I guess I'm a lover of "non-standard" speaker designs to some degree. I've gone through a lot, a LOT of speakers in my life. A couple years ago I got my lifetime speakers, transmission line bass coupled with an MTM upper section. Never heard anything more amazing, and I'll have to spend a small fortune to do better.
So of course I've also loved Albert's designs too. Hybrid or full transmission line bass, modular cabinets, rear ambient tweeters... all deviations from the standard "ported shoe box" designs. But I've never heard them, only read reviews, almost unanimously positive.
Earlier this summer I got hold of a pair of Allison CD-9's. Speakers again of a not-normal design, with mids and tweeters that look like nipples, and a true acoustic suspension design. I fixed them up and wow, if you've never heard Allison's, I hope someday you get to! My wife even said, "those are like the Vornado of speakers--- you hear the sound EVERYWHERE in the room!" Roy Allison had an amazing design concept. Put them against the wall and let the wide dispersion take over the room. The minimal effort it takes to get a sweet spot where you can hear perfect stereo in a third of your room is mind-blowing. I can 6 feet directly in front of the right speaker and still hear near-perfect stereo. Unfortunately I know I'm going to have to sell them, because I have too much stuff, but they are amazing.
Those Allison's though, made me want some Von Schweikerts even more... mainly the VR-33's! When we bought our house, I got a 16x14 room all to myself. With that kind of space my goal was to have two pairs of speakers and be able to just A/B switch them periodically. If I could get VR-33's to go on the wall, only one pair of speakers would be farther into the room, optimizing my space.
This past summer, a pair of VR-35 Export Deluxe popped up on ebay. I bid as much as I could afford to put into them (shipping was going to be high), but I fell short. Bummer!
Then a pair of VR-4's in excellent condition (8/10 for their age) showed up only an hour away. Not exactly what I wanted, but everything I've read on them made me feel it would be a great "silver medal." I took the quick trip to check them out.
That demo lasted under 5 minutes. Halfway through the first song, my words were "the cash is in the car. I'll be right back." Wow! Now my forever speakers have a lot of things going for them, but the image the VR-4's threw at me that night gave me goosebumps! I hadn't heard that kind of 3-dimensionality since the time a guy was showing off his electrostats! The sonic illusion of “hearing behind the speakers” is something that can’t be explained to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. Couple that with the tight, detailed bass, it was an amazing total package.
Now, I have them at home, but still not even hooked up. The top sections are in my closet upstairs but, because we haven't gotten blinds/curtains up in the bedroom yet, the bass sections are anchoring the cardboard construct that currently blocks the bedroom windows. No, seriously.
One problem existed though... VR-4's are meant to be placed a ways out in the room. 14 feet width sounds like a lot, but not when you have 4 monstrous towers to place somewhere. I know when I finally get them upstairs it is going to be a placement nightmare.
And then, OF COURSE, a pair of VR-33's pop up less than a month later, at the same desirable price point! What I wanted all along! Well, did I do the sensible thing and fight my desires, knowing I already had a sweet pair of VSA's in my house? Of course not! I bought 'em!
Thanks, @Jumpin. Soon as we get the day trip planned, we will be seeing you!
Before I unpack my forever speakers I’m going to set up the 4’s and the 33’s in my room at the same time and decide which ones I love more. Even though the 33’s are more practical space-wise, that 3D image of the 4’s was absolutely addicting. If the 33’s do it better, then it’s a no-brainer. The "loser" (there are no losers) probably gets living room duty.
Hopefully next week I’ll have the 33’s picked up and in my room! I’m very excited. Thanks if you managed to read all this.