I've been using with them for 30 years. And now it's even better with increased power supply capacitance (200,000 uF). Vandersteens can sound amazing with extremely powerful solid-state amps with huge current supply. Mine can supply over 50 amperes peak current on need and deliver power into 2 ohms all day long all the way down to DC. If your new amp is an arc welder like my modified Eagle 2 I bet you really like it with your threes.
« Last Edit: 4 Nov 2017, 09:08 pm by 006.9 »

mgsboedmisodpc2

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #9 on: 29 Sep 2017, 06:37 pm »
Curious, 006.9,  has your late eighties 2C ever been opened up to have work on?  I am sure you have had the Foam surround replaced at least once for both speakrs.


1)
"Aging of crossover components should be negligible, unless they get hot, overheat. Heat will destroy just about anything. The only crossover components that are prone to age, are (non-polarized) electrolytic capacitors. The electrolyte is "wet" and begins to dry out after several years."

2a)
"Rod Elliot at Southwest Audio in OZ has claimed for some time that the environment inside most speakers is not conducive to have the caps and other items do anything BUT DETERIORATE from age. And when you think about it.... Speakers by their nature produce heat, AND you can't pump hundreds of watts into a closed insulated box and not expect the heat to gradually deteriorate everything inside. After awhile the values of the electronic items in the box begin to change."
 
2b)
So.... yeah, in the the 26 - 33 years that these items have been in an insulated box with heat and magnetic fields bathing them, they are most surely not at the same value they were when someone put them together.

3)
"any variable pot or rheostat will tend to become intermittent and sometimes contribute noise. "

006.9

Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #10 on: 29 Sep 2017, 08:18 pm »
Curious, 006.9,  has your late eighties 2C ever been opened up to have work on?  I am sure you have had the Foam surround replaced at least once for both speakrs.


1)
"Aging of crossover components should be negligible, unless they get hot, overheat. Heat will destroy just about anything. The only crossover components that are prone to age, are (non-polarized) electrolytic capacitors. The electrolyte is "wet" and begins to dry out after several years."

2a)
"Rod Elliot at Southwest Audio in OZ has claimed for some time that the environment inside most speakers is not conducive to have the caps and other items do anything BUT DETERIORATE from age. And when you think about it.... Speakers by their nature produce heat, AND you can't pump hundreds of watts into a closed insulated box and not expect the heat to gradually deteriorate everything inside. After awhile the values of the electronic items in the box begin to change."
 
2b)
So.... yeah, in the the 26 - 33 years that these items have been in an insulated box with heat and magnetic fields bathing them, they are most surely not at the same value they were when someone put them together.

3)
"any variable pot or rheostat will tend to become intermittent and sometimes contribute noise. "

Yes, they went back to the factory several years ago and were refurbished. No foam in them now and everything checked over.

Also, trim pots get sprayed with contact cleaner periodically and I detect no noise at all.

As for capacitors and deterioration from heat, I don't believe I've ever run hundreds of watts into my speakers. Since I rarely play my music beyond 90 dB the average wattage fed into them is under 2 and usually under 1. Not much to get heated up about.

mgsboedmisodpc2

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #11 on: 29 Sep 2017, 10:56 pm »
Electron Kinetics Eagle 2




006.9

Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #12 on: 29 Sep 2017, 11:39 pm »
Electron Kinetics Eagle 2


That looks just like mine, and they are even better when you replace the original power supply capacitors, which were rated at 80,000 pF each, with new cans rated at 100,000 pF each. Grabs those woofers and just won't let go, at any volume.

ctsooner

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #13 on: 12 Oct 2017, 01:08 pm »
Wow, I used to own the Eagle 2.  I remember when John Iverson started EK after ER.  I got it from Stereo Unlimited in San Diego.  I think Bruce still owns hte shop. That's where I first hear Vandersteen 2's and even met Richard, although at the time it didn't register per say.  I was stationed in SD for 5 years and got a lot of stuff from Bruce as did all my friends and family.  That was a really cool amp.  It ran my Polk 10's and then Proac Super Towers for years.

006.9

Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #14 on: 12 Oct 2017, 02:20 pm »
That was a really cool amp.
Still is. IMO competitive with just about anything.

mgsboedmisodpc2

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Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #15 on: 4 Nov 2017, 03:46 pm »
006.9  replace caps for the shown Electron Kinetics Eagle 2 would be much small for the value or rating of the cap were that cap recently made.  It seems that smaller caps produced today are equlivant to caps made 30 years ago.  So when did you have yoru Caps replaced 006.9

006.9

Re: Proper power for Vandersteen Model 3
« Reply #16 on: 4 Nov 2017, 09:00 pm »
006.9  replace caps for the shown Electron Kinetics Eagle 2 would be much small for the value or rating of the cap were that cap recently made.  It seems that smaller caps produced today are equlivant to caps made 30 years ago.  So when did you have yoru Caps replaced 006.9

I'm not sure I understand the part of your post comparing old caps to caps made today.

The Eagle 2 originally had two power supply caps, each rated at 80,000 uF 50v DC. With these I could turn the amp off while playing music at moderate volume and it would continue for almost 20 seconds.

I've replaced these capacitors twice now, most recently just a few months ago with a pair rated at 100,000 uF 50v DC which increases total power supply capacitance from 160,000 uF to 200,000 uF. These new capacitors are also rated better than the old ones in a couple of other ways but I don't recall what they are.

Bottom line, the Eagle was a great amp when I first bought it, and it's even better now with upgrades to the power supply.
« Last Edit: 4 Nov 2017, 10:02 pm by 006.9 »