VAC 452 iQ review in Stereophile

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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Have you owned any of the MBL amps Caesar ? There is a substantial difference as you go up the line. They have the same watts rattling going from 9007 to 9011, but the musical capabilities when driving a difficult speaker are quite different.
There is a world of difference between the 9007 and 9011. I would never buy the 101E unless I could pair it with the 9011.
 
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knghifi

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Dec 7, 2014
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I thought the Statement stereo were around $14k. Thats less than most gear people are advocating. I bet VAC will sell thousands of them over time. There are a whole lot if Phi200 out there. Those can be had for a steal now.
Try $75K each. $150K for mono configuration.
 

Leif S

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Here is 4-452 VAC Music Blocks. Put your headphones on and go to 23 minutes into the video.
 

Leif S

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I watched the whole vid ,nice .
Defintevely a big sounding system .
For a live recording I was really impressed. Usually we have to deal with over compression in so many recordings. But this recording at the show had so much attack when all the instruments came in. One of the best live recordings I have ever heard. I was actually shocked listening to this with headphones because how much of the dynamics you could pick up on even though nothing even remotely close to being in the room. This live engineer did a remarkable job. It may be that they did a stage split and remastered the recording which is most likely. I miss running front of house sound so much. I was so happy mixing concerts and touring. Just not in a place to be able to do that anymore. But memories I will never forget. Touring with the jazz fest was something special mixing for headliners like George Benson and I have always loved mixing for Ottmar Liebert. Live music is king.
 

andromedaaudio

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Sounds great.
I didnt know you had a lot of expierence on the recording / mixing side .
Comes in very handy while designing speakers etc i suppose .
 
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Leif S

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Sounds great.
I didnt know you had a lot of expierence on the recording / mixing side .
Comes in very handy while designing speakers etc i suppose .
It does for sure. I know what I am trying to reproduce and honestly feel it has given me advantages in many aspects of speaker design. Yes....been doing this since I was in High School. My dad was a professional musician as so was I. But as much as I wanted to be a rock star, I was much better on the engineering side. A soundman can really make or break a band. And I have mixed for several bands that really didn't have much dynamics to them and therefore created them. But I have mixed for some bands that just did everything right and I didn't have to do much. I really wish I could do all over again.
 
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JackD201

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Leif S

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ROFLMAO
 

Leif S

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I hate you. If you add Luna Negra, I hate you even more!

:p
I have mixed for them so many times it's not even funny. Probably one of my all time favorites. But they have almost always been different from venue to venue. Sometimes just two acoustic guitars and sometime the full band including Jon Gagan. But I have seen a lot of different musicians rotate over the years.

Just imagine 2 acoustic guitars with no compression. I would run a 4 way system most of the time using a split sub mix so the EQ for the subs had zero effect on the rest of the drivers. The clarity was to die for. And the subs gave the acoustics a percussive attack you could feel in your chest when they slapped the body of the guitars. I have some direct off the board recordings of these events probably buried up in my garage. Hopefully this crazy summertime heat here in So Cal hasn't ruined them. Now I got to go look for them and dig my ADAT machine out so I can transfer them. Gives me something to do lol. I haven't used my ADAT 8 track machines in over a decade.
 

JackD201

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ADAT? I was more of an RDAT guy. You never told me this. I hope if the tapes aren't toast, this OL fan can have a dub :)
 

Leif S

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ADAT? I was more of an RDAT guy. You never told me this. I hope if the tapes aren't toast, this OL fan can have a dub :)
Hopefully the 100+ degree weather for months during summer didn't kill them. But back then I would tour with three of these machines so I could record individual tracks pre eq and then I always recorded main right and left tracks. Sometimes it's fun to bleed those in during a mix down. This would actually be a lot of fun for me to do. I may have to transfer a mixdown on to our R2R as well.
 

Leif S

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ADAT? I was more of an RDAT guy. You never told me this. I hope if the tapes aren't toast, this OL fan can have a dub :)
My old machines
download.jpg
 

JackD201

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Have you tried them with the CH preamp?

Not yet. I have run M1s with the L2 Reference before I got the L1/X1. That was great. Problem was, SE inputs only.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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earlier in this thread i posted this (post #17) relative to some measurements of the dart 468 Mono blocks.

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/vac-452-iq-review-in-stereophile.30470/#post-643537

i just received some additional clarity in a message from Herve Delatraz on this issue i shared just now on the thread for my 468 mono blocks here;

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...-blocks-in-my-system.29522/page-3#post-648874

since i can no longer edit that earlier post, wanted to get this reference into this thread. just FYI.
 
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Holli82

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Jun 7, 2010
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Although Greg Weaver may not be as well known as Valin, Harley, or Fremer his reviews are as good (or better) and spot on in my opinion.
 
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caesar

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Although Greg Weaver may not be as well known as Valin, Harley, or Fremer his reviews are as good (or better) and spot on in my opinion.

Sure, from that perspective, I’m sure weaver nailed the sonic signature. But , unfortunately, his piece only adds value for those already familiar with the amp- speaker combo. So I respectfully disagree with you on some points...



Seems like you already own that gear, and I have no doubt what he says resonates with you and others who are familiar with the sound and the musical experience...



But I’m also looking at things from a broader perspective. And how other time-constrained and resource-constrained humans in this hobby may benefit and discover new gear, such as the awesome VAC / Von Schweikert pairing....



