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bifcake
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VMPS speakers

Is anyone familiar with VMPS speakers? How do they sound? VMPS seems a very strange company - their speaker line seems to encompass different design theories throughout from one model to another.

I wonder if anyone has had any experience with them.

Thanks

Buddha
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Re: VMPS speakers

I'm a fan of VMPS speakers.

I try to be sure to listen to their demos each year during CES/THE to try to keep up.

They interest me because, like a fine winery has a house style, VMPS has a sound that is consistent within their line, even though there are disparate appearing products.

They remind me of Legacy and PBN in terms of broad comparison.

I once went to demo some speakers at a store called Christopher Hansen (pardon me if I've blown the name) and in their highest end high end room, they were using a 1200 dollar VMPS subwoofer with the ne plus ultra speakers I was listening to!

Very tuneful and musical bass in their line, not bloaty. Open treble. Nice stuff worth seeking out to listen to.

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

How do they compare to Legacy speakers? There's a VMPS RM2 on Audiogon for $650. Is it worth picking up unheard given that I'm familiar with the Legacies?

Buddha
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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:
How do they compare to Legacy speakers? There's a VMPS RM2 on Audiogon for $650. Is it worth picking up unheard given that I'm familiar with the Legacies?

Check which model year and if any of the options were chosen for the speakers first, but that price seems amazing.

They remind me of Legacy from the upper midrange up. In fact, the drivers may even be the same for the tweeters with some models in each line. I could easily/probably be wrong here.

The ribbons meld well with the cone drivers.

Like the Legacies, good dynamics.

Unlike the Legacies, ya gotta really work hard to get them in the right place in the room and get the bass tuned. Not that it can't be done, it just takes time and effort.

Retail is, what, around 2500?

650, that seems really low!

I can't think of a 650 dollar speaker that could come anywhere near their performance.

That price makes me wonder what's wrong!

It's too big a decision to buy blind unless it's just for fun, but I bet you could sell them and not lose money if you don't like them.

It may be such a good deal because the owner didn't know how to tweak their set up. It's quite involved (in my opinion.)

My first instinct was to yell, "Buy!" but then I fear giving bad advice.

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

Do you see anything wrong with these?

59mga
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Re: VMPS speakers

I haven't heard the RM2 but have listened to the 626 and was very impressed. It's a small speaker (I have a small room) but its' clarity is in the midrange and up is great. The bottom end fills the room quite well. And they sound great at lower levels.

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

They don't seem to have any dealers in New York, so no way to check them out. Hmmm...

Buddha
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Re: VMPS speakers

The ones for sale are RM-1's.

I don't recall enough about it to be as specific as I was for the RM-2.

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

Ooops. My bad.

What would you consider a good price for the RM2 and is it worth getting it unheard?

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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:
They don't seem to have any dealers in New York, so no way to check them out. Hmmm...

Other than Washington DC and Chicago(?) all other dealers are West of the Rockies. Go figure.

mrlowry
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Re: VMPS speakers

The guy in Chicago isn't even a REAL dealer. It looks like a Doctor that does it as some sort of side line.

ncdrawl
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Re: VMPS speakers

funny quote from the VMPS site..

"The arrogance and cynicism of the industry is neatly capsuled by the following true story: a journalist for a leading "buff book", aware of the cost-to-retail ratio of speaker systems, queried one manufacturer why his repackaging of five hundred dollars worth of cone dynamic drivers sold for $70,000 the pair. Came the succinct reply: "You must understand, in the High End, you pay for the price."

heh

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:
"You must understand, in the High End, you pay for the price."

I'm sure Jan will come to the defense of that quote.

59mga
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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:

"You must understand, in the High End, you pay for the price."

Maybe that should read: "...in the High PRICE, you pay through the END."

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

If it's high enough, you pay through both ends.

Welshsox
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Re: VMPS speakers

Buddha

Im intrigued by these speakers.

They look to be very thoughtfully engineered and although the are not cheap they look great value compared to other high end overpriced boxes.

Which models have you listened to ?

Alan

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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:
Is anyone familiar with VMPS speakers? How do they sound? VMPS seems a very strange company - their speaker line seems to encompass different design theories throughout from one model to another.

I wonder if anyone has had any experience with them.

