VAC 452 iQ review in Stereophile

An extremely enthusiastic subjective review by Michael Fremer - the kind of review that makes people say "I want them!" - followed by a measurement sections showing disappointing very poor measurements of signal to noise ratio by John Atkinson. Should we conclude that poor SNR improves sound quality? ;) The recent review of the new Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum HD line preamplifier also shows a similar behavior - much improved sonics compared to the previous version, but extremely poor measurements of signal to noise ratio, much worst than the ones of the previous model.
 

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bonzo75

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#41
I understand that you reject any component that homogenizes sound, and applaud any component that allows the differences in the sounds of music (and the differences in the sounds of other components) to be most easily discerned and identified.

I am just not sure that this should be a universal prime directive, elevated above other (or all other) parameters, or that the answer to your question necessarily solves for one's personal sonic objective for the hobby of high-end audio.
Much more, see my point on dynamic range and seeing the note through, that Mike too made. Also with VTL compared to spectral, the soprano wasn't opening her mouth wide enough, so I lost out on the midrange, and midbass was all muddied out, just thick
 

Ron Resnick

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#42
Exactly. Imo when people don't agree to this entry don't appreciate drive of a note, how it has to extend all the way through, and dynamic range. They focus too much on the harmonic feeling only of tube decay, and the initial feeling of air when you get tubes in
Maybe I cannot get around to appreciating the "drive of a note" if the overall gestalt of the sound doesn't have the harmonic richness and "feeling of air" that I believe I hear from live music?
 

bonzo75

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#43
Maybe I cannot get around to appreciating the "drive of a note" if the overall gestalt of the sound doesn't have the harmonic richness and "feeling of air" that I believe I hear from live music?
You don't lose it at all, in Mike's for example which you heard. Or in Henk's system even with Krell and plinius. In UK Paul's system with SS amps on Logan hybrid. I prefer Vitus in Magico at Rhapsody compared to his tubes. Spectral are great on stats. The Gamut killed my AR on my Logans. The lack of that does happen in sterile, not well implemented SS systems which are unfortunately the stereotype
 
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caesar

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#44
VAC sounds incredible with Von Schweikert. Show after show, it's one of the rooms that is guaranteed to sound like music.

Does anyone know if Von Schweikert develop their speakers with VAC?

Another speaker that sounds incredible with VAC is NOLA. Carl Marchisoto used to show his stuff with ARC Ref 75, which may be the best amp ARC has ever built, and he always got incredible musicality. But he has recently switched to VAC due to their even superior musicality.

On the other hand, one could easily do a quick compare of VAC and Soulution on top Focals at prior RMAFs. The rooms were next to each other and nearly identical, for years. In one system, the Focals had committed analytical SS sins, in the other, the typical syrupy tube sins. Overall, mediocre sound unless one used the most pristine recordings.

I am surprised that Mike's system at 97 efficiency doesn't let VAC shine through. I wonder how much the speaker design has to do with all of this. Carl M designs his with tubes.

Anyways, that's why I love very high efficiency speakers and SETs. Tube glory, tone, and dynamics with a handful of watts. Have your cake and eat it too! :)
 
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Mike Lavigne

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#46
VAC sounds incredible with Von Schweikert. Show after show, it's one of the rooms that is guaranteed to sound like music.

Does anyone know if Von Schweikert develop their speakers with VAC?
notice that Jack makes a strong point of how he prefers big solid state on his Von Schweikert Ultra 11's. it's not that VAC is not excellent....it's that top notch big solid state is better overall in the right system.

I am surprised that Mike's system at 97 efficiency doesn't let VAC shine through. I wonder how much the speaker design has to do with all of this. Carl M designs his with tubes.
and exactly the same with me.

no one is dissing big VAC's.

but there is better. if the system is set up to take full advantage.
 

bonzo75

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#47
Did Fremer buy the VACs or still sticking to Wilson with big SS?
I respect fremer's ears, with Wilson SS is obvious
 
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caesar

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#48
notice that Jack makes a strong point of how he prefers big solid state on his Von Schweikert Ultra 11's. it's not that VAC is not excellent....it's that top notch big solid state is better overall in the right system.



and exactly the same with me.

no one is dissing big VAC's.

but there is better. if the system is set up to take full advantage.
I have a feeling I would like yours with SS also, as I am severely allergic to syrupy sound
 
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Mike Lavigne

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#50
I have a feeling I would like yours with SS also, as I am severely allergic to syrupy sound
which is exactly the point.

there are plenty of systems where the slightly more forgiving nature of big tubes is the right answer. but at the top of the system/room food chain that same attribute becomes a liability.

show situations lend themselves to a bit of forgiveness.
 
