Calling all Vandersteen Fans


A little over a year ago I owned he 1Cis for a short time. While I enjoyed many aspects of the speaker, I found their top-end was a bit ripe and sibilant, with multiple amps. I ended up having to attenuate the treble by 1.5db in order to enjoy them at all.

Lately I've been thinking about how well those speakers produced a realistic decay of instruments, the likes of which I haven't encountered in any other speakers. I'm wanting to give Vandersteens another chance and am considering the 2CE SigIIs, however, it appears they and the 3As have the same tweeter as the 1Cis. That and the measurements in the Stereophile review give me pause. I suppose it could be that I didn't allow the 1Cis enough break-in, or that I was actually hearing upper midrange distortion from their 8" midbass driver

I'm soliciting input from those very familiar with the brand. Would you say the 2 Sig IIs produce a warmer balance than the 1Cis? Do they in-fact share the same exact tweeter? 

Is a 100 watt/ch amp enough to drive 2CEs to satisfying levels in a 26×15' room?








helomech
Don't know about the 1Ci but the 2Ce Sig II has the 3A Sig tweeter (also, same as original Quattro). See here: https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=38u42p6hcui5ssvle2oafc8s43&topic=100766.msg10174...

For the money, I haven't heard anything better than the 2Ce Sig II. Latest production using the woven midrange from the 5A.
I drove the 2s to satisfying levels in my 18x19 room (vaulted ceiling) with an Ayre AX-7 (60W/8 ohm) altho the amp would clip if I really pushed it (I don't likes peaks more than 85-90 dB, so not an issue for me).

I have a pair of 2C's from 1988 I believe those are of the silk dome variety and are very smooth - never sibilant unless the source is (which they can be). I am not sure of the tweeters in the very latest model 1's 2's and 3's  think the tweeters are all the same except if you bump up the the "CT" or carbon tweeter variety in their upper tier line) In general the 2C will give a meatier sound and provide more SPL, which you would want for your room. In fact, if you can swing it go with the 3A sigs and you get the same midrange driver that is in the Treo and Quatro I believe. Good stuff.
I have a pair of 2C's from 1988 I believe those are of the silk dome variety and are very smooth - never sibilant unless the source is (which they can be). I am not sure of the tweeters in the very latest model 1's 2's and 3's think the tweeters are all the same except if you bump up the the "CT" or carbon tweeter variety in their upper tier line) In general the 2C will give a meatier sound and provide more SPL, which you would want for your room. In fact, if you can swing it go with the 3A sigs and you get the same midrange driver that is in the Treo and Quatro I believe. Good stuff.
Judging by their website specs, the 2CE Sig IIs are now nearly identical to the 3A Sigs except for cabinet size. I may hold out for a used pair of 3ASigs.
 here is a link that telsl the difference, the D version is the current one. I bought mine in August 2016, teamed up with a Pair of 2WQ Subs with the M5-HP Crossovers, last speaker for me !!https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=38u42p6hcui5ssvle2oafc8s43&topic=100766.msg10174...
I had the most recent 1ci in my “ Vintage room “ for about 6 months driven by a hot rod MC240, while I dont hear what you are hearing, they are not as refined and smooth as the Two, Three, etc. They cant be due to the limitations of the 2 way architecture and protecting the tweeter - a two way has a much lower duty cycle. The 1ci are now living happily in brother in laws system with Odyssey power and a Mofi ultradeck, Bronze...no trace of strain, glare, but his preamp is tubes and it is a small room w moderate listening level.
the current two is outstanding, have heard them recently in big room on both Rogue and VTL gear, sweet. I owned a pair of the 3a sig for 8 years, the acoustic couple IMO requires an amp w guts to control it ....but they do rock and as others mentioned have tweeter and mid from the five
RV answers the phone, his input would be good.And Johnny R here on audiogon

