Loaner: Vera-Fi Audio Vanguard Speakers (passive bookshelf monitors)

Discussion in 'Closed Loaners' started by rhythmdevils, Dec 16, 2021.

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  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Loaner: Vera-Fi Audio Vanguard Speakers (bookshelf monitors)

    Here are more photos of the speaker. We will be sending you the one made of bamboo. The bamboo is very dense making it an excellent low resonance material.

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    Description of the Vanguard by Vera-Fi Audio

    The Vanguard speakers are bookshelf / near field monitors that pay homage to the BBC LS3/5A in size and look but but with modern drivers, a fresh take at the crossover of my own design, and a voicing that aims to reproduce the intelligibility, naturalness, and realism of the LS3/5A.

    The original BBC LS3/5A cabinet design called for internal hardwood battens and thin wall 9mm Baltic birch panels with a removable front baffle. Taking cues from this, we followed it where we thought it made sense. We are not trying to make a copy in every detail. We indeed have internal battens and 9mm panels but with an 18mm thick front baffle to provide enough support for the mounting screws and rebate to permit flush mounting. The big departure comes from trying to make the speaker attractive to use without a grill. The drivers are flush mounted and grill is held on with hidden neodymium magnets vs unsightly Velcro stapled onto the baffle. The external dimensions of 12in tall x 7in wide maintains the classic visual proportions of the beloved BBC monitor. However, the depth was increased to 8in from 6.5in to provide a bit more bass extension.

    The Vanguard uses a premium low distortion 28mm diameter silk dome tweeter protected by a wire mesh grill. The woofer is a treated paper cone 5.25in mid bass driver with rubber surround and ample bass extension, with a clear wide bandwidth output to give a natural non-fatiguing sound. These two drivers are combined with a unique asymmetric filter crossover based on a variation of the passive Harsch topology developed by myself, but with an inverted tweeter. The crossover is approximated by a steep 4th order low pass on the woofer and shallower second order high pass for the tweeter at a rather high 5.5kHz crossover frequency. By making the crossover frequency high, the required delay of a traditional Harsch crossover can be achieved without any digital delays to produce a quasi transient perfect step response function. The Vanguard’s step response can be compared against the LS3/5A’s and you will see that they both exhibit this quasi transient perfect feature. This was achieved with a complex 11 component crossover and offsetting the woofer behind the baffle in the LS3/5A. While on the Vanguard, only 6 components were needed.

    The measured frequency response of the Vanguard shows the similar recessed range from 200Hz to about 1000Hz giving it increased intelligibility and naturalness. I have also given the Vanguard a right downward tilt of about -5dB from 200Hz to 20kHz - the so called “Harman House Curve” and this makes a speaker enjoyable all day without treble induced fatigue. The sensitivity is about 84dB at 2.83vrms and 1m:

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    One of the characteristic “tells” of a Harsch quasi transient perfect crossover is that the woofer and tweeter combine to have a slight decrease from the bare woofer below the crossover frequency.

    And if we compare it to the measured response of the Stirling by LS3/5A by Stereophile we can also see a similar voicing:

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    The difference in the crossover frequency is apparent here in these measurements, but this is not seen in the step response, which is more important for how we perceive music and percussive sounds as natural. Here is the Vanguard’s measured step response:

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    If you compare this the step response of the Sterling built LS3/5A as measured by Stereophile you can see the similarities:

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    The Vanguard has its drivers flush mounted and interior is lined with foil faced mass loaded butyl damping sheets and then lined with eggcrate foam to provide a clean resonant free cabinet.

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    Here is the measured electrical impedance and phase of the Vanguard, the phase is simple and smooth with no value of the impedance ever going below 7ohms and no peak greater than 21ohms:

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    The Stirling’s measured impedance from Stereophile by contrast is a bit more complex and a more difficult load to drive with peaks going well above 20ohms (not even shown what the peaks are):

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    So in the end, what I think I have come up with is a simpler, elegant compact two way monitor that pays tribute to the voice and articulation of the LS3/5A but executed using modern drivers and a new crossover topology to yield classic great looking speaker that sounds familiar and is enjoyable to listen to all day everyday. This speaker has been auditioned with many people for feedback into the final crossover voicing. I think it sounds exceptional but you will just have to try it out for yourself on the SBAF tour.

