Hey Steve, there are rumors that a new 3 is in the works
Thanks Jack, good to hear as they are most definitely worth it. VR-3 is from mid 90s. ES347 here is what I found concerning the VR-3s Bernie loaned me. The VR-4s were some months ago so I cannot honestly make a valid comparison but it was really great.
The VR-3s have a beautiful midrange extremely close to single drivers. I had the back control set to approximately 6:15 for voices that sounded the most natural in my test area. Adjusted too high and there was a slight edge to the voices due to higher harmonics being acentuated, but too low and the voices seemed rounded off. 6:15 or so seemed just right to me. I love the adjustment feature.
On the best recordings the voices were very realistic as if almost being there in the studio. One has to experience it to really understand what I mean.
Mids/highs were really nice and accurate. Cymbals were clean and natural with a very nice shimmer. Depending upon the recording and mic placement, some bright sounding speakers give the impression of the cymbals being up front with snares farther back, creating the impression of the drum set being in two places at the same time. Same if the tweeter were down a notch or two below what it should be, except the cymbals might be behind the snares. Not with the VR-3s. The cymbals were with the snares; one could see the kit together.
Bass is what I would call "tuneful" with minimal boxiness, bloat, and artifacts that I hear from most sealed or bass reflex types. I like it because it does not mask upper bass/midrange information and yet one can easily hear the strings being played, and yet the bass has plenty of ummph, just clean accurate bass. I have Pictures at the Exhibition on pipe organ (performed by Jean Guillou at the Great Organ of the Tonhalle, Zurich) which reaches 16hz in this recording, and it sounds clean without boxiness or bloat. Really an outstanding job of not letting any bass problems affect other portions of the music. No rattles or any cabinet problems either.
Soundstage is excellent with music and voices easily extending beyond the wall behind the speakers. Using Stereophile CD3 track 10, Soundstage, the gent appears he is actually 30 - 50 feet behind the wall. He walks up to the piano/mic, and he is at the wall or more forward, so great front to back ratio/three dimensional sound as it should be.
Take 5 is a unique recording to test as the snares gradually move back over a few seconds (although artificially) as it is being played around the 2:35 second mark give or take. This is easily heard on the VR-3s. Females such as Charlotte Church and Norah Jones are so lifelike.
All and all this speaker is easily a winner and a new model VR-3 should do well if/when introduced, which I hope Albert does.
P.s. This is the first speaker I have tested that I have not had to tweek.