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Amp to pair with Vandersteen 3A signatures? Local store recommends NAD M3

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
$3,000 max budget just bought these speakers used. The local store recommends a NAD M3. Anyone have experience with the NAD? Anyone hear any magical combinations with the Vandersteens?

Thanks,
Dave
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidl10 View Post

$3,000 max budget just bought these speakers used. The local store recommends a NAD M3. Anyone have experience with the NAD? Anyone hear any magical combinations with the Vandersteens?

Thanks,
Dave

Nice speakers. Have you tried the 3A Sigs with the Nad M3?

There are many alternatives at $3K and probably won't find a consensus, but Krell and McCormack (don't think they offer an integrated) are often mentioned good matches. Basically, high current amplification is recommended.

There are several discussions on AG related. Here are a few links:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...mps&1281995574

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...mps&1264444050

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...mps&1133534066
post #3 of 21
I would go with separates so you have the option adding Vandersteen sub's down the road. They make a significant difference and take the load off your amp. I have the 3a sigs and they do like a strong amp, I've used Krell and VTL and would recommend them.
post #4 of 21
Myself the Krell integrated'or the new Music Hall a70.2 which I just got and love'Also Moon audio has some great integrated.Exposure' Rega'Creek'Any of these would sound great with the Vandies.
post #5 of 21
I have had the Vandersteen 3 speakers for over 20 years, and have tried them with a number of amplifiers and preamps.

I would not suggest the NAD amplifier, personally. There are better-sounding amplifiers for the money, IMO.

I am currently using an Audio Research LS26 preamp and a Bryston 3B-SST amplifier, and the sound is to die for, but they will run you over $10,000.

Two integrated amplifiers that will sound great with them are the Musical Fidelity M3i and the Music Hall A70.2, Those are both very good and are under $2000. I have the M3i, and it sounds very good with them.

Actually, though, my first choice for under $3000 would be the Vincent SA-31 preamp and the Vincent SP-331 amplifier. They are excellent and are quite amazing for what they cost (around $2000 for both).

The Audio Research VSi60 is one that will give you some really amazing sound with them, but it costs $4500; well worth it if you can afford it.




Quote:
Originally Posted by davidl10 View Post

$3,000 max budget just bought these speakers used. The local store recommends a NAD M3. Anyone have experience with the NAD? Anyone hear any magical combinations with the Vandersteens?

Thanks,
Dave
post #6 of 21
I have gone through the gamete 2cesig, 3sig, 5a now I have Sevens and have used all sorts of amps the ones that held true to most of the music and where low maintenance where the Quicksilver V4. Great amps for the money and any of the above speakers. I actually have 2 balanced ones I will be selling if interested PM me. The other amp I really liked was the Cary 211annversity but went through tubes faster. The quickies where just stupidly simple and in fact I still use one for my center. When I went to the Sevens I went to Aesticx for the added power or else I would still be using the V4 they were just the best amp at any price. Also look on Audiogon you will get a better audience for this question.
post #7 of 21
There's is scant quality empirical evidence that differences b/w amps are even audible, let alone one sounding better than the other. So I wouldn't base this decision on what is likely to sound "better". Instead, buy an amp that meets the power output requirements and has the features you want. My personal recommendation is to go with an integrated; fewer wires, less clutter, less expense.

I owned Vandersteen 3A sigs for years and loved them! During that time I used an NAD 7250PE receiver, then a B&K Pre/Power amp combo, then finally a Bryston Pre/Power amp combo. ..Though the Bryston and B&K drove the speakers to louder levels than the NAD receiver, they did NOT - to my well-trained ears, anyway - sound any better.

Another recommendation: Buy an integrated with tone controls (purists hate these, but they're foolish for doing so) and possibly a mono switch (ditto last remark). ..These features help make old, poorly recorded music much more enjoyable. Enjoy the Vandies, they're great speakers!