Hi Alex,

I had a pair of RM-30s. They sucked. When I bought them, I did so based on auditioning their little brother, the RM626. Those sounded pretty good when I heard them. They are a small speaker with the drivers pretty close together. The RM-30s had just been recently introduced at the time, and none were available for audition. The RM626 had the same midrange and tweeter, so I figured the sound would be substantially the same. It wasn't.

But the RM-30s have the drivers physically separated by much more than the RM626. The designer's philosophy is to use first-order crossover networks. As it turns out, the ribbon drivers beam pretty badly. Because of the first-order crossover, there is a wide overlap of driver frequency ranges. The combination of these two traits, plus the fact that the drivers are widely separated, gives a very undesirable quality in regard to driver integration. They are the only speakers I've ever had in which I was acutely aware of listening to multiple individual drivers in a box, rather than an integrated whole.

There's also pot adjustments for the midrange and tweeter. But no matter how I adjusted them, they never sounded right. I ended up buying a measurement microphone and computer USB sound card to do quasi-anechoic measurements using the freeware Room EQ Wizard. The measurements confirm the subjective observations. There's all kinds of interactions between drivers that cause the frequency response to be completely screwed up. It doesn't matter where the microphone is placed - the measurements just get screwed up in a different way. The reason for these effects is much like what the video on Ethan's site explains in regard to comb filtering. There's two different drivers reproducing the same frequencies over a broad band in the crossover region. When the phase between the two varies, as it does when you move your head, peaks and dips occur in the frequency response. Combine that with the poor directional qualities of the ribbons and wide driver separation, and you have a lousy frequency response that varies all over the place with position as well. This is subjectively very audible. Just move your head a few inches and the perception of sound quality changes a lot. Real live music doesn't do anything like this of course.

My experiences setting them up is very much like those of JGH in this article on the VMPS Super Tower.

This has been confirmed by other owners as well. The designer refuses to publish measurements of the speakers. People have posted measurements to his Audio Circle forum, and the result is that the designer has basically gone on a campaign to discredit them. I finally realized that the guy (to put it politely) does not deserve his reputation. Wish I had known that before I bought them!

On the plus side, he really knows how to get good bass response with those tunable passive radiators. Also, the price he charges is quite reasonable considering the complement of drivers and nice cabinet work. But that's the nicest thing I can say about them.

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

Thanks Andy. I appreciate your candor and your assessment. Are driver integration and beaming issues permeate the entire VMPS line or are they just limited to the RM30?

Thanks again

preistube
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Re: VMPS speakers

FWIW I had the original version VMPS RM40s for 2 1/2 years and never felt they had any driver integration problems. Although the speakers are designed so that you must sit in the the "sweet spot" to listen to them, I could move my head about freely in my listening chair and never had any problems with the sound changing due to comb filtering. I have only heard the RM30s in show conditions, but since they have fewer drivers, if set up properly in an appropriate room I can't imagine they would perform on any less of a scale than the RM40s in these areas.

Regarding the linked review, that was from 1986 and since then, just like almost all other speaker companies (assuming of course they are still in business), the designs have advanced.

Again IMO, FWIW, and YMMV,
Lin

andy_c
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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:
Are driver integration and beaming issues permeate the entire VMPS line or are they just limited to the RM30?

Hi Alex,

I wouldn't be willing to make any statement about other models that I haven't heard. In fact, the designer seems to be trying to address this issue with some other models by using a waveguide-like structure to control directivity.

Also, my opinions may be skewed somewhat by the fact that the living room in my apartment is pretty small. I end up listening to the speakers from about 9 ft away. If there are any integration issues, listening at close distance willl exaggerate them.

But still, systems with first-order crossovers are more prone to this problem than ones with higher-order crossovers. First-order crossovers give superior transient response, but you pay for it with higher risk of driver integration issues and reduced power handling.

I also take major issue with any loudspeaker vendor that is not willing to publish measurements. There's a thread in rec.audio.high-end running at the moment, inspired by a great blog by Harman loudspeaker designer Sean Olive. One poster to that usenet thread said this:

"I've contacted some 30 loudspeaker manufacturers, from Avalon to Zingali, asking for measurements. All I've got was hot air and audiophile gobbledygook. Not one single graph. Judging from the respective replies, most of these 30 don't perform measurements at all !!!"