have fun, enjoy the music
it sounds like you are approaching your potential change with great introspection and thoughtful approach
best to you
jim
however, IF ya do call, suggest reading the ask Richard FAQ on the website for ? about older models
focus any ? on current 1 vs 2 vs 3, try dealer first, Johnny R for East, Jon at Ultra for midwest/ north, Alan at Hifi Buys for South, .....you get idea....really nice guys IMO
Victor in Tacoma is a cool dude 2 .....
 @drumsgreg love that summary
I had the 1s decades ago, and am loving my 2Cs for the past several years. Driven them with a Denon (100W/ch), Krell (150W/ch/8 ohms/300W/ch/4 ohms) and currently a Vincent (150W/ch/8 ohms/300W/ch 4 ohms). Clipping never happened, the only difference being the sound quality markedly improved going to a better amp. I don't know what levels you consider satisfying, but at what I consider satisfying, (peaks of 85-90 dB), I would say you should be ok with 100W/ch. Last but not least, did I mention I LOVE my 2Cs?

Tom
Love my ancient 2C's, too. Vandy stuff is getting too $$. The Treos just increased by $600 over the past year or so :(
Love my ancient 2C's, too. Vandy stuff is getting too $$. The Treos just increased by $600 over the past year or so :(
Costs go up, especially with a 'trade war'. Also, Mr. V. might be using some new parts that are more expensive.
@OP,
If you found the 1ci's 'sibilant' with many amps, I would say you may have a room treatment issue.
B
I have 3A Sigs, and I don’t perceive any sibilance whatsoever.  Ayre front end (details on system page).  I think the only major differences between the current 2 and 3 are the cabinet volume and the low frequency driver. 
I've never owned the 1's, but heard the 2ci's at a NYC audio show in 1989 and the music was magical -- it just sounded "right" to me.  So saved up my pennies and purchased a pair.  Still remember moving them to my small apartment via 5 blocks via hand truck through Manhattan from the old Sound by Singer as I was way too poor to afford shipping.  Thirty years later I've gone from those to 2ce Sig to original Quattro to the Quattro CT's and now looking forward to hearing the upcoming Kento's.  

Agree w/most of above posters, I didn't perceive what I would describe as sibilance in the highs in the 2's -- but going to the much more expensive Quattro CT's did provide what I'd describe as a more open/extended upper range.  I suspect that you'll find the 2's or 3's will be provide a "warmer" balance and probably fuller sound than the 1's but still retain the wonderful mid's.  Might also consider auditioning with a tube pre-amp and/or power amp (?).  

Can also add a 'thumbs up' to Hifi Buys in Atlanta if in the Southeast region.  Good luck!
Fwiw, I owned the 2ce sigs, and the highs seemed somewhat subdued in my setup, not bright. May have been my room, lack of skill, etc.
I owned the 2ce Sigs and loved them! Was driving them with a Peachtree 220se. I was moving from Milwaukee to NYC so I had to let them go. Switched over to KEF LS50s with a REL sub, and was more than happy for a while.

I've done a bit of an overhaul this past year. I now have the VLR CTs being driven by a Simaudio Moon ACE. Still using the REL sub as well. The CTs are incredible. They've really reconnected me to the music I listen to. I've got a friend who heard the VLR CTs and a week later traded in his 2ce Sigs. The carbon tweeter is that good.

As far as room size goes, I live in an old warehouse in Pittsburgh. My listening room is about the same size as yours. My ceilings are about 13-15 high. I was worried the VLR CTs wouldn't be enough. I was wrong.
The 2's will be fine with both your room and a hundred wpc.
I had an extremely fine sounding Krell KST100 & 2Ci set up in the 90's. I didn't want for highs, sparkle, soundstage, depth, extension or volume. In fact, I had the 2Ci tweeter control dialed at 12 o'clock for a very long time. The 2's are terrific speakers that will allow good components to be heard. 
More break-in, definitely!  I have the 2Cs and the  2CE SigIIs.  The more break-in time, the better!  Once broken in, you will never want to part with them.
@peterclemens83

wow cool, can you post a picture in the virtual systems ? warehouse vibe w VLR-CT
how cool

and yes the carbon tweeter is a wonder
I appreciate all the input.

For some reference on the sibilance I heard with the 1Cis: Yesterday I bought a pair of near-mint Large Advents (77'), the ones with the orange "fried egg" tweeter. I kid you not, they sound better than the 1Cis ever did in the month I owned them...well, aside from the decay factor. However, I noticed the Advent tweeters exhibit a similar sibilance with some recordings. The same applies to my EPI 100s (I have 6 pairs of speakers currently). In my system, the 1Ci tweets were no more refined than those of these vintage models. 

