Amps to drive Vandy 3A signatures

Hello all,

I am looking into the Vandersteen 3A signatures and noticed that they need quite a bit of juice to get them going. This fact may prevent me from purchasing these speakers since I cannot afford to spend more than $1500 total on amplification. Anyone have any good recommendations for amps, integrated or separates in this price range that can do an adequate job driving these speakers.

Thanks in advanced
Pair of McCormack DNA-0.5s run in vertical bi-amp mode. Should be able to pick up 2 DLXs for about that price. Lots of current, nice sweet sound, actually better sounding than 1.0s (I've had both with these speakers) and clear upgrade path via SMc Audio by amp designer.
I am using the Bryston 4B-ST amp to drive my Vandy 3A Sigs, and it's an excellent combination. There was a 4B-ST for sale here on Audiogon recently for $1350, and there is currently a 4B-SST for sale for $1650 (the newest version of the 4B). I have also used an Adcom 5500 to drive the 3A Sigs, and while it lacks some of the transparency and dynamics of the Bryston, it still does a good job and can be purchased used for around $750 (sometimes less).

The good news about the Vandy 3A Sigs is that they are not overly fussy about the amp driving them, although they are good enough speakers to easily reveal the qualities of better electronics as you go up in price. The three characteristics required of a good amp for the 3A Sigs are:
1. ability to effectively handle relatively low impedance speaker loads (the Vandy 3A Sigs are nominally 4-6 ohm speakers, but they dip as low as 3 ohms);
2. sufficient power and current delivery -- 150 wpc is enough in smaller rooms (particularly if you have subwoofers) -- if your room is of moderate size, and you listen at less than "ear-bleed" levels, you will probably find that the Bryston 3B-ST or 3B-SST will work very well with your 3A Sigs;
3. good filter capacitance -- based on my experience with several models of Vandy speakers, I think that 30,000 mfd per channel is enough, although 40,000-50,000 mfd per channel is better.

One other amp that you should put on your "short list" is the Rotel 1099 (I think this is the 2-channel amp that retails for $1995). This is one very fine, high-power amp, and you can often get it used for around $1300-1400.

A closing observation: both the Vandy 2C series and the 3A series of speakers do not perform well at very high volumes. They tend to get congested and lose their dynamics when pushed to extreme SPL's (mostly due to the 1st-order crossover), so don't be concerned about needing a super-amp to drive them. Unless you will be using the 3A Sigs in a very large room, you will probably find that an amp with 200 wpc and large filter capacitance will perform satisfactorily.
I second the McCormack's. I used a pair in a vertical biamp with great success with these speakers. You have to go a ways to beat them for the money. Even the non-deluxe versions are good. You can upgrade through SMac later as mentioned above. The 3A Sigs operate below 4 ohms. The McCormack's double down into this load indicating more than adequate power supplies and current capabilities.
I've been using an Audio Research Classic 60 with great success. More than enough power, though I do have a small room and don't listen at high levels. I would also consider some of the Audio Research solid state amps, they're quite good for the money (used that is).
Any of the McCormack amps from DNA-1 up in power are excellent matches w/ Vand. 3 speakers, unless you do the bi-amping thing like Swampwalker wih a pair of .5s. I especially liked the DNA-2 with the 3A/3A Sig., and a DNA-2 can sometimes be found for around $1500.-- LOTS of power. Good Luck. Craig
One final suggestion that I failed to include in my initial post: the Marsh Sound Design A400S power amp. It retails for $2000, but there have recently been several used units here on A-gon for around $1200-1300. There is currently a A400S listed if you look in the older "for sale" items.
Hello All,

Thanks for the great responses. Anybody know of any good integrateds for $1500 that would work well with these speakers. Sorry I forgot to mention this before, but my listening room is 16' x 20'.

Well...I have heard the 3As on a Bryston b-60 and was amazed at the combination...Vandies can be a little "loose" in the bottom octaves(still very musical)...and the Bryston brought great control and finesse...not ultra-fast/tight performance...but probably one of the better bass reproductions I have heard from also should be noted Brystons are known for being very bass accurate amps...which is why Maggie owners enjoy them as well...ofcourse the legendary "spatial" qualities and 3-d imaging of the Vandies were in tact...nice pairing...about $1500 new w/o the has demos from time to time..good luck
ALso...the b-60 can be used as a pre when and if you decide to add more power...such as a Bryston 4b...LOL! last others have stated...Vandies are forgiving of electronics...if u are on a tight budget...the NAD c370 120w amp would be a great cost alternative dealer has both NAD and Bryston...and I was surprised at how well the NAD performed at roughly 1/3 the cost...doesnt have the build quality or 20 yr warranty of the Bryston...but will get you up and running...and it sounds very good...I have the smaller c350 in my 2nd system and couldnt be more happy with its performance...cheers...
Correction: I believe the NAD is more like 1/2 the cost of the get the picture...