2ce is a tough tough act to follow. Totem Forest are nice but very different than 2c and better is certain areas. might try the Totem hawks
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Spendor Sp 1/2. I don't know how much "smaller and decor
friendly" it is, but a music lover's speaker. If you're
looking for a slimmer and more esthetically pleasing speaker
perhaps a Vienna Acoustics "Mozart." I don't think going from a 2 to a 1c makes sense IMO. The Vandersteen 1c is not that much smaller and I'm sure would be a disappointment after listening to the 2. Lots of great choices.
Hope you find the right blend for your tastes. Bill
Given your friend's requirement for a small speaker with an enormous sweet spot, I'd recommend the Oskar Heil Aulos. The Aulos uses a dipole Heil driver which has an extremely wide radiation pattern, giving excellent timbre even as your friend bops around the house. The Aulos sounds good over the widest area of any high-end speaker I know of in the two grand price range.
You can read a review at:
By the way, that's a helluvan amplifier your friend's got.
Moving up the Vandy line doesn't make sense since he wants smaller and more handsome.
I used to own the Spendor 1/2 and I think he wasn't too impressed (nor was I for that matter).
Duke, to my mind, you are the E.F. Hutton of Audiophileland--when you speak, I listen. BUT...would we be able to audition the Heil unit anywhere in the SF Bay Area? (Guess I'll go to the web site and find out.) Also, I owned ESS Heil speakers once and I simply can't imagine...
Paradigm is an interesting suggestion. I like their stuff.
Keep 'em coming.
I have a pair of the Triangle Celius 202,they are an awesome speaker for the money,small footprint and very efficient.BEWARE! the break in on a brand new pair is recommended at 200 hrs. and I agree with that.Try contacting Wally at email@example.com he is fair and very knowledgeable,he also carries the Triangle Line.
I should have provided this information: his room is 13' x 19'. The speakers will go on the short wall, on either side of a fireplace. My guess is about 2' out from the side walls and maybe 12-18 inches out from the back wall.
Again, imaging is not important. What has been so great about his system with the Vandys is its drive and pace and energy of live music. It just has the snap and power and sparkle that can fool you, from the other room, for instance. My own systems, for all of their nuance and refinement, never quite deliver the illusion he gets, and that's what he likes. He needs to replace the Vandys for aesthetic reasons, not because he is unhappy with them.
I appreciate everyone's suggestions.
First, the time-aligned speakers everyone is suggesting are not ideal for off axis listening due to lobing effects.
Smaller and better looking than Vandersteen 2 speakers might include floorstanders from:
Joseph Audio (pricey)
And in addition to smaller and better looking, the following are designed to have smooth, controlled off axis frequency response and/or wide dispersion:
KEF Q or Reference
Infinity MTS or Intermezzo (depending upon your tolerance for a modern look, and the budget might indicate 2.6 monitors only)
With you requirements, it may be difficult to match the Vandersteens' low end, although the previously mentioned Totem Hawks and the little Reynaud's go surprisingly low.
They are smaller but sound similar to the Vandersteen 2Ce's, and one of their virtues is, to my ears, even better off-axis response. I know, because I also often move around a lot while I listen. I also listen to a lot of jazz, and I groove mightily.
With the money saved, your friend could buy a subwoofer (BTW-FYI I'm now running my 1C's full-range; my ACI Titan II LE subwoofer adds extra impact and extension in the lowest octave when needed). And/or he could buy more music, reeds, etc.
I think it's exciting when one has the opportunity to audition new gear for purchase. Meadowlark has been getting some credible attention and is often considered to share some qualities with the Vandersteens. I would check those out, along with the 1C's and a wide variety of other likely and even unlikely (for contrast) candidates.
I should have provided more explanation regarding the Vandersteens. One of the most enjoyable listening experiences ever was a modest pair of 2ce's with subs and Melos electronics at a NY S'phile show. I love their sound, and the music selections and low traffic in that unglorified room didn't exactly hurt, either.
But the time aligned speakers of the usual sort, which to me means first order crossovers and aligned acoustic centers (although I am now told there are other form factors and crossovers to achieve more or less the same thing), by their very nature, in theory, will not be optimal for off axis listening. Audiogon had an excellent thread on this topic. If you read down near the end, Jeff Joseph and the designer (?) from Green Mountain join in to explain their design choices.