Some members of the golden ear brigade may counter that measurements don't tell everything, or even imply that they should be abandoned altogether. But my (admittedly limited) experience correlating speaker measurements with sound quality shows that bad quasi-anechoic frequency response measurements strongly correlate to bad sound. Sean Olive and his now-retired colleague Floyd Toole have done extensive research in this area. As a current owner of a loudspeaker that was designed according to their ideas and findings, I can say that they are definitely onto something here.

preistube
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Re: VMPS speakers


Quote:

Quote:
Are driver integration and beaming issues permeate the entire VMPS line or are they just limited to the RM30?

Hi Alex,

I wouldn't be willing to make any statement about other models that I haven't heard. In fact, the designer seems to be trying to address this issue with some other models by using a waveguide-like structure to control directivity.
But still, systems with first-order crossovers are more prone to this problem than ones with higher-order crossovers. First-order crossovers give superior transient response, but you pay for it with higher risk of driver integration issues and reduced power handling.

The ribbon drivers used in VMPS speakers by their very nature have a very narrow horizontal dispersion and an even more limited vertical dispersion, I believe it is part of the design to be able to use 1st order x-os and reduce room reflections. Multiple drivers and the drivers crossover points being well within their limits address the issue of power handling. The C(onstant)D(directivity) waveguide is to reduce beeming mainly for HT applications, i.e. to widen the "sweet spot" for multiple listeners. Many 2/ch only users prefer the speakers w/o the waiveguides.

Lin

Buddha
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Re: VMPS speakers

Yikes, lots of action since I looked last?

I've always tried to hit the VMPS rooms at shows, and generally like their line.

People on the thread have already mentioned the importance of room size and optimizing their performance.

I wonder if, as audiophiles, we often buy to the highets point we can in a line and really don't sconsider which model will be best for our rooms.

I haven't tried the VMPS in small rooms, so my general impression of their line is quite favorable.

Too bad CES is over. VMPS was in the same area as PBN, and I get the same exact feeling from PBN that people here have mentioned - poor driver integration in the near field; to the point that certain sounds are obviously coming from specific drivers.

I've had it happen with Avant Garde and Audio Notes speakers when listening in too close proxomity, too.

VMPS has a bit of a sound like some of the old Rectilinear speakers - if that makes sense and you are old enough to remember them.

With ribbons, someone already mentioned their dispersion characteristics, so that should be built into one's expecatios and room placement choices.

The poor vertical dispersion is why I use a long tall ribbon in order to enlarge my sweet spot opportunities. If budget calls for a smaller ribbon, then is it the ribbons fault if someone doesn't correctly account for its behavior?

All this is why auditioning beforehand is so crucial - and with a dealer who can anticiptae problems from taking the time to learn about your room and give you a resource for arriving at the sonic bliss point.

Right now, don't buy anything, but look aroiund and see what you can go hear!

Many VMPS speakers sound terrific!

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

Thanks guys. These are very helpful.

thehifiguy
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Re: VMPS speakers

Alex:

I own an older pair of VMPS IIa/R Special Edition speakers.

I have not been able to directly compare them to newer VMPS editions or to other speakers in a controlled way.

My impressions are that no other single speaker has all the attributes of the monsters in my experience. They are very balanced, efficient, image very very well, and go sub sonic.

Parsing any presentation is difficult - either pro or con.

I have no interests to get anything else so far. Then again this could be the Edsel effect at work.

Try listening yourself. I think they are great!

Brian is a very knowledgable guy and can help you find a place to hear these speakers.

http://www.vmpsaudio.com/

THFG

bifcake
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Re: VMPS speakers

Thank you. I'll check them out.

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VMPS RM40

Vertical beaming is great, but only if your line source is long enough so that sitting down or standing up, you're always getting the same response- in the beam.  That's what is flawed with the VMPS setups I'm familiar with- I'm completely redesigning my friends RM40's- the bass is great and the cabinets are beautiful, but if I don't change the wavelength / driver dimensions and placement issues, he's going to burn them in a cerimonial fire in his back yard, he's so upset at how they sound at anything less than 20 feet away!

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