Audible diffferences between Vandy 2w & 2wq

I am considering adding a sub to my system, used of course. I wonder if anyone has listened to/compared both the Vandersteen 2W & the 2Wq. I know that the Wq has adjustable "q" and that the q for the 2W is fixed at the low end of the scale for fast, tight bass. I listen mostly to acoustic music (bluegrass/folk) and some, mostly older R&R. Any thoughts on what I might be missing if I go for the older, cheaper 2W instead of the 2wq. I have a separate HT at the present.
Associated components are
McCormack DNA 0.5 Rev B
Vandersteen 2ci

i owned the 2w for about 1.5 years (never heard the 2wq)...but i have to say the 2w was a very nice sub, very seamlessly integrated with my kef 104.3's that i had at the time. i would have to say since you have the 2ci's, that the 2w would mesh very well with these. IMHO, save $'s find a totally mint 2w. probably not much help for you but good luck with your decision.
Hi, Swampwalker: I went through the same debate about 2 months ago when I bought a pair of 2Wq's ($800 each for subs that are both less than 2 years old). Before buying, I listened to both the 2W and 2Wq, and while the 2Wq sounded somewhat better to my ear, it wasn't a huge difference since I set the "Q" very low anyway for tight bass response.

To get a more informed opinion about the relative merits of each model of sub, I called Vandersteen Audio and talked directly with Richard Vandersteen. Richard said there are two primary differences between the two models, and a third difference which is less apparent. (It might be advisable for you call Vandersteen and ask him if there are any considerations pertinent to the 2Ci -- my experience has been with a pair of 3A Signatures.)

1. The 2Wq, as you note, has an adjustable "Q" control, which allows you to adjust the "tautness" of the bass response. In addition, however, this control changes the contour of the bass response. Set at the "0" level, the frequency response is flattest from 20-60 Hz. As you increase the "Q" setting, the frequency response becomes more and more peaked, so at its maximum point ("10" on the scale), there is an 8 db rise above 0-db. At the "10" setting, the bass quality is also much looser, which emphasizes the bass response for reproducing LFE from DVD soundtracks. This feature can be useful if you intend to use the sub(s) about equally for music and HT.
2. According to Vandersteen, the 2Wq also has a better amplifier than the 2W (his words, not mine). Richard told me that the 2Wq required a better amp to be able to handle the frequency contouring provided by the adjustable "Q" control.
3. Finally, the 2Wq has a somewhat better cabinet than the 2W. I think Richard said it has more internal bracing, so is stiffer and less resonant.

As an aside, you might like to know that the first 2W sub was produced in 1984, so Vandersteen has a LOT of experience building these subs. I was told by my local Vandersteen dealer that Richard virtually sells the subs virtually at cost to encourage their sale. If they sold at the regular retail markup, they'd sell for more than $2000 apiece.

After talking with Vandersteen, I opted to find a used pair of 2Wq's, since the price differential between the 2W and 2Wq is nominal. I advertised in the "Want to buy" section here on Audiogon, and got responses within two weeks.

To close, let me tell you that the 2Wq's add an improved dimension to my Vandy 3A Signatures I never expected. Oh, I expected much more extended, clean bass, but I did not anticipate the increase I got in mid-range clarity and openness. I am genuinely hearing details in recordings (ones I know very well) that I have never heard before.

Last thing to consider: the 2Wq's require a crossover that goes between the preamp and power amp. The stock crossover costs $125 -- it should be included if you buy a used sub, but it may not work with the amp you have -- each crossover must be tailored to the input impedance of your main power amp. You might want to consider buying the much higher quality crossover made for the subwoofer in the Vandersteen Model 5. This upgraded crossover (actually, 2 separate crossover units -- 1 for each channel) uses very high quality parts, such as Wima caps and Vishay resistors, but costs $600 if you buy it direct from Vandersteen. I got a used Model 5 crossover from my local Vandy dealer, and I highly recommend it. I simply cannot tell there is a crossover in the signal path!

In short, I suggest you get a pair of 2Wq's -- you won't be disappointed. These subs integrate so well that they totally disappear. If you get the 2Wq's, I'll be glad to share my setup experiences with you, which should save you some time.
Hello Swampwalker, I second Sdcampbell's recommendation. I recently purchased two 2Wq's to go with my 3.5R Maggies. It is no small difference.

I have owned the Maggies for almost 4 years and know their character very well. When I took home a demo 2Wq I really wasn't expecting much, but after a short listening period I was sold. The speakers opened up and took on a whole new life. The music flows much more naturally and is locked in from top to bottom. I ordered two of them the next day. Acoustic bass is now so beautifully rendered I can't stop listening.

Because they integrate so smoothly with planars, I can only imagine what a perfect match they would be with any Vandersteen system.

Like Sdcampbell, I also purchased the balanced crossovers that are in the Vandy 5's. You should seriously consider them. They are a better design and higher quality than the stock crossovers. They also are variable so if you ever change amps, you won't have to purchase new crossovers.

Go with the 2Wq instead of the 2W. To be able to adjust the Q (even just a little) is a great advantage. If you go with the 2W you will probably be asking yourself what your system would sound like if you could only adjust the Q. That would be frustrating.

Hope this helps a little. Good luck and good listening.
Sdzink-I have been thinking about getting a 2Wq to go with my Maggie 1.6's. I have been thinking about only getting one. What do you feel the difference is between one a two subs running with the Maggies. By the way my room is 14X25. Thanks in advance.
OK, so lets say I go with the 2WQ. Next question is which comes first, upgrade mains to 3Asig or add sub?
Good question, Swampwalker. I have owned the Vandy 2Ci, 2Ce, 3A, and now the 3A Signature (and, as noted above, added a pair of 2Wq's recently). I think the 3A Signature is a MUCH better speaker than the Vandy "2" series speakers -- infact, I think the 3A Signature is one of the finest speakers I have ever heard selling for less than $5-6k. While the 2Wq sub(s) will certainly improve the quality of your 2Ci's, remember that the 2Ci is now a 13-year-old design and that Vandersteen has continued to make improvements since this model came out. My strong recommendation is to make a major upgrade decision and buy the 3A Signature speakers, which contain the same tweeter, mid-range, and crossover components as the Model 5. Then, at a later date, add the 2Wq subs (a stereo pair is the way to go). I think most of the other owners of Vandy 3A Sig's will also recommend you upgrade your main speakers before adding the subs. (You might drop a note to Garfish and ask for his recommendation -- he has owned the Vandy 3A Sigs, which he recently sold to upgrade to the Vandy Model 5. He also has a McCormack DNA2 power amp, and can thus give you some first-hand advice on the issue of power.)

The other upgrade you should be thinking if you opt to buy the Vandy 3A Sig's is to buy a larger amp, maybe even before you add the subs. Both the 3A Sig's and the 2Wq subs will derive substantial benefit from a high-quality amp in the 200-250 wpc range. The 3A Sigs are very transparent, accurate, dynamic, and have excellent soundstaging, so they really benefit from being paired with a good amp. (Your McCormack amp is a good one, but you might want to move to one of the more powerful models. I am currently using a Bryston 4B-ST to drive my 3A Sig's, but any similar quality amp should be a good pairing.) Whatever you choose to do next, good listening! -- Scott