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caesar

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#51
...

there are plenty of systems where the slightly more forgiving nature of big tubes is the right answer. but at the top of the system/room food chain that same attribute becomes a liability.

...
Mike,
Generally I agree with you, for the big box speaker, planars, omnis, and stats. That's where the tastes are, the innovation, and the marketing has been... And thus these types of products dominate the market...

And expensive amps are compliments to these types of frequently inefficient, expensive speakers, so dealers don't complain either...

But, again, guys who really like NOLA or even speakers with even higher efficiency, such as horns, etc., have a different preference, and here the innovation has lagged.
 

PeterA

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#52

PeterA

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#53
I trust his comparisons, but don't share his wilson taste. For guys who like box speakers, I think the latest generation of Magico has surpassed Wilson
Caesar, this is an original posts for another one of your threads. Just remember that two Corona threads were shut down.
 

Mike Lavigne

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#54
Mike,
Generally I agree with you, for the big box speaker, planars, omnis, and stats. That's where the tastes are, the innovation, and the marketing has been... And thus these types of products dominate the market...

And expensive amps are compliments to these types of frequently inefficient, expensive speakers, so dealers don't complain either...

But, again, guys who really like NOLA or even speakers with even higher efficiency, such as horns, etc., have a different preference, and here the innovation has lagged.
i don't think there is much of a relationship between big tubes (over 200 watt push-pull) in big systems, and higher efficiency horns and such related speakers. even when people might have a bit of both in their stable of gear. they are different things.

OTOH from my seat it seems that there has been plenty of high efficiency driver and low to moderate powered amplification innovation going on. if i was re-inventing my hifi self, i could be attracted to any number of interesting 'new' choices.

but as Darth Vader famously said; "it's too late for me".

it's only that most of those choices are not gracing the pages of Stereophile. but they are out there and we hear about them.
 

caesar

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#56
Rockitman agrees, Steve W and Micro perhaps not.
I'm with Thomas Jefferson, a man to whom we owe the philosophical debt for this hobby and much of our life (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, actually borrowed from Locke - Life, Liberty, and Property) , that it's silly to argue about preferences.

As rational men, we need to state our preferences, trade-offs, and rationale, to help guide others in their decision making.
 
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bonzo75

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#57
Rockitman agrees, Steve W and Micro perhaps not.
Haven't you been getting the WBF newsletter, micro always agrees with me
 
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caesar

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#58
Caesar, this is an original posts for another one of your threads. Just remember that two Corona threads were shut down.
So temping, Peter, but I'm not taking the bait. :) I have nearly made it to my 10th anniversary on this site, so don't want to get banned just yet. :) And poor Steve Williams probably got a lot of grey hair and ulcers because of me...

So maybe when our immune systems are stronger... :)
 

gian60

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#59
Situation is that today there are amazing SS
Like CH,Dartzeel,Technical Brain,GrYphon,Soulution,Constellation ecc

I used top tube for 35 years,Arc,Hal Amp,Jadis,Yamamura,AudioTekne,Mactone,Shindo,ANJ,Kondo but when I brought CH at home I enter in a new world
My 2 Kondo Souga,absolutely best Kondo amp,in biamp with a 97 dB speaker lost on every parameter with CH
My friend with Viva New Aurora when
Listen at home Ch sold immediately Viva
Priator with Nola and tube amp when listen at home M1 bought immediately
 
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PeterA

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#60
I'm with Thomas Jefferson, a man to whom we owe the philosophical debt for this hobby and much of our life (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, actually borrowed from Locke - Life, Liberty, and Property) , that it's silly to argue about preferences.

As rational men, we need to state our preferences, trade-offs, and rationale, to help guide others in their decision making.
Yes indeed, Cesar. Which is why you have people using different amps with Wilson speakers. I was responding to Bonzo’s comment that Wilson speakers require solid-state electronics. That does not seem to be the case and it is not as obvious as he states.
 

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