As for a specific recommendation: consider the NAD C375BEE. I had one for a year and loved it. ..The build quality was excellent (knobs, switches, had a great tactile feel) and it was very quiet, something which I kinda obsess over. What I'm referring to is the noise/hum one hears when no music is playing and the volume is turned up. ..Plus it did an excellent job of keeping signals from adjacent inputs from creeping. ..For ex., with a lot of setups, you can pause the CD player, turn the volume up, and still hear music creeping in from another source. ...Even though I would never hear this while playing music, it really bugged me just knowing it was there. The Bryston and B&K combos both exhibited this problem; the NAD, at a mere fraction of the price, did not!
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

There's is scant quality empirical evidence that differences b/w amps are even audible, let alone one sounding better than the other. So I wouldn't base this decision on what is likely to sound "better". Instead, buy an amp that meets the power output requirements and has the features you want. My personal recommendation is to go with an integrated; fewer wires, less clutter, less expense.

I owned Vandersteen 3A sigs for years and loved them! During that time I used an NAD 7250PE receiver, then a B&K Pre/Power amp combo, then finally a Bryston Pre/Power amp combo. ..Though the Bryston and B&K drove the speakers to louder levels than the NAD receiver, they did NOT - to my well-trained ears, anyway - sound any better.

Another recommendation: Buy an integrated with tone controls (purists hate these, but they're foolish for doing so) and possibly a mono switch (ditto last remark). ..These features help make old, poorly recorded music much more enjoyable. Enjoy the Vandies, they're great speakers!

As for a specific recommendation: consider the NAD C375BEE. I had one for a year and loved it. ..The build quality was excellent (knobs, switches, had a great tactile feel) and it was very quiet, something which I kinda obsess over. What I'm referring to is the noise/hum one hears when no music is playing and the volume is turned up. ..Plus it did an excellent job of keeping signals from adjacent inputs from creeping. ..For ex., with a lot of setups, you can pause the CD player, turn the volume up, and still hear music creeping in from another source. ...Even though I would never hear this while playing music, it really bugged me just knowing it was there. The Bryston and B&K combos both exhibited this problem; the NAD, at a mere fraction of the price, did not!

Who are you to say what one can hear in different amps.And how are your ears better.Their is huge difference in integrated amps.If you can't hear the difference in a Nad from a Bryston then you have bad hearing like many here.Allways try different electronics with your speakers.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

Who are you to say what one can hear in different amps.And how are your ears better.Their is huge difference in integrated amps.If you can't hear the difference in a Nad from a Bryston then you have bad hearing like many here.Allways try different electronics with your speakers.

And with that sentiment out of the way:

Yamaha P2500S for ~$420.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

Who are you to say what one can hear in different amps.

Anybody with an appropriate knowledge of science, particularly audio and psychoacoustics can know whether or not different amps actually sound different. Every audible difference between amplifiers is measurable - its just a matter of doing the right measurements.

The general rule is that good amplifiers don't sound different.

Quote:


And how are your ears better.

Are you unaware of the fact that science now knows how large acoustical differences have to be in order to be reliably heard?


Quote:


Their is huge difference in integrated amps.

Sadly, sometimes this is true. But it is not a universal rule. Are you saying that it is a universal rule?

Quote:


If you can't hear the difference in a Nad from a Bryston then you have bad hearing like many here.

I've seen audiophiles with very expensive systems fail to detect the difference between a Bryston and a Pioneer receiver, provided they didn't know what is playing.

Quote:


Allways try different electronics with your speakers.

Been there, done that and found that sometimes there are actually differences, but most perceived differences among amplifiers are due to silly non-electronic things like level matching and sighted bias.

Please tell us about your level-matched blind listening tests.
post #11 of 21
Didn't NAD at one point have some marketing term for how their PSU was designed that effectively EQ'd the signal?
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Didn't NAD at one point have some marketing term for how their PSU was designed that effectively EQ'd the signal?

All I can find is this:

http://nadelectronics.com/articles/N...sclosure-Power

I see no mention of spectral shaping.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

Who are you to say what one can hear in different amps.And how are your ears better. Their is huge difference in integrated amps.If you can't hear the difference in a Nad from a Bryston then you have bad hearing like many here.Allways try different electronics with your speakers.

