Sunday, December 20, 2009
Speakers - Vandersteen 3A
See the cat's tail in the second photo from the bottom? Yup - that's the reason you're seeing these Vandy's in their birthday suit. Picked these up off local (LA) CraigsList for a song and the socks were in good shape. My cat, Satchmo would have, sooner or later, discovered these wonderful scratching posts and tore the socks, possibly even the rear woofer, to shreds.
With all the best intentions, I decided to set forth and remove the socks, taking care to keep them intact so that I may put them back on in the future should a resale opportunity arise.
Ever removed socks from Vandersteens? There are no less than 100 industrial staples per speaker holding these super-tough socks in place. The first sock removal took over an hour, and the second speaker went a little faster at about 45 minutes. Of course had I realized what a chore it was going to be I would have photographed and documented it for this site. As it stands, if you need any advice on removing the socks from Vandersteen speakers, go ahead and email me or post a comment and I'll be happy to answer specific questions.
So, the good news is that I really like the way the look without the socks! No, this isn't sour grapes, you see I've recently discovered the societal sub-culture of steampunk, and these skinned Vandys reflect the design influence of steampunk perfectly! Love the over-built structure and commanding lines of these speakers. The mat-black sprayed finish and the khaki stapled felt pad accents.
So, how do they sound? Wonderful. I've got a pair of Vandersteen 3A Signature speakers downstairs in the family room, but we use these mostly for gaming and home theater. HORRORS! I know, but they will be around for decades, and will eventually find their way into a dedicated listening room. In the meantime, don't fret - Call of Duty on the PS3 sounds absolutely phenomenal on these puppies. They are NOT going to waste.
I can't tell any difference between the 3A and the 3A signature, sound-wise, but then again, I don't have them set up side-by-side in an A/B test configuration. One is on tile in a very large room with hard surfaces, and these 3As are in my smallish loft with lots of soft surfaces and heavily-padded carpet. There's no way I could say which one sounds better under these conditions.
My recommendation: Look for any Vandersteens after the 2C model as they will have rubber surrounds on the drivers. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the 2C and prior models all had foam surrounds. You can usually find 2CE and above for $500 or so. Try to buy local as shipping these is expensive. If you can find a pair - grab 'em. You might even consider removing the socks as I did. With the socks on they are monolithic and draw no attention to themselves. Without the socks they make a bold statement - either good or bad, depending on your taste and that of your spouse :)
Have anything to add? Please leave a comment or shoot me an email - hificollector88 [at] gmail.com