Model 3A Signature

The Model 3A Signature is a classic Vandersteen in being an extreme-performance hot rod in a brown paper bag. Prior to the introduction of the Quatro in 2006, the Model 3A Signature alone bridged the Vandersteen line from the Model 2 to the Model 5. The Model 3A Signature is loaded with the quality parts typically found in cost-no-object designs. It's a big speaker that plays really big, and yet fully realizes all of the nuance, finesse and detailed musicality of a Vandersteen.

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Starting at $4,975 pair

Available Finishes

(*) indicates upgrade finishes.
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The components used in the Model 3A Signature combine classic durability and strength with innovative design and construction. The metal-alloy dome tweeter is a dual-chamber design to improve range and linearity. It is critically damped to extend the high frequencies past audibility without the excessive ringing associated with open or underdamped metal dome tweeters. The specific alloy used for the dome was chosen for its superior strength and resistance to break-up.

With our experience in FFT computer analysis and extensive research into the negative effects of diffraction, we developed a unique midrange driver that held a patent (US Patent # 5073948) for over 20 years before expiring recently. This woven-fiber, aerodynamic midrange is the same driver employed in the Treo, Treo CT and Quatro Wood CT. This midrange outperforms other designs in several significant parameters. In conventional cone midranges, the acoustic energy from the back of the cone immediately strikes the front of the driver's magnet assembly and is reflected back through the cone and into the listening room. This distorted secondary signal created by the internal diffraction smears the sound of the driver and inhibits true transparency. The frontal area of the magnet assembly on the Vandersteen midrange is minimized through the use of advanced materials and construction techniques to reduce internal diffraction and the resultant distortion to inaudible levels. With the elimination of this distortion, the sound of the Model 3A Signature is cohesive and smooth with extraordinary inner detail and resolution.

The active acoustic coupler and woofer use costly cast-metal baskets rather than the more common stamped baskets. The cast-metal baskets' inherent rigidity and superior vibration control increase cone movement accuracy and resist sympathetic resonances for cleaner and more natural sound. Mineral-filled polycone is used on the woofer to insure high stiffness, superior internal dampening and greater neutrality than metal alloy, woven plastic or treated paper cones. Stiff, low-weight polycones resist flexing under all drive conditions for lower distortion and increased detail.

The dual-spider active acoustic coupler accurately complements the woofer to reduce box loss, thermodynamic loss and active/passive transfer nonlinearities. This novel Electro- Mechanically Optimized Woofer System provides powerful, detailed and extended bass response as the Model 3A Signature operates much more closely to the ideal than conventional ported or passive designs.

The crossover in the Model 3A Signature is comprised of transient-perfect, first-order networks designed to preserve the phase integrity of the music. It is compensated to allow the drivers to operate in absolute phase with each other for more precise and stable imaging than in conventional multi-way speakers using out-of-phase drivers. The crossover's computer-grade components, including low impedance air-core inductors and high-quality film capacitors in the signal path, are hand soldered on a double-sided, plated-through PC board tested to insure less than 0.1dB deviation from a reference circuit. Like all Vandersteen Signature Products the crossover is hand tweaked with the speaker in an anacoic chamber into matched pairs. Custom 6N wire with polypropylene dielectric is used for internal wiring to maximize signal transfer.

The crossover is engineered for bi-wiring with a stereo amplifier or passive vertical bi-amplification with two identical stereo amplifiers. Inputs are heavy-duty screw terminals.

The baffles holding the drivers on the Model 3A Signature are as small as possible to eliminate virtually all of the early reflections that affect dynamic speakers with conventional flat or low diffraction baffles. Reducing both early reflections and edge diffraction improves the imaging and enhances the openness and transparency of the speaker.

The Model 3A Signature's enclosure is constructed of 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick MDF, an advanced material that resists vibration and reduces cabinet resonances. Broad-spectrum, low-Q resonances are controlled so as to cancel rather than become additive.

The Model 3A Signature uses the proven Vandersteen Aligned Dynamic Design to optimize the dispersion and transient accuracy of the drivers while maintaining the input signal's time and phase integrity. The drivers, their positioning and their associated minimum baffles were developed with the aid of FFT computer analysis to minimize diffraction, cone break-up, multi-driver interference and out-of-band phase irregularities. The construction, alignment and positioning of the drivers allow a point-source wave front and maximize the phase coherence of the loudspeaker at the listening position.

