Vandersteen Audio Treo loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B phono cartridge.
Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP & DX-5 universal players; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini running OS10.7, iTunes 10, Pure Music 1.86; Shuttle PC with Lynx AES16 soundcard & dual-core AMD Athlon processor running Windows 7, Foobar 2000, Adobe Audition 3.0; Logitech Transporter, dCS Debussy, Arcam FMJ D33 D/A converters; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter.
Preamplification: Liberty B2B-1 phono preamplifier; BSG Qøl Signal Completion Stage; Classé CP-800, Pass Labs XP-30 preamplifiers.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CT-M600, Lamm M1.2 Reference (both monoblocks).
Integrated Amplifier: Devialet D-Premier.
Loudspeakers: BBC/Rogers LS3/5a, KEF LS50, Sony SS-AR2.
Cables: Digital: DH Labs Silver Sonic. AES/EBU: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB. FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild. Speaker: Cardas Clear. AC: XLO Reference 3, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, APC S-15 AC line conditioners (computers, hard drive). AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

Company Info
Vandersteen Audio, Inc.
116 W. Fourth Street
Hanford, CA 93230
(559) 582-0324
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Comments
MVBC's picture
85db/w/m

I noticed more details about the brand of cables used than the brand of drivers used in this "highly recommended" 85dB/w/m shhhpeaker.

VandyMan's picture
85db/w/m

That information is a few clicks away on the Vandersteen website. I applaud reviewers who don't waste space recounting spec sheets and marketing literature. Providing a link is more than enough.

I have not heard the Treo yet, but the Model 2 Sig turned me into an audiophile. I still clearly remember the day I demoed it 15 years ago. I had no idea that there was such a big difference between speakers or that "inexpensive" speakers could sound that good. It literally brought tears to my eyes when I listened to A Tribute to Jack Johnson in the show room.

(My username is because I'm a fan. I have no link to the company.)

MVBC's picture
Vandyman

The type, yes, BUT not the brand of drivers.

Bill B's picture
custom and semi-custom

At least some of the drivers are custom or semi-custom and I believe Vandersteen works with Scanspeak (and perhaps others) to create and modify drivers.

attilahun's picture
Thiel?

When I first saw the picture I assumed it was a reprint of an old Thiel review from 20 years ago. These really remind me of the old Thiels.

commsysman's picture
MY NEW STANDARD

I have been looking for the perfect loudspeaker for over 30 years.

I started with some Polk RTA 12 Monitor speakers, then went to Vandersteen 2Ci speakers, then Vandersteen 3 and 3A speakers.

I have gone to hi-fi stores and the CES in Las Vegas untold times looking for something that cost under $10,000 and would be the holy grail; the one that really could come close to flawless reproduction of the live sound, but never could find it. 

I heard many excellent speakers, but for me there was always one major flaw of some sort that made them imperfect and overall not equal to my Vandersteen 3A speakers.

I finally became convinced that the Vandersteen Treo would be, if not perfect, an improvement over my 3A speakers that was worthwhile, so I bought a pair.

When I actually hooked them up in my home, I was awe-struck. These are not only much much better than my 3A speakers, they come as close as anything I have ever experienced to being a flawless perfect reproducer of the live musical experience. 

I have never heard a speaker that comes so close to perfection, without one single sonic flaw that I can identify in playing classical, jazz, vocal, bluegrass...you name it and it makes it come to life.

My NHT subwoofer adds some bass power and bass extension to the extreme low end, but the Treo is quite capable of very good bass performance on its own. For 80% of my music, the subwoofer is really not needed.

But as far as audible sonic flaws, I can find NONE!! That is a totally new experience for me.

My wife, who was not real convinced that any speaker could be worth $6000, and was more than ready to find some flaws she could criticize, listened for a couple of minutes and got a silly smile on her face and said not a word. She is in love with them. Wife approval factor; off the chart.

These speakers have totally redefined my concept of what ANY speaker is capable of, especially for less than $10,000.

commsysman's picture
A QUESTION

Vandersteen, in his owner's manual and product literature, makes a BIG point of his assertion that these speakers WILL NOT perform at their full potential unless they are bi-wired.

John clearly did not bi-wire the speakers when he tested them.

That seems odd to me and I wonder why he did not go with the manufacturer's recommendation. Surely he has access to some high-quality bi-wire cable sets.

With my Vandersteen 3A speakers and now with my Treo speakers I use eight lengths of Belden #10 102-strand wire with Audioquest gold-plated spade lugs to bi-wire them, and the result is superior sound quality.

pulsetsar's picture
Grills on or off?

I don't quite understand JA's statement in the review about the grills being mandatory due to baffle reflections:

"Each of the three upper drive-units stands proud of the baffle on a small subchassis; the grille's frame surrounds each of the diaphragms with a smooth surface to optimize diffraction and minimize reflections of the high frequencies from the baffle edges. Use of the grille is mandatory, therefore"

Is he saying that he listened with and without and determined this (because it doesn't sound like it). If not, has anyone heard them with/without the grills and reached their own conclusions? A lot of manufacturers claim their speakers sound great with the grills on, but it's rare for them to be right in all respects. There are bound to be trade offs with either scenario, rather than across-the-board improvements.

John Atkinson's picture
Treo Grilles

pulsetsar wrote:
A lot of manufacturers claim their speakers sound great with the grills on, but it's rare for them to be right in all respects. There are bound to be trade offs with either scenario, rather than across-the-board improvements.

I thought the text of mine that you quoted self-explanatory. Unlike most speakers but like some of the Paradigms, the Treo's grille is an extension of the baffle and provides an essential part of the acoustic loading of the upper-frequency drive-units. The speaker sounds and measures worse without the grille.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

pulsetsar's picture
Ah, thanks! That was, indeed,

Ah, thanks! That was, indeed, more explanatory! I also looked more closely at some pictures and the baffle-extending aspect makes sense. 

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