What I'm saying is that I have excellent measured hearing AND a keen sense of musical nuance honed from years of playing and a lifetime of enjoying live (often unamplified) music. ..I make this point to head off comments like yours suggesting that my hearing sucks. Besides, if the differences were HUGE as you suggest, wouldn't they be heard by just about anyone???
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


Who are you to say what one can hear in different amps.And how are your ears better.Their is huge difference in integrated amps.If you can't hear the difference in a Nad from a Bryston then you have bad hearing like many here.Allways try different electronics with your speakers.

Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Besides insults and your unsubstantiated opinions that fly in the face of accepted science, any actual evidence that you care to produce?
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

Who are you to say what one can hear in different amps.And how are your ears better.Their is huge difference in integrated amps.If you can't hear the difference in a Nad from a Bryston then you have bad hearing like many here.Allways try different electronics with your speaker

Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Besides insults and your unsubstantiated opinions that fly in the face of accepted science, any actual evidence that you care to produce?

By chance I found what well might be the testing by buddahead that led to the conclusions that he has posted here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

Been breaking in my New Music Hall A70.2 integrated.It replaces my 14 year old Rotel integrated. After listening to the Creek 'Exposure'Krell' Rega I chose the MH for its build quality and all around sound.They all sounded good with my MA rs'6. The difference from my old Rotel is quite unreal.This integrated like most Higher End integrated never sound loud.When you turn the volume up you hear each piece of the music get more detail but not excessive volume.Their is no Fatigue.I like the exposure also.Al of these newer Integrated were so much better than the Rotel that their is no comparison.The MH has such a open soundstage and imaging.Plus the MH has 125w into 8ohms.Plenty of power for down the road new speakers.It also has 2 separate mono blocks each with its own Transformer. I like the volume display that goes from 0 to 80 so you can put the volume level at the exact same spot when testing new equipment.I just wished I had gotten this amp sooner if I would have known it would be this much better.Roy Hall did a fine job of this amp and it includes a decent Phono stage for my MH TT'I have yet to use this.Will post on that later.

And let me say some who post here and always say all amps sound alike have no clue. I feel sorry for them.All of these amps I tested had their own sound. And the difference between these higher end integrated and HT recivers are not even funny for 2 channel setups.I own 2 nice HT recievers and they do not come close to this MH integrated.For those who appreciate high end audio please feel free to comment.Thanks Bob

Now, lets try to understand where Bob is coming from:

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

Been breaking in my New Music Hall A70.2 integrated. It replaces my 14 year old Rotel integrated. After listening to the Creek 'Exposure'Krell' Rega I chose the MH for its build quality and all around sound.They all sounded good with my MA rs'6.

One could intrepret the above as saying that "all amps (that I tested) sounded pretty much the same (good).


Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


The difference from my old Rotel is quite unreal.

Given that the old amp was 14 years old and was in unknown technical condition, I have no argument with that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


This integrated like most Higher End integrated never sound loud.When you turn the volume up you hear each piece of the music get more detail but not excessive volume.There is no Fatigue.

One of the things that one learns in blind tests is that the above pleasurable sensations are the same with a great many far less expensive amplifiers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


I like the exposure also. All of these newer Integrated were so much better than the Rotel that their is no comparison.

Again given that the old amp was 14 years old and was in unknown technical condition, I have no argument with that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


The MH has such a open soundstage and imaging. Plus the MH has 125w into 8 ohms. Plenty of power for down the road new speakers. It also has 2 separate mono blocks each with its own Transformer.

The dual monoblock feature is there, but again without blind tests, how would one find out that it is usually irrelevant to sound quality?


Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


I like the volume display that goes from 0 to 80 so you can put the volume level at the exact same spot when testing new equipment.

Buddahead apparently does not know that equipment itself often has different amounts of internal gain, and volume level settings on the amplifier do nothing to equalize that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


I just wished I had gotten this amp sooner if I would have known it would be this much better.Roy Hall did a fine job of this amp and it includes a decent Phono stage for my MH TT'I have yet to use this.Will post on that later.

