Calling on Vandersteen 5a owners

I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a pair of Vandersteen 5a/VCC-5 speakers. I decided to go with the cherry finish. Is the high gloss finish worth the extra $$? I have not been able to see the cherry finish in person, can anyone comment on the finish? My dealer said it is by far the most popular finish. Any regrets with your purchase?

Thanks Rob
The Vandersteen 5a's are my favorite speakers under $24,000. They are my favorite speakers and I think any color is a bargin. My close friend and I went shopping for these at Audio Connection in NJ about a year ago. He is to say the least, very satisfied. I have always loved Vandesteens, and one day I hope to afford the 5a's for myself. I have been around audio alot. See my web site:
John M

I've had my 5A for almost 2 years. A great product, very happy. My standard walnut is very nice but not great IMO.

Have not seen the cherry in person either but several months ago a pair in cherry was for sale here with outstanding pix. Don't recall if it was high gloss or not but the natural cherry finish looked fantastic, just like cherry should. A great choice. BTW, I have a lot of cherry woodwork (and some walnut)in my house.

I would call Vandersteen about the high gloss & cherry.

Rob, what amp are you thinking of using?

I own a pair in rosewood with a high gloss finish and would say without a doubt the gloss finish is worth it, regardless if you get them in rosewood or cherry. It transforms the speaker from average looking to exquisite and really makes the speaker look as expensive as it is. Think about how much you look at them while you are listening. Don't cheapen out and regret it if you can afford the upgrade finish

Currently I will be using a Bryston amp, but I plan on updating the amp within 1 year after my purchase. I was thinking about trying out Audio Research, Balanced Audio or Jeff Rowland gear. I will be using the speakers in a mix music/ht setup so I am targeting solid state amps.

Hi Rob, great choice on your speakers! I vote for the gloss unless you like to see and feel the wood grain on the speaker. They're pretty different finishes IMHO. As for amps, you should add the BEL 1001 to your short list. Nothing I've heard comes close and you'll hear every ounce of extra performnace with the 5As.
Let us know what you decide on!
I own 5's with the cherry finish (not glossy). Some of our other LR furniture is cherry, and the wood on the Vandy's works beautifully with the other pieces. The speakers finish darkens over time (about 6months), so they will look different out of the box compared to how they'll look after 6mo's. I don't know if this is true for the glossy finish, however. Talk to the people at Vandersteen about whether the finish will darken in the glossy finish. The wood on the speakers is very high grade and quite attractive, but the speakers themselves will never win any beauty contests. As much as I love the sound of the 5's, I'm probably going to have to switch them for a speaker with a better WAF and good sound/apperance combo. I'm thinking Avalon Opus in the quilted cherry right now. Any other suggestions for great looks/sound at under $20k?
Bruce J: honestly you would part with your 5s? To purchase ANY other speaker would be a step down. I don't own 5s but if I did and I had available funds, I would hightale these back to Richard V for 5a upgrade immediately. And for what they are, how could you get so much in such a small and relatively unassuming package?
Bruce, I'm sorry to see you have to do something different than Model 5s. I agree with Steve that you should keep them and upgrade to 5As. It's a stunning upgrade. If that won't work there may be one good option if you can get one. The only ...and I mean ONLY...speaker I've ever heard that was any better than 5s was a custom speaker. It didn't have the deep, deep bass, but was still great on Rock. If you're interested in this contact me off line and I'll fill you in on the details.
mikej:saw your comment on upgrade from 5 to 5a.i own 5's and am considering this,but the cost is very high,and not field is still being advertised.did you have this done?what made it a "stunning" upgrade?any input is appreciated.
I own(ed) both the 5 and the 5A.
The upgrade from 5 to 5A, in my system, provided a serious increase in low level detail and even clearer sound through the midrange. The bass improved as well, but I found the other improvements more important for my taste.
Looking back, I would say that getting the source component as good as it can be would be a slightly better investment and *then* move to the model 5A.
I think that the model 5A may even be too good for the gear I am currently using, which is quite good.
It depends on how you want to upgrade your system- the 5A reveals every little change made to the system clearer than any other Vandersteen.
Good luck!

Hi Machine,
As Will so aptly said above the 5A upgrade is a pretty comprehensive upgrade. I wrote about it in my System notes so you may want to look there. I also noted some significant enhancement in the highs to go along with the mid and bass changes. Will is also completely correct in stating that the 5As are capable of revealing everything your source components can throw at them. I was happy with my 5s and thought nothing would be better...well...I was wrong. It was at least a 40% improvement in my room. It also made me go out and get the Theta Gen VIII though so be prepared. ;-)
Steve and Mike, I am in complete agreement with you about the sound quality of the 5's (and 5a's). Everyone who has heard our system has raved about the sound, which is truly sublime and deeply involving and satisfying. However, I can't ignore the fact that as we have made improvements in our home decor, my wife has become, in her own quiet sweet way, increasingly unhappy with the appearance of the Vandy's in the LR, and there is no other place to put them except build a listening room in our unfinished basement. Before you say, "Buddy, you just solved your problem!", let me just say that separating myself physically from my family to pursue my passions is not a tradeoff I'm willing to make. My wife's happiness is more important to me than keeping the Vandy's when I could have speakers that sound 90% as good, but look 1000% better to her. Life is all about priorities... And it is not as though I'll be miserable with any other speaker. As long as I buy wisely we should be able to get speakers that are mutually satisfying. At least this is what keep telling myself, although putting on a favorite LP, turning off the lights, and savoring the sensation of beautiful music emerging from the 5's does weaken my resolve to "Do the right thing"!!!
Hi Bruce, I understand. Does this mean going away from a floor standing speaker entirely? If you can stay with a floor stander you may want to consider the Quatro. It will take up a lot less space and sound almost as good as a pair of 5s. Plus, they will probably be available with an all wood finish eventually. (No promises as this is only a rumor.) Just a thought.
Hi Michael, That's a possibility. However, I think she is wanting something with lots of beautiful wood and little black grill cloth, which is why I've been considering the Avalon. This will be a long search, which ain't all bad to an audiophile!
Hi Bruce,
Good luck. I think that you'll like the Quatros quite a bit. You should have your local Vandersteen dealer find out about the wood version of the speaker. I'd happily put it up against the Avalons any day.
Bruce at least stick with time and phase correct if you have to move away from Vandersteeen. Thiel has great looking cabinets. Is size also part the issue here? Perhaps their 2.4 could work?
Hi, I spoke to Richard Vandersteen yesterday about the Quatros. He will be showing them in wood at the next show and they are orderable. The price in wood comes to $10,700. They replace the old Model 5s.
Good luck with your decisions!
Steve and Mike, Thanks again for your suggestions. I will definitely keep the Thiels and Quatros in mind. I hope to be in Chicago in the next month where I will check these out at the Vandy and Thiel dealers. I'm also considering the Sonus Faber Anniversario speakers, but at $27k, that is a real stretch. My wife would have to say she would rather have those in our living room than to take another vacation...ever. Or eat out, or replace old furniture, or...(you get the idea).
I have 5As in the Kowazinga finish.  I had a pro refinisher at my house to repair some furniture scratches...he commented the finish on my 5As are fabulous.