The Aligned Dynamic Design is used due to its many potential advantages:

  • Precise, three-dimensional imaging and a wider listening area.

  • A greater flexibility of placement options within the listening room and better transient response.

  • A high level of genuine transparency and detail typical of planar speakers without the distortions and response variations of multi-directional dynamic loudspeakers.
  • Increased efficiency and improved dynamic range.

Each Vandersteen Audio Model 3A Signature undergoes rigorous testing and retesting during each phase of construction. Each driver and crossover is tested for proper operation and computer matched to within 0.1dB. After final assembly, each pair is high-power sweep tested for structural integrity and FFT computer analyzed for correct response and performance compared to a model reference. This intense commitment to product quality and reliability is unsurpassed in the audio industry.

Music is pure in its dimensions. Vandersteen loudspeakers are true to the original dimensions of the music. They preserve its carefully crafted proportions and weight. They accurately convey the composition, shading and timing that build an involving experience. They reveal the power, the authority, the subtlety and the intimacy of the music.

This dimensional purity is the essence of the Model 3A Signature. It allows them to recreate the music's original scope and passion. You hear deeper into the music and better understand the feelings forming its foundation. You become more involved in the music as its complex inner structure is revealed with increased clarity and realism.

At Vandersteen Audio, we believe that these qualities are fundamental to your enjoyment of your music. We are pleased to have embodied these qualities in a speaker whose simple, but elegant, physical presence complements the decor of your listening room. We are devoted to continue building distinguished loudspeakers that make a statement about the importance of music in your life.

Model 3A Signature Specifications

Tweeter

1” Exclusive Dual-Chamber, Transmission-Line Loaded, Ceramic-Coated Alloy Dome with Ferrofluid Voice-Coil Cooling

Midrange

4.5” Reflection-Free Tri-Woven Composite Cone with Die-Cast Aerodynamic Basket and Magnet System with Ferrofluid Voice-Coil Cooling

Woofer

Active Acoustic Coupler

10” Dual-Spider Aluminum Alloy Cone with Die-Cast Basket, Heavy-Duty 1.5” 4-Layer Voice Coil with Ventilated Aluminum Former, 60 oz. Magnet Structure with Focused-Field Pole Piece and Copper Rings

Phase

Recommended Amplification

Frequency Response

26Hz – 30kHz +/- 3dB

30Hz-22kHz +/- 1.5dB

Sensitivity

87 dB, 1 meter/2.83 volt input

Impedance

6 ohms nominal 4 ohms minimum

Crossovers

First order/6dB per octave, 80Hz, 600Hz, 5kHz

Input Terminals

Barrier strips, 7/16" max width

Dimensions (WHD)

16” x 48” x 10.25”

Weight

90 lbs. Ea. Net

Country of Manufacture

Made in the USA
  • Aug 30, 2003
    Model 3A Signature

    "If you are looking for a speaker that can get you off audiophile treadmill so you can finally stop cherishing the equipment and start cherishing the music, the Vandersteen 3A Signature may just be
    your chariot to musical salvation."
     

    Doug Blackburn

    See Full Review
  • Apr 1, 1995
    Model 3A Signature

    "The 3A sounds terrific with a wide range of program material ... If you audition them and go home $2600 lighter in the wallet, don't come crying to me."

    Thomas J. Norton

    See Full Review
  • Mar 21, 1995
    Model 3A Signature

    "The Vandersteen "home theater" system demonstrates that music and movies can come together in a single sound system, and shine. It stands four square for the proposition that to do movies well, a system must be able to do music well."
     

    Tom Miiller

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  • Apr 15, 1994
    Model 3A Signature

    "The 3As offer the transparency of planar or dipole speakers while yielding the dynamic range associated with cabinet speakers. The excellent design of drivers and crossover network allow for powerful, controlled, rich bass that many listeners demand. No matter your musical preference, these are speakers that deserve careful audition."
     

    Duncan and Adrienne Hartley

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  • Apr 1, 1994
    Model 3A Signature

    "The Vandersteen is a system for lovers of both music and movies ... Vandersteen loudspeakers may have been primarily designed for music, but when they're properly augmented, they won't leave you feeling shortchanged no matter what you play back through them." 
      
     

    Thomas J. Norton

    See Full Review