First, weaver’s focus is too narrow. He should realize that High end audio is a luxury entertainment industry. Audio is an experience, no measurements can predict how something will sound or how someone will perceive it.



So if Weaver wants to be great or even useful and helpful to audio fans , he should realize that an Experience a can only be made sense of in comparison to other experiences. (If a travel guide were to say Italy is the Best vacation spot or a food critic called French food the Best, people would consider him an idiot.)



He needs to do more compares to other tube gear (Vtl, arc, cat, CJ, lamm , bat , etc.) to explain why vac is better, with and without von Schweikert . Otherwise it’s only helpful to those who already know the brand. And kinda insulting and useless to those who don’t know what it sounds like.



Seems like I’m slamming him. And I guess I am.
But I am also slamming the top TAS guys - “Worthless to the Audio Fans” Harley and Tom Martin even more for publishing stuff without comparisons. (And if the reviewer doesn’t have experience with other brands , don’t use it as an excuse . Don’t publish his drek!). These guys keep the “best” to their favorite brands, keeping the audio market limited to large incumbents like Wilson/ dagostino or Audio research... While everyone else is starving for oxygen to stay alive.


If they cared one bit , they would put the best products in the best light . And von schweikert / vac are at the TOP in audio today . So one needs the very best guys covering it.



Howard cosell and Muhammad Ali, John Madden doing NFL ( and now Tony Romo!), Mike Emrick and nhl... having a top guy from a college newspaper covering doesn’t do these great experiences justice.



And I hAve nothing personal against this weaver guy. But We need more reviewers who are Mensches and trusted advisors. Other than Valin and farmer, here in this thread, there are very few.



It’s amazing how power/ status , self -importance, arrogance, and the desire to get that next dopamine rush overwhelms the “audio journalist’s” decency and humanness. We need more guys with concern and care about fellow human beings in this hobby. guys who give a thought that someone may have worked their tail off their whole life and now wants a great system. Or a guy who is taking on extra stress to see more patients or bill more hours, sacrificing many other things, incurring family strife over spending priorities, or a guy maybe taking precious time and money to travel to hear something ...



But very few reviewers are committed to make a better life for others in this hobby. No Empathy at all for the guys that pay their bills and give them that dopamine rush from the new toys they constantly get. Just disgusting behavior, unfortunately.

so again, VAC / Von Schweikert pairing is one of the best box speakers -amp combinations today. they deserve better and fans who may not be as familiar with the brand deserve better.
 

Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
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It seems like linearity is no longer the emphasis in boutique designers’ design goals and that they are now “voicing” their equipment for a desired sound. They appear to have also learned a lesson from Halcro, who designed equipment with almost unmeasurable THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) but that not many found musical; and they have now embraced principles of psychoacoustics, where distortion improves detail retrieval and perciveability. This is part of the tools of the trade in the mastering studio world and an unspoken practice in high-end audio, where gullible deep pocket audiophiles are swindled with promises of precision and high-fidelity, while being sold distortion.

Have a read at the following article and see how it reflects the current state of high-end audio:

Analogue Warmth

Some of these much heralded “trophy” gear and designers are cooking the books.

Thank you for that great article and reference.. Very informative without bias.. his comments about digital finally living up to its original promise and even surpassing analog was spot on.. I went digital 20+ years ago and have been mostly disappointed the entire journey until recently.. but there is still no cure for a lousy recording..
 
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Carlos269

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Mar 21, 2012
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Thank you for that great article and reference.. Very informative without bias.. his comments about digital finally living up to its original promise and even surpassing analog was spot on.. I went digital 20+ years ago and have been mostly disappointed the entire journey until recently.. but there is still no cure for a lousy recording..

Actually to a limited extend there is a cure for “lousy” recordings, albeit not a practical one, very expensive and with a very steep learning curve that could be too complex and technically challenging for most, and that is to do remastering of the lousy recordings yourself.

That is what I do with my two remastering systems that I have at home. Although you do not have access to the original recording’s tracks or master tapes or files, the convolution of remastering the released recodings is very powerful.

Remastering the recordings in XY stereo image in either the analog or digital domain is very effective. I prefer the digital domain as it introduces less residual noise in the process.

Sometimes just a little elliptical equalization goes a long way to improve things. In other cases transcoding to high order DSD also makes a marked improvement.

In the high-end mastering world there are so many tools at hand to improve even the lousyess of recordings.

Sometimes it may even serve the intend of recordings to go the other way. Some genres are made for a “low-fi” production sound and those recordings can sometimes sound too polished for those artistic expressions.

Having knobs to turn and buttons to push at your side or in front of you gives you immense power and allows for very effective convolution, BUT if you do not understand the concept or theory of what is going on then it leads to horrible disasters. As I said it is a technically challenging solution not only in terms of implementation but also in terms of over all concepts of what is trying to be achieved and the methods and means to achieve the objective, both from a technical and artistic perspective.

Here are a few pictures of my remastering systems:



6F7AA7FE-99FA-46C9-928C-1EA737D83E54.jpeg

B48B9B60-3AB8-4A0D-8D77-5B048DD933EE.jpeg

9233CFAA-AFCD-4128-80BA-DD55405F6CE6.jpeg 25E40A63-D6AB-4D24-839F-AA3B68B447E0.jpeg

E827FA9D-AC49-464D-8CF1-5385784DADED.jpeg

377AF587-0F16-4949-A993-87C29138DE55.jpeg
 
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