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Receiver/Integrated recommendations for current hungry speakers (Vandersteen)

Discussion in 'Exclusively Sansui' started by pauld5999, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. pauld5999

    pauld5999 New Member

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    Hi, looking for anyone's recommendations for Sansui receiver/integrated models that would be a good pairing with Vandersteen speakers (Model 3's). My understanding in that they thrive off higher current, higher power amps. Hopefully models that are reasonably attainable...an au-x1 seems like a great candidate but availability seems to be the difficult part. I've considered the g-9000 as well.

    I am currently running the model 3's with a au-9500 and happy with the sound but wondering what else I can get out of them moving up the power and current chain.

    Thanks!
     

     

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  2. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    Power needed is primarily a function of how loud you want to be able to push them (within their mechanical limits, of course). Vandersteen recommended amps with an RMS rating of 100--200 watts. Side note - 200 watts provides only 3dB more output than 100 watts, and 3dB is the smallest increment of change in loudness that would be obvious to the average person.

    So, you should be looking for an amp rated at 100 watts per channel RMS or more, measured from 20-20kHz. More power than specified is not a problem, since you have control of the volume knob! If the speakers sound like they are straining, turn it down.

    As for current...the amount of current drawn is a function of voltage (controlled by the volume knob) and load (defined by the impedance of the speakers). The Vandersteens do not present a particularly difficult load...4 ohms at minimum. So, you need an amp rated for 4 ohm loads.

    I'm never quite sure what is meant by recommendations for "high current" amps. The fundamental question is whether or not the amp can handle the load presented by the speakers. Yes, some amps can deliver the current demanded by, for example, a 2 ohm load. Does this make them "high current"? I guess so, assuming the speakers in use drop down to that impedance at some point on their curve. But if using that amp with an 8 ohm load, is it still a high-current amp?

    I suspect that what is really meant by "high current amp" is "capable of supporting low impedance loads". And of course that's only useful if you know how low of a load can be handled. In your case, 4 ohms is perfectly adequate.

    After meeting your power requirements, it comes down to sound quality. The Vandersteens deserve a clean signal, with minimal coloration. In my experience, the pre-1976 (or thereabouts) Sansui designs were more colored (warmer sounding).

    Given that you are happy with the sound of your Vandersteens with the AU-9500, but wondering just how different they might sound with a different amp, I would recommend trying something significantly different...maybe something from the Crown XLS series. After hearing good things about them, I picked up a used XLS 1002. Pretty impressive performance, especially given the low price point. Lots of power, capable of handling low impredance loads, and very clean sounding (at least to my ears).

    I have Vandersteen 2Ce Signature IIs in my main system, powered by a rebuilt Sansui AU-919. I think it does a fine job with them. I used the 919 as a preamp when experimenting with the Crown, which also sounded good, and perhaps provided a bit more detail at the lower frequencies (or maybe I was just over-analyzing!).

    Note - I also run a pair of Vandersteen subs, which - with their crossover arrangement - reduces the demand on the main power amp (by reducing low frequency reproduction from the main speakers). My point is that in this scenario, the 919 has more available power than it would if pushing the speakers full-range.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
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  3. ghamilton

    ghamilton Super Member

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    With the Vandersteen 3 I wouldn't look at anything less than 150wpc. I have the 919 and it's perfect for the Vandersteen 1. The 919 is not quite enough for the 2 or 3. If you can't locate a Sansui with enough pwr, then consider a pair of KENWOOD L-07 mono amps. You will need a preamp with those too. Good luck finding a X1.
     
  4. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    I disagree with your statement. The 919 is certainly adequate for the Vandersteen 2Ce Sig II's. You seem to be saying that a difference of 1-2dB (thereabouts) of output is the difference between being enough and not enough power (150 watts vs 100 watts).

    Listening distance and room size also play a very significant role, as does desired loudness.

    2C has 86dB sensitivity = roughly 80dB from two speakers at 8-9 feet with 1 watt of input. At average loudness of 86dB (quite loud) at that distance, the 919 has 12-15dB of headroom...enough for most recordings. Is more better? Sure, but once you get to these power levels, I would suggest that perhaps quality becomes more important than quantity. Also, if moving up in power, I would suggest that all other things being equal, there isn't a lot of benefit unless you do so in big steps (around 100%).
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  5. ghamilton

    ghamilton Super Member

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    I know the 919 is enough to make them play. I have just heard from owners that have tried that combo and they thought the 919 was a little weak for the 2. Maybe my 919 is more powerful than I thought. I have no problem with that.:D
     
  6. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    My former G9000 which I sold recently is a definite candidate, this amplifier is capable of what you want, but there are a few issues you'd need taken care of first.
    Okay so I am not kidding, but after I had done a lot of work, re-cap, new transistors, all the resistors changed out on the power-amp drivers.
    This amp was making 220watts both channels driven into 8Ω, I then had it on my 4Ω load which is in reality, 3.5Ω, and it was making 243 watts. This was also showing 0.015%THD at these levels too.
    However, my JBL L7's are 6Ω nominal, and the current protection kept tripping as soon as the "not so accurate" power meters showed just over 10watts. Now, I know the amp is solid, so I disconnected the current protection trigger diodes which took care of that, and found the G9000 was perfectly happy cranking away and far louder levels than I would ever listen to. Bouncing up over 200 watts on the meters, and not clipping the amp.
    SO, with a small mod, and a good checkover to make sure its a healthy amplifier, the G9000 is an excellent candidate....
     
