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  • The $400 shoot out

    I just thought I would post the setup and results of a shootout me and 2 friends are having today. It is a shootout of 4 very different speakers that all come in under $400. It will be:

    Vandersteen 2ci (from the late 80s I think)
    Infinity CS-3007 (from the 90s)
    Gallo Nucleus ti
    ELT525m

    We will be comparing highs only today. It will be a 2hr thing from noon to 2pm here in rainy Springfield, VA. It will be a level matched 1 on 1 going for 3 rounds.

    Round 1:
    vandy vs infinity

    Round 2:
    gallo vs av123

    Round 3:
    r1 winner vs r2 winner

    The source will be a philips SACD player to a Marantz 7000 receiver to the level matching box and amp.

    The level matching was done by using a parasound 806a 6 channel amp and a philips A/V switcher meant to add 3 sources to a receiver. we are using it in reverse. 1 preamp from the marantz gets routed to 1 of 2 (or 3) stereo pairs on the amp. each amp channel has gain control so the pairs are level matched ahead of time with a radio shack meter a 1khz. hopefully this will work to do what we need it to. I will be snapping pics and taking notes along the way.

    Sadly the rotisserie chicken plan got rained out but I think a few delicious beers are still in the cards. In fact there is a mini shoot out of beers planned too. It is a bout of 2 Oak aged imperial IPAs. Southern tier's oak aged unearthly vs dogfish Burton Baton.

    Game on. :)
    My IB
    http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.nock/IB

  • #2
    Great way to spend a rainy Saturday IMHO.
    There's a fine line between gardening and Madness.
    -Cliff Clavin

    Comment


    • #3
      Cool, can't wait for the results. Have fun.
      engtaz

      I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

      Comment


      • #4
        You finished yet?
        Time waits for no man.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jethro
          You finished yet?
          I think they had the beer shootout and forgot about the speakers. :)

          Comment


          • #6
            Hey guys, sorry for the drop out in communication. My wife is studying for exams now and as a result I have been with Ella (my daughter) every minute since the shoot out and havent been able to collect my thoughts until now. So here goes.

            First the results then the details.
            Round 1
            Vandersteen 2ci vs Infinity CS3007
            WINNER: Vandersteen

            Round 2
            Gallo nucleus ti vs av123 elt525m
            WINNER: 525m

            Round 3
            2ci vs 525m
            WINNER: Vandersteen 2ci
            (but read below - this was closer than I might have guessed)

            Notes in to particular order:

            This was the most fun I have ever had doing a shootout and I think that is due to the level matching and insta-switching (read: zero time delay) between speaker pairs. I didnt once second guess myself about what I had just heard compared to what I was hearing. I will use this method always in the future.

            A few items on physical setup stuff. The 2ci spent 100% of its competition time off its stands. Since we had the speakers arranged in AB-BA config we swapped half way through each round to BA-AB. This mattered most on round 3. Both the 2ci and the 525m were best in their starting positions of 2ci on the outside and 525 on the inside. Also, the speakers were all corssed over at 100Hz to keep the focus on the highs although we did break this rule from time to time just to see what a speaker was capable of. The 525m has an amazing amount of bass for its size and several sizes up.

            The vandersteen 2ci won the overall. Probably not surprising to most because it is generally considered to compete above its weightclass at its asking price let alone in a $400 (used on ebay - local sale) and under but one of the main goals was to find out what WE were capable of hearing. All of us felt unsatisfied by most or all of our in-store (or audio convention) demos over the years and this session helped restore the sense that each of us knows what we like and how to listen/make decisions.


            Round 1 and 2 were not close at all. When listening to the infinity it sounded good with a solid center image and nothing offensive tonally but when the switch was made to the 2ci everything got better. Width. Depth. Placement. plus there was a midrange to die for now. Just awesome. It was one of those moments where the smile couldnt be suppressed. Every listener had the 'wow' moment when they took their turn in the sweet spot (where all listening was done).

            Round 2 was a similar experience. The 525m impressed me (I knew what they are capable of) and outright shocked the other 2 with their detail and 3D imaging. The beastie boys instrumental and the miles davis track in particular let the 525 crush the gallo. The gallo seemed fine if there wasnt a lot going on in a song but they sound very thin and were missing large parts of the music in places (a triangle was almost inaudible for example). The gallo performance is not totally surprising (and was probably unfair) but it was fun to get warmed up with such a comparison.

            Round 3 was very close. In the end the extra air around the highest frequencies of the 2ci gave it the edge but the 525m impressed everyone with how similar they came across. Both of the round 3 speakers have excellent:
            separation
            terrific midrange
            staging width and depth
            listenability

            I think the take away for the other two guys was that they were going to do 2 things:
            1)Buy a set of vandersteen 2s
            2)Buy a set of ELT525ms
            For me it was spend more time with these 2 winners!

            My next step is to have a shoot out between the 2ci and x-statiks.

            The music we used in order of most air time:
            The beastie boys - groove holmes from their album the in sound from way out. CD.
            Miles Davis - blue in green from kind of blue. SACD
            Nirvana - Come as you are and Lithium from nevermind CD
            Beck - the golden age from sea change. SACD
            Tosca -gute laune from dehli 9 CD
            karl Denson - a shorter path from dance lesson #2. CD
            Pink floyd - on the run - DSOTM SACD
            The Police - various excerpts - SACD
            Joss stone - various - 192 bit aac


            PS- the beers didnt come out until we had all settled on the winner. The Avery Maharaja came out and while we listened to 30 more minutes of 2ci goodness. No 'ear goggles' here. :)
            My IB
            http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.nock/IB

            Comment


            • #7
              And, since I wouldnt want this thread to be worthless, here are some pics. :)

              1st pic is the amp/switcher combo
              2nd - round 1 speakers
              3rd - round 2 speakers (guess who forgot the gallo stands haha)
              4th - round 3 speakers
              Attached Files
              My IB
              http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.nock/IB

              Comment


              • #8
                Been awhile since I've listened to the Vandy 2's. They were driven by a Rogue 66 and M-120 mono blocks. There was a lot of equipment racks in between the speakers, and they weren't pulled out far enough in the room, but I do remember them being nice. They were a tad relaxed/warm for my tastes.

