Does the Vandersteen 1C Hold Up to Modern Standards?

There are a pair of Model 1C speakers in my area on the used market. We don't get many of them up here in New England. I am considering going to listen to them and possibly buying them. I'm in a small room (14'x9'x7'). They look to be in excellent condition and they are inexpensive enough that shipping the woofers (if needed) back to Vandersteen for re-foaming is still a good deal. I have a good subwoofer I can use if needed. Since I'll be listening in an unknown room with gear I don't know, I just want to put it out to see if anyone has experience with these. 


I currently have Wharfedale Evo 4.2 speakers and find that they sound a little tubby in my space and I just wish the imaging was a little more open. The vertical dispersion of the AMT tweeter is pretty bad, so I have to be sitting for the tonal balance to be correct. I've moved them around quite a bit within the available space. They are on the factory stands and are located 3' from the wall which has a built-in bookcase. 


I listen to large ensemble jazz, orchestral music, pop from the '70s/'80s, and a variety of other music. I enjoy scale and dynamics of the large ensemble music I listen to, but I'm not a headbanger by any means. 85 dB peaks do me just fine. Not a fan of speakers that are too forward (B&W/Focal, etc.) 


The rest of my system is a MacBook Air, Bluesound Node, Schiit Freya+ Tube Preamp, and a PS Audio Stellar S300 power amp. 


Any thoughts before I go over there are appreciated! 





Vandersteen does not upgrade a model unless there is a true sonic improvement. If it were me I'd try and find a pair of 1Ci's. I got mine for a really good deal and I use them in my 2nd system. 

The Vandy 1's are a great bargain for the price, especially used.

If you can demo them, then listen for any distortions that would indicate a bad driver-Buzzing and the like.

All Vandy speakers are time and phase aligned, so they are very easy on the ear.  When set up properly(use the manual-available online), the will offer a wide soundstage, free of 'beaming'.

That you have a sub is good, as the 1's are a bit bass shy-mostly due to their physical limitations-Which is not to say they lack bass, but a sub would definitely improve their low range.

As you are aware, Vandy's are somewhat limited on the used market, so if they sound good and are priced well, I would go for it.

PM me if you want any other info.



Should be similar to the 2C, which I have had for coming up on 40 years,
At least when I was looking back in the day, I was looking at 1C as well.

Objectively the 2C rate a 4.4 on the olive scale.
So they are still pretty good by modern standards. 
I would make sure that they sound good, as shipping and reforming would add cost. So the Treos should be better, and you would not want to the $ to run up to Treo levels.

the 1cs are great loudspeakers for the money however they are tonally the exact opposite to the evos  


the 1cs are lacking in detail compared to a more modern tweeter design


so you must tread carefully


i would go with a better dac first

Thanks for all of the advice folks. I forgot to mention that I have a Schiit Modius D/A and the system runs fully balanced. I'm not sure that it helps much over the D/A that is in the BlueSound Node. But the suggestion from @audiotroy has not been lost on me. The trouble for most of it is that it is so hard to try things out before buying. 

I get that the tonal balance is opposite from the Evos. I'm hoping they are worth the 1 hour drive to get to them. In my heart, I'm hoping for that "sound coming from nowhere" effect that I haven't heard since my friend's Snell A II's back in the day. 



Still in production since 1977 and highly evolved is the 1Ci + model. They sound great but the low diffraction time and phase accurate design is optimized for a sweet spot. A new pair is a inflation beating $1,400 with Soundanchor stands… remarkable value IMO. You can replace drivers and fabric socks yourself w video support on Vandy website. Owners forum same place.


Pair of Model 1 Ci in there somewhere…along w many other speakers, lest i be tagged a fan boy….ha. 


@spacecadet65 , Jim(@tomic601) probably didn’t consider recent price increases.


I will also say that you could also go with the VLR’s. Nifty little bookshelves that will work best in corners, but can also be stand mounted.

I use them in my office and find them to be a real sleeper in the Vandy lineup.

PM John Rutan (audioconnection). I know he will steer you in the right direction.

Though he is a dealer, he won’t try to sell you something. He offers great advice for free. (And, believe me, I hated dealers until I met Johnny).

Though you probably don’t want to start from scratch, I can say that if you bought a pair of VLR’s or 1’s, added a subwoofer (preferrably a Sub 3), and a Belles Aria Integrated- you’d have the makings of a very impressive system.

My 2 cents...


oooops, last time i bought a pair they were 1ci at $1,390 a pair, i see now the + model is $1,887. ;-) There are probably Vandy dealers w demo 1Ci looking to get the  + model. Johnny Rutan is a great Vandy dealer as Bob has noted !

Made in USA ;-)



oooops, last time i bought a pair they were 1ci at $1,390 a pair, i see now the + model is $1,887. ;-) There are probably Vandy dealers w demo 1Ci looking to get the  + model. Johnny Rutan is a great Vandy dealer as Bob has noted !

Made in USA ;-)



You have received some great info from Bob, Jim, and Holmz.

I still have my 1C’s, 2C’s, and now Treo’s. All great speakers in their own right. For ‘big sound’ with orchestration, the 2C’s would be better, but, I still listen to my 1C’s in my secondary bedroom system, and they still sound great, even though not optimally set-up. 

How much are they being sold for? I got my 1C’s for about $350 which was a steal. If they are closer to $1K used, I would consider used 2’s, but again, depending on cost, the 1’s used can be a great bargain.

As far as foam surrounds, I believe Richard just stated on the Vandy forum the only 1’s with foam surrounds were some of the original 1B’s, thus, all C’s should have rubber surrounds.

As far as a more ‘modern sound’, maybe not if you want absolute clarity and detail, but regardless, to me, Vandy’s just sound ‘right’ to my ears.

As far as a more ‘modern sound’, maybe not if you want absolute clarity and detail, but regardless, to me, Vandy’s just sound ‘right’ to my ears.

Well said @bkeske 

I am not sure how much more modern it gets?
most of the “modern stuff” appears to be “modern manufacturing” and “modern marketing”.

At the top shelf, there is a lot of R&D and good engineering in some, but even at the top, there is a lot of designs that do not seem right. (Time and phase)

That said, I did lash out on some new speakers yesterday… which is going to be a bit of project and some months of time until they are ready.
I think that they are better than my 2Cs I got ~37-38 years ago,.. maybe, maybe not. They measure better, and at least I can compare them.

And the fact that I love the 2Cs is saying something when I actual spend money on something else. I heard some 27 k$ focals that I thought sounded better than the 35+ year old Vandys, but not a whole lot better. 

Worst case is I have the 2Cs in the main room, and the smaller speakers in more of a reading room… Plus the Mrs’ old bookshelf jobs (Richter of Au) are a bit dilapidated with the (de)vinyl covering falling off when they get touched.

I doubt I would sell the 2Cs …they are worth more to me than someone would pay me for them. They are too good, 


But what is a “more modern sound”?

  • I can think of distortion
  • … and compression (as two things that are objectively measurable.)
  • As well as impulse response… (which most modern speakers still get wrong.)