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mmoxley

NOS Valves VRD - Newest Fan

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I know the VRD's have been discussed at length in the forums before, but i have to add my 2 cents worth for anyone who owns a pair of Klipsch heritage speakers and has ever considered getting a pair or is on the fence about getting a pair of VRD's.

I will get to the VRD's in a moment, but here is a little background on how i got addicted to Klipsch speakers in the first place which eventually led me to VRD's. A friend bought some Heresy II's back in high school and i remember he would have parties and turn up the music so loud and there would be zero distortion. The louder he played them the better they sounded. I had never heard anything like that and felt like i was at a rock concert every time i went to his house to drink a few beers and play pool.

For one reason or the other he decided to sell the Heresy II's and i was first in line with money in hand just before i went off to college. This was probably the best decision i ever made in regards for money spent versus returned enjoyment. $500 for 5 years of audio bliss. Not a bad deal. If that was the best decision, the worst decision was selling the Heresy II's when i needed some money when i was about to graduate college. That was the end of that chapter and about a year ago i decided to get back into Klipsch speakers and after much research i figured the Cornwall III was a can't miss choice although i never heard a pair before.

Now, i figured the CW III must be an improvement on the CW I and CW II and definitely the H II, so i bought a brand new pair and started searching for the right amp to make the CW III's make the magic i remember from my H II's in college. After saving some money i got the newer Mcintosh MC275 V figuring it would be a can't miss combo with my CW III's. Boy was i wrong. I was so disappointed with muddled sound quality and distortion at medium volume levels (i remember the H II's cranking so loud and clear and i could barely turn up the CW III's without hearing muddy distortion). i made the mistake of selling the CWIII's thinking that the speakers were the problem (how could it be the brand new McIntosh gear right???). After hearing the next owners setup with his vintage gear i knew right away the speakers were just fine, it was the McIntosh gear that was the culprit. Now i wish i could have those CWIII's back with my current setup. I bought a pair of Forte II's to replace the CW III's and had them tricked out by Bob Crites with every mod (new crossovers, titanium diaphragms and new wiring). Hooked up the Forte II to the MC275V and my music still sounded like sh&%. Double confirmation the MC275V was crap.

I then thought i would give a vintage McIntosh amp a shot and got a MC250 after doing some research. I must say this is an amazing amp that is built like a tank and pairs well with Klipsch speakers. My Forte II's finally starting singing the second they were hooked up to the MC250 and i cursed that damn MC275 that was making my music suffer the whole time. The MC250 definitely blew away the MC275 V as far as sound quality. It is SS but it sounds like a tube amp. I believe Mcintosh made and makes some great products, just not the MC275 V re-issue.

Now lets talk about the NOS Valves VRD's that I ordered last month and arrived a few days ago. After letting them warm up for about 15 minutes i played one of my favorite reference tracks and that was it, end of story, the search was over, this is the amp that sounds like the sound i have been chasing for almost a year. It blew away the MC275 and was a solid improvement over the MC250. I have never heard an amp sound this smooth and balanced. It is a match made in heaven with my Forte II. I can't wait to get a pair of LS or KH or Jubs and hear their full potential, but one thing is clear, this is the best value amp out there today and i would have paid twice what i paid for it if i would have been able to audition it in advance and hear what i am hearing. If you are in the market for a new amp the VRD's are the way to go if you own Klipsch Heritage speakers. They are worth more than Craig is charging. They blow away the new McIntosh stuff.

If I had to do it all over again i would have done this setup and called it a day. No telling how much time i wasted searching for the right combo, but i think this is heaven.