Rest of my system is probably considered "mid-fi" around these parts. Amps are the Rogue CMII and Yamaha A-S1100. Current sources are Pro-Ject Pre BoxS2 Digital and an Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable with Hana SL cart. Parasound JC3 Jr. for the phono stage. The most refined speakers I own at the moment are JM Reynaud Bliss Silvers - best tweeters out of speakers I've owned but not the best I've heard. 

How would you guys rate the carbon tweeter against a good beryllium unit? Since I run stereo subs crossed over at 120Hz, I'm thinking I might be better off with the VLR CTs.


(((Rest of my system is probably)))
Did you mention what interconnects and speaker wires?Did you read and understand the owners manual perform the proper tilt back protocol?How far out from the front wall were you?The decay you enjoyed is part of time correct design but sizzle you mentioned are easily revealed by Vandys and usually from modest cost multi-strand wire that’s causing interaction.Easily fixed with AQ type 4 solid core or above and a matching AQ interconnect.
Best JohnnyR
+1 to audioconnection.  My 3A sigs were glaring until the modest cost stranded speaker cable was replaced.  
Could someone provide a link to the AQ type 4 solid core speaker cable and also a link to the interconnects? I suppose I could google it, but you guys might have a 'preferred' site with a good price, etc...
Agree with AC. With Vandersteen, type of speaker cable and following Vandersteen's set up procedure is critical for best performance.
@bstatmeister,
I would contact Audioconnection. Johnny sells AQ and his prices are very good. Plus, if you have any issues, he will definitely sort the out.
B
I have a nice 12’ set of type 6 in a shotgun biwire config, vandersteen spades at speaker end, they have about 6 k miles on them, I loan them to unbelievers, all I ask is return shipping via USPS flat rate box...$13

i am not an AQ dealer


I did follow the setup protocol. I noticed the decay was highly dependent on rake angle and listening height.

Yes, I used multi-strand speaker cable. I owned some Type 4 in the past with my other speakers and wasn't impressed to be honest. I may try some again as my local dealer sells it very cheap. 
@tomic601 - you are indeed a gentleman. Very generous offer.
OP- Richard Vandersteen voices his speakers using AQ cables. That being said, I'm very happy with the sound of Anticables (also solid core).

Tom
Very nice of Jim to offer for sure.  I have found that the AQ cables/cords are the most neutral I've ever tried with my Steen's (Quatro) and it's not close. I use an Ayre AX5/20 with built in cross over.  It's a killer set up that could be a bit hot on top I guess. Ayre can be hype detailed.  With a basic set up (thanks Johnny) and AQ cables it just makes great music that I am able to listen to all day without any fatigue. That's not easy to do with 'hifi' speakers.

AQ for my ears.
I use an Ayre AX5/20 with built in cross over.

Off topic: I thought you moved on from the Ayre? I love my AX-5 Twenty, probably the best piece I will ever own. I decided I couldn't wait to save for Treo CTs and bought used Thiel CS2.4SEs. I have since replaced everything from the binding posts to XOs to driver hookup wire (under the tutelage of Tom Thiel, Jim's brother). I am *super* happy.
Somewhat on topic: After break-in on my 2CeSig IIs, the midrange remained somewhat veiled. I was using a single run of Cardas Neutral Reference with an el cheapo jumper. I found a killer deal on two pairs of used Cardas Golden Reference and biwiring really opened up the sound. Still running the GRs on my Thiels which are now configured for biwiring. Replacing the OEM hookup wiring in the Thiels to Cardas nicely snapped the sonic picture into focus. I strongly recommend Cardas but AQ is also a good choice.
I have spent most of my audio journey with vintage gear. The best speakers I have owned are Vandersteen 2C and now 3A. For my small room, I would easily trade my 3A's for some 2Ce Sig II's. They would be perfect.

If you are enjoying the Advents more than the Vandersteen's, that tells me there are contributing factors that are not the speakers. Like others have mentioned, positioning is important, and I personally think Sound Anchors are the only choice over stock stands. They make a difference.