                In the next room were the Vandy 5A's.....um...WOW. Best bass I've ever heard.

                Sounds like you had fun....looking forward to the statik vs vandy comparo's
                Never Argue With An idiot. They'll Lower You To Their Level And Then Beat You With Experience!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jason
                  Been awhile since I've listened to the Vandy 2's. They were driven by a Rogue 66 and M-120 mono blocks. There was a lot of equipment racks in between the speakers, and they weren't pulled out far enough in the room, but I do remember them being nice. They were a tad relaxed/warm for my tastes.

                  In the next room were the Vandy 5A's.....um...WOW. Best bass I've ever heard.

                  Sounds like you had fun....looking forward to the statik vs vandy comparo's
                  I have always heard/read the same - that the vandys are relaxed - which has me very interested to find the equivalent caliber speaker but more forward so I can undertand the differences. I say that because in this test I cant see calling the 2ci anything but middle of the road with its leaning. Perhaps our largely untreated room played a role. (?)

                  Anyway, I hope the x-statik match up will be this weekend since all the setup is already done.
                  My IB
                  http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.nock/IB

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I just impressed with how well the Bookshelve speaker did against a Floorstanding speaker.
                    engtaz

                    I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by engtaz
                      I just impressed with how well the Bookshelve speaker did against a Floorstanding speaker.
                      Yes. The 525 impressed all 3 of us. Granted the 100hz crossover was in place for 'game time' so the 525 wouldnt compete on low bass but none the less it is amazing. If space is at all a concern the 525 is unbeatable.

                      Now I am really looking forward to throwing the WAF-1 in to the audio octagon (auctagon?) next. :thumbsup:
                      My IB
                      http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.nock/IB

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Snock, nice write up! It sounds like you all had a good time, although I admit I would have had a hard time holding off on the liquid refreshments.

                        I admit I am not surprised by the Vandy's coming in first but it looks like the ELT's made a fine showing for themselves.


                        Looking forward to your next shootouts results.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Philips A/V switcher?

                          Do you have a link for the Philips A/V switcher?

                          Strong work.
                          Nice write up.

                          Results of the beer shootout?

                          Mike
                          HT Gear (AVS Link)
                          Rk: MA WR-37-32
                          Pwr: 20A, Surge-X SEQ, M1500-UPS
                          Proj: JVC RS20, 128" 2.4:1 CaradaBW, ISCOIIIL, CineSlide, RadianceXE
                          Cbl: DirectTV C31/700 Genie receiver
                          Rec: 5308CI + XPA-3
                          BR: Oppo BDP-103
                          Gm: 360 Pro
                          LR/C: RS1KSig/RSC200Sig
                          S/R: RSS300/RS250MkII
                          Sub: SVS PB12-Ultra/2
                          Off: HRT MS DAC, USP-1, UPA-2, ERC-1, Ultra10, WAF-1 Ninja+No-Rez
                          Off2: Gizmo, WAF-1
                          TCA: 3x Gizmo 1.0or,5x v1.0M; 5xWAF-1

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mike_TX
                            Do you have a link for the Philips A/V switcher?

                            Strong work.
                            Nice write up.

                            Results of the beer shootout?

                            Mike

                            Thanks. It was a lot of fun to do. The switcher is the Philips SWV2030.

                            As for the beer - we went straight to my personal favorite DIPA - Maharaja. I hope to to have the Oak aged DIPA shoot-out tonight and I will post results.

                            We also tested ascends CBM-170s on Tuesday vs a pair of AR bookshelves (AR15 maybe) and also Ascend vs Vandersteens.

                            Ascend vs AR - At first the imaging seemed equivalent on the beastie boys instrumentals. Then I noticed the AR had very apparent lumpy freuqnecy respone and 2 pretty bad ringing freuqencies that became distracting in the Groove Holmes track. At that point the Ascend was leading but not by a huge amount. But when we switched to a Dave Matthews track it became a Usain Bolt vs [everyone else] race. Ascend wins, hands down. It becase very difficult to switch back to the ARs for me. The ARs will stay on surround duty in my friends system.

                            As for the Vandy vs Ascend - both did very well but in the end the holography on Roger Water's Amused to Death was just spooky and won me (and my friend Eddie) over. It sounded like well done multichannel music. On one of the first few tracks there is a bobcat (?) roar that the Vandys placed a few inches from my right ear directly beside me. The ascend put the roar to the right of the right speaker but not nearly as close. Still, the ascend isnt leaving my desktop/office 5.1 setup anytime soon becuase it has size on its side when it comes ot placement flexibility. Tonally they both were quite pleasing and I will keep both on my favorites list. I am loving the Vandy right now I have to say.

                            Hoping to somehow get my x-statiks to Eddie's house this wekeend but moving them makes me very nervous.

                            Philips switcher:
                            http://cgi.ebay.com/PHILIPS-SWV2030-...3286.m20.l1116
                            My IB
                            http://picasaweb.google.com/steven.nock/IB

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by snock
                              But when we switched to a Dave Matthews track it became a Hussein Bolt vs [everyone else] race. Ascend wins, hands down.
                              Saddam Hussein
                              Usain Bolt

                              :fryingpan:

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