Both are fine speakers the B&Ws are more dynamic. Both have challenges in regards to placement. B&W have a tricky first reflecion and Vandersteen can be a little on the dry side if you have them too far apart.
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That was very interesting, please explain more on the B&W tricky first reflection comment. That could be a problem I am having with my current B&W 804 Nautilus.
As to the comparisons, I do like a dynamic speaker, and a dry speaker is not what I wish to have. On the speaker placement issues, they can not be placed too far apart, I doubt they could be more than 7 feet to 8 feet apart, after that couches are in the way. It is also difficult to be more that 1 1/2 to 2 + feet from the back wall. They are also close to cabinets on one of each of their sides and in the back of them there is more room, but a fireplace with a closed glass door. Not exactly optimum.
The built in cabinets are beutiful but not beneficial for speasker placement.
I might consider a real nice pair of the B&W 801 series 3 Matrix...You won't have the dryness issues and have plenty of money left over for gear for your system..Many people prefer ( not saying they are better ) the older sweeter Matrix line of B&W's ...Newer isn't always better..Just offering another option......Good luck with your decision.......
It is a big room. It is 13' wide, 36' long, and 8' high. The system is in one end with a family room with built in cabinets (with equipment in them). The speakers are almost 2' away from the back wall, but only 6' apart and toed in slightly to listener position. The speakers are next to but in front of each cabinet on either side so there may not be as much free space as desired there.