I had 2C sigs years ago and was also in the hunt for an integrated that would be just right in a small den area. I home auditioned or owned several integrateds with these, including CJ CAV50 (tube), Musical Fidelity A5, Krell S300i and CJ CA200. Of all these, I liked the sound of the Musical Fidelity the most. It provided good dynamics and bass but still kept the mids sweet. The tubed CAV50 sounded next best, but couldn’t provide the dynamics and bass I wanted. Still, it was great for lower level classical and jazz listening as its midrange was the best of the bunch. If I were in a similar situation today I would also audition Bryston, Manley (Stingray), NAD, Creek and Moon. Hope this helps.
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You have already been down this road in your identical subject matter thread in 2018 with a lengthy 34 author contributions.
Best sounding "budget" integrated amp for Vandersteen 2C.Looking for the best sounding "budget" integrated amp for use with an Vandersteen 2C (1980’s version) speakers. CD source alternates between a Sony PS1 and Cal Audio Icon II Power Boss. Budget is roughly $300, maybe up to $400. I’ve been thinking something from NAD, but with all the different models out there, I have no idea which models are the best sounding--regardless of power. It will also need to have a phono stage. I’d like to have a remote too, but it’s not a deal breaker. My system is in a second bedroom, so even though I like to crank every once in a while, most of the time I'm listening at reasonable levels. My listening tastes consists of stuff like Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Tangerine Dream, etc.
Thanks stevecham for the response. :-)
2psyop and akg_ca, and to anyone else who feels the need...
Basically, the best sounding system (to MY ears and regardless of cost) I ever had on the Vandy 2C's in my room was a Creek 4330SE with a Naim CD3.5. Finished off perfectly with DH labs Q10 speaker cable and Air Matrix interconnects. It was the perfect chemistry to me. The 4330 had the phono card--which sounded awesome too. Then what happened later down the line... as it tends happen to most of us audio enthusiasts, hobbyists, etc., the that we get the "itch" or the temptation for something "better." Better on paper maybe, but you ear is the ultimate (and only) judge. And so I had the opportunity to better my system and in doing totally messed up the chemistry. That's basically where I have been since then... going through different gear to see if I can find that chemistry again. Being a hobbyist, it is fun (and educational) to listen to different gear too. So, what's the harm?
I'm using a Vincent SP-331 power amp with my Vandy 2Cs and love the sound. It is a hybrid tube/SS design. I'm using it with a Schiit Freya pre, but had tried it directly from my Oppo 103 to get a feel for it's sound.
Compared to my Krell s300i, the Vincent offers much more texture, tone color, timbres, air and more 3D soundstaging.
Audio Advisor has the Vincent integrated priced under your budget, it's gotten 5-star reviews, and it's brand new with a warranty.
I'm guessing it sounds very nice too.
I couldn't be any happier with my Vincent.
Hey John, not I didn’t get them yet. I still think about them too! I wish the sand was out of them so shipping wouldn’t be insane!
Speaking of gear, I’m thinking of trying a Simaudio i5 integrated. Curious how that would sound with the Vandys. I think it has plenty of power (70wpc) for my room. The krell at 150wpc was overkill... not only power, but bass as well. From what I have read here on Agon, the s-300i would be a better alternative if I wanted to give Krell another try.
Still have the CV-4 speaker cable, as well as Mogami.
Unfortunately you are wasting your time with any amp Wire evaluation. without a solid platform and proper execution of tilt back.
Your results will be corrupt
Try taking a photograph when driving down a bumpy road.
Playing music both speakers are moving you’ll be compensating for lack of articulation.
Until you get the speakers on a solid plane tilted back and spikes tight
you will never know what’s right and chasing your tail as well as letting others help you do it.
+1 on the proper stands - don’t bother with anything else until you get those sound anchors. Think of it as a component upgrade, because the difference between having them on the stands and on the floor is at least one component difference. Dialing them in properly is another component upgrade.
On the integrated front, I had a pair of 2CE Sigs with a SimAudio I-5080 (similar to the I-3 which replaced it). It’s very fast, clean, but cool. Holographic soundstage with the Vandys, but again, not at all warm. In your budget, how about a used Rogue Cronus? The other integrated amp I liked with the Vandys that is now long out of business and hard to find - Magnum Audio IA 170 SE. Spectacular, warm, detailed, rare, hard to find now. If you can find one, it would be well under your budget. They were like $650 new.
Thanks for the additional feedback.
There are stands on the 2C's, but yes, I need to plan a drive out to Audio Connection in NJ and pick these up once. I'm in Harrisburg, PA, so it's a journey, but not cross-country travel. I do want to say though there are stands on my 2C's. They were bolted on the speakers when I bought them. They're not sound anchor, but they are a heavy, black metal stands that bolts onto the bottom. I tried looking for a pic on the net, but I cannot find anything. Basically, if you look at the speakers from a side angle, the stand forms a square U shape; with the open part of the U facing the rear of the speaker. The stand runs along the edge of the bottom of the speaker, so they are flush. If you look at the back of the speaker, there are four square black plastic plugs at each corner of the stand--I guess for filling sand or something?
I'll check out the Magnum Audio and Rogue gear. As for the Moon i5, the review in Stereophile seems very favorable, however, the rest of the gear and cabling they have at their disposal is also to consider. Just because it sound great at Stereophile, doesn't mean it will in my space. Jafant, I have been thinking of another Creek and Naim combo. Or, perhaps another Roksan and Naim. As of right now, I can put together a Roksan Kandy MKIII integrated with a Naim CD5x cd player for about $1,175. This would leave leftover funds for cabling and sound anchor stands. I recall when I tried that slew of British integrateds (post 4330SE) I discovered the Exposure 2010s was close to the 4330, but was too soft sounding. The 4330 has more punch. It was the Roksan Kandy MK III that gave the closest to the 4330's sound, yet had some of the naim 5i's liveliness and dynamics, but the MKIII's bass punch was much better. I remember writing somewhere at the time (can't find it now) about how the Roksan had the best parts of each of the integrateds I had tried. I think then if I throw a Naim cd5x on there, it will get me close to what I once had with the 4330 & CD3.5 set-up.
Get the Sound Anchor stands first, nothing you do with the Vandersteens matters until you do that first.
I play Vandersteen 2Ce with a YBA 2 power amp w/ 70w in a room your size and it's plenty. So the Sim Audio i5 should work. I also have a Krell amp to really rock out and when used with my YBA preamp I have no bass problems, must be a synergy thing.