1) Get a pair of NOS Valves VRD tube monoblocks

2) Get a Juicy Music Peach or Blueberry tube Preamp

3) Get a good DAC like a Benchmark DAC1 USB so you can have option to play music from your computer if needed

4) Get a Pair of gently used Forte II, Chorus II, Cornwalls, LaScala's or Khorns with Bob or Al's mods

5) Get a tube CD player (Jolida JD100A) and a good value turntable

6) Get some good interconnects and speaker wires just to be safe and you have done all you can do

Any improvement over this combination would be minimal at best and the law of diminishing returns would kick in not to mention you would spend needless amounts of money and waste the time trying to get a better sound that might not ever exist. That is my 2 cents worth. Just don't want any others to waste the time or money I did by making the same mistakes. Get the VRD's and a good pair of Klipsch speakers everything else will fall into place, promise. Hope this helps someone find the sound they are looking for too.

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Cool story about great amps.

What are you using for a pre amp?

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Temporarily using a "Benchmark DAC1 USB Pre", but I have a Juicy Music BBX in the shop for service that was very good with the MC250 so i can only imagine it will pair well with the VRD's.

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Good read, thanks for sharing.
I used to have a pair of 275 reissues and was not impressed.
Craig rebuilt my Mac 30s and they are keepers.

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Temporarily using a "Benchmark DAC1 USB Pre", but I have a Juicy Music BBX in the shop for service that was very good with the MC250 so i can only imagine it will pair well with the VRD's.

The BBX pairs very well. I have been running VRD's with a BBX on Cornwalls for several years. I have no plans to make any changes.

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The VRDs suck, and I have a pretty long list of complaints.

1) They're too heavy
2) The tops are too shiney and it hurt my eyes when the sun hit them just right
3) The tubes weren't bright enough to read my CD labels at night
4) I had to learn to use a screwdriver the size of a toothpick
5) I had to learn the difference between vdc and vac
6) They didn't keep my room warm enough when the temperatures dropped into the teens (forcing me to turn on the furnace)
7) The manual was poorly written -- no warnings at all about the dangers of dusting them while operating (my swiffer caught on fire)
8) No 1 ohm taps
9) No in home service (the loon actually expects you to troubleshoot issues over the phone), and trust me, he'll make sure you get electrocuted at least once just to make sure you're paying attention
10) He doesn't offer his own preamp, so you're stuck using a Juicysomethingorother, which is nothing more than a overpriced mousetrap.

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You finally got there. Outstanding.

I had an MC275 V here too. It was OK on my lascala II's. I didn't roll the tubes. I sold it. No doubt that I liked the MC250 better. The MC250 is awesome on KLipsch horns. Mates well with a JMA preamp too.

I haven't heard VRD's in my house......may need to one day.

jc

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The VRDs suck, and I have a pretty long list of complaints.

1) They're too heavy
2) The tops are too shiney and it hurt my eyes when sun hit them just right
3) The tubes weren't bright enough to read my CD labels at night
4) I had to learn to use a screwdriver the size of a toothpick
5) I had to learn the difference between vdc and vac
6) They didn't keep my room warm enough when the temperatures dropped into the teens (forcing me to turn on the furnace)
7) The manual was poorly written -- no warnings at all about the dangers of dusting them while operating (my swiffer caught on fire)
8) No 1 ohm taps
9) No in home service (the loon actually expects you to troubleshoot issues over the phone), and trust me, he'll make sure you get electrocuted at least once just to make sure you're paying attention
10) He doesn't offer his own preamp, so you're stuck using a Juicysomethingorother, which is nothing more than a overpriced mousetrap.

You left out:

11. You have to go out a by a VOM so you can use the thing

12. The stock tubes are pretty much fine as they are so you look silly spending a lot of extra money for high priced NOS tubes

13. Name suggests tube rolling but after a listen you just want to do that, sit back and listen, instead of actually tube rolling

14. The manufacturer laughs at you when you ask if he reccomends going to a high $ AC power cord

15. The designer does not have much of an opinion about ANYTHING. He lives up in Michigan (I think he is the only one left in that State), and he just kind of goes with the flow on everything.