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  7. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    For that matter, 5 watts is enough to make them play. Heck, even 1 watt is enough to make them play. As I noted, it's all about how loud you need them to be, and how much headroom you need to avoid/minimize clipping distortion. Assuming a 5 watt amp, and allowing 12dB for transient peaks, you could push them to an average/continuous output of around 74dB (at 6-8 feet from the speakers)...and still have a bit of headroom left.

    If 100 watts is not enough, there's a good chance that 200 watts isn't either.

    And yes, your 919 probably is more powerful than you thought. Mine was measured at 116 watts (8 ohms) and 137 watts (4 ohms), at 1kHz, both channels driven and less than .1%THD. Of course, this is only a sample of one. :biggrin:
     
  8. pauld5999

    pauld5999 New Member

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    Thank you for the responses and recommendations, going to try out a Crown XLS just for fun with the AU-9500 as the pre while still searching around for other options
     
  9. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    that will sort you out!! but you'd have to do something about the fans, the noise might get a bit much...
     
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  10. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    I think you might be surprised at how quiet they are...at least on the XLS 1002 that I picked up. They are variable with power output/heat, and I never notice them. Of course, YMMV!
     
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  11. kevzep

    kevzep Its all about the Music Subscriber

    I have the stock fans in my Macro-Tech, they are controlled by a temp sensor and barely tick over at idle...
     
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  12. Overundr1

    Overundr1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Fans in the xls series can be noisy, 20 minutes with a torx screwdriver and soldering iron will fix them right up for home audio use, standard 80mm 12v computer fans easily sourced that are whisper quiet. Stupidly good damping, over the top power specs, they like low impedance speakers too.
    Of course at the volumes I usually listen to in the shop while working fan noise is not an issue
    They play very nice with Sansui units that have pre-out jacks too I might add.
    Have an XLS402 wired to the pre out of my AU9900a with the volume control settings matched to the AU driving a set of BIC TPR600's and very very pleased with the sound
    -Lee
     
  13. pauld5999

    pauld5999 New Member

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    Did you try at all biamping your Vandersteen's with the Crown and your 919 using Y adapters on the preouts to the main ins?
     
  14. smurfer77

    smurfer77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am not sure more power is the answer to a smile on your face unless volume is all you are after. I ran 2ce perfectly fine for a couple of years with a little Sansui AU-555A. Sounded way better than the higher powered Hafler DH-220 i tried and some adcom units.

    So i suggest go for power if you need the volume it but other qualities may be more important
     
  15. pauld5999

    pauld5999 New Member

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    Are you using 2wq subs in your setup? If so any tips for setting the w-2 crossover with the au-919? Thanks
     
  16. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    I have the older 2W subs (Vandersteen appears to still be using this designation on a newer model..the V2W?).

    As you probably know, the input impedance of the AU-919 is 47K ohms.

    In any case, I tried the crossover at the setting for 50K ohms and 33K ohms...went with 33K. Frankly, I've found that placement and the gain controls seem to have a lot more impact on proper "tuning" of these subs than did the crossover settings.
     

     

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  17. charles 1973

    charles 1973 Super Member

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    I'm a bit surprised that Vandersteen recommends 100 - 200 wpc for their Model 3's. The 87 db sensitivity and 4 ohm minimum impedance isn't particularly demanding on a decent amp unless you like your music LOUD.

    Increasing amp power (FTC) from 75 - 150 wpc will provide a barely perceivable 3 db in higher spl all else being close. Of course all else is often different. That Sansui looks like a very good amp with lots of headroom. Some 150+ wpc amps won't match yours for sound quality, and may not even go any louder (they may not have the headroom or current capability of the Sansui).

    That said, You can always buy a vintage amp at about market price and if you don't like it, Sell it for pretty close to what you paid. That G-9000 is a real beauty...I must admit. I could see buying it on looks alone if I could find one in good shape.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  18. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    No, I have not. Given that I'm running a pair of powered subs, I'm not very motivated to do so. Also, I already have two feeds out from the 919 preamp section...one to the subwoofer crossover (which then feeds back into the main amp section), and a second to another power amp which drives our outdoor speakers.
     

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