    Here are some construction details of the cabinet and other finishes. The speakers are made from the highest quality materials with an exceptionally high level of surface fit and finish. The Vanguard comes in a variety of finishes including solid laminated bamboo, glass-like high gloss blonde Baltic birch, and satin piano black enamel on Baltic birch.

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    Do I get a prize for uploading all those images?
     
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  2. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Target price is $799. They are estimating that they will be available to ship about 90 days from now. Website to buy from is yet to be disclosed to me.

    Production on these speakers hadn’t started yet. These are sneak previews of pre-production samples with actual production crossovers, production drivers, and production cabinet construction and finish.

    Shipping
    shipping is not that expensive for these. From VA to TX it cost 75$ to ship these just to give an example. So don’t be scared away from joining the tour because of shipping costs.

    Standard rules.
    • Open to ALL friends and contributors on case by case basis but do not be shy to ask
    • 5-10 days per person
    • Please insure the speakers for $750 and the Warp 1 amp (if included) for $500 thank you
    • FedEx UPS only
    • Impressions required of the speakers in review thread here
    • Impressions of the Warp 1 (if included) should be posted here
    • Post with your location if interested
    list
    @Inoculator WA
    @Gazny CA
    @spwath WI
    @ergopower PA
    @Boops NYC

    Tour now merges with Warp 1 amp tour and they go together.

    vanguard Speakers + Warp 1 amp:

    @dasman66 PA
    @scblock CO
    @Climber CO
    @jlucas OH
    @crenca NM
    @Boops NYC
    @Greg121986 MI

    loaner now splits into amp and speakers separate

    Warp 1 amp only:
    @ogodei IL

    Speakers Only
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  3. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    So excited for this one! I am in and looking forward to comparing to my LS3/5a.
     
  4. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    As the designer of the Vanguards, I am here to answer any technical questions anyone might have. Happy to help.
     
  5. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    I think I'd like to listen... but it would be nice if I could time it with the LSA amp (to compare to my Crown CDi 1000 amp)

    I'm hoping to put together a "real" 2-channel system sometime this winter...
     
  6. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I can do this. The Warp 1 loaner is at its last member now. I’ll add you to that list, put you second on this list, and you can keep whichever one longer so that you have them together.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2021
  7. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    @xrk971, I'm local (Alexandria, VA), would it be possible to do a brief in-home trial along side with the loaner pair getting shipped around? I'd be more than happy to post impressions in the associated loaner review thread. If not, no worries.

    Edit: also, i'd be happy to come to you to pick up and drop off, if that wasn't clear.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2021
  8. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    Are you asking if you can come by my place to pick up a loaner pair for a home trial? Sure.

    It’s going to be a piano satin black enamel version though.
    As the bamboo is the one on tour and the glossy blonde we sent to the boss for his birthday present.

    I don’t have a Warp-1 handy as mine is the one on the tour.

    Your are also welcome to come and visit my lab and I’ll let you listen to other amps and speaker in the works. I’m near the Dulles airport area.
     
  9. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Cool, PM incoming!
     
  10. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    FYI @xrk971 is pretty prolific on the diyaudio boards. He knows his stuff.

    @xrk971 are you going to design a headphone? Do you even like headphones? What is the difference between a headphone driver and a speaker driver? Just scaled down? There are software programs for designing speakers, are there any for headphones? Asking for a friend.

    P.S. You are new here so you dont know to ignore me yet but since I know of you from diya Im giving you a friendly heads up.
     
  11. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    Hi Philimon,
    Thanks for the welcome! I considered making my own headphones from a pair of Visaton B80 full range drivers before. I have a 3D printer and SolidWorks. Maybe I need to do this? Thanks for re-igniting the idea.