And let me say some who post here and always say all amps sound alike have no clue. I feel sorry for them.

We now know that Buddahead does not know the truth about how to do level matched blind tests. He thinks that he has done good enough level matching when he probably hasn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


All of these amps I tested had their own sound. And the difference between these higher end integrated and HT recivers are not even funny for 2 channel setups I own 2 nice HT recievers and they do not come close to this MH integrated. For those who appreciate high end audio please feel free to comment.Thanks Bob

The above would appear to be a classic example of someone who collects flawed information and uses it to reinforce his prejudices.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

What I'm saying is that I have excellent measured hearing AND a keen sense of musical nuance honed from years of playing and a lifetime of enjoying live (often unamplified) music. ..I make this point to head off comments like yours suggesting that my hearing sucks. Besides, if the differences were HUGE as you suggest, wouldn't they be heard by just about anyone???

I did not say your hearing sucked.I said you might have bad hearing and might want to see a Doctor.And as I said if you can't hear the difference in Integrated amps you have bad hearing.My 8 year old can tell the difference between a cheap one and a high quaility one.Sorry for your loss.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post


I did not say your hearing sucked.I said you might have bad hearing and might want to see a Doctor.And as I said if you can't hear the difference in Integrated amps you have bad hearing.My 8 year old can tell the difference between a cheap one and a high quaility one.Sorry for your loss.

So you're the guy who will finally take all of the various money offers to identify gain matched amps running within operating parameters.... You do realize the reason that no one ever wins those wagers, don't you? Because you can't as the amps will sound the same.

Set your narcissism aside for a bit and take a look at the science here. Or not.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

I did not say your hearing sucked.I said you might have bad hearing and might want to see a Doctor.And as I said if you can't hear the difference in Integrated amps you have bad hearing.My 8 year old can tell the difference between a cheap one and a high quaility one.Sorry for your loss.

Right.. And we know that your testing methodology is certain to produce meaningful results because you are, after all, setting the volume knob on your preamp to the same number when comparing different amps. ..I'm calling an audiologist today
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddahead View Post

And as I said if you can't hear the difference in Integrated amps you have bad hearing.

A common response from people who only do non-level-matched, sighted evaluations.

Take just about anybody and even just do a proper job of matching levels, and they generally sing a different tune. Make the evaluation properly blind, and they are utterly amazed at "how bad their hearing suddenly became".

You can say what you will Bob, and I won't take it personally or even seriously. You appear to be showing us what you don't know and have never experienced. If that's what you want to do to yourself, rant on dude! ;-)

Quote:


My 8 year old can tell the difference between a cheap one and a high quaility one.

As long as the evaluation is sighted and +/- 0.1 dB level matching is avoided, I'm very sure that this is what you observe.

BTW, there's nothing about doing proper listening tests that would seem to be a problem for someone who is that young. Why would you think there is?
post #20 of 21
Vandersteen sounds amazing with good, quality tube amps. Conrad-Johnson, Cary, Audio Research are all good places to start looking at.

Every time I've heard Vandersteen speakers and been impressed has been with tubes, and every time I've heard them and felt like something has been missing, or "just off", it has been with solid state amps.

I have exactly the reverse feeling with Thiel speakers (which I own), so it has nothing to do with tubes versus solid state....
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiojan View Post

Vandersteen sounds amazing with good, quality tube amps. Conrad-Johnson, Cary, Audio Research are all good places to start looking at.

Every time I've heard Vandersteen speakers and been impressed has been with tubes, and every time I've heard them and felt like something has been missing, or "just off", it has been with solid state amps.

I have exactly the reverse feeling with Thiel speakers (which I own), so it has nothing to do with tubes versus solid state....

The problem with tubed amps is pretty much as you say - they themselves sound (and measure) different with every different speaker that you hook them too.

I've heard Vandersteens with good SS amps on many occasions and they sounded great. A good speaker generally has a sound quality that prevails over all but the very worst amplifiers.
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