I have used Supra Quadrax and Canare Star Quad cables. I like the equally. 

Early on, I tried to drive my 2C's with a Parasound HCA-1500, HCA-2200, B&K EX440, and settled on going mono bridge with two Parasound HCA-1500's. That sounded the best. However, I didn't read the FAQs on the Parasound site and ended up with two amps with blown outputs on the L channel. All I can say is that for me, 200+ wpc gave me the performance I wanted. As some would say, they "woke up". 

I have never had any sibilance. Like all my gear, I keep my pots at neutral. However, in the different spaces I've had my system, I have increased the setting on both mid and treble 0.5 - 1.0 db.

The other BIG thing is you MUST pull away from the walls. I don't recall you mentioning how you had your speakers positioned, but in my 11x13 room, I had the speaker center point ~40 inches from the back wall and ~30 inches from the side walls, with slight toe in. Maybe half an inch.

All to say that when you dial your system in with these speakers, I don't know of any speakers at the same price point that can deliver the impact, clarity, and enjoyment I have had. I have owned Vandersteen's more than any other speaker. And for context, here are the speakers I have owned, in no particular order.

ADS L570
Advent "The Loudspeaker" with fried egg tweeter
Allison One
Allison Two
B&W DM110i
Boston Acoustics A40
Boston Acoustics A150
Dahlquist DQ-8
Dahlquist M903
DCM Time Window 3 (currently own)
Infinity Reference Studio Monitors (RSM)
JBL Jubal L65
Klipsch KG 3.2
Miller & Kreisel S-1B & V-1B (recapped and currently own)
NHT SuperOne 2.1 (on living room HT)
Paradigm 3se Mk2
Polk Monitor 7b
Quad 12L
Vandersteen 2C
Vandersteen 3A (currently own)

Now that I think of it, the Infinity RSM's gave the 3A's a run for the money on certain material, usually classic rock that gets congested. The Miller & Kreisel setup is the main one I'm using now while I wait for my Parasound amp to get fixed. Then the Vandies will come back into play.
i have my Thiel 2.3 running currently w Canare Quad, evaluating it vs a loom of Type 4
I have been enjoying some Kimber in my CT system, it is an internal biwire, was supposed to be temporary as I got lengths needed sorted in new room, but finding it a good system match w overall system, my next move there will be external biwire with it. Certainly an affordable wire, I think it is Tc12
I really like the extreme value anticables present, IF WAF can be overcome. My brother fan his 3a sig for years w them, untill a move caused change in WAF, he now has a shotgun biwire pair of type 4

Vandersteen and Low of AQ share the dbs patent and most v dealers carry AQ. The model 7 amos come w 128 v DBS and AQ speaker cables for a reason, but you should think of them as a system

trying other wire is always good

seriously, if somebody wants to borrow the Type 6 ( which is ancient by AQ standards, by all means just send a pm )
@tomic601 .
That's a nice offer. But, beware. I loaned a CD demagnetizer to another Agoner and never got it back.😠-no matter, I haven't opened a CD in years after finding streaming music-(though demagnetizing CD's did make a difference).
Bob
@tomic601 

Figured out the virtual systems thing. Posted some photos of my room. 
05-17-2019 11:26am
I use an Ayre AX5/20 with built in cross over. 

Off topic: I thought you moved on from the Ayre? I love my AX-5 Twenty, probably the best piece I will ever own. I decided I couldn't wait to save for Treo CTs and bought used Thiel CS2.4SEs. I have since replaced everything from the binding posts to XOs to driver hookup wire (under the tutelage of Tom Thiel, Jim's brother). I am *super* happy.
Somewhat on topic: After break-in on my 2CeSig IIs, the midrange remained somewhat veiled. I was using a single run of Cardas Neutral Reference with an el cheapo jumper. I found a killer deal on two pairs of used Cardas Golden Reference and biwiring really opened up the sound. Still running the GRs on my Thiels which are now configured for biwiring. Replacing the OEM hookup wiring in the Thiels to Cardas nicely snapped the sonic picture into focus. I strongly recommend Cardas but AQ is also a good choice.

