I now have more Schweikert's than sense

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Kevin_X

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I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« on: 27 Oct 2020, 07:48 pm »
Hello guys! 

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!   :duh:

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.   :lol:

Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #1 on: 27 Oct 2020, 07:50 pm »
Well, she isn't wrong.




RH37

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #2 on: 2 Nov 2020, 01:47 am »
What a dilemma! Sounds like a win- win to me. ;)  I got VR33’s several months ago and couldn’t be happier. It’s amazing the soundstage they give being close to the wall. The only drawback is now I feel a need to upgrade my amp to be more commensurate with the VR33’s! 

Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #3 on: 2 Nov 2020, 10:26 pm »
What a dilemma! Sounds like a win- win to me. ;)  I got VR33’s several months ago and couldn’t be happier. It’s amazing the soundstage they give being close to the wall. The only drawback is now I feel a need to upgrade my amp to be more commensurate with the VR33’s!

I made the trek up to New Jersey this past weekend.  They are now home sweet home!

Right now I have them on butcher boards with felt furniture gliders to experiment with linear positioning on the 14' wall.  Gotta find that point where they "disappear."  Since I'm at a computer desk I won't ever have a true fixed listening position.   So I'll find what works best in most cases.

Once Wifey refinishes the Allison CD-9's I'm going to compare them head to head with the VR-33 since they have similar design concepts.  There's already no question the 33's win in the bass department.  It's not even close.  But I want to see how the two systems compare with imaging.


Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #4 on: 3 Nov 2020, 11:38 pm »
Looks like I found the "vanishing point" for the 33's in my room.  100" between tweeters, leaving 34" from each tweeter to the side wall, and 7 to 9 inches from the back of the speaker to the front wall.

Practically impossible to place the sound on the speakers.  It's wonderful!

I did bring the VR-4's upstairs and have given them some play time too.  They are amazing in their own right, but I find the highs a bit brighter (by no means unpleasant though).   Albert's design choice of using low woofer to mid crossover points really shines through, in the case of both models.  Even nearfield you just hear an image, and not drivers.  Both speakers present the illusion of music suspended in space.  Consigning the VR-4's to living room duty is almost a cardinal sin.... but I wouldn't have space otherwise for my primary speakers.

Just between the two models I'd give the VR-33 the win from top to bottom.  Less brightness in the highs, and the D'Appolito arrangement with larger drivers really puts impact into voices that's not as pronounced on the 4's.  Even though the VR-4's do bass MUCH better than any other dual 8" speaker I've ever heard, the 33's still win out.  Granted they are designed (like the Allison's) to use the room boundary to enhance the bass, so maybe that's a cheat on their behalf.  :P  The 33's are also considerably more efficient, as they are notably louder at identical volume settings even though being over 40" father away than I have the 4's.

Ha, listening to some music while typing this, I just heard a live passage where the clapping left a small hole in the center in front of the stage.  Guess I'll slide the 33's a couple inches inwards and fix that.  This is fun!

Jumpin

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #5 on: 4 Nov 2020, 01:22 am »
Excellent!!!

Tom Bombadil

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #6 on: 4 Nov 2020, 07:02 am »
I purchased a pair of VR-4 around 23 years ago.  Had them upgraded with the VR-5 / 7 upgrade, which was a significant improvement. 

Used them in large listening rooms for years, but about 3 years ago, I downsized into a much smaller apartment and expected the VRs to be very out of place, as I had always had them about 30" out from the back wall and can no longer do that.

However to my surprise, I found that placing them 12" out with a lot of room to their sides, still produced wonderful music.  And that's where they've been ever since.  My current plan is to keep them until my children have to execute my will. 

RH37

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #7 on: 4 Nov 2020, 02:30 pm »
I'm still playing with distance to the front wall.  Everytime I attempt to get analytical and try listening to different positions, I wind up just wanting to sit back and enjoy the music because it sounds so good!

Doublej

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #8 on: 4 Nov 2020, 03:50 pm »
I eagerly await the results of your Allison to VSA comparison and to see pictures of your refinished CD-9s.

Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #9 on: 11 Nov 2020, 01:49 pm »
Audio nirvana has been put on hold...

I had gotten the VR33 placement just about right, a few days ago.  Was listening to them and I thought I head a buzzing sound.  Since it was music I hadn't listened to in depth before, I chalked it up to a bad recording and moved to something else.  But I started to notice it in familiar music too.  I began playing a sweep and put my ear closer and could hear that the lower midrange driver was having a really hard time.  :o

Thus, I had to troubleshoot... and that meant rolling down the sock.  Ugh.



There wasn't anything visibly wrong, so I pulled the midrange out.  This was something I've never seen before.  The glue adhering the neck of the cone to the spider had completely separated.



The buzzing I heard was due to lack of suspension.  I went ahead and checked the upper midrange and the adhesive had also separated.  The difference being that a little "lip" of hardened adhesive had kept the spider from completely sliding free, which kept the coil from rubbing the magnet.  Still... yikes.   :icon_surprised:

I was explaining to my wife that such a thing just doesn't happen, like almost never.  To show an example I grabbed one of the Allison CD-9 woofers and showed her how a 35 year old speaker still had a firm spider to cone grip.  Who knows what happened with these midranges.  Bad batch of glue?  Assembler came to work drunk?  The mystery will never be solved!

I got some epoxy and repaired as best I could.  It's a very tight space but I hit them all the way around.  Reinstalling and vigorously testing the drivers showed the buzzing was gone, so I guess I did a good job.  Still going to let the speaker sit horizontal for another day.

I hope the other speaker doesn't share the same fate, but if it starts to buzz, I know what must be done.

Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #10 on: 11 Nov 2020, 01:58 pm »
During the 33's down time I'm using the VR-4's again.  Based on a combination of the Vandersteen setup guide and some others, I found a really good placement.



So, so sweet.  Once I get them downstairs into the living room I'm probably going to put them up for sale though.  They deserve much more than part-time Netflix use.  My wife hates the way they look (I find them beautiful myself), but I already told her she's gotta deal with it.  If they don't sell, then I'm gonna enjoy them one way or the other.  8)

Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #11 on: 11 Nov 2020, 02:04 pm »
I eagerly await the results of your Allison to VSA comparison and to see pictures of your refinished CD-9s.

She started yesterday.



She's gonna stain them, seal with polyurethane, and put a fresh coat of black paint on the backside.  They're going to come out quite nice, I'm sure.

Kevin_X

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Re: I now have more Schweikert's than sense
« Reply #12 on: 11 Nov 2020, 02:05 pm »
Oh and while I'm thinking about it... what's a good adhesive to re-attach the sock to the top of the speaker?