16. The customer services sucks--no way the guy is going to stay in business when he keeps helping people out with their VRD even if they didn't buy them from him

I really enjoyed the review that started this thread. Brought back some good memories when mine first came through the door. I bought my VRDs from a forum member who never really used them and Craig was still on the phone from set up, etc. I later sent them to him for a tune up and check out, and the sumbitch wouldn't let me pay him. Finally had to find a vintage pre-amp (MX 110 ) to send him in order to give him any money, and then he got that sounding so good I had to get it out of the country.

Can't go wrong with VRD, glad you have things the way you want them.

Travis

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Temporarily using a "Benchmark DAC1 USB Pre", but I have a Juicy Music BBX in the shop for service that was very good with the MC250 so i can only imagine it will pair well with the VRD's.

MM,

What vinyl rig/cart are you using with the BBX/VRD combo?

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Any improvement over this combination would be minimal at best and the law of diminishing returns would kick in not to mention you would spend needless amounts of money and waste the time trying to get a better sound that might not ever exist.

Quoted for truth.

I actually set up a similar system "on the blind" for a friend who was familiar with Klipsch speakers but needed the rest. Needless to say he was blown away, the performance being so convincing that I ended up with a pair of VRDs too (and this coming from one who already has a multitude of amplifers).

The VRDs are a custom solution for Heritage Klipsch and similar speakers and as such would be nearly impossible to beat them (particularly with that power output) without spending a helluvalotta $$$. The custom solutions offered by Craig and Mark (and others similar) will best almost any component at similar prices from traditional companies. Those traditional companies cannot offer such a product so made for your speakers, and if they could or would, the overhead would be sufficiently large to dissuade most from purchasing them.

In other words, you did good[:D]

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Agreed. When people email me for a tube solution I simply can't think of anything else worth recommending unless they have more than $6K to spend, and then I'm not even sure if it will actually sound better -- just different.

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Well I am elated that so many people have a positive response to Craig's VRD, and the JM Peach. Why I am so excited about it, is that I just purchased a pair of the VRD and a JM Peach. I can't wait to put then in line with my Cornscalas.

I guess the only exception I must take is about the MC275. I have one of those also and running it with a C-29 and the Cornscalas and it sounds nothing short of wonderful. I will say that I originally have some tube issues that were corrected by Audio Classics (wonderful company). Once some good tubes were put in, it was great. I have had and still do have several McIntosh pieces and they have all been great.

That's just my nickle's worth.

Cigarbum

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Agreed. When people email me for a tube solution I simply can't think of anything else worth recommending unless they have more than $6K to spend, and then I'm not even sure if it will actually sound better -- just different.

Yes.

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12. The stock tubes are pretty much fine as they are so you look silly spending a lot of extra money for high priced NOS tubes

13.
Name suggests tube rolling but after a listen you just want to do that,
sit back and listen, instead of actually tube rolling

14. The manufacturer laughs at you when you ask if he reccomends going to a high $ AC power cord

15.
The designer does not have much of an opinion about ANYTHING. He lives
up in Michigan (I think he is the only one left in that State), and
he just kind of goes with the flow on everything.

=================================

I used to irritate Craig with tube rolling ideas. I stopped doing that a couple of years ago.

Hate to think what comments he would have about tweaky expensive power cords.

He treats peoples equipment like he was working on his own.

He takes each vintage rebuld as a personal challenge.

And builds VRDs to an heirloom level of robustness.

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I'd like to own the stereo vrd some day.

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I'd like to own the stereo vrd some day.
How's your back?

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I'd like to own the stereo vrd some day.

How's your back?


[:D]

Actually I've had a couple back issues since owning the JubClones.

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I'd like to own the stereo vrd some day.

How's your back?

How true it is heavier than most 5 channel HT SS amps.

Mine has not moved from the shelf I put it on when it came home.

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I've been contemplating getting a pair of VRD's and almost convinced myself that I would, but reading this thread clinches it for me. I've pretty much decided now to replace my Stingray, which I really love, with a pair of VRD's and most probably a BBX. The Stingray is a great match for my Klipschorns already, and I can't imagine them sounding better but who knows? Has anyone heard both?

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