    I am indeed into headphones. I have designed about 20 different headphone amps and own the following cans: DT-880, HE-400i, ESS AMT, LSA HP-2, 2x OB-1 (SE and custom balanced input). I have a new amp designed for LSA that is about to go into production called the HyperDrive-2. Hybrid tube/SS headphone amp / preamp with 3 selectable inputs and two preamp outputs. MCU controlled selector relays and graceful startup and shutdown. It’s got an E88CC tube buffer stage and solid state Class AB output good for 2W into 32ohms. Solid state relay output DC protection. I just tested the pre-production unit (PCB’s chassis etc). Anyhow, it sounds superb.
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    A little off topic but if you guys want we can start a new thread on it.
     
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  12. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    Thanks for connecting with me. We will have an official SBAF Tour loaner unit (bamboo construction) coming out of a Texas. For your local loaner for pickup, it will be the satin piano black enamel on Baltic birch plywood. I am listening to it now just to make sure it’s all good. These are preproduction so some final details on finish to improve quality but it is close. These are being driven by a 10w Class A DIY Audio “Lottery amp” designed by Nelson Pass using Sony VFET outputs. It’s ample power for a bedroom and sounds terrific. (There is a 14dB gain stage in between the Amazon Dot streamer and the amp to boost the low 14dB gain amp to a usable 28dB level with common line level inputs). The bass is surprisingly deep with wall reinforcement when used as a bookshelf.

    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
  13. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Of course yes. We do appreciate headphones here.
    I think that would make it easily the largest production electrodynamic driver headphone in the world... Awesome!:
    https://www.parts-express.com/Visaton-B80-3.3-HiFi-Full-Range-Driver-8-Ohm-292-660
    Do you think it would be problematic having such a large driver close to ear? It's the norm with planar driver headphones (over 100mm diameter), but I've read some grumblings that a similarly large electrodynamic would not work in this configuration. Unfortunately I've not read much scientific theory discussed just personal experiences. I am guessing because of driver cone shape vs planar flat diaphragm. ??

    P.S. You don't have to entertain my questions. They are way off-topic. Im a newb and cant offer any intellectual discussion anyways. I know answering questions (especially broad & random) can be very time consuming so I would not be offended if you ignored. I am pleased you have a membership here and offering up a loaner.

    @purr1n is in Texas. Pickup and try first?
     
  14. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    Maybe we need a new thread started in DIY section. Another good one is Faital Pro 3FE22 in 16 ohms.
     
  15. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    Yotacowboy is coming by my lab to pick up the satin piano black enamel Vanguards tomorrow. The bamboo set are being sent from Texas to Inoculator in Washington state. So we have a double headed tour.
     
  16. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    If the price target is close to production price. Sign me up. These look beautiful.

    San Diego, CA
     
  17. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    The sales price will $799, some finishes or materials may be a little extra.


    I just handed off the black Vanguards to Yotacowboy. We had a good little meeting in my lab and he got to hear the speakers in my system. Currently playing with the new EP 600.2SE 600w hybrid tube/Class D amp and the HyperDrive-2 preamp mentioned earlier.

    Video of first integrated test of EP600:
     
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  18. xrk971

    xrk971 MOT: Lead Audio Designer for LSA Audio

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    You should sign up for the loaner tour!
     
  19. Inoculator

    Inoculator Friend

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    I realize this is a bit off-topic, but I for some reason was under the impression these were going to be over $1k. I am now even more intrigued and excited to give these a listen. Current cheapest LS3/5A is the MoFi branded Falcon Acoustics Silver Badge at $2k (looks like they are stocking these for purchase again). If Viet provides something under $1k with similar tonality these will be an absolute slam dunk. LS3/5A magic brought to the masses without the boutique snobbery and price? Stay tuned to find out.
     
  20. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Huge thanks to @xrk971 - your graciousness, generosity, and openness to sharing technical info is greatly appreciated!! You've got quite the lab going!

    I'll be trying these out in several different setups. Midfield and nearfield, both pulled out into the room a bit, and pushed back against the back wall for some boundary compensation. Also, amps on hand are: Elekit TU8600, a TPA3255 based amp (Aiyima) and an old Trends TA-10.1. Kinda wishing I had kept the Aegirs (or even just one), but they would have just been taking up space in a closet until now. Anyhow, glad to have you on the forum, XRK!! Thanks for everything so far!
     
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