No, I have decided to keep it for now.  I really want the Vandy amps, but can't afford them right now. Would then need to also get a new pre, lol.  
Update: I ended up purchasing a brand new pair of 2CE Sig IIs. The dealer received them just this week, so they should be the latest and greatest iteration. Luckily, I was able to negotiate a price based on the $2700 MSRP (Vandy now lists them at $2999, and at least one dealer is asking even more (?)). 
Now I'm impatiently awaiting their arrival. 

I almost went for 3A Sigs, however, I'll likely be moving in the near future and my system could end up in a smaller space, so had to take that into consideration. 

Also bought some AQ Type-4 cable per  the recommendations here. I plan to terminate it with the standard 1/4" AQ spades for now. I just question how well they'll crimp onto those rather small-gauge wires. I suppose I'll have to reinforce the crimp with some solder. 












To the OP- I think you made a wise decision getting the 2CE Sig II’s. I bought a pair of these some 6 years ago and had listened for about 30-60 days to as many speakers I could find in that price range. I bought Analysis Plus Brown bi-wire cables and paid strict attention to proper setup. Also I had learned that although the speakers are forgiving in whatever quality level of electronics you feed them, they DO reward you with better sound if you step up source, preamp and amp quality. For affordable speakers they can be quite impressive. To add bottom end, one can add a good sub or two, although I have not done that. Enjoy... you really picked a great speaker and Richard is a great designer/engineer. The Quatro would be my next change in speakers but I need to hit the Mega-millions lottery first. Haha
helomech,

Good choice! I've heard the most recent versions of the 2CE Sig II's, and they are definitely the best yet. Adding a Vandy sub (if you're so inclined) makes for a unbeatable combination.
Good choice! I've heard the most recent versions of the 2CE Sig II's, and they are definitely the best yet. Adding a Vandy sub (if you're so inclined) makes for a unbeatable combination.
Thanks. I already have two Golden Ear subs that allow high-pass crossover. I'll try running them full-range first. 
I am running a pair of VLR's with HSU subs at full range.
I have to admit that I have to dial down the crossover point below 80 hz in order to get a good seamless transition.
Though Vandy's may not go to 20 hz, they go pretty far down- and let's face it, there isn't much happening down there anyway (unless you listen to organ music).
Bob
^ I considered the new VLRs with the carbon tweeter, but decided I want to give another shot at living with a 3-way speaker. I typically prefer 2 and 2.5-way speakers, but I suspect the time and phase alignment of the 2CEs will eliminate the lack of coherence I encounter in most 3-ways.
@helomech,
I think you made a good choice. I was just posting my experience with adding subs to Vandy's at full range.
I wanted to use my 2w subs with the VLR's, but space dictated otherwise.
The Hsu subs are good enough for my office, but I wouldn't trade my 2wq's and Treo's in my LR.
Bob
YOu'll probably love them the way most do.  They are such a great value still.

I caution you to NOT solder those cables.  It is not the best connection.  Are you getting them terminated by the dealer or from the company? I don't know if AQ sells them terminated.  Just my opinion. Others may say differently.

Congrats on the purchase. Hope that you have a lot of enjoyment out of them. 
great choice ! enjoy them in good health. 
my memory is the factory cold welds the crimp and they sell silver solder IF you must solder, takes quite the iron to muck with that stuff...
I caution you to NOT solder those cables.  It is not the best connection.  Are you getting them terminated by the dealer or from the company? I don't know if AQ sells them terminated.  Just my opinion. Others may say differently.

I typically use good ol' Kester 60/40 - I find it stronger than the silver stuff. I plan to use a crimp connection in addition to solder because the wires might be too small a gauge unless I want to double/ triple fold the ends. 

Do you know of a solid core cable  that has larger gauge wires? 
Used DBW AQ Rocket 88 ,used DBW AQ Rocket 44 ,used DBW AQ CV4
Gibraltar. Castle rock, etc

If you are getting the cables from AQ or a dealer,  they should be able to offer spades that fit the Vandy's.
The GO-4 that I got from Johnny fit like a glove.
Bob
I managed to source some of the gold-plated-copper Vampire spades.
Bi-wire, bi-wire, bi-wire. Not doing that will degrade SQ.
Soft copper spades might likely sound better than gold-plated...